Bootlegs – Ekki fyrir viðkvæma


With the band recently inking a worldwide management deal with GlobMetal Promotions, we thought a look at Bootlegs’ recent album, Ekki fyrir viðkvæma, was in order.  Formed in 1986 and soon becoming one of the bigger names in Icelandic metal history over the next five years or so, Bootlegs released two highly praised albums in that period before disbanding in 1991. Since then the band has come and gone through a couple of brief comebacks before returning more permanently in 2012. Released last year, Ekki fyrir viðkvæma is the Reykjavik quartet’s latest incitement of raw and ferocious thrash metal, a release metal fans will not want to be missing out on.

WC Monster and their self-titled second album, released 1989 and 1990 respectively, certainly pushed Bootlegs from national success towards recognition upon the broader metal map as too appearances on compilation albums over the next couple of years and a live presence which saw the band break into the likes of Denmark. After coming to an end, the band did come back together for a big reunion concert which was recorded and subsequently released as a live album a few years later in 2006. Before its release though, Bootlegs were already active again, returning in 2004 for a two to three year presence.  Then in 2010, they arose again with original members back; the fresh return followed by releases of the band’s first two albums in 2014 via Minotauro Records. Last year saw Bootlegs enter the studio for their first recordings in over two decades, and emerging with the rather impressive and rousing Ekki fyrir viðkvæma.

With the vocal roars of guitarists Jón ‘Junior’ Símonarsson and Jón Örn ‘Nonni ‘ Sigurðsson to the fore and its energy and intensity driven by the rhythmic predation of bassist Ingimundur ‘Elli’ Ellert Þorkellsson and drummer Kristján ‘Stjuni’ Ásvaldsson, album and sound is old school, thrash in its irritable prime. It is unafraid to offer some punk attitude too, at times songs breaching a Suicidal Tendencies like punkiness, but for the main and in its individual style, Ekki Fyrir Viðkvæma is the perfect fit for tastes bred on the likes of Voivod, Exodus, Metallica, Slayer, and Subhumans.

Front_RingMasterReviewFrom the hungrily abrasive and riotous punk ‘n’ roll of Gervigleði er ógleði, the album has ears and appetite in league with its ferocious intent. It is a great opener quickly matched in success and persuasion by the thrash prowl of Fullur á Facebook. Grooves and hooks collude with rapier like swings from Stjuni in the second song, luring in the listener before uncaging a ravenous assault and devilment reminding of the crossover thrash sounds of the previously mentioned California hailing band.

As the likes of the senses nagging KúkurPissOgÆl and the glorious exploits of Bootlegs fyrir börnin come and go, it is fair to say that major surprises are few yet fierce temptation and unbridled enjoyment unmistakable and inescapable. Within the second of the two, there is also something very familiar about certain melodies and flavoursome hooks yet all escape comparison to anyone in particular as the track steals ears and passions with ease. There is an occasional sense of early Stam1na, passing essences fleetingly bringing the Finnish band to mind as the track provides the first major pinnacle within the album.

Tribute to Thrash is one of the few English sung tracks and more than lives up to its title, swinging along with a snarl and swagger while being as multi-flavoured as its predecessor. With some great guitar interplay involved it is followed by Eitur naðra which explores a darker and heavier canvas of textures and character as sonic flames vein its intimidating posture and tone. The track is just one more highly memorable proposal, whether stalking the listener or in a rampage of niggling riffs and the snakiest of toxic grooves, and swiftly irresistible as too the in the face predation and roar of the excellent Gjallarhorn.

By this point it is fair to say that Ekki fyrir viðkvæma had us hooked, sharing physical and vocal, where we could language wise, involvement with instinctive eagerness. The pair of Fórnarlamb tískunnar and Kjörkassasvín only add to the album’s temptation and uncompromising thrills; both tracks providing an immediate and merciless trespass as anthemic as they are grouchy. They are highly addictive proposals carrying an array of imagination pleasing twists and turns backed by the band’s individual craft; the latter especially intriguing and devilish in shape and resources.

Making less of a dramatic and lingering impression is Poser though fair to say that its antagonistic attack leaves only satisfaction in its wake before Haleluja adds its own creative incitement and SOD III uncages the album’s shortest and most hostile offering yet. Again both leave pleasure full without matching earlier triumphs with the closing Ó Reykjavík providing a final spirit arousing galvanic punk ‘n’ roll stomp to greedily devour.

It is a great end to an excellent release. Ekki fyrir viðkvæma might not be the best thrash album you will have heard this past year or so, though it is in with a real shout, but it is undoubtedly on the frontline of the most enjoyable and ridiculously easy to return to propositions you will come across.

Ekki fyrir viðkvæma is available @

Pete RingMaster 11/05/2016

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Terratomorf -Ya Legenda



    Terratomorf emerged in 2013 from the seeds of the band Byzantium and recently stepped forward with their debut release, Ya Legenda, a richly promising and enjoyable heavy metal proposition. That previous band consisted of guitarist Sergei Gviniashvili, bassist Ivan Sel, drummer Alexander Dmitriev, and vocalist Ruslan Kaplun, and earned a strong reputation for their live performances and sound. Creative differences saw them splitting with Kaplun going one way and the other three forming Terratomorf. Ex- Barbarian frontman Nikita Salishchev was found to complete the new line-up with the quartet making their stage debut in June of last year. The departure of Sel saw Vladislav Balashov come in to the line-up as the band set to work on their first EP, a release certain to awaken keen attention.

   Released at the end of January, Ya Legenda (I Am Legend) takes little time to make a very convincing persuasion on ears and emotions, its inventively sculpted blend of heavy metal and hard rock a temptation which in its strongest moments virulently ignites the imagination and in its less inventive times gives the passions a potently infectious time. From start to finish the album captivates with skill and accomplished individual prowess, and though maybe the tracks at times feel like they have something in reserve which could have been unleashed to even greater success, it is an introduction which breeds full satisfaction and an anticipation of greater things to come from the Moscow band.

     The title track sets things in motion and instantly has attention wide awake with an opening of predatory riffs and crisply delivered beats. The vocals of Salishchev soon join the incitement, his tones clean but holding a snarl which adds potency to the Russian delivered lyrical narrative. The track itself is a thrilling mix of groove metal within a heavier metal rapaciousness, ripe melodies helping shape a sound which reminds of Finnish metallers Stam1na. It is an absorbing and scintillating start easily waking up a hunger for the band’s invention. The best track on the EP is arguably never equalled by any of the subsequent songs though they all make richly pleasing attempts.

    From the additive might of the opener the band takes a more reserved and straight forward approach with Sudba. Featuring the guest vocals of Artur Berkut from Russian heavy metallers Aria, the track swings through the ears with a steady infectious groove aligned to similarly appealing riffs and melodic enterprise. Just as compellingly the bass provides a darker stomp to shadow and complement the great clean vocals, their swagger and smile matching the melody soaked heart of the track. Though not as dramatically gripping as the first song, it still offers a healthy temptation with its presence to invite at least one more play before moving on to investigate more.

    Prizrachniy Mir steps forward next placing a dark velvety bassline around the ears before a sonic shimmer opens up a weave of guitar endeavour and vocal enticing. Providing another distinctly varied proposition within the release, the track has a heavier antagonistic feel to its breath and sound. Riffs and rhythms court an intensive weight in their delivery whilst the sonic invention of the guitar, especially in the excellent solo, adds more heat and acidity than previously found on the EP. A melodic aside within the growl of the song makes a great unexpected twist before the song returns to its earlier muscular and suasion.

      That impressive diversity to the band’s debut continues with V Nebesa, the track also giving full rein to its sinews whilst encircling them with rich flames of heavy metal creativity. The virulent rumble of bass and drums never relinquishes a second of their intimidation across the song to ensnare and temper the melodic textures of the song but it works to the benefit of the end result, though this is one of those occasions where you feel the band is holding back a little in their invention, hints of more never realised.

    The closing Gorod Dushi is a pleasing and attentive encounter to the needs of a metal fan but underwhelming in many ways to what has come before, its riffery and grooves unremarkable but enjoyable in the overall containment of the excellent release. It is very easy to recommend Ya Legenda to heavy and melodic metal fans and to suggest that Terratomorf is a band with very potent and rewarding horizons ahead, we certainly will be watching closely.


RingMaster 21/02/2014

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Interview with Nikolay Karpushin of Rosa Infra

One of the more impressive debut albums to emerge in recent months has been Change of Scenery from Russian metal band Rosa Infra. The band and release treated the senses to an impressive and impassioned blend of gothic metal/electronic /darkwave brought with outstanding craft and expressive delivery. The band has over recent times shared stages with the likes of Paradise Lost, To/Die/For, Embraze, and For Selena & Sin whilst building a might reputation and devoted following in their homeland. We had the pleasurable opportunity to send a series of questions over to Rosa Infra founder vocalist, bassist and composer Nikolay Karpushin to find out more about the band, their music and of course their excellent album.

Hello and welcome to The Ringmaster Review. Thank you for talking with us.

Could you firstly just introduce the band?

Hello! With a great pleasure I’ll tell of my band whose name Rosa Infra

How did Rosa Infra start?

We began our way at 2006.Then I dreamed to play qualitative and powerful gothic-metal and actively composed songs in this style.

Was there a clear intention before the band about the kind of sound it was to create before its formation?

The basic representation about a sound I had before the creation of band. First of all it consists in low tuning of guitars and bass and common low frequency sounding. All rest was formed gradually from concert and rehearsal of practice, and at the present time we are addicted to this idea and we continue to experiment on this way.

What were the inspirations that brought you to the desire to be a musician and the band you are?

Aspiration to play qualitative and too in time sincere music! Probably sounds arrogant, but not only in Russia, and all over the world is not enough of such music now. Here I shall allow myself to quote of David Bowie: “Music became ordinary, as a water conduit and electricity “. The Qualitative releases are thousands. But is there a lot of them deserve to play in your playlist almost daily within many years?

Before we move on to your recently released album, please give us some back ground of the band up to this point, highlights and how it has grown?

The basic conception of music of the Rosa Infra always will be a low and deep sound. It’s our mania, our point of view on metal and music at all. It was very difficult to me to find people who understood my idea, and I thanks to my friends and musicians Evgeniy, Zinaida and Vsevolod.

How would you describe your sound for newcomers to Rosa Infra?

Power, low, growling, groove, atmospheric. Sometimes colder like cosmic vacuum, sometimes deep like a сoffin underground. Anyway it’s will force you to distract from daily problems and to listen! And much more important- to think about your life, may be about your soul, and may be to learn the Russian language.

As mentioned your excellent new album Change of Scenery has recently been released, how has the response to it been so far?

Our fans in Russia were very pleased with an album. A lot people came on presentation and very warmly have supported us. It is always pleasant to see happiness in eyes, which look at you!

What were your hopes for it as it was unleashed on the world?

We are always played our music for all people-Russians, Europeans, Americans, Indians, Chinese, Japanese etc. We from the very beginning tried to work at a level of the global standards of metal-music. And we are happy, that our creativity has deserved attention in the world.

How long was Change of Scenery in its creation?

Little more than one year. Some problems happened about search of guitar sound and then were big problems with search of studio for record of a vocal. One familiar composer promised us free-of-charge record at his studio. In Russia there are not enough of good studios for record of vocal and we very much counted on him. But then this man likely has decided not, as he had more favorable pop-projects. Urgently it was necessary to search for alternative variant for the acceptable price. And we find it! There was “Ross Studio”-The professionals of the business, with them it was very pleasant to work and we are very pleased with result!

Different to many bands from your and surrounding countries you have kept to your own language not singing in English, something we like for sure. But do you think it might limit how far and how many people you can spread the album to by doing so?

I very much respect bands which sing on the native language, is special if it is made beautifully, it is competent. Russian literary language is very beautiful and is melodious sounds and it is a pity, that many our bands ignore this fact. Still it is a very pity that our language is strong degradated for last 15 years. It is connected to historical problems, with politics and society, but I do not want to go deep in to it now. I only want to inform beauty of Russian language to the people. Including in other countries there is Finnish band Kursk (KYPCK), even the Finns sing in Russian! But unfortunately texts in their songs is not always competently built and sometimes that sounds funny. But when there was no mistakes, Russian sounds not worse than English. And it is true proof that Metal may to sing in Russian! But probably we’ll record some our songs on English if we have that opportunity.

Was there any pressure to revert to English from anyone?

Yes, of course but I don’t listen that councils. I sang many covers in English and it is not a problem for me but our basic language is Russian.

Despite being unable to know the lyrical content of songs we could feel the passion and emotions behind songs very openly, this is an aspect you take great care with as much as creating great sounds?

Certainly the emotional message is a very important in vocal. Sometimes even Russian public don’t understand the true sense of words simply because vocalist does not have this emotional submission. We care a lot in our music and important part of it is an expressive vocal lines.

Tell us how the songwriting works within Rosa Infra?

The writing of song works pass differently. Basically I write the musical theme on piano then create all lines for two hands. So there is a prototype of arrangement of the future song. Then I distribute the voices on different instruments which will be played in potential song and rewrite the notes for these (guitars, bass, keyboards, drums, samples etc).The words for music more often I write much later.

What inspires your lyrics and ideas within songs?

Mmm! Excellent question! Certainly experience of my life is partially reflected in the texts; partially it is reasonings on a theme of essence of the people, their qualities of soul (both light, and dark). In these reasonings I express also my sensation of the world, hope and believe in the people.

Going in to its recording how much were the songs finished and how much did they further evolve as you worked in the studio?

The musical parties were authorized even before record. We only needed them to record in alive. We have spent much time for search of a suitable sound (especially it concerns guitars). By result we are pleased.

The album also features many guests, could you tell us about them?

I shall begin with remarkable string trio: Evgeniya Kasatkina (alto), Anjelika Vinogradova (cello), Grigory X (double bass). We have invited all of the guys to record a fragment of song Pis’ma Niotkuda (” the Letters from Nowhere “). All of them the students of a conservatory, and Evgeniya still participates in folk-metal band Bear Beer.

As in recording of the album guitarist Iliya Mamontov (“Epidemiya” band) took part. He has played solo in songs Proschenniy (“Forgiven”), Krilya (“Wings”), Sonata di Dolorum and Smena Dekoratziy (” Change of Scenery “).

Change of Scenery was very varied making a release which was unpredictable and persistently engaging, is this ability to make things distinctly diverse a natural thing or an aspect you work specifically on?

I always aspired to a variety and riches of used receptions in a composition and in time it was not end in itself. So получалост by a natural image, since I always concerned unbiasedly to various musical genres and never hesitated to mix them in the songs most by unexpected image.

Vivid example – song Snejniy Angel (Snow Angel) .Common atmosphere is more similar on dark wave, gothic rock but in middle of a composition mine unexpectedly enters a bass – solo typical more for funk. Other example is a song Kriliya. In her are combined gothic metal, industrial, synth-rock, and even much psychedelic elements.

In general, I consider that all life to play strictly within the framework of one style is self-restriction.

The two instrumentals on the release in the stunning Sonata Di Dolorum and Rassvet are very powerful tracks which inspire many thoughts and reactions. When bands put instrumentals in a release it is interesting to know why they are not given lyrics, how was it with your two tracks, what made you keep them as just music pieces?

Guitarist of our band Evgeniy offered to think up words and vocal line for Sonata. But I am primary it planned as instrumental, since wanted to express some tragical experiences of my life by language of music, instead of words. Is glad, that it was possible to me, especially guys so it is magnificent it have played. Rassvet is original intro for a song Krilya, on that it is obvious, that she should be without words.

A few times we were reminded of Finnish bands in the album, Stam1na in particular. Has Finnish metal been a sure influence on you?

This influence was faster reflected in the early compositions, such as ” Nadejda na Utro ” (Hope on Morning), ” Edinstvo v Grehe ” (Unity in Sin), ” Lozh vo Spaseniye ” (Lie to Helpness). In other creativity the influence of many other directions is felt, not only metal, but also electronic music.

What is next for Rosa Infra?

The following step will be the further creativity. We do not stand on a place and we do not limit ourselves to frameworks of one genre, and for us is to surprise you! Closer by winter 2012 we plan to begin record a new single which will be the announcement to the second full-album. This album will be conceptual. It is a uniform history divided into parts, i.e. songs. While I can say one: above idea of this album and history I already reflect about 10 years. Partly it is fiction, partly vital experience transformed into structure of a design of product. Now we prepare the concert program with songs from the future album.

What are the chances that the rest of Europe and the UK might have a close up of you live?

I think that same, as well as at other Russian bands. Per century of information technologies it is much easier to inform the creativity up to the masses. But on the other hand at the sated information flow a high probability to miss main. In the world (including in Russia) there are a lot of same bands and not looking on high quality, in a result the attention dissipates because of similarity all against each other. We make the rate on sincerity in creativity and individual sight.

A big thank you for talking with us, would you like to leave a last comment for people?

Thanks to you!

I already have stated much. I can add the following: aspire to individuality but not as to end in itself. In all the golden mean is necessary. Try more often message dialogue with the heart, reason, soul. Be able to set correct questions to find the answers. You see we call for this in the music!

Read the Change of Scenery  review@

The RingMaster Review 17/06/2012 Registered & Protected

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Rosa Infra: Change of Scenery (Смена Декораций)

It is hard to think of any other adjective that fits the debut album from Russian band Rosa Infra than mighty. Before Change of Scenery does anything else it just takes one into a sound and heart that impresses the senses before thrilling, lighting them up, and crooning them into deep pleasure. The gothic metal/electronic /darkwave blend without being demanding seizes attention through its wonderful craft and expressive delivery and sound. Bringing an edge and depth to it, there is also an industrial inspired vein that stands in contrast to the excellent deep and smooth vocals and swarming electronic sounds but also makes the perfect muscular companion.

Rosa Infra began in 2006, formed by vocalist/bassist/composer Nikolay Karpushin. Since then the band has shared stages with the likes of Paradise Lost, To/Die/For, Embraze, and For Selena & Sin, impressing each and every time as they built a formidable fan base in their homeland and beyond. Now with guitarist Evgeniy Belyaev, drummer Vsevolod Akimov and Zinaida Azarova on keyboards alongside Karpushin the band has created a majestic album that thrills and fills the heart to its very core. Thoughtfully composed and defined Change of Scenery released via Russian label Sound Age, is an epic release that deserves and needs to be heard.

Immediately the opening track Lozh Vo Spaseniye emerges on a fully focus grabbing ambient brew of sound it has the ear, once the guitars light up the synth soaked skies with sharp melodies and the riffs gallop eagerly through the ear the song captures the imagination and heart. The growling bass that stalks the song ensures total submission such its power and irresistible prowl whilst the vocals of Karpushin are immense; his blackened tone and rounded delivery a velvet siren. At times the song and vocals remind very strongly of Stam1na, never a bad thing and it sets the album off to a strong and very satisfying start.

Often albums that begin so impressively slip down a gear or two along its way but with Change of Scenery the varied and potent collection of songs hold the highest and tightest consistency. The likes of the dramatic Proschenniy with its heavy arms of gothic passion and heartfelt piano touch, the masterful and haunting Snova Odin, and the stunning instrumental Sonata Di Dolorum, a piece which brings a drama and overwhelming atmosphere to consume and evoke feelings, all in different ways take the senses on a journey of emotion, passion, and classically tinged gothic metal imagination.

If that was not enough diversity the band offer further electro/industrial grace with Snezhniy Angel and beauty through the piano led Pis’ma Niotkuda (Romans). The first is light but expressive, its heart a pulsating beckoning that is impossible to deny especially with the enthused sharp guitars and rumbling bass. It has to be said as well as being a great vocalist Karpushin is one notable bassist, his dark intimidating riffs and lines an infectious element of each song no matter its flow or emotion. The second of the two is an impactful track that from an already effective and compelling level raises the appeal with the inclusion of a guest string trio which touches the remaining parts the song had not already breached with its emotive power.
As mentioned the album is impressive throughout, other songs like the industrial fuelled Krilya and second instrumental Rassvet equal joys but two songs take top honours on the album. Nadezhda Na Utro opens with a Sisters Of Mercy like intro before rumbling through the ear with more great bass work and warm inventive synths whilst the guitars turning every note into an event. Again Stam1na comes to mine plus a gothic rock mix of Sisters and The Mission. It wraps itself around the ear with ease and mesmeric invention spoiling us with extra stirring rock solos and melodic treats. Edinstvo V Grehe coaxes the ear with a darker and slower predatory yet welcoming flow. Deeply resonating from again bass and vocals, the song has a rounded quality brought to it by the keys and the stirring passion it possesses.

Change of Scenery is a total joy, and a pleasure that deepens the more one lets its creative might immerse the senses. If Rosa Infra are not in the very least a well known name from this album there will be no justice, such quality deserves an equal reward.

RingMaster 14/04/2012 Registered & Protected

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Heidevolk: Batavi

With strong chest beating and red hot blood rushing through its veins the new album from Dutch folk metalers Heidevolk is a stirring and thoroughly pleasing release. With a firmer aggression and intensity then on previous releases, Batavi the fourth album from the band is an expressive force which excites and deeply satisfies. Even with the limitation for many in the fact the band sing in their home tongue the energetic intent and craft within the emotive sound and voice immerses one into the turbulence and theme that fuels the release easily.

Batavi transports the listener to a time of violent unrest as Germanic tribes waged war against the Roman Empire along the banks of the Rhine for domination of Northwest Europe. Alliances, intrigue, and betrayal were rife as the Batavians, the protagonists of the new album from Heidevolk, found themselves stuck in the middle of the conflict. Through their own brand of traditional pagan metal the Dutch band bring forth the struggle and fight of the time and people to great effect with songs that are as catchy as they are striking, and as proud as they are forceful.

Formed in 2002 in Arnhem, the band did not take long to draw acclaim and a strong following through their mesmeric intense live shows and releases. From their debut album of 2005 De strijdlust is geboren, coming after the demo Het Gelders Volkslied the year before; through to albums Walhalla Wacht and Uit oude grond of 2008 and 2010 respectively, Heidevolk with their defined sound of thundering riffs, folk veined melodies, mountainous rhythms and triumphant clean vocals explore their chosen genre to pulse racing effect. With Batavi they have stiffened up their sound and flexed broader muscles to create an album which leaves one breathless and fired up whilst basking in an instinctive sweeping dark grace.

As the towering rhythms and tense riffs of opener Een nieuw begin march through the ear alongside the enthused harmonies of dual vocalists Joris den Boghtdrincker and Mark Splintervuyscht, there is instant recognition that here is a galvanising and inciting experience waiting to flourish upon the senses. The drums of Joost den Vellenknotscher lead the way with a formidable hand whilst the bass of Rowan Roodbaert and guitars from Reamon Bomenbreker lead the battle cry. The sound reminds one of heavy metal Finnish band Stam1na more than of other folk/pagan metal bands showing that Heidevolk openly stand apart from similar genre bands.

De toekomst lonkt raises the intensity further, the song rampaging forth with a determination and willingness to engage forcibly whilst still surging with vocals that spill strength, confidence and pride. Musically Heidevolk are as accomplished and impressive as they are incessant and irrepressible but it is the vocals that set the band further apart from the likes of Tyr, Ensiferum and other pagan metal bands, they are simply soaring and glorious whilst retaining the power and might the music needs. The song sets the heart up to stand tall and confront whilst the following likes of Het verbond met Rome and Wapenbroeders only go to reinforce the inspired quickening of breath and eagerness ignited within.

Songs like Als de dood weer naar ons lacht, the thrash/folk bliss of Einde der zege, and the wonderful melancholic acoustic instrumental Veleda, show the diversity and versatility of band and album, a release that offers a varied feast on each and every slice of folk metal presented. Musically Heidevolk do not push boundaries as far as they certainly could but with sounds as easily consumable and uplifting in spirit as those on Batavi it is not a real complaint, and with such bass and baritone vocal might ripping through each song the deficiency is barely noticeable.

Batavi is stunning and an album that can only bring good things to the ear and music, Heidevolk use adrenaline and uncomplicated mastery to enflame the senses and show pagan or folk metal has no need for tricks or frivolities to be a genre with true heart and quality.

RingMaster 02/023/2012 Registered & Protected


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