Mean Messiah – Hell

mm_RingMasterReview

As January shared its last days, Hell was unleashed in the form of the debut Mean Messiah album. It was the re-release of an invasion of the senses which left only one question in its furious wake. Just how did we like so many others, miss it first time around.

The release is an ear withering, pleasure igniting storm of industrial death/thrash metal with much more to its irritable heart and searing blaze of sound. To simplify things it is a tempest resembling a raging tapestry of Revocation, Strapping Young Lad, and Fear Factory woven with strands of the likes of Cryptopsy, Blood Simple, and Static X yet stands as something distinctly individual to the imagination and roar of Mean Messiah.

The Czech Republic hailing band started out as the one man project of multi-instrumentalist and producer Dan Friml, formerly of Sebastian, Apostasy and many other projects. The winter of 2005 saw him begin work on his first album, its release intended for the following year but delayed and delayed by numerous problems and complications before being completed in 2013. Since then its line-up has expanded, bassist Veronika Smetanová and drummer Honza Šebek joining Friml as he took Mean Messiah live, proceeding to play the biggest festivals in the Czech Republic such as Masters Of Rock, Czech Death Fest, Agressive Fest, Basinfirefest, and Gothoom.

With the band working on a second album for release later this year to follow 2016 EP Let Us Pray, Mean Messiah and Via Nocturna has uncaged Hell again for a formidable and compelling reminder and wake up call for fans and newcomers alike. With its concept themed by people´s varied complicated journeys and destinies inevitably leading to hell, the album makes a calm, welcoming entrance though dark clouds and portentous sounds are soon looming over and invading the imagination as opener Temple of Hell grows in ears. Melodies are enticing yet sinister, rhythms predatory but restrained until throwing off their deceit and storming the barricades. From there grooves and hooks seduce as riffs and beats persist in their invasive intent as Friml’s potent tones snarl. That earlier descriptive comparison is in full swing as the track shares its dangerous and captivating virulence.

cover_RingMasterReviewThe track is superb, using familiar textures in a new and fresh design before being matched in might and success by King Pathetic. The strong unpredictability underlining its predecessor is potent again, and across the whole album to be fair, prowling the vicious rhythmic tenacity and intoxicatingly venomous melodic and sonic web covering the song. Bracing and intrusive, things are punishingly catchy as thrash and death metal enterprise roar with angry rapacity as industrial essences beckon further involvement in the progressively toned fury.

As the second built on and eclipsed the first, Spiritual Resolution breaches a new plateau of persuasion next, scavenging and thrilling the senses with its nagging choleric character while The Death Song with matching toxic dispute stalks and savages the listener with raw infectious enterprise. The first of the two weaves progressively honed melodic suggestiveness while the second lets its bestial ferocity drive the thrilling show.

Hell is the perfect name for sound and theme within the album, the first echoing and fuelling the latter as found in The Last Ride which follows. In many ways the outstanding song is the least corrosive on the album, its swinging rhythms and magnetic grooves rousing infection but there is no escaping its instinctive animosity and barb littered acrimony. With orchestral beauty and atmospheric harmonies colluding with warm melodies, it is sheer magnetism, only intriguing and griping tighter as its growing imagination borders schizophrenic.

The Game gnaws on the senses next, its riffs and beats an enjoyably persistent abrasion colluding with lust igniting electronics. Its irresistible stomp provides another appetite inflaming highlight within Hell, one more to the growing list joined by the dark instrumental climate and dance of Saltatio Mortis and the fiercely catchy caustic devouring of ears and soul cast by The End. Folk bred hues unite with extreme and groove spawn endeavour in the first with its successor a brawl of truculent rock ‘n’ roll, both as imaginative and expectations defeating as they are, certainly in the case of the second, emotionally primal.

Completed by bonus track Remedy, another ridiculously tempting slab of thrash nurtured, creatively evocative music which needs no vocal side to excite and inspire the imagination, Hell grabs the listener by the throat and takes them on one brutally thrilling ride from start to finish. It also lays down a mighty benchmark its successor will be judged by but it is hard to imagine Mean Messiah failing to live up to the challenge with their now keenly anticipated second full-length.

Hell is out now through Via Nocturna across most online stores digitally and on CD.

http://www.meanmessiah.com   http://www.facebook.com/meanmessiah   http://twitter.com/MeanMessiah

Pete RingMaster 07/02/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Biting the hand that bleeds you: facing the Weak13 roar with Nick J Townsend

WEAK13_RingMasterReview

UK trio Weak13 is a band we have had a rich taste for over quite a few years now, and increasingly so as new songs and their gripping debut album emerged. A chance to get to the heart of the band arose recently, so in a long overdue chat we talked with band founder Nick J Townsend about the origins and subsequent years of the band, the imposingly refreshing drive of the band and its members, their latest release and much more…

Hey Nick, thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

Cheers yeah I’m currently running a music festival in Wolverhampton at the moment but yeah cool fire away.

Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to how it all started and what brought you all together?

Well I’m Nick J Townsend; the band’s founder, I sing and play guitar; WEAK13 began in my hometown in Kidderminster in 1999; went under multiple line-up changes which was very distracting when it came to trying to do songwriting or trying to make any solid plans; eventually I moved to the Black Country around about 2008; I think that was the year; and then I revamped the band and recruited bassist Wesley Smith and drummer Neel Parmar. Since 2010 the band has remained the same and it’s ensured stability; we’ve been able to produce a professional debut studio album now titled They Live with engineer John Stewart and I know we couldn’t have tried doing anything like that with people coming in and out of a band;

Have you been in other bands before? If so has that had any impact on what you are doing now, in maybe inspiring a change of style or direction?

Speaking personally WEAK13 is my creation and the main band I’ve worked in; I was for a short period in a high school band called Incision which pretty much seemed to just play Metallica songs but I made some nice friends from it; a couple of years later I joined a college band called Bamboo Puncturing; it was an experimental three piece thrash metal band, very heavy, the drummer Chris was also the singer, Stuart Smith was the bassist who behaved very metal although he would take the piss out of anyone else calling themselves metal. I just played guitar for them. The band only lasted about 9 months but for our final show we supported Strapping Young Lad during the ‘City’ album tour and it was the first time I’d played with a signed artist. Although it wasn’t a long conversation I kind of liked chatting to Devin Townsend and I think after watching his set I decided then that I wanted to do something on my own terms musically. WEAK13 began a few years later. Neel Parmar and Wesley Smith have both been in lots of bands before joining WEAK13; they’re very experienced musicians.

Photography by SquishFlash Images.

Photography by SquishFlash Images.

What inspired the band name?

I get sick of answering this one but it’s my own fault because I give multiple long answers but the main inspiration was the dangerous surgical operation on my head that I experienced when I was 13; I was born with a defect on my head, bullied constantly throughout my childhood because of the way I looked. Doctors told me at 8 years old that I could have an operation but I had to wait 5 years until I was old enough to operate on. When you are 8 years old and told that you have to wait 5 years…that’s like your entire life again! I didn’t know how I was going to last 5 days at school let alone wait 5 years. I was made to feel weak for years and the age of 13 was all I could look forward to. I was a very depressed child but I didn’t know what depression was at the time, had suicidal thoughts at the age of 8.

I was in hospital for a few months, my skin was stretched and my eye lids could not shut so I would pass out with my eyes wide open; it was a traumatic time for me. After the operation, over 100 metal staples and more stitches had to be ripped out whilst I was awake, no anaesthetic. I returned to school at 13 and I was a normal looking boy again; everyone then wanted to know me; the same people who bullied me….I thought “I haven’t changed….you have”. I had no social skills, didn’t know how to interact with others very well, didn’t understand the world; years later in 1999 my aim was that I wanted to feel the same way as I did before the operation so I shaved half of my hair off and then I named my band WEAK13. That may not fully answer your question but that’s pretty close.

Was there any specific idea behind the forming of the band and also in what you wanted it and your sound to offer?

I originally wanted to have a band on my own terms that I could shape; ‘Project Mayhem’ from the film Fight Club was a great inspiration. I always wanted WEAK13 to be a three-piece like Nirvana, Cream, and the Jimi Hendrix Experience; but it took a while to get to that stage. Three musicians working together seems to make sense, it’s a bigger thing sharing ideas together. I find bands with too many musicians in them become distant from the songwriting, we sound tight because there’s a tightness in how the song is forged; it’s not just a riff, there’s a story behind it; subject matter; a feeling. I’d hate to be in a band with five people or more in it; your songs are your child and creation and it’d be like trying to raise a child with a biological father plus multiple step dads in the same house, too many voices in authority.

Do the same things still drive the band when it was fresh-faced or have they evolved over time?

There’s been a lot of change since I began but the basic original idea for the band is still there and maybe more so now; where in the Fight Club movie Project Mayhem eventually became a cult-like organisation trying to bring down modern society; WEAK13 was originally intended to be anti-consumerist and even anti-music industry because I really find the majority of signed artists bland, lifeless and harmful; they dumb down the public with their empty songs and brainwash musicians in to thinking that they are as good as it gets. The only good things that come from many of the elite bands are the watered down ideas they steal from emerging artists and claim as their own but in a more boring and less inspiring way. There has definitely been some evolution in WEAK13. We’re using our music as a weapon; lyrically and subject matter wise we do things most bands haven’t even woken up to yet. We’re currently writing about things such as crisis actors, poison in our foods, population control and the brainwashing media whilst mainstream artists are singing about whose got the biggest bottom.

Since your early days, how would you say your sound has evolved?

We have a very distinct sound now which is strange because we can play in different styles and it still sounds like WEAK13; learning how to be yourself is the key I believe. On the They Live album we worked with engineer John Stewart; he saw us play live and wanted to capture the rawness of the band’s sound on to a record but still make it well produced and of a high standard; he did just that. When we recorded Ashes In Autumn I think we realised that WEAK13 had evolved into a clear identifiable musical entity. People hear a WEAK13 song played and they know it’s us. A lot of bands can’t do that.

Has it been more of an organic movement of sound or more you deliberately wanting to try new things?

Photography by Mark Hopson

Photography by Mark Hopson

We have to try different things every time; why write the exact same song again? Years ago I used to buy those albums where the first three tracks were the singles and the rest were just bad clones. I remember something Michael Jackson once said which was make every song a hit; now whether or not a song becomes a hit in this current biased and fixed musical climate is beside the point but I think every song should be treated with the same passion, enthusiasm and standards; there are no unimportant WEAK13 songs now. Every song counts. There’s a natural songwriting process, often the lyrics come first or the song subject and then the music is shaped around it. Some bands have no idea what to write about; that has never been a problem for WEAK13.

Presumably across the band there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approach and ideas to creating and playing music?

The three of us come from different backgrounds, have totally opposing influences and we shouldn’t logically fit as well as we do. I think because all three of us do what we want in WEAK13 and how we want, it all comes together nicely. I have never told Neel Parmar how to play the drums, I don’t insist on knowing exactly what the baselines are to WEAK13 songs because I enjoy hearing them played and written by Wesley Smith; if he wants to change something he’s done then I encourage it. We all can be musicians in WEAK13. Yes, I often come up with the initial starting point for a tune but it changes when we all get together. When Neel Parmar laid his incredible drums down to ‘Obey The Slave’ the tune became more epic than I could have possibly imagined.

Is there a process to the songwriting which generally guides the writing of songs?

Normally it’s the song subject that comes first or a lyric, I might then put a few guitar riffs together, I go to Wesley Smiths house and show him; Neel Parmar hears what we both come up with together and then he interprets how he thinks the drums should sound and then we have a song. It’s literally often that basic; the song has to be interesting to us, the catchier the better; I write hypnotic choruses people say; well I never want people to forget them so job done.

Where do you, more often than not, draw the inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs?

Pretty easy, the world around us; there are forces of evil out there so there are plenty of things to write about. Media lies to the public every single day; governments are not for the people as they try to make out. I do a lot of research for any song subject and have to be very careful on sources of information as there is a lot of inaccurate data out there.

Can you give us some more background to your latest release?

WEAK13 began recording the They Live album back in 2012 and it took 3 years before we completed it; we all had jobs, no label, had to work a way to fund it, where and when to record, what tracks to go on it, the availability of the great engineer Mr John Stewart from the band Eight Great Fears. We didn’t want to rush this as we wanted an album that is basically better than current mainstream artists. We’re an underground band with no record label and no mainstream music industry supporting us but we wanted an album that embarrasses mainstream artists out there with a record contract. We have been getting only good reviews and it must be humiliating for some of these recording artists out there that turds like us have a superior album. People can order the album from the bands own site http://weak13official.com/ and we’ve not released it on iTunes or any of these streaming sites as we got sick of hearing how bands were getting ripped off, so we control our album at the moment; if they want it they order it from us. It’s got 11 great rock songs on there and they are professionally written and recorded, pretty much everyone that hears the They Live album is blown away and that’s how we like it. This is more than just an album, it’s a wake-up call to modern music journalists; they have a choice, either they sit back and watch their music industry go down in flames and patronise, undermine or ignore us, or do proper journalism and cover bands like WEAK13 who are growing naturally and are becoming bigger without any major corporate backing.

Give us some specific insight to the themes behind it and its songs.

Each song has its own identity and a role on the album theme; the manipulation of how most people see the world thanks to the mainstream media is a main theme to They Live. The song Sex Pest for example is not about sex but because I’m using certain codes of language the listener assumes it’s all about sexual deviance until there are certain parts of the song where I’m so obviously talking about nonsexual themes that you’d have to be brainwashed or brain dead not to notice, I even admit on the recording what the song isn’t about in the bridge section. The song is using the exact same sensationalism that newspapers do; sex themes to get your attention but there is a hidden agenda, my hidden agenda is a warning to be weary of the media with its semiotics and what it preaches as fact; do your own research. Now that is one song of many on the They Live album; I could talk more about that one song, there’s an orgasm noise at the beginning and at the end of the tune which everyone assumes is a female one; it isn’t; it’s the sound of Neel Parmar making that noise. Do not trust what you see or hear in media. The song is really too clever for its own good.

weak13art_RingMasterReviewAre you a band which goes into the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?

Structure wise I think the songs stay very close to the original demos we make before entering the studio but we find that some things don’t work as well and we have to make changes here and there; when WEAK13 recorded the song Go Away it was supposed to be for the They Live album; it was the first recording session the band had with engineer John Stewart and it was beautiful and raw as hell; by the time we recorded the rest of the album tracks the nature of the sound on the album had changed dramatically and John Stewart asked us if we could re-record Go Away so that it was more on par with the other tunes on the album. So we recorded it again and it was super, clear as hell, polished and big, but we felt it wouldn’t sound right on the album as it was too good now; the rawness of the original demo was brilliant but when it became better produced we felt it lost a lot of soul so we didn’t include it on the album. It still to this day hasn’t been released to the public because we loved the original demo so much. Our engineer wasn’t happy with the decision but we had to be honest with him which I think he respects more.

Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably the favourite aspect of the band?

It is the best way to hear WEAK13. We play to new fans every year and they get what we are about; it’s more than just a live show, it’s an attitude; we see bands come and go around us because they have nothing to relevant say; musically we’re tight and we’re talking about subjects which are current and important to human survival and we deliver a message with every gig we play. We have some fans thanks to the internet who still haven’t watched us live but those that have seen us understand us a lot better.

It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it? Are there the opportunities to make a mark if the drive is there for new bands?

I think a lot of new bands out there are bone idol and lazy because they have been programmed to believe a rock and roll lie. A young and upcoming metal band for example wants to be a great metal band and so starts trying to behave like it’s piers but stupidly they play to only one type of audience and don’t even consider anyone else or any place outside of their comfort zone. I always hear the speech “We play metal to metal fans and no one understands us but metallers”; so with that in mind they will only promote and take serious the venues which are deemed as fully metal (who often don’t take the band serious as they aren’t big), they normally only aim their music to one type of audience (often an audience that doesn’t exist because they are unknown). They avoid everyone around them who are not of a metal nature or dressed like a bat, ignoring local promoters, potential new fans, snubbing local music festivals and venues, not trying to be a part of their own community, not taking serious the time of local and real recording engineers (preferring to home record on a iPhone), being rude to bar staff and venue owners when it’s in their best interest to promote their own shows and the venue including supporting non-metal bands (networking is a great opportunity). Working together as a band means everyone involved needs to work together not “Speak to Dave as he does all the band stuff…I just play guitar”. Kids try and behave like spoilt musicians with a huge record contract and management who do everything for them and two years later their band splits up and they can’t figure out where it all went wrong. I have never had problems with working hard and I get good results.

How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date? Do you see it as something destined to become a negative from a positive as the band grows and hopefully gets increasing success or is it more that bands struggling with it are lacking the knowledge and desire to keep it working to their advantage?

We do have a lot of success thanks to people watching our music videos, they buy our album from the website, come to shows, grab merchandise at gigs and if someone just starting out asked me how to be a musician I’d answer “learn to use a photocopier or printer, learn social media, learn about advertising” plus a dozen other things which are often nothing to do with bashing out chords on a guitar. If you want to survive and continue to do music I think you need to learn other skills. I learned a lot about the stage by doing stage management. I watched how bands used the web for their career so I had to learn how to use the web, maybe in the case of large bands someone else was paid to do that job for them but there’s nothing wrong with having a go and trying to learn for yourself. To put it simply; a lot of members of bands have this idea that they can only do one thing in the band and that’s it, play a guitar or beat a drum; half the members of upcoming bands have no idea what their fellow musicians even do when they are not in a rehearsal room. The more skills a musician learns the better; yes I spent thousands of hours on a computer pushing WEAK13 to new places and it works. I invested my time and I got a result, I didn’t say “leave it to Leroy as he knows computers”; I had to learn a lot of boring things but they have helped the band. I fucking hate computers but I use them as a tool; that’s what they are and bands need to stop acting like rock gods who have everything done for them whist they polish their pickups and learn more about how they can help their band on the internet and most of all in the real world. There’s a downside that some bands do stuff only on the internet. WEAK13 has a physical album that you can hold in your hands, fans wear real T-shirts, we go out and play to real people; we exist away from the internet as well as be part of it and we try our best. Yes; we use the internet a lot but when you appear in the real world then people take you seriously more because it’s like a surprise to them; you’re not just a jpeg on their iPad, you can be on a physical poster for an actual show at a real venue filed with genuine critical thinking people.

Once again a big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?

Watch the Down On Me video on YouTube because it’s funny. I also direct music videos; I had to learn how to do film making, I have a University degree in film and media now and it is boring stuff but it’s for my band so it’s important.

http://weak13official.com   https://twitter.com/weak13   https://www.facebook.com/weak13fanpage

Pete RingMaster

The Ringmaster Review 16/06/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Despite Unleash Their Killer New Record To The UK This Month!

Despite Online Promo Shot

Euro Bruisers ‘Despite’ reboot their new EP ‘EPic’ on Monday 19th January 2015.

Ever since their formation, ‘Despite’ have destroyed stages throughout Europe with their face-melting concoction of modern metal laced with alluring dynamics and crushing riffs.

Although they draw from the likes of Slipknot and Soilwork to Strapping Young Lad, Despite etch their very own signature on the metal genre. Approaching their musical endeavours with nothing less than whole-hearted intent, Despite thrive on originality and ballsy groove.

Formed in Gothenburg, Sweden back in 1998 and featuring Peter Tuthill (Vocals), Timmy Leng (Guitar), André Gonzales (Guitar), Matte D (Bass) and Oscar Nilsson (Drums), all five members share an uninhibited and mutual infatuation for heavy music. The innovative riff beasts have built up a formidable reputation for themselves in their native land through hard gigging and with the releases of both their debut album, ‘In Your Despite’, and its follow up album, ‘Clenched’, which dropped in 2010. During the past few years the band have had switches in personnel, but the industrious five-some are now back, stronger than ever, and fiercely firing on all cylinders.

In 2013, Despite began work on their third record entitled “EPic”, which is finally released in the UK this January, and it’s a real belter. EPic starts off with the forceful hammer groove of their current single ‘As You Bleed’, which proves to absolutely ravage the ear drums. The quintet’s impressive riffery is on display throughout the record and the ferocious ‘Awakening’ is a prime example of the band’s sheer intensity and brimming guile. ‘Unexceptional’ is next up and offers the quartet’s trademark sound wrapped around the thoughtful use of an Indian Harp; this underlining accent highlights the band’s keen dynamism and cunning use of experimentation. ‘Give Me Life’ continues to hit you square between the eyes before ‘Sanctum Falls’ closes proceedings with its pounding rhythms and a full vocal assault that cascades into an engaging web of melody that will linger with you long after. EPic drops this January and the band will tour the UK later in 2015; stay tuned for more.

Despite PromoImage

-DESPITE RELEASE ‘EPic’ ON MONDAY 19th JANUARY 2015 THROUGH ALL STORES-

https://twitter.com/DespiteOfficial           www.despiteofficial.com https://www.facebook.com/DespiteOfficial

 

Left For Red – Vol 002: Mercy Fight

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Being a sucker for riffs which prey on the ear and rhythmic encounters which rumble with an anthemic lure, it took little time for Vol 002: Mercy Fight, the new EP from UK rockers Left For Red to grip attention tightly as its opening track stomped into view. Proceeding to entice and captivate the imagination as it blasts through three heavyweight provocations, the band continues to impress and raise suspicions that with the promise flowing through the release they have the potential to be very formidable antagonists within UK metal. Still arguably searching for originality, Left For Red make a sinew driven declaration with their second EP which cannot be ignored or left alone.

Formed in 2010, the Stourbridge quintet merged early influences of Black Sabbath and Judas Priest into newer discoveries of bands such as Strapping Young Lad, Tool, and Deftones as their own take on heavyweight metal emerged. The five-piece soon grew a strong reputation and following for their live performances, which was only enhanced by the release of their debut EP, Vol 001 – Empty Shell. The band since starting has shared stages with the likes of Beholder and Breed 77, supported Chimaira and Revoker on their Age Of Hell Tour, as well as undertaking their own successful shows including headlining a sold out gig at the 02 Academy. Recently crowned winners of Kerrang!’s TNA competition Left For Red is on a sturdy ascent, one which Vol 002: Mercy Fight will only add extra fuel to.

As soon as the forcefully beckoning drums beats of Rob Hadley probe the ears it has to be said that opener Kneel Before You Left-For-Red-Vol-002-Mercy-FlightDie is halfway to recruiting a hungry response. Once the gnarled bass tones conjured by Dan Carter and carnal guitar riffs also add their intimidation a major appetite is awoken as passions begin to stir for what is on offer. It is a primal start, one pinpointing and exploiting the rhythmic savage in us, and irresistible lead into the equally rapacious expanse of hungry riffs and melody soaked enterprise which erupts from its temptation. Into full stride the song is an accomplished and magnetic blaze of endeavour, the vocals of LC a firm and expressive antagonist around which the riffs and invention of guitarists Aaron Foy and Phil Smith carve and paint a skilled and pleasing adventure, even if there is nothing dramatically original to the event cast. Despite that it is an impressive and increasingly contagious start which leaves a healthy appetite for what is to follow.

My Obsession enters on a weighty carnivorous prowl from the bass skirted by sonic ambience, a presence soon enveloped in a cage of rhythmic predation and brewing intensity. With an air of doom and foreboding to its breath, the track slowly stalks the ears; circling them with preying riffs alongside the emotive narrative provided by LC. All the while though it is brewing a web of virulent temptation which shows its face in the chorus and evolving grooves. There is an undefined familiarity to the incitement though there are moments where Breed 77 comes forcibly to mind to add extra spice to the already delicious recipe. It is a magnificent song making its predecessor look slightly pale in comparison.

The closing Mercy Flight breeds from the success of the second track to unleash a perfectly crafted fury of rampaging riffs and rhythms clad together in a brawl of ferocious energy and rapaciousness. Again there is something recognisable to the song especially when it opens its melodic rock arms, though even then the track is eating your children and having it away with the wife. It is a tantalising conclusion to a compelling release, an EP which is not bothering boundaries yet or setting truly unique marks down for the band but one to thrust them onto the radar of newcomers and confirm the suspicions of something special evolving as seeded in the previous EP.

Left For Red has some way to go to stand out from the crowd but on the evidence of Vol 002: Mercy Fight it is certainly on their horizon which can only be an impending treat for us all.

http://leftforred.co.uk/

8/10

RingMaster 09/12/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Terrorway – Blackwaters

Terrorway2013

Bakerteam Records has really gone for the jugular this month with not only the impressive carnivorous release of the new Sawthis album but also the equally predacious and scintillating Terrorway debut full-length, Blackwaters. An antagonistic assault of extreme metal with thrash and groove temptation, the album is a riveting furnace of invention and imagination. It chews and gnaws on the senses often shielding some of its undoubted ingenuity but when in the clear or given close attention that enterprise leaves the passions aflame and breathless.

Hailing from Cagliari, Terrorway formed in 2009 and immediately drew keen attention and critically acclaim with the Absolute EP the following year. Taking inspiration from the likes of Strapping Young Lad, Dillinger Escape Plan, Meshuggah, and Pantera into their metal ‘experiment’, the band explore and stretch their intent and imagination with masterful success upon Blackwaters. The band equally earned a potent reputation for their live shows which has seen them alongside the likes of Mnemic and Paul Di Anno. Their track Her Last Breath was placed in the Kill City vol.17 compilation release and led to strong interest from numerous labels before the band signed with Bakerteam Records soon after. Recorded at Corpse Factory Studio in Cagliari across December of last year and this January, the Jacob Olsen (Hatesphere, Moonspell, Corpus Mortale, Born From Pain) mixed and mastered Blackwaters is the full blooded entrance into the wider metal world, one which you immediately feel will thrust the band into major recognition.

The album opens on a scenic peace to stand against the song title, Wretched. Whispers and movement grace the landscape with Terrorwaysuddenly quickening pace before riffs scythe through the air with repetitive sinew driven animosity and rhythms share their thunderous iron bred swipes. It is an immediate storm between the ears ridden by the caustic squalls of Valentino “Sidh” Casarotti. Twisting around and crushing the senses simultaneously it is a startling piece of ferocity if in hindsight only a taste of things to come. The guitar of Ivan Fois offers a carnivorous spread of riffing and sonic narrative which is prowled just as intimidatingly by the throaty bass stalking of Giovanni Serra. It is an imposing and gripping entrance to the album which is taken further by the following title track. More merciful in its initial cupping of the ear, the grooves and rhythms soon cage and terrorise whilst seducing with animalistic intensity. Again the vocals provide a scolding menace to help create a fearsome atmosphere punctuated by the threatening strikes of drummer Cosma Secchi. Sprawling through musical and lyrical depths soaked in shadows with Casarotti the demonic conjuror, the song suddenly submerges into an evocative melodic adventure, Fois carving an escape for the senses to bask in and feed upon before the sounds again shred their skin for a primal and savage investigation.

    In a Swamp and Keep Walking Silent continue the stretching of the passions and album going, the first a progressive serpentine toned hunt, vocals slowly entwining their animosity and venom over emotions whilst the bass of Serra stokes the ashes of terror alongside the tirade of raptorial riffing and invention. Its middle dip into another melodic breath is not as successful as on its predecessor but as one rigorous attack the song is another immense hook in the rise of the album. Its successor swarms over the senses with its waspishly tinted riffs, rhythms stabbing home their animosity with every swing of a stick and concussive percussive brawl. There is a Lamb Of God essence to the track, though taken to darker deeper depths of confrontation, whilst the melodic temper certainly at its conclusion is In Flames like and quite magnetic.

Through The Inescapable Plot, the track a devouring predation which is relentless when submerged in its intensive attack, and the suspense crafted annihilation that is Chained, the band continues to push their imagination and limits. Both of the songs are equally unafraid to delve into melodic and resourceful twists which explore their own inner narratives and the eager thoughts of the listener whilst the following Renewal pounces on the debris they leave to create an explosively enthralling expanse of psyche testing, pulse racing ingenuity. Easily the best track on the album, the slice of corrosive ruin and thrilling imagination shows how much more there is still for the band to discover within themselves.

A Cursed Race is just as potent in its exploration and unpredictable craft, the song a close runner for top honours on the album whilst the closing Ruins provides a vitriolic fascination with a pervading if at times somewhat overwhelmed ambience against the stolid rhythmic caging and tension twisting riffery. It is a staggering conclusion to the release, Blackwaters saving its most ruinous and creative blazes for the major finale. Terrorway stand on the brink of the fullest recognition with the album which from the immense closing stretch of Blackwaters you cannot help anticipating will only be cemented and elevated in the future.

http://www.terrorway.com/

9/10

RingMaster 30/09/2013

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Toxic Grind Machine: Embryonic Emission

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Though it came out a four months ago, Embryonic Emission from Dutch industrial metallers Toxic Grind Machine is one big thrill which has to be shared. Firstly we have to give thanks to Ray Westland from Ghost Cult webzine for pointing us in the direction of what is a stirring and impressively dynamic album, a release which ignites a full ardour for its imaginative and compelling sounds.

Even with determined research little can be found out about Toxic Grind Machine except that it consists of Robert Slump (songwriter, guitars, keyboard, and programming) and Trevor Marks (vocals, synths, lyrics), merges the essential essences of electro, industrial, and metal in to a blaze of infectious invention, and takes inspiration from the likes of Sybreed, Fear Factory, Strapping Young Lad, In Flames and many more. Not that you need to know any background to enjoy the results of the inventive creativity spawning the album, the eight songs within do all the telling and persuasion needed to be enthralled with the band and release.

The album opens with emerging mechanical whispers and cyber teases as Burn Bright, Wry Jackal comes into view. From the shadows it soon bursts into a glorious confrontation of vocal squalls, thunderous rhythms and rabid riffs. Then it throws the first surprise by slipping into a melodic wash of clean vocals and emotive synth caresses. The subsequent combination of the two is a striking and accomplished union which favours neither but excels in allowing both extremes their full and compelling voice. The track is a vibrant mix of Silent Descent, Fear Factory, and Left Spine Down with elements of Pitchshifter to its sinewy depths, and a stunning start to an album which only gets better and better.

Next Amphetamines in Ghost City rampages from a kiss of electro effected vocal harmonies into a torrent of ravenous riffs and spiteful rhythms driven by an intensity which smothers the senses with near malice. Again the unpredictable might of the band takes us into a melodic room as the bruising energy outside brews up its storm to unleash soon after and entwining itself with the warm electro wash. Sybreed and Scar Symmetry comes to mind whilst the song reveals more imagination, though this or any song on the album is uniquely Toxic Grind Machine. There is also an antagonism to the lyrics and some of their delivery which like the sounds is an exciting contrast to the smooth soothing tones elsewhere.

The whispering ambience which introduces AphidHaze is another emotive example of the thought and ingenuity within the album and though the track cannot resist unleashing a full and rampant force the song offers a less intensive storm to fall before, instead inviting a willing immersion into its still immense and formidable breath. This slight mercy is soon dismissed by Cell 600, a track which rips the senses asunder with a gleeful brutality before stomping them into dust with a rhythmic violation and riff driven annihilation that would make the likes of Meshuggah and The Browning sweat. Again from the impressive vocals, violent and caressing, and mesmeric synth expression to the voracious riffs and barbaric rhythms, the song is outstanding, just like Embryonic Emission itself.

As the even tempered Hymnlock, though it too cannot restrain its sonic rages at times, and the fascinating Judah, Let’s End lay their intriguing cards on the table the album becomes even more engrossing and intoxicating. The latter of the pair especially has a constant shadow over its expanse to hide where it is going and offer mystery to its intent. It only draws thoughts and emotions in deeper despite its wonderful ‘deceit’ as each and every unexpected twist opens up new avenues to explore.

The album departs upon firstly the brawling excellence of Morphia, a riotous grapple which leaves one pumped up in a frenzy of energy and passion, and the instrumental Enther. The final track is a piece of music which would have made the perfect beginning to the album, its brewing epic feel and dawning dramatic expanse an electrifying experience suited as a delicious introduction and personally feeling wasted as the admittedly rousing climax. The bottom line is Toxic Grind Machine in Embryonic Emission has created an album which with each listen reveals something new such its depth of layers and imagination whilst offering nothing less than unbridled pleasure at all times.

http://www.facebook.com/ToxicGrindMachine

http://toxicgrindmachine.bandcamp.com/

RingMaster 29/01/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright