Church of Misery – And Then There Were None

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As much as anticipation, there was plenty of extra intrigue involved leading to the release of And Then There Were None, the new album from Church of Misery. The sixth full-length from the Japan bred band, it is also the first since bassist and mastermind Tatsu Mikami was forced to assemble a new line-up a year after the unleashing of the 2013 album, Thy Kingdom Scum. It was an obstacle which has seemingly made little difference to the band as in And Then There Were None they have come up with one ferociously compelling provocation.

Another reason for that intrigue was that Mikami has linked up with musicians outside of his homeland for the first time; enlisting Blood Farmers guitarist Dave Szulkin, Earthride drummer Eric Little (ex-Internal Void) and Repulsion frontman (and former Cathedral bassist) Scott Carlson on vocals. It is easy to assume this was a challenge in itself in the creation of the album due to distances between members and indeed the bassist when talking about the album admitted, “It was a challenge because there was not much time to make this record—only two weeks,” going on to add, “One week for rehearsals and then one week to record all materials.” With Carlson providing vocals for an album for the first time in almost 30 years, it seems like it was a project pushing each member to their creative edge; an essence which has gone so me way to giving an extra spark and bite to the “blood-soaked trip through homicidal hell.”

Fuelled by the tales and bloody mayhem of killers both infamous and obscure, And Then There Were None opens up with The Hell Benders. Emerging from a viscerally sanguineous opening, funk spiced melodies quickly seduce the imagination as nagging rhythms rap the senses. It is a mellow and tantalising entrance which is soon spilling suggestively sultry grooves and incisive beats as Carlson’s growling delivery mixes it with the sweltering climate of doom/sludge bred heavy rock ‘n’ roll. The intoxicating invention of the guitars is invasive yet at times provides a mesmeric lure for a perpetually captivating frame to the barbarous lyrics with the bass of Mikami bridging the two with its heavily alluring tone and rapacious shadowing of voice and sonic enterprise.

COM-and_then_there_were_FRONT_RingMasterReviewThe gripping start is reinforced by the almost carnal resourcefulness and snarling nature of Make Them Die Slowly. Riffs immediately provide a tasty intrusion, seeming to relish their antagonistic presence within a web of sinister yet seductive grooves. With vocals across the band stalking the imagination too, the track reveals a punk infused attitude to its Crowbar meets High on Fire meets Earthride like trespass.

Doctor Death prowls ears and imagination next, inspiration coming from British killer Harold Shipman. As thoughts are reminded and provoked, guitars again spread a lattice of juicily enticing grooves aligned to forceful rhythms as Carlson shares the insidious deeds. Enthralling and increasingly irresistible, the sonically humid track makes way for the funkier revelry of River Demon, where bass and drums go on a rampage of addictive and incendiary rhythms. A slab of volatile and bruising groove bound devilment which enslaves appetite and energies from start to finish, the track is a vampiric treat leaving the body and senses exhausted with its blues soaked punk ‘n’ roll.

Through the muggier sonic climate of Confessions Of An Embittered Soul and southern soaked Suicide Journey, the album reveals more varied hues to colour its melodically toxic and addictive body. The first of the two has the imagination wound around its creeping grooves, they in turn winding around the senses as Carlson shares the song’s hellacious contents. In contrast, its brief successor is a warmer if sinister wash of mellow sound and intensity but a match in igniting the imagination and pushing it to explore its own interpretative adventure.

Bringing the album to a close is Murderfreak Blues, a song which crushes the senses yet within a breath or two becomes a stalking, seducing, and ravishing provocation of their weaknesses as, unsurprisingly, psyche twisting grooves and demanding rhythms leave, through murderous traits, their own lingering and welcome marks.

It is a mighty end to an album which grows with every listen, managing to seem even more antagonistic each time as it impresses in sound and craft. And Then There Were None is a blood encrusted groove fest and very easy to recommend.

And Then There Were None is out now via Rise Above Records @ http://www.riseaboverecords.com/shop/

http://www.churchofmisery.net/   https://www.facebook.com/churchofmiserydoom/

Pete RingMaster 07/03/2016

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Gravehill – Death Curse

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For a pestilential onslaught of black, death, and thrash metal, moulded into one voracious tempest of raw and dirty metal it is unlikely many releases will surpass the new uncompromising ravaging of US corruptors Gravehill. The band’s third album Death Curse is a bestial examination of the senses; savaging violations soaked in causticity and stripped to their primal bones and intent. At times an anthemic contagion and in others simply a predatory gnawing of the senses, the album is an increasingly potent annihilation which evolves an initial strong showing into a truly impressive and exhausting incitement. There is no wastage of frivolous trickery or excessive showing off just concentrated undiluted primeval metal at its best.

The Californian band was formed in 2001, a trio which took little time in unleashing debut demo The Practitioners of Fell Sorcery; it was short lived triumph though as Gravehill disbanded soon after. 2006 saw the band reform, original drummer/founder Rhett “Thorgrimm” Davis linking up with vocalist Mike Abominator. A second demo Metal of Death in 2007 was followed by the EP Metal of Death/Advocation of Murder and Suicide the following year from the quintet. First full-length Rites of the Pentagram was next uncaged on Enucleation Records to strong reactions in 2009 as also its re-release in a package with a third outing from the band’s first demo via Ibex Moon Records a year later. The line-up saw a change in 2011 with guitarist Matt “Hellfiend” Harvey (Exhumed, Dekapitator, Repulsion) joining the band before second album When All Roads lead to Hell on Dark Descent Records. The next year saw another shift in personnel with both Hellfiend and fellow guitarist Rob “Bodybag Bob” Babcock leaving due to extensive touring demands with Exhumed to be replaced by CC DeKill and Hell Messiah.

With the new members slotting in with ease alongside Thorgrimm, Abominator, and bassist J.T. Corpse, Gravehill set about creating what CDBO04.pdfhas emerged as their most ferocious and destructive triumph to date. Again out through Dark Descent and featuring guest appearances from the likes of Chris Reifert and Eric Cutler of Autopsy as well as Kam Lee (Massacre, Death and Bone Gnawer), Death Curse is a masterful protagonist of the senses from the exceptional artwork provided by Christopher Moyen (Incantation, Blasphemy)to its last lingering venomous note. Though the introductory opener Gates of Hell does not show the storm to come, its epically sinister portent of sonic certainly brings an intimidation to bear on the senses, a brewing threat soon realised with the explosive entrance of the title track, riffs and rhythms a merciless rampage whilst the coarse even rawer vocals scar air and ears. Eager in its thrash driven gait and acidic in the eruptions of sonic enterprise, the track is a magnetic encounter which maybe does not trigger an immediate hunger but with good variation to the vocals and a resistance proof groove certainly has full control of attention.

At Hell’s Command is much swifter in taking a submission from senses and passions, its yawning sonic bait from the first second irresistible and the spark to an incendiary examination of a brutal rhythmic battering and a venomous and compelling sonic intrusion. There is an insidiously commanding element to the song, and subsequently the album, which manipulates the imagination and emotions into subservience either instantly or over time as in the case of other songs, but always succeeding in its intent. The guitar toxicity of CC DeKill and Hell Messiah is especially impressive and tempting, their designs as in all aspects of the release, skilled and striking but never dosed with a wasteful indulgence.

The following Open Their Throats emerges from the fluid gothic like link between it and its predecessor to prowl around the ear with a doom bred stance. The song stalks with venom dripping from its rhythmic jaw and slavering riffs whilst the guttural intense vocals add further insatiable predation. Intensity and violence waits in the shadows before being freed from their reins for a fiery antagonism driven second half of the impressive rage, vocals and guitar craft again formidable lures within an equally compelling rhythmic enticement.

Both Fear the Reaper and Unending Lust for Evil take release and passions to another level, the virulently contagious drum and bass entrance to the first opening a doorway to thrash anthemic glory within a death seeded animosity whilst its successor digs deeper inside itself for a blacker toxin with which to infest song and listener, its constantly shifting attack and creativity a ridiculously infectious almost salacious offering. The pair of tracks marks the pinnacle of the album, though to be fair its whole range is never far from the lofty filth encrusted heights of the two as proven by the rapacious malevolence of Black Blood Rising, the blackened scourge a welcome primordial predator in modern extreme metal.

The album is at its strongest in its latter half with the final two songs continuing the intensive potency and senses gorging maliciousness of the last few offerings. Crucified is the loudest boldest anthem on the album, an irritable nagging soon recruiting full allegiance with its group vocal baiting over heavy booted rhythms and riffing. Speared by excellent sonic craft from the guitars, the song is a leader of rebellious intent igniting the pulse rate ready for the closing doomy weight and thrash swing of The Ascending Fire to exploit with its equally anthemic power. The song makes an outstanding last assault to an addictive treacherous plague, a Death Curse which violates and thrills with even voracity.

http://www.gravehill666.com

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8.5/10

RingMaster 02/04/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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All Pigs Must Die – Nothing Violates This Nature

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All you need to know about Nothing Violates This Nature, the second album from Massachusetts-based All Pigs Must Die Nasty to warrant full investigation is that it is simply NASTY!! Corrosively nasty in intent, sonically nasty in sound, and undiluted nasty in passion, and a towering tempest of spiteful destructive hardcore. Building from their impressive and violent debut God is War of 2011, the band featuring members of The Hope Conspiracy, Converge, and Bloodhorse have come back together to create one of the most formidable and standards heightening furies of anger sculpted antagonism. It is a potently crippling beast of senses igniting noise which stands shoulder to shoulder to anything their day jobs and other recognised genre bands have created.

The Southern Lord release sees All Pigs Must Die joining up again with Kurt Ballou (Converge) at Godcity to record their follow-up album, a union which completes a stronger and more complete, dare one say confident, step on from its impressive predecessor. An album which does not give you room to breathe let alone escape its toxic glory, Nothing Violates This Nature confirms the stature and blistering force that is All Pigs Must Die, a band which admittedly as good as had written that in fire with their live performances alongside the likes of Integrity, Enabler, Ringworm, Black Breath, Eyehategod, Repulsion, Down, Sleep, Exodus, Church Of Misery and more.

As opener Chaos Arise stomps and storms through the ear with riffs and rhythms a combined ferocity there is an immediate sense of anCover_RGB_CD_300dpi-copy-e1369761381912 elevated and accelerated spite to sound and band, the vocals of Kevin Baker spoiling for a fight over the deliciously tight contagious grooves and abrasive riffs of guitarist Adam Wentworth and the air juggling disruptive might of the drums of Ben Koller. With the bass of Matt Woods snarling and crawling through it all with venom as thick as its bestial notes, the metallic punk castigator is a staggering start which immediately places the band on another level easily backed up by the following brilliant Silencer. Like being caught in an avalanche with sirenesque grooves diverting fear into full on obsessive rapture, the track in less than two minutes turns thoughts and emotions in on themselves trying to escape the savagery cast. At its departure the overriding thought from both songs is just how pissed off Baker and the band itself is.

Both Primitive Fear and Bloodlines chew and rip asunder the psyche, the first a torrential sonic squall of vocal vitriol and magnetic sound, the music a riveting mix of contagious grooves and hooks veining acid bred noise whilst its successor is a predacious and brooding stalking which exposes the senses and emotions to a magnetic alluring sonic spiralling alongside acrid intent. Both songs are magnificent, imaginative and intrusive with especially the second unveiling a weave of seductive melodic mystique which takes the release into new adventure. Hardcore has never sounded so good.

Of Suffering brings another twist in the intensive ride, its lumbering scourge a sonic acidity brewing within the doom laden sludge thick oppression. Baker barracks the barricades with merciless intent and animosity whilst musically the track wears and erodes defences with its enthralling and heavy weighted intensity.

The returning carnage laying brutality which opened up the album sends Holy Plague and Aqim Siege straight for the throat, their jaws obdurate instigators. Riffs and rhythms dominate but allow a space where Wentworth expels some sizzling melodic blazes in the first of the pair whilst the following barbarous confrontation of the other song is one minute of vicious beauty.

    Sacred Nothing is nothing less than glorious punishment whilst Faith Eater surveys the damage before adding its own creative ruthlessness. It is hard to imagine anything topping what has already been unleashed but the closing Articles Of Human Weakness masterfully attempts to correct assumptions with a multi-flavoured furnace of punk murderousness taken through a rancorous expanse of rhythmic rabidity and sonic vehemence. It is a staggering conclusion to a stunning release, one that gives a fresh hellacious breath to the hardcore scene.

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9/10

RingMaster 29/07/2013

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