If you missed out on their impressive self-titled debut EP released almost a year ago to the day, UK metallers Hacktivist give you another chance to grab and explore its triumphant thrills with its re-release via Wake To Reality. Containing an additional four bonus tracks to the five which ripped attention forcibly in their direction, the Buckinghamshire reassert the promise and scintillating invention forged in their long sold out first CD and deleted digital format. Re-mastering the original songs whilst recruiting their latest single and unreleased tracks into the EP’s line-up, Hacktivist reminds fans of their dynamic presence and future whilst surely recruiting a new legion of fans to their exhilarating blend of metal, djent, grime, and hip hop.
Formed in 2011 by guitarist/vocalist/producer Timfy James (ex- Heart of a Coward) and rapper J Hurley, Hacktivist took little time in gripping the intrigue and imagination of fans with the release of Cold Shoulders in the January of the following year via YouTube, its entrance gaining over 100,000 views in its first week. From there the band continued their striking emergence by igniting stages at home and in Europe with their exhausting performances, shows which has seen them alongside Enter Shikari and appearing on the Warped Tour Europe and Warped Tour UK. The first appearance of the EP took the band up another stride into acclaim and recognition in 2012 whilst new single Elevate earlier this year as well as a full UK tour supporting Enter Shikari ignited another wealth of attentive passion from media, radio, and fans alike. Appearances at the likes of Download, Reading /Leeds, T in the Park, Rock Am Ring, and Sonisphere France this year has equally pushed the stature of Hacktivist to new levels which the re-release of EP+ can only feed and accelerate.
The EP opens with the provocative call of New Age, its opening potent breath brewed into a thick and evocative atmosphere of sound and intent veined with stalking rhythms and the immediate irresistible lure of the vocal tempting of Hurley and Ben Marvin, James also lurking with and adding his tones across the release. A staggered rhythmic fury from drummer Rich Hawking proceeds to assassinate the air and provoke the senses as it fuels the absorbing verging on debilitating djent craft of James skirted by the predatory antagonism conjured by the bass of Josh Gurner. Barely two minutes in length the track sets up the EP and introduction to the band perfectly, the riveting assault sparking an immediate appetite soon wrapped in hunger as the song’s successor uncages its might.
Unlike Us equally takes little time in persuading a total submission to its creative narrative, its initial restrained yet busy tempestuous mix of riffs and spicy grooves punctuated by a rhythmic web and the excellent throaty bass lines of Gurner. The track snarls and seduces in equal measure, the dark rabid elements of the track aligned to a sonic elegance and temptation which toys with thoughts and emotions. Merging radiant melodic ambience and lures with a rapacious aggressiveness, the track has the intensive growl of The Browning, the vocal infectiousness of Hadouken, and the belligerent confrontation of early Senser. It is a striking and wholly captivating adventure thrusting the release up another level of quality and persuasion.
Both Blades and Hacktivist continue the immense coaxing and presence of the release, both tracks magnetic and imaginative. The first retains the crippling prowling gait of its predecessor but layers a glorious sweeping clean vocal across its sinewy shoulders before providing the bands distinctive and pleasing hip hop inspired vocal confrontation. The song ebbs and flows in its challenging ingenuity, always ensuring unpredictability and enthralling adventure is leading its predation and skilled invention firing up the listeners greed for more. Its successor twists and turns from its first seconds, lurching powerfully through the ears with the same almost violent enterprise sculpted by guitars, bass, and drums. Rigorously anthemic in a deceptive way and potently tempting through its sonic tantalising and melodic richness the song washes the senses in a breath-taking passage of ingenuity and imaginative exploration, and taking this song as an example it is easy to offer bands as references for certain moments and twists delivered but there is no-one which creates and presents sounds close to those of Hacktivist.
Cold Shoulders brings another slice of diversity to the EP, its atmospheric dawning through colour rich keys an ever presence evocative coaxing whether alone or whilst underlying the severe and animalistic intensity coating the crippling rhythms and bestial riffing. There is also an element of rapcore to the song, an added spice bringing a Hollywood Undead essence to certainly the vocals, and though the song is arguably the weakest on the EP you can easily see why it lured in a fever soaked fanbase for Hacktivist. The following Elevate makes a play for the best track on the release whilst showing the evolving exploration and strength of the band’s songwriting. Its muscular frame is a cage for excellent expressive invention which itself spawns transfixing melodic and sonic bait around the ever impressive vocals and the stringent crescendos of aggressive combat. Showing the genre pushing and crossing depths of the songwriting there is also a punk/hardcore breath within the creative maelstrom which pricks thoughts of band like Lazy Habits and the Janice Graham Band and adds extra temptation.
The release is completed by the more than Shikari Sound System Remix of Elevate, though the original easy steals its glory, the Ndread Mud Remix of Unlike Us, and a great live version of Blades, the track easily showing why the band has a formidable live reputation and why all should go see them given the chance.
The re-release of EP+ easily confirms that Hacktivist is one of Europe’s most exciting and dramatically promising metal bands, a force which brings a burning spark of originality and excitement to an array of styles. The band has given all a second chance to experience the beginning of their certain ascent, an opportunity not to be missed this time.
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Making their world introduction with debut album Future Memories, German band Secrets Of Sin certainly gives food for thought with their imaginative and adventurous sound. The nine track release is not without flaws and is openly declares that there is plenty within the band to come out and improve upon, but quite simply the album is one rather appetising encounter that is full of promise and lies in the hands of the band ready to be built upon.
The band’s demo EP Fairytales of 2009 caught the imagination of their home underground press and fans, their merger of symphonic and melodic metal making a strong exciting persuasion but with Future Memories it is fair to say that Secrets Of Sin has leapt forward in their sound and invention. As mentioned the album declares the band as nowhere near being the finished article, if there is ever such a thing in music, but the quintet certainly has the ammunition and skill to become a strong and lingering presence in world metal.
Consisting of guitarist/vocalist Robert Mansk, guitarist Niklas Rach, drummer Michael Schier, keyboardist Philipp Eiperle, and newest member vocalist Christina Groner, Secrets Of Sin take little time upon Future Memories in sparking good thoughts with opener Deus Ex Machina. The track is a brief industrialised dawning provoking rich ideas before merging into the initial electro stomp of Utopia. From here synths make a swirling beckon before the orchestral heights of the keys veined by thumping rhythms immerse the ear in epically toned persuasion. Into its galloping stride the song makes for a strong if unsurprising adventure though expectations are soon displaced by excitement as the wonderful voice and delivery of Groner lays their touch on the senses. She has a sirenesque quality which mesmerises even within the more demanding and caustic squalls of Mansk and the heavy boned sounds building up crescendos of melodic flame and intensity. Reverting to again more familiar essences for the latter symphonic pressing, the almost Nightwish meets The Browning like track is a potent and gripping start to the album with imagination and thoughts finding a steady and pleasing place within the less than unique but enterprising encounter.
Both Alive and Once Upon A Time continue the impressive start if certainly with the first not reaching the same heights set by its predecessor. With Mansk taking the vocal lead the song is a less dramatic and exploratory song but again a more than solid track with the guitars and keys painting a sonically sculpted melodic weave to satisfy the ear before passing over to its successor and its emotive and classically weaned beauty. An elegant ballad with Groner bringing further irresistible temptation to the guitar and string hued evocation, the song from a regular start brings in sun clad melodic flames and a sultry ambience which as it expands its horizons offers greater temptation to mark a step up for the release, a rise soon cemented by the blistering assault of Inside. A spiral of guitar sets things in motion before keys and rhythms stretch its touch and the metal reaped vocals of Mansk herald a heavier suasion. Another step up comes with Groner adding her presence to the continually hungry song, and it has to be said that with all respect to the rest of the band it is no coincidence that songs and the album find even greater potency and originality when the lady opens her lungs.
The two following songs Hope Dies Last and The Joker are arguably the least fluid and for many one suspects will be the least successful in persuading their ardour but for invention and bringing something new in imagination to symphonic metal, they emerge as our favourite and the most exciting songs on the album. The first opens with a straightforward heavy/epic metal like lure before Groner and a great throaty bass sound start picking and teasing at the ear with mischief and adventure. It is an inspired moment leading to another successful union of the two vocalists alongside a wash of melodic heat which rises in temperature with skill and hunger. At times thoughts of Hammers of Misfortune rear their suggestion whilst at other twists and especially in its successor there is a definite Kontrust devilry at play. The second of the pair beckons with a brass lure before diving into another electro waltz blended into a techno metal like suasion. Soon the metallic intent takes over with Mansk opening the vocal narrative but things never settle into predictability as sound, vocals, and band leap persistently and scintillatingly from note to note and idea to idea. It completes easily the best part of the album for personal tastes and the area where you hope the band push and experiment more with in the future.
The extremely potent and stirring power ballad Shadows, the song a merger of tender light and heavier menacing dark with Groner and the keys in conflict and union with the intensive guitar and muscular rhythm storm, and the twelve minute epic presence of Civilisation stretch thoughts and the now truly lit passion for the release further. The second of the two does meander along with undulating success to be honest, losing some of the undoubted grip it forged early on though it is mainly down to its length you suspect, but musically and with the keys especially vibrant bringing a contagious embrace amongst a delicious wash of discord taunting throughout it is another great track.
Completed by firstly Puppet Play where the band and Groner flirt with alternative rock and the very decent closing ballad What I Am, Secrets Of Sin leaves a very healthy appetite and anticipation for their future offerings. With room for improvement but full of very enjoyable and enterprising imagination Future Memories is a great introduction to fresh adventure.
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Having already raised a certain appetite for their immense and imaginative sound through previous EPs and the single Enemy Within, UK metallers GraViL have raised the bar for themselves and arguably extreme/melodic metal with the release of their strikingly impressive debut album Thoughts Of A Rising Sun. The self-released brute of enterprise and invention ignites if not a new realm for intense and evocative metal it certainly pushes and sculpts new corners and roads within the existing boundaries.
Having already found awareness through the pages of Kerrang, Terrorizer and Rock Sound, and potent radio play, the London quintet have risen to yet another plateau with Thoughts Of A Rising Sun. Recorded in the closing weeks of last year with acclaimed producer Dan Abela (Gallows, Bleed From Within, Voices, Silent Descent), the album infuses the widest range of metal flavours and essences to their melodic deathcore spine, emerging as unpredictable and as diverse a ravishing of the senses as you could wish for.
The first couple of tracks alone leave no doubt that the album is an immense and startling proposition, as well as suggesting that there is still plenty of depths for the band to explore ahead, a frightening and threatening thought to get excited about. Structurally Unsound steps forward on a lone melodic breeze, the bright inviting beckoning a devious lure as it leads the ear into the immediately exploding maelstrom of sound and intensity. The track roars with venom and cavernous strength before gnawing and chewing viciously upon the senses with rabid riffs, crisp rhythms and scowling vocal squalls from Grant Stacey. As the knees buckle under the extreme assault, the band breaks into a breath-taking melodic aside with clean vocal harmonies to lap up with greed. The progressive toned tease is a mere breath in the control regaining fury but then reappears again with the guitars of Tony Dando and Andy Slade parading a skilled and expressive fire of sonic and melodic enslavement for the passions. Throughout the drums of Conor Harkness cage and punish the senses without diminishing the potency of the seduction also at play whilst the bass of Nathan Lamb prowls within its own shadows to add further depth, even if its presence is a little lost in the production and needing concentrated focus to fully feel its compelling breath.
The following Enemy Within, the first single form the album, opens with a rain of electro rock and industrial enticement as its stretches its sinews to their fullest limits, their final positioning the canvas for a technical ear plundering carved from heavy sabre like persistent strokes and a brewing carnivorous intensity. As its exposes more of its inciting landscape there is a merger of sounds which plays like a storm of The Browning, In Flames, and Meshuggah yet stands alone from all three and any other reference you care to throw at it.
The stunning start to the album is easily continued through the offensive savagery of Beyond Reprieve, a track which even with its bestial hunger is not short of irresistible grooves, addictive riffs, and blistering caustic vocals to capture the imagination. Again the sonic intrigue and invention of the guitars is magnetic and the bass finding better clarity in the mix a rapacious intimidation alongside the outstanding stick abuse of Harkness.
The next up treat, The Wanderer unveils an exhausting soundscape of rabid energy and malevolence all matched and tempered by the thrilling vocal harmonies backing up the richly pleasing harsh lead vocals. As upon every song the fusion and thought of the contrasting aspects is inspired and outstandingly realised, their mutual qualities and temptations given full rein to flow and make the most dramatic persuasions whilst working perfectly alongside every other stirring intense facet.
From Something Worth Chasing with its great key led intro, through the violently emotive title track and the barbarous song The Struggle, to the enthralling Bottle Of Shadows with is constantly shifting battle lines, Thoughts Of A Rising Sun charges up the passions and pulse rate with intensive creativity and explosive imagination. Though arguably the first part of the album outshines the latter, the last of the songs just mentioned easily makes a scintillating and demanding claim for best song.
With the epic and excellent riff driving March Of The Titans closing up the album, it is impossible not to drool over GraViL and their future. On the evidence of Thoughts Of A Rising Sun expect a real classic from the band in the future whilst right now they have given up a possible contender for best of 2013.
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A new scourge to confront extreme noise fans, Project Silence is a Finnish band which is a brawl of intense promise and in 424 has unleashed an album equally as powerful and striking. Though not without flaws, the release is an immense conviction of brutality and bewitching enterprise, in fact that its only real prime issue in that it offers so much in diversity and ideas it risks confusing the listener into indecision over its impressive contents.
From Kuopio, the quintet of Delacroix (vocals, programming, keyboards), Mr. Sanderz (guitar), J (guitar), Silve R (drums), and Sturmpanzerjäger (bass), combine a ferocious furnace of industrial metal, dark electro, trance, aggrotech, and black metal, setting the band somewhere between God Destruction and The Browning with primal essences of Mortiis adding their serpentine malevolence. Formed in 2008 as originally a solo project of Delacroix, the band released its first songs soon after as a free download before working on their debut album and releasing a pair of preview songs in 2010. Obstacles and delays held up the album until the powerful collection of invention and aggression was released at the tail end of 2012. Now with its experimental muscular confrontations open to the world there is an expectation, after listening to 424 that Project Silence is on the first major step of an impending forceful ascent.
The title track wraps around the ear first, the electronic instrumental a warm expanse of electro warmth over slightly blistered ambience whilst keys evoke a tender yet firm invitation to the heart of the release. The piece gives no indication of the destructive intent to follow though its brief minute and a half is merely a pleasing slight-of-hand as the malice of Pressure Revolution takes its place. The track plunders the ear initially with electronic teases and riotous shouts before gaining a stride of rampant electronics and hungry riffs. In full flight the song is a storm of brawling intensity, grazing acidic vocal squalls, and transfixing sonic rain of melodies and electro shards of infection. It is an undemanding yet sinewy encounter which has essences of Houston! and Celldweller within its heated stance.
The following My Reality immediately invades the ear with a darker ambience and invading shadows leading to a malicious caustic vocal and predatory black metal flavoured persuasion. Whereas its predecessor was a relatively direct offense the songwriting here is an evolving and senses searching journey which ravishes and seduces with equal hunger and effect. A guitar power metal infused temptation is just one seamless escapade on the insidious encounter whilst the symphonic caresses in the latter part of its presence is an extra fire of unexpected pleasure to add further diversity to song and release as is Stardancer (Raven’s whore). The track opens with a trance soaked wash which persuasively leads one right into the furnace of rampaging energy and riffs driven by a ravenous breath. Once more it is a song which into its onslaught skilfully and passionately merges a distinct spicery, the track a raptorial tempest which shifts from bringing loud whispers of Rammstein and The Kovennant to those of Firewind and Enter Shikari.
The corrosive Keeper with its dramatic keys, euphoric ambient symphony, and riveting electronic grandeur, is a powerful and compelling slice of symphonic metal imagination but again as with all songs employs a weave of provocative textures and sounds which crosses genres and appetites. As mentioned at times you feel there is almost too much going on, though everything is with a craft and inventive sculpture it is impossible to refuse its addictive lure and the more you immerse within the album the more its persuasion is dominant.
From the singular techno presence of Sky, Space and Twilight Zone, a track which perfectly accomplished did not manage to spark any fires without that viciousness that pervades throughout the rest of the album, and the black metal malignancy of the again strong but ultimately uninspiring Alone (Crushed by Your Lies), the album is soon preying on the passions once more with firstly the feral BEAST and its successor Cage of Hate. The first of the pair fuses black and pagan metal into a voracious devouring of the senses with dazzling yet shadowed industrial magnetism whilst the latter is an incendiary soundscape of spiralling elements and ideas from again a wealth of genres and styles brought into a contagious slightly suffocating maelstrom of imagination.
424 is completed by the dark electro metal revelry of Everything where again the likes of Rammstein stalk thoughts and the short evocative instrumental Promise to bring a rounded closure to the release. It is an excellent release which impresses from start to finish whilst breeding an even more powerful promise and anticipation of the band in the future when they find their unique voice, which suggested by the album is still a search in progress. The bottom-line is Project Silence left us enthused and breathless, enough said.
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Norwegian band Killtek is probably a new name to most but on the evidence of their impressive debut EP it is unlikely they will remain so for too long. The Noise of Rage/Silence of Self Destruction EP is a magnetic and intriguing release with a sound which with its merging of genres is a thoroughly compelling and irresistible force.
The Trondheim based band was formed in 2011 by guitarist and songwriter Erik Winther who across the following year recruited vocalist Peter Bains, guitarist Kjell Andres Nilsen, bassist Tommy Kviseth, and drummer Thomas Farstad to the project. The line-up of ex-members of bands such as Torch and Grown Into Nothing has the experience of numerous tours across Europe and Asia and of creating well received albums, a gained pedigree and depth which is openly apparent within the tightly skilled craft and musicianship which fires their first release. Musically the quintet create a unique sound which is part metal, part industrial, and part metalcore, with flames of electro, and groove metal vibrantly flavouring the finely sculpted ambience soaked encounters within the EP. Their sound is enthralling and though arguably the band does not create new aural tools to define their creations they explode with something fresh, invigorating, and distinctly belonging to Killtek alone.
Mixed by Caliban guitarist Marc Görtz, the EP opens with the atmospheric soaking of elegance and sonic seduction of instrumental Left Behind to Die. It is a melancholic piece which weaves around the ear to mesmerise and inspire emotions of solitude and at times loneliness but is punctuated with aggressive expulsions of striking riffs and matching rhythms. They are provocative moments rather than violent expulsions to intimidate and frame the continually glowing electro wash of beauty and emotive persuasion.
The following Game Changer begins with similar loud whispers, an electro teasing with sinister breath introducing and leading into the brewing shadows and prowling aggression. Before long the track is in full stride with sinews pressing against the ear whilst the excellent vocal brawls of Bains squall and challenge with passion and malice. Where the first track suggested the merger, here the song brings full industrial metal and metalcore might into a seamless union with warm electro enticement to forge an evocative and demanding triumph. The band state influences as the likes of Fear Factory, Emmure, and Cloudkicker, all you can imagine leaving inspiration for this song, but you can also add elements of bands such as Sybreed, Toxic Grind Machine, and The Browning, here and across the whole release, to something which is undeniably uniquely Killtek.
Beyond the Rage continues the post apocalypse soundscape of the EP, its opening cataclysmic narrative the premise for the following sonic ravishing and brutal savagery to follow. Tech metal viciousness from Winther and Nilsen lashes the senses whilst vocally Bains sears and scars with his again impressive scowling tones. Even the keys have a snarl and spite to them which niggles and haunts beneath the brawling furnace of sound and uncompromising rhythms. It is an exceptional track and the biggest storm of the release though seriously challenged throughout.
The following instrumental Infernal City is a chilling expanse of blistered ambience and stark oppressive atmospheres with a dulled yet taunting melodic sun, its lingering warmth sheltered and denied by the bleak landscape and air. It sets the scene for the following conflict and demise of Earth Ends, its opening battle scene soon lost within a grievous maul violating metalcore intensity and rhythmic antagonism. Again the guitars spear and entrance with skill and enterprise to flair against and incite further the malicious assault of the bass and drums, whilst all the while there is that electronic temptation lighting the air though that too feels agitated in certain moments on the track.
The Noise of Rage/Silence of Self Destruction EP is completed by two equally immense and thrilling encounters in the bruising forms of Warlord and Signs, both furies of fierce passionate provocation and intense destructive defiance bought through measured heart borne passion. Killtek has begun the year with a dominant and impressive debut which with things like being booked to play the main stage at Trondheim Metal Fest 2013 alongside Hatebreed, Gojira & Born of Osiris, could and should be the first steps in a swift and forceful ascent for the band.
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With a new release waiting on every click of a button each and every day, it is easy for some impressive music to slip by the attention of far too many unsuspecting ears. Urban Warfare from US metallers KLANK is one prime example, a mighty incendiary album which has yet to surface on the radar of a great many though it was unleashed last year. Consisting of fourteen slabs of irresistible industrial metal veined by magnetic electronic lures and even more seductive delicious grooves, the release stops you dead in your tracks and recruits the passions in a brawling riot of enterprise and intensive energy.
Since forming in 1995, the band has earned a rich position within the metal underground constantly breaking into wider recognition and acclaim through their immense live performances and vigorously compelling releases. Consisting of vocalist/guitarist Daren KLANK Diolosa (ex-Circle Of Dust), guitarist Danny Owsley, bassist Charlie Parker, drummer Eric Wilkins, and Pat Servedio on guitar, keys, programming and production, KLANK first smacked music in the face with debut album Still Suffering via Tooth & Nail Records in 1997. It brought muscular groove metal, industrial, and dance music together with a vengeance and brought plenty of intrigued and enthused ears their way as well as strong radio play. Its successor Numb two years later elevated the band further especially with its immense and successful single Blind, and its re-issue the following year only added to the brewing rise of the band. KLANK also made plenty of compilation appearances over this period but arguably their real dawn of recognition came through the In Memory Of… EP in 2007 and the fifteen track release Numb…Reborn three years later which included guest appearances by Jim Chaffin, Larry Farkas and Mike Phillips. Urban Warfare though is the band at its finest moment yet and the album to place them in the higher echelons of grooved/industrial metal.
The best way to describe the album is a fusion of the previously mentioned musical spicery in a richer and more potent flavour. Imagine an aggressive offspring of Pitchshifter and Pitbull Daycare incited to further devilment by Dope and Powerman 5000 and you get wind of the tremendous energy and invention going on. Opening on the intro A Call To Arms with its infectious beckoning and full incitement the album takes no time in offering the fullest persuasion with Unamused. Its initial caress is an electronic sway which is soon ruptured by towering riffs and thumping rhythms whilst still delivering its own warm dazzle. Into its stride the track rampages with real hunger from the bass and guitar riffs to consume the senses whilst the drums of Wilkins prey on the ear like a middleweight boxer. The vocals of Diolosa are a stirring blend of clean with enough growl to intimidate which match the stance of the song, its combative gait entwined with the melodic heat of the keys.
The title track has a Toxic Grind Machine feel to its darker shadowed intensity and malice whilst still unleashing a contagious melodic inducement to bring feet and passions to energetic life. Its sturdiness and suggested violence makes a great contrast and variation to its predecessor and the following Bigger Man, though neither of these songs lacks feistiness or a burning passion to bruise. Bigger Man is a tempest of tumultuous riffs and rhythms tempered by a virally contagious chorus and the mesmeric sultry dance of the keys. Certainly one of the biggest highlights in an album which is one big pinnacle, the song is the final piece of suasion to ignite a real ardour for the release.
Songs like the squalling and impressively abrasive Alive in Me, the quarrelsome Built to Survive with its wonderful avalanche of explosive rhythms and prowling riffs within an equally intensive and raptorial atmosphere, and the excellent Stomp You Out, continue to drive the album deeper into the heart with accomplished invention and even headier passion. The third of the trio is another disputatious encounter with a thicker industrial metal oppression and heat playing like a mix of The Browning and Ghost In The Static.
As further tracks such as the less intense but greedily imposing Blow It All Away and the malevolent Disdain with its outstanding primal predatory caustic breath work on the passions, Urban Warfare stands without any notable flaws or deficencies…that is until the final pair of songs. Now to put this into context if Eraser and Something About You was on another release they would earn strong applause for their straight forward metal and raw ‘live’ state, they certainly stand as strong songs but against what has come before they feel out of place in time and situation, simply they are pale against the rest of the album.
Despite that minor niggle, Urban Warfare is outstanding, an album all metal fans should take time to immerse themselves within. KLANK stand on the edge of the widest recognition and deserve every ounce they get.
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Having left the Canadian metal scene breathless with their arrival earlier this year, Ontario quintet The Afterimage is set to do the same in the UK and Europe with the release of their debut EP Formless. It is a monster of an introduction; four tracks which as well as making an impressive initial engagement paves the way for a high anticipation towards their debut album next year.
Formed in the final weeks of 2011, The Afterimage consists of vocalist Kyle Anderson, guitarist Alex Lappano, bassist Dallas Bricker, drummer Nick McCaslin, and second guitarist Mike Ticar who joined the Barrie band after the EP was recorded. The band creates a sound which is best described as progressive/post hardcore but with plenty of djent/technical persuasion and imaginative endeavours. There is a similarity to the likes of Meshuggah, Ion Dissonance, and The Faceless but also a fresh and unpredictable invention which you could say seeds from the likes of The Mars Volta or Between The Buried And Me, all you really need to know is it will leave you gasping for air as it did our Canadian brothers and sisters.
Released via Ghost Music, the EP opens with the instrumental Prologue, a piece of shimmering crystalline waters heated by melodic scorching from the guitars and rhythmic shadows. It loudly whispers at what is to follow without giving to much away but immediately one can hear and feel the intent of the band whilst basking in the warm undertow of the track.
The new single from the release Reverie, follows taking its prompt from the first piece and expanding it into an imagination capturing confrontation. Initially it is an accomplished and straightforward engagement, the guitars teasing notes and melodies, rhythms stamping their authority, and the grizzled growls of Anderson wrapping each syllable in a heavy intent. Soon though everything explodes, sonics going haywire as the guitars manipulate notes with a maniacal mastery whilst still holding the form and intensity of the track. Moments border on jazz, improv, and chaos and it is glorious, the control of the band in keeping everything tight yet loose astounding; synapses might be sizzling at this point and losing composure but no such doubts with the song.
The thunderous Shallows exploits any still uncompromised emotions and feelings next, its corruptive oppressive weight showing the band can violate as easily as they ignite the passions, though they are doing both with the track. Well into its assault, the track showers the ear with spotlights of melodic elegance and infectious kisses though it is still bearing down hard on the senses and devouring their resistance. Leering grooves and disorientating spears of sonic mastery are unafraid to add their ingenious presences to the glorious onslaught of corrosive ideas and sounds, leaving one bruised and delirious in their wake, if also slightly dazed.
The release closes with The Void, another continually evolving soundscape of creative irreverence and brilliance fuelled by sonic violations and melodic interventions all twisted and mutated into something solely belonging to the band. The track almost breaks into an electro breath recalling someone like The Browning but nothing stays still with The Afterimage and the furnace of inventive flames just continues burning brightly and shifting destructively.
All the tracks on the release lay individual atmospheres and escapades which ride like the best roller coaster, the senses unbalanced within gravity but returned to their initial state by the end; just they are now wasted and blissful. There are many great new debuts around right now, all worthy of being discovered but Formless will bring the biggest reward and addiction.
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The past year has seen many bands emerge to grab firm attention and distinct acclaim for their sound. One such band that has easily garnered praise is UK electro rockers Ourfamous Dead. Their debut single and the following I Am Human EP brought them impressively into hungry ears and the eager focus of a great many, something their forthcoming new single Claws at the Door should easily increase. We had the chance to let fly at band founder, songwriter, and vocalist AJ Reeves with questions to find out more about the band and their music.
Hi Guys, many thanks for chatting to us.
First of all can you introduce the band?
Hi there, the live band consists of Simon Green on Bass and Vocals, Robin Speight on Drums and vocals, Rich Jennings on guitar and vocals, Callum Knight on guitar and myself (AJ Reeves) on vocals.
How long has Ourfamous Dead been going and how did it all start?
Ourfamous Dead is coming up to 3 years. It started with myself writing and recording songs in my bedroom then taking it to a live situation with a live band. We then took to the local scene. Since then I relocated to Leeds to take everything to a larger audience.
Is the band your first musical endeavours?
I suppose it isn’t really, I’ve played classical piano since I was around 6 years old and I’ve played in a few small local bands prior to Ourfamous Dead.
The band name makes one think of people who have gained more fame and acclaim after their demise, but what is the story behind the name?
It passed the two week test. The worst thing about a band is creating a band name. Basically I figured if you write it down and come back to it at a later date, if it doesn’t suck as much as the others then it’s the one.
Firstly I wouldn’t say this is our finished sound. There’s going to be a lot on the album that’s different from anything we’ve done before in terms of sound and arrangement. What’s led to the sound of the work that’s out there at the moment primarily is a mix of the stuff I was listening to at the time. I was trying to establish the band and gain a fanbase so I guess I was trying to fit in with a specific music genre or scene. I don’t regret that but it is not the way I want the band to continue.
You sit between and link the likes of Enter Shikari, Silent Descent and The Browning whilst offering a punk infused energy to set you apart. How do you see yourselves though?
It is strange, by the time I’ve recorded a song I’m usually sick of it so looking back in retrospect is pretty difficult. At the moment I would just say we’re different. Especially if you come to a live gig. We’re currently only playing 3 of the songs we’ve released. The rest are new and completely different but still very much us.
You are about to release your new single Claws At The Door, a formidably excellent song. Tell us about the song and its background.
Basically this song is around 2 years old. I wrote it first as a piece of music with no lyrics, so primarily it had no meaning at all and it was only a “thing”. The band then learnt the music and we began playing it live and I would just make up lyrics for it at each gig. As the lyrics developed it became more apparent it was about the duality of man. And that is essentially what it is. I only finished the lyrics for the song when I was stood in the vocal booth laying down the vocals. That’s your OFD fact of the day.
How has your music evolved since your debut promo a year ago through to this new release?
A heck of a lot. I am human was written almost three years ago (claws at the door isn’t too far behind that either) and I’ve already had a lot of material for the album and beyond. I basically wanted to test the water with I am Human to gauge the response it received. I was pretty happy even though I view the EP as being somewhat immature. I felt the need to write songs that were aimed at a specific genre. I looked at popular bands at the time and aimed to write songs that they could have written. It is not exactly what I wanted to do but I figured it would build an audience. Now I am writing stuff that people aren’t ready for and I’m slowly breaking that sound into our music. The debut album will be a transitional album. What comes after that will define us. or so I feel.
How are your songs constructed from seed to the finished result?
I often come up with the music first. Lyrics are definitely last.
Your outstanding EP I Am Human took you to the awareness and acclaim of many new fans and the media such as magazines like Rocksound. Obviously all bands hope this will be the case with each release but did it exceed your hopes the response you got?
To be honest, I wasn’t expecting too much from it. Id chosen those four songs with diversity in mind. A kind of showcase of the different routes the band could take. As I said earlier I was testing the water with it. I have so much material written and nothing properly released so I just drew a line under it and thought we needed to start somewhere. At the same time I didn’t want to select some of the newer material. Who wants to ride the fastest rollercoaster at the theme park first? the rest will seem substandard after that. That’s exactly what I did with I am Human.
Live you have shared stages with the likes of The Blackout, Funeral For A Friend and Gallows, which shows the varied styles you can easily sit alongside. Is there a certain crowd other than your own fans of course that take to your music over others?
I’m not entirely sure. We definitely don’t go down well in Castleford. We accidentally played a gig there some time ago and the people In attendance didn’t know what was going on. We played four songs, nearly got into a fight and left.
As you mentioned earlier there is an album in the works. Is there a date for its release yet?
As of yet, no. I don’t want to put a date on it because I don’t want to release anything sub standard again. Even though a lot of the songs are there, they are still being crafted. That as well as funding. I don’t want anything to leave that isn’t industry standard. To get that standard isn’t cheap and funding a band as a student is difficult. Even between the five of us is still tough and we’ve done a lot recently. We just bought a van for the tour and the video single package was done too. At the moment we are waiting to see where we are after the tour to see when we can commit to a date.
What treats and new things will we find within album walls?
Less hardcore influence, darker synths and percussion, same accessibility.
You are about to start a UK tour with The Sun Explodes, another favourite here. It should be one explosive and thrilling series of shows. The anticipation for you must be high?
Indeed, we actually played our first gig the other night, it was great. The final night is pretty close to my home town (and is TSE’s home town) so it should be busy. I am looking forward to seeing some old faces and of course the TSE lads are awesome guys.
You have a reputation for lively and high intensity gigs; this is the arena you really enjoy as a band?
It is indeed. Its great writing music to go together in the studio but afterward we have to re map everything so it works live. It is an exciting prospect bringing all the songs to a live audience and we really love doing it!
In a time where more and more show promoters only put on bands who guarantee fan attendees, how have you found it to this point trying to play to more and more people?
It is an uphill struggle, constantly. 90 percent of promoters don’t care if you’re the best underground unsigned band in the world. They would rather have a covers band play if it meant 50 ticket sales than support real music. Everything is a popularity contest these days. “Tag your band on here and get all your chummy mates to “like” us and your post. The band who gets 10000000 likes (and get people looking at our Facebook page) can play.”
It is backwards. We hate spamming shit everywhere because we know people get sick of it. We therefore have to do things the hard way. The old fashioned way. Get out there, play your music, get a real following. Your music speaks for itself that way.
Most promoters don’t even promote anymore. The amount of people who say “yeah you can play, how many ticket sales?”. We’ve done a few of these before and the promoter hasn’t done anything. One of them literally just left the bands to it. No posters, no advertisement, nothing apart from a Facebook status half an hour before the gig. The two bands that played did all the promoting, brought their fans through and made the promoter his money.
Yes basically the internet has given the modern musician a medium for getting their name and music out there. In that respect it is great, its free. The other side of the coin is, it is now nearly impossible to make money out of your product, your music. People can get your music for free one way or another and CDs are pretty much obsolete. If you can’t stay ahead of the game and think of other ways to keep people interested, you are always going to fall behind. Basically the good and the bad cancel each other out in my opinion. We embrace the good but don’t rely on it. We still do things the way bands always have before the internet. This was good old fashioned hard work. Get out there constantly gigging, getting our heads down out in the cold flyering etc….
After the tour and working on the album, do you have more in store for the rest of the year?
More gigs, more records, possibly another music video.
Some funding would be nice, as would someone to back us. Someone in the industry who believes in what we’re doing.
Again thank you for taking time to talk with us and good luck with the tour and single.
Would you like to end with any last words for your growing army of fans?
Thanks for the continued support!
Read the I Am Human EP review @ http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2011/10/04/ourfamous-dead-i-am-human/
And the Claws At The Door review @ http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2012/03/03/ourfamous-dead-claws-at-the-door/
The Ringmaster Review 17/04/2012
Axis Mundi is a band which has you smirking, open mouthed, scratching your head, and wondering what just hit you. Most of all the quartet from Hinckley, UK have you rocking like a bird on an electrified fence, vibrating, busting moves, and a shell shocked wreck by the end of the experience. Becoming well renowned for their live shows their debut album Chapel Perilous is the impressive result of the transfer of their live energy and mischief to the studio. The album romps all over the senses and pumps up the ear with eight vibrant violations headed up by an opening Disclaimer to cover their wicked little hearts.
Formed in late 2008 Axis Mundi have excited, enthralled, and surprised every step of the way. The year after starting, the band was rated as one of the top upcoming bands in the UK from a group of over 12,000 other strong candidates and they left venues like Indigo2 in London a hollow reflection of themselves with their riotous shows as their stock grew. 2010 saw them working closely with best-selling science author and New Scientist writer Michael Brooks during his election campaign against Hinckley and Bosworth MP David Tredinnick, the politics of the band striking a stance as strong as their irrepressible sounds, and there was the little matter of a 4 track EP Find the Others making waves too. Since its release in the twilight weeks of last year Chapel Perilous has thrust the band into brighter headlights as more fall under its stomping presence and unpredictable manipulations.
The album ‘a 9 track story of a series of real life legal and illegal experiments conducted into consciousness and perception’ hits the senses with unbridled mischief from the off, the Axis Mundi freakish blend of unrelenting acid house build ups and ear slamming rock riffs and vocals clashing in an irresistible cacophony of sonic blaze. Classed as psychedelic raverock the band tease and mislead the senses whilst mistreating and molesting them at the same time. They come at you from every direction with the misdirection of maniacal hysterical magicians, the ensuing maelstrom of sound across the album an unsettling pleasure and sheer fun. Imagine a cauldron of Pop Will Eat Itself, Manic Street Preachers, and Rage Against The Machine flushed through a vat of The Browning and infected with a healthy dose of acid house mayhem and you have Axis Mundi.
Goat Boy opens up the chaos, its provocative riffs stroking the ear roughly as guitarist/vocalist Gary Frewin sets the stage for the rampage ahead. His voice plays like a cross between James Dean Bradfield and Zack de la Rocha and adds a perfect edge to the all enveloping sounds surrounding him. As bassist James Midgley thumps in pulse energising riffs the synths swarm and slap with a loving hand. The song is infectious and heart pumping stuff closely matched by the following eager to engage Rich And Famous. With scrambling riffs and dazzling bubbling waves of synth lapping the ear the song reaches deep with a less frenetic intrusion than its predecessor.
Chapel Perilous has a strength across its length which many bands would yearn for but with two tracks the band out shine even themselves. First there is the romping stomp of Tales from the Galapagos, an early Faith No More flavoured feast of energy and siren spawn sounds. It sways and teases with a cocksure confidence that you cannot resist its charms as it investigates and ventures up and down varied rock and electro avenues. Alongside the opener it is the best song on the album, one of a trio as the pair are joined by Eden Alive! in jostling and flaring up the heart. With soft expressive vocals and thought invoking guitar and synth melodies the song immediately captivates, then when it explodes into full on electro bedlam with a chest beating fist pumping energised aggression it spawns sonic rapture. Like a mini rock opera the song encapsulates everything you need to know about Axis Mundi and their fine imagination and ingenuity.
With further great songs like The Limitations Of Thinking Things Are Real with a stroll and attitude as mischievous as a gang of drunk school boys, the metal fuelled The Fool, and the schizophrenic Blue Cunt, Axis Mundi have produced an album that attacks and lights up every pore with fast flowing and mesmeric invention. First time you listen you grin, the second you find the glories within, and the third you are infected for life, enjoy!