Age Of Menace – Venom EP

 

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It has been around three years since Australian metallers Age Of Menace enticed and aroused ears their All Seeing Lie EP, a release which saw the band expanding their sound whilst finding a new creative ferocity to match it. Now the busy band has returned with its successor, the Venom EP; a release with the bite of a cobra and the nagging persistent of a rattler bound up in the band’s richest array of fiercely flavoursome incitement yet.

Formed in 2010, the Sydney quartet quickly whipped up local attention with their sound and live presence. A self-titled debut EP backed up their potent emergence the following year with its tracks soon catching ears and support of online radio shows and stations around the globe. All Seeing Lie turned the heat up further on the band’s growing reputation as their metal based sound revealed even bolder essences of heavy and varied rock ‘n’ roll in its character and imagination. Again fans and media at home and afar quickly caught on to its release and qualities whilst the band continued to forge a potent reputation with their explosive live shows. Now it seems it is time for the band to broadly whip things up again; something easy to imagine the band’s most varied and mature offering succeeding with in quick time.

Venom opens up with its title track, and the band’s new video/single. Immediately a spicy groove entangles ears, being quickly joined by jabbing beats and the dusty tones of vocalist Rob Smith. With a great spiky hook soon added, the song has ears and appetite swiftly involved; proceeding to weave a heavy rock hued metallic incitement with an essence of Perfect Circle meets Stone Temple Pilots to it. Smith’s voice and expression continues to lure the heart of the song and imagination of the listener out as the guitar of Pete Ross almost dances on the rhythmic frame around fiery melodic enterprise and ever alluring grooves. A great melodic calm adds to the unpredictable and eventful landscape of the song too, another twist to surprise and enthral within the excellent start to the EP.

The following Waiting To Strike shows an edge and volatility in its initial riffs alone, carrying an air of intimidation which then fuels the thicker wall of the same as an acidic veining of grooves grows. The bass of Adam Barns borders on carnivorous as it grumbles and prowls an already contagious encounter whilst the scything and tenacious beats of Adam Breakspear are as anthemic as they are disorientating. As impressive as its predecessor was, the track needs little time to eclipse it as heavy metal spicing breathes further invention into guitar imagination as a raw punk attitude and energy drives everything else.

With next single written all over it, the track takes best song honours upon Venom, though it is quickly rivalled by the rhythmically irritable and sonically adventurous Around The Sun. Lying somewhere between Korn and Dream Theater, the song springs from a spidery groove into a web of melodic and sonic invention, all crossing each other lattice style to fascinate as bold rhythms and a more aggressive virulence grabs body and spirit. It grumbles and seduces, trespasses and invites, from every angle and second in the course of creating another highly addictive and memorable proposition.

Where Are You brings the EP to a close; solemn keys laying down its first tempting as again a darker element lines their elegance before the band as one erupts in a tempest of hungry riffs, sturdy rhythms, and hearty vocal roars. With a progressive air to its thunderous climate and a reflective intimacy to its melodic and vocal melancholy, the track is arguably the EP’s boldest venture into new pastures but never compromises the renowned Age Of Menace snarl and raw power.

To be fair, every song within Venom casts a new direction and as suggested earlier, shows fresh maturity in sound through its array of striking proposals. Like so many others, we are always overjoyed to find something new from the boys from down under, Venom epitomising why whilst suggesting it is time that Age Of Menace was thrust into the biggest spotlights.

The Venom EP is out now via iTunes.

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Pete RingMaster 10/05/2016

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Sleepers Awake – Transcension

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With masterful potency and invigorating imagination Transcension, the new album from progressive metallers Sleepers Awake, takes senses and thoughts on a seventy minute flight through incendiary soundscapes and emotionally fuelled journeys leaving the richest captivation on ear and passions. It is mightily compelling and accomplished slab of inventive melodic fire which incites the surest pleasure and ignites a new beacon within the genre.

Formed in 2005, the Columbus, Ohio quartet of vocalist/guitarist Chris Thompson, guitarist Rob Bradley, bassist/backing vocalist Kedar Hiremath, and drummer Chris Burnsides, first made a wider impression on certainly the progressive and post-metal underground with debut album Priests Of The Fire, a release which was no stranger to acclaim with its adventurous intent and diverse flavours and textures. The self-released Transcension is no different and destined to find the same reception at the very least, and one suspects, even stronger passion fuelled acclaimed reactions with its impressive and thoroughly exhilarating evolution. The greater invention to songwriting and sound is breath-taking at times and always enthralling as tracks and album lifts the listener into a realm of torrential emotive provocation. There is also an anthemic energy to Transcension, its excited presence and voice thrusting a rich fascination of ideas, lyrical narrative, and seductive enterprise straight to the heart. It is not a perfect album but walks the rim of that plateau from start to finish, standing as one of the most thrilling albums this year.

The names of the likes of Tool, Opeth, Mastodon, even Rush have been cast over the band leading up to the album release and at times it is easy to see why especially in regard to Tool but there is much more to their sound and immediately across the opening tracks we would add the likes of Life Of Agony for the depth of emotion and dramatic structures to the songs, and Poet Of The Fall for the more instantaneous melodic temptation offered. Do not mistake this as suggesting the album is an echo of such references or from the constant mention of its melodic heart that it is a mellow or restrained beast. The album stands apart from most with ease and has a snarl and aggression which leaves you exhausted. It offers a seamless merger of glowing sonic beauty and stern merciless shadows making for a sensational exploration.

With a concept based around the tale of an augur (a priest in the classical world) and his struggle with higher forces while exploringcover the depths of existential contemplation as the venture moves through magical worlds lined with fantastic creatures and surreal imagery, Transcension opens up its experience with The Augur and takes mere moments with its first breaths of sonic guitar beckoning to draw strong attention. Soon into its charged presence with the excellent vocals of Thompson making a further deeply persuasive introduction to the unfolding lyrical emprise and mutually charismatic sounds, the track stirs up appetite and emotions with continually intriguing and evolving invention, intensity and melodic imagination a fluid shifting instruction for hunger and rapturous reactions.

The impressive start is soon built upon further by the outstanding Burdened and the equally stunning Apparitions. The first of the pair is a nine minute plus epic of melodic parades and vigorous rhythmic enticements which again never stay in a single stance for longer than necessary as it ignites visual soaked thoughts and poetic imagination. There is a loud Perfect Circle/Life Of Agony whisper across the track, especially vocally, as well as a prowling and intimidating guttural glaze found by the vocals which adds a caustic embrace ensuring the course of the song is never straight forward and safe. Arguably the track is over long for personal tastes but in saying that there is never a moment where captivation wanders or thoughts look at the hands of their impatient watch. Its successor opens on an expansive ambience with the enveloping breezes soon joined by fervent expression and zealous emotion from vocals and the melodic call of the guitars. Veining this throughout the drums and bass reveal inciting sinews for a predatory essence behind the even more Keith Caputo like tones of Thompson. It is a song of aural alchemy and such its power and craft alongside its predecessor gives the rest of the album a tall order to replicate, something it valiantly fails at such the strength of these songs.

If the album started at this point there would still be nothing but full praise and greed for the release, the likes of the rapacious Slave Within with its unexpected guttural squalling, the equally scowling Saint Condemned, and the magnetic instrumental riveting Circles Without Division, all explorations of and inducements to the ripest depths of mind and soul. The fusion of light and ferocious dark in the first two of these songs is immense whilst the crystalline sonic shimmers and melodic flames around a busy populace in the third pure temptation.

Through to its conclusion the album continues to seize and paint upon the listener’s emotional canvas, the deliciously descriptive beauty of Throat of Winter and the tempestuous Equa Mortuorum two more major landmarks in the traversing of the chronicle. Transcension is an intoxicating album which though it has its greatest strengths at the fore of its spellbinding company never slips below giving an intensely emotion and mentally arousing impact, and leaves one final slice of galvanic glory with closing track The Fulcrum to linger in its wake.

If progressive metal with true heart and sizzling imagination without any form of indulgence is on your menu than  Sleepers Awake and Transcension is a must. It is a fulfilling and invigorating piece of artistry, a must have should have for all melodic metal fans.

http://www.facebook.com/SleeperRock

8.5/10

RingMaster 17/06/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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