Ophe – Litteras Ad Tristia Maestrum Solitude

Ophe is the solo project of Bargnatt XIX, guitarist/vocalist with French outfit Område. His main band is a proposition which entangles an array of styles and experimentation into avant-garde soundscapes and has grabbed our imaginations since the release of their 2015 album Edari and even more so with its startling successor Nåde two years later. So you can imagine we were only too pleased to take a look at Litteras Ad Tristia Maestrum Solitude, the debut Ophe album when Bargnatt (Christophe Denhez of Nerv, Mur, and In The Guise Of Men) got in touch. Despite having embraced the ambience hued climates of post rock, industrial, electronica, and avant-garde metal merged by Område though, ears were not prepared for Litteras Ad Tristia Maestrum Solitude.

Certainly living up to its tag of experimental avant-garde black metal, Ophe’s sound is much more expansive than that. It is a ravenous maze of sound and adventure set in a tempest of emotion and atmospheric dissonance. Whether it is something you can say you physically enjoy is still up for debate but as one fiercely captivating and relentlessly tempting challenge it is inescapable.

From opener Somnum Sempiternum the senses are taken on a turbulent sonic flight; a buffeting of winds around perpetual rallies of rhythmic antipathy the initial engagement. Bargnatt’s vocal currents are just as harsh within the intensive but controlled cyclone, rasping breath on sonic causticity and melody flirting with discord and dissonance. As invasive and toxic as it is an infectious hue merges within the emotional and aural trespass adding to the imagination sparking incitement that has already brewed. The track continues to grate and tempt across it’s almost nine minutes, never giving enough to mercilessly seduce but never coming close to leaving ears searching for alternative calms. Though a one man project, the album features the sax borne craft of Val Dorr; it too an almost schizophrenic, to use the press release’s description, protagonist in the midst of the blackened ambient storm.

Decem Vicibus is a calmer but no less dark investigation. Its tenebrific air wraps around mellow bordering on whispered vocals whilst alongside a hellacious scene unfurls hue by hue, cry by cry until the listener feels like they are trapped experiencing the visceral drama of a Hieronymus Bosch painting. The solemn chimes of church bells only add to the track’s deceitful incantation before XVIIII provides its own individual portentous peace complete with sax squeaks but only leading to a rabid smog of emotional disharmony clad in a web of musical unpredictability.

Whereas its air is thick almost acrid, the following Missive Amphibologique D’Une Adynamie A La Solitude has a clearer atmosphere but one just as sinister as guitars, bass, and sax host a dance of emotive dissidence. The best track within the album, it is a weave of rhythmic temptation and melodic seduction but each a welcoming vice flush with the animus of torment the vocals openly share. The track is superb, the moment the imagination ignited feverishly and even with an arguably over long presence enthrals from start to finish.

The album closes with Cadent, an elegant melody woven piece with clean vocals and harmonic reflections. All the while though, darkness lurks providing a threatening undercurrent which does not have its day but adds dark intensity to the beauty.

It is a fine end to an album which might have to fight to be called actually enjoyable yet we did indeed enjoy every moment of its tempest filled bitter atmosphere if some moments more lustily than others. For something to turn your calm, emotions, and thoughts into captivated turmoil Litteras Ad Tristia Maestrum Solitude is a certain quest to explore.

Litteras Ad Tristia Maestrum Solitude is out now via My Kingdom Music; available @ https://ophe.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/OPHEBM/

Pete RingMaster 28/03/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

OMRÅDE – Nåde

2015 saw the release of an album which deserved far more attention than it got and warranted every syllable of praise offered its “visual and aural telescope.” Edari was the invention of French duo OMRÅDE who now return with its equally startling successor Nåde. That first full-length made ears and imagination pay attention, the second simply demands it and repays with what will surely be classed as one of the major adventures of the year.

OMRÅDE consists of vocalist/guitarist Bargnatt Xix, known elsewhere as Christophe Denhez of Nerv and previously Mur and In The Guise Of Men, and drummer/keyboardist/programmer Arsenic, christened Jean-Philippe Ouamer and the skin hitter of Idensity and formerly of Nerv. Together they weave a collection of avant-garde soundscapes nurtured from everything around the ambience hued climates of post rock, industrial, electronica, and avant-garde metal, and that is simplifying their fascinating explorations of sound and emotion. It is a mix which created a compelling proposal in the cinematic adventure of Edari and now the even more aurally haunting and stirring Nåde.

Whereas the first album felt like looking across a broad canvas of universes there is much stronger intimacy fuelling Nåde, like ears and thoughts are peering in on the tempestuous fortunes and emotions of a single soul representing the surroundings and lives within a noir lit and suffocating climate. That is not to say it does not venture through worldly landscapes too, just they all feel cored by the same instinctive melancholy and depressive clad spirit. Influences upon the project include the likes of Ulver, Manes, and God Is An Astronaut, essences certainly seeping across the new album along with an equal infusion of Nine Inch Nails/Palms scented shadows and suggestiveness.

Nåde opens up with Malum and swiftly has electronic beats and guitar coaxing ears as Denhez’ vocals share the song’s heart and beleaguered emotions. Pretty much haunting thoughts and psyche from its first breath, its inner psychosis is just as swift in stirring the imagination as vocals hint at a soul trapped yet seemingly revelling in the inevitability of inescapable turmoil. Strings and brass soon after bring their seductive shadows and flames respectively to the blossoming atmosphere and body of the song, a cinematic wash in tow yet that personal dispute continues to voice things. It is a stunning piece of music and vocal insight, instantly surpassing anything on that impressive first album and just the start of a uniquely stirring journey.

The following XII has a gentler touch, its hazy atmosphere jazzy and sombre yet with a warm glow which only attracts like a night’s final brandy. Keys tease as Leo Sors’ guesting sax woozily blows with suggestive prowess, each flame embracing reflective vocals and in turn a hotly simmering funk shuffle. With Bernard-Yves Querel adding his guitar, the track at times is something akin to 6:33 certainly with the emerging depths and mercurial intensity of the track; ears and imagination enthralled and sucked into its unpredictable enterprise and dark instrumental theatre. Whereas the first was physically provocative, the second is emotionally inciting with just as rich results before the outstanding Enter beckons the listener into its melodically woven, progressively shaped, and increasingly virulent proposal. With a snarling brooding within the guitars and an unstoppable catchiness lining its brewing rapacity, the song is a lively cauldron of infectiousness and trespassing anxiety, each conflicting with and accentuating the other.

Hänelle is pure heart ruptured melancholy, another track which builds in intensity and intimate drama on every level from an initial smoulder nurtured as much by Jonathan Maronnier ‘s clarinet as emotional shadows while Styrking Leið is a haunted croon; a siren like lure of vocals and keys and if slower to tempt as its predecessors simply growing into another lingering highlight especially with its increasing visual potency and emotional desperation. The song sees Edgard Chevallier guesting on guitar while next up The Same For The Worst features additional vocals from L. Chuck D in its jazzy intoxication with Julien Gebenholtz’s bass a captivating pleasure all on its own. Becoming more fevered and intense with emotion as sounds share a volatile almost bedlamic restlessness, the track has ears and thoughts gripped. Certainly it is not the easiest listen within Nåde but boy is it one of the most rewarding and impacting.

The final pair of tracks ensure captivation and pleasure is as burning as ever. Baldar Jainko is as similarly intensive as the previous track, its heart and scenery a sharing and conflict of peace and faith with emotions and suggestiveness working on personal and worldly levels. Closing track, Falaich, is almost apocalyptic in tone and touch; an epilogue or portent of our emotional and physical destructions and apathy to it which is seriously gripping from start to finish and only increasing the vice as it provokes the darkest thoughts and richest enjoyment.

It is easy to suggest that if Edari impressed and impacted on you previously, Nåde will blow you away and for newcomers to OMRÅDE, the moment when music might just become much more than ear pleasing.

Nåde  is released May 26th via My Kingdom Music.

https://www.facebook.com/Omradetheband    http://omradetheband.wix.com/omrade

Pete RingMaster 26/05/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Cauls – Recherché

It has been five years since UK alternative/progressive rockers Cauls delighted and impressed with their EP simply called 2. It turns out it has been a time which almost saw the band call it a day just as it was beginning to make a major impact on the UK music scene. Thankfully they pulled out of the nose dive and after a line-up change found the energy and inspiration to go again. That thankfulness even more pronounced now with the release of their debut album Recherché.

An atmospheric, provocative, and continually rousing blend of alternative/progressive and post rock with earthier post hardcore intensity, the band’s sound and release has evolved into a fire of imagination and enterprise. You would expect and hope each release outshines the last and pushes things on again, something which does not always happen as we all know, but Cauls have taken a big leap in building on the success of that last EP. Recherché is a compelling web of sound and suggestion fuelled by melodic and harmonic elegance and driven by a climate of rousing and often aggressive atmospheric imagination.

From the short instrumental flight of opener De Novo Quincunx, the quintet of Michael Marwood, Chris McManus, Graham Morris, Douglas Redfern, and Kye Walker entice and involve ears and imagination with increasing creative drama. That first piece is a slow developing mist of sonic calm and darker intrigue, guitars gently entangling as darker hues occasionally moan; it all leading to the instantly kinetic presence of Peace Paean. Around the ever impressing vocals of Marwood, a relative calm while engaging guitar woven tendrils smoulders and builds into a more boisterous roar. Descriptive melodies continue to entice and flame in the rousing breakouts, adding to the bolder fire of the song and its captivating Mars Volta meets Muse like landscape.

The track is pure captivation, sparking a keen intrigue and appetite for what is to follow; that adventure soon in full flight through firstly Radio Johanne / Said Molineux. From its initial low key peace with an alluring tingle of melody, the track also simmers and grows in presence and intensity, building into an unpredictable web of sonic and melodic imagination punctured by the adventurous jabs of McManus’ beats. With at times a resemblance to the raw tenacity of At the Drive In, the song consumes ears with fiery charm and rousing energy before the first part of the three-track Wide Opus Abyss awakens in ears.

Amusia is a secret smog full of suggestive essences and evocative sounds as it blossoms into the corporeal body of Vapours. Rhythms quickly provide a bold spine for its harmonic and sonic flames to erupt and unite around the striking draw of Marwood’s voice and the combined prowess of Redfern and Walker alongside the poetic finesse of Morris’ guitar. It is a resourceful blaze which eventually becomes Tide and Bye, an even more agitated yet controlled melodic clamour sharing Radiohead/ Far like spices in its eventful recipe.

The technical sprightliness of COQ8 dances eagerly in ears before mellowing into a reflective serenade. It is a plaintive cry though carrying its own instinctive tempest, a highly strung excitement bringing fiery exchanges of textures and band around the thoughtful vocal led calms. Its second part, Retentive Anamnesis adds greater volatility to that scorching heart, providing a fibrous sonic weave to its wired atmosphere and pleasure for ears and thoughts.

Épée brings things to a close, strolling in with bass and guitars merging dark and surf rock like hues in its tranquil swing before things bubble and boil around ear captivating vocals. Jazzy and sultry yet melancholic, romancing and seducing with a boldness exploring a diversity of rigour, the track is just mesmeric and another fresh detour in the album’s diverse soundscape.

Cauls are back with a whole new heart to create and a sound which grabs that intent with adventure and beauty, Recherché offering surprises and provocative enticements at every turn. We can only sigh with relief that the band did not buckle to that feeling of bringing things to an end.

Recherché is out now @ https://cauls.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Caulsband/

Pete RingMaster 09/05/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Parachute For Gordo – Possibility of Not

Three years ago, British post rock trio Parachute For Gordo impressed with their mini album Ten Metres Per Second Per Second; its instrumental adventures increasingly captivating vehicles for the imaginations of band and listener alike. Now they have returned with its successor Possibility of Not and an evolution in songwriting and composing which had bred the band’s boldest, most bracing yet creatively composed escapades yet.

With new drummer Mark Glaister alongside original members in guitarist Laura Lee and bassist John Harvey, Aldershot hailing Parachute For Gordo escaped to the mountains of Austria for a weekend last year to record Possibility of Not. Whether the assumed isolation their DIY pop-up studio was set up in has been part of the incitement breeding the outfit’s most intimate and refined yet instinctively raw exploration yet only the band can say but certainly there seems a richer and thicker atmospheric depth and boldness going hand in hand with the threesome’s pushing of their creative boundaries.  Where Ten Metres Per Second Per Second was a leap on from debut EP Eight Minutes Of Weightlessness of 2012, Possibility of Not enjoys another step forward in all aspects without losing that organic brashness almost punk bred cacophonous heart which has already set their music out from the post rock incubated crowd.

Jellied Eels opens things up, its initial melodic shimmer a crystaline enticement like a window on a warm and inviting yet stark landscape. Whether it is the pre-knowledge of where the band recorded the album or the track itself, its post rock investigation only sparks thoughts of beauty strapped isolation and the intimacy of thought and emotion such surroundings can inspire. It is a mesmeric piece, that raw essence of the band’s music invasive to temper but equally compliment the sweeping grace of the melodic exploration being woven within it.

The following Anemone to Manatee has a more volatile and intrusive presence from its first breath but equally greater flirtation of joyful revelry in its energetic shuffle further accentuated by infrequent but welcome bursts of vocal incitement. With Lee’s guitar almost carving out its melodic portrait like a post punk steeled knife on canvas and Harvey’s bass going on a throaty groove lined dance as Glaister’s swings with each passing minute take greater relish in their jabs, the outstanding track tantalises from beginning to end; an emerging Fire Engines like discordance only adding to its might.

A mellower tone frequents next up Wallet Moth, every trait strolling with a lighter air as flames of melodic dexterity leave suggestive trails like reflection sharing comets. That previously mentioned intimacy is no more powerful than on the third track, it’s weaves of sound and textures magnetic glimpses into the song’s emotive heart before Gopher the Throat floats across the senses being driven by tribal beats and aboriginal like bass textures. Instantly absorbing ears and thoughts, the track is another dance of intimation and enterprise, the trio conjuring a piece of intrigue and adventure sure to be different for each individual but a creative emprise for all.

There is no escaping the fun and demanding stimulation of Cornholio Slaps the Goose, the track a funk assed, indie pop infused romp of swinging beats and infection spewing grooves unbridled in its hunger to have feet and hips indulging in its primal catchiness. Dips into dub spawned tenacity only adds to the virulent exploits toying and seducing the senses as the track grabs best track status though it is continually challenged with every listen of Possibility of Not.

The album is brought to an equally fine end by Put your hands up if you like Sloths, an eight minute plus saunter into imagined mysterious deeds inspired by its cosmic radiance and cinematic hooks. They grab ears and the imagination like a sticky web of lures rather than making a more imposingly direct attack but with the same inescapable outcome, the listener trapped and basking in its highly suggestive soundscape.

With their music Parachute For Gordo find a more insular terrain to explore than other post rock flights of imagination though certainly Possibility of Not breaks into broader challenges too but it is that more intimate feel which sets the band apart from most, that and their undoubted craft and maybe slightly deranged imagination. Accompanied by a video for each song which together provides a visual experience as potent as the aural one, Possibility of Not deserves plenty of your attention especially if post rock and bands like The Mars Volta and The Fall Of Troy are to your taste.

Possibility of Not is out now through Rose Coloured Records @ https://parachuteforgordo.bandcamp.com/album/possibility-of-not and http://www.rosecoloured.com/parachute-for-gordo

http://www.parachuteforgordo.com/    https://www.facebook.com/ParachuteForGordo/    https://twitter.com/parachutefgordo

Pete RingMaster 18/04/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Abel Raise The Cain – For Strangers Only

With a sound that wraps the senses like suggestive mist and a handful of songs taking the imagination on atmospheric, intimacy fuelled journeys, it is fair to say that the debut album from British rock band Abel Raise The Cain has been a highly anticipated proposition. Their fusion of evocative textures and energies within an indie pop/post rock nurtured landscape has made for an increasingly devoured and acclaimed live and recorded proposal, persuasion and success sure to be accelerated by For Strangers Only.

The album sweeps across the senses with a melodic breeze, each track an insight to emotion soaked lives and familiar situations. They swoop in on individual experiences, cinematic perceptions which if you put a series of kitchen sink dramas back to back would make the perfect soundtrack while stretching their intimacy to broader climes. Without a breath being taken, each song emerges from the last with just the whispers and glimpses of eclectic life between them, sometimes subtle reflections sometimes bold as “Dead Presidents, Revolutionary movement leaders and mixed up youth” bridge songs. It makes for a release which needs numerous plays to explore every alluring pasture and suggestive street corner but a simmering increasingly compelling blossoming which only brings increasingly striking rewards.

The 2012 formed, Northeast hailing Abel Raise The Cain draw on the inspirational sounds of bands like Arcade Fire, Sigur Ros, and The Editors for their adventures, open essences woven into their own canny tapestries. Both tracks of their debut double A-sided single, Too Late and The Promise, quickly drew eager praise and support including regular play on UK radio including BBC Introducing, the band continuing to lure plaudits and new ardour led fans with their successors; songs making powerfully persuasive teasers before For Strangers Only.

The album opens with Awakening, its orchestral welcome warm and descriptive as cinematic samples rise within its embrace. The short piece lives up to its name, opening the heart of the album with smouldering grace before freeing the equally seductive and euphoric flight of One Thing. With the romancing of Saerla Murphy’s violin cradling the engaging dusty tones of guitarist Sean Crichton as the keys of Gaz Murray float, the song is a vibrant outlook and stroll urged on by the tenacious beats of Adam Hicks.

Its anthemic and tenacious call is echoed within the following We’ll Never Know, the track swiftly revealing darker shadows around its radiant core. Within it, the bass of Gary Hughes manages to be simultaneously melancholic and flirtatiously welcoming as keys and strings come to a poetic boil in tandem with the melodic enterprise from Shaun Buckle’s guitar. The post rock climate of the song only grows across its length, consuming ears with wistful yet forceful intent before Black Swans bubbles to the surface. One of the singles sparking the eagerness awaiting For Strangers Only, the song brews its melancholy lined, heartbreak hued croon with craft and zeal, breaking into emotional crescendos as violin and keys respectively comfort and invigorate the spirit. Reminding a little of Doves, the song is superb, a cathartic release for band and listener alike.

The folkish air of Dark Side Of The Street keeps ears and imagination just as keenly hooked, the song a gentle but enthused canter sharing melodic and harmonic enterprise like sunshine. For some yet undefined reason, the song nudges thoughts of Pete Wylie before a country scented rural sigh slips into the similarly flavoured Million Dollar Night, a ruminative slice of balladry which may not quite light personal fires as other moments within the album but still leaves pleasure full, especially with an essence something akin to The Verve

Hideaway is a similar encounter with matching results; its country rock lilt and sultry smoulder a plaintive temptation breeding spirited expulsions across an expressive body. It also just misses persistently hitting the spot yet is one rousing experience impossible not to be drawn back to.

The album departs with the band’s new single, Every Rise. With hope falling from every note and harmony, the song is a thrilling end, a spirit igniting anthem of life with boisterous rhythms urging and melody rich flames licking at the imagination.

Each track is an individual exploration but For Strangers Only equally works like a symphony, each song a movement in its social and emotional tour. Certainly the first couple of listens are fine enjoyment but thereon in is where the magic happens.

For Strangers Only is released March 31st

http://www.abelraisethecain.com/    https://www.facebook.com/AbelRaiseTheCain    https://twitter.com/abelraise

Pete RingMaster 30/03/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Soundscapism Inc. – Desolate Angels

Cover artwork and booklet design by João Filipe, based on photos by Ü-Berlin Photography.

Cover artwork and booklet design by João Filipe, based on photos by Ü-Berlin Photography.

Desolate Angels is the eagerly awaited sophomore release from Soundscapism Inc., a highly anticipated successor to a debut which made a potent and well-received impact on the European post rock scene. The new offering is sure to emulate, indeed surpass the success of its predecessor with its even more accomplished, imaginative, and warmly haunting adventure.

Soundscapism Inc. is the solo project of Berlin based musician Bruno A., the founder of Portuguese/ Finnish bred band Vertigo Steps. When that band went on an unspecified ‘hiatus’, Bruno began bringing his own creative exploration to light with the release of the self-titled Soundscapism Inc. EP late 2015 quickly enticing ears and praise with its cinematic ambience, post rock climates, and acoustic beauty. It was more of an album with its nine captivating tracks and the base for the even more creatively expressive and magnetic Desolate Angels. The new evolution and craft in the project’s tapestry of sound and character was hinted at by a couple of tracks released from it towards the end of year but now in its full glory, it is a compelling proposal expanding well beyond their promise.

Swiftly as immersive and cinematically suggestive as the first release, Desolate Angels immediately caresses ears with Evening Lights. A guitar melody wraps its tender arms around ears first, additional lures warmly and firmly whispering before the track settles into an even mellower atmospheric landscape. Guest vocals from Flávio Silva subsequently emerge to add their captivating croon as Bruno’s guitar and keys weave a portrait of poetic post rock and ambient beauty. It is melancholy with a tempering charm and alluring tinges of harsher rock ‘n’ roll and quite bewitching.

The potent tones of Silva also feature on the following Supernovas At Fever Pitch, the song from another reserved opening firmly blossoming in sound and texture before his appearance, thoughtful melodies and an elegantly solemn yet again enticing air greeting him. From its initial simmer, an increasingly infectious energy and enterprise brews with a touch of Maybeshewill to it, this awakening bringing thicker wiry grooves and richer but restrained intensity to further ignite the track’s evocative heart. As the first track, it lures the imagination with ease, almost preys on it before The Mourning After pt II coaxes the listener into its relatively brief emotionally rousing instrumental waltz, subsequently leaving on a wash of melodic reflection.

Zwischenspiel I similarly draw ears into a melody persuasive romancing of thoughts and senses, its intimate seduction the echo of broader but also solitary pastures; an emotional closeness also found within the album’s title track where innocence feels shadowed by darker lurking trespasses. Touching the outskirts of ten minutes in length, Desolate Angels provides a flight of contrasting drama; dark and light toying with the imagination as Bruno conjures a soundscape of raw and equally radiant sound and suggestion which tempts like a fusion of  Sigur Rós and 65daysofstatic at times, his vocals an euphonious caress.

Through the inescapably infectious and constantly shifting stroll of Man In The Glass and the calm crystalline smoulder of Zwischenspiel II the individual presence and sound of Soundscapism Inc. is cemented, any hint offered by references to others like God Is An Astronaut for the second of this pair, just clues to something fresh and provocative.

The appetite pleasing voice of Silva makes its final appearance within next up February North, his voice a great mix of grainy and melodious temptation wrapped in the acoustic ethereal grace of Bruno’s touch and craft, essences just as refined and persuasive in the evocation spun by next up Quintessence around a narrative of vocal samples.

The album simply continues to bewitch and entice, firstly through the livelier exploits of Low-Fi Man, Hi-Tech World, the song a melody woven aural film with its rhythmic tenacity like the flickering roll of cinematic stills combining for a mesmeric visual incitement. Its striking presence is followed by the instrumental grace of Zwischenspiel III, it also a piece again with emotive shadows, and a short reprise of the title track before the increasingly beguiling Sleep Arrives Under Your Wings adds a surf rock glisten to its celestial beauty and resonance. The track is manna for ears and imagination, quickly followed by emotions and makes a magnificent close to the release though the evocative kiss of bonus track Above Us Only Sky provides the actual final moments of the album’s digital version.

There is plenty to take in aurally and emotionally within the hour of Desolate Angels, more than arguably can be assessed and appreciated in one go though perseverance in that vein only brings thick rewards. Each track works just as potently alone or in small clusters too so whichever way you approach it real pleasure and fulfilment is the result. Bruno and Soundscapism Inc. have stepped upon a new plateau with Desolate Angels with easy to suspect even bigger inventive and striking ventures to come from him.

Desolate Angels is available through Ethereal Sound Works now @ https://soundscapisminc.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/soundscapisminc

Pete RingMaster 05/03/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright