Cynical Existence: Ruined Portrait

It seems like mere weeks ago that one of the best harsh ebm/ industrial releases to tease and provoke the senses this year arrived in the shape of A Familiar Kind of Pain, the debut EP from Swedish band Cynical Existence. The solo project of Fredrik Croona (Project Rotten) easily enflamed the passions and set a new benchmark for electro imagination. Now he returns with follow up release the Ruined Portrait EP. It continues the impressive blend of old school EBM with abrasive industrial invention found on his first EP whilst offering a rawer even more intensive breath. The teaser for the highly anticipated full length album Come Out And Play scheduled for an early 2013 release, the EP like its predecessor leaves an invigorating and decisive pleasure in its wake.

As soon as Misery stretches out its mesmeric arms, melodic pulses splashing upon the ear, the sense that the song and release is set to leave an imprint on the heart is immediate, the sonic seduction full and strong from the off. The serpentine vocals of Croona wrap around the shafts of aural light with the man again unleashing personal emotions into his compositions. His delivery is not as venomous as many but soaked in unmistakable shadows which add extra depth to the power of tracks and temper the often dazzling sonic radiance. Though arguably not a major departure from the tracks on A Familiar Kind of Pain, it feels darker, carrying a more abusive or abused energy in what is a vibrant and compulsive presence.

If the opener is a darker proposition the following Am I Alive is a definite plunge into sinister shadows, the vocals bordering on insidious and the accompanying whispers intimidating. The track is magnetic, the lure of acidic melodies irresistible whilst the caustic tones of the song just ignite further contagious entrapments. The best track on Ruined Portrait; it is a taunting combative glory to immerse within and succumb to.

Next up My Shining Halo initially weaves predatory sonic hooks before the ear, their attractive beckoning a wanton mischief,  before rampaging with further heavy touches and salty rubs to form a raw surface to the insatiable melodic swagger of the song. Approaching midway the track goes into a ‘stall’, its eager pace shifting into a prowling sizing up of the prey before erupting swiftly back to the hunger and rampant onslaught which started the corruption. It is another sensational seizing of thoughts and emotions whilst simultaneously, along with its predecessors, inspiring an intense impatience for the forthcoming album.

Let’s Play Dead featuring Polish band Reactor7x, wraps blistering tendrils of sound around the ear whilst the alternating vocals expose extremes of shadows within the sonic softening up of the senses. It is less immediate than other tracks but equally as impactful in its individual way. The jabbing beats cage emotions as the song lays its erosive harmonic caresses and caustic malevolence upon their ethereal flesh, their power cutting off any escape from the almost disorientating experience.

The release is completed firstly by a reinterpreted version of Face Of God by Moscow based industrial project Freaky Mind, and then by two remixes of tracks from A Familiar Kind of Pain. What the difference is between a reinterpreted version and a remix we will have to find out, but the first of the trio is an excited swarm of energy and sonic manipulation, the sounds swamping yet igniting the vocals of Croona for a dance track which fires up good reactions. The other two tracks are remixes of the best and our favourite two songs on the debut EP, and as such were on a hiding for nothing.  Both Insecure (IMPLANTed fear mix) and Paradox (Filtered through MIND:STATE), remixed by Implant and Mind:state (fellow Swede Per Holmström) respectively, are impressive reworkings which open up new thoughts and visions within the tracks but both pale against the brilliance of the originals for us. As always we admit the valid purpose of remixes still generally eludes us, especially when the source is almost untouchable, but given some time to make their case both tracks certainly gave food for thought, especially the jazzy exploits of the first of the two.

Released via  Alfa Matrix with  impressive cover artwork from one of teh best emerging artists in OneTwoTree Designs,  Ruined Portrait is excellent, a release which not only cements Croona as one of the essential contributors to the landscape of industrial but ensures next year and the release of his album cannot come soon enough

RingMaster 30/10/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Metal guitar virtuoso XANDER DEMOS Reveals New Fan-Submitted Album Artwork‏

Metal guitar virtuoso, Xander Demos reveals the winning album artwork submission from his “Get My Guitarcadia Artwork On” contest.

Xander Demos and MTS Management Group, in association with Rock N Growl Records, are pleased to announce the winning album artwork submission from Xander’s recent “Get My Guitarcadia Artwork On” contest and it is RingMaster Review favourite and creator of our new profile image, OneTwoTree Designs.

The contest ran for two weeks, during which fans were encouraged to submit their original designs for the re-release of Xander’s album, “Guitarcadia“. Entries were received from all corners of the world, with the winning entry coming from Sami Ahvenainen, a 23 year old graphic design student from Finland.

“I’m stunned! Speechless!” said Mr. Ahvenainen, owner of OneTwoTree Designs, which offers 100% free artwork to bands. “In the beginning my art was not free, but as time went on I figured that it is more inspiring – easier for me to create and help bands if my art was free”. A big “thank you” from the band is a good enough reward for me, I love music, I want to help out, and this is a great way for me to do so!”

“This artwork is badass!” said Xander. “I can’t wait to get the album out there with this new look. Congratulations and thank you, Sami!”

Xander Demos, is signed to Rock N Growl Records for exclusive worldwide digital distribution. His debut album, “Guitarcadia” was mixed and mastered by Firehouse frontman, CJ Snare. Xander Demos is also a member of the US East Coast chapter of Sabbath Judas Sabbath.

For more information, and

Bands and artist looking for artwork get in touch with Sami @

Illustrial: Eloquently Violent

Fuelled by emotional shadows and darkened energy the new album from UK electronic/darkwave project Illustrial brings forth a reflective journey born of its creator whilst being the inspirer of personal involvement and feelings. Eloquently Violent is an album which offers a journey through heartbreak, inner loneliness, and slightly destructive dark essences of life. It is vibrant though bringing as much hope as resignation to evoke thoughts and feelings which all can interpret to their own struggles and blistered highlights.

Formed in 2006, Illustrial is the solo electronic project of Baz Badrock (aka Neformore). Early EP Discipline the Devil’s Country drew good responses to the project though it was with the link up with London-based artist Strobegirl a more concentrated attention came their way through songs Don’t Look Back and a cover of California Dreaming. 2010 saw the Genesis EP to be followed a year later by third EP Darkness Falls and a returning full collaboration with Strobegirl on the enthusiastically received album Glitter and Twisted. The same year also saw Badrock team up with another vocalist on two songs Lost City Ghosts and Dream again to very favourable responses. Eloquently Violent is the first full length solo release from Illustrial and easily marks itself from the outstanding sleeve artwork from OneTwoTree Designs through to the sounds within as the best individual and mature work the artist has produced.

The album opens with Xciter, a pulsating electro pop dazzle upon the ear. It has a definite early Fad Gadget feel to its air without arguably the pop infectiousness but is still a satisfying treat. As with the majority of his songs Badrock brings a minimalistic presence to the track allowing its ambient whispers and atmosphere to give service to the passion and emotive heart. The original intent for the album was for guest vocalists on some of the songs but as the release developed Badrock fell into an ease and rapport with the music and his own style to end up taking on the role himself. The opener shows it was not a bad move and again offers up the Frank Tovey comparison here and at varied times during the album.

Heartbeat follows and is a more reserved manipulation of electronic weaves. It brings splintered pulses and fractured melodic twists and only really finds a full appeal when it raises its temperature through an eager and driven energetic surge. It is still a strong and appealing song though showing the variety to the album as well as a firm yet rippling consistency which never leaves one drifting elsewhere in attention.

The title track has a similar feel and intent as its predecessor though seemingly carries a more personal heart for more intensity which ignites further the searchlights of melodic enterprise. It is quite mesmeric as it envelopes the year and continues the strong start commendably. Coming in its wake though is Tribal Dance which did not failed to inspire similar responses though it is as much down to expectations from the title than the composition itself. Expecting something primitive in energy and raw the track is a quiet and one means quiet, measure of beats and electronic whispers. It feels like an interlude to be honest but with a beefier production would probably have made a bigger impression.

From here on in the album brings a fine mix of ideas, textures, and sounds, from the sultry Gothic Fantasy and wonderfully distressing aural violation of My Distortion on to the likes of the New Order influenced The Silence and the haunting darkness that is Dark Night Of The Soul. The release consistently treats the senses to invention and imagination and though at times this exploration does not always quite come off as well as in other parts but it is never less than intriguing.

The latter half of the album unveils further thoughtful and evocative songs as the sinister Horrorgasm alongside the melodic caress of Breeze which inspire responsive feelings to the aural triggers. Eloquently Violent is an album which graces with expressive and satisfying sonic tapestries for the ear to immerse within. It maybe is lacking a raw edge and anger at times to break up the unerring shadowed smooth fondling of the ear but it is a release which effortlessly leaves one in thought and reflection.

Check out tracks from Eloquently Violent on The Reputation Radio Show

RingMaster 02/07/2012

copyright RingMaster : Myfreecopyright

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Interview with Sami Antero Ahvenainen of OneTwoTree Designs

Just recently The RingMaster Review came across an artist and artwork that quite simply left us opened mouthed. From just one piece of work we were fully inspired to find more and as we found more of this great work nothing less than awe broke out. As deep and rich in emotive provocation and imagination as they were in skill and texture the pieces were the first new art in a long time to bring an open reaction. Though a young new talent the person behind OneTwoTree Designs has worked on and graced EPs with great impact and is sure to become a name the world of music especially will have roiling off their eager tongues. Wanting to find out more we grabbed some time from the artist to find out more about him and his astonishing work.

Hi and thank you for talking with us at The Ringmaster Review

First question is simply please introduce yourself.

My name is Sami Antero Ahvenainen and I am a newbie graphic designer from Finland.

Please give us some background to yourself.

Well, I am 23 years old, second year student and I have been interested in graphic designing for over 3 years now.

When did art become a passion and important part of your life?

Art has always been in my life, I used to draw comics and stuff when I was a little kid

What are your influences and artists which inspired you most?

The artworks/ illustrations of Travis Smith, he’s a legend and a big inspiration to me.

How would you describe your art to newcomers?

Dark, mysterious and maybe even… thought provoking?

Do you stay with one style or medium or work across many forms?

I try to work across many forms and improve my technique with every art piece I create.

You also have a love of music, especially extreme metal and other forms of metal and rock, another passion as strong as your art?

Absolutely, music has always been there for me, giving me inspiration when I really need it! Nowadays I mostly listen to brutal death metal.

Do you play an instrument or make music yourself?

Well, I like to write lyrics on my free time just to keep my mind occupied, that is about it. Haha

Your work is dark and brooding and very provocative, is it a good representation of you as a person?

Absolutely yes but I try to avoid going too dark cause that can be depressing at times and that is not a direction I want to take.

What inspires your art predominantly?

Music and the challenges of life.

When designing and creating album covers or working on another ideas for bands do you work closely with them and listen to their music to get a feel of their creations first?

Most of the time I work very closely with the bands and they send me clips of their new tunes so that I can get the right idea for the art, it is all pretty cool and I appreciate it.

Is there a similarity do you think to how artists and musicians are inspired in their craft and how those seeds for compositions are developed?

I think so yes, when I hear an amazing song it inspires me to create something epic and I’ve actually heard that my artworks have inspired bands to improve their music and step up their game…so yeah.

Like a song with depth and texture your art unveils new layers and shadows each time you look at it, there is not just an instant appeal but a story or darker avenue to explore. It is important to you that your pieces have a breath and entity of their own?

Absolutely yes, I want my artwork to stand out from the rest I don’t want to create two pieces that look the same; I’m always looking for something new and refreshing!

American band Black Sky Ashes is a big fan of your work I believe?

Yeah, we worked very closely back in late 2011 and early 2012 when they released their first EP “your rain” I hope to work with them again someday; Travis Neal is a cool guy.

Give us some of the other bands you have graced releases of with your work?

At the moment my biggest would be the artwork I designed for Dishearthed and their EP “Praise the fool” it is a stunning artwork and I’d say it could be my finest art piece to date!

If there was one band or project you could choose to create for, what would it be?

Insomnium! I’ve been a big fan of this band for a long time and it would be a dream come true for me if I could create some art for them.

Now, and this still surprises me given the amazing quality and skill of your art, you design and create stuff for bands etc for free?

Yes, my artworks are 100% free. No joke!

Was this your intent from the start or just a reflection on the fact there just is not the money around within music and upcoming bands?

Yeah, in the beginning my art was not free but as time went on I figured that it is more inspiring/ easier for me to create and help bands if my art was free. A big “thank you” from the band is a good enough reward for me, I love music, I want to help out and this is a great way for me to do so!

One imagines you are over loaded with requests for your work but where can people get in touch regarding the possibility of having you create something for them?

I always have room for another project if it is interesting enough and stands apart from the others, I can be contacted via email or via my Facebook page, friend requests are welcome!

Is there any criteria they have to meet, like no pop or rap? Haha

Absolutely not, I love all kinds of music!

It is near impossible to pick a favourite of your pieces I have seen but Bride of Darkness and Cursed Moon, as well as a couple untitled ones on your Facebook profile stimulate and evoke stronger thoughts than others. What is your favourite or proudest piece to date? Yes I know like choosing your favourite kid or pet haha.

I’d have to say “bride of darkness” also, it just turned out amazing and I even surprised myself!

Are you continually coming up with ideas and pieces that lay in wait for the right project whether there are projects in the works or not?

There are times when I just don’t come up with anything, but that can be cause of my lack of free time at the moment haha. I can only blame myself for that!

Have you ever been lost for ideas when faced with a job, that spark of inspiration too dim and needing extra stoking to bring forth?

I put 100% of my heart into every piece I create, if I don’t feel like 100% I won’t even try to come up with anything. I don’t want to create uninspired art that would be a waste of everyone’s time and it would make me feel kinda disappointed later on.

What are your ambitions as an artist and for your work?

At the moment this is just a hobby cause I’m still in school etc but…time will tell, I’d like to be a pro!

Have you had exhibitions? I guess your Facebook profile online is a kind of one?

Nope, never. But yeah the page is kinda like one, I guess haha

Once more many thanks for talking with us.

My pleasure!

One final question, we saw you have a couple of wrestling inspired pieces, another love and who is your favourite sports entertainer?

Edge, amazing in the ring, good mic skills and charisma! Shame that he had to retire.

Find out more about OneTwoTree Designs @


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