Stone Cold Dead – Lava Flows

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Lava Flows is one of those encounters which grabs rigorously, cuts off all forms of escape and in turn plies you with intoxicating persuasion which leaves you woozy and desperate for more. The heavy weight groove fest is the debut album from Greek metallers Stone Cold Dead, a band entangling the richest essences of groove and heavy metal with those of experimental and alternative rock. The result is a virulent form of predatory rock ‘n’ roll which leaves a thick greed for more as ripe as the outright enjoyment experienced from its thrilling introduction to a band destined to great heights.

Stone Cold Dead is the brainchild of former Rotting Christ and Nightfall guitarist George Bokos, a project which is not so much a solo adventure but one luring the talent of equally experienced and innovative guests. The Athens hailing Stone Cold Dead gave a potent hint of the quickly impressing sound fuelling the album a few short weeks back with the release of the single Hubrism, a teaser which awoke intrigue and anticipation with ease band now proven to be just the one facet of a triumphant beast.

The first inescapable seduction of the album comes through the union of Bokos’ glorious baritone guitar enticement with that of Charis Pazaroulas’ (ex-Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra) irresistible bowed contrabass temptation. Both aspects are a theatre of invention and controlled rabidity, of creative attitude and expression colluding to create bestial stomps of fierce rock ‘n’ roll with an unrelenting appetite to devour and incite ears and imagination. That ingenuity alone makes Lava Flows a must investigation but add the majestic and fearsome rhythmic bait bullying and igniting the senses throughout , and you have a proposition which is pure metal alchemy. Split into three sections; Stone, Cold, and Dead, which “unfolds along the Cosmic Tree, which connects three different realities”, Bokos has given the three tracks in each part to a trio of exceptional drummers to drive, twist, and elevate the nature and personality of each movement within the album. Yannis Stavropoulos takes the first section, to be followed by Dimitrios (Vorskaath) Dorian, the multi-instrumentalist behind Zemial, and Nile drummer George Kollias respectively. It is an aspect to the release that just adds further formidable drama to the provocative journey of the album, a potency which makes more of a thrilling impact than was definitely expected.

cover_RingMaster Review     The album opens with Climbing The Cave and straight away it is prowling ears with sonic craft as a rhythmic rumble builds into an anthemic addiction. As becomes the diverse mouth-watering norm across the release, riffs nag and gnaw on the senses as quickly enslaving vocals and the jungle of beats from Stavropoulos descend to seduce and ravage the body. Like a mix of Bloodsimple, Killing Joke, and Black Tusk, the track swings its bait whilst drilling deeper in to the psyche with every torrent of rabid riffs and web of insatiable grooving. It is probably right to say our passions were hooked from this point, a submission ensured by the contrabass seducing of Pazaroulas but only confirmed time and time again across Lava Flows starting with Cyclone Speaking.

Instantly the second song is more bestial in the tone of guitar and bass, and strolling with an antagonistic gait soon drawing in melodically enflamed roars of sound and voice. Rhythmically things are another maze to explore and be willingly trapped by as the melodic tenacity of Bokos flirts and explores new designs and instincts within the bruising rock ‘n’ roll climate. As with its predecessor, swift submission and a lusty reaction from body and thoughts are given, a success found again by the album’s title track. Lava Flows, as its title suggests, smoulders and crawls from its first breath but around an already keen burst of rhythms which provide the spark for a subsequent sludge bred swagger as volatile in energy and hunger as it is immersive in weight and ambience. Pazaroulas again bewitches with his bow on strings whilst Bokos and Stavropoulos entrance as they turn limbs and neck muscles into their puppets.

An apt colder steely hue flows through the album’s Cold section, Death Drive preying on ears with increasing intensity and energy as a punk ‘n’ roll attitude and irritability runs through the song’s pulsating veins. The craft of Dorian has a more rock ‘n’ roll energy and swing to its attack which is translated in the sound around it, that in turn creating another strain of alternative and groove metal united in stoner-esque toxicity to grip ears.

Both The Black Snake and Hubrism transfix with their individual invention and natures, the first emerging on a tribalistic, mystique clad trespass breeding a caustically flamed swing of riffs and incendiary grooves. The perpetual niggling quality of both continues to make the juiciest irresistible bait matched by vocals, rhythms, and that contrabass and bass ingenuity, manna throughout the album. Here it creates an emprise of colourful melodic and sonic mystique within a net of addictive creative voracity whilst its successor is a more sinister and disentangled weave of voices and atmospheric intimidation crowded by a great irritant of waspish grooves and robustly dynamic rhythms. Once more songwriting and sound infests and twists the listener this way and that with startling invention and imagination, and though many elements are familiar there is no doubting they are employed and evolved into something rabidly fresh and unique to Stone Cold Dead.

The exceptional Deconstructing The Architect is the first offering in the Dead segment of the adventure, Kollias sculpting a wonderfully intrusive and anthemically invigorating wall of rhythms as the guitars open up their own net of inimitable and irrepressible imagination and craft. The body becoming a puppet to the strings of band and album is nothing new at this point but certainly strung out and sent into their biggest frenzy yet as the song builds into its Torche meets Mastodon meets Trepalium emprise of sound and temptation.

A shamanic scent opens up with the entrance of Umbilical Cord next, the guitar again spinning a sultry and exotic coaxing before the track erupts into its muscularly predacious and erosive glory, which itself is never absent of unpredictable and smouldering flavours from distant shoes and cultures. The track, as all, simply engrosses and thrills, a tempting emulated in the closing extensive exploration of And The Tree Becomes A Sphere, a travelogue of sound and inspiring hues in its own right that has ears and thoughts as enslaved as the emotions amidst a massive greed for more.

Lava Flows is real heavy groove woven magnificence for the ears, and even if others find themselves to be not quite as lustful in reactions as we found ourselves to be, Stone Cold Dead are still a big reward all should give themselves a chance of getting excited over.

Lava Flows is out now via digitally and on CD via Volcanic Music @ http://stone-cold-dead.bandcamp.com

https://www.facebook.com/StoneColdDead

Pete RingMaster 10/11/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Stormcast – Frame of Mind

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Whenever dark clouds crowd in on thoughts and emotions there is always a place for an understanding soundtrack, something Cyprus-based atmospheric black metallers Stormcast offer with their impressive debut album, Frame of Mind. The release is a tempest of oppressive intenisty and emotionally ravenous shadows but brought on an epic wave of melodic and atmospheric invention. An increasingly compelling fusion of black and symphonic metal with additional flames of melodic death and gothic expression, the release is a startling and intensive introduction to the Nicosia quintet.

Formed in 2007, Stormcast take their lyrical and atmospheric inspirations from the personal struggles of man and society’s ills. A couple of promos in 2009 and 2012 respectively, opened up a certain amount of attention but it is with the Pitch Black Records Frame of Mind that it is easy to suspect Stormcast will stepping into the widest gaze. The band’s live presence which has seen them play the likes of the MetalDays Festival and share stages with bands such as Rotting Christ, Sabaton, Stratovarius, and Nightstalker, sparked real anticipation for Stormcast’s debut full-length and from being a relative secret expect the band’s name, because of the new release, to be on the broadest expanse of lips as it infests ears and psyche.

The Executioner opens up the physical and mental examination, emerging from a spatial ambience with vocal drones, scything drama clad riffs, and orchestral grandeur. It is a portentous dawning soon realised by the crushing heavy booted feet of rhythms and a ravenous sonic enterprise from the guitars and keys. The song soon settles in to a smaller and more intensive pressure of hungry riffs and combative beats, both carrying the vocal animus of Mike Angastiniotis. His voice is a venomous squall, clinging to ears with every rasping syllable whilst around him the song ebbs and flows with intimate hostility and expansive melodic temptation. It is an instant attention grabber of a track, an inescapable provocateur with nostrils flared and creative wiles in full flow. The golden blaze of horns which lord over the song’s finale make a striking contrast to the pestilential vocals and savage riffery, a moment and conflicting union which in many ways really epitomises the whole of the album.

The potent start is swiftly matched by the dark depths and majesty of Wishful Bliss, its opening elegance soon a predatory stalking of the senses but still wearing a mesmeric cloak of keys from Cover_pbr033Mark McDonald and sonic intrigue from the guitar of George Masouras backed by that of Angastiniotis as his vocals spill further malevolence into the mix. Elements of the track, as across the album, bring thoughts of bands like Dark Tranquillity and The Pete Flesh Deathtrip but only as spice to something distinct to Stormcast, something again shown by New World Order. The track backs up the might of the first two songs with consummate and uncompromising ease. Keys and guitar offer an immediate inviting drama, before passing the fire to a torrent of niggling riffs and intensive swipes from drummer Andrew Laghos, both courted by a prowling and magnetic bassline from Andreas Spyrou and the return of the roaring horns. Whereas the previous track was a maelstrom of dark emotions and riveting enterprise, keys and guitars weaving radiant melodic colour across a brutal rhythmic and riff painted canvas, the third track strides a brighter terrain of still imposing incitement and intensity. Hooks and grooves light up its landscape with enthralling imagination and expressive hues, whilst the bass of Spyrou makes for a carnivorous accomplice to the raw throated narrative of Angastiniotis.

There is also a background hint of clean vocals to the song which are given greater rein in Of Flesh and Stone, an evocative track looking at soldiers at war and families left behind. From a sample of a wife talking, a captivating croon brings the song into potent view. Presumably it is again Angastiniotis singing and it has to be said he is a gripping element with his clean tones swiftly sparking a wish that the band employed this side of his skills even more across the album. He is soon spraying his regular caustic tones though, spite and rage impregnating the turbulent but beauteous tapestry of the epic encounter.

The pair of Withdrawn and In Entropy stirs up air and emotions next with their own individual designs and torment. The first is cored by another addictive bassline around which riffs and beats create a smaller but predacious confrontation, the track almost punkish in its hooks and spiteful riffing. It eventually drifts into a melodic pasture which simply bewitches even as first Angastiniotis and subsequently crippling rhythms add their dark offerings to the outstanding aggressor. Its successor is a radiant wind of sonic and melodic adventure contradicted by the bullish tenacity and contagious strength of rhythms and riffs. Light and dark in a riveting conflict for the listener to immediately immerse in, the song as its predecessor sets another plateau for the increasingly thrilling album.

An opening tangy lure from the guitar sets Immune off in fine and exciting style, that initial tempting continuing to coax ears and imagination as around it the song‘s atmosphere darkens and its climate becomes more imposing. The track never goes into the brutal rage it hints at though, keys providing a poetic elegance as the guitars flame with sonic adventure and the song with a creative revelry. Only Angastiniotis’ scarring tones resist the light, his words a great blackened toxin to the engaging landscape before final track Dysthymia takes over to bring Frame Of Mind to a satisfying close. It again reveals the depth and invention in the songwriting and sound of Stormcast, a blend of smoggy rabidity, unpredictable mouth-watering twists, and emotive melodic endeavour gripping ears and imagination for a potent finale.

It did not take Frame Of Mind long to impress but it is with further plays that its true weight of creativity and grandeur shows itself. With only a wish for a little more diversity in delivery from Angastiniotis a minor thought, Stormcast has pushed themselves towards the strongest spotlight with the album, a must investigation for all extreme melodic metal fans.

Frame of Mind is available via Pitch Black Records now @ http://store.pitchblackrecords.com/STORMCAST-Frame-of-Mind.html#.VIgbA3vzDox

http://www.stormcastband.com/

RingMaster 10/12/2014

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Chronosphere – Embracing Oblivion

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2014 has already been flush with some impressive and more importantly thrilling thrash metal releases, some old school bred and others sculpting the new penchant for fusing thrash with death metal and other styles. Somewhere in between comes Embracing Oblivion, the exhilarating new rampage from Greek metallers Chronosphere. With adrenaline driving relentless through every vein making up the ten-track avalanche of insatiable thrash baited ferocity, the album is an exhausting and exciting confirmation of a promise already laid from the band previously but now aligned to a new plateau of inventive hostility and mouth-watering creative tenacity. Arguably the release is not casting explosively original persuasions but with ease Embracing Oblivion stands to the forth of the emerging modern twist of Bay Area spawned thrash metal.

The beginnings of Chronosphere started in 2009 when vocalist/guitarist Spyros Lafias formed the old school thrash fuelled Homo Sapiens. The demo Hypnosis came out the following year as well as several line-up changes which subsequently led to the union of guitarist Panos Tsampras, bassist Kostas Spades, and drummer Thanos Krommidas alongside Lafias. The band’s reputation has grown constantly through their live performances which over the years has seen them share stages with the likes of Rotting Christ, Suicidal Angels, and Evile as well as various festival appearances such as Metaldays and Wacken Open Air. 2011 saw the band begin working on their debut album Envirusment, an attention grabber which was released as Chronosphere via Athens Thrash Attack in 2012. Acclaimed and drawing world-wide attention its success is now set to be left behind in the wake of Embracing Oblivion and its explosive might.

The concussive entrance of Killing My Sins awakens attention and appetite within seconds, guitars and rhythms cascading venomously ChronosphereCoverdown on the senses before settling into the casting of predatory riffing and antagonistic beats. It is a dramatic and gripping torrent of intent and sound driven forcibly by the excellent vocals of Lafias supported anthemically by the shouts of Spades and Tsampras. The song is a ravaging onslaught but also a tempest which has the guile and deception to slip into moments of stalking rapaciousness and respectful intimidation, though it is only to un-cage a scorching solo before reasserting that savage and exalting furnace of intent and aggression.

The exceptional start is swiftly matched by One Hand Red Per Saint, again an insurgent proposition from its first breath. Riffs consume ears with an edacious hunger and rhythms unleash a cage of battering animosity, both expected in many ways and pleasingly welcomed but it is the inventive twists and imagination deviation to the core formula which ignites the passions most impressively, those and the ever successful vocals. Already within two songs there is an unpredictability infused into the assumption feeding base charge of the encounters which sets the band apart from the masses and flirts wantonly with the imagination for a full and eager submission, the next up Force Fed Truth equally as effective and ingenious in its presentation. It all makes for a familiar and refreshingly new twin attack from the album, one which simply does not fail in winning an ardour wrapped reaction.

The third song is debatably more expectations feeding than its predecessors but still a thoroughly electrifying provocation before making way for the merciless temptation of Brutal Decay. With a great vocal deviation to its narrative at times and a new intensity of urgency and energy beneath the spiralling casting of guitar and their sonic endeavour, the track is a galvanic onslaught which is anthemic in its recognisable seeds and dramatic enticement but littered with shards of often brief but scintillating invention. The guitar prowess once more lights a blaze of impressed appreciation whilst drums and bass continue to inspire a new strain of hunger for their enterprising voracity.

Things step up another notch with the intoxicating Frenzied From Inside, Lafias and guitars weaving further rousing ideation and breath-taking toxicity into its wonderfully hellacious rampage, whilst the next up Herald the Uprising instantly has the passions eating out of its hands with the opening rough carnivorous bassline, bait impossible not to get carried away over. It leads the ears into a furious pleasure of bad-blood veined enterprise and virulent anthemic beauty, the vocals as magnetic as the flesh chewing riffs and citric touch of the razor sharp cuts from the tantalising guitars. It is an enslaving enticement as potently matched by the scything rhythms and the persistently masterful bass sound, not forgetting one fire soaked solo.

The album continues to inspire hungrier and greedier responses as City of the Living Dead backed immediately by Seize Your Last Chance hold ears and imagination spellbound, the first a haunting and sinister examination which simply engulfs the listener in caustic sirenesque predation and its successor a more concentrated preying of the psyche. One very happy to un-cage an epidemic soaking of barbarous rhythms and similarly inhospitable riffs wrapped in a bewitching grooves expelling exceptionally addictive sonic invention.

The album comes to a close with the bestial brutality and muscular beauty of Beyond Nemesis, a thunderous pugnacious treat of an antagonist, and the melodic metal spawned blaze of craft and ferocity that is The Redemption. Both songs again expel an invention and creative adventure which leaves anticipation for more in the future as full as the satisfaction and pleasure embraced. There are a couple of minor moans which could be placed before Embracing Oblivion, well one really which is the similarity of many tracks across their strong surface which requires extra attention to look through, but that focus is rewarded with that gripping invention and devilry so really it is just an observation which probably will work itself out as the band evolves organically. Chronosphere is another band taking modern thrash to new heights without losing its source and providing impressive highlights in a busy year for the genre.

Embracing Oblivion is available via Punishment 18 Records now!

https://www.facebook.com/ChronosphereGr

9/10

RingMaster 16/06/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Expanding the Extreme: an interview with Giannis K of Dark Vision

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For over fifteen years Greek extreme metallers Dark Vision has earned themselves a strong reputation in the metal underground for their expansive death metal sounds. The recent release of their Ingrowth EP shows the band is stronger and more inventive than ever, their melodic death metal sound soaked in blackened overtones and stirring essences of classic metal and rock n roll a compelling encounter which stands out for band and extreme metal. Seizing the offer to find out more about band, its history, and the new release we set about drummer Giannis K with plenty of questions…

Hello Giannis and welcome to the site.

Firstly for those yet to discover your sounds please introduce the band and the entity that is Dark Vision.

Hello! First of all we would like to thank you for the opportunity to speak through your magazine. Dark Vision exists since 1996, we started playing atmospheric/heavy/black metal continuing these days into a straight forward death/black metal. Our influences lately covering many genres such as death/black metal, rock, classic heavy and all these under a rock’n’roll attitude…  If someone really needs to put a table about our genre, we can say that band’s like Satyricon, Behemoth, Black Sabbath, Voivod, etc. defined our nowadays style.

The band began in 1996, longevity many bands can only dream of. What has kept you inspired and passionate as a band?

The reason that this band started many years ago, was our love in this specific style and also for its subgenre. This made us to continue until now.  The magic moment when you creating a song or you are on stage, keeping you vigilance.  Another very important reason is that as a band we are not playing as professionals but at the same time we are trying to act as much a professional do.  In simple words, when a band is playing for the money there is a certain point that the musician will consider most of the time firstly the profit… In our case as we said because we are not playing for living we have the privilege to play whatever we want in our way.

How has your music and intent as a band evolved over the past 16 or so years?

We have definitely evolved all these years.  Apart of the several line-up changes we grow up as personalities, this made us think with more mature in every way from creating music to acting live. With the current line up the band continues the last years a specific way which evolving us.

Dark Vision is a band which has like so many survived numerous line-up changes, how has that impacted on the band generally and do you think and feel  certainly for Dark Vision, that this inevitable process actually benefits bands creatively for the main?

Following all these years we can say for sure that all these line-up changes firstly made us stronger and secondly helped the band to evolve as it is today. Of course this doesn’t mean that if a band having a standard line-up for years will not evolve, but in our case helped a lot. The only think that we can say was against us in every chance, is the time and the preparation until the band became ready to act again.

You have just released your excellent  Ingrowth EP through Bluntface Records though it had its first release as a vinyl exclusive last 113375year for your fifteen year anniversary. How has it been received so far and has this new unleashing from the independent US label brought a deserved energy and awareness to the EP?

Thanks for your good words! Bluntface Records definitely played a very important role in this release. From the very beginning we realized that with Otto from Bluntface Records we can work very smoothly and creatively together. We choose to release “Ingrowth” in vinyl. A part of the 15 years anniversary, it was a dream since the beginning of the band. We strongly believe that vinyl is more complete and at the same time nostalgic than the nowadays cd. The press worldwide hugged this release since the very beginning and we received very flattering words, we are thanking all of you for your support up to now.

How would you say the new release has evolved from and offers predominantly different to previous album Bestial Remedy?

We worked different this time. From creating the songs to the recording process everything was different. We worked at the recording sessions with more live feeling, which means that we didn’t use this time metronome, but we played all together in order to be closer to this live feeling.

Definitely! “Bestial Remedy” was the begging of a new era for the band and after all these years we can assure you that “Ingrowth” is a big step beyond for us, not only on the composing side but as an experience in the recording sessions.  This time with “Ingrowth” we focused more in the emotional, although our technical skills became better with results on this album.  The songs are approaching better death/black forms and all this under a “rock’n’roll” attitude.

There is a great melodic groove and breath to Ingrowth and its blackened death metal stance. Has this aspect naturally emerged or was something you wanted to intentionally explore?

Most of the things that we are doing are coming out naturally … after “Bestial Remedy” it was natural to continue and evolve this style under our way.

How are songs written within the band and what is more often than not the initial spark to an idea and song?

Composition process usually can be with 2 ways, sometimes our guitar player Mark is writing the song and presenting to the rest of the band in our rehearsals, and another way is to start in the studio working all together on an idea.

What are the strongest influences upon your writing musically and lyrically?

Many influences from daily matters up to religion (from a historical point of view), other times songs can describe personal situations or even our darkest thoughts…

Did you have set ideas and vision for songs before recording the EP in the studio or did they change and grow their own different character whilst bringing Ingrowth to life?

Most of the ideas in “Ingrowth” album were conceived in the preproduction. When the recording process started, we preferred to stay more close to technical matters (microphones set up, Amplifiers, etc), of course, in general if any last minute ideas arise and are worthwhile we are willing to try it.

IMG_4029Ingrowth investigates, as your previous releases, the deepest and richest of shadows, is there an underlying theme to the EP?

We were just felt free to do things without second thought. The result is what you are now hearing and we are proud for that.

Is there a particular moment on Ingrowth which leaves the proudest feeling inside and alternatively is there something on the release which you are now inspired to explore further in future songs?

Yes, definitely the rock n roll element affected us regarding our music and emotionally at the same time.

On a recent episode of The Bone Orchard podcast I featured your track Garden of Nuclear Mushrooms. Can you give some back ground to the track?

Thank you for this! Garden … is a song that refers to the Apocalypse from our point of view …

Across the years you have shared stages with the likes of Mayhem, Satyricon, Sodom, Rotting Christ, and Septic Flesh to name a small few, what have been the biggest moment live and any artists you would sell a kidney to play with? 😉

Hahahaha! … Nice question ….. ! Hmm… probably for a special worldwide tour with Satyricon, Rotting Christ, Dimmu Borgir, Behemoth…!

There have been quite a few very impressive metal and rock bands bursting out of Greece in the past couple of years. Is the scene there as vibrant and impressive as it seems from the outside?

Yes! Over the last years lot of bands are doing a good job holding high the Greek flag of our metal scene…

What is next on the agenda for Dark Vision?

Next thing will be a live concert in Athens at 6th of April with other local bands…. Also writing news song at the same time…IMG_4263

Thanks for taking time to talk with us any final thoughts you wish to share?

Thank you! Check our new album “Ingrowth”

Lastly which are the artists to have made the biggest impact on you as musicians?

Daily we hear a lot of things … we are always trying to expand our music  influences … of course musicians such as Frost from Satyricon, Inferno from Behemoth, Ihsahn from Emperor, Jon Nodtveidt, John Gallagher, we admire them and their influences guiding us , also lately Kvelertak from Norway is one of the bands that made something fresh in the scene …

The RingMaster Review 08/03/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Nightfall: Cassiopeia

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    There can be very few who do not know of the Greek dark metal weavers Nightfall or be aware of their continuing legacy to metal in general let alone their chosen genre of creativity. From deeply impressive and acclaimed albums and putting Greek metal on the wider world map, the Athens band has also nurtured and brought forth many musicians who have moved on to other high profile bands, such as Bob Katsionis and Mark Cross (Firewind), George Kollias (Nile), and George Bokos (Rotting Christ). After a seeming break the band has returned with their new album Cassiopeia via Metal Blade Records, and a senses awakening piece of accomplishment it is.

Formed in 1991 by the now only original member, vocalist Efthimis Karadimas, Nightfall took little time in grabbing attention, their initial four track demo bringing them to the attention of French label Holy Records and leading to the signing with them. The following year saw their debut Parade Into Centuries released to enthused responses whilst the next mass of years saw its success and acclaim repeated and exceeded through albums Macabre Sunsets, Athenian Echoes, Lesbian Show, and Diva Futura. During this time many line-up changes challenged but brought fresh spices to the sound of the band, their original death metal breath honed into an even more atmospheric and melodic wind upon the ear and heart. Via Black Lotus Records, the albums I Am Jesus in 2003 and Lyssa: Rural Gods And Astonishing Punishments a year later were open and impressive realisations of this direction change. In 2005 though as the band ceased performing live and with members leaving, there was a ‘hiatus’ of sorts for Nightfall.

The announcement of a new line-up and the following release of Astron Black & The Thirty Tyrants in 2010 through Metal Blade, showed the band was back stronger than ever, the album the recipient of immense praise from critics and fans whilst their further evolved sound was a passionate and rich soundscape of blackened death metal malevolence weaved into a melodic and dark symphonic grandeur. Cassiopeia is drawn from the same inspiring well of imagination and one which dances with the passions. Whether it exacts the same rapture as its predecessor will be arguable from individual to individual but the release certainly mesmerises and intimidates with equal craft and magnetism.

Alongside Karadimas the band consists of guitarists Evan Hensley and Constantine, bassist Stathis Ridis, drummer Jorg Uken, and 039841516821Stathis Kassios on keys, and again as is notable across its existence, it is a collection of musicians which perfectly fit and further the heart of the band. The album as its title suggests, takes essences for its theme from the constellation and the mythical character of Andromeda’s mother but more so refers to and investigates the arrogant characteristic of the human race. Opening with Phaethon, the release immediately holds attention in its majestic palms, the beckoning weaving of the guitars lighting the way into the shadows of the song which then swamp the senses with the oppressive growls of Karadimas and seductive caresses from the keys of Kassios. The rhythms are reserved though the bass is a prowling entity with strong sinews within the sonic fires being conjured along the journey of the song. From eagerly appealing to deeply hypnotic and switching often, the song is one which ebbs and flows within its lush presence and enthrals throughout. The great starter is a sign of the album in that it is a constant engagement one can only be enthused by but at times ignites greater passions from particular moments of ideas. This could be said to show inconsistency but in this case it is a nice problem to have if the case.

The following Oberon & Titania is a delicious storm of caging rhythms, spiralling sonic enterprise, and melodic teasing with a sensational lone wanton taunt of piano erupting which sparks sheer adoration for its unexpected and enchanted mischief. The track is a formidable encounter, one which stirs up the primal and emotive dark inside to coax it into a vibrant furnace of invention and destructive beauty. From keys to guitars, bass and drums, to the venom coated vocals, it is bruising yet invigorating treat.

Tracks like the infection invoker The Nightwatch with its familiar but knowing melodies and barbed hooks, the thought and senses wrapping Hubris which again stokes the heart with irresistible keys ‘doodling’, and the riveting Hyperion, leave one breathless and captivated. To be fair every track has that grip for the main of its presence making an album in Cassiopeia, which provokes and incites the dark and light within the listener.

At times the album is scintillating and even in its lesser moments compelling, and though it maybe does not trigger the furnace of passion as their previous album, it is one which lures you willingly back again and again.

http://www.nightfallstar.com

RingMaster 25/01/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Dark Vision: Ingrowth

Dark Visions

Greek extreme metallers Dark Vision has built a strong reputation in their homeland without truly finding a wider recognition worldwide since forming in 1996. Their new EP Ingrowth will not immediately put that right but with its impressive sounds could be the spark to start that deserved reward for the band. Released through Bluntface Records, it is a strong and compelling release built on a base of melodic death metal with blackened overtones which draws essences of classic metal and rock n roll into its stirring mix. It is not going to take you into a new unexplored venture musically but does easily satisfy any and every need required from a slab of devastation.

Starting off with a heavy/black metal sound the band released a series of demos in their first three years to strong reception. As their sound evolved their debut album came in 2000, though Full Moon Shines received its official release in 2002 through NMC Records. With line-up changes Dark Vision returned to full might in 2006 with the quartet’s self-financed Bestial Remedy EP unleashed two years later. With their live shows also drawing strong acclaim with the sharing of stages with the likes of Mayhem, Satyricon, Sodom, Rotting Christ, Septic Flesh and more coming across the years, the band has set themselves as a respected presence in the Greek underground metal scene. Ingrowth shows they are ready for wider acclaim and since its vinyl release last year has drawn a good response something the digital release now should one feels accelerate.

The atmospheric instrumental Thy Flesh Thy Bones opens up the encounter, its brief but dramatic presence and startling breath 113375immediately leaving one on tenterhooks for what is to follow. King of Emptiness at first stops thoughts in their tracks as it is not of the same breath of its ‘introduction’, a different type of beast which is slightly unexpected with this release our first encounter with the band. The song soon has control of ear and senses with its stalking riffs, tight melodic weaves, and growling insidious vocals though.  It prowls and stalks with a venomous heart and intense energy throughout whilst sending spikes of sonic craft and acidic melodic spears through the ear with appealing ease. It is a strong and compelling track which satisfies without lighting up the passions fully, something its successor soon remedies.

Pain Redirected fuses classic metal grooves with punk coated aggression whilst again the vocals squall with abrasive intent and pleasing malevolence. The drums cage the senses impressively so the guitars can score them with skilled violence and intrusive rewards whilst the bass though arguably not as openly obvious as one would wish, stomps over the ear with the hunger of a ravenous beast. It is a great and contagious track which confirms already that Dark Vision is a band to be known about.

The EP gets better the further you go into its muscular depths with Garden of Nuclear Mushrooms a pinnacle. The technical prowess of the band is an ever present throughout the release but here squeals and captivates within the brawling intensity magnificently, the discordant scything a delicious piercing within the ravenous consumption of the song. It is intelligently varied in sound and pace along is sinewy length to bring a thoroughly pleasing and compelling engagement.

The EP closes with firstly the thunderous assault of Amongst Dead Butterflies and lastly the title track. The first of the pair has a snarling hunger which transforms its destructive rhythms and merciless riffing into an overwhelming intensity speared by sharp melodic enterprise whilst the closer is a scarring tempest of incessant sonic niggling and corrupting black hearted energies. Both tracks are wholly infectious and an immense end to a great release.

Dark Visions is not a band to bring you something openly new but one which creates invigorating extreme music better than plenty of other artists. Ingrowth is a recommendation you should not ignore.

http://www.darkvision.info

RingMaster 07/01/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Nepente: Suffering Is The Seed

The best word for Suffering Is The Seed, the new album from Columbian extreme metallers Nepente, is vicious. In fact it is a savage and sonically scurrilous violation, a torment of corrosive intensity and unbridled devastation. It is also a thoroughly rewarding if painful confrontation continuing the uncompromising power of South American extreme metal with strength and accomplishment.

The album is the fourth release from a band which was founded in 2002 and been on a constant rise ever since. Their early years saw the band becoming an acclaimed force in the Columbian underground metal scene, their deathly onslaughts catching the imagination of fans and Columbian metal radio. From appearances on two compilation CDs in the US, the quintet of José Fernando Ospina (Vocals), Mauricio Aristizábal (Drums), Wilmar Correa (Bass), Esteban Daza (Guitar) and Juan Pablo Buitrago (Guitar) replaced by Pablo Vasquez in 2010, a wider awareness grew as the band were played on radio shows around the world and shared stages with the likes of Ancient and Rotting Christ. 2008 saw the album Atonements released through Metalbolic Records to a strong response and which marked the start of a rising stature for the band outside of their homeland. With the unleashing of Suffering is the Seed, their best release to date, Nepente should find with its overwhelming might and startling craft, a greater step forth into recognition from fans worldwide.

As soon as the title track to start off the release begins scarring the ear, the senses are searching for safety, the corrosive sonic acid pouring disguised as riffs unbridled intimidation. There is a compulsive groove spearing them which alleviates some of the spite, well until the track explodes into a storm of blistering malevolence and flesh stripping sonic terrorism. The guitars scythe down synapses with venom dripping from every note and riffs whilst the rhythms shatter the bones within the ear for a nasty crippling engagement. The track continues to interchange the initial slower prowl and ferocious annihilation before the track has run its course of violence, to leave one breathless and fully satisfied.

The following Hell Is The Name Of This Land and Merciful Death offer no respite to the destruction, though both thrust arguably greater enterprise into their consuming rage of sound and energy. The first of the pair again switches between a torrent of sonic abuse brought with craft and skilled invention and contagious grooved imagination, the blistering heavy metal melodic lining an enthralling respite within the constantly raging vehemence. The second charges at the ear with a slightly less vitriolic hate yet still bruises and scorches far more than most other bands can imagine. It is not an easy to stand before the angry tempest of track and album but fully gratifying.

The only criticism one can place on the album is that the surface similarity and structure to songs does make for a bleeding together of tracks at times, though each confrontation is marked by their quality if bravery to enter deeper is given. Tracks such as the more serpentine Hear Me Howl, the ravenous Slaves Will Always Be Slaves with its greedy gnawing riffing, and the caustic furnace of Die For Me, squall and abuse with a less than distinct presence between each other, though that dive to deeper depths of each track does deliver enough diversity to draw only acclaim.

The album closes with two black hearted scourges in the intensity tsunamis of This Shroud Is Yours and The Swamp, both tracks storms of enveloping ruinous fires. Probably the most adventurous of all the tracks, the pair are a potent mass of primal and thrilling invention, to complete an impressive and powerful album. It is not an easy listen as mentioned and possibly could be too harsh for many but deserves time with all extreme metal fans to state its case.

http://www.facebook.com/nepente.manizales

RingMaster 22/11/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright