Oceanic – City Of Glass

Oceanic PR 2

Not sure exactly why but the depth and quality to the Israeli metal/rock scene always surprises, even despite covering numerous releases and artists from its creative well. You have the likes of Orphaned Land, Ferium, and Desert amongst a great many stirring up the world scene with their varied sounds, and from within the underground bands like Walkways making their mark. To the latter you can now add Oceanic, a band beginning to draw and earn potent responses to their presence and debut album, City Of Glass. Formed in 2009, the Tel Aviv quartet has inspired strong and increasing attention, especially over the past couple of years, and now with their first album nudging greater awareness, Oceanic has the potential to be another breaking into broader spotlights well beyond their homeland.

The band’s sound is melodic/alternative rock but with an appetite to throw in unique twists of progressive exploration and feisty imagination. As shown upon City Of Glass it makes for a fascinating and unpredictable proposition which can offer familiar essences in a fresh and often offbeat design. There are moments where things just confuse and miss their target but for the main, album and sound are one captivating tempting. The band itself has grown its stature and reputation in the Israel underground scene through appearances at events like Progstage 2012 and in supporting the likes of Pain of Salvation. Band experiences are not restricted to Oceanic alone either, bassist Or Lubianiker having toured as part of bands for Marty Friedman and Gus G whilst playing on Yossi Sassi’s album Desert Butterflies. The ex-Orphaned Land guitarist is now returning the favour by producing City Of Glass, and providing guest guitar, vocal, and bouzoukitar enterprise within certain songs on the release.

A Scanner Darkly starts things off and swiftly has ears and attention intrigued; it’s atmospheric opening inviting but also oppressively hazy. It is a tantalising mix veined by gentle melodic Oceanic - City of Glass - Front (sRGB)coaxing and soon joined by the gentle husky vocal reflections of guitarist Idan Liberman. The song gently immerses senses and imagination, broadening its intensity and provocative textures with smooth and warm persuasion. Before long its passion and energy breaks through the calm though, crisp beats and a dark bassline uniting with fiery enterprise from the guitars of Amir Manbar and Liberman, whilst the latter’s vocal tones also elevate in emotion and roaring vivacity. The song by now offers a mix of Palms, Bush, and in some ways System Of A Down, melodies and harmonies blooming in a fiercer cage of beats from Gal Shochet and throaty bass suggestiveness from Lubianiker. The song continues to ebb and flow in its intensity, increasingly impressing and exciting ears and imagination.

The following Wind Up In Barrel (Tribute To Walter) continues the strong start, raising the album’s game straight away with its rolling rhythmic start. A sudden drop into an emotive calm catches ears by surprise, losing that potent start quickly and dramatically wrong-footing, especially first time around, but it is soon embroiled in a brewing climatic of creative voracity and sonic agitation. Vocally too, Liberman seems to find a left field approach to his delivery which only adds to the riveting drama of the song. It takes time but the track eventually emerges as an inescapable seduction whetting the appetite further for album and the sultry embrace of South Of Heaven which follows. Its smouldering lures and charm is just the lead into more tempestuous but restrained musical and emotional progressive bred turbulence. It is a compelling encounter, essences of bands like Shinedown and Seether making glimpses in the magnetic presence of the song.

Both Enter and Clouds keep attention and enjoyment high, each again a mix of aggressive energies and reflecting tranquillity, never lingering in either too long and uniting them with craft and invention. Neither song creates new templates for rock ‘n’ roll it is fair to say, but both provide refreshing and thoroughly satisfying proposals, the first a melodic bellow with tangy sonic endeavour from the guitars and another rhythmic enticement to equally intimidate and excite. It only grows in pungent appeal and strength over time whilst its successor almost stalks ears with its heavy rhythmic resonance and predatory riffing, though again it is tempered by the strong vocal and guitar sculpted enterprise bringing warmth and light to the darker tones.

The brief and harmonically elegant Fish You Shouldn’t Eat (Part 1) slips in next, its musty warmth and sonic shimmer, a pleasing appetiser for the impact of These Countless Hours. This is a song which left ears and thoughts undecided and still does even though it is also a compelling puzzle. It starts off in impressive style, rugged beats and caustic tone a swiftly enthralling protagonist aided by similarly robust vocals. It continues to light ears until something strange happens, an exploration of invention emerges which sees music and vocals going in different directions. Both continue to work just not together for personal tastes, and we devour anything with a warped twist or avant-garde approach. It is almost as if singer and instruments have their own individual songs and are trying to unite them as one. The fact that it keeps luring ears back to try to make sense of it is a testament to what is going on in ideation just not its success.

We are back on an even keel with HMS Beagle, an intensive ballad of power and emotion with more roaring senses licking flames than a bushfire, and straight after through the melodic smooch of Eva The Cat Doesn’t Sleep, a song with a Poets Of the Fall whisper to its melodic and creative beauty. Vocally Liberman shows his full and strong range, occasionally showing an Andy Partridge like lilt, whilst guitars and rhythms combine in a graceful romance of accompanying sound.

The track Oceanic brings City Of Glass to an epic end, its meaty length and imaginative textures a rich croon of soaring vocals and provocative melodies wrapped in thick bass shadows and gripping beats. It has a latent aggression and underlying anger to it too, which only seems to intensify the emotion and sonic tempest smothering ears. It is a fine end to a great album. There are certainly moments which do not work as well as others but ultimately, City Of Glass is a dramatic and enthralling storm of melodic and alternative rock very easy to recommend all at least should check out.

City Of Glass is available now @ http://oceanicband.com/album/city-of-glass-full-album

https://www.facebook.com/OceanicBand

RingMaster 18/03/2015

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Resonance Room: Untouchable Failure

    Resonance Room pic

    Drenched in thick melancholic ambiences and dark gothic breath Untouchable Failure, the new album from Italian band Resonance Room, with skill and enterprise easily captures the imagination even if it at times struggles to ignite the same blaze of engagement with the passions. To be honest it is impossible not to develop a strong appetite for the album ensuring many returns to its inventive and emotive grandeur but at the same time it lacks the consistency to spark the raging fire it certainly suggests is within the hands of the band to inspire at some point.

Formed in 2008 out of the ashes of the band Fragment, the quartet from Catania was soon signed to My Kingdom Music and released debut album Unspoken a year later. It met with strong responses towards its gothic metal persuasion veined with strong flavours drawn from other genres. New album Untouchable Failure continues where its predecessor left off with Resonance Room expanding their sound with even more diversity and accomplished craft. To its rich gothic breath the album offers essences of doom and progressive metal whispering loudly whilst elements of classic metal and melodic elegance add their impacting presences for a blaze of imagination. Heard within the album are spices of influences to the band such as Katatonia, Anathema, Pain of Salvation, and Porcupine Tree, as well as times a strong melodic emotion which sparks thoughts of Poets Of The Fall.

The opening flames of first song The Great Insomnia immediately attracts a concentrated focus, their touch a scorching rub on Resonance Room coverthe ear around rhythmic sinews and an air blistering atmosphere. The song then slips into a delicious stroll of sonic elegance, warm and inviting vocals from Alessandro Consoli, and a compelling melodic caress from the guitar of Riccardo Failla. It is a mesmeric embrace which takes no time in raising expectations and anticipation of something toweringly impressive ahead. Shifting its gait, stance, and invention consistently, the track is an outstanding start with the subsequent lure of the mischievous keys sealing the already done deal between heart and song.

The stunning start is followed by Cages Of Dust and So Precious, two songs which undoubtedly make a valid and powerful case for their claim on the passions but just fail in their quest. The two songs with craft offer imagination and invention which leaves a strong if not lasting impression with the bass of Alfio Timoniere especially in the first of the pair casting shadows in the mellower moments and prowling with strong intent when the track opens up its muscles. Neither of the two cast a permanent mark on the ear unlike their predecessor and it is this not only here but with other songs which despite their excellent thought and presence leaves the album struggling to find the ardour it possibly should have deserved or earnt.

For each track which just fails to reap its rewards emotionally there is another like New Life which more than makes up for their missed opportunity. The song is an evocative wash of vocal strength from Consoli, a singer who leaves so many other more renowned vocalists in his shade with his performance upon the album, and fiery and at times emotionally acidic guitar invention, whilst the rhythms from drummer Sandro Galati enclose and frame the impacting encounter with surety and enterprising restraint. It is a stunning track which again shows the depths and rich songwriting of the band.

The likes of Naivety and Oblivion and A Picture repeat the irresistible heights the band do attain within the album, both kaleidoscopes of aural colour and melodic imagery  which entwines tenderness and voracity within their inventive courses. Though other songs like Outside The Maze and Prometheus, like some of the earlier songs are near misses in finding a long-term union with the listener the album ensures it ends on a further intensive glory with closing song Faded, a song with a melancholy which wraps itself around the passions.

It is only the lack of enough sparking moments to ensure a continual fervour across its length which stops the album from being a full on classic. Every song on Untouchable Failure is beautifully thought out and realised with a depth of imagination many bands would deal with the devil for. One feels Resonance Room will make that classic one day, with this only just falling short it is hard to think otherwise.

https://www.facebook.com/ResonanceRoom

7.5/10

RingMaster 18/03/2013

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An artful splendour: Interview with Dani of Crimson Blue

Dani - Crimson Blue

Russian nu art metallers Crimson Blue is a band with a distinct and individual sound and one who released one of the more impressive and enthralling albums of last year in the splendid Innocence. Fusing nu-metal grooves with irresistible essences of symphonic metal and the unique character of art rock, the album was a thrilling and captivating engagement with a passionate imagination and invention. We had the pleasure of finding more out about a band, whose album was our first introduction to them, and their innovative sound and release by talking with vocalist and keyboard player Dominica “Dani” Hellstrom.

Hi, welcome to The Ringmaster Review and thank you for taking time to talk with us.

Firstly tell us about the members of Crimson Blue and how the band begun.

Hello everyone!

Well, let me introduce the band.

Dani — keys, vox, music, lyrics. Has been the part of Crimson Blue since the very beginning.

Alex — bass guitar and great stage presence.

Iggy — guitars, effects. Another veteran of the band operates an 8-string monster.

Jenn — drums and cool sympho arrangements.

Tim — guitars. Joined us recently

Back in 2009, we started as a progressive band and spent a lot of time looking for musicians with the same likes, King Crimson, Genesis,Crimson Blue Yes, etc. We tried to compose some complicated polyrhythmical pieces of music, and the result sounded like really bored Tool. Time passed, we learned to like groove metal riffing and symphonic beauty — and our music changed. We went through a period of djent idolizing Meshuggah then came some nu metal madness, and our guitars sounded like the ones of Korn — and so on. Now we’ve finally came to what may be named «the original Crimson Blue style», and I hope our second album will at last sound like true Nu Art Metal.

Are the inspirations which brought the band to life still as strong and active now or have they evolved into a different intent?

In some way, yes. They remain somewhere deep inside, and sometimes we have to fight them not to make our new song too «prog» or too «nu».

Looking more in depth at your introduction, your music is described as Nu Art Metal, can you elaborate on the term for us and how would you say your music has evolved since its beginnings to the release of your debut album Innocence?

It’s quite easy to explain. Imagine classical art rock harmonies, the soundscapes, ambient, but living atmosphere — and mix it with nu metal grooves and noises.

Actually, that was the main change in our music since the very beginning of the band — the hardest thing was to learn not to write 7-minutes epics one after another. We’ve learned to express ourselves more laconically, but still not primitive

The line-up in the early days of the band was quite unstable, is that fair to say?

It’s fair to say that our line-up is a bit puzzle. The three more-or-less permanent members of the band are me, Iggy and Alex. We’ve changed few drummers and more than few guitarists. The trouble is the working process in Crimson Blue has always been a challenge. You have to devote quite a considerable part of your life to make progress. Concerts, rehearsals, shootings, recording sessions, all the things…you learn to do all the things — or you’ll be left behind, that’s what we’ve learned.

Was this situation something which you would say held the band back or simply shaped its focus?

I think our course became more clear and distinct, despite all the difficulties that we’ve faced. We’ve learned a lot of things about the bands life here, we’ve learned a lot about ourselves, and now we’re ready to go on rocking whatever happens!

1608197713-1Was this the period of your demo Iceland? Tell us about the release and what it brought and you learned which helped with Innocence?

The demo period was the first time we faced the studio! We’ve recorded a few tracks, but the mixing process stopped, we couldn’t find a sound engineer to do the work. So the release had to be delayed. Then I came up with some electronic tracks that we also wanted to share with our audience. Still nothing happened; we kept making songs and doing nothing to introduce them. Then one day we said — ok, that’s enough, let’s finally do this!

The main thing that we’ve learned was like that — everything, absolutely everything including cover art, promo, etc. — must be done in time. It helped us to present «Innocence» very much.

When did the musicians who now make up Crimson Blue come together and did this ‘new blood’ and stability naturally give an energy and new direction to the band and Innocence?

The current line up gathered in summer 2012, when Jenn joined us. He brought some beautiful orchestral soundscapes along! We started using phonograms on our gigs; our sound became more fresh and aesthetic.

Tim came to us this autumn; he’s got a charming smile and plays terrific noises!

Tell us about the inspiration to the songs and also the recording experience for Innocence.

The inspiration is everywhere. Partly in music that we listen to, partly in some experience we get from life and each other.

The recording was like a factory work! We’ve been spending twenty-four hours a day in studio for a month. I’ve recorded incredible amounts of vocals. The guitarist had to work in shifts. The keyboard parts were recorded in the last two days in almost surreal atmosphere of forthcoming finale.

How do songs come to life within the band, what is the writing process generally?

Usually our songs start with melodies. I think of one, then harmonize it, then think of its name. Then it is being taken to our rehearsing studio where we work on the arrangement

The music within Innocence is a varied creature. What and who have been the major influences for you as musicians and band?

Let me remember… Well, some of the names are Tool, Yes, Korn, Pain Of Salvation, Meshuggah

Our favourite track on the album is L.M.A.; a song we felt was a raptorial encounter which brought essences of Korn, Animal Alpha, and The Faceless into a new invention. Tell us more about the song and its seeds.

Well, L.M.A. is an example of how the music you’re listening to may generate a new track. It started with the chorus, and firstly there’s been a Russian version, translated just about «me, I’m rising from ashes, I’m rising from ashes». It was a period when female-fronted alternative in Russian was very popular, and we were really sick of it! So the song came as a protest. Then we thought, why not make it in English? And so we did. L.M.A. is one of the few songs born during the rehearsal.

Many bands with a renowned strength in their live performances, which you have, fail to translate that to their recordings. Do you feelCrimson Blue you have managed that or see them as different faces to the band which need a different approach?

To be a cool band you need to perform cool and sound equally cool in the studio, I think. We are not scared of the album work and we’re going to do or best in gaining impressive and rich records.

You recently linked up with GlobMetal Promotions/management, how has that impacted on the band to date?

We’ve received a lot of reviews for «Innocence»; the promoter also helps us much with some gig arranges. This is our first experience in such kind of cooperation, and we like it. We hope GlobMetal will help us get our music all around the globe.

How is the metal scene in Russia right now in context to European metal which seems on a real high?

There are a lot of great metal bands here, although it’s really hard to get to the audience. The thing is the tradition of going to clubs for a live show is not quite Russian. So you have to think of something really dramatic to get your fans out of their flats!

What are your hopes and plans for Crimson Blue in 2013?

We’re going to release our 2nd studio album somewhere in the Autumn, make a few videos, maybe some electronic internet-singles. We hope to go on tour at last, we’ve been dreaming of travelling with our music since the very beginning of the band!

And of course we will keep on playing live and making our shows more and more impressive. It’s the best thing that you get from music — the response from your audience.

A big thank you for taking time to talk with us.

Any last thoughts you would like to leave us and the readers?

Thank you for the interview!

And to all of you readers — get art, stay metal, take care!

Lastly tell us where you dream of playing one day and the bands which would make it the perfect gig line-up.

One day you’ll see us performing at Wembley, joined by Meshuggah, Nightwish and Korn. That will be a good day!

The RingMaster Review 25/01/2013

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