Dead Asylum – Death Always Wins

It is hard not to be enamoured with the Canadian underground metal scene and the number of striking and very often seriously impressive bands it spawns so it is not a surprise to find another making a sizable addition to the list. They are Vancouver quartet Dead Asylum who through new album Death Always Wins leave no hiding place from their ravenous blend of melodic death and thrash metal with plenty more things on offer. It is a creative scourge relentlessly harassing body, senses, and imagination but rewarding each in return.

Emerging to the rear of 2011, Dead Asylum lured attention and praise in their second year with debut album General Carnage. Time since has seen their reputation especially as a live force escalate; the band sharing stages with the likes of Anvil, Toxic Holocaust, Warbringer, Exmortus, Soulfly, and Soilwork, as well as touring across their homeland into the US and play alongside bands such as Suffocation, Bison BC, and Holy Grail at numerous festivals. Now they have Death Always Wins to offer up, and straight away it shows itself one of those encounters which quickly has you thinking broader attention and opportunities are lying in wait for its creators. Time will tell if it bullies and seduces that success but certainly the album has stamped Dead Asylum down as a band to take real notice of.

Instantly the album consumes ears in virulent grooves and rapacious riffs, Defiance fuelled by a vocal animus as rhythms plunder the senses. The grievously magnetic vocal attack comes from rhythm guitarist Mike Lister and bassist Roger Mowat, their interchanging and entangling deliveries as venomously intrusive and compelling as the sounds around them. Thereon in lead guitarist Eric Morrison spins and spreads a web of grooves and melodic toxicity, his enterprise entwining around the punishing yet equally virulent and rousing assault of drummer Samantha Landa. Infectiously nagging and trespassing ears and imagination, the track is a superb arousal of the senses to explosively set things off.

The album’s title track is next, unleashing its own hungry grooves and barbarous beats within seconds as vocals share a cancer of expression and word. Death Always Wins equally conjures a labyrinth of melodic and sonic craft to expand its temptation, one flooded by a pestilential infectiousness based on a thrash breeding which is rabid and irresistible.

Somehow things become even more predatory within Between Me and the Grave, the track initially prowling with ill-intent before accosting ears in a primal surge of carnivorous riffs and grooves as Landa brings even greater malice and swing to her rhythmic trespass. At times there is something of the likes of Soilwork and Scar Symmetry to the encounter, the band’s Swedish death metal inspirations open if twisted into Dead Asylum’s own creative antipathy within this and surrounding tracks like Bury the Living; another corrosive barrage of invention and dexterity bred on imagination and unpredictability. Whether the Dead Asylum sound is truly unique can be debated yet as this song alone shows, it has a memorable character and adventure which sets it firmly apart from the crowd.

Forgotten Sacrifice with its senses niggling grooves and instinctive grudge fires up the passions yet again, the track a skilfully sculpted blur of hostility and sonic violence twisted by Morrison’s vitriolic grooves and entrancing citric melodies and further scarred by Landa’s intrusive rhythms and the vocal rancor of Lister and Mowat.

Through the bestial dance of Bred to Die and the malignantly seductive fire of Welcome, ears and appetite for extreme adventure are gripped, the second of the pair especially enthralling with its almost exotic charm and jaundiced tapestry of sound. Neither quite have the little extra which makes their predecessors so incendiary for the imagination but each adds a potent reason to acclaim the album before final track Inmate 666 seals an already done deal with its psychotically bred and insatiable invasion of thrash death rancor. The track is glorious, an exhilarating end to a mutually riveting release.

Dead Asylum will be new to many, after Death Always Wins they will surely be the lust for a great many more.

Death Always Wins is released June 2nd through https://deadasylum.bandcamp.com/album/death-always-wins

http://www.thedeadasylum.com/    https://www.facebook.com/deadasylum    https://twitter.com/DeadAsylummetal

Pete RingMaster 01/06/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Xerosun – This Dark Rage

Photography by Olga Kuzmenko

Time for another catch up moment, this time with the This Dark Rage EP from Irish melodic death metallers Xerosun released a handful of months back. It is fair to say that since we covered and enjoyed the band’s debut album Absence of Light way back in 2011, they and their sound have quite simply evolved into completely new attention grabbing beasts, changes and evolution leading to their latest impressive  proposition more than deserving of a belated look.

With a just as hungry progressive bent to their ravenous sound, the Dublin quintet has persistently drawn greater praise and support in recent times. Building on previous successes like that first album and sharing stages with the likes of Avenged Sevenfold, Soulfly, Xerath, and In This Moment, the past two years have been exceptionally busy for Xerosun. Two headline UK tours have been accompanied by performances at festivals such as Mammothfest and Siege of Limerick, times capped off by the release of EP/mini album This Dark Rage and the Olga Kuzmenko created video for its title track, both themed around the Craigslist killer Miranda Barbour, a subject set to be further explored in the band’s new album set for later this year.

This Dark Rage opens with that title track, vocalist Martyna Halas-Yeates’ raw throated scowls courted by the predatory prowl of guitars and rhythms; it all soaked in venom and spite. As riffs continue to gnaw and beats stab, the primal instincts of the track suddenly flip into a groove driven canter, Halas-Yeates’ tones becoming a siren of beauty before the beast returns in voice and song again. The rapier like jabs of drummer Damian Dziennik hold even more spite while David Kuchar’s bass is savage in tone and flirtatious in swing matching the now established web of hostility and grooving. It is a compelling blend and result, the guitars of Fiachra Kelly and Gareth Jeffs rich in craft and enterprise while Halas-Yeates captivates in her dual persona. She is angel and demon and though her melodic prowess feels more natural, her vocal causticity only convinces within the adventurous tapestry around her, wicked grooves deviously colouring the unfolding lyrical drama.

Anatomy of a Lie follows the great start, even overshadowing it as it creates its own groove sculpted temptation, one again bred from ruinous fractions of intent and a blossoming of magnetic melodies and harmonic flames again led by Halas-Yeates’ kind side. It is a song which has grown and evolved since its first outing within a great video back in 2013 and another sign of the band’s hunger to grow and draw every ounce of their imagination to the fore. As all tracks, it is a fusion of flavours beyond the description we first gave you, a controlled but bold maelstrom of antipathy and warmth lighting the senses much as the tempest within next up I Spared Hundreds succeeds in. With electronic essences almost taunting ears from its shadows, the song is a carnal provocation with a relatively latent but openly glimpsed peace. Harmonies and keys temper the cancerous instincts surrounding them, while imagination is an increasingly riveting trait in the song as innocence and insanity mingle in the corners of its psychosis.

The release is brought to a close by firstly The Mother of Morality, a corrosive web of sound with Middle Eastern veining radiated in suggestive melodies and vocal elegance. At times it is like a mix of The Agonist and Motherjane, in other moments more Scar Symmetry and Arch Enemy nurtured, and quite beguiling. As the EP, the track just grows with every listen, the enjoyment of its first appraisal becoming more lustful and impressed with every venture into its passionately lit caverns.

Repent, Rewind, Reset brings it all to an end, its seven minutes plus a spiral into emotional and mental turbulence matched by a soundscape of volatile and schizophrenic sound. Though for whatever reason the track does not grab as powerfully as its predecessors, it makes for a fine and fascinating conclusion to a release which only impresses more and more. Xerosun is a band on the ascent with a potential driven, imagination powered sound to match.

This Dark Rage is available on CD and download @ https://xerosun.bandcamp.com/

http://www.xerosun.com/    https://www.facebook.com/xerosun   https://twitter.com/xerosun

Pete RingMaster 31/03/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Khasm – Fenris

KHASM_Band_RingMasterReview

Hailing from Colmar in France, it is fair to say that French metallers Khasm have introduced themselves in fine style with debut EP, Fenris. Consisting of four tracks sculpted from the emotional rancor and creative hostilities of old school thrash and death metal, with additional caustic essences, the recently released tempest is a compelling and increasingly rousing incitement for ears and the band’s already growing reputation.

A quartet made up of vocalist Christophe, guitarist Philippe, bassist Matt, and drummer Laurent, Khasm draw on inspirations which include the likes of Feared, Hatesphere, Six Feet Under, and Hatebreed for their own uncompromising sonic trespasses. As swiftly shown by Fenris, there is rawness to their sound which fits their lyrical confrontations but equally an inescapable if punishing virulence bred in the instinctive thrash side of their creative character.

They are essences which instantly grab ears in the Jocke Skog (Feared, Clawfinger) produced EP and its title track. Opening up the release with a great throbbing bassline, the song is soon backing up its coaxing with a tide of inviting riffs and biting beats. Almost as swiftly it hits its thrash driven stride, badgering and snarling at the senses with a repetitive wave of riffs and Christophe’s vocal hostility. There are no surprises with the track but plenty to get eager teeth into and find a hungry appetite for.

FENRIS COVER_RingMasterReviewIt is the same with No More Justice, the song needing mere seconds to whet ears and the imagination with its opening bait of Clawfinger-esque riffery. That passing lure is soon lost in the predatory prowl and rhythmic stalking of the song, an intimidating invitation in its own right which in turn twists and turns into a web of sonic enterprise and galvanic hooks within the track’s open discontent.

The already impressing nature of the EP continues with Nightwatch, a track featuring the guest sonic prowess of Scar Symmetry’s Per Nilsson. It is probably the most inventive and boldly diverse track on the EP without losing the hellacious nature fuelling those around it. The song savages and seduces across its brazen sonic landscape but does miss the final spark as found its predecessors. Nevertheless, satisfaction is thick and another aspect to the Khasm sound and character welcomed before the outstanding Turmoil brings it all to a thunderous end.

The closer opens on a lone reflective vocal, which soon provides the trigger to a senses harrying pressure of rapacious riffs and irritable rhythms, they matched in tone and presence by vocal rabidity and rebel rousing. Subsequent grooves only add to the thrilling drama and assaultive tenacity of band and track. It is a final addictive roar of punk ‘n’ thrash, the pinnacle of the EP and Khasm showing they can rock ‘n’ roll with the best of them.

Fenris is a powerful and memorable base for Khasm to spring forward from with anticipation for their next step already impatient.

The Fenris EP is out now on CD and digitally @ https://khasm.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.facebook.com/khasmofficial

Pete RingMaster 05/05/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Warfaith – Wise Man Is Dead

warfaith_RingMaster Review

Though there is an old school breeding to their sound, as debut album Wise Man Is Dead shows whilst storming the barricades, equally French thrashers Warfaith infuse just as potent twists of modern and varied ideation into its ferocious character. It brings a wonderful blend of raw and inventive thrash metal drawing on its various decades, and though the release is definitely recognisably schooled in the genre’s breeding days, it replaces major originality with inventive and fiercely enjoyable rock ‘n’ roll.

Formed in 2012, its origins seeded in many bands such as Violator or Warfare before then, the Nancy quintet quickly sparked their local scene into supporting life with their live presence and their first pair of tracks in Terrorist and Spit on the Cross. The following year saw the recording and release of the Blood And War EP; six tracks released that October helping to enable the band to venture further afield within the metal underground. Now it is the turn of first album Wise Man Is Dead, a release sure to light up ears for thrash around its birth but with plenty to please all of its fans even without stirring up particularly new pastures for the genre.

warfaith-album-face-aplatit_800_RingMaster Review   Influences to Warfaith include the likes of Slayer, Soulfly, Sepultura, Cannibal Corpse, Scar Symmetry, and Pantera, and that hints at more going on than just a vintage thrash incitement as the opening pair of full tracks to Wise Man Is Dead confirm after the sonically enticing Intro. It’s melodically acidic and accomplished coaxing leads into the album’s title track door, it exploding with ravenous rhythms and vocals across a scourge of violent riffs and instantly infectious incitement. The hellacious onslaught relaxes a slither as the track hits is barbarous stroll, the bass of Moon a great steely lure within the sonic web cast by guitarists Jojo and Odian. Driven on by the full roar of vocalist Max and the vicious swings of drummer Igor, the song continually shifts in gait and intensity, enterprise and maliciousness without even lessening its fury before Jesus Sucks erupts with irritable sinews forging antagonistic rhythms within another richly flavoursome weave of enticing grooves and imposing riffs; it all hostile and all thoroughly enjoyable.

Max brings a punkish element to his tones on the track which seems to spark the same in the sounds of Crack’s Whore straight after, the track a tempest which has a thick hardcore whisper to its torrential nagging of bestial riffs and bass grouchiness, and indeed the increasingly raging vocals which also slips in to spoken delivery with the same ire in tow within the attack. Once more the guitars unveil sonic and melodic slithers but primarily the song is a rancorous squall to light the soul, only relenting when it has to make way for the spicily hook loaded revelry of Purgatory. As in its predecessors, twists constantly bring a familiar air but with inventive freshness to the ear, and indeed contagion, which just hits the spot and the want from any thrash fuelled offering.

Terrorist keeps the good times boiling in the system, blood inflamed by the rabid tempest thrust through ears and the vocal union between Max and guest Nico Xanort; their contrasting tones of spite and ferocity a union as enjoyable as the spiralling invention from the guitars and rip-roaring tenacity of the song as a destructive whole. It is a brutal anthem impossible not to enlist in as equally the even more caustically abrasing Furious Pig, and after it, the merciless Kill With Truth. In their joint uncompromising extreme metal turbulence, inviting hooks and sonic endeavour bring individual adventure against the dark hearted aligning of senses battering and inventive drums and an addictive bass tempting, especially in the second of the pair which is a beast of virulent violence and temptation and arguably the most unique and exploratory song on the release, even in its tsunami of maliciousness.

There is no let-up to the musical and lyrical vehemence with Warslave, the track a horde like surge of rancorous bass bait and insatiable riffs pushed on by the great punkish squalls of Max, or Addiction right after. It devours ears like a war machine, pressing on with relentless authority whilst spewing flames of catchy enterprise and impassioned incitement lyrically and emotionally. The song is glorious and once again it has to be said the bass of Moon is wonderfully demonic in its voice and delicious in its growling texture, as shown one final time in the closing Redemption. It is actually the most predictable and thus less impacting song on the album but still brings Wise Man Is Dead to a mightily pleasing close.

It has to be said that Warfaith had us held in the first listen but the hooks only went deeper with ever subsequent listen. Wise Man Is Dead is definitely a release which just gets richer and bolder with every encounter so do give it the time it deserves; you will be rewarded.

Wise Man Is Dead is out now via most online stores.

Pete RingMaster 17/09/2015

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Arbitrator – Indoctrination of Sacrilege

ARB_COVER

If you speak to the right people there are always good, often great things said about any new and emerging band. The confirmation is always only in the music of course and just as often as words are proven, anticipation is left in unintended deceit. Arbitrator since the release of The Consummate Ascendancy EP in 2011 has been a band often talked up and recommended from certainly Canadian and North American sources. Their debut album Indoctrination of Sacrilege is our introduction to the quartet and all promise and suggestions of their growing might have been convincingly proven.

Indoctrination of Sacrilege is a beast of a release, an intensively atmospherically soaked death metal bred proposition which from making an impressive first impression grows into one striking and fascinating theatre of imagination. Fusing in textures and essences from electro and industrial climates to progressive and ambient flavouring, the six track release engulfs and stirs ears and thoughts with skilled and increasingly rewarding adventure. The band itself is the brainchild of Robert Kuklaand, its emergence starting in 2010 and announced by the release of The Consummate Ascendancy the following year. It was an acclaimed proposal from the band but just a tester in many ways for the exploratory might of Indoctrination of Sacrilege. With a line-up of Myles Malloy (lead guitar), Connor ORT Linning (programming), and Soilwork drummer Dirk Verbeuren (ex-Devin Townsend Project, ex-Aborted) alongside Kuklaand (rhythm guitar, bass, vocals), Arbitrator put themselves forward now as one of the more intriguing and exciting progressive death metal prospects. They also still feel like they are still only just scratching the first few layers of their potential despite the weight and success of their album, a potential and prospect of even greater things ahead quite exciting.

The Sacha Laskow (ex-Divinity, Every Hour Kills) produced and Jens Bogren (Opeth, Katatonia, Amon Amarth, Arch Enemy) mastered album, swiftly has the imagination engaged as the entrance of opener They Will Worship This Fire of Agony comes through scenery of portentous bells and death feasting flies as church seeded chants seemingly offering final guidance as a dark pestilential cloud looms nearer and nearer. That sonic threat is realised a muscular wall of riffs and punchy rhythms veined by enchanting keys. It is an immediately incendiary and compelling persuasion enhanced by the guttural growls of Kuklaand and spicy persistent grooves. Samples are soon briefly mingling with the cavernous presence and intimidation of the song too but it is the infectious hooks and melodic winery which most captivates against the evolving and enlarging drama of the keys. It is an imposing and enthralling encounter, and as the album subsequently shows itself to be, a pleasingly unpredictable one.

The potent start to the album is solidly continued by Stillborn Bastard of The Nazarene, it straight away binding the appetite with intensive riffs and rhythmic swings whilst thoughts are provoked by its atmospheric colouring. Kuklaand again impresses as he binds words and syllables with a gripping impassioned tenacity which provides additional potent focal points amidst many on release and track. Samples and keys again paint additional inciting scenes in the ferocious and threatening landscape of the song, though it is the superb melodic enterprise of Malloy which steals more of the glory.

Through each song the album just gets better and creatively bigger, the next up For That Which May Appease Lions unleashing black hearted rock ‘n’ roll in a hellacious offering of grooved and addictive contagion aligned to corrosive and oppressive malevolence. The track transfixes from its first moments, the predatory nature and sound of the bass a delicious stalking within the maelstrom of rancor whilst clean vocals add a different shade of temptation to the voracious soundscape. Keys and guitar endeavour similarly vein the tempest with their own unique and engrossing narratives, everything seamlessly flowing and combining together to enslave ears and imagination. Unpredictability is rife across the track, and reveals more twists and subtle ideation with every listen, an exciting trait just as potent in Serpent of The Styx. The song’s electronic opening is a melodic drift of keys and radiant melodies yet it all comes with a solemn and melancholic charm courted by a slowly brewing dark side. An eruption of that heavy menace is eventually unleashed yet the song still continues to radiate melodic expression within a web of carnivorous grooves and enjoyably volatile rhythms. There is also a cinematic ambience to the track, its ‘warmer’ and calmer moments apocalyptic in suggestion as the track’s muscular and rabid side trespasses and challenges the senses. As its predecessor, the track is a mouth-watering incitement which just gets more addictive and anthemic with every passing minute, hook, and barbarous swing from Verbeuren.

       Profaned and Perfected whilst not quite matching the heights of the previous two tracks, has its own persuasive agenda of spiny grooves and spiky beats to contemplate, and an anthemic swing to drool profusely over. It is an out and out death metal ravishment but also one unafraid to explore warmer climes through the often spellbinding invention of the industrial spiced keys and climactic guitar. The song is still a bruising and commanding predator keeping body and emotions invigorated and fearful before the ‘epilogue’ like instrumental adventure of The Burning Sands of His Kingdom brings the album to a fine close. The electronically driven piece draws a cold and stark wasteland yet equally suggests hope with its melodically epic and intimately expressive tones within rugged scenery.

Over a handful of listens in and there is still more revelations coming forward within songs as Indoctrination of Sacrilege continues to reward, that in itself a strong reason with the diversity of sound and invention to check the album out. Wrapped in the excellent artwork of Colin Marks (Exodus, Scar Symmetry, Jeff Loomis), the release has been suggested for fans of Bloodbath, Dismember, and The Project Hate but also it is easy to suggest that those with a taste for bands such as Opeth, Mercyful Fate, and Escapethecult could do far worse than taking a plunge into Arbitrator and their first album.

Indoctrination of Sacrilege is available from February 13th @ http://arbitratorofficial.bandcamp.com/album/indoctrination-of-sacrilege

https://www.facebook.com/Arbitratorband

RingMaster 12/02/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from http://www.thereputationlabel.today

 

The Voynich Code – Ignotum

The Voynich Code - Promo 2015

If there is such a thing as controlled bedlam then Ignotum from The Voynich Code is a thrilling example. It is a maelstrom of sounds and ideas delivered with an energy and imagination which swiftly has ears, thoughts, and passions recruited to the cause. The six-track release is the debut album from the Portuguese metallers who just formed last year, an immediate attention seeking and grabbing introduction to the talent of the exciting young Lisbon hailing quintet. There is a certain familiarity to the release it is fair to say, one bringing thoughts of other exponents of the fascinating sounds the band conjures, but more so an even greater freshness and potential suggesting the band will be and is forging their own imposing identity with their fusion of deathcore and technical/progressive metal with a healthy dose of grind and groove tenacity. It is a gem of a debut and one truly mouth-watering entrance by The Voynich Code.

It took band and album mere seconds to have these ears and imagination hooked as opener Antithesis, to a brewing haunting ambience, adds almost oriental like pokes of melodic discord. It is an immediately intriguing lure to which guitars add their similarly tempting touches before it all explodes in one intensive examination of the senses. Rich dark hearted vocal roars from Nelson Rebelo soon stamp their imposing authority on the now tempestuous body of the track, though that initial melodic bait is still using its seduction to fine effect. The guitars of Vinnie Mallet and André Afonso weave a magnetic net of carnivorous riffs and sonic imagination, gnawing and romancing ears over a tantalising percussive dance from drummer Nuno Cordeiro, a revelry and enterprise matching the provocative expression of keys and melodies. Twists clasp the storm of sound and inescapable malevolence grows in the vocal squalls, but it is the fluid and masterful mix of flavours and thick essences of varied genres which truly ignite thoughts and emotions, and a rather tasty bestial throat to the bass of Miguel Pires.

The following Amunet, The Decider instantly thrusts its creative jaws on the by now raw senses. An initial tide of covetous riffs and barbarous rhythms are soon veined by a similar melodic The Voynich Code - Ignotum - covercolouring to that which lit up its predecessor, as well as new variety to the vocal attack, guttural and swinish growls adding to the resourceful textures and fascination of the track. Maybe not quite as dramatically striking as the first but matching it in invention and riveting temptation, the track keeps the intensity boiling and greed for more growing, a hunger straight away fed by the outstanding voracity and mystique of The Others. Embracing an India bred melodic adventure within a groove infested swing of predacious incitement, the song flirts and savages with equal potency and simultaneous success. It is a transfixing and invigoratingly radiant abuse of a merger; imagine Veil of Maya, Mesuggah, The Faceless, and Scar Symmetry embroiled in a tempest spiced with some Korn and you get a feel of the third treat on Ignotum.

The industrial teased gentle provocative caress of instrumental MS408 allows a breath to be swallowed before Decoding of Life dishes out its own tapestry of viciously staggered riffs, rhythmic hostility, and a seriously contagious and enthralling technical swagger. This of course is all coated in vocal rancor and melodic enterprise. Those worldly spices of sound and imagination are never far from the landscape of any show, another Motherjane like seducing adding to the blistering turbulence.

Another tremendous peak and creative emprise within Ignotum makes way for yet one more, final track Acta Sancti bringing the album to an exhilarating close. Its respectful and eventful start is soon blustering with vocal rapacity and rhythmic rabidity, a ravaging matched by corrosive riffs and raw intensity. The opening smile of melodic charm will not go away though and immerses itself loudly in the caustic soundscape, sparking body and mind within every unpredictable step.

Ignotum is an exceptional introduction to The Voynich Code, an album which even as fingers tap out these words continues to seduce and impress further. Some parts will remind of more recognisable bands, artists the five-piece will soon be standing alongside in stature as they grow from this striking start it is easy to suspect and expect, but simply it is one of the most enjoyable and exciting extreme adventures to come along in recent times.

The self-released Ignotum is available from January 30th @ http://thevoynichcode.bandcamp.com/

http://www.thevoynichcode.com/

RingMaster 29/01/2015

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Shattered Skies – The World We Used To Know

Shattered Skies low res

With their acclaimed first EP having escaped our radar when it came out around three years ago, The World We Used To Know is our introduction to Ireland  bred progressive metallers Shattered Skies, and have we been missing out. The band’s debut album is an enthralling and thrilling creative emprise which avoids all the self-indulgences and over blown excesses the genre can at times coax out of a band. Instead it creates an epic drama of passion and invention with a technical adventure and skill to match, leaving jaws dropped in awe and passions lustfully inflamed.

Formed in the earlier moments of 2011, the now London based band swiftly gripped attention and critical praise with the Reanimation EP that same year. The time between releases has been filled with a host of reputation growing shows alongside the likes of Machine Head, Dimmu Borgir, Alice Cooper, TesseracT, Scar Symmetry, SikTh, Animals as Leaders, Twelve Foot Ninja, The Algorithm, After the Burial and many more, as well as performances at festivals such as Holland’s ProgPower and Bloodstock in the UK, two appearances at Britain’s Techfest and a trio of visits to Euroblast in Germany. The World We Used To Know will be the biggest lure to the world from the band yet and like for us, it is hard to imagine many genre fans and beyond resisting the fiery imagination and seriously accomplished sounds tempting from within the album’s fascinating walls.

As aflame with inescapable hooks and grooves as it is with breath-taking exploration, the release opens with the short and emotive temptation of Collapse Of Man. A provocative caress of Albumcoverpiano, the instrumental piece draws ears and thoughts into the release with a sense of drama which simply explodes in the following The End And The Rebirth. The band’s new single too, the song dances on the senses with a vibrant electro smile before ruggedly spicy grooves and matching crunchy riffs join the vivacious tempest. Instantly enticing whispers of TesseracT and Circles, the track casts its own uniqueness as it expands and glows with enterprise and invention. The striking melodic vocals of Sean Murphy are an instant treat, his ability and expression as dynamic as the sounds and ideation around him. It makes for a scintillating kaleidoscope of adventure spun on the skills of guitarist/keyboardist Ian Rockett and the simultaneously savage and addictive rhythms of drummer Ross McMahon and bassist Jim Hughes, quite simply it is a stunning start.

Things only explode with greater potency and ingenuity when 15 Minutes takes over, vocals and melodies again a sure seduction against the slightly carnivorous breath of the djent inspired guitar predation and rhythmic stalking. As mentioned before, each track has an inventive and sonic theatre to its songwriting and sound, one which over the first song and especially this has a feel of early My Chemical Romance to it. The track is sensational, a cantankerous croon of an incitement within a whirlpool of unpredictable and fluidly flowing experimentation.

Both the gripping enticement of Haunted and the inflamed serenade of Elegance And Grace keep album and ears burning brightly. The first is an angst fuelled weave of acidic grooves and stabbing riffs aligned to ever mesmeric vocals and harmonies. Its rhythms equally impose their strengths with ease, intimidating rather than coaxing the same plaudits in thoughts and emotions. Its successor is a smouldering romance of charm loaded keys and impassioned vocal expression in comparison. The song simmers and boils across a climactic canvas of riveting Muse meets Dioramic like endeavour, and as the last song engrossing ears and imagination with increasing strength and drama.

The guitars are back snarling and abrasing the pleasures in the following Show’s Over, though as discovered in all always Shattered Skies songs, they only provide one moment in evolving landscapes. Their bait and Meshuggah like growl is never far from the frontline of the song though, just in a constant and seamless flux of fresh sound and inventiveness. The track is an inescapable contagion, so much so that it is hard to think of many progressive metal bands which can rock body and passions with such catchiness to their enormous technical prowess as Shattered Skies.

As The Sea Divides is a tempestuous turbulence of sound next, its blustery guitar bred climate and inhospitable rhythmic trap the scenery for siren-esque keys and the soaring tones of Murphy to poetically and magnificently colour. A little longer to draw similar lustful responses as other songs, it grows to new heights with every listen, though it still misses the top step found by the last song and the outstanding Flipside which follows. Almost bestial in its prowling gait and sonic tempting, the track manages to be savage and impossibly infectious with a melodic bloom of voice and sound to put any crooner and pop band to shame. The song is quite delicious, a must be second single to our minds and another irrepressible reason why Shattered Skies will take the progressive metal world by storm, well this and ten other great reasons on The World We Used To Know.

     The pair of Aesthetics and Saviours seduce senses and emotions next, the first exploring the scent of bands like Tool and The HAARP Machine in a magnetic tapestry of emotion soaked expression and soaring harmonics. Unafraid to have a raw edge too, the song is also ridiculously catchy, something emulated by the darker squalling presence of the second of the two. An antagonistic cage of riffs and drums from the first second, it scowls and teases with scarring tenacity whilst within the raw frame keys and the stunning vocals of Murphy roar and soar.

The track is exceptional but so is the closing eleven minutes plus of the title track which brings The World We Used To Know to a mighty close. An epic journey and creative escapade in its own right, the song seems to draw on all the hearts of its predecessors as it draws a mouth-watering and bewitching soundscape all of its own. Everything about it is sensational and its lengthy presence seemingly over in a flash thanks to its wonderfully busy maze of startling craft and volcanic enterprise.

2015 has already in its brief time seen some quite invigorating encounters, the new 6:33 and Cold Snap albums coming to mind, and on that frontline of excellence Shattered Skies sits looking rather sensational with The World We Used To Know.

The self-released The World We Used To Know is available now @ http://shatteredskies.bigcartel.com/product/the-world-we-used-to-know and digitally @ http://shatteredskies.bandcamp.com/

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RingMaster 15/01/2015

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