Absorb – Vision Apart

Absorb_RingMaster Review

There are a few metal bands around the globe with the name Absorb, but certainly standing out in sound alone are the German death metallers carrying the title. Emerging back in 1989, the Bavarian quartet released a pair of demos before splitting up in 1994 but thirteen years later, founders Pfisty and Jochen reformed the band with new and fresh ideas bubbling up to take a sound already unafraid to twist and evolve its death metal seeding, to new potent places.

With a new line-up in place around the original pair, Absorb released Dealing with Pain in 2010 to strongly welcoming reactions from media and fans alike. As their live presence embraced shows with the likes of Obscura, Cannibal Corpse, Pestilence, One Man Army, Sodom, Vader, Hatesphere, The Black Daliah Murder, Morbid Angel, and Arch Enemy amongst a great many over recent years, more personnel changes were gone through, eventually leading to the current line-up of vocalist Volker and bassist Daniel alongside guitarist Pfisty and drummer Jochen who now the unleash the band’s new EP Vision Apart. A gnarly tempest of four diversely flavoured extreme metal furies, the release is a ravenous and rabid confrontation suggesting that Absorb, who recently signed with GlobMetal Promotions, have tapped into a vein of creative venom that could awaken broad attention.

Vision Apart Cover Final_RingMaster Review    The EP starts with a predatory gripping of ears through Perfect Whore, nagging riffs a perpetual tempting as vocals and drums descend greedily on the senses. With the bass a more reserved but no less potent protagonist in the mix, grabbing its moment to grumble within breaks with toxic prowess, the track climbs over the senses and imagination like a serpent. The sonic tendrils of the guitar are as seductive as they are venomous, still flirting with virulence as hostile eruptions unite in a bruising tempest. The track is a superb start to the EP, death metal infused with slithers of other varied metal and noise induced invention.

The following Los Muertos de Hambre is just as flavoursome within its carnal turbulence, again acidic grooves and alluring riffs veining the smog of sonic intensity. Clean vocals bring another enjoyable colour to the forceful prowl, their delivery adding a scent of heavy metal to the creative savagery. Though not quite matching the plateau of its predecessor, the song is a fascinating tapestry of styles and fluid ideas, something definitely fresh and appetising to the more formula genre releases escaping this past year.

The song Undead springs with a similar breeding to the previous track, but quickly revealing its own insidious character in presence and imagination with an impressing mix of vocal enterprise again adding weight and texture to the track. With the bestial sounds at its core and Volker’s great guttural delivery a glorious violation as addictive as the whirling sonic lacing of guitar, the track opener fires up the ears and passions with instinctive ease before making way for closing incitement World Stops Turning.

The final track stalks to the thrash seeded backdrop of driving riffs and rhythmic barbarism interspersed with slower meanders, creating the most destructive and cancerous moment on the release, and another seriously riveting trespass to get involved with. Like Vision Apart as a whole, it is hard to say major originality is being cultivated but the freshness to it all, and the blending of contrasting flavours creates something highly enjoyable and different to contemplate.

Their name might be relatively common but certainly Absorb’s sound has a personality of its own which is very easy to suggest trying out.

The Vision Apart EP is out now.

https://www.facebook.com/Absorbmetal   http://www.absorb-metal.eu/

Pete RingMaster 03/11/2015

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Architect Of Seth – The Persistence Of Scars

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The Persistence Of Scars is an album which leaves you bruised and disorientated, mentally exhausted and at times bewildered, but mostly the debut album from French Progressive death metallers Architect Of Seth, leaves you transfixed and aggressively keen for its unrelenting unpredictability and technical magnetism. It is a demanding release which definitely needs a concentrated time to unravel its creative maelstrom, something which arguably is never wholly achieved even after a tide of visits, but it is a ‘chore’ always welcome and rewarding.

Architect Of Seth was forged in 2006 as a solo project by guitarist/vocalist Paul Rousseaux who released a pair of demos, Eldorado that same year and Pax-Labor in 2007. Subsequently guitarist Yohann Kochel linked up with the Caen project, expanding a sound and depth which takes inspirations from the likes of Death, Theory in Practice, Coroner, Pestilence, Nocturnus, Bathory, Emperor, Martyr, and Necrophagist into its technical and ravenous invention. The Persistence Of Scars is the pair’s debut album, a creative tempest exploring themes of hate, science, religion, and nature within a ferocious furnace of imagination and hostility which whether venomously cascading or rabidly savaging the senses unleashes a spellbinding intrigue. The album is often mentally corrosive and physically punishing, rarely an easy listen but always offering a lure which locks in the imagination and appetite.

The Persistence Of Scars opens up with LFDY and its gentle stroking of evocative melodies. It sets a peaceful and warm scene, the guitars casting colourful bait and coaxing skies before a lumbering rhythmic intimidation and darker shadows to all facets, cloud over the landscape. It is a portentous breath now igniting the imagination, the foreplay to a thrash driven onslaught of rapaciously intensive riffs, animosity clad rhythms, and the hoarse scowls of Rousseaux. It is a relatively straight forward assault, though already teasing as sonic and unpredictable designs begin to unveil their tenacity. Now settled into its tempestuous purpose, the guitars of the two protagonists twist and cast a maze of persistently testing enterprise through the song. It is the beginnings of a spiralling technically striking ingenuity which at times makes perfect sense and in others just loses thoughts and understanding, which is where repeat plays is essential with an album like this. There is cohesiveness and fluidity to it all though which never falters in its hold of an increasingly hungry appetite for what is developing and never derails the malevolent toxicity and ravenous brutality at the song’s core.

The first track is alone an exhaustive tsunami of predacious imagination, so with six more similarly sculpted propositions to come, a legacy of hard work is inevitable starting with Engender of Confusion. Riffs and grooves are immediate and as intensive as the rhythms alongside them, each worming under and pounding the skin respectively as the caustic spite of Rousseaux scars the air around them. With crystalline shards of keys flirting with ears within the by now merciless torrent of vicious charm and debilitating ideation, whilst orchestral tempting plays with emotions, the track sears flesh and thoughts as it seduces both ears and mind with insatiable inventive rabidity. Arguably easier on the psyche because of its relatively brief length compared to the first, the song also finds a greater clarity to its no less bedlamic ingenuity before making way for Transhumance Astrale. The third track takes little time in firing up the primal instincts with a torrent of thrash/metal suasion before warping it all with breath-taking skills and perplexing yet deliciously gripping, psyche violating creative intercourse. The track, as all, is a storm of technical mastery and constantly evolving revelations to again captivate and fluster, but most of all ruggedly enthral.

By this point already the album is wearing down the senses it has to be said, though not the hunger for more. As mentioned, in many ways it is not certainly physically an easy listen which is compounded as both Embrace of Anguish and Hybrid Consuming Flesh unleash their fiercely creative and intertwining inventory. The first of the pair brings some respite though with a mesmeric classically honed piano enticement to seduce ears and inflames thoughts initially. It is a bewitching piece which eventually drifts away for the impending storm. Thunderous rhythmic clouds and sonic strikes blow across the senses before a malevolent haunting and intensive juggernaut of provocative sound suffocates light and peace. Its instrumentation and aural narrative is mouth-watering, a tight capture of the passions which does lose some of its grip with the entering rage of vocals and manic invention with constantly unsettles in its turns and expulsions. At times the track is irresistible and in other moments pushes its boundaries beyond organic accessibility, yet still it entrances and steals the imagination for a pleasing if unsure success. Its successor is a more bestial provocation with a flank ferociously rippling with again unsettling ideas and creative incitement. It also offers a great emotive persuasion of keys at times, a beacon within the corrosive belly of the savage beast.

The album concludes with firstly the outstanding Tears Empty of Sadness, a track which finds a more balanced blend of extreme metal vindictiveness and technical exploration which is why it takes best track honours. Everything works perfectly, the invention of the band still flaming intensively but finding a more understanding fit with the toxic brutality of the song. Every song on The Persistence Of Scars impresses it is fair to say but this one shows the potential of the band most intensively as they further grow into and hone their undoubted skills and ingenuity. The song’s success is supported enjoyably by Teacher of Nocturna, another track to align the maniacal technical beauty and gut instinct severity of the band for a grievously strong and testing, but smoother to understand and relish creative onslaught.

The Persistence Of Scars is a great and demanding encounter which leaves a satisfied wake whilst suggesting that Architect Of Seth has the potential to create a classic ahead. This album is not it but holds all the pieces and keys to the potential sculpting of one.

The Persistence of Scars is available as a 7 track CD via Great Dane Records @ http://www.greatdanerecs.com/ or a 3 song download @ http://architectofseth.bandcamp.com/

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8/10

RingMaster 17/07/2014

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Karnak – The Cult Of Death

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Uncompromising and ravenous, the new mini-album from Italian death metallers Karnak is a furious consumption of the senses but equally a deceptively rewarding one which with bravery and strong will before its ferocity provides a compelling and invigorating examination of senses and thoughts. Made up by five predatory tracks, The Cult Of Death is an annihilatory turbulence through the ear which consists of four new songs linked to a concept inspired by Aleister Crowley, as well as a cover of a Celtic Frost track.  With savage essences which put you in mind of the likes of Incantation, Pestilence, Nile, Morbid Angel, and Suffocation, the release is a potent and dramatic gnawing of the synapses marking the Monfalcone hailing quartet as a persistently formidable proposition.

Formed in 1993 by drummer Stefano Rumich, the band released numerous demos before making a strong impression away from their local area with debut album Perverted, the first release under the name Karnak. This was successfully followed by Melodies Of Sperm Composed, an album which saw the band evolve from their initial pure grind/death metal stance exploring elements of jazz, samples and more to add flavour and colour to the still destructive tempest of sound. Third album Tutti I Colori Del Buio was released in 2002 before the band went on a break provoked by line-up changes. 2009 saw their return and the signing with Casket Records with the release of fourth album Dismemberment coming the following year. A tour supporting Krisiun and Kataklysm pushed the band out further in 2011, though by now having supported the likes of Impaled Nazarene, Suffocation, Nile, Decapitated, Avulsed, Necrodeath, Pyogenesis, Destruction, Fleshgod Apocalypse and more over the years, Karnak was no longer a hidden secret. Last year the band supported Malevolent Creation, Krisiun, and Vital Remains on another European tour followed by another with Deicide. Currently working on their next album, the line-up of vocalist/guitarist Francesco Ponga, bassist/vocalist Lorenzo Orsini, guitarist/vocalist Marco Polo, and Stefano Rumich raise real anticipation and hunger for said release with The Cult Of Death, its bestial creative assault wholly persuasive.

The opening Intro just lays out a simple rhythmic beckoning but its temptation is irresistible and almost tribal as it evolves into The cover_karnak_thecultofdeathConstruction Of The Pyramid (The Demon’s Breath) who replays its offering before opening the gate to an intensive exhausting technically honed riff driven blaze which scorches the senses with the brewing animosity of the song and its breath is not far behind in carnivorous intent. With vocals roaring like the oldest colossal predator imaginable, the track lurches at the senses with insatiable energy aligned to a more restrained but unreserved sonic and rhythmic stalking. Furies of technical and acidically melodic guitar do initially wrong foot emotions after their submission to the easy to devour onslaught, but soon persuade craft and evocative hues.

It is an impressive start repeated and then surpassed by The Construction Of The Pyramid Beta (Invocation), the Meshuggah like web laid down around the passions at the start over run by the torrential thick sonic mass of intensity and suffocating ambience. Doom oppressive and sludge lumbering, the shift bleeds the air of light and oxygen but equally ignites thoughts with shards of melodic light and colour before the nightmarish soundscape with its heaviness and rabid vocals seems to claw like a swarm of patient demons at the psyche. As with the release it is not at times the easiest or most comfortable listen on first impressions but beneath the barbarous surface and many deeper levels there is a magnetic and superbly crafted well of invention and skilled temptation.

The nagging chugging which leads the song to a dissipating climax is immediately thrown aside by the sadistic entrance of The Construction Of The Pyramid Gamma, a start which is only built upon and intensified the further the track chews at the ear with the drum attack of Rumich unrelentingly and impossibly thrilling. Also unafraid to bring a potent melodic and sonic adventure to the striking narrative of the release, the track is a frequently changing and provoking treat concluding and summing up the new songs and strength of the album perfectly.

Completed by the cover of Celtic Frost song Jewel Throne, the release is an enthralling malevolent engagement. The final track is more than decent but as accomplished as it is it is not a match for the previous trio of songs. Quite simply The Cult Of Death really gets the appetite aflame for Karnak’s forthcoming album whilst making a thoroughly satisfying meal right now.

http://www.karnakdeath.com/

9/10

RingMaster 02/08/2013

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Vreid: Welcome Farewell

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    Following up their immense 2011 album V, Norwegian melodic black metallers Vreid have in Welcome Farewell unleashed another impressive and enthralling encounter. Whether it is the equal of its stunning predecessor is debatable but certainly the new nine track journey of enterprise and invention is a masterful confrontation of the imagination and thoughts as well as the instigator of another wash of passion for the ingenuity of the quartet.

Across their impressive albums the band has shown that tagging them as merely melodic black metal is short changing their invention as the band weave a web of sounds which court varied flames of rock and metal across numerous decades. Often referred to as Black & Roll their sound once more upon Welcome Farewell explores and re-invents a varied spicery to create songs which are consistently compelling and perpetually thrilling. Since forming in 2004 out of the demise of Windir, the band has been a blur of releases and touring, Vreid having performed over 300 shows in 22 different countries across 3 continents, lit up numerous festivals, played alongside the likes of Enslaved, Pestilence, Marduk, Unleashed, Eluvetie, Belphegor, Einherjer, Paradise Lost, and Kampfar, and released acclaimed albums in the shape of Kraft (2004), Pitch Black Brigade (2006), I Krig (2007), Milorg (2009), and of course their tour de force V.

Released via Indie Recordings and produced by bassist Hváll (Jarle Kvåle), Welcome Farewell brings the senses into its arms with01framside the opening melodic mists of first track The Ramble. It is a gentle beckoning which before long opens up its muscles with rumbling rhythms, a seductive groove and sultry sonics weaved into a hungry rampant surging gait. The bass of Hváll growls with hungry saliva dripping from its carnivorous tones whilst the beats of Steingrim (Jørn Holen) jab, punch, and roll over the ear with merciless intent. Carved into compelling shape by the exceptional craft brought to bear by guitarists Strom (Stian Bakketeig) and Sture (Sture Dingsøyr) whose vocals grasp and rasp over the senses with serpentine malevolence to temper and compliment the heated melodic wash, the track commands attention and rewards with a mix of uncomplicated and finely crafted sounds.

From next up Way Of The Serpent with its rampaging breath and slight folk metal whispers, the album lights up thoughts and emotions with a perpetual cascades of flavours and invention. The following Devil’s Hand opens its claws with an energising punk rock abrasion ridden by venomous vocals before merging thrash and rock n roll into its blackened touch whilst the title track offers a classic metal and prog embrace within the intensive ravaging which breathes within the track. It is a continuing and enthralling blend of seamlessly entwined spicery which sets each song apart from each other and Vreid distinct within black metal.

The magnificent Sights of Old takes the album to one of its loftiest pinnacle, a song which challenges and rewards with fiery invention. From a slow stroking of melodic licks the track explodes into a furnace of vicious insatiable rhythms and a spiteful twisted groove which seduces and spears the senses with sabre accuracy. Across its corrosive journey the song evolves and shifts its character to ignite intrigue and unrivalled focus upon the tempting twisted wash of predatory and mesmeric splendour. It is a song you cannot predict one note of and continually keeps the listener off guard and absorbed with the dawning shifting landscape.

The virulent Black Waves also ignites the deepest richest rapture with its goth/blackened swagger and riveting aural shadows armed with lethal barbed hooks and melodic mischief. From drums to bass, guitars to vocals, the song entices and recruits the passions with a lure as catchy and as destructive as you could wish for.

Offering a final almighty slab of muscular grandeur in the best moment on the album, the brilliant At The Brook, Welcome Farewell is simply sensational. This outstanding song is another which breeds an addiction in the listener with its predatory stance and voracious groove amidst an all devouring and insatiable acidic progressive glaze. It with ease leads you right back to the start of the album as after its esurient rewards resistance to the band is impossible.

If there is to be a better black metal release this year than Welcome Farewell it will be something quite spectacular as Vreid yet again has set the benchmark impossibly high.

https://www.facebook.com/vreidofficial?fref=ts

http://www.vreid.no/

9/10

RingMaster 25/02/2013

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Dehuman: Black Throne of All Creation

Black Throne of All Creation the debut album from Belgian death metallers Dehuman does everything right with skill and passion, a release and band borne from  a devotion to the cult early to mid nineties death metal scene of the US and Western Europe. With threatening intensity, intimidating riffs and rhythms to leave emotions and senses sprawled in a heap, the album is a fine and wholly satisfying collection of nine consumptive beasts. It is impressive and easy to see why the acclaim is beginning to build upon the band, and whilst the release did not ignite a lingering personal enthusiasm or fire it is impossible not to be impressed by its technical and melodic prowess and the provocative energy fuelling it.

Formed in 2006 Dehuman has made a noticeable mark in the genre through their live shows and sharing stages with the likes of Agathocles, Arkangel, Hangman’s Chair, and Leng T’che. The band found its full strength in 2010 with the addition of drummer Layhe Louhenapessy to the ranks alongside guitarists Rafaël Sellekaerts and Mathias Boulougouris and vocalist/ bassist Andrea Vissol. The following year saw them enter the studio to create Black Throne of All Creation, the result  a crawling and thunderous brute of an album to delight all fans of old school death metal. If the likes of Morbid Angel, Suffocation, Death, Pestilence, and Nile leave your veins and senses a blissfully satiated mesh of ruptured emotions than Dehuman and their album is definitely one for you though it offers plenty to appeal to those preferring a contemporary breath.

Released through Kaotoxin Records the album immediately seizes the ear and beyond with dazzling melodic guitars and atmosphere to herald in the opener Apocalypse and Perdition. Even in this warmer opening the senses of power and darkened energy is rife through the building intensity and rhythms, its outbreak soon following in a swarm of muggy sonics and scorched melodic invention. The track captivates the attention throughout but when the strong groove stares eye to eye as the guitars violate with precision and the drums of Louhenapessy pillage the ear there is a heightened attraction to the aggressive assault.

As the likes of Monstrosity in the Hands of God  and Eyes of a Thousand rampage and stomp all over the senses the skill of the players bringing the invasive sounds is unmissable, the guitars striking and intelligent whilst the malevolent vocals of Vissol coats every syllable in black spite. It is the drums of Louhenapessy which make the biggest and most striking element to the album, his touch and skill as thunderous and demanding as it is hypnotic and mouth watering.

Stand out tracks include the likes of the flesh stripping Down with the World, the spiralling corruption that is Harvest the Sun, and Black Mamba a track with venomous melodic imagination to light up any ear. It has to be said there is not a weak track on the album with their relative success here down to personal taste and requirements and not the openly obvious invention.

Black Throne of All Creation is a must check out for all with a heart for what they would call the golden age of death metal. Well crafted and superbly written let alone presented the album is formidable  and Dehuman a band to watch closely.

RingMaster 28/05/2012

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Nocturnal Torment: They Come At Night

They Come At Night is the debut album from US metalers Nocturnal Torment which has been twenty years in the making. Well not exactly true as though formed in 1988 commitments of the members to other projects  and bands took precedent resulting in Nocturnal Torment becoming dormant until recently. With a sound heavily soaked in the black depths of old school death metal lined with a thrash intensity recalling the likes of Pestilence, Monstrosity, Kreator, and Dark Angel, the Indiana based quartet of Mark Schultz (Guitar/Vocals), Tom Stathis (Guitar/Vocals), Pete Clemens (Bass), and Dave Ross (Drums)return with an album that does grabs attention. With riffs that slam hard and grooves that whip a storm throughout the ear the release leaves a distinct mark but not always for what it intended.  At times it verges on uncontrolled randomness and messy to overall disappoint and offer nothing really to excite.

Very often the nine tracks within They Come At Night produce ear startlingly moments that threaten to light up the senses but just as often they are whipped away by the bands desire to unleash a storm upon the senses without any kind of seeming subtlety or care. The songs often feel like a patchwork of ideas and a flurry of riffs just eager to assault without a clear and seamless transition. To be fair often this works well as in Cycle Of Life and Sweet Decay but it is rarely sustained. It is almost as if the band is trying to bring tech metal into play without actually going there, and as if they are playing with structures without either understanding how. For a band whose  bio suggests its members have been in bands since Nocturnal Torment had its enforced hiatus it is a surprisingly loose display and makes one ask whether the recordings come from back in their formative years though there is nothing else to suggest it.

Despite these things tracks like the aforementioned Cycle Of Life and Sweet Decay, plus Forever Eternal Darkness do hit the mark more often than not without ever being truly satisfying as do moments in the likes of Fresh Flesh Fetish and the title track. The heavy barracking of the drums and abusive riffs are malicious which drives the songs home powerfully and to their benefit erecting a wall of intensity that covers the less successful things beneath at times. I have to say that the desire to really like this album often reared its head on the album, and in many ways They Come At Night gives firm suggestion of possible great things ahead for Nocturnal Torment once they work on their style and fine tune what are basically bold and inventive ideas. They Come At Night is far from a car crash and should be checked out but against similar veined releases such as the new Desaster album it pales sadly.

RingMaster 23/02/2012

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