Stormcast – Frame of Mind

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Whenever dark clouds crowd in on thoughts and emotions there is always a place for an understanding soundtrack, something Cyprus-based atmospheric black metallers Stormcast offer with their impressive debut album, Frame of Mind. The release is a tempest of oppressive intenisty and emotionally ravenous shadows but brought on an epic wave of melodic and atmospheric invention. An increasingly compelling fusion of black and symphonic metal with additional flames of melodic death and gothic expression, the release is a startling and intensive introduction to the Nicosia quintet.

Formed in 2007, Stormcast take their lyrical and atmospheric inspirations from the personal struggles of man and society’s ills. A couple of promos in 2009 and 2012 respectively, opened up a certain amount of attention but it is with the Pitch Black Records Frame of Mind that it is easy to suspect Stormcast will stepping into the widest gaze. The band’s live presence which has seen them play the likes of the MetalDays Festival and share stages with bands such as Rotting Christ, Sabaton, Stratovarius, and Nightstalker, sparked real anticipation for Stormcast’s debut full-length and from being a relative secret expect the band’s name, because of the new release, to be on the broadest expanse of lips as it infests ears and psyche.

The Executioner opens up the physical and mental examination, emerging from a spatial ambience with vocal drones, scything drama clad riffs, and orchestral grandeur. It is a portentous dawning soon realised by the crushing heavy booted feet of rhythms and a ravenous sonic enterprise from the guitars and keys. The song soon settles in to a smaller and more intensive pressure of hungry riffs and combative beats, both carrying the vocal animus of Mike Angastiniotis. His voice is a venomous squall, clinging to ears with every rasping syllable whilst around him the song ebbs and flows with intimate hostility and expansive melodic temptation. It is an instant attention grabber of a track, an inescapable provocateur with nostrils flared and creative wiles in full flow. The golden blaze of horns which lord over the song’s finale make a striking contrast to the pestilential vocals and savage riffery, a moment and conflicting union which in many ways really epitomises the whole of the album.

The potent start is swiftly matched by the dark depths and majesty of Wishful Bliss, its opening elegance soon a predatory stalking of the senses but still wearing a mesmeric cloak of keys from Cover_pbr033Mark McDonald and sonic intrigue from the guitar of George Masouras backed by that of Angastiniotis as his vocals spill further malevolence into the mix. Elements of the track, as across the album, bring thoughts of bands like Dark Tranquillity and The Pete Flesh Deathtrip but only as spice to something distinct to Stormcast, something again shown by New World Order. The track backs up the might of the first two songs with consummate and uncompromising ease. Keys and guitar offer an immediate inviting drama, before passing the fire to a torrent of niggling riffs and intensive swipes from drummer Andrew Laghos, both courted by a prowling and magnetic bassline from Andreas Spyrou and the return of the roaring horns. Whereas the previous track was a maelstrom of dark emotions and riveting enterprise, keys and guitars weaving radiant melodic colour across a brutal rhythmic and riff painted canvas, the third track strides a brighter terrain of still imposing incitement and intensity. Hooks and grooves light up its landscape with enthralling imagination and expressive hues, whilst the bass of Spyrou makes for a carnivorous accomplice to the raw throated narrative of Angastiniotis.

There is also a background hint of clean vocals to the song which are given greater rein in Of Flesh and Stone, an evocative track looking at soldiers at war and families left behind. From a sample of a wife talking, a captivating croon brings the song into potent view. Presumably it is again Angastiniotis singing and it has to be said he is a gripping element with his clean tones swiftly sparking a wish that the band employed this side of his skills even more across the album. He is soon spraying his regular caustic tones though, spite and rage impregnating the turbulent but beauteous tapestry of the epic encounter.

The pair of Withdrawn and In Entropy stirs up air and emotions next with their own individual designs and torment. The first is cored by another addictive bassline around which riffs and beats create a smaller but predacious confrontation, the track almost punkish in its hooks and spiteful riffing. It eventually drifts into a melodic pasture which simply bewitches even as first Angastiniotis and subsequently crippling rhythms add their dark offerings to the outstanding aggressor. Its successor is a radiant wind of sonic and melodic adventure contradicted by the bullish tenacity and contagious strength of rhythms and riffs. Light and dark in a riveting conflict for the listener to immediately immerse in, the song as its predecessor sets another plateau for the increasingly thrilling album.

An opening tangy lure from the guitar sets Immune off in fine and exciting style, that initial tempting continuing to coax ears and imagination as around it the song‘s atmosphere darkens and its climate becomes more imposing. The track never goes into the brutal rage it hints at though, keys providing a poetic elegance as the guitars flame with sonic adventure and the song with a creative revelry. Only Angastiniotis’ scarring tones resist the light, his words a great blackened toxin to the engaging landscape before final track Dysthymia takes over to bring Frame Of Mind to a satisfying close. It again reveals the depth and invention in the songwriting and sound of Stormcast, a blend of smoggy rabidity, unpredictable mouth-watering twists, and emotive melodic endeavour gripping ears and imagination for a potent finale.

It did not take Frame Of Mind long to impress but it is with further plays that its true weight of creativity and grandeur shows itself. With only a wish for a little more diversity in delivery from Angastiniotis a minor thought, Stormcast has pushed themselves towards the strongest spotlight with the album, a must investigation for all extreme melodic metal fans.

Frame of Mind is available via Pitch Black Records now @ http://store.pitchblackrecords.com/STORMCAST-Frame-of-Mind.html#.VIgbA3vzDox

http://www.stormcastband.com/

RingMaster 10/12/2014

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Vomitile – Mastering the Art of Killing

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Consisting of ten tracks which brutally roar whilst unleashing relentlessly nagging grooves aligned to insatiable riffing and a rhythmic assault which the word barbarous was drawn up for, Mastering the Art of Killing from Cyprus-based death metallers Vomitile, is a violent fury impossible to get enough of. It is not the most ground-breaking of offerings or an album to leave the extreme metal world awe struck, but for an accomplished and creatively skilled hostility there cannot be many more enjoyable, passions igniting death metal releases this year. Each song manages to feed and surprise expectations without the wish to over furnish their riff and groove driven slices of primal malevolence, and this inventive simplicity alongside the united skills of the band definitely helps go to make the release a must investigation for genre fans.

Formed in the early parts of 2007, Vomitile made their potent mark locally before reaching further afield with the 7-track EP Rotting Life in 2010 and even more so debut album Igniting Chaos three years later. Live too the quartet has earned a potent reputation and gone on to share stages with bands such as Sodom and Obituary, but it is with Mastering the Art of Killing that it is easy to feel and expect the band to break into the widest more attentive spotlights. Mastered by Andy Classen (Asphyx, Destruction, Rotting Christ) at Stage One studios in Germany, the new full-length fury is prime death metal turned over and stoked with creative passion and tenacious intensity for an inescapable and addictively inhospitable triumph.

Launching from a vocal squall, opener Morbid Holocaust instantly consumes ears and senses in a barrage of vicious swings from drummer Hugo Olivos and equally lethal riffs from guitarists Panos Larkou and George Yildizian. Just as swiftly addiction forging grooves spew their toxicity as vocalist Khatch Yildizian unleashes a caustic roar which as the album constantly shows manages to be bestial and uncompromising but with certain clarity for lyrical narratives to be digested and enjoyed. The track continues to savage and rampage with sinews to the fore, the bass of the vocalist just as vocal in its predatory enticement. It is an outstanding entrance and first offering, the track a torrent of contagious enterprise and as it proceeds, imagination igniting sonic endeavour shaped as melodies and solos.

It is also just a taster of things to come as the following pair of Project Mayhem and Forthcoming Apocalyptic War continue the riveting baiting of ears and emotions, both squeezing out further malice and venom from every aspect of PBR031_cover_1their confrontation. The first of the two combines a demeanour which stalks the ear and an all-out slaughter of the senses, alternating both as again rhythms become a relentless provocateur and riffs a feverish single minded yet inventive spite. Add bordering on corrosive grooves and raw vocal squalls and you have a second thrilling assault emulated straight away by the second of the two songs. This is built from a similar template to the last track but adds its own intrigue soaked twists of pace and sonic ideation. It does not quite match up to those before it, such their quality, but the following Born to Kill certainly has no problem setting another pinnacle with its swaggering riffery and scything grooves across at times a just as catchy rhythmic devilry. The song is still a destructive slab of sonic malignancy but it just makes you feel like dancing as it violates the soul.

The intensive grind of Forced Mutilation is the next to excite, its senses gnawing riffery a potent temper to more swaying revelry cast by drums and grooves, their lure masterfully courted by a just as gripping and imposing stroll of bass. With enthralling guitar skill and enterprise another beacon within the excellent tempest, it paves the way for ears and psyche to be ravaged by the thrashy excellence of Nekropound, the track a tsunami of bone splitting rhythms and rabid riffery which is just as at ease and potent when slipping into a predatory crawl over the senses. It is another shuffling up its attacks whilst embracing a melodic beauty which is as feverishly captivating as the grooves squirreling away at ears.

Across the heavy and intensive prowl of Slaughterhead, a song which surprises little but please lots, and the hellacious glory of Stabbed, Shot, and Bludgeoned, Vomitile still have attention and satisfaction firmly gripped, and in the case of the second of the pair with its tightest hold yet. The track is a virulently infectious and erosive piece of work and quite scintillating. You still would not say there is a wealth of originality going on but Vomitile turn the weapons they have and use into a primal and inescapable seduction to which we certainly have no defence.

Bringing the album to a close is firstly the heavy handed and footed brute Immense Catastrophe, a tempestuous joy all on its own and lastly the ferociously destructive and barbarously seductive Commencing Assault, a final invigorating anthem of bad blood and vile temptation. The pair brings the album to a mighty close leaving ears ringing and emotions torn asunder.

Mastering the Art of Killing is an exhaustive treat of a incitement which even though there is a kind of formula attack and structure to many songs, turns it in a minor issue such the contagious enterprise and unbridled intensity fuelling each encounter. Is the album offering much new to get your teeth into…not really but it cannot not stop Mastering the Art of Killing from being one of the best and favourite death metal intrusions in 2014.

Mastering the Art of Killing is available from October 3rd via Pitch Black Records @ http://store.pitchblackrecords.com/VOMITILE-Mastering-the-Art-of-Killing.html#.VC6ozRaDwvQ

http://www.vomitile.com/

RingMaster 03/10/2014

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pq3H3R3EWEc

Hard Riot – The Blackened Heart

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Having impressed and thrilled with their debut album Living on a Fast Lane, German rockers Hard Riot return with its successor The Blackened Heart, a release which immediately shows how much the band has grown in songwriting, craft, and sound. It is fair to say that like its predecessor the new album is not worrying the inventive boundaries of heavy and voracious rock ‘n’ roll, but like the debut it is a thoroughly captivating and mouthwatering blaze of sinewed riffs, feverish adrenaline, and ferocious passion.

Hailing from Heilbronn, Hard Riot began in 2006 and was soon casting a potent web of rock and metal, its spices first showing on The Hidden Truth EP of 2009. Consisting of vocalist/guitarist Michael Gildner, guitarist Andreas Rockrohr, bassist Mario Kleindienst, and drummer Carmine Jaucci, the band showed their emerging strength and sound, with its essences of AC/DC, Def, Aerosmith, and Staind, three years later on Living on a Fast Lane which they recorded with producer Vagelis Maranis before unleashing it as the new one through Pitch Black Records. The Blackened Heart, also created with Maranis and with Heiko Härle the newest member of the band on bass and backing vocals replacing Kleindienst, is the next big step in the ascent of the band, a release easy to expect bringing fresh eager attention upon the band.

The album starts as it means to go on with a fiery storm in the shape of Blackout. Riffs and rhythms instantly assault and excite ears as it PBR030takes its first breath before welcoming the excellent vocals of Gildner, who right away seems as the music to have even greater power and confidence in his delivery. The guitars and bass almost stalk the senses as the feisty narrative, musically and lyrically, of the track entrenches its infectiousness into the imagination. There is a real anthemic feel to the song without pandering to easy hooks and though it is not the most inventive track around, the thought and precise alignment of sounds is open to see and devour greedily.

It is a great start matched by the following Suicide Blues, its entrance less forceful but just as dynamic after the first caress of chords. Holding stronger old school metal seeds in its belly and a groove metal hunger in its breath, the track swaggers and surges with a contagiousness which is irresistible. Scorched riffs and pungent rhythms persist on the senses as the track romps with relish for three minutes plus of irrepressible rock ‘n’ roll. It is song made for feet and neck muscles, which get a sort of breather with the next up Devils BBQ, a riveting roar of southern rock based enterprise with a great country/Cajun twang in its veining. Like its predecessors, there is nothing spectacularly new to it but it plays like an old friend with a fresh colour to its creative clothing which simply captivates for a tantalising treat which leaves a smile on face and emotions.

The End strides purposefully into view next, swipes of riffs and tempered rhythms courting expressive vocals before combining for a rich flame of melodic hard rock up to and around a potently catchy chorus. It is not as immediate as certainly the first two songs on the album but once bodies are bouncing around rooms and bums on chairs you realise it has hit the sweet spot just as accurately as any other track on the album. From that Nickelback like canter, the emotive ballad Count On Me croons in the ear with melodic seduction and vocal angst, again recalling spices of the Canadian band. The song is soon under the skin and teasing thoughts and emotions, it’s perfectly crafted body not surprising in any way but certainly lingering with German persuasion.

The pair of Not Alone and The Enemy Within leaves imagination and appetite busy though not matching the strength of the album up to this point. The first builds an evocative flame of melodies and emotive vocals around choppy riffs and crisp beats which binds attention whilst the second teases with another countrified twang before its bluesy heart wraps imaginatively around the ears. Both songs reveal more of the improved skill and adventurous exploits within the thinking of the band whilst pleasing ears with immensely accomplished designs.

Dirty Games steps up next to growl provocatively, its riffs and rhythms a predatory lure over which Gildner again deeply impresses. Crowding around ears with incendiary hues and patterns, the guitars cast a potent enticement which dares to flourish but never exceed the core boundaries of the vivaciously driven track. It is a strong asset of the album, the restraint to the individual’s skill which other bands might fail to rein in, but Hard Riot know when enough is enough to impress and enhance but not overload a song.

Second ballad Last Goodbye with its great violin call is an enjoyably decent companion before the bold wanton sounds of High Society Bitch ignite in ears and imagination. It is a tremendous snarl of dirty rock ‘n roll with a raucous edge to its infection which is surpassed by the closing brawl of Hit The Ground, a thumping stomp of a song which again has nothing truly new to show but all the virulent contagiousness and quality you could wish for in a heavy rock song.

The CD version of The Blackened Heart comes with an additional track, a reworked version of The End featuring Richard Sjunnesson of The Unguided which to be honest we preferred to the original just because of the great union of the two vocalists. The album itself is another impressive and exciting encounter from Hard Riot, a release showing the band yet to find its distinctive voice is certainly on the way to being a potent force and attraction; already they have a thrilling and appealing presence sorted.

The Blackened Heart is available via Pitch Black Records now in Europe and North America from July 8th.

http://www.hard-riot.com/

8/10

RingMaster 03/06/2014

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Gypsy Chief Goliath – New Machines of the Night

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    Whether smouldering incandescently on the senses or burning them with blazes of blues soaked melodic rapaciousness, New Machines of the Night is one furnace of an album, a rigorous force which seizes senses and passions taking them on a goliath ride of heavyweight rock and metal fusion. Building on from their acclaimed debut, Canadians Gypsy Chief Goliath explore imagination and heart with ten slabs of scintillating and bruising rock ‘n’ roll. Classed as a stoner metal band, the Ontario sextet bring so much more to their presence and sound, the new album a magnetic fury of southern and classic rock with stoner and blues rock additives as well as melodic and heavy metal predation. It is a distinct and singular temptation to Gypsy Chief Goliath and in the Pitch Black Records released New Machines of the Night, a triumph at its invigorating potent best.

With songs sculpted by the three guitar assault and enterprise of Al the Yeti Bones, Dave Ljubanovich, and Sean Hamilton, the album is an adventurous and twisting flame of scorching invention and irresistible intrigue. Driven by the rhythmic framing and coring of drummer Adam Saitti and bassist Sean De Faria it is equally impacting with their enslaving spine of commanding persuasion and when you add the outstanding vocals of Al the Yeti Bones, who whether growling or offering a cleaner suasion coats the songs in an extra blaze of passion and energy to compliment the already fierce potency of the songs, the result is one of the best albums of this year. It does not end there though as with the harmonica sultriness of Brodie Stevenson teases the ear and boiling extra ardour, New Machines of the Night becomes an ever greater release combining themes of despair and dark shadows in a presentation which at times finds a feel good factor which has body and soul on their feet with jubilation.

The album stomps in with almost intimidation as opener Uneasy Kings raps the ear with measured beats and sonic spears of guitar cover_600x600strikes, a beckoning which wraps teasingly around the ear inviting thoughts and imagination into its seductive embrace. With the throaty predacious charm of the bass the platform for the excellent vocals to parade the narrative, the track is soon a shady yet dazzling companion, grooves and a sure swagger leading submission by the hand through scenery of Pantera like provocation within a vintage Thin Lizzy bred temptation. It is a striking start and the portent of things to come, certainly with that Lynott and co lilt coming to plenty of the offerings and an overwhelming perpetual contagious presence unveiled.

The following Are you Pulling Through also takes little time in gripping the ear and emotions, its starting stroll of feisty riffs and thumping rhythms aligned to a sirenesque call from the harmonica It soon evolves into an addiction causing growl of downtuned intensive bass and guitar which forges a dark stoner Down like ravishment with doom whispers and melodic acts of delicious discord. Easily continuing the impressive stance and power of the album with the blues furnace of Dirt Meets Rust matching the early heights with its blues swamp of enterprise and adventure the album is already in control of attention and appetite. With a fuller clean delivery to the vocals merged perfectly into his scowling gruffness, Al grabs as much of the attention as the fire spawned sounds. Thoughts of Bad Company make glimpses within the earlier part of the song though its heavier Sabbath suggesting latter portion shows the rich craft and diversity within the songwriting and album.

Busting the Avenue is another impossibly infectious bait of magnetic acidic invention, guitars conjuring a web of unpredictability and smouldering enticement which with the sinews of the rhythms and carnal snarl of the bass swings in comparisons from Clutch and Corrosion of Conformity to Motorhead. From one pinnacle the album provides another, and it’s loftiest in the brilliant wonderfully persuasive form of St. Covens Tavern. The song is glorious, immediately whisking feet and passion on a mesmeric dance of again Thin Lizzy seeped imagination. But it is only a teaser as riffs suddenly show their carnivorous side, barbarous tones springing infectiously from their strings whilst the rhythms equally harden their stance. It is when the folk metal like taunting enters with a whisper of Gaelic folk reminding of Horslips that the track becomes rock manna. It is rapture breeding raptor of a song, a treat which preys on all the weaknesses of the passions to feed all their wants in a multi-flavour insatiable metallic waltz. Not only best song on New Machines of the Night, it is one of those treasures which takes classic status.

The sizzling melodic pyre that is Got no Soul makes a strong rival with its southern blues coating of the ears, harmonica and keys aural alchemy within the cast of guitar and bass passion whilst both Secret Liaison and White Owl provide a slower sultriness from their heady blues angst and incendiary spicery, the second of the pair stretching into wider southern and hard rock endeavours. Though they arguably fall below the previous charge of songs they are borne of an invention and heart bred intensity which is at its height on the album within these two compelling snares.

Completed by the grizzled heavy metal breathing Slow Leak and the riveting Fought for Death with its again esuriently charged riffs stalking the senses for rhythms and vocals to play upon, New Machines of the Night is a magnificent release which leaves thoughts and senses ignited in a mix of adoration and greedy hunger for more. Gypsy Chief Goliath create an enthralling blend of rock and metal which is unafraid to stretch its limits and coax out startling fresh spices whilst offering something almost familiar to consume, certainly it is a treat with easy access and the fullest rewards. Heavy rock album of the year? Definitely the band has crafted a powerful contender.

https://www.facebook.com/GypsyChiefGoliath

9/10

RingMaster 09/10/2013

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Arrayan Path – IV: Stigmata

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Courting their darkest shadows and intent yet, metallers Arrayan Path return with fourth album IV: Stigmata, a release which will ignite the senses and appetite of all melodic and power metal fans with ease. With stampedes of riffs and fanfares of melodic flames coursing through the release, the album builds on the acclaimed encounters offered by previous releases whilst finding an enthralling epic narrative of its own distinction.

Formed in 1997 by singer/songwriter Nicholas Leptos alongside guitarist Clement Fung and subsequently with the addition of guitarist brother Socrates Leptos, the then called Arryan Path made an early impact with a pair of demos, Return to Troy in 1999 and Osiris the following year, but more so with debut album Road to Macedonia released in 2004. This was followed by a six year hiatus before second album Terra Incognita emerged, a release which got nominated for IMPALA’s European Independent Album of the Year Award, the only metal nomination amongst 20 others. Third album Ira Imperium lifted their reputation and presence further as it continued evolving their ear catching inventive and imaginative sound. The Pitch Black Records released, like the previous two albums, IV: Stigmata is arguably not a massive step forward for their already accomplished and potent sound but certainly a new aspect to its descriptive power and colour.

Opening track Clepsydra bursts through the ear with riffs galloping at break neck speed to set their stance before melodic majesty Cover_550x500_lowweaves its absorbing tendrils across the senses. The rhythms of drummer Stefan Dittrich then frames the emerging sounds with punch and forceful endeavour whilst bassist Paris Lambrou brings a snarl to the track which chews on the ear as the keys of George Kallis seduce with epically woven washes of warmth and beauty. It is a fiery and energetic rampage of a song but veined with melodic flames and emotive atmospheric enterprise which ignites thoughts and feelings to embrace the lyrics and their fine delivery from Nicholas Leptos.

Following track The Bible Bleeds opens with a carnivorous fury of riffs and rhythmic confrontation whilst the triumphant vocals lead the listener in to a bloom of heralding calls from the keys, a Middle Eastern imagination teasing the ear with grace and seductive elegance at the heart of the song. It is an excellent track which sets up a hunger for the rest of the album whilst retaining its place as the pinnacle of the release.

The less dramatic but equally as compelling Midnight and The First Born Massacre steps up next opening up even wider melodic arms whilst symphonic whispers permeate the still predominantly darkly cast voice of the song. There is also a deceitful air to the encounter which is even more and understandably pronounced in the following Judas Iscariot. A fire of vocal and harmonic potency veins the track as it takes mere moments to grab the emotions and once the returning Eastern flourish returns to tease the ear before a towering solo from Socrates Leptos, the track sears itself into the passions.

From the tall epic emotive walls of Stigmata, a song which stands astride the listener and takes them on an invigorating ride through melodic climes and sweltering soundscapes with again harmonies infusing the air whilst the bass of Lambrou growls and intimidates with a bestial presence beneath the textured power ballad, the album continues to sweep the listener up in an evocative embrace. The likes of Cursed Canaan with its enchantress of melodic sound welcoming its recipients into another bound of careering riffs and glorious vocal harmonies, and the melodic antagonist Pharaoh’s Wish, in varying degrees continuing to ensure the early hold and persuasion of the album is still a vibrant temptation.

As with the second of the just mentioned pair, some tracks do not quite grip the imagination as others, sparks rather than fires being ignited but there is never a moment where barren emotion is brought to bear in response to the songwriting and its skilled realisation. Equally for each which do not quite raise a flame there is others like Harbingers of Death which stoke up full passion.

Further elevated highlights come with the magnetic track The Storyteller and its irresistible epic stature and the predatory gem Mystic Moon, a song like Charming Paranoia which can only be found on the CD version of the album. IV: Stigmata will undoubtedly and deservedly be swamped in acclaim by power and epic metal fans, but it also offers plenty to recruit the enthusiasm of other melodic metal fans especially with its guest appearances by vocalist Jimmy Mavrommatis of Armageddon and guitar solos by Kikis Apostolou also of Armageddon, Alexis Kleidaras (ex-Deceptor) and George Kousa. Arrayan Path stand distinct to most power metal bands and with this album reward just as uniquely.

https://www.facebook.com/arrayanpath

8/10

RingMaster 11/06/2013

 

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Blynd: Punishment Unfolds

It seems extreme metal has saved its very best releases for the dying weeks of the year, the likes of Nidingr, Deus Otiosus, and Aeons each releasing colossal albums which are pushing limits, imagination, and most of all passions to immense heights. Adding their own titanic and inventive weight to the list if Cyprus metallers Blynd with their deeply impressive album Punishment Unfolds. Released though Pitch Black Records, the album is a fury of death, groove, and thrash metal which incites a riot in the heart and unbridled rapture in the senses and vice versa.

Formed in 2003, the Nicosia based quartet of bassist and vocalist Andreas, guitarists Dino and George, and drummer Alex, has slowly but firmly gathered a strong and ardent fanbase within a growing wash of acclaim through their impressive sound across firstly their duo of EPs and 2010 debut album The Enemy, as well as live performances alongside the likes of Sodom, Children Of Bodom, Rotting Christ, Sepultura, and Septic Flesh and a triumphant appearance at the 2012 Bloodstock Festival. Punishment Unfolds steps forward with all the aural armoury, sharp imagination, and aggressive intent to thrust Blynd to the top tier of extreme noise makers and bring a wider and hungrier recognition their way. Featuring guest appearances from Sakis Tolis (Rotting Christ) and George Charalambous (Winter’s Verge), the album also sets up the full spark of anticipation for their part in the Creatures From the Black Abyss Tour 2012, alongside Cradle Of Filth, God Seed and Rotting Christ, starting November 27th.

The opening instrumental Divine Gathering gives no real warning of the storm to follow though the brewing symphonic grace and thrilling rise of intensity does offer an epic atmospheric feel and climactic confrontation as its grand arms expand to wrap firmly around the ear.  It soon makes way for the rampaging Arrival of the Gods with its gnawing riffs and caustic breath of squalling vocals and scarring sonics. The harsh rub fires up the senses as fully as the greedy urgency of the song leaves them breathless, whilst the impressive melodic scorching from the guitars is a feisty encounter which pushes the song to greater heights.

The immense start is left ‘floundering’ in the wake of As Punishment Unfolds, a track which steals top honours and takes the contagion of the album to its highest pinnacle. From a start of thumping incendiary drums against the serpentine vocal lesions, the song spawns a groove which incites the strongest infection and a brawling seduction of riffs and beats to ignite primal passion. The mesmeric swarming which overwhelms the ear is delicious whilst the interchanging intensity and energies just provoke insatiable lust for more. As with the previous song the guitars produce melodic flames to stretch the track excellently around the crushing framework of antagonistic rhythms and raptorial vocals.

Following tracks such as Never for the Fallen with its carnivorous riffs and sonic greed, the challenging and glorious The Chosen Few, and Convicted in the Devil’s Land, further the pleasure with stunning enterprise and power. The second of the three is a turbulent journey of abrasive invention and unpredictable breaks wrapped in magnetic melodic ingenuity and heart. It is a masterful soundscape which can only lead to a full and potent devotion to its explosive imagination. The last of the trio is an intimidating predator with impacting sinews and a rabid intensity to leave one cowering whilst loving every second of its muscular threat.

Right through to its end Punishment Unfolds is sensational, from the outstanding Sins to the Cross with a progressive groove as wanton as it is insidious, across the snarling yet heated and irresistible presences of The Final Resistance and Divine Conspiracy, through to the closing feast of invention that is Infinity Race, it transfixes, erodes, and thrills senses, thoughts, and heart with accomplished and inventive ease.

Blynd before Punishment Unfolds may have been an unknown underground force for a great many but with its release and impressive content, the amazing album is set to change that stature one suspects and hopes. It would be a deserved outcome for a greatly pleasing and stirring gift from the band.

www.blyndmetal.com

RingMaster 20/11/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Marauder: Elegy of Blood

Having recently signed with Pitch Black Records, Legendary Greek classic metal band Marauder unleash their fifth album Elegy of Blood on May 15th bringing ten accomplished tracks of well crafted classic heavy metal. The album is a powerful beast with an anthemic heart and adrenaline soaked pulse that is sure to please all heavy metal fans.

Honesty has to be brought forth at this point and state that classic and heavy metal is not a flavour that incites the most eager response here at The RR so excuse the tempered enthusiasm behind the review. That being said it is not hard to see and appreciate the passion and craft behind the boisterous melodic metal that makes up Elegy of Blood. Formed just over 22 years the band has obviously evolved into a mighty and inventive band as the new album alone gives enough evidence for and it is easy to see why they are one of the most respected Greek metal bands for many years now. The album is varied with strong elements of power metal and harsher tones added to the classic blood each track flows with and whether a fan of their style of music or not it is very easy to be swept up in the chest beating and calling to arms that frequent its corridors.

The title track intro opens up the release with a dawning epic atmosphere, a declaration of something far reaching and evocative to emerge. Whilst the following The Great War may not quite live up to that billing it is still a rampant anthemic mix of incisive melodic guitar play, impetuous riffs, and combative rhythms. The vocals of Alexandros Kostarakos spread throughout the track with the expected style and ability of the genre with solid back up elsewhere whilst sharing centre stage with the ear catching melodies and guitar craft from and Andreas Tsaoussis and Giorgos Sofronas but great as they are the highlight here and throughout the album is the excellent prowling and grumbling bass of Thodoris Paralis alongside the formidable drums of Grigoris Vlachos which drive every song with an impressive and stirring control.

Alexander follows with equal satisfaction before handing over to the first of three songs which did ignite some sparks within us. Warriors is a muscular track with a metal spine and a compulsive predatory bass as combative as the cause of the lyrical tale. The track marches through the ear with the surety of weighty power without unleashing an overly aggressive intensity. The other two songs which caught the imagination most deeply also strike in similar vein, brought forth with a military precision and storming pulse.

Crusader is a more expectant and rampaging animal though still without unleashing its unbridled might. The group vocals that form the chorus moments give a band of brothers effect to bring extra energy to the stirring riffs and rhythms. Once more it is the great bass work of Paralis that brings most pleasure though the song has some of the best and most inciting riffs on the album too, the combination making it the best on the release. The third of the songs to make the biggest mark is Black Gold and again it enters on a military breath with drums to rile up the senses and riffs to strike down all before them.  It is probably one of the least creative tracks songwriting wise but it has an energy and life to it that sets it apart.

Every song within Elegy of Blood will bring much pleasure to classic metal fans, from the expressive instrumental Hiroshima, the power ballad Mother, to the closing World War II. It is a very strong album with plenty to feast upon and be inspired by, if you like that kind of thing. Though this genre does not fire us up generally often the opposite,  it has to be said Marauder have come closer than most classic metals band in finding a regular place on our daily playlist. For those with a welcoming for heavy metal Elegy of Blood is a sure thing to be high on their regular selections.

RingMaster 09/05/2012

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