KEN mode – Loved

We cannot say that the artwork surrounding releases particularly guides or influences our thoughts going into a new encounter but it has to be admitted that the art wrapping the new KEN mode album made a striking impression whilst sparking intrigue and imagination long before a note was heard. Created by the band’s long-time collaborator Randy Ortiz, it is a piece which also inspired the band itself in regards to Loved, their seventh full-length. Vocalist/guitarist Jesse Matthewson ahead of its release revealed that “We entered writing for this album with one goal in mind – to please the smile” referring to the cover’s protagonist.

He also said “We wanted to make an album that represented a thinking person’s reaction to the political/technological climate we are existing in today. We wanted to make the perfect album to put on repeat while pushing your physical limits to their maximum, if only to silence the noise that is constantly whirring around inside of your own head, even for a brief moment.” Listening to Loved, it is not hard to feel they succeeded in both, certainly in satisfying the smile and though whether you can create perfection can be debated but it is a release which stands on the frontline of their most stirring and striking proposals yet.

From the grungier and expansive indie rock inspired endeavour of its highly enjoyable predecessor, Success, KEN mode has in many ways returned to the sonic viscera and noise punk/hardcore toxicity of the likes of Venerable (2011) and Entrench (2013) for Loved. In saying that, the album equally pushes the bold adventure hinted at in Success to far more magnetic, feral, and maybe for some divisive heights. It is unapologetically invasive, a cauldron of sonic violence, and their most invasively dark offering yet and for us more than possibly their finest moment yet.

Doesn’t Feel Pain Like He Should is the first venomous treat from Loved, the track instantly lancing the senses with a sonic incision before the fierce rapier swings of drummer Shane Matthewson descend closely aligned to the ravenous grumble of Scott Hamilton’s bass. The caustic wires cast from Jesse’s guitar equally infest song and listener making a nagging cradle for the raw throated squall of his vocals all the time rhythms breeding greater virulence in their trespass. It is a glorious nagging of sound taking swipes and bites with every elevation of animosity and twist of enterprise resulting in a deliciously corrosive start to the release.

The Illusion Of Dignity teases with its initial lure before swinging on rapacious rhythms next, Shane’s hits a bone shuddering impact matched in carnal attraction by the resonance of Scott’s bass. Post punk hues add to the noise rock antics bred within the cavernous yet threateningly intimate breath of the track, vocals a toxic animus across the revolving spiral and searing flare up of guitar. As with its predecessor, new intensities fuel and fresh ideation inspires the course of the irresistible intrusion before Feathers & Lips steps forward to prey on senses and psyche. From its first breath it is a challenging threat but quickly springing its own infectious violation as seductively flirtatious as it is menacingly inhospitable. With a web of sonic dissonance and enticement at its heart, it is another which easily got under the skin and infringed upon the senses for rich pleasure.

It there was vague concord in the last track, Learning To Be Too Cold is sheer ill-will and needs a mere breath to invade and suffocate the senses in its corrosive wash and vocal feud as beats again barely labour to punish and incite attention. The vile lure of bass is a treat whilst the sonic scathing from the guitar is a mercilessly nagging breach as magnetic as everything piercing its scarring waves. It is not a song with the same instinctive contagion of those before it but one as memorable while Not Soulmates sets another unforgettable marker with its untamed but skilfully bred cacophony led by vocal discontent.

Very Small Men rears up to share its unique character and proposal swiftly after, dancing in on nimble dynamics driven by Shane’s inimitable rhythmic dexterity. It is soon though blowing a storm of aural animation hell-bent on igniting muscles and addictiveness to flex their instincts as the song’s holler enslaves. It is a thrill of an infestation, discord increasing by every turn of sonic entanglement and emotive dissonance.

From one of the album’s momentous moments to another as the calm swing of This Is A Love Test brings its own array of creative altercation. A jazz nurtured intimating caress is brought by the sax of Kathryn Kerr, its emotive and mellow seducing aligned to vocal reflection but both soon inspiring and joining a rancorous expulsion of frictious inharmony in a schism of enterprise which further inflames ears and thoughts as rhythms permeate the body.

The final pair of Fractures In Adults and No Gentle Art are equally as riveting and argumentative. The first is a senses hassling, evolving drone of disharmony which fingers and violates psyche and self-peace, each wave of creative quarrel intensifying in weight, ferocity, and conflict to disarm and inhumanely seduce while its successor rises up from a connecting rhythmic pulsation, emerging through shadow thick, portentously drenched serenity into almost salacious sonic warfare It stalks the listener from the off, every note and breath bringing a slight elevation in threat and intensity leading to crescendos of visceral expulsions and ravenous corrosion laden discordance again with Kerr’s breath casting creative arson within the gorgeous enmity.

The track is a bewitching, at times bewildering and relentlessly breath-taking conclusion to an album proving so hard to escape and move on to new adventure from. If you are looking for life affirming calm and beauty, Loved is not for you yet in many ways it does feed those desires whilst focusing the senses and thoughts on the reality of the world we are inescapably part of. Self-harm has never been more fun and invigorating than with KEN mode’s latest monster of a gem.

Loved is available now via Season of Mist and @ https://kenmode.bandcamp.com/album/loved

Check out their website for news and dates of their Canadian dates with Shallow in September, US/Canadian tour alongside Birds In Row in October, and European tour with Coilguns and Birds In Row this Nov/Dec.

http://www.ken-mode.com    http://www.facebook.com/kenmode    http://www.twitter.com/kenmodenoise

Pete RingMaster 31/08/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Antigone Project – From Its Room

Antigone Project _RingMasterReview

Hailing from the creative belly of Paris, Antigone Project made a potent first impression with their self-titled EP late 2014; a debut which has only strengthened its persuasion over time and listens. It was stirring and eventful tempting, a fusion of provocative flavours which has been lifted to a whole new plateau with its successor, the From Its Room EP.

Embracing the emotive qualities of post and progressive rock in electronic and guitar conjured soundscapes whilst equally drawing on the eighties inspired post punk /synth rock essences which marked its predecessor, the EP is a bolder and more immersive adventure exploring persistently evolving and evocative rock landscapes within tempestuous sonic climates. The leap in creative maturity and indeed experimentation between releases and their individual characters is as open as the wealth of textures woven into the EP’s six striking tracks, and as thoroughly enjoyable as that first offering was, From Its Room simply leaves it in its shadow.

Antigone Project is the brainchild of vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist /songwriter Frédéric Benmussa and a project initially intended as a solo venture. Formed in 2002, the band expanded over time with bassist Manu Ventre and drummer Fred Monaco alongside Benmussa upon the latest encounter. Inspirations to the band includes the likes of Pink Floyd, Depeche Mode, Radiohead, Joy Division, Tool, and numerous more, spices which were an open spicing within that first release but far less prominent in the unique proposal of From Its Room.

art_RingMasterReviewThe EP opens with First Rush, an immediately provocative mist of keys and sonic suggestiveness surrounding the senses as the song simultaneously brews up a dramatic and tempestuous climate. Benmussa’s soaring tones soon launch across the brooding canvas, his alluringly harmonies entwining with the floating wash of keys. Both powerfully draw ears as riffs and rhythms brew up within them, the imagination firing intro leading the listener to the following creative theatre of The Black Widow. Tangy hooks and sultry surf rock bred grooves engage ears and appetite straight away as the song’s sinister but seriously alluring character blossoms. As Benmussa’s voice brings another beguiling texture into play, the track’s exotic mystique and post punk charm enjoyably increases, addictive rhythms courting the surrounding adventure cast by guitar and keys. The track is stunning, an early favourite and highlight of the EP which alone shows the new diversity of sound and creative boldness soaking the release.

A live version of Trismus comes next, the band opening with grungy guitars as gothic hued keys rise up around them and the darker lure of the bass. Earlier Radiohead was mentioned as an inspiration to the band and here there is no escaping their scent as again a sweltering sonic colouring with surf/psych rock shading escapes guitars and harmonies as cinematic drama and haunting essences collude. It is a beguiling, imagination igniting immersion of the senses and thoughts, soon matched in creative endeavour by the following Sphere.

In three parts but meant as one musical movement, it begins with MoonSphere where gothic toned keys enclose ears as poetic melodies slip from the acoustic prowess of Benmussa, both expanding their temptation with an array of warm and imposing textures as vocals and rhythms bring their contrasting elements. There is a touch of The Cure and The The to the song, that previously mentioned eighties feel showing itself in a song seemingly as much Nine Inch Nails spiced. The track’s infectious union of shadows and melodic persuasion, a dark and light side, leads into the rousing revelry of VenuSphere. Straight away the track erupts, bounding along with tenacious rhythms aligned to a just as frenetic sonic and melodic resourcefulness. Inescapably though, it is still bred from the same emotional heart as its predecessor even when involving ears in its salacious temptress like festivity. Again a skilful collusion of contrasting shades and textures, this time honed into a virulent spirit arousing canter of electro rock/pop, the track sets flows straight in the final movement in the piece, PerfectSphere.

A darkly shadowed and almost portentous coaxing of ears and imagination, its riveting theatre and emotive tapestry of sound beguiles as it inflames and though as the other two, the song does work as a single proposal, Sphere has to be played as one whole flight of sound to ensure the fall through its cinematic and fascinating depths are felt to the full.

From Its Room is a thrilling new experience with Antigone Project; as suggested a major step on from their certainly impressing debut but one still seemingly like it is only part of the way towards something bigger and bolder, of which anticipation is already brewing.

The From Its Room EP is out now digitally through iTunes and on Ltd Edition vinyl via Season Of Mist @ http://shop.season-of-mist.com/vinyl/antigone-project-from-its-room-lp

https://www.facebook.com/antigoneproject    https://twitter.com/projectantigone

Pete RingMaster 05/04/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/

Luxembourg Based Progressive Metal Mob Scarred Stirring things up onthePsycroptic Tour

Scarred_press_RingMaster Review

Luxembourg Based Progressive Metal Mob Scarred Added To Psycroptic Tour

Announced as main support of Australian mentalists Psycroptic’s UK tour, off the back of their stunning slot at Bloodstock Festival, Luxembourgian metallers Scarred are set with their companions to leave England aflame on the last dates of the successful rampage around the UK.

Final date son the tour are at…

Oct 08 – Star & Garter, Manchester

Oct 09 – The Shed, Leicester

Oct 10 – The Exchange, Bristol

Scarred is a Death Metal Band from Luxembourg formed in 2003. Initially they started out as a Thrash Metal Project which released an E.P. called “Inner Scars” in 2004. However, through the years and after various line-up changes, they evolved towards a heavier and more brutal sound. In 2009 their first full-length album “New Filth Order” was released. Since then, Scarred has performed alongside many great artists and on major stages such as Wacken Open Air and Metalcamp. Due to many different influences, Scarred’s precise genre is hard to define and should be discovered.

On May 10 2013, Scarred has released their new album entitled “Gaia/Medea” under the banner of Klonosphere / Season of Mist Distribution. This Opus was mixed and mastered by Jochem Jacobs (Textures) at Split Second Sound Studio and features a guest solo by Attila Vörös (Nevermore, Leander Rising).

https://www.facebook.com/Scarredofficial  http://www.scarred.lu/

KEN mode – Success

photo Brenna Faris

photo Brenna Faris

Predictability has never had a presence in the sounds and imagination of Canadian noise wreckers KEN mode, though that in itself is something to be expected. Their caustic and furious brews of post-rock, hardcore, metal, and noise, to mention just some of their flavours employed, have ignited ears and imaginations with a tempestuous almost petulant creativity ensuring the band’s propositions are some of the most persistently and highly anticipated treats. The Winnipeg trio’s new album Success is no exception but this time it has taken a detour which definitely takes assumptions by surprise.

The band has gone back to explore the sounds and invention which were fermenting and fuelling the late 80s/early 90s when KEN mode began to sow its own sonic explorations. The album’s press release lists the album as paying homage to “both their Canadian Prairie roots, and a time when they first started to care about making music; the burgeoning grunge; and Touch Go/Dischord scenes of, with bands like Nirvana, Big Black, Cop Shoot Cop, The Cows, Circus Lupus, and Drive Like Jehu warping their teenage minds.” Listening to Success though you can go back further and find the seeds in predominantly post and noise punk with the album persistently sounding like a primal version of Gang of 4 on steroids. It is the band as raw and aggressive as ever, probably even more so at times, and still lyrically stirring up thoughts and emotional involvement, but it shows a new character and new compelling designs from the band which might not quite work for all but here is being greedily devoured.

KMSuccessCover_Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review     Recorded with Steve Albini (Nirvana, the Jesus Lizard, PJ Harvey) and recorded as a fully live and analog session, KEN mode’s sixth album opens with Blessed, a track which from its initial sonic whistle turns into a heavy bestial prowl. Simultaneously a swagger emerges in the grizzly tones of Scott Hamilton’s bass as magnetic jabbing lines the beats of drummer Shane Matthewson. Intimidating restraint replaces their predacious aggression at this point, the vocals of guitarist Jesse Matthewson crawling syllable by syllable with open ire over the addiction igniting web now in place. The song’s volatile instincts soon return to take rein though, almost insidious discord and hostility invading whilst binding excited senses in inventive and mischievous rancor.

The outstanding start kicks up another notch with These Tight Jeans, a song which roars and excites like an illicit union of Nirvana, Black Flag, and Pretty Girls Make Graves. Of course that is a mere hint to something unique to KEN mode, the track a rumbling, grumbling contagion of wiry hooks, spicy grooves, and rhythmic badgering. As ever the song is driven by fury loaded vocals but this time assisted by the excellent punk lures of guest Jill Clapham who just adds richer colour to the slimline unbridled furnace on the senses.

The Owl… follows the brilliance of its predecessor with its own gripping dark beauty. A sinister noir lit intrigue escapes the growling bass groove, its drama escorted by the similarly potent landing of drum sticks as vocals dangle their raw tone and narrative over the imagination. An air of Bauhaus wraps the absorbing lure and agitated swing of the song as guitars and bass spring an inescapable menace of a flirtation which only gets darker and more imposing as the emotive intimacy of cello from Natanielle Felicitas returns after first gracing the opener. The solemn gentle passage hugging her enterprise is soon a brawl of noise and intensity again before regaining control in a mesmeric finale which leaves ears and emotions in lustful bliss

The grungy turmoil of I Just Liked Fire explodes next, it too a rebellious blaze for ears and appetite to get lustful over as twisted discord and carnal noise collude to abrase and infest the senses whilst its successor Management Control, with greater restraint crowds ears with a thick resonating bassline and a tangy vining of guitar endeavour. The beats of Shane once again provide disorientating yet anthemic bait aligned to the predatory and contagious groans of bass but sonically the song is more involved and less instant with its catchy hooks and grooves. This is not to say the track is any less virulent than the previous songs, just a more intensive exploration with layers of waiting rewards.

There is a feel of Psychic TV to the following A Passive Disaster as its carnivorous basslines and caustic bellow gets right under the skin and into the psyche whilst Failing At Fun Since 1981 straight after, is punk belligerence at its blisteringly sonic and primitively rhythmic best. Both songs are a jungle of menace and bracing invention, individual noise riots to thrill and linger though they get outshone a touch by A Catalog Of Small Disappointments and in turn closing song Dead Actors. The first of the final pair is an uncompromising persuasion, its stalking rhythms and vocal angst entwined in the rabid theatre of guitar and lyrics. The track enslaves body and emptions with ease, threatening and seducing with every snarl and raw fingering of the senses before its successor takes over with a psychotic and darkly elegant Gang of 4 meets Wire like meander of sound and distress lined emotional reflection. The song is spellbinding, a long term journey taking itself and the listener on a traumatic and turbulently fascinating adventure.

It is hard to say yet if Success is KEN mode’s finest hour such its big enough departure to previous encounters reveals something openly and strikingly different but the seriously thrilling encounter is definitely a contender.

Success is available via Season Of Mist now @ http://shop.season-of-mist.com/predefined-search?id_list=102, http://kenmode.bigcartel.com/, or https://kenmode.bandcamp.com/album/success

http://www.ken-mode.com/

Upcoming KEN mode dates with Fight Amp

June 16, 2015 – Toronto, ON @ The Shop (Parts & Labour) w/The Great Sabatini

June 17, 2015 – Montreal, QC @ Turbo Haus w/The Great Sabatini

June 18, 2015 – Brooklyn, NY @ St. Vitus w/Pyrrhon, Couch Slut

June 19, 2015 – Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie

June 20, 2015 – Columbus, OH @ Ace of Cups w/Lo-Pan

June 21, 2015 – Chicago, IL @ The Burlington w/GOBO’S CVIT

June 26, 2015 – Winnipeg, MB @ The Goodwill w/Pop Crimes, Teethmarks *no Fight Amp

RingMaster 16/06/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://www.reputationradio.net

Memories Of A Dead Man – Ashes Of Joy

memoriesofadeadman_web

There is always something appetising about releases which make you work and really listen to their intensive offering before truly reaping the rewards their exploits offer. Ashes Of Joy the new album from French metallers Memories Of A Dead Man is one such impressive encounter. An exhausting venture into thick emotive climates and exhaustive imposing soundscapes, the twelve track journey challenges and intrudes upon senses and imagination respectively for a continually emerging and enriching experience. Certainly a release which needs extensive time to devour fully, though it makes a more than compelling first impression, Ashes Of Joy is a masterful confrontation which gets better and better across its length and to even greater effect over each traverse of its riveting body.

Formed in 2006, Memories Of A Dead Man has evolved their sound over time into a thoroughly absorbing and enveloping persuasion, their albums Beyond the Legend and V.I.T.R.I.O.L. drawing strong and acclaimed responses, but with Ashes of Joy the band has reached a new height in songwriting maturity, provocative presence, and intensive imagination. The melancholic breath which envelops from within the dark shadows and imposing structures of the songs borders on suffocation at times but only in their soaking of every twist and shift of the narratives, musically and lyrically, within the demanding and inciting provocation which in turn intensifies the oppressive intensity and emotive atmospheres brought to bear. Crafted by a new line-up which has been in place from 2012, Ashes Of Joy is an exacting and simultaneously compelling adventure, not one for the faint hearted but certainly one for all those who like to sink their teeth into an incendiary slab of extreme invention and passion.

The opening Prélude (Solemn Requiem) immediately encases ears in a fiery sonic embrace, the guitars of Ben Debrun and Tony Garcia memoriesofadeadman_covercasting a scorching initial smoulder of melodic enticement which calls on the imagination with its evocative lure straight away. Heavier stalking riffs follow thumping beats in joining the molten coaxing as the track increases its intensity and stature; all the time the irresistible grizzled tones of the bass and bear like vocals intimidating and taking thoughts into the  darkest menacing corners in preparation for the impending drama.

That dramatic experience is soon upon ears and emotions with the following Aurora, the track a tempestuous testing of the senses with rampaging rhythms from drummer Jef Ertle powerfully badgering the senses as the guitars squall imposingly around them as vocalist Pierre Duneau ravages syllables and air. With the bass of Herve Osmont similarly enslaving attention, the song evolves in gait and attack throughout, the demanding onslaught at the start drifting into an emotive and thickly atmospheric consumption driven by a more hardcore rapaciousness from Duneau. The twists never relent in their potent and aggressive immersion of the imagination, every second and note a new adventure to fear and equally devour. This variation and that of the vocals is a thrilling and increasingly addictive proposition in what is already a thoroughly intensive and demanding but excitingly rewarding entrance.

The following The Fall Of doG – Maelstrom Involution swoops in on a tide of voracious riffery and sonic enterprise around firm rhythms to instantly seduce the appetite. The again diverse and expressive vocals add to the already captivating and savage sounds throwing their creative and passionate weight against ears. It is a more immediate track than its predecessor but no less involving and steeled in startling textures, and with once more that hardcore causticity to the two toned vocal delivery, it simply ignites senses and passions. The turbulent antagonism and contagiously enterprising confrontation of the track makes way for the shadow grasping emotional beauty of Melancholia. The song floats in on a dark poetic breeze of melodies and a shimmering resonance which drifts from the classically structured and emotively sculpted canvas of the encounter. Two minutes in and the song erupts with a fire of passion and angst coated hunger which drives both music and vocals across the senses like a ferociously lapping tide. Not far short of ten minutes in length, the track is a tumultuous toxin raging and surging through the veins of itself and the thoughts of it’s intended.

The raw and assertively vociferous Touched With Pensiveness steps in next to inflame the passions, inventiveness and unpredictable rabidity to the evolving intent of the track exhilarating. The track did not impress as others first time around but as with the whole album given plenty of time and attention emerges as one intriguing and impossibly enthralling pleasure, the soaring sirenesque female vocal lures just some of the clawing rocks to get willingly snagged upon. Its rich glory though is small in comparison to the triumph of Wounded Knee, a blistering tsunami of crippling rhythms and bestial riffs led by the animalistic predation of the bass. If that was not enough to fire up the passions, a virulently seducing groove ensures the track catches every passing thought and emotion, taking them on a towering severe ride to which ardour is the willingly given price. It is hard to pick out any predominate specifics which make the songs so successful across the album, but certainly here the mix of vocals, the barbarous stride of the rhythms, and that ever belligerent bass sound stirs up a lustful attention.

The short evocative instrumental From Mud To Heaven leads into the acidically flavoured and sonically crusading La Nausée, its breathless emotional pressure and dramatically powered presence holding a strong essence of bands such as Tool and Porcupine Tree to its throbbing breast. The track is a transfixing furnace of emotion and oppressive strength which enthrals with its adventure and ideation, the same that can be said of the distinctly different yet similarly sculpted Draft Of The Second and Going Out With The Whore’s Saliva. Though the first never manages to reach the heights of those before, its grunge/Nirvana like impassioned fervour and coarse imaginative temptation still leaves a greedy appetite in place to be fed by its outstanding successor. Leaden stomping rhythms and scarring riffs steer the menacing intensity and vocal demands of the track whilst caustic flames of melodic abrasiveness and scathing vocals incite thoughts and emotions for another continually gripping peak within the album.

    Ashes Of Joy is concluded by stoner fleshed uncompromising intimidation of The Fall of doG – Erase My Eyes and the extensive explosive landscape of The Swan’s March, both tracks employing scything melodic swipes within primal turbulent atmospheres and permeating ambient causticity respectively. They are both immense provocations to match the exhausting and scintillating weighty persuasion of the album. Ashes Of Joy takes no prisoners but feeds them with the most scintillating and potently demanding emotional investigations. As said Memories Of A Dead Man make you work with their album but pays you back with one of the best encounters this year so far.

Ashes of Joy is out on April 14 via Send The Wood Music/Season Of Mist

http://www.facebook.com/memoriesofadeadman

9/10

RingMaster 13/04/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

http://www.audioburger.com

 

Lizzard: Out of Reach

Out of Reach from French rock band Lizzard is one of those releases which is not going to exactly set the world alight but ensures with accomplished ease that the time in its company is highly enjoyable and satisfying. It is a release which draws from many seeds and influences to create its own commanding and attentive sounds to fully engagement with. Often new interpretations of existing recipes with some fresh imaginative ingredients can be as pleasing as any new invention; Out of Reach is the certain proof.

Lizzard was formed in 2006 with the meeting of vocalist and guitarist Mathieu Ricou, drummer Katy Elwell, and bassist William Knox. Finding a common musical vision the trio set about creating their own unique and powerful rock sounds, and from their demo La Criée the following year the band began grabbing close attention and acclaim. Shows around France followed as the band released their mini album Venus in 2008, all the time strong responses, reviews, and fan reception building. The past couple of years saw Lizzard sharing stages and supporting the likes of Gojira, Punish Yourself, Loudblast, Enhancer and more, again furthering their stock and standing within rock circles.

Last year the band reunited with Rhys Fulber (Paradise Lost, Fear Factory, Front Line Assembly…), who they recorded Venus with, to record their debut album which sees its release through Klonosphere/Season of Mist. The result is a collection of songs which ripple with craft and impressive songwriting. They have a distinct individuality from others whilst pulling many essences from bands to tone their appealing presences. It is a fine line the band walk, bringing a sound which has its own breath whilst using open influences in its creation but they achieve it with success.

The album opens with the powerful and impressive Disintegrity. It is a song built on striking riffs and a seductive groove fuelled by beckoning melodic whispers. With its crunching bass tones and commanding rhythms, not to mention the fine expressive vocals of Ricou, the track more than echoes the crisp sounds of Sick Puppies. There is a definite similarity which is moved into a different element by the sharp guitar play and imaginative twists in direction. Sometimes they are subtle, mere aural winks but always noticeable.

The following track The Orbiter adds extra coarse energy to the air through the perpetually impressive bass sounds of Knox and the incendiary guitar craft of Ricou. Like many of the songs it is one you feel you already know though its passage is a continually new unveiling, the effect making the enjoyment all the more instant and compelling. As it plays mixes of bands such as Tool and Soundgarden come to mind to which you can easily add spicery from the likes of Foo Fighters and Nonpoint too.

As the likes of the title track, Loose Ends, and the excellent Fake World share their varied and impressive invention, the album continues to capture the imagination and enthusiasm. It does not take one into new inspiring realms but is as potent in igniting pleasure from a band that feels like a new but destined to be friend.

The two instrumentals Skyline and Backslide are more than decent, the first the lead into or at least atmosphere setter for Loose Ends, and the latter a fiery piece of sonic expression. Both do not exactly over whelm the ear but do not feel out of place within the context of the album.

Twisted Machine stands alongside the first two tracks as the biggest highlights on Out Of Reach. It is a pulsating and snarling piece of rock which is full of intrigue and inspiring energies to leave one absorbed by its imaginative and infectious adrenaline driven attack. Once more it reminds of Sick Puppies which is not a bad thing as the track shows.

Out of Reach is a great album which is full of passion, skill, and undemanding but riveting songs, what more could you want?

http://www.lizzard.fr/

Ring Master 19/10/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Trepalium: H.N.P.

With more instinctive groove in their blood than should be possible French death metallers Trepalium has unleashed one of the most absorbing and pleasing albums so far this year. H.N.P. is arguably not the richest in innovation or an openly ground breaking release but no one can deny it is one of the most intrusively infectious and compelling. Named after the ancient torture device Trepalium like its namesake shows no mercy, the band seizing the ear with riotous aggressive riffs, direct and manipulative technical venom, and the sweetest grooves let loose in an extreme metal release.

Released through Klonosphere/Season of Mist, H.N.P. is the fourth album from the band and as the promo states “H.N.P” will enclose brilliantly the triptych started with “Alchemik Clockwork of Disorder” and “XIII”. A true journey with dense and deep concept albums whose words reflect and complement the musical complexity and intensity.” To be honest the album is our introduction to the band, a long overdue meeting on the evidence of such an impressive release, so to discover the full journey will be a retrospective experience but a destined one because of H.N.P.

The album starts with the title track, Heic Noenum Pax and instantly rips the attention from elsewhere in its direction. The brewing intensity and tension leads into intimidating riffs and the growled malice of KK. As the track unfolds with an ever present attitude the guitars of Harun Demiraslan and Nicolas Amossé tease and intrigue within the commanding rhythms of Sylvain Bouvier and the heavy bass lines of Ludovic Chauveau. Hints of deep grooves are offered without giving any clue to what is fully ahead for newcomers to the band. It is the guitar work though which makes the track magnetic without being overly addictive and creates an inventive start to the album.

The following Prescription of Crisis is a bruising encounter for the senses, its hardcore breath a scathing attack within the death and technical metal violation. Brief and uncompromising the track leaves one enthused and though distinctly different it continues in the same manner as the opener with again no real hint to the opening of groove fest erupting from here on in.

Slave to The World blisters the senses from the first note with a groove to send sphincter muscles contorting in delight. The guitars drive straight to the core to twist and manipulate every cell like maniacal whores, every note a seductive and irresistible surge of wantonness. To be honest you have to listen to the songs a few times to appreciate the other great aspects of the song such the lure and addictive nature of the groove which spines the song. Vocally thoughts grab a Pantera feel as too at times does the music, this a recurring thought throughout the album though it is just another delicious spice to the album. With breath taking rhythms puncturing the ear incessantly the track is immense.

The next song Order the Labyrinth sees a progressive metal air brought to the senses its atmospheric skirting of the ear making an imaginative companion to the decisive aggressive nature stalking the senses. With a less defined but just as effective grooved vein the track is an evolving expressive piece with an inventive union between the eager to break free destructive urge and its well crafted melodic breath. The track shows the strong variety on H.N.P. even if it again is not the deepest infection on offer.

That is left to Insane Architect, the best track on the album. Another salacious groove permeates the song but it is the outstanding diverse vocals and scorched guitars, especially the solo, which makes the song so impressive. It is a track which never sits still in its invention and desire to leave the senses lusting for its aural addiction. The song pimps its hooks and lures like a greedy dealer but there is nothing light or cheap about what is an immense piece of metal.

Further tracks such as Let The Clown Rise and the corruptive I Was do nothing to lessen the deep satisfaction and with it closing on a cover of the Pantera track I’m Broken, the album is pure pleasure. One did expect that maybe the band would have churned up and reinvented the cover but they do such a great if straight forward job it is hard to be critical.

Trepalium with H.N.P. has delivered one gratifying and stirring album. It does not rip up the rule book but does make it the most compulsive read.

www.facebook.com/TREPALIUMBAND

Ringmaster 21/06/2012

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Pictured : The Strand Of Time

French thrash/death metallers Pictured is a band which over their five years of existence has remained to all extents and purposes anonymous to the wider metal Masses. There have been a few bands already this year which from a similar state of play have made a big step towards a fuller spotlight of recognition with impressive and striking releases.  The Pont l’abbé based quartet are the next, unleashing a truly mighty album in the shape of their debut The Strand Of Time to hopefully lead them out of relative obscurity. Though not quite flawless the album is a brawling storm of invention, imagination, and intrusive intensity. From an immediate infectious introduction it evolves into a thoroughly addictive and compelling release from which resistance is impossible.

Consisting of vocalist/guitarist Niko Beleg, guitarist Sebastien Le Bellec, bassist Sylvain Coïc, and Thomas Coïc on drums, the band have released two demos prior to their album, Son of the Night in 2008 and the acclaimed The Dwelling of two years ago. That release was the moment Pictured really ignited with a flurry of positive reaction and the release being called one of the best melodic death-metal works released that year in the French underground media. Another two years on and the album finds the band even deeper into their striking evolution and creativity, the songs unveiling a maturity and inventiveness rare in debut releases and arguably in a great many melodic death metal albums over recent months.

Released through Klonosphere/Season of Mist, The Strand Of Time is an unpredictable and consistently invigorating release; its nine tracks a bruising yet contagious corruption of energy, spiteful aggression, and completely enthralling invention. Based in death metal the release is a continual maelstrom of great ideas and songwriting realised with a vigorous enthusiasm and skilful enterprise. Not one of the songs simply rests in the arms of expectation but come with a intimidating dark and deeply thoughtful imagination, no easy verse chorus verse chorus structure here. The tracks flex and turn with impressive fluidity and invention whilst retaining a perpetual aggressive and irresistible lure to the ear.

The album erupts from the first note of opener Another and takes no time in mesmerising and seducing with sharp colourful grooves and rampaging riffs brought on a wall of destructive rhythms. As the song goes deeper into its absorbing depths there is only submission and adoration on the horizon, the melodic manipulations teasingly fingering the senses within the intense bursts to ignite the most urgent primal energies. At every turn the song switches finding greater and more addictive inventiveness to give equal gratification.

We mentioned the album was flawless though it is not a massive issue in hindsight. The vocals of Beleg, fine though they are and better than a great many, do lack variety and precision to match the great sounds behind him. He has a one dimensional delivery which at times fails to find a connection with the imaginative music he and the band create. It is not a major thing and is more down to personal preference but does stop the album from becoming a best of year contender though it is close and could change.

The blacked greedy attack of Metal creates havoc within the ear next, a blistering annihilatory force which equally bewitches with acidic melodic veins of play within its vicious onslaught. Though not as startling as its predecessor it keeps interest and fervour high and makes a great lead into arguably best track on the album in the stunning Howling Forest. From an atmospheric enticing and dramatic keys the song nurtures its ambient breath into a storming gale of finely crafted play and vindictive riffs. With the core of melodic sonic mastery flaring up to enflame the heart throughout the song it is an insatiable pleasure for the senses and again shows how creative and inventive the band is.

Tracks like the venomous slightly folk tinged Black Bile, the rampant thrash punk driven To Hell And Back, and Stranger, simply leave one exhausted with satisfaction as they continue the irresistible and immense quality. The latter of these three is a feast of thirsty guitar play and hungry rhythms igniting the air with explosions of caustic sonic excellence and unrelenting intensive attacks. Add the challenging and intimidating closing title track and you have an album which is nothing less than impressive and at numerous times pure brilliance.

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RingMaster Review 15/06/2012

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Klone: The Eye Of Needle EP

It is impossible to be anything but impressed and excited by the creative wonder that is The Eye Of Needle EP from French band Klone. With knowledge of the band restricted to basically name only until now, the surprise and deeply registering pleasure gained from this new release is easily one of the most impactful so far this year going hand in hand with wondering how we managed to miss their creativity stunning until this point.

Formed in 1995 the band has not been the most prolific in releasing material with their trio of albums and previous EP coming since 2003. The new release follows the previous acclaimed Klone album Black Days of 2010, which we are informed marked a further open exploratory premise to the creativity of the quintet. Bold and instinctively passionate the release is said to have taken the band into deeper and more groundbreaking areas which the new release continues.

Released through Klonosphere Records and Season of Mist, the three track EP brings soundscapes which are fiery, colourful, and perpetually evolving, each song an aural fire of imagination and ingenuity igniting a similar blaze within emotions and the heart. The songs are an electrified weave of enveloping sounds with splintered veins of unpredictable and perpetually surprising essences. From the opening track The Eye Of Needle Part 1 the senses are lit up with an uncompromising array of ideas and remarkable ingenuity. The song begins with a searching almost menacing guitar beckoning, its energy and presence blurred at the edges with a haunting energy. As hypnotic rhythms join the growing mesmeric sway and ethnic sounds gather around the core of the song, an expansion into unveiled thought and emotions begins. The middle Eastern flavoured sounds which soon pervade the music and the vocals of Yann Ligner remind heavily of bands like Motherjane, their mutual progressive veins as mesmerically flavoursome and evocative.

As the ten minute slightly oppressive and fully sensual epic departs with the guitars of Guillaume Bernard and Michael Moreau ringing in the ears, one grabs a big gasp of breath before the following The Eye Of Needle Part 2 takes over. With the beats of Florent Marcadet commanding and the bass of Jean Etienne Maillard a prowling shadow bringing depth to the song, the piece is a fuller progressive rock explosion within the ear. It merges a more classic slightly folk metal/progressive tone into a rippling maelstrom of riffs, feisty rhythms, and melodic conspiring. More persistent and eager than its predecessor the song plunges the emotions into spiralling sonic tapestries and furious unrestrained passion. Reminding of the likes of Tool and Stone Temple Pilots coated with the atmospheric thick breath of a Nine Inch Nails the track is immense and as is the whole release much more impressive in person than mere words and  compliments can reveal.

The EP is completed by an unleashed song which comes from the sessions which bore previous album Black Days, its presence showing that the two new songs before it are a definite evolution to that album if not a massive leap forward. Monsters has a nastier snarl and more direct intent than its EP companions, the track an insatiable and rampant accessory to the overall pleasuring and riling up of feelings by the release. Again melodically impressive and the trigger to unbridled energetic responses in exchange for the powerful and irresistible invention given, the song is outstanding.

Throughout the three tracks the sax conjurations of Matthieu Metzger are a striking glory which even within the moments the surrounding sounds enclose his imaginative play twists and inspires with stunning effect. For those new to Klone, The Eye of Needle EP will not only excite deeply but inspire a retrospective investigation as well as start an impatient wait for more to come from the band.

Ringmaster 05/06/2012

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