Shattered Skies – The World We Used To Know

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With their acclaimed first EP having escaped our radar when it came out around three years ago, The World We Used To Know is our introduction to Ireland  bred progressive metallers Shattered Skies, and have we been missing out. The band’s debut album is an enthralling and thrilling creative emprise which avoids all the self-indulgences and over blown excesses the genre can at times coax out of a band. Instead it creates an epic drama of passion and invention with a technical adventure and skill to match, leaving jaws dropped in awe and passions lustfully inflamed.

Formed in the earlier moments of 2011, the now London based band swiftly gripped attention and critical praise with the Reanimation EP that same year. The time between releases has been filled with a host of reputation growing shows alongside the likes of Machine Head, Dimmu Borgir, Alice Cooper, TesseracT, Scar Symmetry, SikTh, Animals as Leaders, Twelve Foot Ninja, The Algorithm, After the Burial and many more, as well as performances at festivals such as Holland’s ProgPower and Bloodstock in the UK, two appearances at Britain’s Techfest and a trio of visits to Euroblast in Germany. The World We Used To Know will be the biggest lure to the world from the band yet and like for us, it is hard to imagine many genre fans and beyond resisting the fiery imagination and seriously accomplished sounds tempting from within the album’s fascinating walls.

As aflame with inescapable hooks and grooves as it is with breath-taking exploration, the release opens with the short and emotive temptation of Collapse Of Man. A provocative caress of Albumcoverpiano, the instrumental piece draws ears and thoughts into the release with a sense of drama which simply explodes in the following The End And The Rebirth. The band’s new single too, the song dances on the senses with a vibrant electro smile before ruggedly spicy grooves and matching crunchy riffs join the vivacious tempest. Instantly enticing whispers of TesseracT and Circles, the track casts its own uniqueness as it expands and glows with enterprise and invention. The striking melodic vocals of Sean Murphy are an instant treat, his ability and expression as dynamic as the sounds and ideation around him. It makes for a scintillating kaleidoscope of adventure spun on the skills of guitarist/keyboardist Ian Rockett and the simultaneously savage and addictive rhythms of drummer Ross McMahon and bassist Jim Hughes, quite simply it is a stunning start.

Things only explode with greater potency and ingenuity when 15 Minutes takes over, vocals and melodies again a sure seduction against the slightly carnivorous breath of the djent inspired guitar predation and rhythmic stalking. As mentioned before, each track has an inventive and sonic theatre to its songwriting and sound, one which over the first song and especially this has a feel of early My Chemical Romance to it. The track is sensational, a cantankerous croon of an incitement within a whirlpool of unpredictable and fluidly flowing experimentation.

Both the gripping enticement of Haunted and the inflamed serenade of Elegance And Grace keep album and ears burning brightly. The first is an angst fuelled weave of acidic grooves and stabbing riffs aligned to ever mesmeric vocals and harmonies. Its rhythms equally impose their strengths with ease, intimidating rather than coaxing the same plaudits in thoughts and emotions. Its successor is a smouldering romance of charm loaded keys and impassioned vocal expression in comparison. The song simmers and boils across a climactic canvas of riveting Muse meets Dioramic like endeavour, and as the last song engrossing ears and imagination with increasing strength and drama.

The guitars are back snarling and abrasing the pleasures in the following Show’s Over, though as discovered in all always Shattered Skies songs, they only provide one moment in evolving landscapes. Their bait and Meshuggah like growl is never far from the frontline of the song though, just in a constant and seamless flux of fresh sound and inventiveness. The track is an inescapable contagion, so much so that it is hard to think of many progressive metal bands which can rock body and passions with such catchiness to their enormous technical prowess as Shattered Skies.

As The Sea Divides is a tempestuous turbulence of sound next, its blustery guitar bred climate and inhospitable rhythmic trap the scenery for siren-esque keys and the soaring tones of Murphy to poetically and magnificently colour. A little longer to draw similar lustful responses as other songs, it grows to new heights with every listen, though it still misses the top step found by the last song and the outstanding Flipside which follows. Almost bestial in its prowling gait and sonic tempting, the track manages to be savage and impossibly infectious with a melodic bloom of voice and sound to put any crooner and pop band to shame. The song is quite delicious, a must be second single to our minds and another irrepressible reason why Shattered Skies will take the progressive metal world by storm, well this and ten other great reasons on The World We Used To Know.

     The pair of Aesthetics and Saviours seduce senses and emotions next, the first exploring the scent of bands like Tool and The HAARP Machine in a magnetic tapestry of emotion soaked expression and soaring harmonics. Unafraid to have a raw edge too, the song is also ridiculously catchy, something emulated by the darker squalling presence of the second of the two. An antagonistic cage of riffs and drums from the first second, it scowls and teases with scarring tenacity whilst within the raw frame keys and the stunning vocals of Murphy roar and soar.

The track is exceptional but so is the closing eleven minutes plus of the title track which brings The World We Used To Know to a mighty close. An epic journey and creative escapade in its own right, the song seems to draw on all the hearts of its predecessors as it draws a mouth-watering and bewitching soundscape all of its own. Everything about it is sensational and its lengthy presence seemingly over in a flash thanks to its wonderfully busy maze of startling craft and volcanic enterprise.

2015 has already in its brief time seen some quite invigorating encounters, the new 6:33 and Cold Snap albums coming to mind, and on that frontline of excellence Shattered Skies sits looking rather sensational with The World We Used To Know.

The self-released The World We Used To Know is available now @ http://shatteredskies.bigcartel.com/product/the-world-we-used-to-know and digitally @ http://shatteredskies.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/shatteredskiesofficial

RingMaster 15/01/2015

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Skyharbor – Guiding Lights

© Naki Kouyioumtzis. SkyHarbor, on a roof top with London skyline behind them

Whilst Guiding Lights did not exactly blow us away as it might have, there is nothing but praise and recommendations which can be offered over the new album from progressive metallers Skyharbor. The successor to the band’s acclaimed 2012 debut album Blinding White Noise: Illusion & Chaos, the new ten track exploration reaps all the essences which made its predecessor standout and explores even richer and more adventurous landscapes of technical and imaginative invention aligned to impassioned creativity. Taken individually, the tracks within Guiding Lights tempt, enthral, and impress without exception but as a whole for whatever reason, the album becomes one thrilling immersive journey but which loses the definition between the different exploits, tracks often blending in without very intensive attention. It is a personal issue we came up against and will not apply to all, and to be fair still could not stop the album standing out as a remarkable and seriously appetising next step in the striking evolution of the band.

Formed initially as a studio project by songwriter/guitarist Keshav Dhar, Skyharbor, the India based band has grown to become one of the rigorously captivating propositions in world progressive metal, in the studio and as the live touring band it evolved into. Starting its line-up growth around 2011 with the linking up of drummer Anup Sastry (Jeff Loomis, Intervals) and Another Vertigo Rush bassist Nikhil Rufus Raj, the band soon emerged as a potent and persistently intriguing presence, its first shows seeing Skyharbor as an instrumental trio. Signing with Basick Records led to the release of the double-disc album Blinding White Noise: Illusion & Chaos, the album seeing Sunneith Revankar (Bhayanak Maut) the vocalist on one disc and Daniel Tompkins (TesseracT), who had previously contacted Dhar with the suggestion of collaborating, on the other. Soon after confirming Tomkins as permanent vocalist, the band with second guitarist Devesh Dayal joining the line-up found themselves sharing stages with the likes of Lamb of God, Bass Monuments, and TesseracT as well as going on to play numerous festivals up to the latter part of last year when the band took time out to write and create Guiding Lights. With Goddess Gagged bassist Krishna Jhaveri replacing the departing Raj, the crowd-funded new album also released via Basick, has stepped forward as a dramatic and riveting next step in the band’s ascent.

Opening track Allure instantly transfixes; melodies and sonic enterprise vibrantly rippling across the song’s fluid canvas like warm summer rain on a clear stretch of water. Almost as swiftly though there is an intensity of passion and GuidingLights_Coverrhythmic incitement which with an agitated beckoning, streaks across the immersive embrace of the track. It is a masterful lure of a song, the outstanding vocals of Tompkins, as across the whole album, smooth and clean with engrossing expression to their narrative. Every aspect of the track and band impresses it is fair to say, the dark toned shadows of bass excelling in the clarity given and guitars bewitching whether laying down elegant designs or brewing up a more tempestuous persuasion.

The impressive start is emulated by the following Evolution, the track a rawer fiery proposition than the opener. The imposing beats of Sastry which commanded attention in the first song take an even more grievous pose in their swings here, though they are unafraid to temper the attack in the more temperate passages of the song. Though not a violent storm, the track still blusters from its rugged start with rigorously heavy scything riffery before finding a mellow and reflective emotive calm to explore, not quite the eye of the tempest but a temporary peace in a gripping maelstrom.

Both Idle Minds and Miracle keep ears and thoughts firmly engaged, the first taking on a poppier breath with its contagion without drifting from the raw emotion of its provocative exploration and a sonic endeavour where the throaty predation of the bass and sensuous melodies from guitars align for another intriguing captivation. The second of the two tracks soars through a celestial atmosphere, vocal and resourceful invention from guitars a radiant and acidic beauty which flares perfectly across the more vigorous traits of the song. As across the release, both are as excitingly unpredictable as they are skilfully sculpted and a potent continuation of the rich creative parade already unveiled.

Through the mesmeric and dramatically flavoursome scenery of Halogen and the more tenaciously challenging adventure of New Devil, the album whips up further greed in the appetite; the second of the two with its provocative and ferocious energy an irresistible incitement and with its intrigue drenched ingenuity, another peak to the album. Both leave thoughts and emotions bound in their creative emprises as does the Porcupine Tree like elegance and resonance of Patience which is subsequently followed by the long mystical temptation of the album’s title track. From its haunting opening ambience, the track brews up into a stormy flight merging rhythmic and emotional turbulence with thought encroaching melodies and vocal passion. As with so many of the tracks, once departed the song is a slim memory but in its hug the track steals ears and thought from the outside world with ease.

Guiding Lights is completed by firstly the excellent seduction of Kaikoma, a song exploring electronic and sonic temptations within an infectious and lingering progressive immersion of the senses. It is a thrilling investigation, one of the major pinnacles of the album which sets up the expansive realm of the finale. The Constant is an undulating terrain of thick and subtle structures, sublime and concussive textures, and gripping creative drama. It is a powerful and thrilling encounter which epitomises the album in that it is absorbingly and bracingly enjoyable as company and inspiration but whether it is its length or there being so much going on, it loses attention at points within its impressive landscape.

With every member of the band mouth-wateringly exploring their stunning individual technical and creative depths, the bottom-line is that Skyharbor has not only created another exceptional proposition to bask in, but one pushing them to the forefront of progressive metal. Guiding Lights is an outstanding journey which challenges for all the right reasons and though for us it works better taken as individual trips in its extensive emprise, it is nothing to complain about and only something to enjoy.

Guiding Lights is available now digitally and on CD via Basick Records @ http://music.basickrecords.com/album/guiding-lights and http://store.basickrecords.com/home/products/guiding-lights-cd/

https://www.facebook.com/Skyharbor7

RingMaster 11/11/2014

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The Body Politic – Egressor

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As sonically savage as it is melodically radiant, Egressor provides one sizeable tempest of aggression, passion, and technical invention which thrusts Canadian progressive metallers The Body Politic into a whole new spotlight. The EP is a furious yet seductive storm which is as accomplished and gripping in its senses ravaging enterprise as it is in its rich croon of melodic and harmonic endeavour. The six track encounter provides a blistering fascination and unpredictable adventure which took a short while to reveal all its glories but emerged as another of the rigorously compelling events of the year.

Coming out of Vancouver Island and taking their name from the Clive Barker short story, The Body Politic made an attention grabbing mark with their well-received debut album All Too Human in 2011. Their sound entangles the nuances and freedom of jazz, which most members of the band studied at Vancouver Island University, with the colourful exploration of progressive metal and the predatory voracity of metalcore. It is a striking blend, skilfully twisted into an imagination binding storm as evidenced by Egressor. Following a period which has seen the band undertake several Canadian tours and share stages with the likes of Tesseract, Protest The Hero, and Scale The Summit, the new EP suggests it holds the spark to wider recognition as it sets the band out from the crowd.

The release impresses in many aspects, the technical craft, explosive adventure to the songwriting, and the striking vocals of Sam Britton the most striking of these. Produced by Spencer Bowman, the release opens with Vitam Agere. It EP Cover - Body Politic - Egressor - 2014is a haunting instrumental piece, emotion spilling keys stroking ears as a sonic wind grazes the senses. The restrained entrance soon brews up a forcible and portentous coaxing as guitars and rhythms sculpt a climactic air which is still soaked in that initial haunted, almost apocalyptic texture. The track flows straight into Armature, the track an immediate onslaught of eventful and demanding rhythms aligned to scorching grooves and ragged riffs. Driven by the coarse scowls of bassist Jesse Janzen, his tones as aggressive as the metalcore spine of the track, the song swiftly reveals potent scenery of raw persuasion from the riffs of Matt Aasen and Dan Montgomery alongside the thumping beats of Spencer Bowman. This onslaught is tempered by the technical flair and imagination the guitarists also unleash and the exceptional clean vocals of Britton, his entrance the final piece in the jigsaw bringing the track alive. As soon realised every moment is just an instance in the journey of a song, the starter proceeding to steer ears and emotions through avenues of raucous passion and ingenious technical enterprise, all soaked in the emotive keys of Rob Wilkinson.

It is an imposing and impressing start but merely a taster of greater things to come, instantly shown by the following All Hands. Electro radiance sets the track off before a torrent of contagious jagged riffs and the brawling tones of Janzen erupt, their confrontation swiftly tempered and complimented by the smooth flow of Britton’s delivery. The song then twists into an enthralling schizophrenic dance of psychotic rhythms and similarly bred sonic imagination, both aspects flirting with and chewing on thoughts and senses respectively. It is a glorious turn in the song before it slips back into its melodic fire bound in hostile intent. The track is sensational, a constant flood of creative intrigue and bold invention unafraid to wrong-foot and confront the listener.

Swing For The Fences has the task of following the EP’s first highlight and does so with antagonistic gusto. Grooves and riffs climb over the psyche from the off before relaxing into a melodic embrace led by Britton’s refreshing tones. Keys and melodies wrap emotive arms around ears before the track combines its dark and light side for another absorbing flight of riveting imagination and honest passion. Both sides of the vocals impress but it is the guitars which push passions from ardour into a lust for the song, their almost cryptic invention as bewildering as it is bewitching and never allow senses and thoughts to settle and get a firm hold of the swirl of sonic acidity and bedlamic enterprise at the heart of the track.

In song and EP though, every part of the band combines to create spellbinding torrents of adventure and intent, keys and bass as vocal in their own way as the rhythmic and sonic character of tracks. Colqhoun instantly proves the point, the throaty lure of Janzen’s bass and the seducing presence of Wilkinson’s keys potent and expressive textures in the song’s exploration. Though not as dramatically gripping as its two predecessors, it casts a seriously rewarding and imagination provoking canvas coloured by raw metal and jazz rock hues, before making way for the closing Irradiate. The final track takes its initial crystalline melodies into a turbulent yet infectiously captivating furnace of adversarial angst and provocation, shadows and light hurling themselves around each other through the stunning skill and imagination of the band.

The track is a thrilling end to an outstanding release, one with the flesh and soul to push The Body Politic to the forefront of progressive metal.

The Egressor EP is available now digitally as a name your price download and on CD @ http://thebodypolitic.bandcamp.com/

http://www.thebodypolitic.ca/

RingMaster 17/09/2014

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No Sin Evades His Gaze – Age Of Sedation

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Introductions from emerging bands obviously come in many shapes, sizes, and with varying success, but few leave as rich a hunger and lustful an ardour as inspired by UK metallers No Sin Evades His Gaze and their debut album Age Of Sedation. A riveting maelstrom of styles and flavours honed into a dramatically imposing and scintillating tempest, their release is an extraordinary entrance from a band young in years but mature in creativity and craft. There has been a loud buzz brewing around the quintet for a few months now and it is obvious as to why now.

No Sin Evades His Gaze was founded in the middle of 2013 by vocalist James Denton (ex-Ravenface). Completed by guitarists Kevin Pearson and Dan Thornton, bassist Matthew “Moat” Lowe (ex- Bleeding Oath), and drummer Theo Harvey (ex-Ravenface), the band gripped attention with the release of the single Age Of Sedation in May of this year, the track soon earning critical acclaim and media attention to match the appetite of the band’s growing fans. It was a potent hint of things to come, a rich suggestion of their new album but still merely a teaser to its blistering presence and might. Forging a ravenous and fluid web of everything from metalcore to technical and groove metal, progressive to death metal, the album is a raw and brutal hostility brought with the most elegant of touches and intensity of adventure. Not all songs startle as rigorously as others but each dramatically impresses with insatiable aggressive invention and rapier like imagination. Age Of Sedation may not top best album lists come December but it will be high in the majority of candidates.

A Crack In The Looking Glass is the opening intro to the album; it’s coaxing a thought challenging vocal sample surrounded by a melodic fanfare fuelled by a portentous breath. It is not a dramatic entrance but certainly awakens 10514663_279269198932257_7855588474433333182_nattention and intrigue which the following title track swiftly exploits with its masterful provocation. Continuing the brewing almost epic ambience of the first piece, riffs are immediately rubbing on the senses as a climate of change and volatile intent boils up around them. Percussive incitement and heavy bass tempting soon add to the fascination embracing ears with the guttural growl of Denton a savage provocation in their midst. The track in full stride is a beast, tight melodic veining and caustic riffery aligning to violently antagonistic rhythms from Harvey and the ravenous intensity of the basslines. There is also an intimidating swagger to it with teasing grooves simply igniting the senses. It is obvious to see why the song set greedy anticipation in motion for the band’s album and it is only the start of something special.

     Motionless In Obedience instantly sets out its own contagious bait as drums and guitars unite for an initial canvas of temptation which brews up into a magnetically layered and impressively textured weave of ideation and sound. Orchestral whispers and sultry melodic colours permeate the intensive pressure and intent of the track whilst grooves and hooks offer a barbed lure which slips comfortably into the agitated depths of the encounter. As with all songs, each moment is a passing twist in a growing picture, the aggressive growls of Denton evolving into an outstanding clean delivery with the frontman impressive in each extreme, and the overcast menace of the song finding a clearer melodic air to seduce through. Like a mix of Meshuggah and TesseracT merged into another of Between the Buried and Me and Sepultura, but still only part of the sound, the track continues the immense start of the album.

The sonic enticement of Filth makes a transfixing lure to a bordering on carnivorous onslaught, essences of Korn and Mudvayne flirting with the industrial hints and barbarous maze of the song’s invention. It is an addictively compelling provocation, much like the album, which uses every note, chord, and pestilential syllable to assault and inspire. Its apocalyptic presence evolves into a sense of awakening as it fades away with crystalline charm before air and ears are baited by another unpredictable threat of tenacious riffing and rhythmic athleticism which sizzles with spite and ingenuity. Vocally as its predecessor, the blend of roaring rancor and melodic enticing is as masterful and rewarding as the seamless merging of vicious intensity and creative rabidity.

Both the predatory Roll Up The Royalty and Debris strikingly feed a hungry appetite. The first is a bruising fury of raptorial grooves and scarring riffs caged by inventively pounding rhythms off set by the again excellent vocal mix courted by the cantankerous charm of the bass and a mystique wrapped sonic exploration. Its successor sees the bass of Lowe offering another predacious character of sound and rugged contempt whilst over him vocals scowl and croon entwining venom and harmonious enticement. At its heart the track is a toxic treat with scything beats and scorched grooves sculpting a scintillating net of creative resources and bewitching imagination.

Age Of Sedation continues to abuse and ignite the senses with its enthralling tapestry of sound and inventiveness, The Cycle Resets an incendiary blaze of sonic poise courted by a twisted fight of rhythmic brilliance whilst the next up Biometric Alchemy laces its vigorous terrain with industrial strains of tempting and potently evocative flames of sinister melodic radiance. It is another glorious pinnacle in the album; the song’s first half a towering oppression of carnal malevolence which evolves into a stunning progressively seeded fire of melodic expression and vocal brilliance. Think Soilwork meets Fates Warning to give some kind of idea to its excellence.

The release is completed by firstly the infection dripping enmity of The Guillotine Blade, a creative war for the senses and template for the imagination to immerse in. Its every turn oozes ingenious challenges and stirring provocation cored by an infestation of enslaving grooves and sonic tempting. Its triumph is matched by closing track Affinity, the most aggressively mellow proposition on the album but still littered with rhythmic animosity and stabbing riffs. It is the swarming flames of melodies and warm vocals which steal the passions though, their beauty an absorbing caress in the final creative and ravenous blitz of the release.

The song is a richly flavoursome end to a stunning debut from No Sin Evades His Gaze. The fact that Age Of Sedation just gets more powerful and enthralling with each listen, not forgetting exciting, suggest that the UK has a band to set the metal world ablaze if not now within near horizons.

Age Of Sedation is available digitally and on Ltd Ed CD now @ http://nosinevadeshisgaze.bandcamp.com/album/age-of-sedation-2014

http://nosinevadeshisgaze.com/

9/10

RingMaster 21/08/2014

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Deadfall – The First Harbinger

Band Photo

Us progressive metallers Deadfall has come a long way since their striking debut the New Light EP of 2011. Then the creation and duo of guitarist Eddie Kim and bassist Sean Dusoe, the band instantly impressed whilst showing a rich potential within their instrumentals which was realised much more with the following Sentinel EP. By then a sextet, the Massachusetts band pushed on their already enthralling potency and explored to great effect the elements which within its predecessor were still in its infancy. Utilising vocals and a fuller climate of invention and sound, the second EP set a benchmark for the band which their new album The First Harbinger emulates and at times takes to richer and incendiary levels. There is a rawer intensity to the release which roars through the accomplished fusion of progressive metal and djent rapacity but also a maturity and conciseness to the intricate weaves of sonic ideation and varied vocal incitement. There is arguably nothing ground-breaking on the album, an achievement you feel is within the potential of the band as The First Harbinger seduces and gnaws on ears, but few encounters bred from the same genre have left as lingering a temptation and pleasure this year.

As mentioned the Watertown based Deadfall initially was an instrumental duo taking inspirations from the likes of Periphery, TesseracT, Meshuggah, Cloudkicker, and Animals As Leaders into their invention but it was with the addition of vocalist Chris Greene that arguably their sound suddenly found its most potent substance. Whereas the first EP gave the imagination and emotions a hunger for the horizons of the band it was the fuller and rounded endeavour of Sentinel which set sparks flying. Completed by guitarist Kyle Brennan and drummer Marc Brennan, the band easily thrilled and set up an eager anticipation for their debut full-length. Created by the core trio of Kim, Dusoe, and Greene, The First Harbinger is at ease ripping and twisting chunks out of the senses or soaking them in a warm seductive elegance, at times succeeding in doing both at once. It is a loud declaration from the band, one you suspect to push Deadfall into the brightest spotlight within progressive/technical metal.

The release opens with the instantly intriguing Death Code. From its first second the track sparks in the imagination, an opening entwining of raw riffs honed into a magnetic groove enslaving attention and an appetite already lying in 10574487_876700945693086_3261663937080269052_nwait because of those earlier releases. Once it expels its muscular breath and explodes with a torrent of djent inspired antagonism and agitated sinew swinging rhythms, the track comes alive with contagious hostility and compelling bait. The vocals of Greene roar with angst and passion, squalling over every syllable yet hinting at the seductive mellowness he also processes in his delivery. With a great carnivorous throat to the bass and its gripping invention, and a similarly predacious temperament to the guitars, the track is a dramatic protagonist which intimidates and seduces with equal tenacity. That smooth vocal charm of Greene does make its appearance within the song, that moment offering Palms like enticement within the otherwise rigorously aggressive tone of the track. It is a scintillating start to the encounter soon backed up by Sentinel.

The second track is just as creatively imposing and skilfully imaginative with Greene soaring melodically over the jagged enticement of Kim’s guitars and the rawer captivating weight of Dusoe’s bass. Though in many ways the song is a kinder less forceful provocation than its predecessor it still carries a menace and flirtation which entwines to create a riveting and imposing adventure. It is hard to avoid references to Deftones with the song but also thoughts takes whispers of TesseracT and Meshuggah into what is nevertheless a distinctly fresh and thrilling encounter. The same applies to The Divergence, the following track kissing the senses with an opening shimmer of crystalline melodies and warm enchantment before sculpting a voracious spine of jagged riffs and incitement through their middle. The song flows and lurches with an enticing which bruises as potently as it seduces, Greene mixing up his outstanding delivery whilst his colleagues produce a severe and absorbing tango of hungry sounds.

Both In Death’s Path and Sirens ensure the album continues to find a new facet and twist to its provocative storm of enterprise, the first searing ears with a tightly wound binding of acidic and grooved animosity over which caustic vocal squalls roar and rage as rhythms prowl through the emerging scenery. It is a strong and appealing challenge but comes truly alive with the quirky melodic toxicity which weaves within the tempestuous onslaught. It gives the song a depth and invention which its successor takes to its heart, its emotive beauty and melodic eloquence living up to its title as it paints another distinct venture within the album.

Shades Of Inception works on synapses next, its opening knot of sonic manipulation and coarse vocals with a seeming intent to brawl an attention grabbing entrance. The cleaner approach of Greene amidst equally softening textures provides an attractive landscape though it is within unpredictable and turbulent walls of djent fuelled riffs and punchy rhythms. It is a skilful merger which lets both extremes flow and shine with clarity even though locked in each other’s determined arms. The track’s mesmeric ingenuity is emulated by Visage, its own fusion of both climates seamless and invigorating for ears and emotions. The bass of Dusoe again finds a dark presence which simply lures complete attention though not to the detriment of the crusading and battling opposites of sound created by Kim. Though it does not spark in the passions as rigorously as previous tracks, it still leaves a lust for more.

The band gives the listener a chance to catch their breath with brief instrumental Orca which is strong and enjoyable but not really adding much more to the release, before the next up Utopia reveals its transfixing soundscape. The bass instantly steals ears and passions with its bestially rapacious sound which is soon joined in success by atmospheric melodies and a caustic yet elegant range of ravenous riffs and immersive sonic hues. With thumping rhythms framing the gentle but forceful maelstrom, the song soars as it explores its glorious depths and the listener’s imagination. The track on its own shows just how far Deadfall and their sound has evolved, it a mighty proposition which envelopes and inspires with majesty and passion.

The album is completed by firstly New Light, a track which brings essences of Between the Buried and Me to its incendiary and breath-taking wash of melodic and evocative grace locked in a tempestuous and at times severe climate of aggressive artistry. It is followed by the nine minute long Harbingers: Dawn, a song which encapsulates and draws all the potency and qualities shown across the album into one unique and epilogue like conclusion. It is a formidable and thrilling end, if arguably a couple of minutes too long for personal wishes, which leaves The First Harbinger on a plateau just as lofty as it began and to be fair maintained for the main across its journey.

Deadfall are ready to join the big boys of progressive metal on the evidence of The First Harbinger, its sensational body as invigorating and exciting as anything the genre has offered this year.

The First Harbinger is released on August 5th. For more info http://www.facebook.com/deadfall1

http://deadfall.bandcamp.com

9/10

RingMaster 04/08/2014

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Tigers Of Junction Street – Self Titled

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The self-titled debut EP from UK band Tigers Of Junction Street is a release which does not realise its potential as successfully as it should but still leaves an impressive and lingering presence in the imagination and appetite. Consisting of five tracks which blend and at times merely flirt with essences from technical, melodic, and alternative rock, the band’s EP is a striking entrance by the London Town quintet. It has flaws and sometimes is unconvincing yet breeds an enjoyment and anticipation for the band ahead which cannot be dismissed as coincidence.

Formed in 2010, Tigers Of Junction Street saw the union of five friends with the want to challenge themselves musically, which their debut more than hints at as it equally tests the listener, in the right way. Drawing on inspirations from the likes of Coheed And Cambria, Protest The Hero, TesseracT, Yes, and King Crimson, the band set about recording their first release last year with George Lever at G1 Productions, Somerset. What emerged is an encounter which makes an intriguing introduction to the band and sets thoughts in motion that UK rock might have a rather potent prospect on its hands.

The High Wycombe five-piece sets EP and senses off in fine style with Incarnation, the strong and enticing vocals of Josh Elliott beckoning instant attention before being surrounded by heavily striding rhythms and fiery riffs. It is a Ep coverdramatic and gripping mix which is soon veined by a rich and skilled enterprise as guitarists James Wrigley and Ash Whitelock set to work raging over and seducing the imagination. Their craft is openly potent yet unimposing within the drive of the song, though their invention certainly breaks up its urgency whilst enriching its evocative hues. The driving beats of drummer James Burton flow between intimidating and coaxing as the song evolves its narrative. At times things do not always smoothly fit, the vocals left stranded by a sudden twist within the sounds but it only adds to the unpredictability and intrigue which endears the song to thoughts.

In full flow the song is a treat matched by The Deception, though its opening Nintendo-esque tease feels wrong. The track is soon alight with the melody seeping from that intro and vocals uniting around the thick stride of rhythms as the throaty tones of Tom Newey’s bass providing enthralling shadows. That first electro sound appears occasionally and now to great effect within the tempestuous body of the song whilst the unexpected detours and switches in the track which at times even seems to catch the band out, only add to the compelling nature of its lure and adventure.

There is a darker texture and expression to third track Cold Winter, its heavier lyrical presence matched by the more intensive if still melodically fuelled sounds. As its predecessors, band and song is unafraid to turn on its heels and venture into contrasting and melodramatic scenes, most flowing purposefully and easily yet a few moments provide a stumble in the flight of the song. Vocally there are a few issues, suggesting Elliott is more at home giving full rein to his fiery attack than slowing down his expression whilst arguably at times the band pushes things in their bold imagination too far on the song which does not help the vocals either. Nevertheless the track still hits the right note with emotions for the main, those issues something you can only see being ironed out with experience and maturity.

Next comes a short instrumental, called simply Interlude which is more an extended intro into closing track Closed Doors which reminds of the band Dead Til Friday initially. This is a track which seems to have got more criticism than most on the EP yet it is the most captivating slice of invention upon it too. Certainly at times the twists are over drawn and its striking textures clash against each other but in the case of the latter it only adds to the great turbulent enticement as the track offers the most promising and potentially loaded moment on the encounter.

The EP from Tigers Of Junction Street is undeniably flawed but even more so brings an engrossing creative emprise which courts the imagination whilst suggesting this band has a very healthily and for us exciting future ahead.

The Tigers Of Junction Street EP is available in CD and Digital formats through Hoffen Records and @ http://tigersofjunctionstreet.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/tigersofjunctionstreet

7.5/10

RingMaster 28/07/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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ICOSA – The Skies Are Ours EP

ICOSA

It is hard to know how long the members of ICOSA have been playing, nurturing their skills and invention but it is fair to say that band, and debut EP The Skies Are Ours leaves the majority of releases and certainly first encounters this year in the shade. The four track release is a fascinating and exhilarating slab of mature invention and startling imagination brought with a technical craft and instinctive adventure which leaves you grinning and basking greedily. It maybe just one release but it is impossible not to suggest that this is the awakening of one potentially important force for British and dare we say world music. Casting a web of progressive metal and heavy rock, a description which still only gives half the picture, the London trio has made a big statement with their first release and set the benchmark very high for them and UK progressive metal.

Formed in 2011, ICOSA consists of vocalist and 8 string guitarist Tom Tattersall, 7 string guitarist Stacey Douglas, and drummer Jack Ashley. Drawing on the inspirations of bands such as Tool, Meshuggah, and SiKth, the band has been stirring up a bit of a buzz around them and now having been seduced by their EP it is very easy to see why. Their sound sits somewhere amidst Between The Buried And Me/ TesseracT and KingBathmat/ King Crimson whilst infusing a wider diversity in its body for an openly distinct presence. It is a riveting weave which seduces and rages, commands and demands within The Skies Are Ours to inescapably bind ears and imagination.

ICOSA open up the release with Ermangulatr. Its initial shimmering touch is gentle, almost spatial in breath as it slowly entangles thoughts and senses. Guitars soon add additional intrigue before expelling a heavier intensive climate coverwith sonic veining which mesmerises as it scorches aligned to a Meshuggah like predation. It is a powerful lure which only increases as it welcomes the excellent vocals of Tattershall, his tones another tempering flame against the brewing ferocity of intent and invention. As it expands and explores, the track continues to twist and turn with inescapable hooks, fluid grooves, and simply a web of compelling ideation and craft. Reminders of The Ocean, Opeth, and The Mars Volta flirt with thoughts across the song but with its striking creative emprise, the track and ultimately release is impossible to truly pin down.

The two part title track is next, Part 1 instantly teasing senses with coarse but ridiculously enticing melodies within agitated rhythms and an equally frenetic narrative of riffs and invention. There is rapacious rabidity to the track and its dramatic landscape but just as potently a fury of seduction which drives every warped twist and idea as well as every melodic spearing and ingenious coaxing. At times listening to the track you feel like you are on a roller coaster ride through a vast ever shifting landscape of unpredictable dangers and beauty whilst in other moments you get the feeling of a dogfight in the air between dark and light protagonists, each spinning their individual traps as they tussle gleefully. The closing sun of melodic elegance glides the listener imperiously into Part 2 and its almost celebratory beginning where rhythms and guitars romp with ideas and endeavour whilst the vocals find an additional snarl to enrich the elevated revelry. The track simply enslaves and intrigues; its merger of metal and rock into a distinctly individual and transfixing voracious blaze of invention and imagination, ridiculously impressive and thrilling. It is all so seamless and fluid that you just get lost in the sheer beauty of the persistently shifting mystery and adventure so that at times the real world is just not there.

The EP is completed by Trepidation, a welcome trespass into the passions with bulky jagged riffs, cascading sultry melodies, and bordering on psychotic invention honed into a contagious stride of devilish imagination and just as sinisterly attractive and skilled ingenuity in songwriting and presentation. It is an outrageously brilliant end to a similarly potent and masterful release. ICOSA is already a major player in metal, it is just that we and the metal world did not realise until now through their debut. As The Skies Are Ours lets its last notes tease and thrill there is room for one more thought, something this good and genius just has to have the Devil’s backing.

The Skies Are Ours EP is available digitally as a name your price download and on CD now @ http://icosa.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.facebook.com/icosa/

10/10

RingMaster 25/07/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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