Black Water Chemistry – Return To Ashes

Though formed in 2014 it is the last eighteen months or so that the buzz around Welsh metallers Black Water Chemistry has really intensified. It has been a time where the band itself says that they have been “working tirelessly to cement their style and increase their fan base”, success of that intent in the first aspect now strikingly heard within and in the second poised to be ignited by new EP Return To Ashes.

Tagged as metalcore but with much more to its template of imagination and adventure, the Black Water Chemistry sound is a cauldron of aggressive energy and inventive enterprise. It has maybe yet to breach the walls of true uniqueness but as the four tracks within Return To Ashes shows, it has an individuality which is as memorable as it is unpredictable. Formed by blood brothers in vocalist Matt Saunders and lead guitarist Chris Saunders and completed by bassist Gizz, rhythm guitarist Murph, and drummer Dan, the Newport hailing quintet embrace inspirations from the likes of Architects, Parkway Drive, Killswitch Engage, Chelsea Grin, August Burns Red, Mastodon, and Periphery to their creative breast. They are strands of influences which light up the band’s sound but more seems to spark Black Water Chemistry’s own individual endeavour.

The EP opens up with new single Oracles. Instantly ears are under a barrage of predacious rhythms but equally are wrapped in a wiry mesh of grooves hunted by ravenous riffs. Vocals come with matching force and attitude but soon reveal great diversity as clean strains alternate and unite with throaty squalls. Already that richness of sound within its metalcore breeding is working away, enticing and intriguing as simultaneously other aspects trespass the senses. Evolving through more placid but no less gripping moments before the track’s rock ‘n’ roll explodes it is an outstanding start and appetiser to the fresh impetus in the rise of Black Water Chemistry

The Last Iconoclasts follows, it also making a striking entrance as guitars and rhythms concoct a web of rabid temptation before vocals roar and croon to create the song’s very own lure of unpredictability and imagination. The punk ferocity of its predecessor is accentuated within the second offering as too its raw metallic animosity, the song prowling almost stalking the listener at times and seducing them with melodic elegance and angst in others.

There is no let-up in the great mercurial attack of the band’s instinctive imagination and feral enterprise within next up Masterstroke. The song is borne of a more heavy rock/melodic metal seeding but again an untamed but skilfully crafted maelstrom of extreme metal nurtured ill-content. Grooves and riffs tease and nag as rhythms stalk and bite, every twist and turn an ear luring confrontation before the EP concludes with the hellacious fire of its title track. If the last song nagged in certain ways, its successor simply harasses, rewarding its imaginative malefaction with a beguiling entanglement of senses infringing adventure and unexpected twists and turns; at times roaring like a natural union between Periphery, Bring Me The Horizon, and Reuben.

It is a fine end to a release which will surely thrust Black Water Chemistry forcibly into much thicker and eager recognition and attention. Excellent from the off and even more striking by the listen Return To Ashes is a wake-up call to the UK metal scene fuelled by a potential which will conceivably take the band beyond those boundaries.

Return To Ashes is released August 31st.

https://www.facebook.com/BlackWaterChemistry/   https://twitter.com/B_W_Chemistry    https://blackwaterchemistry.bandcamp.com/

Pete RingMaster 29/08/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Naberus – Hollow

Around seven years after emerging upon the Australian Metal scene, Naberus released their debut album, The Lost Reveries. It was a well-received offering earning critical praise and confirming the Melbourne outfit’s potent presence within their national metal landscape. Now the quintet has unleashed its successor in the shape of the ravenously resourceful and compelling Hollow and it is fair to say the band has hit a whole new level.

The Lost Reveries was the band’s sound at the time at a pinnacle, one which was heavily influenced by melodic death and thrash metal, a mix honed over previous tracks and EPs since day one. Whilst Hollow also revels in those hues it reveals an embracing of a far broader template including essences of groove, nu, and technical metal. Everything about the new album is a growth from its predecessor, one which maybe will be a step too far for some original fans but will surely recruit a whole new tide of fresh appetites. At fourteen tracks it is a bulky proposal for sure which flirts with overstaying its time but one which pretty much constantly holds its strength and lure throughout before leaving with a bang.

Mixed by Henrik Udd (Bring Me the Horizon, Architects, A Breach of Silence) and mastered by Ermin Hamidovic (Architects, Periphery, Devin Townsend), Hollow launches at the listener with the outstanding Slaves. Immediately the guitars of Dan Ralph and Dante Thompson entangle ears with their sonic wires as the vocal snarl of James Ash harries ears. Djent spices infest the intensive blaze as other flavours collude in its rapacious web around the scything beats of Chris Sheppard and the predatory growl of Jordan Mitchell’s bass. Familiarity and individuality merge in its intensive roar, they all going to make a savagely raucous yet skilfully woven captivation.

The following Space To Breathe is just as swiftly imposing but inviting, taking a less invasive stance initially as its elements settle before uniting in its own ferocious trespass. Ash’s vocals again impress with their not vast but strong diversity within the emerging rich tapestry of sound. There are essences of bands like Spineshank and Static X to the track at times but equally it lusts after death and extreme metal textures with the same fervour and invention before the superb Split In Two uncages its own similarly but individually woven tempest. Harsh and melodic strains in both vocals and music make an easy union as the imagination in songwriting incites their drama, the track continuing the explosive success of the first pair ensuring that Hollow is already a riveting proposal.

Both Shadows and Webs nag the senses whilst seducing attention; the first a sonic harassment as adventurous as it is predatory with its successor, deceitfully calm at its start, a subsequent cauldron of fiercely simmering intensity with scalding eruptions and a persistently bubbling enterprise. True uniqueness could be said to be less potent within the two yet everything about them and all songs is as fresh and inventive as you could wish, the album’s title track further evidence. Its enmity is a harsh fury from the start, searing trespass and rhythmic lashing entangled in the sonic imagination of the guitars and the collage of vocal incitement. It makes for a dramatic and dynamic assault which just hits the spot like a sledge hammer.

Through the likes of the belligerently tenacious I Disappear, the corrosive reflection of The End and Seas Of Red with its almost feral tides and melodic fire, the album continues to delve into malice, aggression, and different degrees of variety in their individual characters. It is fair to say that the latter two of the three did not ignite the same energy of passion and acclaim as those previously within Hollow yet all easily enticed and pleasured before The Maze had ears lost to its creative course. Living up to its name, the thrilling song is a tangle of grooves and melodic vines within a formidable confrontation, each tunnelling through song and psyche alike.

My Favorite Memory similarly springs a spiralling union of endeavour within its dark catacomb but its mercurial exploration of emotion and sound quickly develops its own individual presence while Fading with far more savage jaws challenges and erupts upon the senses with enterprise and inventive dexterity, every member of the band creating a simultaneous threat and temptation within the track.

The album is closed up by firstly The Burrow and finally The Depths, both tracks leaving thick enticements in their wake for a swift return with the closing incitement within Hollow a labyrinth of irrepressible grooves and sonic wires through a lusty trespass of vocal and rhythmic animation. The track is another major moment within the release possibly its greatest following so many lofty peaks.

As a whole Hollow is a refreshing and rousing offering from a band deserving thick attention hereon in. Yes with so many tracks it might be a stretch in one go; a couple of times songs almost merging into each other in certain ways but each is an imagination and pleasure sparking assault in their own right and proving Naberus one exciting proposition.

Hollow is out now through Eclipse Records.

https://www.facebook.com/naberusband   https://twitter.com/NaberusOfficial

Pete RingMaster 10/07/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Bear – ///

As the list of essential 2017 releases already looks like it has the potential of being a substantial one establishing itself at the head is the third album from Belgian metallers Bear. Primarily tagged as math/technical metal, the Antwerp based quartet swiftly show within their new intrusive roar that their sound is a kaleidoscope of imposing flavours. Within the release hefty strains of everything from progressive and heavy metal to nu-metal , hardcore, and metalcore accost the imagination It is a ravenous web aligned to more voracious grooves than found within most lifetimes of similar genre participants and one hellacious treat of a trespass for ears, senses, and pleasure.

Formed in 2010, Bear awoke attention with their self-released 5 track EP Abstractions; its initial success continued through a digital release with Conspiracy Records and a full re-release via Let It Burn Records who followed that up by uncaging debut album Doradus in 2011. At the same time, the band was invading the UK with their raw sound, touring there with While She Sleeps while headlining their local festivals while the year after the album’s release they went on to support the likes of Periphery and entice major plaudits with appearances at  festivals such as Euroblast and Groezrock. Signing with Basick Records in 2013 brought second album Noumenon into greater acclaim whilst live a trio of UK tours with The Colour Line, Black Dogs and Carcer City and further festival triumphs only helped to firmly establish the outfit within the European metal scene.

The biggest spotlight is now sure to be tempted with the release of ///, from its claw slashed title to its ursine assault of sound, the album is an inescapable beast of character, aggression, and invention mauling the listener from its first breath with opener Blackpool. Its first gasp brings a senses eroding surge of guitar and Maarten Albrechts’ furious vocals, a colossal onslaught weighted further by the lethal swings of drummer Serch Carriere and the grievous tone of Dries Verhaert’s bass. As the corrosive tide continues scything riffs and squalling grooves escape the already impressing exploits of guitarist Leander Tsjakalov, his creative weave in turn sparking greater variety in the vocal roar of Albrechts and band. Like a blend of Meshuggah, Slipknot, and Society 1, the song bullies and seduces, opening up more unpredictable twists and compelling exploits with every passing wave of imagination.

The tremendous start continues with Hounds, its primal and rhythmically dynamic entrance enough alone to grip ears, the subsequent net of grooves and technical espionage as well as continuing vocal variety an ever tightening vice of creative temptation. With lighter but just as dirty heavy rock hues adding to the raw infectiousness, the track snarls and ferociously dances with the senses; bruising and teasing them before the band’s latest single Masks emerges from its own dusty smog with a Rob Zombie-esque stomp soon sharing invasive grooves amidst a dissonant cauldron of technical and off-kilter ingenuity. Whereas its predecessors pretty much tore at the senses, Masks taunts and flirts, if with instinctive rapacity and ruthless persistence. Every second is a tempest of intrigue and adventure, each moment a ravishment of ears leaving sheer greed for more in its wake.

It is a hunger swiftly fed and further provoked by Childbreaker, the song initially a blaze of intensity with waspish grooves buzzing around brawly rhythms but soon exploding into an invasive tempest of attitude and barbarous sound though still a storm bound in a virulent infectiousness as devious as the ferocity around it. Predatory in every aspect, the track devours with every breath, a quality no less forceful within next up Knives Are Easy and its maelstrom of technical and instinctively quarrelsome enterprise. The combined creative voracity of Tsjakalov and Verhaert is seemingly encouraged by the irritable jabs of Carriere and Albrechts’ grizzly tones and just as intrusive when the charge turns into a prowling examination of the listener. It is a stalking which cannot sustain its lust for long, the song ending on the same assertive thrust it began with.

The Oath entangles the senses in its own agitated and kinetic almost gladiatorial frenzy next, harmonies and melodic seduction enticing from within the cyclonic ambush and having their own moment of inescapable persuasion like a warm oasis at the eye of an increasingly psychotic storm. With every element combined, it is a fearsome bewitchment with the animalistic growl of bass irresistible, delicious bait continuing as 7 strolls into view carrying a maze of meandering anxious grooves and sonic psychosis. Becoming more brutal and intense with each passing moment, it equally breeds a captivation of harmonic and melodic seduction, the union of extremes as catchy as it is wanton. The song is a helter-skelter of invention and craft, fiercely glorious leaving exhausted ears in bliss and easy prey for the slow menacing prowl of instrumental Klank before Raw has them consumed in another eddy of feverish craft and unbridled discord abound with swirling contrasts and volatile textures all woven into one mouth-watering dispute.

The album is completed by the just as argumentative and creatively pugnacious Construct.Constrict and finally the physically and emotionally subversive Adjust.Adapt. As distinct in nature and body as they are united in bristling attitude and laying a sanguinary touch upon the senses, the pair stretch and open up new realms in the Bear sound; the closing song especially charming in its harmonious siren-esque heart within another truculent body.

There is simply no weak spot within ///, not even a moment when the album slips a foot let alone falls from of very early established pedestal. Quite simply the album and indeed Bear for newcomers is a must!!

/// is out now through Basick Records across most online stores.

http://www.bearpropaganda.com/band/   https://www.facebook.com/bearpropaganda    https://twitter.com/bearpropaganda

Pete RingMaster 12/04/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Deference – False Awakening

Increasingly compelling, False Awakening is the new EP from British metallers Deference. A maelstrom of ravenous textures and flavours caught in an equally imposing web of emotion, the release not only forcibly pleases ears but also suggests this is a band with the potential to be a big part of the UK metal scene.

Coming from Southampton, Deference weave in inspirations from the likes of Architects, Northlane, Periphery, and Oh Sleeper into their tapestry of melody rich metalcore with djent and progressive metal tendencies. The quintet has been climbing the ladder with a rapid ascent in recent times, the release of 2015 debut EP XXXVII and live successes alongside bands such as Rolo Tomassi, Napoleon, The Hell, and Shields as well as a European Tour with True Lie all increasing their reputation. False Awakening is a creative echo of an outfit ready to break into national recognition, the next unavoidable step for a band beginning to make their potent mark.

The release opens with Scavengers. A steely shimmer initially coaxes ears, senses strapping riffs soon following as rhythms and guitars grumble around the plaintive vocal roar of Rob Lea. That djent styled essence is equally as swift infecting song and satisfaction, the guitars of Matt Dennison and Jonathan Prince creating a spiky attitude and touch in their emerging weave of enterprise. Strapped to the muscular grouch of Shaun Kirtland’s bass and the animosity loaded swings of drummer Mike Hill, the track is a formidable introduction to the EP; not necessarily unique but relentlessly exhilarating.

The might start slips away to be replaced by the instantly ravenous Insomnia; its immediate wall of sonic trespass the bed for melodic and technical dexterity to blossom. It is an intriguing mixture which takes longer to ignite the imagination than its predecessor’s tempest but grows into a rich captivation especially as raw and aggression vocal contemplations are joined by an impressive clean delivery from Lea, Dennison adding his potent vocal backing throughout. Persistently turbulent across its vociferous landscape, a tempestuous climate equally as open in the track’s mellower melancholy thick yet stark moments, the song has the imagination as gripped as ears throughout.

New single Departure follows, growing from another solemn but engaging melody equipped peace with keys colouring its atmospheric questioning before again vocal and sonic volatility takes hold and seize the moment. As another maze of sound and invention descends, Deference reinforce the potency of their  presence and creative dexterity, the song shifting through numerous cycles all capturing the imagination if again with increasing persuasion rather than an immediate one though indeed its first listen or two leaves pleasure alive.

The EP’s title track has an almost carnal air and character as it ravages the senses straight away, an antipathy which rather than diminishes simply expands its scope as clean vocals and melodic endeavour gets involved in the volcanic explosion. The track is superb, unpredictable yet with plenty of familiar spices only adding to its impressive blaze of sound and emotive exploration. Rabid and composed, vicious and seductive, the track is a collision of extremes and imagination breeding a mighty storm again fusing varied metal bred hues in its cataclysmic squall.

The release closes with Become Death Part 2, an initially gentle melodic romancing of the senses around a vocal sample. As destructive elements fall upon the calm, the song is fallout of corroded beauty, an epochal epilogue to the EP’s themes looking at “a man-made apocalyptic world.”

The buzz is that Deference is ready to take their place to the fore of the UK metal scene; whether it is sooner or later it is expected success backed up by False Awakening and its striking contents.

The False Awakening EP is out now.

https://www.facebook.com/WeAreDeference/    https://twitter.com/DeferenceMusic   https://deference.bandcamp.com/releases

Pete RingMaster 05/04/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Sertraline – Guilty

Sertraline

Sertraline

March sees the release of a new EP from British melodic metallers Sertraline, an encounter earning a fair amount of anticipation due to its well-received predecessor and the band’s increasing reputation. The Guilty EP offers five potent slices of rock and metal fronted by the quickly engaging tones of Lizzie, tracks which revel in the new growth of sound and imagination spawning them from within the band.

Formed in the Autumn of 2014, the Stoke-on-Trent hailing band quickly stirred up a loyal local fan base and close attention, their first single a couple of months in, Set The World Alight, luring strong radio play and support from BBC Introducing. Their well-received debut EP Bury The Ghosts pushed the band into national spotlights in 2015, its success more than backed by Sertraline’s dynamic live presence which has seen them shared stages with the likes of Butcher Babies, Toseland, Kobra and the Lotus, Skarlett Riot, and Normandie along the way. Last year saw a new line-up in place and the further honing of the band’s sound, Guilty showing the enjoyable results from the evolution.

The EP title track is first up, ears consumed by a wall of carnivorous riffs and intrusive rhythms. It is a striking appetite raising start soon relinquishing its threat as a wiry melody escapes the guitar. Any disappointment from losing that raw trespass dissipates as Lizzie’s tones dance on the emerging web of riffs and grooves from Mike and Wilson. With beats still swiping with fierce intent as the bass of Hendo enticingly grumbles, the song takes a firm grip of ears and imagination. Throat raw growls intermittently join the adventure, contrasting with the harmonic beauty of Lizzie but for personal tastes lacking the bite to be as successful as their certainly welcomed addition could have been. Nevertheless it only adds to the strong character and increasing potency of the excellent track.

sertraline-cover-artwork_RingMasterReviewSuccessor Snakes opens with a melodic coaxing, atmospherics gently kissing a lone melody before a weave of Periphery scented enterprise sparks song and imagination. As the first, the individual prowess of the band is a captivation, their combined adventure just as compelling if lacking the imposing impact of the first track. It is the subtlety of its twists and turns which predominantly make that difference resulting in the song taking longer to reach the same heights though with listens it surely does.

New video/single Change Of Heart is next, an even mellower proposal with a poppier catchiness to a harmonic stroll courted by cantankerous riffs, rhythmic punches, and that coarser expulsion of voice. It is obvious single material, melodies and Lizzie tantalising but does not quite live up to those around it for personal tastes though still adding to the EP’s success.

Nyeevise gets the appetite keenly back on track, its opening brooding presence carrying a whiff of Breed 77 to it before bolder sinews spin a glorious web of steely riffs and rapacious senses twisting grooves. Like a mix of Halestorm and Forever Still, the song growls and seduces; vocals and guitars providing an alluring blend of contrasting textures and creative drama.

Bringing the release to a highly satisfying close is I Admit The Blame, an emotive serenade with fire in its heart and melancholic beauty in its roar as well as creative attitude in its body. Another which grows with every listen rather than making a swift impact, it is a fine end to a thoroughly pleasing encounter. We are still not sure about the harsh side of the vocals, they missing the ‘savagery’ desired, but still an inventive part of the fresh blaze fuelling the Sertraline sound which will only take the band to higher plateaus.

The Guilty EP is out March 3rd @ http://www.wearesertraline.bigcartel.com/

https://www.facebook.com/WeAreSertraline/   https://twitter.com/wearesertraline

 Pete RingMaster 02/03/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The beating of shadowed wings and inflamed hearts: introducing Darkstone Crows

Darkstone Crows_RingMasterReview

Hailing from Mississauga, Ontario, Darkstone Crows is a fresh metal bred fire on the Toronto music scene with a sound which simply demands attention. Now as they prepare their debut album for release later in the year, the quintet is beginning to poke at ears and spotlights further afield. With thanks to the band, we take a look into the heart and creative passion of alternative metallers…

Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to how it all started and what brought you all together?

Chanel Martins-lead vocals, Nick Sawicki and Jiv Marshall-guitars, Russ Shipman-bass and backing vocals, Matt Skypas-drums.

Jiv and Elle started the band back in 2014 and went through a bunch of line-up shuffles. Russ joined in July 2014, Matt was February 2015. Nick replaced our last guitarist in January 2016. We’re just a group of friends making metal music, we want to do it the best we can and not cut corners, really make a work that we can be proud of, that means something.

Have you been/are involved in other bands before? If so has that had any impact on what you are doing now, in maybe inspiring a change of style or direction?

Russ, Matt and Nick have been involved with bands before, and Chanel has been singing since she was four years old. We all bring something from our experiences to the table but we’re learning a lot as well so our personal style has evolved with the music we’re making.

Russ: I’ve been in a ton of bands before Darkstone Crows, but I would have to say that my first real band (Get!Wise punk-metal, 2008-2013) was very influential on my ethics and approach to songwriting. I learned to jam and to listen to the other players in the band, to build and to lock into groove. I wouldn’t say that any other band I’ve played in before had any direct impact on what I’m doing now.

Elle: No bands, but I’ve been heavily involved with a lot of contemporary music and lessons since I was four years old. Discovering metal definitely made my previous training and experience have an impact on my current endeavours, in a backwards way.

Jiv: Nothing really.

Nick: Prior to the band I was just working out in the gym and studying hard in school. I write and produce a lot of my own music as well, so I was into that before this.

Matt: I was involved in a small band before, nothing too serious, but it set my mind on where I wanted to go and led to where I am now.

Any particular story or inspiration behind the band’s name?

The shared inability to utter a complete sentence without stumbling over our swollen tongues…The name was discovered by accident. Jiv stumbled over her words while saying the original idea “Dark Storm Crows” and said “Darkstone Crows” and we all liked it.

Photo by Carey Costa

Photo by Carey Costa

Was there any specific idea behind the forming of the band and also in what you wanted it and your sound to offer?

As the initial birth of the band was Jiv’s brainchild, her original concept follows:

Jiv: Initially we were called “Pariah”, and the meaning behind the name was to represent a band that wrote songs for people who felt like social outcasts. Even though Darkstone Crows still speaks of injustices lyrically, we identify with a broader collection of movements and issues with many varying opinions. For me, I was very engrossed by the female punk movement of the 1970’s, so I wanted to create an all-girl punk band. My musical approach was very raw and simplistic. But obviously, as musicians grow and change the music changes with them, especially when all the different members offer their own influences. As we grew together, our exposure to different music exploded, even as our vision, direction and music did too.

Do the same things still drive the band when it was fresh-faced or have they evolved over time?

The same things still drive us and many more things as well, we’re constantly finding inspiration around us, and there’s a real drive to succeed and explore, to push boundaries that keeps driving us forward.

[Equally, things have] definitely evolved, but not to the point that we lost sight of what the end goal was. We want to travel the world, bring our music to as many people as we can, make our mark too, and have fun doing it.

How would you say your sound has evolved since starting out?

Our sound was very raw and stripped down, influenced by a lot of older rock and metal; from bluesy rock/metal in the early days to the pseudo-progressive alt-metal it is now, though we haven’t removed many elements of our early sound, but sculpted around them and experienced different types of rock and metal and how they can meld together tastefully.

Has it been an organic movement of sound or more the band deliberately wanting to try new things?

A bit of both inherent in the evolutionary process; we’ve become better musicians and writers so that was a very organic growth and a natural evolution. We naturally started writing differently as we expanded our playing, but there was a definite wish to push in different directions that we acted on. The better we got, the more comfortable we got, the more our music grew in complexity. Of late, since our initial guitarist left and Nick joined, we have been deliberately shaping our sound. He’s especially good at listening to ideas and improvising, so that has been a big step forward.

Presumably across the band there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approaches and ideas to creating and playing music?

Lamb of God, Disturbed, and Periphery definitely cap the list, to a lesser extent Halestorm, Slipknot, System of a Down, and Tool have been big influences on our sound.

Definitely Halestorm, Slipknot, and Periphery, all those bands are wild performers and incredible musicians as well, truly inspirational.

Is there a process to the songwriting which generally guides the writing of songs?

Just try not to think too hard, and keep our minds open and concentrated simultaneously. Gold nuggets of music could come from the strangest things and at the weirdest moment. It could be an elbow knocking the strings a certain way that produces unique feedback that kicks off a whole song, you never know.

Usually we start with a riff and build around it, adding other parts that fit nicely and connecting the different parts afterwards. Once we establish parts and the vocal melody is written lyrics are drafted and we start fine-tuning.

Where are inspirations to the lyrical side of your predominantly songs drawn?

 Photo by Rachel Carys Gosling

Photo by Rachel Carys Gosling

Anything around us, in our world, any thought, any emotion, cause and effect, pertinent global issues like the environment, war, famine, and poverty. Personal struggles with alcoholism, drug abuse, homelessness, ire, rage, depression, euphoria, and victory. Our songs are very dark in mood, however not necessarily darkly worded (although more often than not darkly worded).

Predominantly Jiv, and Russ write lyrics, Jiv takes ideas from injustices she see in the world around her, the media, while Russ’ lyrics hit closer to home and tend to be more metaphoric in content.

Give us some background to your latest release.

Our newest release, our first full length album, is going to be available later this year (we’re aiming to release it in October). We’re currently recording and producing the album ourselves and it’s going to be massive. This album is very different from our debut EP (Darkstone Crows, June 2015), it’s much sleeker, the songs are more complex, and we’re incorporating far more instruments, as well as some feature performances. You’ll experience a more broad sonic adventure that delves into many facets of rock and metal. Our first EP, which was recorded and mixed by Dr. Sean at TRH Studios in Scarborough, CA, is much more raw; recorded stripped down and very loud. There is a punk aesthetic to this EP, hiding behind the pounding rock beats and shredding guitar solos. Definitely an honest, solid debut, perfectly illustrating the drive and hunger we were feeling at the time.

Would you give us some insight to the themes and premise behind it and its songs.

The album’s themes are directed at injustices around the globe, from the environment to civil rights, as well as a couple that delve into the human mind and touch on addiction or mental illness.

[In regard to the first EP] Hell To Pay was written in opposition to police brutality (this was written back in 2014, before any major organizations like BLM were even founded). Easily the darkest song on the record, and still one we play today. Sidewinder, so named after the missile and the desert snake. An apt title, as this song was written near the conclusion of the coalition occupation of Afghanistan that began with the World Trade Center attacks in 2001, loosely referencing 9/11 conspiracy theories but more importantly expressing outrage at a protracted military occupation. Deadhead is an ode to street kids and the homeless struggling to scrape a living and fight their demons every day. Fathoms is our salute to the men and woman who come out to our shows, who we’ve met and befriended, partied and laughed with. It’s about the feeling of hitting the stage and having really awesome people love what you’re doing, and scream the words back at you over the PA system.

Do you enter the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?

For the most part we write before the studio. Only recently, with a home studio being acquired, were we able to implement recording into the writing process. It has many benefits, not the least of which is it’s now almost impossible to forget parts! It’s worked both ways for this record, plenty of trial and error, but with such high costs to record in studio we like to be prepared to nail those takes.

Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably the favourite aspect of the band?

Our live shows are full of energy, we try to project our excitement onto the crowd, even joining them in the pit occasionally. We’re constantly in motion and want to turn up and just go for it. If you come to our shows, expect to meet at least one of us in the crowd. We aren’t afraid to get close to our audience, mosh with our guitars, whatever it takes to get everyone having a good time. We try to put on a bombastic show, something memorable and huge. Showmanship isn’t out-dated yet, right?

It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it your neck of the woods? Are there the opportunities to make a mark if the drive is there for new bands?

Every scene has an opportunity for a band, the trick is making your mark and being able to leave for a bit, tour around, and come back to find your mark still there. You have to make an impression on people, really work the excitement out of your audience.

Toronto has exploded recently, not on the metal front, but in the general vein of music, so that’s generated a kind of Mecca for producers and label reps. That being said, these guys aren’t necessarily looking for a metal band, which is cool because we have more to offer than just grinding riffage and double bass. We definitely have our foot in the door, but we’re still growing as a unit and brighter horizons await.

How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date? Do you see it as something destined to become a negative from a positive as the band grows and hopefully gets increasing success or is it more that bands struggling with it are lacking the knowledge and desire to keep it working to their advantage?

It can definitely be a tedious task, continuously having to type updates and promote shows, mail out merch, upload photos/songs, the list goes on. But, if you love something, you’ll deal with the boring and the crap times because it will come back to you in the end. Social media is definitely helping us at the moment, not only are we diligent about it but we have the right people for the job. Matt is a brilliant graphic artist and designer and Elle is a promoter and Event Management student. All things good must come to an end, but global reach on social media hasn’t gone bad just yet. Bands these days should definitely invest the time into learning how to mould social media, it is invaluable. Anything has the possibility to become negative if overused or utilised improperly, the trick is the learn all you can about using social media and keep your content professional.

Once again a big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?

We’ve had it under wraps for a couple months now, but we are featuring the amazing Lindsay Schoolcraft, keyboardist/vocalist of UK metal band Cradle of Filth, on two tracks from our upcoming release. So we’re pretty excited about that. Beyond that just more music and we’re beginning to shoot more videos as well, so following our YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiJ2zCXgHfsnUurrge-UyoQ ) and Instagram (@darkstonecrows) will keep you up to date on that stuff.

http://darkstonecrows.wixsite.com/darkstone-crows   https://twitter.com/darkstonecrows   https://www.facebook.com/darkstonecrows

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 19/08/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Cleanse The Hive – From The Depths EP

Photo Credit - A D Zyne

Photo Credit – A D Zyne

If you have not head the buzz around Scottish metallers Cleanse The Hive yet, there is a pretty good chance you soon will as the band’s debut EP explodes in more and more ears. An irritable and dynamic fusion of death and groove metal with ravenous metalcore, the band’s sound shows all the qualities of a someone taking their time to evolve and hone their craft and imagination; a intent which here ensures the From The Depths EP is an introduction which not only grabs attention, it demands it!

Formed in 2011, the Aberdeen hailing Cleanse The Hive, as mentioned at the start, have not rushed to the moment to broadly unleash their inventive exploits though live the quintet has been a hungry incitement soon becoming eagerly followed and praised. Drawing on inspirations ranging from Lamb of God, As I Lay Dying, and Whitechapel to Periphery, Pantera, and Cancer Bats, Cleanse The Hive has earned a potent reputation for their explosive live shows and reputation building tours alongside bands such as Heart of a Coward, Nexilva, Carcer City, Exist Immortal and many more. Now they are ready to wake up a national, if not larger, spotlight upon themselves, a success already expected with the immense roar and persuasion of From The Depths alone.

The EP hits ears straight away with a wall of intimidating and prowling sound; riffs and rhythms colluding in predatory relish as a vocal growl erupts from the throat of Callum Hutchinson.  Taking a further moment to compose itself, Eviscerate then springs with greater zeal at ears, the guitars of Jordan Pacitti and Glen McMillan casting surges of ravenous riffs and sonic dexterity as Hutchinson’s vocals share varying shades of hostile and venomous squalling. In no time ears and imagination are gripped, further enthused by the broadening enterprise of the guitarists amongst the brutal swings of drummer Greig Hadden and alongside the pestilential encroachment of John Campbell’s bass riffs. Lamb of God is easy to offer, Cryptopsy too, as a hint to the maelstrom of craft and sound assaulting and exciting ears yet already something individual to the band is emerging and continuing in its successor.

cleansethehive large_RingMasterReviewCities Of Gold is arguably even more primal and inhospitable than its predecessor; vocals spewing malice with every syllable and the instantly captivating grooves spreading toxicity with very swing of their body within another tempest of emotional and aural animosity. To that though, a perpetually virulent infectiousness flows and in time, a melodic seduction from keys and guitar which is as bracing and invigorating as the animus of confrontation surrounding it. The opener grabbed ears and appetite, its successor trapped both, and by The Reign Of Tyrants, it is fair to say that band and EP had these ears enslaved. Thrash metal is never too far from the textures of death and extreme metal, and drives the third track with open eagerness, though things soon become a part of A thick tapestry of flavours and rabid intent as unpredictable as it is enthralling. Compared to the previous pair, it also has less urgency to its devouring; a more reserved violence to its assault that only makes it more dangerous and captivating.

The EP’s title track descends on the listener next, it too a less vicious attack initially, preferring to build its intensity and savagery over time as grooves and melodic acidity vein its evocatively volatile landscape. As the previous song also, it does not quite make the same impact as the more boldly eventful trio of tracks starting things off though its adventurous nature, as melodic mystique coats guitar imagination, only leaves a want and appetite for more in place.

The dramatic dance and intimidating theatre of Terror Rising brings the release to an impressive close. Again a siren-esque hue wraps melodies; their middle eastern scent a masterful temper to the cantankerous invention and resourcefulness soon driving riffs and rhythms. Emerging as the most imaginative and diversely sculpted track on the EP as even more metal bred styles are included in its emprise of sound and invention, Terror Rising alone provides plenty to use as a reason to get excited about Cleanse The Hive and for the UK metal scene ahead with them in it.

It is hard in modern metal to make a mark on your debut powerful enough to pull attention away from all the other emerging bands do the same thing, but take it from us, Cleanse The Hive have done so and how.

The From The Depths is out now @ https://cleansethehive.bandcamp.com/releases and across other online stores.

https://www.facebook.com/CleansetheHive/    https://twitter.com/CleansetheHive

Pete RingMaster 20/04/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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