Convent Guilt – Guns for Hire

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Described as ‘Heavy Metal Warriors’ yet with a sound at times as punkish as it is metal, Australian band Convent Guilt unleash their debut album on Shadow Kingdom Records this month. Consisting of eight tracks of highly agreeable persuasion, Guns For Hire is a potent introduction to the Sydney quartet; not an encounter to cause major ripples but a promise ridden proposition providing an enjoyable stomp to get the teeth into.

   Guns for Hire makes a solid start though the first two tracks only warm the appetite and emotions with their decent if underwhelming presence. Opener Angels in Black Leather initially lures attention through a great dark bassline within a strain of juicy riffs. The track is soon expanding its persuasion with heavy metal enterprise and a punchy rhythmic enticement but it also lacks the spark its start hints at, especially when the vocals of bassist Iron Belshaw enter the mix. Technically the track is potent and a solo impressively flavours the offering, but from voice to sound it avoids truly exciting ears and thoughts. The following Don’t Close Your Eyes is similar, the healthy web of enterprise cast by guitarists Dario Lastro and Matty making an accomplished and colourful temptation against the firm swings of drummer Brent. Yet there is an unsurprising and unadventurous feel to the Maiden-esque song which prevents it finding the power you sense is lying at its heart. Both songs we know are favourites amongst a great many so it is more a personal taste thing but it is when third track Perverse Altar steps forward that for us band and album comes alive.

The track opens on a firm ridge of alluring riffs which makes an edgy canvas for the swiftly joining and fiery solo. It is a captivating start which finds another edge and intensity once the much a0046099024_2more impressing vocals of Belshaw stamp their authority on the song. He is never a threatening presence, but with the punk tone which lends its temptation to his delivery and the music itself coming through, the track whilst still firmly seeded in a classic metal spawning, reveals a compelling punk ‘n’ roll character.

That new adventurous tenacity continues its appearance across the rest of Guns For Hire, Convent Guilt aligning a Celtic folk whisper to the intrigue soaked They Took Her Away. Its initial balladry is soon encased in a muscular cage of heavy rhythmic jabs and a similarly forceful bassline whilst the guitars snarl with riffs and seduce through spicy melodic expression almost simultaneously. The song is outstanding, a strong glimpse at the variety in songwriting and sound certainly within the band and an imagination not as forceful on other tracks.

Both the aggressive roars of the album’s title track and Desert Brat keep ears and appetite eagerly keen, the first another punk urged slice of raw heavy metal blessed with a tasty bass tone from Belshaw. His vocals also find a punk breeding, excelling within the causticity of the sounds around him. By now the album’s songs are as much punk as heavy metal and certainly the better for it; the latter style providing strong and tempting colour to the rawer attitude of the songs as evidenced by its excellent successor. That bass of Belshaw persistently prowls with compelling tempting, his riff again irresistible and the spring board for antagonistic riffs and magnetic enterprise from the guitars. Like The Damned meets Motorhead, and Judas Priest, the track provides a strong and resourceful mark in the persuasion of the album.

Convict at Arms does not quite match up to the strength of the previous pair of songs but is soon an anthemic slab of pleasing metal catching feet and neck muscles up in its enticement before making way for the closing sonic carnage of Stockade. Once more metal and punk collide in a bust up of sonic dust and rhythmic confrontation, and again a thoroughly enjoyable encounter is bred. It is a riotous and infectious end to an album deserving keen attention.

As suggested Guns For Hire will not send shockwaves across the metal world but it will breed, as for us, a strong interest and anticipation for the band’s next move. Something coming with a rich dose of punk to its metal we hope.

Guns for Hire is available now via Shadow Kingdom Records @ http://shadowkingdomrecords.bandcamp.com/album/guns-for-hire

https://www.facebook.com/ConventGuilt/

RingMaster 13/01/2015

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Cardinals Folly – Our Cult Continues!

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It is fair to say that Finnish doom metallers Cardinals Folly is a band you are going to take to or not. Certainly there is a middle ground too where intrigue keeps attention and thoughts embraced in interest and indecision over the band though listening to new album Our Cult Continues!, it seems to demand adoration or avoidance with little in between. Cardinals Folly is not a band to just soundtrack an hour of simple listening pleasure is soon obvious as the band’s second album challenges the senses.

Released via Shadow Kingdom Records, Our Cult Continues! is a dark trespass of ears and thoughts with a generally crawling pestilential persuasion which at times ignites the imagination as forcibly as it violates the senses. It can be a riveting intrusion with imposing heavy riffs and deeply permeating rapacious grooving but also a lingering threat which loses its potency through the length of songs, a seeming aversion to spread its creative wings, and the daunting challenge of the vocals where notes are often dishevelled and squeezed of flavour. As mentioned it is not going to be for all but it must also be said that it left a compulsion to investigate the release again and again and is definitely likely to lure the appetite of those with a passion for bands like Reverend Bizarre and Electric Wizard. For sure it needs time to make its persuasion a full argument, with still no guarantees of success, but if band and album clicks with wants it has the potency to make for a unique test and enjoyment.

Formed in 2004 as The Coven and called Cardinals Folly since 2007, the Helsinki based trio of vocalist/bassist Mikko Kääriäinen, guitarist Juho Kilpelä, and drummer Sebastian Lindberg soon made an impression with their first pair of EPs, 2008’s Heretic’s Hangover and Orthodox Faces the following year. Two years on the band signed with Shadow Kingdom and unleashed debut album Such Power is Dangerous!, again to strong responses which the new release is sure to emulate with those holding a taste for the band’s distinct takes on doom metal.

Opening with the evocative and cinematic Chant of Shadows, the album makes an imagination poking entrance. It is not a hugely dramatic start, but an introduction to the dark realms and sinister devilry of the band which holds enough a2356633421_2coaxing for fans and newcomers to take the plunge into the hellish depths of Our Cult Continues! As its satanic call drifts away the following Morbid Glory steps forward and soon presses ears with acidic grooves and hollow but pushy rhythms. There is an immediate shallowness to the production which takes time to acclimatise to but is not as big a leap to embrace as the vocal tones of Kääriäinen. With a voice which flirts with melodies whilst infusing a monotone lilt equipped with tonal alienation, the bassist croons and serenades throughout the track and album with varying success. It is another aspect to get used to and will of all the things about Cardinals Folly, probably be the biggest test for many, but to be honest it is also something to gradually warm to and embrace in the singers potent moments and hold reservations over in their less momentous turns. The song itself lurches and lumbers with ravenous intensity and labour intensive predation to seduce ears and rile the senses.

The Black Baroness makes a greater impression than its more than decent predecessor with a carnivorous throat to the bass and sonic enterprise from the guitar. There is a punk air to the acidic strokes of Kilpelä, riffs an abrasing antagonism and the meandering chords bleeding whispers of Spizzenergi and The Pack. With a healthier contagion to its bait, it crawls potently through body and mind before passing over to the oppressive rapacity of the title track. A thick web of riffs and blunted rhythms, the track is appealing smog of sound and intent, a sonic cloud veined with an engaging raw groove and a moment of bewitching clarity. Vocally too the song is persuasive, Kääriäinen better in an aural crowd than providing a driving lead in many ways.

The virulent surging of Sighisoaran comes next, the song a torrential abrasion held on a slight rein as it rampages and an even shorter lead in its slow consumptive twist of primal voracity. As most tracks it is a proposition which takes time to explore and come to terms with in many ways but ultimately provides an uncompromising assault enhanced by the great guttural snarl of the bass and a keen repetitious incitement. Like the majority of songs it is also border line on whether outstaying its welcome length wise, though when things begin to labour the band does throw in a timely twist to pull back any negativity a little.

The pair of Walvater Unveiled and The Lover´s Crypt smothers the listener in a sonic causticity and vocal starkness to again challenge and solidly persuade. The first is a lumbering expanse of venomous riffs and demanding rhythms which from an underwhelming opening evolves with scorched grooves and another potently gripping bass temptation to enthral. Its successor brings a more classic heavy metal breath in its melodic toxins and healthy doom swagger on its way to sculpting one of the bigger highlights of the album. The song also invites a richer invention and imagination from the band which in turns flirts with the listener to greater effect as it creates another reason to give Our Cult Continues! time before deciding its fate.

Last track Fallout Ritualist provides, despite its far too long a presence, a highly convincing conclusion to the album, its Sabbath-esque swagger of riffs and incendiary grooves along with the previous track crafting the best part of the album with ease.

Even after numerous visits Our Cult Continues! still leaves us undecided; its raw production defuses as much as it enhances and with a vagueness of imagination at times, the album seems to be an adventure of missed opportunities. Yet it also makes for a compelling proposition to keep considering. Cardinals Folly is one for the individual and to be honest the only way to know if they are for you is to allow them a chance to challenge and convince.

Our Cult Continues! is available via Shadow Kingdom Records now @ http://shadowkingdomrecords.bandcamp.com/album/our-cult-continues

https://www.facebook.com/cardinalsfolly

7/10

RingMaster 20/08/2014

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Nigromante – Black Magic Night

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Initially breeding uncertainty about its presence, Black Magic Night the debut album from Spanish metallers Nigromante emerges as a rather captivating confrontation. It has flaws and at times struggles to make the fullest persuasion but equally it earns an appetite from the emotions which means it will be no stranger to regular attention. Unapologetically standing in the midst of N.W.O.B.H.M. and eighties US metal, band and album create a proposition which holds no surprises for fans of that era but plenty for them to get their teeth and neck muscles into.

Hailing from Madrid, Nigromante began in 2003 and over the years has become a sizeable proposition in Spanish metal if not yet breaking into a wider arena. Consisting of guitarist/vocalist Angel Muñoz and drummer Jorge Serrano and taking influences from the likes of Black Sabbath, Megadeth, Witchfinder General, Anvil, Motorhead, Venom, and Barón Rojo into their invention, Nigromante has bred a strong live reputation since forming and shared stages with bands such as Grim Reaper, Paradox, Midnight Priest, and Virus. Now after a trio of demos between 2004 and 2006, the band finally unleash a full-length encounter courtesy of Shadow Kingdom Records and though it is not exactly going to blow you away or set a new marker for old school heavy metal, it taunts and lingers long enough after the event to stand out and tempt a regular rampage with its accomplished rabidity.

It is fair to say that Black Magic Night does not start off with a bang, the first couple of tracks getting the job done and setting a2300647838_10the scene without raising any sparks in the imagination or emotions, though as it progresses the album addresses that with contagious enterprise. Nevertheless both the opener Heavy Metal Age and the following title track trigger and grab enough interest to allow the release to expand its presence. The first of the pair slaps the ears with heavy duty rhythms and charged riffs from the start, and though arguably forges a formula engagement satisfies as sinews ripple and sonic craft whips around the ears. The vocals of Muñoz also take a little time to adapt too, his grizzled tones strong but wandering with notes at times but again like the album they seem to blossom as the record progresses. The second track stomps in with nostrils flaring and riffs lashing the air whilst the rhythms of Serrano firmly steer the song. Like its predecessor it satisfies without leaving a lasting impression but it is impossible to deny its presence as again it does the job needed to ensure the listener stays on course with the album.

Things move up a level with In Nomine Pater, the initial melodic coaxing instantly soaked in strong potency whilst the familiar but infectious groove teasing behind the coarse vocals soon has the imagination and feet playing with its lure. That familiarity covers the whole song eventually but to a positive effect with comparisons to Anvil a definite overriding but not displeasing thought. The track twists and tempts with the guitar and bass almost wanton in their appetite to thrill and seduce the imagination. Muñoz is a skilful musician and though he like Serrano never gets or takes the song into intricate areas it is easy to see the craft and potential at work.

     Saturnalia of Blood with its predatory riffs and preying basslines provides an appetising moment similar in appeal to the opening pair before making way for the moments the album excels, starting with False Idol. The track is a masterful prowl of ears and imagination; guitar and bass stalking from the start whilst the drums punctuate their goading with forceful probing. It is a mighty start which explodes into greater heights as ridiculously addictive grooves and rapacious energy swarms all over the senses. Again there is something recognisable to the song, if indefinable, but with not for the first time a great breath of thrash urging on the intent and a magnetic cast of melodies and hooks lining up to incite the passions, the song is a scintillating provocation. It is immediately matched by the following pair of Syndicate of Crime and Soy Un Macarra, the first equipped with a Cape Crusader like toxicity and antagonistic predation plus a more than punkish snarl whilst its successor takes those same elements in a different guise and to greater infectious intensity to create a punk/metal track which would not feel completely out of place in a playlist from Fuckshovel or the Ruts. The songs steer the album to much greater heights whilst showing that the band has the capability to fuse plenty of elements into their classic metal assault.

     Satan Death Squad is another to walk the release’s highest plateau, the song a more standard old school metal slab of muscle but one with riffs and sonic intrigue which continues the hold on the imagination and emotions forged by the previous encounters. Definitely the quartet of songs takes the album from being an ok release into a beast which demands continued attention. Closing on Summoning Spell an underwhelming short instrumental, Black Magic Night from a shaky start turns into an album you just want a little bit more of again and again. It is not a classic or likely to threaten your favourite aural tipples but its pleases and entertains at times as if it reads your every want from a metal release and that is always well-worth checking out.

www.facebook.com/nigromante.heavymetal

8/10

RingMaster 07/01/2014

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Coven 13 – Destiny of the Gods

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There is a sense of insanity to Destiny of the Gods, the new album from Detroit metallers Coven 13 (also known as just Coven), an almost schizophrenic intrigue and unpredictability to its invention which is just compelling. It has flaws and is wildly undulating in its persuasion at times but equally there is something which works away with a deceitful seduction that makes you want to return to its manic lair, and often. The band is tagged as doom metal but that is also a falsehood of sorts as though that essence does offer a loud whisper at times it is no more vocal than the gothic rock and certainly classic metal side of things, with post punk and numerous more extreme flavours also making their presence known. The result is a sound and release which at times seems unsure of its direction whilst simultaneously being confident, actually wanton in its intent and journey. It just adds to the magnetism wrapping the release and with several needed encounters Coven 13 ultimately makes a uniquely enterprising persuasion.

Coven formed in 1985, the line-up of bassist Roger Cyrkeil, guitarist Todd Kreda, drummer Brian McGuckin, and vocalist David Landrum coming together over a short time to write and create music with influences from the likes of Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Iron Maiden and themes inspired by Celtic and Nordic themes. Their well-received debut album Worship New Gods was self-released on their Crom Records in 1987 as the band built a formidable fan base in Detroit and beyond. A name change followed when approached by the original band Coven (of One Tin Soldier fame) which saw 13 added to the name. 1991 saw the release of Ragnarok again on Crom as a demo cassette and though again well favoured it failed to match the success of its predecessor. The same year saw the departure of Cyrkeil and though the band continued for a short while it came to an end in 1992. In 2005 the band reformed for 4 acclaimed reunion shows which was followed by a hiatus of sorts for Coven 13 until 2011 when the original members came together working on new material. The line-up also saw the addition of Richie Karasinski who had been a long-time friend of the band and who Cyrkeil has tried to enlist in Coven 13 from the start but could not due to the guitarist’s commitments and projects. Entering the studio last year the band have stormed back into action with the Shadow Kingdom Records released Destiny of the Gods, a record which has uncertainties taunting thoughts but still makes for a generally riveting and enjoyable exploration.

A harsh atmospheric climate draws in opening track Thor’s Twins, the song breaking the scenery with an instantly gripping Coven 1500dark bass and guitar beckoning. It is a gentle coaxing which erupts into a charged gait veined with a combination attack of guitar and bass with a prize-fighter hook which seals an immediate submission from imagination and emotions. There is also a punk breath to its lure whilst the entrancing vocals of Landrum add a gothic rock lilt alongside the dark group harmonies. Alongside a dark heavy metal stirring it all makes for something unexpected and enthralling, like a union of Sisters Of Mercy, Danzig, Joy Division, and Venom which excites and awakens a strong appetite.

That anticipation is soon diminished a little by the following Winds of Revelation, a track which is straightforward classic metal for the main with none of the mystique and hypnotic adventure of the first track. Mid paced and certainly well-crafted, guitars and rhythms firmly making it a more than decent proposition, the track lacks the spark to ignite any real passion and a lot is down to the vocals of Landrum. On the first song he was forceful and a perfect fit for the sounds but here stretching whilst his boundaries and tussling with numerous notes it simply deflects form the strong sounds around him. He is certainly a more than decent vocalist in certain scenarios as shown on the album but has obvious limitations which this time around leaves doubts a strong reaction.

Elfstone opens with a pulsating heavy bassline and another irresistible groove which is right out of the eighties gothic rock songbook. Once again a hunger is sparked even with the wandering vocals which at times excel and in others dismay. Like Iron Maiden meets The Mission, the track and album has the listener back in its hands ready for crawling intensive drama of Walpurgisnacht and the brilliance of Isle of Man. Both have a doom presence not always open across the album, especially in the first of the two but also further potent varied spicery to favour the appetite. Isle of Man though stands wide apart from the rest with ease, the track a broody and bustling tempest of dark punk and gothic imagination. It is a masterful beast of sound and predation, at times reminding of Southern Death Cult and Theatre Of Hate and in others Type O Negative and Fields of Nephilim It is virulently contagious with Landrum outstanding and takes top honours with ease, the only complaint being it is less than two and a half minutes long.

The thrash fuelled Frost Giants keeps the album thundering along with skill and intensity whilst Witches Kiss brings a little southern heat into is seventies keys clad presentation, variation upon Destiny of the Gods another certain success. The song like its successor She Rides the Dawn do not reap the same strong responses as others, again a lack of that spark and the vocal discrepancies though the guitar inventive grooves and solos impress.

The album ends on a high through firstly the excellent Cult like Solitary Days and a quite enjoyable and surprising cover of Siouxsie and the Banshees’ Spellbound. The band make a very satisfying fist of the song, yes Landrum is no Siouxsie Sioux but holds his vocals to add expression and flair to the song whilst McGuckin without creating that rolling pulsating hypnotic slavery which Budgie made his own, brings the track into an anthemic and dramatic tempting for the passions. With keys adding a delicious elegance to the stomp the track is an excellent conclusion to an overall enjoyable release. Yes Destiny of the Gods is a bit of mixed bag, falling flat when venturing into the classic/heavy metal stance and excelling when employing a much wider experimental  array of styles and imagination, but one which makes the return of Coven 13 very welcome.

http://www.coventhirteen.com

7/10

RingMaster 19/11/2013

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Destructive landscapes: an interview with John Gaffney of Sinister Realm

JG of Sinister Realm by Maria J Photography

Driven by an open creative passion and equally potent craft, World of Evil the recently released new album from US metallers Sinister Realm, emerged as one of the most refreshingly striking heavy metal genre releases of the year. Thrusting the listener into a world of muscular anthemic temptation and fiery melodic enterprise, the impressive confrontation from the Allentown, Pennsylvania quartet takes the bar for modern classically sculpted heavy metal up a few more levels. World of Evil certainly ignited a fire inside of The RR so we jumped at the chance to find out more about Sinister Realm and their Shadow Kingdom Records released album, as well as inspirations musically and lyrically, with the kind assistance of band founder and bass player John Gaffney.

Hi John and thank you for taking time out to chat with us here.

Thank you for the interview and for reviewing our CD!

Firstly could you give us some background to the members of Sinister Realm and what was the spark which brought the band to life?

Our singer Alex and drummer Chris used to be in a local original alternative metal band called Type 14.  John Risko and John Kanter are local guitar heroes that have played in a bunch of metal cover bands; Risko at the moment is playing in a metal tribute band with James Rivera from Hellstar.  I use to play in a doom band called Pale Divine.

The spark that brought the band to life was just a desire to make music influenced by the bands that really inspired us when we first discovered metal, like early Ozzy, Dio era Sabbath and Dio solo, Maiden, Priest, 1980-1984 classic metal basically.

How did the band founders originally meet?

Our original drummer Darin McCloskey and I use to play in the doom band Pale Divine.  I played with them for a few years and played bass on the “Cemetery Earth” album.   I landed up leaving due to some logistical issues and Darin called me up and suggested we work on some original ideas I had brought down to Pale Divine but never got to use.

What are the biggest inspirations to band and your personal musical creativity?

Classic early 80s metal like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Ozzy, Dio solo and with Sabbath, Mercyful Fate and Candlemass.  Personally, outside of music I’m influenced by the bands mentioned above as well as 70s horror movies, art and photography.

Traditional 80’s metal seeds and cores your sound and intent, do you feel there is still a wide expanse for the genre to explore without losing its original identity or is more about improving and revitalising existing scenarios within the scene for new and established bands?

I think there is still plenty of room for people to interpret traditional metal in their own way and add some of their own stamp on it.  With Sinister Realm we realise that we are not really inventing anything  per say but just putting our own spin on it.  We are not reinventing the wheel, we’re just blowing the dust off it a little and giving it our own spin.

I believe the band runs alongside real life for you all, does that bring the biggest obstacles to try and overcome, or is it a grounding for Sinister Realm by Maria J PhotographySinister Realm which helps keeps the adventure fresh?

Sometimes real life can be very inspiring and depressing all at the same time.  Even though our lyrics seem to have a lot of fantasy style subject matters, often the inspiration comes from real life experiences or observations I’ve made on the sometimes really messed up human race we belong to.  I enjoy fantasy imagery so often I cloak the meanings inside the lyrics so they can be interpreted however the listeners want.  Whenever I need some inspiration and need to keep things fresh, taking a look around at the world usually does the trick.

How easy is it to merge the live aspect and passion of the band into everyday life, especially one like yourselves which predominantly drives and works most of its own promotion?

The business end of the things can certainly wear you down, we have a lot of support from our record company Shadow Kingdom Records but we don’t have a manager or booking agent so we have to do a lot of that ourselves.  Playing live and getting an immediate reaction from people can be very inspiring so that along with the emails we receive from fans is what keeps us going.

You have just released your third album World of Evil, a release which for us is “a world of muscular anthemic temptation and fiery melodic enterprise” offering a riotous fun and passion fuelled enterprise which arguably has been lacking in the majority of recent heavy metal releases. I am not expecting you to disagree, ha-ha, but what were your hopes for the album and its effect on fans whilst writing and recording it?

With everything that we do we always hope that it will be received well but  when I’m writing the songs I try not to think about what other people would like, I try to just make sure it’s something that I like and in my gut feel is good.  We always try to make the best record we can at that time.  As for the effect on the fans, I hope that the music means something to them and bring a smile to their face and maybe a raised fist in the air.

How would you say your music and craft has evolved over the three albums to this point?

I’ve gotten better in the song writing and lyric department and the band has gotten better at playing together and bringing the songs to life.  Just like anything else in life, the more you do it the better you get at it.   I think in general the band has gotten better at bringing our vision to life.

Did you approach the writing and recording of the album any differently to your previous releases?

Not really but I always strive to get better and move forward.  With “World of Evil” I wanted the lyrics to get better and explore some different themes and I wanted to add some more epic moments like the songs “Ghost of Nevermore” and “Four Black Witches”.  As for the recording, we did it the same way as the first two albums; get the tracks down as quick as possible so we can spend as much time as we can on the mixing end.

392798_10151531206200851_1286640089_nThe album and song titles seem bred from the shadows and less savoury aspects of this earth and its inhabitants. This is the main inspiration for your ideas and songs generally as you touched on earlier?

Yeah I would say so; you don’t have to look very far to see evil in our world.

How does the song writing work within the band, and is there plenty of room for band interpretation and progression of songs and ideas or is it a more singular approach that you all run with?

I write all the music and lyrics then I demo everything out for the other guys, they take a listen and add their own personality onto the songs.  We bang them around in rehearsals until we feel comfortable with it and usually try to play the songs out live a few times as the final test.

Do you enter the studio with songs generally ‘finished’ or do you all like to stretch them further once in that environment?

Everything is completely worked out and basically finished before we get to the studio.  Unfortunately we don’t have the budget to leave anything to chance.  The only things that get added at the last moment in the studio tend to be keyboard overdubs and effects and things like that.  Sometimes I might get inspired in the studio and add an extra vocal harmony or something but for the most part everything is worked out in advance.

Some bands like to write songs and introduce and test their appeal live before recording and others the other way round. What is the usual routine for songs with Sinister Realm?

Well, like I mentioned above, we start with a demo, work it out in the practice room and then take it to the stage for the final adjustments.   In my opinion, playing live is how you really learn songs and make them your own, that’s why we always try to play new songs out live because you really learn them that way and they will sometimes take on a new life when you play them in front of a live audience.

Was there anything which emerged whilst bringing World of Evil to life which you intend to explore further in future releases?

The epic nature of songs like “Ghosts of Nevermore” and “Four Black Witches”; that is a direction I would like to continue in and explore more on the next record.

It is probably fair to say that you guys are more established in the US than in Europe, do you feel like us that World of Evil has the ammunition to remedy that?

I hope so; I would like the record to reach as many places as possible.  Traditional metal is really strong in Europe so I would of course love it for us to make a strong mark there.

What comes next for Sinister Realm once the mighty World of Evil has stopped lighting up the world?

Playing live and some touring to support the new album.  We also have an EP that we plan to release ourselves early next year then we will start working on the next record.  I would like the next one to be out rather quickly, maybe late next year.  Kind of like in the old days when bands were releasing albums once a year, I would like to be able to do that.

Once again big thanks for talking with us, anything else you would like to share with the readers?

Thanks a lot for the interview and for supporting Sinister Realm and heavy metal.  Get the album at any of the Amazon stores, Shadow Kingdom Records or your preferred online metal distributor.  For more info on the band go to www.sinisterrealm.net

Thanks and long live heavy metal!!

 

Check out the review of World of Evil @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/08/06/sinister-realm-world-of-evil/

Questions Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 17/09/2013

 

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The Mezmerist – The Innocent, The Forsaken, The Guilty

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    The Mezmerist , a project which few have heard of and even less has music from, is the centre is attention from the newest release of Shadow Kingdom Records. A reissue of two EPs the band recorded back in the mid-eighties; The Innocent, The Forsaken, The Guilty is an intriguing and riveting insight to a band almost lost to time with a background as interesting as its engaging sounds.

The band was the project of Thomas Mezmercardo, a young guitarist taking influences from the likes of Van Halen, Black Sabbath, and Mahogany Rush into his own ideas and creativity. With a sound which merges psychedelic and classic/heavy metal driven with a strong mix of vocals highlighted at times with falsetto squalls and expression, The Mezmerist released The Innocent, The Forsaken, The Guilty in 1985, the ‘double EP’ release filled with tracks recorded over two sessions two years apart.

The first notable thing about the release is that the 1983 4 track EP section features Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward alongside Mezmercardo and bassist Roger Abercrombie. As Ward was with Sabbath at the time his contribution was un-credited for legal reasons on the 500 copied pressing, which with the band holding on to a great many of the copies has become very collectable with those in the know and selling on eBay for extreme high prices. Mezmercardo himself has been a sought after and hard to find man since for many interested parties in re-releasing the EP, but finally tracked down and coming to an agreement with Shadow Kingdom for its reissue, which took five years to come to pass even from that point, the described as ‘ by far one of the best cult classic metal albums you’ll ever hear’, is finally available for all.

Whether the release does fit the label’s declaration is debatable but certainly it is an engrossing and enjoyable step back in decades which is very satisfying to have encountered. The first quartet of songs come from that previously mentioned 1983 session featuring Ward and starts with The Forsaken, a caustic atmospheric confrontation with the droning hum of destruction soaring its skies and stark chilling winds wrapping their cold intimidating tendrils around the spoken narrative of Mezmercardo. It is an excellent intro to the release though arguably what follows is an anti-climax to its ruinous suggestion as they seem to steer away musically from the menace and aggression laid down.

The following Dead Ones Cry No More is instantly expelling a scorched heat of guitar and sonic persuasion, a sizzling psychedelic haze on the wasteland of its predecessor. A Middle Eastern temptation lines the immediately skilful and entrancing guitar work framed by the appealing bass prowl and strong rhythmic craft of Ward, though neither of those steal the glory from the guitars or attention from the vocals of Mezmercardo whom when hitting those high levels takes a little getting to use to, his lower cleaner presence more preferable for personal tastes. The song is a sultry caress which opens up the appetite for the next up Arabian Nights, another song reaping those seductive eastern essences to fine effect.  There is a Led Zeppelin/Sabbath feel to the sound which draws in the emotions potently though this is tempered by the vocals which at this point has for these tastes, lost their flavour.

Victim of Environmental Change completes the first part in more than decent style though feels far more of a demo than the other tracks, before the three songs from the 1985 session take their place before the ear. With a line-up of Mezmercardo, bassist Steve Conrad, and drummer JR, as soon as Kingdom of the Dead steps forward there is a breeze of freshness and clarity over the previous songs. The bass has a swagger and mischief that has lips licked whilst the drums are easily an equal to what Ward offered previously. The vocals also have a greater control and persuasion with Mezmercardo staying to a less acidic delivery which with a raw and unfussy breath really works well with the great sounds around them. The track has a doom clad crawl and stalking to its presence whilst guitars and bass twist and turn with enterprise and invention.

No Family, No Friends has a definite punk stroll and snarl to its riffs, their hungry belligerent course seared and entwined in defined and potent sonic spirals of imagination and skill whilst the rhythms again cage it with eagerness and craft. Like the song before it is an excellent taunt for the passions and easily the pair steal the honours on the release.

Completed by the instrumental The Jam Song, a track which feels like it says, an improvised playtime for the musicians which flows and courts the imagination with ease, especially the underlying surf rock dance to its controlled charge, The Innocent, The Forsaken, The Guilty is a release all heavy metal fans should take a look at. A cult classic…maybe not, a thoroughly entertaining and flavoursome treat…undoubtedly.

www.shadowkingdomrecords.com

www.shadowkingdomrecords.bandcamp.com

7.5/10

RingMaster 04/09/2013

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Sinister Realm – World of Evil

SINISTER_REALM_Promo

With an air of doom to its open classic heavy metal heart, World of Evil the new album from US metallers Sinister Realm is one of those releases which just grabs you by the emotions and thrusts you into a world of muscular anthemic temptation and fiery melodic enterprise. It is an exciting and pulse racing encounter which leaves senses and appetite alert and hungry for more, something you can argue few bands in the heavy metal genre has achieved in recent times. The Allentown, Pennsylvania quartet has no problem in recruiting the passions and hunger though, certainly on this their third full length release, and without necessarily breaking down existing walls they offer something refreshingly different.

The eight track album has an imagination and depth which also takes in the essences of rich flavours outside of its core sound, this fusion rising to songs that use open influences from the likes of Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Dio, Ozzy Osbourne, and Mercyful Fate in a shadows clad intensive union that sparks off of essences from bands such as Candlemass and Memento Mori. Formed in 2008 by ex-Pale Divine member John Gaffney (bass, guitar, backing vocals) and Darin McCloskey (Pale Divine, Falcon), Sinister Realm followed up a four-song demo with the well-received self-titled album in 2009, followed two years later to good acclaim its successor The Crystal Eye. Released through Shadow Kingdom Records, World of Evil takes the band to another plateau of accomplishment and one suspects acclaim, the quartet of Gaffney, vocalist Alex Kristof, guitarists John Kantner and John Risko, and drummer Chris Metzger, raising not only their own bar but that on modern classically sculpted heavy metal.

The first thing to say as we delve into the release is how impressive and deliciously imposing and creative the bass work of Gaffney is, 611-228x228throughout the release its throaty steely tone revolving through seductive  to carnivorous but perpetually darkening the shadows, breath, and creative presence of songs wonderfully. It is a bestial predator which gives an intimidation and menace to every second of the release taking the listener into hidden dangers tempering the melodic flames which equally enhance and fire up the release.

Opener Dark Angel of Fate escapes from a stark threatening ambience, exploding into an eagerly paced romp of crisp rhythms and that instantly calling bass sound. Riffs too grip attention with their unspectacular but directly invitational attack whilst the excellent vocals of Kristof parade the song’s tale with expression and strength. As becomes apparent across the whole album, the anthemic lure of the song is dramatic and potent, a power metal like charge fuelling the imaginative engine for the melodic invention to flare off from. It is an excellent start soon backed up by the following pair of Bell Strikes Fear and the title track, even if they fail to quite live up to the impressive welcome of the album. The first of the two holds more of the expectations you would assume from a classic metal song but with good backing vocal shouts and the excellent guitar play not forgetting the bass threat expanding its presence, the track is a rewarding encounter equalled by  its slower intensive successor, the song a more than decent companion to thoughts and imagination.

The grooved enticement of The Ghosts of Nevermore with its familiar yet undefined touch marks the epically breathing song as another major highlight. As guitars coax the appetite with those acidic grooves the bass unveils its own predatory but simultaneously beckoning lure, the union bringing greed into play towards the rich weave of the song. Hunger for it is accelerated by the fine craft of the guitars and the rising symphonic atmosphere infusing the air. The captivating track is just the start of a scintillating passage within the album, Prophets of War stepping up with its confrontational rhythmic sinews and antagonistic riffs next to lead the listener and thoughts into a battlefield of climactic emotion and riveting endeavour. The bass again steals the biggest share of the passions, but every aspect of the track recruits full eagerness and instinctive subservience to its towering inventive declaration, the melodic and adventurous exploration of the initial dark premise as it moves towards its climax especially enthralling.

The pulsating and deviously addictive Cyber Villain has blood surging around veins with irresistible ease, the song a thumping example of choice heavy metal whilst the instrumental The Forest of Souls calms down emotions and energies with enchantingly creative poise before evolving into the vibrant key for final track Four Black Witches to unlock its brooding malevolence and doom like gothic presence. Approaching nine minutes of classic genre fare it is a captivating if slightly overlong conclusion to an excellent release.

World of Evil is a thrilling fascination brought by a band in Sinister Realm which is giving an arguably well-worn genre a new kick of creative adrenaline.

www.facebook.com/sinisterrealm

8.5/10

RingMaster 06/08/2013

 

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Night Demon – Self Titled EP

NDBandPic

Hailing from California and breathing the sounds of NWOBHM, Night Demon is a trio beginning to make a ripple across the world of metal. Well beginning is not quite right as not long after formation in 2011 the band was drawing attention amongst fans of their chosen genre, especially online where through Bandcamp especially, their success and appearance led to the organizers of Germany’s Keep It True Festival offering Night Demon a place on the fest’s 2014 line-up. Their debut self-titled EP brings four teases influenced by the likes of Diamond Head, Angel Witch, Tygers of Pan Tang, and Iron Maiden to a wider platform brought with the snarl and fuel of modern confrontation.

Released via Shadow Kingdom Records, the EP opens with the track Night Demon. It is an instant appealing riot of riffs and crisp rhythmsuntitled ridden by melodic flames from the guitar and strong clean vocals. Consisting of Jarvis Leatherby, Brent Woodward, and John Crerar, the latter pair also in The Fucking Wrath, Night Demon envelops the ear in old school metal and fresh energy. It is not a sound breaking down barriers, nor even stretching them, but for passionate and intense heavy rock ‘n’ roll strapped to insatiable melodic metal, song and release provide a rich encounter to lose oneself within.

The strong start is built upon by The Chalice, the track entering on the back of an excellent bass beckoning soon joined by roaming riffs and sonic temptation. The thumping rhythms equally make a compelling invitation and frame the accomplished sonically coloured heart of the song as the vocals again make an expressive hue which only enhances the aural narrative. It is easy to see as the song wraps its well-crafted charms around the ear why the band has drawn an eager following and attention, it an easily accessible and welcoming blaze of modern nostalgia and enterprise.

Ancient Evil chugs along like an express train from its opening seconds but with a gait that is in no rush to miss the sights. The guitars sculpt a scenic route for song and ears whilst the bass treads the sinew clad road provided by the drums with a heavy and eager intensity. As with all songs on the EP, there is a familiarity which arguably deflects it from developing the strongest impact, but the call of all tracks is easy to respond to and join in league with, even if they do not offer a lingering persuasion that remains without their company.

The closing Ritual ensures the release ends on a high whilst reinforcing the promise and stance of the band. Its groove littered flight of incendiary melodic craft and pressing riffs an appetising suasion whilst the muscular prowl of bass and prompting drums cages it all with a firm and determined hand. The best song on the EP, it completes a very pleasing and invigorating introduction to a band we are destined to hear much more of and from. Night Demon has risen and one suspects will have claws in a legion of passionate followers quite soon.

www.nightdemon.net

8/10

RingMaster 06/08/2013

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The Vein – Scouring the Wreckage of Time

TheVein-cover-Promo

Insidiously dark and imposing Scouring the Wreckage of Time, the debut album from The Vein is a release which secretes its doom laded death bred toxins in epic oppressively consuming tombs of sound and intensity. It is an unforgiving and imaginative expanse of light snuffing enterprise which certainly feeds on the senses and fears but equally brings a fresh if putrid breath to the mixing of genres.

Created in 2010 by Altar Of Oblivion guitarist Martin Meyer Mendelssohn Sparvath and long-time friend JBP, The Vein soon expanded with bassist C. Nörgaard and drummer Thomas Wesley (both also AoO) and released debut EP Born Into Grey Domains. Fusing sinister ambiences into menacing death fuelled soundscapes the band drew in strong attention including Shadow Kingdom Records with whom their first album is also unveiled to prey on the senses. Their sound is a heavy footed predator, an unrelenting leviathan of intensity and suffocation which in open diversity stalks the two chaptered release.

Chapter I: The Poisoned Chalice opens with Pale Dawn Rising, a track which slowly hunts the senses with demanding rhythms, hungry riffs, and rapacious guttural vocal growls. It is the excellent bass sound though which catches the attention, its metallic twang unexpected and unusual in doom/death metal onslaughts and thoroughly welcome and compelling. Lurching from each inventive twist to the next with melodic imagination and atmospheric seduction making their emotive presences known, the track is an impressive start which might not exactly ignite the passions into a full fire but has them totally enthralled.

     Seeds of Blasphemy continues in a similarly grievous vein, its tyrannical toxicity permeating senses and thoughts from within intensive lyrical narratives and aural provocation. It is a lung sucking emotive tsunami of sonic taunting, a sound and presence which devours the air of warmth and hope surrounding its poisonous vicinity to unveil the vilest ravenous shadows though a laborious but hypnotic consumption.

Allowing a breather and for warmth to find a foothold in the darkness the album unveils the evocative beauty of  Acedia, an elegant instrumental which as melancholic and sorrowful as it is provides a ray of sun to pierce the austere climate.  The Poisoned Chalice soon brings things back into the shadowed clutches of vehement intent, its primal breath and contagious toxin of a groove twisting around the psyche and emotions before the rhythms and carnivorous bass chews upon their caged submission. Absorbing and threateningly intrusive it is an immense wall of murderous imagination and passion, a voracious prowler of the senses and thoughts.

    Chapter II: Born into Grey Domains is brought from even darker realms with The Great Deception, its ponderous burdensome gait pure malevolence, drums and bass laying waste with every punch and distorted note whilst the guitars unravel their own inciting and sonically honed persuasion. It is a serpentine cancer within a funereal suffocation leading to the final blackened journey of Carving a Labyrinth of Despair. Immediately drenched in a sobering gloom with an alluring yet dour guitar welcome veining its presence, the song expels a wash of sonic corruption in league with an equally despair toned intensity. The song is arguably the most impressive of all the tracks, its passage an evolving blend of light and dark with hope constantly on the run from a prowling hateful malignancy. Epic in length and presence, the track is an impressive conclusion to a very satisfying album.

Scouring the Wreckage of Time is not a release to be taken as a passing listen, its demands requiring and seizing a much more intense companionship but rewarding with a craft and invention that leaves a lingering mark and pleasure. The Vein have offered something different and inspiring to doom and death metal, a flavoursome enmity  sure to find even greater depths of despair and invention ahead.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Vein/189452581105086

8/10

RingMaster 26/06/2013

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Corsair – Ghosts of Proxima Centauri

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This week sees the re-release of Ghosts of Proxima Centauri from progressive rock /melodic metallers Corsair through Shadow Kingdom Records who released their acclaimed self-titled album of earlier in the year. The six track EP first made its well-received appearance in 2011 and makes a nice accompaniment to their current album. For those new to the band and also existing fans it is an enterprising and appetizing look into the band leading up to the recent release.

Their second independently released record before signing up with Shadow Kingdom, Ghosts of Proxima Centauri has a majority of the elements which went into their excellent album showing the evolution was in full swing within their inventive songwriting and imagination. More as the promo for the release says ‘laid back’ than its successor, the EP still has the tools and intent to rock the passions into action as well as exploring expansive progressive expression. If someone new to the band, the record also makes a fully convincing persuasion to check out their following album, its sounds and kaleidoscope of textures igniting ones would imagine an urgent appetite to do so.

The opening instrumental Wolfrider is a pleasing and inviting start to the EP, its fiery breath and provocative sinews a strong base for the expressive melodic and sonic colouring of guitarists Paul Sebring and Marie Landragin. It is not a track to ignite the passions but certainly makes a very decent lead into the following Warrior Woman, especially with its blazing climax. The second track is a thrilling ride of intensive riffs and incendiary melodic teasing with a groove which lights up the senses. The vocals of the guitarists with bassist Jordan Brunk adding his part are decent enough though the production leaves them less impressive than they should be, but it not really an issue to be honest such the quality of the song and those to follow. Many have placed references to the likes of Thin Lizzy and Hawkwind upon the band and certainly on this track and whole release it is hard to offer many alternatives. It is classic rock from the seventies with a bite which leaves an addictive taste to its thrilling encounter and a contagious lingering temptation.

Burnish The Blades offers a slightly less forceful stance but still with an energy and intent which vigorously dances with the ear whilst dazzling it through adventurous descriptive flames from the guitar framed by the excellent rhythmic craft of drummer Aaron Lipscombe. The blues expression of the solos envelope the imagination with a pleasing burning touch whilst the song itself without reaching the peak of its predecessor is a riveting companion as is Centurion, another thought drawing landscape of creativity and colourful invention. The track adds deep character to the narrative of the guitars as they help the vocals cast the fantasy fuelled tale leaving a definite greed for more even if again it lacks the virulence of Warrior Woman.

The closing pair of Orca and Eyes of the Gods completes an impressive release which certainly deserves its second chance to grab wider awareness. The first of the pair has a wonderful additive of female vocals, their sirenesque lure into the rampant and excited groove of the song and its virulent rhythms sensational whilst the song itself and its ever twisting and bewitching invention seals the deals for the passions as it stands to the fore of the release as its best moment. The closing track which features the excellent emotive violin of Gabe Cooper, though one feels it could have been even more potent with a better feel to its heart within the production as with the vocals throughout, is a riveting heated sunset to the album, its air rich in sonic colour and creative veining to inspire and conspire with thoughts and emotions.

Ghosts of Proxima Centauri impressed on its first release and still does even knowing what immense quality followed its wake. Whether discovering Corsair through the album or this EP both are releases all progressive and melodic rock/metal fans should and need to walk the outstanding lands of.

http://www.skykrakken.com/

8/10

RingMaster 02/05/2013

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