Chainfist – Scarred

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It is fair to say that Danish metallers Chainfist with their new album Scarred, has not ventured too far from the roaring core which made their debut album Black Out Sunday an acclaimed and greedily devoured storm. To that easily agreeable seed though, the quintet has found a bolder, fuller, and melodically driven freshness which makes second full-length and even stronger and gripping proposition. The release still wears the inspirations of thrash metal’s founding fathers openly and proudly on its sinew bulging sleeve but twists them into a new creatively exciting and voracious adventure.

Formed in 2007 by members who have the likes of Infernal Death, Epicenter, Panzerchrist, and Frozen Sun to their pedigree, Chainfist made their first major impression in their homeland and around Europe with Black Out Sunday in 2010, it gaining further recognition when the band signed a management deal with Rock N Growl two years later. It was a release making strong first impressions before growing to be an increasingly persuasive potential soaked thrill. Scarred makes the biggest impression right away, the band fulfilling the promise offered on their debut whilst building a more distinctive presence of sound and invention. There is still not a massive uniqueness about the release but with a melodic emprise and imaginative resourcefulness which inescapably captivates ears and emotions, the album stands as a thoroughly riveting and anthemically powerful proposition.

The Michael Hansen produced and Jacob Hansen (Primal Fear, Volbeat, Anubis Gate, Pretty Maids) mixed and mastered release swiftly grips ears and imagination with the start of opener Scars of time. A lone guitar within a chilled ambience offers a haunted and portentous yet inviting coaxing which soon opens up the door to rugged riffs and thumping beats. It is prime thrash antagonism which gets the blood running urgently through ears and emotions but also carries an infectious swing leading to a rampant chorus. In no time vocalist Jackie Petersen is driving the song to greater ferocity, his clean but welcomingly raw tones backed perfectly by group harmonies whilst the guitars of Michael Kopietz and Thomas Hvisel provide an abrasing and melodically bracing temptation to fire up the senses even more. It is an impressive if not startling start, in comparison to things to come, which sets the tone for the album perfectly.

1000 ways to bleed strides intimidatingly in next, the rhythms of drummer Jesper Heidelbach flirting with hostility whilst bassist Braca Pedersen provides a heavy compelling lure around which vocals and guitars cast their addictive ChainfistScarredCoverdesigns. Less aggressive than its predecessor in some ways and more intimidating in others, the track explores a melody rich but imposing scenery of invention and enterprise before making way for the outstanding Black rebel noise. A spicy groove wraps ears early on before the track finds a swagger to its punchy incitement. There is a definite Volbeat feel to the energy of the song whilst musically and vocally it is hard to look past Metallica and John Bush era Anthrax as references but the track soon develops its own contagious suasion to enslave body and passions.

Both Another day in hell and Poison moon keep the thrills and quality coming, the first bursting from an evocative stormy ambience coloured by a melodic caress of guitar and the continually impressing vocals of Petersen. It subsequently evolves into an emotive reflection which is at ease whether smouldering with melodic calm or raging with virulent hostility. Melodic meets classic heavy metal within a thrash bred predation the track is an unpredictable and impassioned blaze of sound and craft. Its successor goes for the jugular from the start, almost moving in reverse as it brings warm washes of melodies into its unrelenting tempest of intensity and ravenous riffery. It is a striking and richly pleasing provocateur but soon shaded by the next up 10.000. Prowling ears from the start with menacing riffs and brutal beats, the song stalks with tenacious vocals and sonic enticement, guitars spinning a caustic and infection soaked web to bind ears and thoughts. It is a glorious muscular anthem unafraid to explore its more devilish side through toxic addictive hooks and a scorching solo.

Know you hate similarly sets the heart afire with its ridiculously catchy temptation within an aggressive weave of riffs and rhythms. Volbeat again comes to mind whilst also thoughts of Disturbed make their suggestive hints from within the exhilarating slab of addiction. It is not quite matched by Seven minutes of pain, but the following song powerfully lays down a bordering on savage assault of riffs and rhythms which is prone to scythes of sonic intrigue and melodic radiance vocally and musically. It is another song where its infectiousness is irresistible for feet and voice, an aggressive provocative fuel for the passions.

Through the similarly structured and creative Statement, band and album reinforce their potent persuasion whilst Mass frustration provides the most intensive and volatile track on Scarred without neglecting the radiant melodic side of the invention running through the release. It is a powerful encounter which leaves ears on an agitated high for the final acoustic version of Black rebel noise to restore calm and peace to. It is an enjoyable and skilled end to the album but the meat is in the richly flavoursome meal of the previous songs.

Chainfist have moved their sound on to a striking new plateau with their album and it is easy to feel there is still more to come even as impressive as Scarred is. The album confirms the Danes as a major proposition in the making and a thrilling encounter of insatiable metal in the now.

Scarred is available now through Mighty Music @ http://www.amazon.co.uk/Scarred-Chainfist/dp/B00M9JLS06/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1412602534&sr=8-1&keywords=chainfist

http://www.chainfist.net/

RingMaster 07/10/2014

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Furyon: Gravitas

You can hear great things about a band as the promotion wagon behind starts its mighty trail enticing the eyes of the world but until you finally get your ears upon the sounds of said band do you obviously find the depth to the truth. With UK rock band Furyon the words written certainly do justice to the band and an album that is deeply impressive and thoroughly uplifting.  Gravitas strikes up the heart with an engaging bounty of rock sounds sourced from their hearts and the world around bringing influences and flavours from across multiple genres. The release is a mighty slab of songs infused with heavy metal, prog, and classic rock as well as some tasty metal touches, all flavours the band from Brighton cut their musical tastes upon.

Having evolved and grown over a few years Furyon entered a studio in Atlanta in 2009 with Platinum selling US Producer Rick Beato (Shinedown, Fozzy and Vince Neil), the result from this vibrant link-up and creative meeting being Gravitas. A limited run of 2000 copies of the album took them to the attention of the likes of Metal Hammer and Classic Rock magazine, each featuring tracks on their over mounted CDs. Two videos followed, one for the subsequent single Disappear Again, each again grabbing more and more eager acclaim and attention, and all the time the band reinforced this tide of recognition with blistering live shows and appearances at the likes of Bloodstock, Hard Rock Hell, Hammerfest, and High Voltage. Now following a management deal with Germany’s Rock N Growl and a link up with Frontiers Records Gravitas gets its full debut and rock music is set to feel a new breath of freshness following through its veins.

Consisting of vocalist Matt Mitchell, guitarists Chris Green and Pat Heath, bass guitarist Alex Bowen and drummer Lee Farmery, Furyon grab the ear from the opening guitar invitations of opener Disappear Again and never releases until it is ready to depart when it chooses. The song epitomises the whole album, infectious, intelligent and unafraid to court the ear with addictive melodies, heavily loaded riffs, and a catchiness which is hard to deny submission to. The song has a sound seemingly melded from the likes of Adrenaline Mob, Alice In Chains and Soundgarden with extra classic rock essences, a mesh that ensures nothing but keen attention going its way.

Following track Stand Like Stone immediately shows the diversity to the band and sound, its heavy tumbling rhythms and formidable metallic riffs thunderous as they burst through the ear. With a groove that beckons like a loose woman the song fills every pore with well crafted melodies and the impressive vocals of Mitchell. In two songs he sets the quality of his tones and delivery high something that never drops throughout the album. The guitars and melodies are quite wanton, eager to excite and thrill, which they do with incredible songwriting skill and realisation.

Songs like the excellent Souvenirs with its lovely deep crusty bass lines, New Way Of Living offering a glorious hard rock/grunge majesty, and the mesmeric Wasted On You, come and go with wonderful quality and the ability to light up the senses. Gravitas is an album despite or rather due to its open diversity and adventure that has a consistency which is refreshing, not once does any of their ideas or surprising avenues fail to connect fully. There is one track that eclipses all though and that is the magnificent Desert Suicide, a song not as obvious as others maybe but one which marks the band already as a mighty addition to rock and gives evidence of what they will yet evolve into. The song meanders in with a mystical and a subdued atmosphere, the guitars slow to reveal themselves fully and the vocals reserved. Soon it evolves into a mighty beast of sound, slowly pacing around the ear before its muscular legs start to run with the senses though it never explodes outright. The song is truly stunning, addictive and unpredictable; the height of invention without indulgence, a stirring animal that remains inside long after the album departs.

Gravitas is an essential investigation for all rock fans; an album that only raises one question. If they sound this great with songs at least two years old how impressive must their new material be? Furyon will be massive, no question so join the ride from the start by grabbing yourself some Gravitas.
www.furyon.net

RingMaster 19/03/2012

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Chainfist – Black Out Sunday

With the recent signing of Danish groove metal band Chainfist in a worldwide management deal with Rock N Growl, the band’s debut album came back into view so we thought it was time to dive into it and get a taste of things to come. The band has just finished recording a 3 track promo with producer Søren Jensen with the results to be mixed by the legendary Jacob Hansen and from the evidence of their album Black Out Sunday there is nothing short of eager anticipation and high expectations building for its release later this year.

Consisting of Jackie Petersen (vocals), Michael Kopietz (guitar), Jesper Heidelbach (drums) and Braca Pedersen (bass) Chainfist recorded Black Out Sunday in 2010 and gathered some good acclaim upon its release. Since then the band has been joined by the skilled guitarist Thomas Hvisel recently, to take over lead guitar and there is a sense that the band now a quintet, is only going to be more powerful and creative.

Chainfist has strong pedigree with members previously in the likes of Infernal Death, Epicenter, Panzerchrist and Frozen Sun. Their individual ability and accomplished songwriting is evident from the opening track to the last lingering note of Black Out Sunday. Chainfist’s sound is a heady mix of metal, heavy metal and hard rock, the band seamlessly blending the flavours into an intriguing and thrilling beast of a sound that offers something captivating and powerful at every turn. First listen brought an appreciative nod and full enjoyment but upon subsequent plays as more and more qualities emerged within songs the album simply worked itself deeper and deeper to become one of the more rewarding and satisfying rock releases heard in a while.

The infectious rampant ‘Free Me’ opens up the onslaught of Black Out Sunday. Driving riffs, dominating rhythms and a swinging groove from start to finish make the song a vibrant exhausting party. The vocals of Petersen are clean, crisp and expressive yet hard and aggressive in the right spots. The track does not offer too much new but to introduce a release and band it is an insatiable pleasuring of the ear. If you are looking for an explosive straight forward rock song this is it.

The songs from here on in are nicely varied and creative whether more melodically led as in ‘Edge Of The World’ or on a thunderous charge as in ‘Be A Man’. The latter of the two is an aggressive little fiend of a track, defiant and carrying a stunning senses twisting teasing groove. It recalls elements of the likes of Society 1 as does the brilliant ‘Have You Ever’. This song is a gloriously dark pulsating brute winding within the head and heart with sinister riffs, grouchy basslines and a hungry waspish groove that consumes relentlessly.

It has to be said when the Chainfist go for the heavy and intensely direct route they really light up the senses though their ‘mellower’ melodic flows are just as gratifying. In the excellent ‘Stay’ the band begin the song with an emotive voice and feel before the song lifts off into a forceful but controlled rock song. On the less aggressive songs such as ‘Show Me’ the band has a sound that reminds of bands like Volbeat and Dommin with a touch of Danzig which pleases just as much as the heavier more intense tracks.

Throughout the album feeds the senses wonderfully with the chugging riff fest of ‘In Your Face’, the rampaging mischievous and venomous chaos of ‘Clown’, and the chunky guitar loaded ‘Blackout’ as striking and thoroughly as stirring as those previously mentioned. Black Out Sunday is simply a great rock album from a band that has yet to find one feels its full potential. Guitarist Michael Kopietz has said “The new material is stronger, heavier and even more melodic than the songs we made on our debut CD Black Out Sunday.” We say bring it on!

RingMaster 25/01/2012

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Chainfist – Have You Ever

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Rough Angel – Hear The Angels Rock

 

 

US heavy metal band Rough Angel has been hitting hard with heavyweight riffs and red hot melodic metal sounds for over two decades building a strong and ardent fan base across Nevada and beyond. Formed by Jimmy Z. and Johnny G. in Hollywood, Los Angeles the band were soon ‘owning’ the sunset strip up as they played up and down its length and eventually moved to Las Vegas. The departure of Johnny G. led to the arrival of vocalist Csaba Zvekan and another move for the band this time to Hawaii. Then in 1993 the quintet of Zvekan, guitarists Jimmy Z. and Marc Mougavero, bassist Ross Manzo, and drummer Dave Kappos (later replaced for live shows by Mike Rangel) set about recording four tracks for an EP.

Recorded at Paramount Recording Studios, Hollywood and engineered by Csaba Zvekan himself the recordings were intended for promoters and the industry and until now were never available to the public. Now through Rock N Growl Records and remastered by Zvekan these four prime cuts of heavy metal released as the Hear The Angels Rock EP have finally seen the light of day and it is the only release by the band over their long existence. One wonders why this is the sum of their recorded output as the four tracks though from almost 20 years back still sound strong today and certainly give proof that the band were right up there with the better quality metal bands at the time.

It has to be said there was an element of surprise at how well the tracks have stood the test of time, even if a mere twenty years, and how they fit easily with current heavy metal sounds and bands. Zvekan himself has said “It’s unbelievable how these recordings are almost two decades old and still have the power to convince the listener. The music and lyrics are still current especially these days. I got goose bumps remastering this piece of music. It definitely is a gift for all the friends and fans that are out there.”

Production wise there is the sense of limitation from back then compared to now but it does not take away from the quartet of good impressive tracks. The songs are agreeably large with powerful chunky riffs and pure metal energy infused with smartly formed melodies and striking guitars. The tracks ooze essences of Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and Dio as expected from late 80’s/90’s metal placed within Rough Angel’s own engaging sound. Vocally Zvekan is aggressive with the genre trade mark high pitched screams and squeals though he never does it to excess and he is a good rounded vocalist in tone and delivery. Opener ‘Standing by Mirrors’ and the closing title track give an excellent if not surprising top and tail to the release, the first coming in off a grunge like lick to employ addictive riffs that chug along and grab attention neatly. The grunge tones appear often and are especially open on the first of the two tracks sandwiched in the middle, ‘Defiance’. The song pumps out eager hard heavy hitting and higher toned scorching riffs to please all tastes and as on most songs is deliberate in its attack in not choosing out and out aggression. ‘Let it Burn’ is equally styled, slow in pace but quick to engage the senses in good heavy metal energy and enterprising intent.

Hear the Angels Rock is understandably not going to leave you open mouthed or in shock by offering something devastatingly new but it will definitely feed your metal tendencies perfectly and make you wonder why it has taken so long for sounds from this rather good band to appear.

RingMaster 12/12/2011

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Lord Volture – Never Cry Wolf

Lord Volture and their second album Never Cry Wolf through no fault of their own started off with a big disadvantage for this review for the fact that classic rock/power metal vocals as employed by the band’s frontman and founder David Marcelis are like aural salt on this reviewer’s musical slug. The high pitched yells and squeals like fingernails down a chalk board on the ear especially with the even more distinct style of Marcelis with his often off key and fluctuating levels. So bear that in mind as the album which musically is very satisfying is examined here.

As mentioned the band started when Marcelis with strong influences from traditional heavy metal bands from the 70’s and 80’s started writing songs of his own after a decade of fronting bands like Methusalem and Conquestador. The subsequent recordings of these songs eventually became the Lord Volture debut album Beast Of Thunder. The album featured numerous guest guitarists including Jeff Waters from Annihilator and grabbed some firm acclaim. A live line-up was then pulled together using some of the best metal talent from the Netherlands to make Lord Volture a force on stage as well as in the studio. This group of musicians has forged a strong understanding and determination to deliver the best sound possible, the combined ability of Marcelis, his brother Paul (Up The Irons, Mercyful Fake) on guitar, fellow guitarist Leon Hermans (Burn, Up The Irons), bassist Simon Geurts (Mercyful Fake), and Frank Wintermans (Substance) on drums, creating in Never Cry Wolf a release that takes hold and rampages in the ear with rock essences to please and devour.

Containing eleven tracks to enflame the hearts of any power metal and classic rock fan the album uses and exploits all the welcome if obvious elements from metal/thrash bands of the likes of Judas Priest, Iced Earth through to Jag Panzer and Cage. This makes Never Cry Wolf not particularly hot on invention or innovation but ablaze with pulse racing and eager familiarity brought forth with a powerful intent and skill that cannot be denied or criticised. The ear may not be caught by surprise or stunned with unexpected shocks but it is fed some striking and deeply pleasing sounds and well written songs. 

The first big notable thing straight from the opening and title track is the impressive and pulsating bass and mesmeric rhythms of Geurts. Each and every song is veined with his deep and hypnotic creative riffs to always grab attention and often snatch the glory from everyone else. In songs like ‘Celestrial Bodies Fall’, the intense and rampaging thrash of ‘Korgon’s Descent’, and the hard rock powered ‘Into The Lair Of A Lion’ he especially grabs the focus and it is no surprise these are the album’s best songs. This is in no way a one man band though with the guitars of Paul Marcelis and Hermans creating memorable riffs and melodic solos to warm all traditional metal hearts. Creative and unafraid to take tracks into harder metal areas alongside their classic rock influences the duo brings intrigue and infectious play to all the songs. With the instinctive and driving power of Winterman’s drums, musically the band gives everything a rock fan desires in a song and more.

The final track on the album ‘The Wolf At Your Door’ though not the best song is possibly the most creative. Starting with a predatory bassline and slow stalking riffs from guitars circling the ear sizing up their prey, the song quickly shifts into a chase as racing riffs gallop into and through the senses, once ‘caught’ the track explodes into a predictably layered song but those opening couple of minutes are glorious.

Musically Never Cry Wolf is impressive and deeply satisfying but let down by the vocal delivery and style, again note that this is a personal issue and I am sure far more will welcome Marcelis’ style with warm and open arms. The album is great and Lord Volture a band that deserves attention and for the music alone all who ignore or pass over Never Cry Wolf should be ashamed.

RingMaster 24/11/2011

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Rob Mancini – Rock ‘N’ Roll Circus

Let us get the moan over with Rock ‘N’ Roll Circus the new album from Rob Mancini. Just where are the clowns and songs about freaks and bearded ladies, as the title and opening track ‘Carnival Of Fools’ with its dark circus sound suggests? Seriously though there was an expectation from the first track that the album would be subtlety themed that way but the disappointment was soon tempered as the album unveils its strong deliberate sounds and emotive intent, with life’s circus and the fools of passion and emotion the purpose fuelling the songs.

German/Italian born musician/producer Rob Mancini is returning with his solo album after over a decade away from studios and in many ways the limelight in Ireland where he toured the Emerald Isle’s Club scene.   In the mid 90’s Mancini played extensively on the international rock circuit in the bands Hotwire and Crush as well as sharing stages with artists such as Victory, Thunderhead, Dare, and recording several albums before moving to Ireland in 2001 to work as studio and session musician. With the assistance of Aine Mancini on backing vocals Mancini has come back with a true solo release that bursts with guitar driven AOR force and ripples with some sparkling melodic hard rock ingenuity.

The music within Rock ‘N’ Roll Circus is a good mix of classic and hard rock with up to date sounds and flavours that sets it apart from many similar genre releases. As mentioned the album is a guitar based collection of songs but which are also spiced liberally with vibrant keyboard sounds and harmonies to bring a rounded feel to the tracks and melodies. Often infectious and thoroughly engaging the album is a release that may slip pass the attention of many but once found will please all hard rock fans deeply.

Opening track ‘Carnival Of Fools’ starts on a demented clown chuckle and dark discordant circus sound spiced with sinister intent before slipping immediately into ‘Rock And Roll Circus’. With a sound similar to Italian band Houston! the track throbs with chunky guitars and essential rock urgency. Melodic and beckoning with big hooks and great guitar sounds and solo it still carries the carnival vibe.

Edge of a Broken Heart’ comes next marking a change in the album as from here on in the songs ride on a strong eighties sounding power sound and the emotional theme previously mentioned. Though flavoured with those distinct influences and early rock essences, the addition of clean and often indie like creative key spices light up the tracks to make all intriguing and to some extent surprising. The electronic start to the satisfying ’Lay Down The Law’, the undeniable infectious opening riff of the impressive ’Too Late To Die’, and the soulful balladry of ’Time Stops For No One But You’ just three of the varied examples.

Rock ‘N’ Roll Circus is a mighty fine rock album and deserves as much attention as possible with tracks that are well written without dipping into indulgence and impressively delivered, even the cover of ‘Running Up That Hill’ by Kate Bush is a very enjoyable and impressive version, Mancini making it his own. Though probably the album is mostly for hard rock fans there is enough within it to engage anyone and for old school rock fans it is a guitar rock festival to embrace.

www.robmancinirock.com

RingMaster 14/11/2011

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Voodoo Highway – Broken Uncle’s Inn

The first thing The Ringmaster Review should say is that hard rock is not a favoured genre here, the apparently required squealing vocals and overblown solos more a turn off than a positive. So with an expectant unease the debut album from Italian rockers Voodoo Highway was given access to the speakers. Let us say right now before moving on that Broken Uncle’s Inn emerged as a thoroughly pleasurable experience and most of all was very enjoyable. It is an album that delivers the expected but with more surprises and thoughtful ideas than most current hard rock releases currently.

Italy is becoming an emerging arena for rock bands with alongside Voodoo Highway bands like Blueville and Hungryheart coming through adding a new breath of fresh air to the genre. Voodoo Highway look set to lead and reach far outside their homeland and European boundaries with an album that brings the best in great riffs, absorbing basslines and rhythms, strong vocals, and infectious catchy songs.  Broken Uncle’s Inn shows exactly why we all like surprises and unexpected pleasures.

There is a definite 70’s rock feel to the release especially with the Hammond organs and pleasing keyboards from Alessandro Duo but it is fused with a modern intent and vibrancy that lifts it from the formula approach of most. The vocals of Federico Di Marco are also an added pleasure, yes at times he ventures close to the expected squeals and high pitched attack but only as a spice to his controlled and well delivered approach.

The album starts with an intro that really has meaning only to the band and is certainly not needed, but they are not the first or will be the last to use the start of a release for their own brief indulgency and there is no harm done when the songs that follow are as strong as on Broken Uncle’s Inn.  

   ‘Till It Bleeds’ is the first full song, solid and satisfying but without bringing anything new to the table. It does though show a quintet of musicians who can play skilfully and artistically, the guitars of Di Marco and Matteo Bizzarri very impressive. It is the wonderfully soulful ‘The Fire Will Burn Away’ that sets the album alight from which it never extinguishes again. The bass of Filippo Cavallini giving a deeply pulsing energy to the track alongside the structured rhythms of drummer Lorenzo Gollini.

The best tracks on the album are ‘J.C. Superfuck’ and ‘Windows’ which side by side make an inspired peak within the release. The first of the two is a robust tireless party with wicked overtones; it is fun and siren like in its hooks and chorus, a track that urges many repeated plays. The latter track starts off with a burst of keys that recall The Doors and though out the track the swirling sounds holds a blend of Doors/ELP and again beckons the listener in eagerly. Both songs demand and get solid praise.

Every track is consistent and engaging from the theatrical title track to the emotive ‘Heaven With No Stars’ and all between and surrounding.  Broken Uncle’s Inn is an unexpected joy which has awoken a belief in The Ringmaster Review that hard rock is not a lost cause and has some good inspiration in the shape of bands like Voodoo Highway. Watch out for this band you will be hearing a lot more from them, guaranteed.

Broken Uncle’s Inn is available now with distribution via Voodoo Highway and Rock N Growl.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/VOODOO-HIGHWAY/107889722591097

www.rockngrowl.com

Pete RingMaster 15/07/2011

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