Watertank – Destination Unknown

SLF019 - hi-res cover_RingMaster Review

After ten years of existence, French rockers Watertank released debut album Sleepwalk in 2013 to heavy and deserved acclaim. Like for so many, it took our ears and appetites to hungry heights; in the words of our review the release was “an instigator of the purest temptation.” Now the band unleashes its successor Destination Unknown and lures even lustier responses with its irresistible concoction of sludge, stoner, and various other compelling styles. Taking the essential essences with made the first album so potent; Destination Unknown emerges as a fuller, more gripping proposal of sound and invention which in turn shows that its predecessor was just the appetiser to greater Watertank alchemy.

The Nantes band began in 2013, swiftly forging a strong fan base and reputation for their sound and stage presence with increasing success over the years. A couple of well-received EPs earned strong attention and praise before the release of Sleepwalk, whilst on stage the band proceeded to play with the likes of Torche, Kylesa, Baroness, Capricorns, Lair Of The Minotaur, and The Ocean amongst a great many. The band’s first album certainly sparked new spotlights upon Watertank though not to the level now expected to be aroused by Destination Unknown.

The album opens with Automatic Reset and straight away transfixes ears with its opening mist of guitar; the sonic shimmer quickly followed by a bulging blast of heavy riffs and rhythms. With them a groove also joins the tempting, its lure relaxing as the song settles into its stroll and welcomes the dusty tones of vocalist Thomas Boutet before returning with even spicier toning to its sultry tendril. Just as quickly a contagious air floods the encounter, a persuasion which never loses its potency as the song shuffles up its gait and intensity across the rest of the magnetic offering. The guitars of Rémy Bellin and Bojan Anicic continue to wrap ears and song in resourceful and gripping enterprise, greater colour added to the excellent start to the album all the time.

Straight away it and the following Fever reveal a more rounded and deeper depth to the band’s music, a less raw and caustic sound which still retains the growl and intensive weighty hues which fuelled the previous release. The second song is a far more aggressive offering than the first, punkish in its attitude and energy with wiry hooks to match. The bass of Maxime Coste is a grumbling potency whilst drummer Jocelyn Liorzou lashes skin and senses with adventurous and antagonistic scythes. It is a glorious riot bringing a mix of Torche, eighties band Skyscraper, and a touch of Motorgrator to entice before making way for the gentler smouldering charm of Contrails. It is still a heavyweight proposal though which seems to grow and loom over the senses with every passing second. Once more hooks and grooves grace a dynamic web of imagination and primal temptation, the latter at times as intimidating as the swings of Liorzou and the predatory riffs.

The song closes with similar reflection soaked calm to how it started, drifting away so the heavy resonance of Coste’s bass can lure attention ready for an intensive crawl of riffs and grooves. DCVR is another swift inescapable persuasion equipped with a sonic tang and commanding stature, not forgetting an addictive swagger even with it is on the prowl. It is also another track showing the greater expanse and imagination in the band’s songwriting and sound, and their ability to perfectly entangle rugged terrains with highly provocative ambiences of sound and emotion.

   The bubbling electronic start to Last/Lost Hope instantly catches expectations unawares and by surprise, though they are barely given a nibble to feast on within Destination Unknown anyway. Its enslaving coaxing soon evolves into a thrilling and lively shuffle of sonic and melodic festivity guided by the ever appealing tones of Boutet. At times elements of post punk and new wave, as well as noise rock, seem to add their spice to the infectious tapestry of the rock popper, a strong catchiness emulated again in the dirtier but just as contagious Surrender. As much as you can find hints in varying degrees of bands such as Torche and Queens Of The Stone Age to the song, there is an older hue to the outstanding stomp, elements across its kinetic two minutes recalling eighties and nineties seeded ingenuity.

Doomed Drifters explores the darkest shadows and corners of the band’s sound but again tempers it with a sonic and melodic resourcefulness which energetically and brightly smoulders as it masterfully fuse contrasts and flavours. Seducing with greater and more experimental suggestiveness for an emotionally provocative and atmospheric climax, the song leaves ears enthralled and primed for the bewitchment of the similarly expansive landscape of Scheme. Growing bigger and bolder with every passing harmonious whisper and melodic enticement, the song dances and flirts with ears and imagination, recalling a strong if coincidental feel of Comsat Angels to its exceptional and thrilling adventure.

The album ends with its just and adventurous title track, Destination Unknown a thick provocative embrace which evolves and then revolves through a soundscape of sonic and emotional intensity. It is a fine finish to an exhilarating proposition. Watertank certainly thrilled with their first album but leave it looking a touch pale against the creative vivacity and explosive drama of Destination Unknown, one of the most exciting encounters this year so far.

Destination Unknown is out now via Solar Flare Records @ http://shop.solarflarerds.com/categories/pre-orders and http://music.solarflarerds.com/album/destination-unknown

https://www.facebook.com/wtrtnk

Ringmaster 30/06/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Black Crown Initiate – The Wreckage of Stars

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Never have open hostility and uncompromising brutality been as elegantly seductive and radiantly fascinating as within The Wreckage of Stars, the debut album from US progressive extreme metallers Black Crown Initiate. Actually that is not quite true as the band’s previous and extraordinary Song of the Crippled Bull EP offered such imaginative daring too but within the album it has bred a new bulk and exploration which is as fearsome as it is gloriously mesmeric. Their entrance was dramatic and startling and now with The Wreckage of Stars, the Pennsylvanian quintet’s emergence is complete, placing them right there side by side with the likes of Between The Buried And Me, The Ocean, and Opeth.

Formed in 2012, the Reading hailing Black Crown Initiate was soon drawing on experiences, individual inspirations, and a vast web of styles to create what is a maelstrom of gripping ingenuity and vicious enterprise. The evidence was immediately audible with the unleashing of Song of the Crippled Bull, an introduction which was as drenched in acclaim as it was in enthralling and unique inventive personality. Its attention grabbing success led to the band securing a coveted spot on the Metal Alliance Tour alongside Goatwhore and Behemoth, as well as the sharing of stages with bands such as Septicflesh, Fleshgod Apocalypse, and Rivers of Nihil. Earlier this year Black Crown Initiate signed with eOne and now in tandem go for the psychological jugular and lustful passions with The Wreckage of Stars.

The release opens with Great Mistake and an instantly seducing enticing of melodies. It is an inviting coaxing by the guitars which only gains weight and potency as imposing rhythms and aggressive riffs join its bait. Continuing to warmly lure within the brewing tempest, the song leads the senses into the bestial tones of vocalist James Dorton, every syllable expelled loaded with malice and guttural intensity. Still the song is a seductive persuasion though and intriguingly, it is when the superb clean vocals of guitarist Andy Thomas grasps ears that the track finds itself at its most threatening as the music flares up around him. It is a delicious and surprising outcome, alone revealing so much about the skill and songwriting personality of the band. Across its extensive landscape, the track boils, squalls, and explores mellow intent, every second and twist of the song a new surprise and magnetic contagion, especially the Eastern veining which colours its engrossing finale.

The outstanding start places the album on an early plateau which subsequent tracks either stalk as boldly or certainly flirt with in presence and invention. The following The Fractured One is one hitting similar heights, its immediate BCI_coveragitated predation of tempestuous beats from drummer Jesse Beahler and throaty tempting from the bass of Nick Shaw, an enslaving death metal spiced frame within which the guitars of Thomas and Rik Stelzpflug cast tenaciously imaginative and hostile enterprise. One of the shorter songs on the album, it is an incessant and virulently contagious torrent of barbarous and sonically scorching savagery.

A breather of sorts after the inhospitable onslaught of the previous tack comes with Malignant, its opening of classically honed guitar a caress of calm within the established storm of the album. Guitars nestle creatively up to the imagination straight away though that suggested respite is eventually smothered by the serpentine venom of Dorton’s vocals and a pestilential tsunami of corrosive rhythms and caustic riffery. Of course nothing can be assumed with a Black Crown Initiate track, something learned early on the last EP, and soon the increasingly impressive warm voice of Thomas breaks the wall of maliciousness, aligning itself eventually with a similarly engrossing and graceful weave of melodic design and expression. Though it is restless to return to savaging the senses, the track courts this peace as long and creatively as possible, ensuring the song again leaves expectations a lost cause.

Both the carnivorous ferocity of The Human Lie Manifest and the exhausting technicality of Withering Waves leave senses cowering and imagination basking in majestic aural warfare; the pair, as all songs, parading more of the craft and inventive depths of the band. The second of the two is especially scintillating as extremes of light and dark, animosity and melodic beauty come together in one spellbinding emprise, a mouth-watering adventure matched by the primal and ruinous presence of To The Eye That Leads You. This erupts with a tornado of vocal enmity, the assault at times an inaudible suffocation of intent and lyrical intimidation which in allowing a coarsely veiled clarity to emerge intimidates further. Around it though there is a swing and swagger to the sounds which is no less vicious but does provides an inescapable infectiousness. It is a vat of bad blood and the thrilling dark-side to the climactic and forcibly elegant beauty of the album’s title track. Predominantly instrumental it closes with a vocal union of all sides shown so far on the album, to provoke a new hunger in appetite and thoughts.

There is no escaping the relentless battering and sonic violation uncaged by Shapes Collapse next, the track as so many, no matter how harmful and fierce it impacts on body and senses casting an addictive and seriously enticing infection. It is a constant lure throughout the tempest but especially pungent in the glade of melodic reflection ventured by song and guitars before climbing back into the outskirts of the initial storm.

The album closes with firstly the arresting terrain of Purge, a track which entwines imaginative charm and melodic beauty with voracious and vehement fuelled hostility for a mutually unsettling and seductive examination of ears and emotions. It is succeeded by Linear, a sensational final encounter where under persistent hellacious provocation, the lighter side of the band has full and irresistible rein.

     The Wreckage of Stars is a major triumph proving that the last EP was no flash in the pan but instead just the appetiser to greater sonic alchemy and brutal expression from Black Crown Initiate. Now is the time to explore their brilliant fury, though you can only feel as with their music, there will be no escaping their presence and touch from hereon in anyway.

The Wreckage of Stars is available now via eOne Heavy / Good Fight

http://www.facebook.com/BlackCrownInitiate

RingMaster 29/10/2014

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Dioramic – Supra

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There is a clutch of bands with the imagination and mastery to combine mouth-watering beauty and voracious aggression in one heavily imposing proposition but few able to conjure the mesmeric seduction and creative ferocity as found on Supra, the new album from German metallers Dioramic. The bands third full-length release is an extraordinary exploration of light and dark textures, technical and feral ingenuity, and breath-taking invention. One of the most scintillating, awe inspiring encounters in recent years.

The quartet from Kaiserslautern is no strangers to making jaws drop in response to their craft and adventure, previous albums Phase Of Perplexity and Technicolor in 2004 and 2010 respectively, greedily received but Supra finds the band at a whole new plateau of sonic alchemy. The album was begun in 2011 but a line-up change due to drummer Anton Zaslavski’s success with his own Grammy award winning project Zedd, meaning he had little time to devote to Dioramic, halted the recording of the Supra. Paul Seidel (War From A Harlot’s Mouth, The Ocean) was recruited to take up the sticks in the band, with the album subsequently completed last year. Released via Pelagic Records, it now makes its stunning entrance into the world and is set to draw a new template for others to be inspired by through its multi genre embracing fury of progressive rock and metal.

Describing the sound of band and album is an on-going task as each track takes ears and emotions down a new richly flavoursome avenue in the general riveting landscape of the release. Imagine a mix of Muse, The Ocean, Between The Buried And Me, and Australian band Voyager and you get a glimpse of the invention of Dioramic. From its first moments Supra is gripping attention and imagination, the opening seconds of Xibalban a tempting lure which expands rapidly into a tempest of muscular intimidation from riffs and rhythms alongside a sumptuous beauty from vocals and expressive melodies. The track manages to cast a hazy warmth and radiance within a voracious wall of sound and intimidation, keeping both wrapped in a clarity which astounds and spellbinds. At times it is seeded in progressive metal, in others a metalcore rage, whilst throughout there is a melodic sun of enterprise and provocative intrigue, and we have not mentioned the thrash and groove metal twists which amongst many enter the bewitching narrative of the track.

The stunning start is straight away matched by the slightly more merciful but no less gripping Carpets On The Walls. It opens with a gentle melodic caress which in no time turns into Meshuggah like voracity and technical emprise clad Bildschirmfoto 2014-07-20 um 21.16.10in whispers of theatrical drama and sublime imagination. It is a riveting start which evolves into a glorious melodic soar of vocals from guitarist Arkadi Zaslavski and sonic endeavour from him and fellow string exploiter Alexander Mauch, the encounter taking ears on yet another unexpected and unpredictable flight.

Two tracks in and the release is a breath-taking encounter, one not prepared to take its foot off the pedal of creative tenacity as shown by the following The Calm Before and The Storm. The first as suspected from its title is a gentler glide than its predecessors, a restrained glaze of melody enriched vocals within a portentous atmosphere. In that provocative temptation though, the track explodes into climactic and turbulent roars which stirs up the hostility in rhythms and senses searing riffs, not forgetting the gloriously carnivorous tone of Max Nicklas’ bass, before relaxing back into the ambient poetry of the song’s breath. It is a bewitching encounter setting up its successor perfectly, though the following track does not quite go for the jugular musically as expected. Vocally though it is initially an uncompromising fury, antagonistic squalls prowling the psyche as stabbing riffs and fiercely imposing rhythms set a commanding cage. Opposites and extremes again toy with ears and thoughts, a sublime wash of vocal harmonies and melodic elegance finding their potent place in the tempest.

Even greater heights are breached by Worth and Big Pump, each a new torrent of technical vivacity and passion igniting invention. From its opening breath, the first of the two breeds a blistering contagion to soak ears and emotions, expressive clean vocals aligned to deeply gripping hooks and rhythms binding ears in their infectious suasion. Zaslavski finds a Matt Bellamy like presence to his voice which is supported just as magnetically by the tones of the rest of the band within the cradle of spikey riffs and radiant melodies. Muse meets Palms with Periphery looking on; it is a sublime piece of songwriting and its sultry realisation, matched by the more predatory second of the two. Riffs snarl and challenge from the first swipe of similarly aggressive rhythms, their bordering on hostile presence taken into rawer confrontation by the aggression driven vocals. The track proceeds to roar and seduce the senses, the intricate spirals of sonic endeavour and rhythmic agitation a fascinating and thrilling canvas for the corrosive vocals to bellow from. As expected the track evolves and twists before ears for yet one more absorbing and exhilarating provocation.

Melancholia offers exactly what is says on the tin, its evocative coaxing covered in emotive shadows and vocal elegance as keys spread their equally passion washed narrative. It is an engrossing basking for senses and thoughts before the inventive maelstrom of Logbook comes in, once more vocal harmonies and melodic flames encased in rugged rhythmic walls and scarring riffery for an astonishing drama fuelled emprise.

The album ends with Vortex Reflex, a further smouldering immersion into the vocal mellowness and irresistible melodic charm which seduces across the whole album, within the rhythmic ingenuity and sonic fire which equally makes Supra one of the pinnacles of the year. The album is quite simply an illustrious encounter with Dioramic setting new plateaus for others to aspire to.

Supra is available through Pelagic Records now digitally, on limited coloured vinyl edition, and CD which comes with an extra DVD with live material, studio reports and interviews @ http://pelagic-records.com/cds/

https://www.facebook.com/dioramic  

10/10

RingMaster 15/09/2014

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Unbeing – Raptus EP

Unbeing - Raptus promo photo

Following on from their seemingly universally acclaimed debut album, Canadian progressive metallers Unbeing have released the exceptional Raptus EP, a rich and compelling journey for the imagination and emotions. As technically captivating and enthralling as it is evocatively absorbing and invigorating, the four track release whisks the listener across an expansive landscape of sound and adventure but one also soaked with an intimacy which provocatively caresses thoughts and feelings. It is a compelling and exhilarating proposition, easily one of the most pungently inspiring instrumental releases in quite a while.

Formed in 2006, Unbeing began as a three piece. Line-up changes ensued whilst two demos in 2008 and the following year respectively, drew strong and enthused reactions. The Montreal band then won Metal Académie 2, a two month competition judged by the likes of Kataklysm. The next step in the evolution of the band, seemingly inspired by the judges’ comments of that competition, saw the band dispense with vocals and concentrate on their already striking instrumental explorations. Over the past eight or so years the band has continued to evolve and impress live, sharing stages with bands such as Neuraxis, The Red Chord, Walls Of Jericho, Martyr, Katatonia, Incision, Anonymus, Beyond Creation, and Scale The Summit along the way. 2011 was the year of their self-titled debut album, with the band at this point grown to a quintet. It received acclaim from fans and media alike, its re-release two years later as a re-mixed and re-mastered vinyl edition equally devoured by the metal community. Now it is the time of the Raptus EP to spark the passions, something its twenty minute flight across a Montreal Metro themed incitement is sure to repeat time and time again as it draws minds and hearts into its imaginative aural poetry.

Unbeing opens up EP and imagination with Rapture which from the first wind of metal on rail coaxes with an evocative melodic enticement which wraps elegantly and creatively around ears and thoughts. Rhythms shuffle erratically Raptus artbut purposefully over the senses as guitars and keys cast a fine web of intrigue and awakening urgency. It is a dawning, an inventively expressive entrance into a busy and continually but gently escalating fever of activity and emotionally rich dramatic hues. The outstanding track flows into the next carriage of the evolving adventure, the following Batterie Faible bringing a more settled and sultry air to the emerging scenery. There is a jazzy breeze and breath to the caress of the song, again the guitar of Sherif El-Maghraby and the seducing keys of Martin Labelle washing over ears with a contagiously picturesque and melodically fuelled sonic design. Entwining peaceful climes and tenacious rapacity, the song intermittently seduces and agitates the emerged vision in thoughts, bursts of aggressive intent swarming across less intensive moments. It is all irresistibly framed and veined by the shadowed emotional hunger of Jean-Philippe Bédard’s drums and the increasingly provocative swing and flirtatious grooves of bass from Alexandre D’Amour, their drama alone potent fuel for the quite exceptional and embracing, physically and mentally, piece of adventure.

Over the two songs thoughts of the likes of Tesseract and Pelican come forward but also in different ways others like The Ocean and indie instrumental band Human Pyramids, particular elements, textures, and melodic paintings pulling loose but definite comparisons. The next up Tetris Rufus sparks similar thoughts but again another fluid shift in the journey sees the listener taken into darker more metallic structuring within a melodically incendiary climate. There is a volatile edge to the piece too, guitars striking at ears with jagged riffs whilst rhythms pounce upon and bustle their way across the senses. That rugged swirl of intent and intensity though is tempered and held in the thick emotive heated hug of resourceful keys, their touch and suasion a constantly changing mesh of warm feelings and anger defusing vivacity.

Final track 2nd Cup flows elegantly out of another underground sourced sample between songs. It swirl and dances with seductive melodies for an immersive mesmeric embrace to which more mercurial flames of heavier incitement and energy smoulder with urgent intensity across the incoming sunset of sound around another ebbing of adventure. El-Maghraby exploits the frenetic climax of the experience deliciously, his fingers manipulating the final throes of the journey and crescendo of emotion before the eventual peace of the destinations end clangs and leaves its disappearing mark. As all tracks it is a sublime piece of composing and realisation to which the band add their individual and united insatiably scintillating descriptions.

Raptus is the perfect instrumental adventure, one which never gets fussy or over-elaborate, but also never misses the opportunity to aurally and emotionally explore every nook and cranny of its ideation and premise as well as the imagination of the listener. The Raptus EP is an essential investigation which if you are quick Unbeing has made available for free download until the end of July at their own website. What still here?

The Raptus EP is available now via BLK COQ Music and at http://www.unbeingmusic.com/

https://www.facebook.com/UnbeingMusic

10/10

RingMaster 18/07/2014

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Herod -They Were None

Herod 10

An encounter and experience which permeates senses and imagination with a ravenous and intense emotional hunger, They Were None is a dramatic and merciless introduction to Swiss post hardcore band Herod. Their debut is a leviathan of weight and intrusive endeavour, a dark and stark tempest of voracious atmospheres and inescapable intensity examining every pore, thought, and emotion. It is at times a testing and exacting encounter but one which is as rigorously compelling as it is intrusively predacious.

Herod was initially the solo project of guitarist/bassist Pierre Carroz which came to life in 2006. Holed up in Malmø in an isolated studio apartment, he began creating and merging dark and depressing riffs with his baritone guitar, recording them on an old 4-track recorder. Taking inspiration from the cold and desolate Swedish climate he returned back to Switzerland where in 2011 he met former Twisted drummer Fabien Vodoz and A Fine Day to Exit vocalist David Glassey. Uniting to form Herod, the trio worked the already bred ideas of Carroz into new songs, tracks which would come to make up their impressive debut They Were None. Recorded in 2012 with producer Julien Fehlmann (The Ocean, Coilguns, Unfold) and mastered by Svante Försback (Volbeat, Rammstein), the album has emerged as a devastating proposition soaked in destructive beauty and venomous enterprise. It is an uncompromising and often punishing incitement brewing a consumption of sludge, hardcore and progressive metal which instantly thrusts Herd, with a line-up completed by guitarist Bertrand Pot, into an immense spotlight.

The album opens with The Fall and within seconds is smothering the senses in a thick cloud of sonic suggestion and heavily weighted Herod Artwork 1breath. Its intimidating expansion begins as a distant squall but is soon immersing ears and beyond in a rapacious caress. The guitars cast a portentous and immediately menacing toxicity, crisp rhythms and sinewed throaty riffs spearing and veining its malevolent air to further engage and twist the psyche as the track’s exhaustive narrative unfurls lyrically and emotionally. It is a murderous encounter but irresistibly captivating especially with the brief escape of clean vocals and its entwining melodically bred sonic web; thoughts of Converge meets Cult Of Luna whispering in thoughts as the song invades further.

It is an attention capturing appetite igniting ten minutes immediately matched and pushed further by Glory North and then Inner Peace. The first roars at and contests with ears from start to finish whilst employing further unpredictable and enthralling twists of vocal diversity, a restrained passage of emotive design, and predatory imagination. Essences of Meshuggah add to the carnivorous qualities of the throaty guitar and even darker bass as the track persistently breeds fearsome yet seductive bait to its persuasion. The second of the two is even more dangerous, its more controlled gait adding menace to the intensive manhandling of thoughts and emotions by the of song’s voracity and that of its individual elements. It is a suffocating proposition but as the previous songs is swamped in rewarding violations and ingenuity.

A melodic entrance with a hypnotic percussive accompaniment instantly makes the following Northern Lights a virulently appetising proposition, the bestial gnawing in the background sparking encroaching shadows around the elegant seduction flirting with ears and imagination. The beauty of the scenery continues to call even when the track unleashes its barbarous wash of domineering rhythms and corrosive riffing; the track a brutal yet warm temptation exposing further the outstanding songwriting and composing of the band. In the hands of others the song could be just an overpowering slab of hostility but Herod sculpts it to be certainly uncontrollably demanding but also the enabler for the imagination to explore its canvas and textures.

From the sinister and immersive instrumental Sad Hill Part I, the pair of Albert Fish and We Are the Failure expose the weaknesses of emotions, exploring and pushing the limits of their and the listeners fears. The first is a ruinous concentration of coarse vocals and riff spawned rabidity which initially has assumptions expecting a primal storm throughout but the veining of sonic tempting and angst clad expression to the vocals ensures another engrossing premise, if one lacking the adventure and lures of previous songs. Its successor though is another matter, the track a melancholic proposal which from its sombre opening melodies soars into the passions with the heavy lipped dark tones of Glassey, his clean vocals merely hinted at on other songs, given full rein to immediately impress. He is not the strongest singer in that style but with such passion and expression to every squeezed syllable he is magnetic. The track itself is a helter skelter of angst bedded voracity and enslaving metallic design, every note and thought a glorious trap.

Through the bordering on savage aural protestations of Betraying Satan, captious rhythms and guitars spiteful intrigue to the tempestuous vocals and sonically laced grooves, and the rigorously erosive Watch ‘em Die, the album continues to exhaust and impress whilst the excellent No Forgiveness For Vultures moves from a heavily soaking persuasion into a mouthwatering maze of unpredictable riffs, persistently twisting invention, and biting yet composed rhythms. With the dramatic final instrumental Sad Hill Part II concluding the release, They Were None proves itself to be not only a masterful debut but an immensely exciting one. Herod has announced its arrival in a strenuously impressive way, one which is still increasing its potency with every brave immersion into its depths.

They Were None is available now @ http://herod.bandcamp.com/album/they-were-none

www.herodnoise.ch

8.5/10

RingMaster 02/05/2014

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