Black Crown Initiate – Song Of The Crippled Bull

BCI-full_line_up

Scintillating and breath-taking, Song Of The Crippled Bull from US progressive death metallers Black Crown Initiate is a staggering debut which adds another pinnacle to the year and the genre. To be fair, the Reading, PA band cannot be simply tagged as above as their imagination, craft, and invention explores and employs an extensive expanse of styles and ingenuity for a fluid and magnetic ever evolving tempestuous adventure. Whether seducing or gnawing the senses to within an inch of their sanity, the band and release is a torrential storm of extremes and skilled enterprise merged into one giant and seamless ravishment.

Formed by Andy Thomas (guitars/clean vocals) and Nick Shaw (bass) with James Dorton (vocals) last year, Black Crown Initiate has taken little time in igniting the imagination and passions with their mouthwatering technical skill and ingenuity applied to exhaustive extreme and progressive metal brilliance. Recorded with Carson Slovak at Atrium Audio in Pennsylvania, the four track Song Of The Crippled Bull EP thrusts the threesome straight to the frontline of extreme metal brilliance and boundary pushing, ferocious invention. Now since the recording of the EP a quintet with the addition of Jeff Willet (drums) and Rik Stelzpflug (guitar), Black Crown Initiate stand poised to bring a new inciting melodic fire and corruptive provocative fury to the world.

Playing as one complete journey made up of four compelling movements Song of the Crippled Bull opens with Stench of the Iron Age, a BLACK_CROWN_INITIATE-COVER_300x300piece which tells you all you need to know about the inventive intent and superbly crafted technical exploits bred within the band. A tender guitar caress makes the first temptation, its touch emotive and gentle. It is soon joined by a riveting bass presence, its snarl vibrant and eager, and equally energetic and festive rhythms. Once the outstanding mellow vocals of Thomas unveil the narrative over the mix the band already has attention and imagination dancing to its tune, the song at its start a tempting Opeth/Absolace like suasion. There is a jazz almost avant-garde air to the offering which without ever coming near to slipping into indulgence magnetises thoughts and emotions but it is once the track explodes into a carnivorous foraging of the ears and beyond that the fire is truly burning brilliantly and severely. The causticity of the harsh carnal tones of Dorton are as potent and addictive as the clean persuasion of Thomas and musically the storm of rhythmic intensity and sonic savagery is a destructive annihilatory rabidity which leaves the listener wasted and blissful. It is only the start of the persistently shifting and evolving triumph though, a melodic weave with a Muse like seed wrapping its tendrils around the brawl and a doom bred weight smothering any emerging light for a Meshuggah like predation to overwhelm everything in its creative path. To its end the track continues to writhe and flame with a delicious blend of electrifying toxicity and intoxicating imagination, merging into Ghosts She Sends to ensure no gulp of air is allowed to be taken and the listener given respite.

The second track expels a carnal swagger from the corrosive breath it starts with, a rapacious tempting soon immersed within the oppressive storm cloud but still laying down deep irresistible hooks impossible. The fury breaks as a golden melodic evocative glaze strokes new flumes of emotions and thoughts into action, guitars and bass providing an inventively woven walk through understanding, respectful sceneries. Shadows still lurk and Dorton is never far away from unleashing his powerful squalls which are met and empowered further by the scorching cleaner cries of Thomas. Again skill and adventure is a boiling persuasion across the track and hunger for its excellence as greedy as the intent of the sounds it craves.

The brutal finale of the song makes the initial challenge of The Mountain Top, though the drums and bass twist out an individual irresistible and lethal tapestry of addiction alongside the despoiling riffs and grievous vocals of Dorton. It is a savage enslavement but one which imperiously brings a stunning melodically cast infection drenched chorus into the mix with such skill and insight that it feels as organic within the violent bedlam as the on-going side by side swipes of destruction. The shortest track on the release it, as all slips magnificently into the next, the exhilarating closing title track. Bringing the EP in many ways full circle, the final piece is a fiery stroll with the bass again sheer contagion and clean vocals similarly enthralling. With melodies and premises closely aligned to the starter if not repeated, it makes for a circular passage of reflection and danger which is as malevolent and engaging as at any point on the release and as magnificent.

The PRC Music released Song of the Crippled Bull is quite monumental, the rising of a new ingenious progressive leviathan for extreme metal in the startling shape of Black Crown Initiate. Dare you miss one of the best things to imaginatively assault the ear this year?

http://www.facebook.com/BlackCrownInitiate

10/10

RingMaster 29/10/2013

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Hybreed Chaos – Dying Dogma

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    Dying Dogma is far from being an easy listen or is the kind of company which rewards a casual attitude attention wise, towards its fury but for violent, uncompromising technically bred progressive death metal it is a confrontation which once struck down by, is a scar which deeply lingers whilst inciting strong reactions. The album comes from Canadian metallers Hybreed Chaos, a band featuring ex-Paroxysm drummer Franck Camus and current Cryptopsy session bassist Olivier Pinard. It is a release which has little time on seduction, its every breath and action a vicious rage of sonic imagination and brutal enterprise, and provides little comfort in its touch or exploits, just savage intensity and intentions aligned to a craft and endeavour which ignites the imagination.

The PRC Music released Dying Dogma moves through its brief intro, Birth of Chaos, into the instantly ferocious and debilitating A Machine for Pigs. From its start the vocals and guitars need little persuasion in scoring and threatening the senses, the guttural squalls a vindictive causticity with equal poison in the twisting and intriguing guitar exploration. Around this the rhythmic framework has an intimidation and eagerness which can snap at any moment, whilst grooves and hooks add their unique insidious temptation throughout the tempestuous fury to lure in the emotions to greater depths, their poise and fascination waking further an appetite for the challenge ahead.

Dismembered Purity crawls through the ear and all over the senses, its doomy presence a canvas for the crippling inventive rhythmic battering and the corrosive riffing to add their ruinous nature to. There is arguably not the fluidity to the song of its predecessor, some of the certainly enthralling elements lying uneasy within the soiling intent, but equally the jagged mix of ideas, though making the encounter less persuasive at first, creates a carnal torment which grows into a strong convincing of the imagination across numerous violations.

The following Emperor also takes a relatively slow consumptive meandering of the senses and psyche, its smouldering toxicity expressing a transfixing furnace of inventive manipulation and technical maliciousness which tests and provokes the listener into eager if distressed attention. Its successor Defiled Servitude is much the same, it’s even more bedlamic ingenuity and torrent of ideas a gripping yet nasty compromise for the passions and imagination. Repetition, a tempting drone, and sonic psychosis all litter the experiment on the psyche whilst its riffery and rhythmic frame enslave a now greedy appetite for the assault of the album.

Dying Dogma is completed by Charogne and Silent Agony, both two more mountainous and monstrous sonically esurient savages built on technical invention and warped imagination. The first of the pair offers the album’s most contagious and almost addictively straight forward moment yet, though it still explores a depth of ideation which is just spellbinding. The closing song matches this to leave the album at its strongest point, the track a devil bred slab of creative vehemence that works on every aspect of the senses and emotions. A release for those with a taste for the likes of Gorguts, Cryptopsy, Immolation, and Devourment, Dying Dogma is an album which makes you work and work hard before revealing its full might but makes it all worthwhile in the long run. If an easy metal driven life is for you than Hybreed Chaos certainly is not.

https://www.facebook.com/HybreedChaos

8/10

RingMaster 29/10/2013

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Kill With Hate – Voices Of Obliteration

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From making an immediately contagious introduction at its start to ending up as one of the most enjoyably violating brutal romps to come along this year to date, Voices Of Obliteration the debut album from Hungarian death metallers Kill With Hate is an album all extreme metal fans should make an acquaintance with. From its mighty start the album is a constant treat with extra fires of quality emerging throughout and though it is questionable as to how much originality the Budapest quintet has forged into their release there is no denying it’s invigorating and thrilling impact.

Formed in December 2007, the band took no time in becoming a potent presence in the metal underground scene of their homeland. Sharing stages with bands such as Onslaught and Moonsorrow, Kill With Hate released their first EP in 2010. Evolution of the Beast was well received from fans and media and helped lead the band into playing with the likes of Job For A Cowboy, As I Lay Dying, and Belphegor. Some line-up changes followed as well as the chance to support The Black Dahlia Murder in 2011, followed by shows with Origin, Psycroptic, Leng Tch’e, and Cannibal Corpse over the next year. 2012 also saw the band record Voices of Obliteration and at the beginning of this, they signed with PRC Music for its CD release.

After the ok intro Revelation (It’s Just Murder), only really notable for its didgeridoo and male cloister union, the album kicks kwh_lowoff its corrosive tempest with Submersion. The track falls upon the ear with riffs and intensive rhythms crowding and abusing their recipients. Taking a brief breath for the grooves and intensity to stake its claim the song explodes again into a tirade of bone snapping drums punches from Bence Turcsák and deliciously insistent riffs and grooved temptation from guitarists Ákos Olt and Márton Hartvig. All the while the bass of Patrik Pornói prowls with predatory malevolence to further intimidate whilst the guttural scowls of Krisztián Gyémánt reap caustic treachery with the lyrical intent to exhaust the emotions further. With a latter flame of sonic melodic teasing which is enjoyable if short on impact, the track is a very satisfying murderous confrontation with destruction on its mind.

The short roll of crisp drum raps aligned to a deep bass groan opens the way for another furnace of violence from The Beast Within. The track is an outstanding carnivorous fury with  death and black metal styled vocals unleashing their dual malice upon a driving energy of riffs and vengeful rhythms. Unrelenting and merciless, the carnage of the torrential hellacious drumming and equally demanding and imposing riffs taking its toll on body and psyche, it simply leaves a wasted carcass grinning from ear to ear in its wake. At this point the album has made a strong persuasion and ignited greedy passions which the following Servant of God, Epistle of Fire, and Pray for War confidently and competently continue. Fair to say the trio of songs do not live up to their predecessors or others to follow but all leave a depth of pleasure and accomplished temptation which for many other releases would be their highlights.

A new heightened barrage of vindictive enterprise breaks free within Doubt to return the experience to the levels forged at the beginning and take them beyond. A ravenous sacking of the ear coursing with the now expected ferocity from the band and their imagination, the song wrongs foot by going against type with a scintillating twist of melodic guitar and similarly gaited bass lines  which offer a rock voice within the cavernous aural vehemence around and above them. It is a surprising and exhilarating thrust of invention within ultimately a tsunami like blitzkrieg. Imprisoned then takes over to offer an individual and equalling marauding storm of invasive spite. Mixing up vocal styles again as well as rippling with sonic intrigue and mastery from the guitars, the riff and rhythm incursion chains and enslaves with blistering efficiency. It is a maelstrom of energy, sounds, and black hearted passion honed into a tumultuous and inescapable nasty pleasure.

Completed by Speeches of the Defendant and a decent cover of Internal, a song of old Hungarian death metal band Extreme Deformity, Voices Of Obliteration is an excellent album from which it is hard to find anything not to hungrily like. Originality is debatably scarce maybe but the great sounds and violently aggressive encounter given, more than makes up for it. With this album, Kill With Hate is poised to find awareness well beyond their home borders one suspects.

http://www.killwithhate.com

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8/10

RingMaster 17/04/2013

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Gorelust: Reign Of Lunacy

gorelust

Eighteen years after its release, Reign of Lunacy the one and only album so far from Canadian death metallers Gorelust, gets its reissue through PRC Music whose owner also incidentally gave the album its first appearance. With a proposed new release planned for late 2013, the re-release from one of the most impressive bands of the Quebec death metal scene will be a welcome treat for all fans of the genre, especially those leaning towards the sounds of Suffocation, Mortuary, and Monstrosity.

Regarded as one of the best live bands of their time, the young Quebec band disbanded within the year of the release of Reign Of Lunacy in 1995. The release itself was limited to 1000 units when released by New World Symphony Records and has since changed hands at amounts leading up to $100 a time as well as getting bootlegged by Cryptic Soul Productions in Italy. The true re-release will thrill a legion of death metal fans wanting to own a copy of an album which should be regarded as a classic, and with the recent announcement of the return of the original line-up to finally make a follow-up album next year, you can only expect an eager devouring of Reign Of Lunacy this time around.

The album has been dedicated to Steeve Hurdle of Gorguts who sadly passed away earlier this year and who alongside band mate Luc Lemay at the time, contributed backing vocals to Reign Of Lunacy. The album is a raw and brutal exercise for the senses, a merciless assault of technical and uncompromising death metal brought by the combined might of vocalist Jean Beaulieu, guitarist Martin Fournier, bassist Pascal Chevrier, and Francis Marmen on drums.

From the staggering first track right through to the closing violation Infant Devourment, the album is an insidious capture of the imagination and passions, an extreme metal corruption which you eagerly welcome. The release sounds just as fresh as it did back in the day which is impressive with the spoiling of digital technology since. The track Gorelust opens things up and has the senses drooling with its towering vicious rhythms driving that delicious raptorial bass of Chevrier and the scorching imagination and flesh searing sonics of the guitar from Fournier, their union irresistible as they twist and damage the synapses. The vocals of Beaulieu are unreservedly intimidating and stand as one of the most formidable when placed in the company of other great malicious vocalists which graced the genre then and since.

As tracks like the spiteful Abhorence Beyond Repugnance and rabid Sclerosed Brain Eater infest, the album declares itself as still a measure new bands should become acquainted with when looking for an inventive yet debilitating presence. It is impossible not to feel a little saddened that the band never managed to remain intact, the sounds and might which may have come our way, but with the proposed Gorelust release of next year excitement reigns over the past.

For any genre fan yet to be touched by Gorelust, being churned up and molested by the nasty malevolence provided by the title track and Indigestible Human Remains, let alone the cell invading venom of Anthropophagist, is going to not only be an well overdue surprise but a primal devastating treat which will shape their tastes and preferences. Reign of Lunacy is one of the true death metal classics and a must have for all genre and extreme metal fans. It is the time to become acquainted or reintroduced to one of the greats well in time for what will be their highly anticipated return.

https://www.facebook.com/gorelustband

Ring Master 03/12/2012

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Doom’s Day: The Unholy

Doom's Day

Though arguably offering more promise for the future than major satisfaction in the now, The Unholy the debut album from Canadian  occult metal/horror punk band Doom’s Day is still a recommended investigation if the likes of Mercyful Fate, Venom, Ghost, and early Misfits grab the imagination. There is also an eighties essence to the sound which pervades the eight songs which make up the release bringing spicery from the likes of Joy Division, Sex Gang Children, and Fields of The Nephilim into the mix. It is a far from flawless release but given time makes a more than decent persuasion that this is a band to keep an eye on.

The Québec based band has been making big waves in their surrounding area since forming earlier this year, soon moving from a small project into a full band for shows around their province. The Unholy was originally released as a hand numbered CDR consisting of just 50 copies, but soon came to the attention of PRC Music owner Remi Cote. Impressed by what he heard and no doubt the promise ahead, his label has re-released the album on CD and digitally. It is a release proudly steeped in the musical past but with the intent to embroil things with a freshness of modern imagination and opinion, it is debatable how successful it is in that but certainly engages enough to incite returns to its sounds and inspire intrigue ahead.

From the opening track Overture, a gothic cathedral instrumental breath within an oppressive storm, the album enters fully with dooms_day_lowresthe title track. Dark heavy riffs and Hammond organ like keys merge for a heated embrace upon the ear which holds many similarities to fellow Canadians, the excellent New Jacobin Club. The gruff unpolished vocals stand aside from the strong guitar play and scorched melodic  touches to add an abrasive bite to the track. It is quite a compelling song despite the weak production, a trait for the whole release which manages to leave the strong aspects of the album rather lifeless and the raw unrewarding parts accentuated. It is a more than decent start though inspiring good expectations for the rest of the release.

The following trio of songs She’s Possessed, Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, and Sabbath Deadly Sabbath do not exactly live up to the hopes though most again offer things which suggest the possibility of good things coming from the band on the future horizon. The first of the three has a great female vocal alongside the restrained and tempered delivery of vocalist Doom, it makes for a magnetic encounter lined with hypnotic rhythms and a snarling bass  within the sonic wash of guitar. A short and crisp track it is certainly one of the better efforts on the album to ensure continued investigation. The metallic groove of the second song makes an enticing additive to another strong enough song whilst the latter is a bland formulaic song but one fans of classic metal will find something to latch onto.

The best moments of the album are kept to the end with The Sorceress and its great Bauhaus like opening, the muscular Your Last Breath, and the closing Ghost Of Fate. The smoother vocals of the first pair of the songs are a definite plus to the sound of the band and used within a sinewy and formidable intensity works a treat. The last track Ghost of Fate is a great tease of what one senses hopefully will be ahead with Doom’s Day, the song a rampaging well thought out merge of riling energy and melodic craft.

The Unholy is overall enjoyable with its strengths managing to outshine its negatives but it does lack the spark to ignite any real passion for its contents. Placed in a studio with a top producer who can breathe life into their certain creativity and the band itself discovering a unique heart to their invention, it is not too hard to imagine Doom’s Day turning into a more notable ingredient within occult metal.

https://www.facebook.com/dooms666day

RingMaster 03/12/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Negativa: Self Titled EP

Arguably like a blob fish, an ugly baby, or Shane MacGowan, the beauty within the self titled EP from technical death metalers Negativa, is one which only a mother can see and love. Well her and those of us who find discord and chaotic imagination the only truly fresh thing in music today. The release really is a thing of beauty, a corrupted and disfigured beauty for sure, but still something starkly beautiful and intrusively stirring.

The three track EP first came out in 2006 as a limited release of 1000 copies, making physical copies highly sought after and near impossible to find. Now re-released through PRC Music, the release shows the band not only ahead of their time but probably still streets ahead of what mass consumption is ready for.

The Canadian band was formed by guitarist/ vocalist Steeve Hurdle (Gorguts ,Purulence)and guitarist/ vocalist Luc Lemay(Gorguts). The EP also sees drummer  Etienne Gallo (Augury, Neuraxis, Aborted) and bassist Miguel Valade (Ion Dissonnance) bringing their distinct imagination and skills to the canvas that was Negativa. The music the quartet spawn is staggering and in just a trio of tracks leaves most other bands struggling to match ideas let alone their realisation. The band since the original release of the EP has seen line-up changes with Lemay one to leave, but all things found true perspective with the passing away of Steeve Hurdle in May of this year aged 41. The release is an impactful and impressive aural monument to Hurdle and the band which leaves a saddened pleasure to its colossal magnificence.

Opener Chaos In Motion preys on the senses immediately with crippling scythes of guitar dishing out blistering destructive discordance. With rhythms from Gallo expelling the breath from the body through its vicious and disorientating attack and vocals as abrasive as high grade sand paper upon the ear, the track is an immoral and delicious sonic cluster bomb of intent and originality. Though a completely different genre the track takes one back to bands like The Fire Engines and Diagram Brothers from the eighties, two more who use discord as a full ingredient , exploring its textures and properties. Negativa go much further igniting its life and shadows with a madness of creativity which envelopes and challenges every synapse and a power which is equally demented and far reaching .

The following epic Thedium Vitae is a monster of a track. It crawls and prowls all over the body disrupting all senses, thoughts, and emotions. The track throws a spanner into rational thought and emotional safety to confound and cripple sanity during its venomous mesmeric assault. From its consuming energy the track intensifies into a brawling clash of rhythms, riffs, and indecipherable but wholly contagious scarred notes. The track is ever evolving, a seemingly maniacal improvisation, but all is perfectly and ingeniously structured to singe and scorch deeply with intense thought and imaginative creative malice the conjurors. The sounds and release as a whole, is a nightmare in sonic form giving no escape and perpetually incessant in its intent, and most of all simply blackened annihilatory beauty.

Closing with the slightly jazzy Rebellion, if that term can be applied to sounds which almost defy description, the release is incredible. This song treads and ultimately stomps over the debris already left in the wake of its conspirators to unleash its own dazzling and dehabilitating majesty. The EP is confrontational and inspiring, ruinous and so refreshing, and without doubt one of the most impressive things heard in a long time. Thank goodness there has been another and for some of us a first chance, to enjoy its towering brilliance.

Negativa is tagged as progressive death metal primarily but this goes far beyond that to have its own unique stature and world. As stated earlier the kind of references and comparisons which come to mind are far from being death metal bands, those earlier unique sounds added to by at a push the likes of Kunz, Coilguns and Dope Body, maybe even Morkobot to try and give some idea of the genius at play on the EP, but it is something distinctly different and special. If you want something to bring back the thrill, danger, and menace which has been generally lost in music, then go and let Negativa do their glorious worst.

RingMaster 15/08/2012

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Stalwart – Manifest of Refusal

Sometimes music and metal in particular does not make sense. Take a band like Russian death metallers Stalwart. They have just released their stunning new album Manifest of Refusal, their fifth full length release and one of such creative might and devastating power it is easily one of the most impressive releases of the year. But have you heard of them? Certainly this is our first introduction to them. From those that do know of them, and it is a mere handful it seems, the band has been producing striking music throughout their formation in 1999 but still they are an unknown joy. Maybe it is a prejudice to and assumption of the music from their homeland but it is staggering that they still are invisible to most. Hopefully with the simply outstanding Manifest of Refusal that will shortly change.

Stalwart is labelled as predominently death metal but there is so much more to their sound. Death metal is just a bulky flavour matched in mass and strength by a mix of technical and groove metal with large veins of industrial and progressive metal. Imagine a mutated offspring of Behemoth, Morbid Angel, Meshuggah, Fear Factory, and Livarkahil and you get an idea of the diverse and mighty sounds the band lay waste to the ear with. They produce extreme metal with imagination and the darkest thought for a resulting glorious consumption of mind, body and soul.

Released through PRC Music, Manifest of Refusal searches out and fills every sense, thought and emotion. From the opening chimes of the opening leviathan The Karma Circle and its heralding of what is about to emerge the track seizes full attention with force and drama. Crushing riffs, skull wrecking rhythms, and an intensity to topple continents soon overrun the ear to devastating effect. The song proceeds to pick upon and blister the senses with raging torrents of aggressive energy whilst slipping into partial lulls to wipe the wound clean before ripping it open once more. The guitars of  Leonid and Antuan weave in and out with stirring riffs and cutting melodies like fighter pilots picking their spot to for fullest impact and intrusion whilst the drums of Alex are as hypnotic as they are vicious, his skill and intensity beyond impressive.

From the opener alone the vocals leave one surprised and eager, the delivery of Oleg Sobolevsky ably backed by bassist Demian, are as varied and imaginative as the music. He veers from growls to clean through a gamut of variations to ensure the unpredictability is in every aspect of the album. The following Downgrade Evolution easily confirms this fine display, the track another compulsive corruption of the ear.

As the songs rip chunks off the senses one by one there is nothing but the deepest pleasure and satisfaction. The songs surge up and leave their own deeply furrowed individual mark one by one to make the release an unrelenting assault and persistent muscular invention. Tracks like Rise Of The Ninth Wave with excellent bass play from Demian, the intimidating spectacular Corrosion with its slightly chaotic ingenuity and startling detours, and the brilliant disruptive mesmeric title track, leave one grasping onto anything for security and support against the stunning aural cataclysm.

Great as the whole album is Idol Of The Time easily grabs best track acclaim, the song a riot of punishing rhythms and vengeful riffs. With vocals as coarse and malicious as the sounds the track obliterates every synapse and emotion daring to step in its way. It is the growling bass of Demian which steals the fullest praise though as he stalks and underpins the song with the frightening might of a bear with its temperament and attitude in tow.

Manifest of Refusal is easily a contender for album of the year not only in Russia but worldwide, it and Stalwart just need people to finally take notice is all.

RingMaster 24/05/2012

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