Echoes – The Pursuit



Whether the music or band name came first is something to ask in the future but certainly the sonic tempest of sound which progressive hardcore/post metal band Echoes casts over air, senses, and emotions is a resonating and lingering incitement which leaves little room for respite in its oppressively smothering presence. The Pursuit, the debut album from the UK quintet, thrusts the band into the imagination and mistrust though the latter is not a concern for the undoubted technical and imaginative craft of the band or of their emotively intrusive exploration, just a wariness of the damage the erosive might and intrusive rabidity of the release is treating senses and psyche to The ten track immersion is not an easy listen at times, not a merciful encounter which allows senses to breath and regain a foothold in its caustically acidic soundscape, but one which captivates with just a few reservations.

Taking inspirations from the likes of Devil Sold His Soul through to Hans Zimmer, Echoes emerged in 2010 with the intent ‘to create a sound that is entirely true to them’. Undertaking a gigging regime as intensive as their sound, the band has played around the UK and Europe numerous times, taking in over 150 shows and sharing stages with bands such as Devil Sold His Soul, Feed The Rhino, Heights, and Our People Vs Yours along the way. Intensively created across time and effort, The Pursuit lays down a potent marker and imprint as the band forges another potent step in their ascent. It is a sonically carnivorous encounter, one with a hunger which consumes with little consideration for emotional relief in its recipients but one which even in its suffocating dark depths infuses a melodic hope and positivity, just no respite.

Opener Empty Lungs has no care for a gentle coaxing into its maelstrom of enslaving textures and atmospheric voracity, the guitars of FRONT Packcover (hi-res)Angus Cadden and Karl Koch an immediate grazing courted by the intimidating throat of the bass of Steve Tolloczko and the predatory rhythmic challenge of Oliver Todd. The sonic submergence is like a free fall for the senses until they reach the passionate raw squalls of vocalist Joshua Thurbin where intensity engulfs before spreading out into more restrained but just as intrusively testing scenery. The slow immersive crawl of the track which takes over is as magnetic as the previous vitriolic incitement was violently bracing, their subsequent merging a stimulating canvas for imagination and emotions to place their own narrative before being dosed in that provided by Thurbin. It is an exacting experience but one, which as the album, over time unveils the richest persuasion and understanding upon the emotions.

As the first track drifts away the following Leaving None Behind flows in, a commanding but respectful acridity wrapping ears before the raising of an intensive temperature which itself flows into another melodic caress with sinister shadows. Again the track takes time to share all of its rewards but does so eventually as the guitars and rhythms sculpt a powerfully evocative landscape to ponder and explore. The following title track is similarly a long term investigation and journey but one which mentally ignites thoughts and feelings as rigorously as it does physically. Like the album, it is impossible not to fall into the immersive ambient depths of the song even as the sonic endeavour sears and scars.

Both Honour Lost and Rivers takes things up another level, or is that down, to darker intimidating corners; the first a bordering on anthemic engagement of group calls vocally aligned to an imaginative and harsh traverse of raw climates whilst its successor provides an initially muscular confrontation which evolves  impressively into an expanse of crystalline intrigue and shimmer mystique within a rhythmic sky which is always mere seconds from inviting a fury of vocal angst and voracious sonic design. The pair are the most potent and thrilling provocations stretching the already accomplished thought and passion of the band musically and emotionally.

As stated The Pursuit is not the most painless proposition, though there is never a second where adventure and unpredictability do not reign, but there are elements which prevent it scaling the heights of personal acclaim which it could have deserved. The lacking of truly memorable moments other than the just mentioned songs does leave it standing out against other contenders, as does the fact that it is easy to lose yourself within its familiarity s at times songs are hard to distinguish from others without purposeful attention.  Also the vocals of Thurbin make the release a struggle at times as in For What It’s Worth and the beginning of the following and thrilling Wooden Hearts as examples. Certainly his delivery and craft is impressive and potent to match the fire of the music and invention, but without a lack of diversity, only occasional additional group additives giving that, it does leave that part of songs a little one dimensional though certainly also passion drenched. It does not prevent the album from stirring up appetite and eager emotions for itself though.

Safe it Seems bursts in next to rage and snarl at the senses, anger and reflection soaking every syllable and note within another pleasing tempestuous range of piercing sonic peaks and lush melodic hues. Its drama clad presence is instantly tempered by the opening ambient caress and floating melancholia of Navigate, the piece a vision inspiring instrumental with scathing edges to its elegant beauty. It is the one time the album allows breathing to be engaged in without a savage incursion; that left to the closing See & Believe to explore within its emotively intense and creatively vibrant body. It is a powerful finale to a striking full debut. There are elements where the release could have truly stolen the passions and misses out but The Pursuit still leaves you eager to invest in its consumptive depths, even if nervously, and push Echoes into a band to fully recommend.


RingMaster 24/03/2014


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Ursa Major: Old Bones

ursa major

    An up and coming melodic post-hardcore band, Ursa Major easily justifies the buzz around them with the release of their album Old Bones. Whilst a release which suggests there is still plenty of scope for the band to explore as they  fully find a distinct voice in the genre, the album is an enterprising and aggressive encounter which leaves a strong depth of satisfaction behind.

The Shepperton quintet with their imposing blend of metal and hardcore veined by skilfully sculpted melodic fire has earned strong reputation for their debut EP and live performances alongside the likes of Brotherhood Of The Lake, Golden Tanks, Our People Vs Yours, Terakai, I’ll Stay In Memphis, and Despite My Deepest Fear as well as at festivals such as Redfest. Their sound is flush with many vigorous flavours honed into an inciting and rampaging confrontation rife with compelling and incendiary rewards. Old Bones is the likely trigger to a wider awareness for the band and one suspects the first prominent step in their emergences as a force within the UK scene.

Out of the decent enough brief instrumental introduction Birth, a track which leads with craft and appetite into what is to follow, 601359_10151342907371234_1539527106_nBlack Lights instantly grabs potent attention and intrigue with crisp sinewy rhythms, a tight provocative groove, and the brawling coarse scowls of Elliott Fletcher. It is an impressive start with the rhythms of drummer Dan Mundy rigidly gripping the ear so the guitars of Richard Woods and Grant Marsh can unleash their sonic flames and ravenous riffs. It is the clean vocals of Fletcher though which elevate song and release in to something a little special from the rest of the similarly fuelled bands around, and alongside an open imagination and invention to the sound and songwriting, it makes for an impressive and thrilling introduction to the band.

The following ravage of passion The Two Hundred, is a captivation of melodic fire and carnal riffs. The bass of Phil Nicholls offers a resonance which prowls the senses within the again caustic embrace of the track and ill-tempered vocals. As the first song the clean vocals shine and the equal sharing of vocal extremes is certainly a highlight of song and album, their potency as vibrant as the earnest and intelligently crafted sounds. Lyrically songs are dark and demanding, intrusive companions to bring an intense union to the exhausting element of their sound and none more so than the excellent Dead Eyes. The track gnaws at the senses with grinding riffs and exhausting rhythms creating an instant submission before its power whilst rewarding endurance with rewards of again an exceptional mix of vocals and emotive heat. Primarily a metalcore gaited slice of sonic blistering, the song alone sets the band up as ones to watch very closely and within the release is the biggest highlight of many.

Through current single Fist Of The Fleet, Ursa Major scrape and burn the already in place wounds but then soothes them with immense vocal harmonies and elegant melodies. As evocative as it is harassingly brazen, the track is another powerful and thrilling bruise upon the passions to strengthen the already brewed respect and eagerness towards the band.

Though the album slips below its high standards with the arguably formula Anchored and Clipped Wings, two accomplished and pleasingly inventive and smartly-shaped songs which simply fail to spark the responses of previous songs or step far enough away from efforts by other bands, Old Bones ends on a high with In Death, a final brutal self-reflection dripping emotion and creative energy.

Old Bones is a rich and contagious release where vocals and musical imagination stands out. Ursa Major is on a certain rise and as one suspects they are only scratching the surface of their invention and ideas the future is exciting for them and us.


RingMaster 15/03/2013

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Our People Vs Yours – Lights EP

With an already solid base of acclaim and strong reviews Essex metalcore band Our People Vs Yours are sure to push out into even stronger and loftier heights with their new EP Lights. Raw and aggressive the release intimidates and thrills in equal measure, Our People Vs Yours reinforcing their stature as one of UK’s more potent and promising metalcore bands.

Originally formed in 2008 the band ‘Re-formed’ with current line-up of guitarist and vocalist James Sweeting, vocalist  Joe Miles, bassist  Dan Clark, guitarist Josh Nunn, and Harvey Freeman on drums in 2009, taking in a new avenue with the addition of cleaner and melodic vocals to their powerful sound. Debut 2008 EP Here Comes The Flood and 2010 second EP Southern Colours set them apart from similar veined metalcore bands as well as garnering distinct attention and praise, backed up by the single Time To Rise in the latter part of last year. Shows with the likes of Deaf Havana, Lower Than Atlantis, This Is Colour, Young Guns, The Elijah and The Ocean Between Us and festival appearances along bands like Architects, The Dillinger Escape Plan, and Funeral For A Friend added to their reputation and respect for their hard working ethic.

     Lights see the quintet again blend hard hitting intense riffs and guitar driven energy drawn from a pool of noise bands like Architects, Underoath and Norma Jean fuel their beasts from with the melodic and progressive sensibilities of the likes of Between The Buried And Me and Periphery. Consisting of four dynamic and forceful tracks Lights is an enterprising and fluid exchange of engaging insightful melodies and technical skill and formidable attitude soaked aggression.

The title track opens the release immediately displaying the varied sounds and styles the band brings into their distinctive music. The song is a pulsating and captivating mix of incisive skilful guitars, energises riffs and rhythms, and smooth flowing melodies and vocal mix. Balancing a perfect fusion of growls and dripping attitude with emotive harmonies, the vocals match the music perfectly. The song is memorable despite not carrying obvious hooks, choruses or hypnotic riffs, a testament to the songwriting of the band.

As good as the title track is it is the following two songs that really stand out and where the band let fly with a heavier and more intense purpose. ‘Ariha’ is colossal, the best track on the release and proof to why the band is so highly rated and followed. Like a tumbling wall riffs and beats pummel the senses incessantly without neglecting fine melodic and creative razor sharp play. The song leads straight into ‘I’ve Had Better Days’, a song almost on par with its predecessor. Soaring vocals smooth and screaming attack the ear as battering riffs and pulse bursting rhythms rage intently and throughout a deep cavernous groove veins the song menacingly. Though both songs depart in under three minutes they leave one breathless and desperate for more.

In Unity’ completes the release with equal effect and success. Bridging the melodic and smoother attack of the opener and the deliberate power of the other two, the song nestles in the ear with a caress and slap at the same time. It is probably the most creative of the four songs on show, carefully structured and layered with intelligent and skilful progressive sounds to compliment and oppose the heavy direct power.

Our People Versus Yours are already marked as the band to watch and drive UK metal, the Lights EP is simply more impressive and undeniable evidence.

RingMaster 15/11/2011 Registered & Protected


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