Virtue In Vain – For All You Know Is The Mask I Wore

Virtue In Vain Promos

Virtue In Vain Promos

Though it makes a strong impact first time around, it is with further intensive attention that For All You Know Is The Mask I Wore from Welsh progressive metalcore band Virtue In Vain wins out and defuses any initial doubts or uncertainties. To be fair there is little about the band’s debut EP which raises any major disagreements between ears and proposition from the start, but being as brutal as it is creatively uncompromising, there is plenty to try and take in which needs time to explore and appreciate. The potential of the band within the release is especially exciting, and fills any moments which do not quite work as well as other elements, with assumptions of greater things to come.

Hailing from Cardiff, Virtue In Vain began in 2012 sparking and spicing their sound with inspirations from the likes of The Devil Wears Prada, Napoleon, Whitechapel, and August Burns Red. Their impact and sound has led the quartet to be regarded as one of the strongest upcoming bands in the UK metal scene, backed impressively by shows alongside bands such as Napoleon, Demoraliser, Dead Harts, Astroid Boys, Ready Set Fall, Lock & Key, Fathoms and many more. Now they are poised to explode upon the nation attention with For All You Know Is The Mask I Wore, a release with more than enough to leave a hungry appetite in its ferocious wake.

virtue in vain     The EP opens with Prologue, a decent enough short instrumental soaked in drama and portentous ambience. Its dark tones do have the imagination supposing something predatory and intensive coming to examine ears, and so it proves to be once Martyrs emerges. A heavy snarling riff is first point of provocation, backed swiftly by uncompromising rhythms and a winy sonic lure of guitar. It is a gripping entrance, enticing bait which subsequently gathers its opening elements together to forge a more direct and slimmer raw incitement growled over by vocalist Hywel Thomas. Venom and antagonism spill from his gutturally bred syllables whilst the guitar of Emyr Thomas dances over the hellacious attack with sonic endeavour. Additional squalls of vocals add good variety whilst the guitars scythe through their attack and the corrosive potency of rhythms with addictive and acidic enterprise. The vicious swings of drummer Luke Sullivan bruise and tenderise the senses whilst the bass of Ryan Jones is a perpetual stalking of song and listener. Continuing to twist and show plenty of imagination in its varying gait, sonic trespass, and creative hostility, the track is an impressive full start to the release.

In Faith, In Ruin leaps in next and immediately has a great almost swinish texture to the vocals to shuffle things up there, whilst riffs and grooves again snarl with almost toxic intent. The more formula tones of Hywel Thomas provide the rawest challenge but variation again ensures that their alluring violation matches the persistently shifting landscape of the song. The intensive and busy nature of the track, as across the EP, means the technical and deeper layers within the encounter are often smothered but given time reveal the strong depths to songs, as shown again with the erosive persuasion of Left Behind. Its more restrained opening subsequently kicks up a gear though still reining in the violence and unleashing an addiction forging groove which lures the listener swiftly into the sonically cancerous and turbulent heart of the song. Aspects like that simply bewitch as does an unexpected and calm passage of melodic beauty which leads to a tempestuous climate, though the more expected sonic raging in the song does feed expectations and enjoyment equally. The potential even in the less striking elements though is inescapable and only adds to the anticipation for what comes next.

My Heart Is Bruised But Never Broken is another which takes longer to reveal all of its persuasion. Its technical and imaginative layers within the less attention sparking storm raging around them, are again the song’s major potency but once more needing time for ears to explore and revel in. It is nevertheless an intrigue and satisfaction igniting offering revealing more of the inventive songwriting within the band and their ability to skilfully create ruinous and inhospitable landscapes or scenery of pure melodic beauty as evidenced by the brief instrumental Relapse which follows. Like the oasis within the savaging of Left Behind, the piece is enthralling, spreading its elegance and charm into the EP’s title track which evolves out of its embrace.

The closing track is soon slipping into the darkest, ravenous depths of despair and sonic confrontation with a rhythmic battering to match, but still blending in the transfixing invention of its predecessor. The song slips from fury and violence to gentle seducing impressively and seamlessly, another aspect to the band’s creativity which it is easy to expect greater exploits from.

For All You Know Is The Mask I Wore is a strong and impressive introduction to Virtue In Vain, not one which declares the band as the future of British extreme metal but certainly with the potential to suggest they could make that kind of impact as they grow and evolve.

The For All You Know Is The Mask I Wore EP is available from May 11th through all digital platforms and at http://virtueinvain.bigcartel.com/

https://www.facebook.com/VirtueInVain https://twitter.com/VirtueInVain

RingMaster 11/05/2015

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Despite Exile: Re-Evolve

As one stands before the mighty destructive storm that is Re-Evolve, the new three track release from Italian metallers Despite Exile one can only be impressed and left swollen in their inferno of sound. The release is a tumultuous mass of bone shattering and merciless power, each riff and rhythm an iron jab and every melody a scything flash of intrusive creativity, and though it may be slightly lacking on originality it more than defuses that with a skill and passion which welcomingly overwhelms and deeply pleasures.

Re-Evolve follows debut album Scarlet Reverie and marks a sure progress in the Despite Exile sound and songwriting. Arguably more melodic, definitely more technical and certainly more aggressive the release shows a maturity and tighter control in its nothing less than blood racing sounds and unbridled promise for things ahead. The quartet from Udine of vocalist Jei Durisotti, guitarists Sanchez Santini and Carlo Ferraro, bassist Giovanni Minozzi, and Sasha Veselinovic on drums has already won over their homeland with their prog/technical metal/deathcore blend as well as leaving it wasted with their live shows which has seen them share stages with the likes of Heart In Hand, It Prevails, Hopes Die Last, and Ready Set Fall. Their debut only went to garner further recognition and acclaim but Re-Evolve feels like being the trigger to wider acknowledgement and interest. There is a persistent flood of strong and impressive bands, something which will never dry up but few leave such a dent and lingering assault upon the senses as Despite Exile whilst making it truly pleasurable.

The EP opens with the immediately psyche stretching Oscillate. It eagerly winds up the pressure and intensity with a firmly gripping intrusive groove whilst the rhythms leave one punch drunk.  It is not all out war the track preferring to build the intensity through deliberate precise riffs and scouring melodic slices of steel. The vocals of Durisotti crawl through and rage against the ear dripping venom with his every breath to match the intrusive effect from the puncturing riffs and twisting melodic guitar invention. Though not the fiercest fire on the EP you can still feel flesh withering from the sonic heat of the track and one cannot ask for or expect a better opening to a release.

Perfection Neutralized ignites a raging inferno next with its blistering energy and numbing intensity. With impressive breakdowns and melodies to scorch every cell the song has a slight schizophrenic nature. It is agitated, openly venomous, whilst assuming nothing but submission before its might. With melodies like blades through the ear and imaginative rhythms offering no sign of respite the track is a monstrous glory; even the emotive progressive element cannot defuse its snarl and ravenous heart.

Despite Exile end Re-Evolve with the excellent Mechanical and allow their softer side to emerge. Well one says softer but as ever each and every note, thought, and second is a brutal annihilation of the senses; it is just here the band bring an extra melodic grin to their intent. Ever evolving within its skin the track ventures into and awakens places untouched by others. It is nasty, vindictive and purse excellence, a song to leave women and children cowering and men on their knees. It is a beast of ingenuity and compulsive sounds which leaves one damning the band for there being only three tracks on the release.

With more than a spice of Meshuggah, Whitechapel, and Veil Of Maya to its blood Re-Evolve is a storm of fury which brings the most gratifying satisfaction. Despite Exile might have been a mere unheard whisper before in the ears of many but surely they will soon be the loudest and most welcome scream.

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RingMaster 29/05/2012

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