Straight Line Stitch – Transparency

Photo credit- Benjamin and Beverly Ross

Photo credit- Benjamin and Beverly Ross

Whether Straight Line Stitch is a band you ultimately take to or not, there is no escaping the fact that their sound demands attention. Their evolving mix of metal and rock is a dramatic and inventive proposition which explodes with fresh and rigorous tenacity in the band’s new EP Transparency. Consisting of six tracks which can uncompromisingly snarl and masterfully seduce, creatively savage and forcibly charm across their individual bodies, the EP is a rousing and fiercely enjoyable encounter from a band which never compromises their sound and invention but still manages to shape it into one easily devoured adventure.

Released via Pavement Entertainment, Transparency sees the Knoxville, TN trio reinforcing their core fusion of metal and hard rock with new transfixing twists and detours whilst retaining its recognisable and potent substance. The threesome of vocalist Alexis Brown, bassist Darren McClelland, and guitarist Jason White have not sculpted a major departure to the impressive offerings within their previous acclaimed album The Fight of Our Lives of 2011, yet the tapestry of ravenous and melodic invention is loaded with greater predacious and captivating temptation than ever before. It might just be a handful of songs but the EP suggests Straight Line Stitch have tapped into a new vat of inspiration and resourcefulness which can only further unfold ahead.

SLSCOV_RingMaster Review     Transparency opens with Out of the Shadows, a brief instrumental intro which entices well enough with its evocative air and elegance but fair to say the release properly gets going once Dark Matter suddenly roars from within the parting kiss of its predecessor. Brown’s aggressive raw tones rage first, swiftly joined by hungry riffs and rhythms bound in a tight vine of alluring grooving. In a matter of a few additional moments, Brown unveils the other side to her vocal prowess, her melodic persuasion casting new colour to the sonic tempting fermenting within the song and providing another step in the ever impressive and seamless diversity in her delivery. A carousel of predatory hostility and alluring pop rock around a carnivorous spine, the song itself is a persistently captivating engagement which is quickly matched by Out of Body.

The third track opens with warm enticing, guitar melodies caressing ears as the gentle tones of Brown flirt with the senses. As bass and drums harden their character, a stronger growl begins lining the song though it relaxes when keys spark harmony rich calmer passages within the song. Like a mix of In Flames and Lacuna Coil yet with an intimacy which gives the encounter its own distinction, the song heftily pleases before making way for Face of God, a track with volatile shadows to its depths and virulent contagion to its anthemic tempting. It is a stirring mix of textures with riffs and bass almost bestial in their intimidation and rancorous sound whilst vocals and melodies cast blazing rays of evocative beauty. Things continue to shift and twist in the body of the outstanding encounter, the EP’s best moment a kaleidoscope of unpredictable and easily digestible enterprise.

Wilderness is a savage provocation from its first breath, riffs and rhythms preying on ears with antagonistic imagination and fury which is soon matched by guitars and vocals and their own aggressive ingenuity. The fierce theatre subsequently slips into oases of melodic beauty, sparking new potent bait for appetite and imagination to feed from even though the blistering track’s dark side is never far from the surface. It is a template taken to its own imposing success by Human Bondage, though the closing song does lack the spark of uniqueness found in its predecessor. Nevertheless it is a maelstrom of rabid almost carnal riffs, grouchy basslines, and almost fell vocal ire entwined with warm and soaring radiance spread sonically and through the dynamic tones of Brown.

The song is a thick pleasure bringing another thoroughly enjoyable and enthralling incitement from Straight Line Stitch to a pleasing end. The new adventures within Transparency may not make it the best offering from the band to date, though it is right up there in many ways, but they suggest something major might just be in the pipeline and brewing very nicely for the band’s next album or proposal.

Transparency is available from June 30th via Pavement Entertainment.

RingMaster 30/06/2015

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Elisium: Becoming

This is possibly the first time you will have heard of US metalers Elisium but it certainly will not be the last as their new impressive EP Becoming begins to consume and excite the globe. Approaching their tenth year the trio from Fredericksburg, Virginia is another example of those secrets that metal and music in general always seems to hide from us for far too long. Now though with their new release things should change the EP that impressive and a statement of the quality and power of what is still to the world an emerging band.

      Becoming follows up debut album Things They Carried of 2004 and that in itself is a crime, the fact that circumstances and life in this great musical world has meant such a long wait for a successor to what was a strongly received album. Over the years the trio of brothers Nate and Kirb Compton, vocalist/guitarist and bassist respectively, and drummer Nathan “Junior” Thomas (who joined in 2009), have shared and impressed stages with the likes of Chevelle, Flaw, Days of the New, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Straight Line Stitch, and Nonpoint, as well as headlining their own successful tours throughout the US. They have been frequently compared to bands like Tool and Chevelle and it is easy to see why but Elisium on the evidence of the EP have their own distinct breath and energy which certainly sets them apart from others.

The first notable thing is how much power and sound the threesome brews up in their songs, yes on recordings it is easy to add levels and textures to build a storm of noise but the songs here are organic in their presence with a mighty core which cannot be contrived. With reliable sources saying live they are just the same it really is a formidable strength the band has. The other impressive thing is the variety the band offer within their distinct overall sound, each song unique in composition and passion to their siblings whilst easily recognisable as kin to each other.

The EP opens with an excellent intro which to be honest does not seem to have any relation to what follows but its metallic pulse and rippling industrial intensity is hypnotic and it would be great to see it turned into an actual track. First full track is Bombshells and an immediate treat for the ears and heart to be absorbed by, especially the vocals of Nate which are striking against the rasping heavy riffs and controlled rhythms. He has a smooth delivery which comes with a snarl and fully emotive edge to light up the songs within the dark coarse melodic play and prowling intimidating basslines. The song does not offer any extravagant thrills or glossy shimmers but simply strikes with an honest and blistering strength and complete with a great vocal harmony the track is an excellent starter.

The following Sleep Awhile is equally predatory though with a less insistent energy. The song is a real grower evolving with initial thoughts at yeah this is good into an intrusive and persistent pleasure. Actually with a slight contradiction the pair of songs are certainly outstanding but as the release unveils its journey they are subsequently put in their place by the closing duo of tracks which we will come to shortly.

In between the two pairs there is a surprise in the shape of a cover of Men At Work song Safety Dance. Now the song is already one which is annoying but frustratingly infectious, a track which it is hard to find many admitting to liking but all know and join in with. Elisium do a Wolverine like corruption on it and fill its veins with their type of metal to give it muscle and a darker energy to obliterate its previous camp gaiety. It is still annoyingly as a song but even more infectious and great fun in the hands of the band.

The track whether intentionally is like an interlude between the previous songs and the amazing following AVG and Surface. The first of the two initially roughs up the ear with restrained riffs before slamming hard with a heavy energy and an incendiary groove. The song is unrelenting in its bristling attitude and almost combative assault whilst retaining a mesmeric melodic grace in atmosphere and further outstanding vocals. Every note is dripping emotion but also intimidation and it is a glorious mix. The closing Surface is another fully impactful creature emotionally with a mournful beginning erupting into a fiery mix of bullying riffs and outpouring vocals. It is a beautiful track in its composing and realisation, a fully engaging and emotionally draining song.

 Becoming is deeply impressive and surely the doorway to much full acclaim for Elisium as well as mass recognition. If they carry on creating music like this it will be a given.

RingMaster 14/06/2012 Registered & Protected

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