Tides of change: Talking Currents with In Vain

Photo by Jørn Veberg

There have already been some truly striking releases in 2018 and maybe no more so than the new album from Norwegian metallers In Vain. Currents is a progressive metal adventure which surprises at every twist and enthrals at every turn. With big thanks to him, we recently had the pleasure to explore the album closely with guitarist/songwriter Johnar Håland and the band, getting to its heart, its journey to release and much more….

Hi Guys, many thanks for sparring your time to talk with us.

It is fair to say that it is a busy time for the band with the recent release of your new album, Currents. Have you had time to sit back and reflect on its initial success and plaudits yet?

Hi! Thanks for your review and for taking the time to do this interview. Things are quieting down a bit now and as you say, the feedback has been really good. However, I am not really a person who looks back. My thoughts are more focused on the next album.

It seems that you have spent a long time in its creation, that time certainly reflected and heard in all its honed intricacies and bold adventures. What is the time scale for its creation?

Our previous album, Ænigma, was released in 2013 and there seems to be people who think we spent five years writing this album. That is not the case. There are several reasons for why this album was delayed. Personal issues forced me to put composing on halt for almost a year, and with me being the only songwriter in the band that forced the whole process to a standstill. In addition, I was working on the debut album of my other band, From Strength to Strength, which is a hardcore band that will release its debut album some time during 2018. On top of that I spent the majority of my spare time reading for the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst), which is a self-study in finance I have been doing the last three years besides my full-time job. The album was actually finished in June 2017, but we could not set a release date until we had a proper tour booked to support the release. So there are many reasons for this long delay. Hopefully it will not take five years until the next album!

I am sure you will not disagree with us when we say it is your biggest, boldest, and most imaginative release. Did you have any specific aims when writing and creating Currents or it just organically evolved into what we hear?

I am not really sure to be honest. Our debut album The Latter Rain (2007) was also quite bold. Back then we were a totally new and unknown band who released an album of one hour with grandiose and complex music supported by 20 guest musicians. So that was definitely a brave musical undertaking.

In all aspects, we feel Currents eclipses its acclaimed and also richly enjoyable predecessor, Ænigma. Where do you see the biggest evolution?

To be honest, I am not a fan of comparing music. In my opinion, Currents is another strong album in our catalogue. It is a very diverse album full of contrasts and has high-quality music with longevity. I take it as a sign of quality that there are different opinions with regards to which of our albums people enjoy the most. I do not believe Currents is that much different from our previous work, but there are some changes. The production is more organic, there are some shorter songs and it is less black metal compared with our previous releases.

Currents embraces the widest array of flavours and styles in your sound yet, a truly expansive landscape weaved around bold yet often delicate contrasts but it still has that signature In Vain breath. Did you have to concentrate on keeping that character or it again just naturally evolved as indeed that broad tapestry of sound?

I think it is just a natural evolution to be honest. I do not really think that the music is that much different from our previous releases, however there are some new elements. For instance we have one song, Soul Adventurer, with mainly clean vocals. We also have a song with acapella choirs, Blood We Shed, and that is something we have not done before.

You linked up, as for the previous album, with producer Jens Bogren. It is fair to say he gets your sound and imagination but what does he especially bring to the mix which you feel adds to the realisation of your ideas?

We were very pleased with Jens’ work on Ænigma. We did not really have any other alternatives at hand and decided to go back to him. We wanted a much more organic sound this time around though, and I think we achieved that. Jens usually knows what we want and I think we have the same views on what sounds good and not.

Give us some insight into the recording of the album.

All the guitars and bass were recorded in my home studio, except for some lead guitar solos that Kjetil recorded at his home. Vocals and other instruments were recorded in Strand Studio in Oslo. Everything was re-amped by Jens Bogren and he also did the whole mixing and mastering of the album. However, we were never present in his studio and only communicated with him via email and phone.

We have had the real pleasure of having an insight into the lyrical side of the album ahead of its emergence. Can you share some of the themes and inspirations to the songs?

Currents is not a concept album in the traditional sense, however there is a topic and a red line in the music, lyrics and artwork. Currents, reflects on the colossal shifts and changes of our time. The present world is characterized by continental flows of people, traditions and cultures. Migration of people across continents and borders…Cultures merging. Dramatic shifts in lifestyle from one generation to the next. This topic exists in both the lyrics and the music however we only touch upon it in an abstract way with a top-down view. It is important for me to clarify that we do not have any direct political views on this matter reflected in our lyrics.  Besides that, the lyrical themes are varied, ranging from personal experiences and struggles, to contemplations on nature, philosophy and the historical and political development of this twisted world we´re living in.

Was there a particular process to the writing of songs for Currents?

The process was the same as previously. I write the songs alone and present complete compositions to the rest of the band. Later on I involve Sindre in the preproduction, as he also lives in Oslo. All members are free to add their personal touch to the songs and to give suggestions, but as the songwriter I have the final word.

It also sees a few guests such as drummer Baard Kolstad (Leprous, Borknagar), vocalist and former band member Kristian Wikstøl (From Strength to Strength), and vocalist Matthew Kiichi Heafy (Trivium). Were these happy happenings or thought of early on in the album’s creation?

This was something we decided on during the preproduction process. All the guests added their personal touch to the album and we are very pleased with their performance.

I know as for so many bands finances make a major part in decisions and possibilities in keeping going let alone forging ahead with releases, tours etc. for In Vain. How did this put restraints on Currents and do you see crowd funding as a feasible way forward?

We are fortunate to be able to record albums of the quality we prefer. The total budget for this album is around 50 000 EUR I guess, so hopefully people understand that they need to support us financially if they want to hear more In Vain albums in the future. We have not paid anything out of our own pockets. The label pays and we are also fortunate to get some financial support from various grants in Norway. However, the label obviously needs to get in break-even before we will get any part of the potential profit. Touring is more challenging and a tour costs a lot of money. Financing definitely puts a limit on how many tours we are able to do.

As with your previous albums, Currents is available through Indie Recordings. How have they helped, apart from the obvious, in bringing the album to our ears?

We have been with Indie Recordings since 2005 and we are actually the first band they ever signed. We have a good relationship with them. Obviously there are things that could be better, but that is always the case.

For those new to In Vain can you tell them about the beginnings of the band…the early days?

In Vain is a Norwegian band that plays progressive extreme metal and was formed in 2003. Andreas (vocals), Sindre (vocals) and myself (guitar) are the founding members, while Kjetil (guitar) joined the band in 2009 during the recording of our second album Mantra. Our bassist Alex has been around since 2013 and our drummer Tobias joined us recently. So far we have released four albums and two EPs, and we signed with Indie Recordings after releasing our second EP Wounds in 2005. Our latest album Currents was released on 26 January 2018 and we just came back from a European tour with Orphaned Land, Subterranean Masquerade and Aevum.

What is next for In Vain, shows etc. and once the dust of its triumph settles ahead?

We just came back from a European tour with Orphaned Land, Subterranean Masquerade and Aevum. We covered London, France, Spain, Arnhem and Essen. Our hope is to do another tour later in the year where we cover the countries we did not have the chance to go to on this tour. Besides that we will play some shows in Norway and some festivals.

Once again big thanks for giving us your time. Any last words you would like to share?

Thank you very much for your support, we appreciate it! To the readers; keep supporting great music, have a go at our new album Currents, and stop by our FB page at https://www.facebook.com/InVainOfficial/ for news, music, tour dates and other stuff.

Check out the review of Currents @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2018/02/04/in-vain-currents/

http://www.invain.org/     https://twitter.com/invainofficial

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 07/04/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Hyvmine – Earthquake

High praise has been brewing up around Los Angeles quartet Hyvmine and it is not too hard to understand why listening to their debut album, Earthquake. The release is a tapestry of attention gripping craft and substance, an encounter woven with individual style and enterprise united with a single rock ‘n’ roll intent.

Hyvmine could be said to be a proposition built around or for the striking technical skill and open imagination of lead guitarist/vocalist Al Joseph but the band’s first album soon shows it is all about four very talented musicians bringing individual prowess to a common guile and aim. Their sound is a magnetic fusion of progressive metal, hard rock, and grunge, a weave which at times ebbs and flows in its imagination stoking qualities and success but is never less than one seriously fascinating and enjoyable proposal.

Earthquake wakes upon ears with Shift, keys like suggestive mist immersing the senses before piano and guitar cast their own inviting welcome. Al’s earthier vocals step forward soon after bringing grunge nurtured hues with him, the song already aligning a mix of flavours and only continues to broaden its web as Al’s guitar paints its creative intent around the rousing rhythmic rumble sprung by bassist Christopher Joseph and drummer Fabrizio Cavallaro. With veins of progressive and heavy metal continuing to escape the strings of Al and fellow guitarist Alon Mei-Tal, the track simply lures intrigue and increasingly keen attention.

The following Mirror Master opens with a bass led grumble, a Sick Puppies like breath joining it as the song swiftly eclipses its predecessor. Veins of technical dexterity and cunning ensure the imagination is persistently caught unawares and pleasured as wholly as ears, the track bursting from its earthier canvas like a firework before settling down to similarly enticing heavier rock incitement. It is a weave emulated across the album in numerously individual ways, as the following Shogun shows with its instinctive rapacious growl and Seether-esque croon. Flowing through mellower scenes, the backing vocals of Alon a warm caress, and steelier climes, the song seduces and snarls with equal tenacity and temptation.

All Of Creation brings its own braid of menace and melody next, grooves winding around the senses as vocals and melodies smoulder if with a great gravelly raw edge especially in the former. If you can imagine a fusion of TesseracT and Stone Temple Pilots, this absorbing track could very well epitomise your thoughts. Again Al’s skills radiate but as elsewhere they are never, even with the startling twists leading to his strands of creative flair, forced upon ears but organically embraced with a track’s roar.

The album’s melodically seductive title track engagingly, almost lovingly, wraps around the listener but still holds a thick growl in its depths while Fire Escape prowls with a plaintive grouchiness as it flirts and challenges with a funk infused, predation lined shuffle. Each left a definite want for more, a lure pretty much all tracks within Earthquake sow as echoed by the melodically atmospheric Elysium. Like a heavy rock equivalent of The Christians meets Voyager, the song is pure mesmerism, its metallic touch addictive and harmonic heart irresistible.

The album closes with firstly the similarly hued but firmly hard rock nurtured Great Divide and lastly the flaming almost tempestuous Cliffhanger. Neither song quite ignited the appetite as their predecessors but both just left an already bred intent to enjoy the album again and again a little more urgent each offering moments of real mouth-watering adventure within their bodies.

Though making a great first impression, Earthquake really grows with every listen, recognisable aspects aligning with uniqueness for one thoroughly pleasurable encounter.

Earthquake is out now through Seek and Strike, available @ https://hyvmine.bandcamp.com/releases and https://seekandstrikemerch.com/products/hyvmine-earthquake-cd

https://www.facebook.com/hyvmineband/

Pete RingMaster 23/01/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Arcaeon – Balance EP

Sometimes a debut comes along which sets you back on your heels and forcibly drags a declaration of “something special and its creators heading towards making a major impact”. British metallers Arcaeon has unveiled one of those moments with the Balance EP. It presents five tracks of the band’s striking sound, a fusion of melodic metalcore with groove, progressive, and technical metal. It is an equal mix of all living up to the EP’s title with even more to captivate ears and imagination with. Quite simply it is superb and from a band still to complete its first year which only adds to the excitement and anticipation of things ahead.

Hailing from Reading, the quintet has already earned keen plaudits from sharing stages with the likes of Devil Sold His Soul, The Voynich Code, and The Arusha Accord, and can expect a tide of more with the release of Balance which they are planning to support with a UK tour.

It opens with Endeavour, slipping in on a melodic shimmer flickering with crystalline melodies. Rhythms occasionally break the calm, laying intent for the following web of grooves and vocals growls to emulate. Already a nest of progressive and technical metal rapacity, the track envelops the raw throated throes of vocalist William Alex Young though in quick time he shows his dexterity in warm and melodic expression potently backed by the vocal harmonies of guitarist Sam Machin. In turn his and the enterprise of fellow guitarist Rhys Thomas weaves even greater drama and technical adventure, the track evolving by the twist and turn into a mouth-watering unpredictable treat.

It is an ear and imagination stirring start which still gets eclipsed by the following Fade. With predacious beats from Joe Farrell stalking an electric tease, the song is soon a jungle of grooves, melodic tendrils, and invasive rhythms led by the compelling groan of Eifion Sweet’s bass. The song’s initial growl mellows out as Young swings from his raw attack to warm emotions, melodic radiance twinkling within the heavier grooved netting. As with its predecessor, things barely settle for more than a few breaths before fresh turns are made, the individual craft of the band as gripping as their united mastery and exploration of their sound and songwriting. It is less of an examination than the previous track but still nurturing some moments of almost primal creative hunger before Mind’s Eye takes over twisting the senses.

The third track arrives on sonic mist, but soon enveloping ears in a web of thick wiry grooves as melodic crystals glitter. The beguiling landscape soon welcomes Young’s mellow touch which almost as quickly breeds grouchier textures; a move echoed in the ever mercurial flight of sound. With jazzier hues and caustic ferocity blossoming across its fascinating landscape, the track is a relentless temptation on its way towards the EP’s pinnacle, Dysaxis. The outstanding track leaps upon the senses from an industrial scented lead, vocals and riffs digging in their aggressive claws as grooves invades and rhythms badger. It is a metalcore bred insurgency which effortlessly dips into a siren-esque progressive detour, the track returning to its predatory intent with greater groove and alternative metal enterprise to the fore. Each following cycle brings a fresh shade of flavour and invention, and all nagging the senses and passion with an insatiable appetite.

Legacies completes the line-up, its melodic beauty a swift wash of endeavour matched by the warmth of vocals. Though less tempestuous than its companions and especially its predecessor, the track has a fire in its belly and a lingering rage on its lips which erupts to break the gossamer hued climate. Ensuring the EP ends on a matching high to its beginnings, the song epitomises the skilled almost majestic weave Arcaeon casts in each and every track.

Balance is a magnet for ears and pleasure, and quite easy to suggest the first outstanding steps of a band already walking the lips of special.

The Balance EP is released January 26th @ https://arcaeon.bandcamp.com/album/balance

http://arcaeonuk.com/    https://www.facebook.com/arcaeonuk

Pete RingMaster 17/01/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Shadowpath – Rumours of a Coming Dawn

Released earlier this year with a more recent and wider reboot, Rumours of a Coming Dawn is the debut album from Swizz metallers Shadowpath. It is also one of those encounters which certainly makes a strong impression first time around but grows in potency and pleasure as subsequent ventures into its depths reveals the true imagination and craft at its heart.

Originally called Wishpond, Shadowpath weave a multi-flavoured sound drawn from the attributes of power and symphonic to progressive and death metal, taking in inspirations ranging from Opeth, Dark Tranquillity, Everon, J.S. Bach, Katatonia, Lamb of God, Amon Amarth, Tesseract, Dream Theater, and Nightwish amongst many others. The band’s personnel  has changed a fair bit over time but by 2015, the line-up of vocalist Gisselle Rousseau, keyboardist/vocalist/songwriter Philipp Bohny, guitarist Stefano Riario, bassist Amos Zürcher, and drummer Samuel Baumann came together and proceeded to work on this first album across the following year.

Each of the eight tracks within Rumours of a Coming Dawn are individual slices of creative theatre in an overall play, many epic productions and all woven and cast upon the listener with an instinctive passion and imagination. Each also provides a web of layers and textures which unveils new twists and fresh aspects with every listen, a major reason why it grows in impressiveness over attentive time.

The opening introduction of Prelude to Agony is the most straight forward proposal of all within the album, its invitation an atmospheric overture to things to come. Its stormy entrance brings with it the elegant melancholy of the piano and as swiftly the vocal prowess of Rousseau. Her harmonic cries then spark the more portentous air of storm and track with rhythms imposing yet restrained and melodies funereal even in their liveliness as flames of guitar descend. It is an imagination stirring start soon spawning the tempestuous throes of Chaos Equation. Instantly guitars and keys collude in a magnetic tapestry, the grumble of the bass and senses clipping beats lining the heated union with darker almost predacious hues. Rousseau’s symphonic nurtured delivery is a glassy reflection of word and emotion and superbly contrasted by Bohny’s earthy growls; it all uniting for a captivating tempest as potent in its electronic invention as in its extreme metal bred trespass.

The following Seed of Hope makes a calmer entrance, Rousseau and piano aligning their melodic suggestiveness before a rise of dark drama erupts, settling down again to begin repeating the dramatic cycle. As its predecessor, the track has many familiar aspects to it and plenty of unique features which combine for a compelling and increasingly striking proposal. The individual craft of the band is inescapable; Bohny and Riario especially grabbing attention within the song though as it evolves everyone makes a rich impact.

Every track is an adventure never settling into one direction, perpetually unpredictable and as a result fascinating though none more so than the album’s best moment, The Impossible Chain. It easily outshines those around it, instantly stirring the passions with its outstanding start. The dark noir stroll of the bass within the dancing threat of drums is simply delicious, manna to personal tastes and things only escalate in pleasure as keys spread their suggestive wash and guitars spring their devilish almost salacious tempting. Once Bohny’s raw throated tones open with demonic intimidation, the track has an unshakeable grip. Then mellower twists and harmonic beauty comes with skittish rhythms, the climate change as beguiling as the aggressive trespasses are thrilling, as too is Rousseau varying her more expected symphonic metal delivery with more organic and grounded exploits, an excellent move hopefully she will explore further ahead as it equally stands out over the next pair of songs. A scenic break midway in the song is just a tempting breath before it returns to even more adventurous and surprising endeavours, setting a major pinnacle within the release by its conclusion.

Next up Another Inquisitor makes a thick attempt at rivalling its majesty, the song an intricately designed maze of electronic, melodic, and fierce metal dexterity with folk seeded progressiveness. Rousseau again pushes her range and adventure to fine effect whilst musically the song never gives a moment to settle in one flavour or style, again to rich success before Deny me opens like a relaxed bloom into a fiery display of sonic colour and creative magnetism. Though it does not quite match up to the previous two, the song simply enthrals from start to finish.

The album concludes through firstly For a Final Ultimatum, a cauldron of contrasting often battling textures and inescapably infectious enterprise, and finally Beta, a mercurial serenade of self-reflection and melancholic fire which ebbs and flows in volatility as it charms ears and imagination. It is a thunderous finale to the album, even in its calm flights having an instinctive power which lends to its vice like hold on attention.

Shadowpath create music which manages to be chilling and haunting as simultaneously it is warm and inviting, threatening and ravaging. The evidence is all there within Rumours of a Coming Dawn, a release which may not be perfect but has all the seeds to evoke real enjoyment and the anticipation of major things ahead.

Rumours of a Coming Dawn is available now through the band’s Facebook page and website.

http://www.shadowpath.ch    https://www.facebook.com/shadowpath.band    https://twitter.com/shadowpath_band    http://www.instagram.com/shadowpath_band

Pete RingMaster 01/12/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Lark – Self Titled

Their sound is described as progressive sludge/stoner metal but as the debut EP from Lark reveals, it is a broadly flavoured proposition truthfully rather hard to totally pin down. The creation of the Mizzi brothers, it is maybe no surprise that it is a multi-layered and styled proposition; Raph the former guitarist and lead singer of Sail In Between and former bassist of Angher Incorporated bringing a passion for and experience of hardcore and progressive metal while Zach, ex-drummer of Bright Curse, has nurtured his craft within stoner, psyche and hard rock adventures. They have melded their talents, experiences, and tastes for a brand new exploration, one which has ears and imagination pretty much enthralled from the first to last moments of their first offering.

Though immersed in music for numerous years, surprisingly the uniting of their enterprise and invention only came earlier this year, from which the EP emerged with the help of Robin Mariat of Grey Matter Studio France, Chris Painter of Red Roof Sounds, Marco of Marc&Cheese, and Jake Read of Living Room Studios, all London based studios. Said to be inspired by the likes of Mastodon, Opeth, Gojira, Black Peaks, and Russian Circles, many essences easy to surmise, the EP immediately has attention held with opener Hailstorm. Instantly an inviting wall of sound presses on ears, its potent lure the spring board for a charge of hungry riffs and spicy grooves ridden by equally enticing vocals. Both men holler and croon with melodic dexterity, guitars weaving a matching web of suggestion and enterprise as rhythms rumble. A fusion of post and progressive metal with grooved and melodic imagination, the song continues to evolve and tempt; that varied sound fuelling its increasingly compelling character and imagination.

It is an impressive start quickly backed by the tantalising endeavours of Red Eye. Though its air is warm and melodic prowess magnetic there is a dystopian tone to its breath shaped by the raw throated vocals and dark hearted grooves. It is a compelling blend which, as simply the gait of the song has the body bouncing, has ears and thoughts hooked. Raw but beauty laded, the track swiftly and increasingly gets under the skin, its strength in its instrumental prowess but potently backed by vocal suggestion and intensity.

The beginning of next up Heavy defies its title, its gentle melodic caress aural poetry but soon departing for the portentous tower of atmosphere and thickly toned sound which looms around vocal trespass. Sludgy bordering on the pestilential, the track is a blackened suffocation veined by melodic wires which shimmer with temptation. Though not quite finding the heights of the first pair, the song is raw captivation keeping expectations guessing and attention keen before Too Far Gone shares its post rock beauty and tempestuous emotions. Once more a host of metal bred shades and heavy rock essences collude in a kaleidoscopic tapestry, and again the imagination and appetite can only keenly sink into its creative landscape.

Decay brings things to a close, the track a vexed and portentous proposal crafted with melodic dexterity and emotional turmoil as dark storms simmer and erupt. Maybe the EP is at its most striking across its first few tracks but it never is less than riveting and ends on an engrossing high with the potential of greater endeavours as ripe as the pleasure found in its varied enticing and imposing soundscape.  It is a release which demands attention for a band you can only think is setting out on one striking adventure for them and us.

The Lark EP is out now as a name your price download @ https://larkbandofficial.bandcamp.com/album/lark

https://www.facebook.com/LarkBandOfficial/    https://www.instagram.com/lark_band/

Pete RingMaster 08/11/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Kill The Unicorn – Prism

The final few words on the press release for Prism, the debut album from Swiss metallers Kill The Unicorn declares that they “are a band to get excited about!” Greedily listening to the eleven track web of sound and intrigue yet one more time to continue concentrated attention it really is impossible to disagree.

Launching from a bed of metalcore ferocity, the album is a kaleidoscope of trespass and suggestion embracing everything from hardcore to groove metal and progressive to post metal whilst fusing an array of funky and jazzy bred psychosis with some classic 8-bit sound mischief. The result is a release which devours and seduces with violence and unpredictability like a deranged dervish; one which is a little unhinged, slightly uncontrolled, and persistently sending ears and imagination to lustful places.

Hailing from Lucerne, Kill The Unicorn emerged in 2014 and took little time in stirring up attention through their live presence which has subsequently seen them share stages with the likes of Promethee, Ghost Iris, Vola, Science of Sleep, Walking Dead on Broadway, Voice of Ruin and many more. 2015 saw the release of a three track demo, an encounter laying the seeds and hints of things to come; the joys and intrigues to be now heard and explored within Prism.

Recorded with producer Aljoscha Sieg (Nasty, Eskimo Callboy, Vitja), Prism hits the ground running with opener Motoko Kusanagi. As the guitar joins an initial 8-bit fingering, a tempest gathers behind, swiftly unleashing its voracious force as rhythms fly and riffs bite. Vocalist Pipo Thalmann is quickly there in the midst growling as a delicious hook and similarly tasty grooves entwine the aggression before the already intensive beats of drummer Matteo Leuthold raise their rabidity and pummel the senses. Already a fusion of metal is at fevered play, expectations are taken to the cleaners by the subsequent twists and turns though the band has still yet to dip into their boldest enterprise hindsight revels. The track is pure bait with the guitars of Ziggy Lebon and Raphael Zumstein as predatory as they are creative conjurors.

The vocal dexterity already suggested within the opener is pushed again within its proper successor, Ode To Spot. Unleashed after the Sinclair-esque loading of Dreams In 56k, riffs and rhythms sink their claws and teeth into eager flesh, the track savaging and gnawing the listener before suddenly turning on its head with a funk/progressive shuffle. Thalmann mixes his throat scuffed squalls with clean vocal and similarly off-kilter expression to match the sounds twisting around him; all the time the bass of Marc Sommerhalder grumbling with bestial discord though eventually even it has to join the swing before a death nurtured storm descends. Like Horse The Band in league with Pryapisme and Cryptopsy, the track consumes the senses before Wormhole To Gliese 556c voraciously infests the psyche with extreme metal hunger and corrosive adventure. Though it never truly deviates from its rapacious remit, the track is just as gripping as its predecessor and unafraid to follow where its instincts wander.

F.U.C.K.U.P. equally has a carnal heart but is soon wrapping its core in System Of A Down like mania and Hardcore Anal Hydrogen similar eccentricity, continually twisting and turning sound, imagination, and the listener alike. There is an early Korn like air to the carnivorous moments before primal outbreak too; adding to a tapestry of unpredictability which hits the spot relentlessly before the progressive beauty and stroll of Me And My Velociraptor invades the imagination with its compelling instrumental. Rousingly and hauntingly infectious, the piece has the body and pleasure bouncing ready for the invasive tone and touch of Conquistador and its tide of punk and metal hostility again impressively steered by the guitars and the vocal prowess of Thalmann. Tightening its grip by the second, the track flings the senses around like a rag doll yet seduces them with nuances and bold turns within its inhospitable consumption.

Through the punishing depths of Catacombs with its maze of sinister deviations and the senses stalking blackened incursion of Ausgefuchst, the album simply reinforces its dexterous invention and uncompromising extreme metal voracity though both tracks have to give way to the even more contentious siege of the senses uncaged by Rendesvouz with Cleopatra. Malevolence drips from every note and syllable here yet equally the band’s untethered imagination soaks every trespassing breath if without revealing the hungry boldness of earlier tracks.

The album ends with Pitch Black VR, a rancorous, skilfully woven and delivered savaging compounding the animosity and inventive craft of Prism with might and boisterousness not forgetting imaginative zeal. It is an unforgiving, mouth-watering conclusion to an album which certainly lit our fires and as that press release suggested it might, our excitement.

Prism is out now and available @ https://killtheunicorn.bandcamp.com/album/prism

http://www.killtheunicorn.com/    https://www.facebook.com/killtheunicornband/

Pete RingMaster 08/11/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Virtual Symmetry – X-Gate

The new EP from Italian progressive metallers Virtual Symmetry, X-Gate is quite simply a theatre of sound, craft, and creative storytelling which keeps ears and imagination greedily engaged from start to finish. Simplicity though is not a feature of the release with every song a kaleidoscope of flavours and styles, each encounter a lure into surreal realms and adventures woven with individual and united craft which alone grabs attention.

Founded by guitarist/ multi-instrumentalist Valerio Æsir Villa, Lugano hailing Virtual Symmetry potently build on the creative landscape and progression of their well-received debut album Message from Eternity of 2016 with X-Gate, creating a web of enterprise and imagination which ensures fascination is an equally lively reaction. There are moments when things settle into a calm temptation, a low key seduction and other times when the EP ignites a real zeal for its dramatic body of sound and invention but always attention is firmly hooked.

X-Gate opens up its exploration of man and its evolutionary possibility, which starts with its artwork, with Eyes of Salvation. Instantly guitars coax the listener with a fiery glaze to their lures before a portentous calm is accompanied by poetic strains of piano from Mark Bravi. Swiftly his additional keys flame up as the rest of the band unites their essences in a rising tide of sound and suggestion. Vocalist Marco Pastorino walks alongside the piano in another mellow passage, his potent voice matched by others within the outfit, before that fire erupts once again with the rhythmic rapacity of bassist Alessandro Poppale and drummer Davide Perpignano driving things. From its first breath, the track is a web of enterprise and thought, a myriad of textures and layers explored better over subsequent listens though its infection loaded chorus is a swift recruitment of ears and involvement. Across its seven plus minutes, the song continues to tease and tempt whilst weaving a fluid collage of styles and theatrical imagination.

It is a great start which has ears and appetite hooked for that to follow starting with the epic flight of Alchymera. For almost a quarter of an hour, the song is a magnet for the senses and thoughts; its celestial and emotional journey especially blessed with keys carrying a definite  Bill Nelson vibe whilst the guitars give Steve Vai like scents to their endeavour. An eighties new wave/synth pop essence also simmers within the track, seductively caressing its more irritable traits while Villa alone brings an emotional drama and moodiness to the track which is absorbed and emulated in the atmospheric climate spreading across the mercurially alluring and skilfully woven landscape.

Elevate completes the release, the track notable alone for the union of Pastorino with the radiant voice of Diane Lee from Swiss melodic progressive metallers Lost Journey. The pair is surrounded by a serenade of sound with volatility in its nature as potent as the emotional drama and invention loaded imagination baring their qualities. The song almost swarms the senses with its charms and fiery heart, breaking into more tempestuous moments throughout to only increase its pull.

It is fair to say that though its strong first showing, X-Gate simply escalates in depth and persuasion over time. Virtual Symmetry is a richly intriguing and tempting proposition from the outskirts of the progressive metal landscape but a prospect increasingly coming to the fore with each offering they make and though the EP might not end up on the year’s best lists come the New Year, but could for many, as one of the most enjoyably fascinating propositions X-Gate is right up there.

The X-Gate EP is out now.

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Pete RingMaster 25/07/2017

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