Down To The Bunker – Misery

A growling, snarling beast of a release, Misery is the debut album from Swiss quintet Down To The Bunker and an encounter which marks them out as one richly promising, indeed already impressive proposition. Offering up nine tracks of alt metal predation merged with heavy rock contagion and hardcore dissonance it all delivered with potent technical prowess and an uncaged heart, the release is one wake-up call to and declaration of intent from one rather exciting outfit.

Formed in 2012, the Genève hailing band has worked through years of line-up instability as it searched for the right personnel. It is a time though the band equally used to explore and hone a sound which is as unpredictable as it is varied and adventurous. A self-titled EP in 2015 drew keen attention though its support live was a struggle with again a changing line-up trespassing the next steps for Down To The Bunker. Now though things seem to have settled and with the band’s strongest line-up to date, the stability relishing result being the striking Misery.

Embracing a sound which sees the likes of Tool, Korn, Rage Against The Machine, Meshuggah, Gojira, Promethee, and Code Orange amongst its inspirations, Misery is an album which arouses as it challenges. Almost every moment has attention glued to its lures, the thrill of the unexpected rearing its head throughout an encounter which twists the familiar into its own pattern of fresh imagination and invention. Certainly there are moments where it ebbs and flows in the intensity of its temptation but there are few if any moments where it allows the listener to impulsively drift off elsewhere.

From the opening bait of first track Mother, the album was burrowing under the skin; sonic lures straining against the speakers urgently wanting out. The guitars of Matt and Jerem continue to bait the senses as heavier and darker strands join them, the bass of Arnaud a predatory taunt alongside the considered but imposing swings of drummer Léo. Completed by the fine tones of vocalist Jo, the track swiftly grows into a formidable and compelling incitement, imagination and unpredictability increasingly fuelling its enterprise and inescapable persuasion.

The increasingly magnetic and impressive start is easily continued by the album’s title track. It too springs from a seductive sonic lure if one which lances the senses rather than caresses them. The emerging web of guitars ensnared ears with swiftly nagging and devious intent; a strength of coercion matched in voice and rhythm. There is a touch of Mudvayne to the track at times which does it no harm or indeed the atmospheric winds which bring haunting melodies amid seemingly calm but dark aural intimation.

With the twisted canvas of The Asylum a refreshing bedlam of sound and individual craft shaped into another tantalising captivation come threat and the, at times, even more creatively unhinged and similarly fascinating Chrysalis, there is no let up on attention and enjoyment. Each track lured and trapped both with a creative greed which alone marks Down To The Bunker out, a dexterity in thought, songwriting and adventure which equally infests next up Ethics. As with all songs, it is a writhing collusion of sonic vines and metallic dissonance matched in vocal and lyrical dispute, and like each a blend of the barbarous and seductive as a cast of styles and flavours join up to ignite the band’s imagination and sound. There are moments of deceptive and corrupted calm which maybe disrupt the flow and impact of the track but it is that unexpected ideation which also makes it as potent as anything within Misery.

Through the intimately reflective and melodically evocative Waves, a quest with its own underlying snarl, and the sonically invasive and haunting Lost In The Desert, there was no let up on bold enterprise and striking intimation. The latter is like a senses suffocating limbo which slowly but surely reveals it’s waiting demons and distortions resulting in an experience which gloriously tests and provokes.

a final pair of bonus tracks in Machine and Alive brings the album to a dramatic and imposing close. The first and another major highlight of the release openly wears familiarity in its holler yet it would be hard to say it is anything other than a Down To The Bunker creative clamour while its successor prowls, pretty much crawls through ears with a great mix of heavy grunge and rapacious metal bound in melodic volatility.

It is a great end to an album which just pleasures and grows more impressive over time. In their seventh year Down To The Bunker will be making their first introduction to a great many with Misery but it is easy to believe they will be no strangers to them and major spotlights hereon in.

Misery is released February 22nd via Tenacity Music; available @ https://tenacity-music.bandcamp.com/album/misery

https://www.facebook.com/DownToTheBunker

Pete RingMaster 20/02/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Voice Of Ruin – Morning Wood

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When a band’s bio starts with, “Voice of Ruin was born in 2008, driven by the common desire of five Swiss farmers who dreamt of leaving the family farm and becoming rock stars. Hungry for success and recognition, the five strapping young lads abandoned their shovels and harvesters to take on a different type of instruments, with the goal of becoming icons of sex, alcohol and rock ’n’ roll (or horny famer metal),” you cannot help offering it highly intrigued attention whilst also making inevitable assumptions. As shown by their new album Morning Wood though, the band whether by design or just by natural instinct do not realise the complete tongue in cheek encounter imagined. Certainly lyrically the songs upon the release come with a humorous swagger and intent bred from their ‘background’ but musically what you get is highly accomplished and passionate, not forgetting inventive metal. Like a mix of Lamb Of God, Sylosis, and The Black Dahlia Murder with plenty of extra additives, sound and album captures senses and imagination from start to finish. Admittedly severely original moments are as scarce as udders on a bull but it cannot stop Voice Of Ruin from providing a rigorously enjoyable onslaught.

Plucking relevant info from their farmyard history, Voice Of Ruin first made a mark with their debut EP The Crash in 2009 to be followed to greater acclaim by their self-titled album two years later. Its success led to the band breaking out into Europe with album and their live presence, countries like France, Russia, and Ukraine overwhelmed as the band’s homeland by their ‘Horny Farmer Metal’. Going onto share stages with such bands as Caliban, The Black Dahlia Murder, Entombed, Textures, Tankard, Sylosis, God Dethroned, Benighted, Dew Scented, Sybreed, Do Or Die, Breakdown Of Sanity and many more, the Nyon hailing band now uncages Morning Wood to take another step in cornering the worlds metallic dairy market.

Welcome To The Stud Farm makes an intriguing and impressive entrance to the album, guitars casting a web of sonic enterprise and voice_of_ruin_morning_woodenticement around crisp rhythms and a throaty bass lure. Its presence and energy intensifies deepens into its minute and a half as it feeds the imagination a colourful and magnetic bait leading to the following Party Hard. The second track launches itself with a roar from Randy Bull exploding within rampant rhythms, a torrent of riffs, and another immediate weave of temping scorched melodic endeavour crafted by guitarists Nils Bag and Tony Cock. It is a fiery proposition, nothing startlingly dramatic but potently gripping and skilfully unleashed.

The strong beginning continues just as pungently through both Through The Eyes Of Machete and Day Of Rage, the first delivering a coarse battering of rhythms from drummer Oli Dick and antagonistic riffery veined by acidic grooves. The track almost spirals around the senses with its excellent guitar play whilst the bass of Erwin Van Fox stalks with a dark resonance. The encounter is another elevation in the release but it is the glorious unveiling of clean vocals cast by Van Fox within a more reserved passage which steals the strongest satisfaction and shows the potency of the songwriting and invention within the band. Its successor is a natural predator; from its first gnaw of riffs and the toxic breath which covers air and the varied squalling vocals a bestial yet resourcefully sculpted scavenger. It is an unrelenting incitement which ravages senses and emotions for another pleasing assault, the twisted grooves and the simple voracious urgency of the track irresistible.

The unbridled ferocity of The Rise Of Nothing consumes ears next, its intensive pressuring from the first second led by a superb carnivorous bass stalking and vindictive rhythms whilst its core canvas is a breeding ground for heavy metal colour and virulently tempting hues painted and sent soaring by the excellent guitar work. As mentioned earlier there are few times that the sound and songs throw you a curve ball in originality but it has to be said and epitomised by this track alone, that working its alchemy under the surface of songs is a bewitching flow of dramatic invention and contagious unpredictability, it is just you have to work to see it as openly as it deserves.

Both the title track and its successor Viols Désinvoltes provide thoughts and pleasure with further captivating adventures, the first at certain moments wrapping its uncompromising aggression and serpentine hostility with absorbing flumes of clean vocals which takes the track from a strong if expectations feeding level to something of a pinnacle on the album. It is not the vocals alone which make the difference though, piercing and technically thrilling invention equally effective as it spills out from the tempest to great success as the track leads into the second of the pair. The most anthemic track on the release, and the most hostile with its industrially kissed fury, the new song is pure sonic rancor framed by equally adverse rhythms and vocals; raw metal moonshine of the most toxic potency.

   The following Cock’n Bulls and the instrumental Today Will End descend with their own inhospitable bodies next, both belligerently intrusive and appealing. The first infusing a southern twang and groove to its admittedly increasing persuasive torrents and the second emerging from a black hearted storm with deliberate winds of sonic painting and reserved but still unstoppable intensity. In many ways neither matches earlier triumphs but do reveal more of the scope and skills of the songwriting and band whilst providing further variety to the almost pestilential attack overall of the album.

The trio of the salaciously jaundiced Sex For Free, the severely bruising Big Dick, and the closing creative storm that is Dirty bring the truculent album to a senses wasting close; the first of the three with its poisonous melodies and barbarous rhythms the most contagious and exciting of the closing stretch. Morning Wood is a thoroughly enjoyable ravaging even if one which keeps well within the walls of existing designs and when it does offer undoubted invention and mouthwatering ingenuity leaves it under a thick wash of almost uniformal surface rapaciousness. It means you have to work to discover the elements which set the band apart more than imagined but those rewards are full and impressive. So forget the image and gimmicks behind the sounds if new to the band just indulge in one very healthy and mischievous slab of bovine strong metal.

Morning Wood is available digitally and on CD now via Tenacity Music.

https://www.facebook.com/voiceofruin

http://voiceofruin.bandcamp.com

8/10

RingMaster 06/05/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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