Stormcast – Frame of Mind

Stormcast_photo

Whenever dark clouds crowd in on thoughts and emotions there is always a place for an understanding soundtrack, something Cyprus-based atmospheric black metallers Stormcast offer with their impressive debut album, Frame of Mind. The release is a tempest of oppressive intenisty and emotionally ravenous shadows but brought on an epic wave of melodic and atmospheric invention. An increasingly compelling fusion of black and symphonic metal with additional flames of melodic death and gothic expression, the release is a startling and intensive introduction to the Nicosia quintet.

Formed in 2007, Stormcast take their lyrical and atmospheric inspirations from the personal struggles of man and society’s ills. A couple of promos in 2009 and 2012 respectively, opened up a certain amount of attention but it is with the Pitch Black Records Frame of Mind that it is easy to suspect Stormcast will stepping into the widest gaze. The band’s live presence which has seen them play the likes of the MetalDays Festival and share stages with bands such as Rotting Christ, Sabaton, Stratovarius, and Nightstalker, sparked real anticipation for Stormcast’s debut full-length and from being a relative secret expect the band’s name, because of the new release, to be on the broadest expanse of lips as it infests ears and psyche.

The Executioner opens up the physical and mental examination, emerging from a spatial ambience with vocal drones, scything drama clad riffs, and orchestral grandeur. It is a portentous dawning soon realised by the crushing heavy booted feet of rhythms and a ravenous sonic enterprise from the guitars and keys. The song soon settles in to a smaller and more intensive pressure of hungry riffs and combative beats, both carrying the vocal animus of Mike Angastiniotis. His voice is a venomous squall, clinging to ears with every rasping syllable whilst around him the song ebbs and flows with intimate hostility and expansive melodic temptation. It is an instant attention grabber of a track, an inescapable provocateur with nostrils flared and creative wiles in full flow. The golden blaze of horns which lord over the song’s finale make a striking contrast to the pestilential vocals and savage riffery, a moment and conflicting union which in many ways really epitomises the whole of the album.

The potent start is swiftly matched by the dark depths and majesty of Wishful Bliss, its opening elegance soon a predatory stalking of the senses but still wearing a mesmeric cloak of keys from Cover_pbr033Mark McDonald and sonic intrigue from the guitar of George Masouras backed by that of Angastiniotis as his vocals spill further malevolence into the mix. Elements of the track, as across the album, bring thoughts of bands like Dark Tranquillity and The Pete Flesh Deathtrip but only as spice to something distinct to Stormcast, something again shown by New World Order. The track backs up the might of the first two songs with consummate and uncompromising ease. Keys and guitar offer an immediate inviting drama, before passing the fire to a torrent of niggling riffs and intensive swipes from drummer Andrew Laghos, both courted by a prowling and magnetic bassline from Andreas Spyrou and the return of the roaring horns. Whereas the previous track was a maelstrom of dark emotions and riveting enterprise, keys and guitars weaving radiant melodic colour across a brutal rhythmic and riff painted canvas, the third track strides a brighter terrain of still imposing incitement and intensity. Hooks and grooves light up its landscape with enthralling imagination and expressive hues, whilst the bass of Spyrou makes for a carnivorous accomplice to the raw throated narrative of Angastiniotis.

There is also a background hint of clean vocals to the song which are given greater rein in Of Flesh and Stone, an evocative track looking at soldiers at war and families left behind. From a sample of a wife talking, a captivating croon brings the song into potent view. Presumably it is again Angastiniotis singing and it has to be said he is a gripping element with his clean tones swiftly sparking a wish that the band employed this side of his skills even more across the album. He is soon spraying his regular caustic tones though, spite and rage impregnating the turbulent but beauteous tapestry of the epic encounter.

The pair of Withdrawn and In Entropy stirs up air and emotions next with their own individual designs and torment. The first is cored by another addictive bassline around which riffs and beats create a smaller but predacious confrontation, the track almost punkish in its hooks and spiteful riffing. It eventually drifts into a melodic pasture which simply bewitches even as first Angastiniotis and subsequently crippling rhythms add their dark offerings to the outstanding aggressor. Its successor is a radiant wind of sonic and melodic adventure contradicted by the bullish tenacity and contagious strength of rhythms and riffs. Light and dark in a riveting conflict for the listener to immediately immerse in, the song as its predecessor sets another plateau for the increasingly thrilling album.

An opening tangy lure from the guitar sets Immune off in fine and exciting style, that initial tempting continuing to coax ears and imagination as around it the song‘s atmosphere darkens and its climate becomes more imposing. The track never goes into the brutal rage it hints at though, keys providing a poetic elegance as the guitars flame with sonic adventure and the song with a creative revelry. Only Angastiniotis’ scarring tones resist the light, his words a great blackened toxin to the engaging landscape before final track Dysthymia takes over to bring Frame Of Mind to a satisfying close. It again reveals the depth and invention in the songwriting and sound of Stormcast, a blend of smoggy rabidity, unpredictable mouth-watering twists, and emotive melodic endeavour gripping ears and imagination for a potent finale.

It did not take Frame Of Mind long to impress but it is with further plays that its true weight of creativity and grandeur shows itself. With only a wish for a little more diversity in delivery from Angastiniotis a minor thought, Stormcast has pushed themselves towards the strongest spotlight with the album, a must investigation for all extreme melodic metal fans.

Frame of Mind is available via Pitch Black Records now @ http://store.pitchblackrecords.com/STORMCAST-Frame-of-Mind.html#.VIgbA3vzDox

http://www.stormcastband.com/

RingMaster 10/12/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

http://audioburger247.webs.com/

 

The Pete Flesh Deathtrip – Mortui Vivos Docent

TPFD Photo1

Mortui Vivos Docent is not an album which set the passions into certain fervour but there is something about its crawling insidious touch and lingering fetid presence which leaves a need to share its venom on a constant basis. The new intrusion from The Pete Flesh Deathtrip, the album teases, taunts, and violates the senses but equally beneath its abhorrent breath there is a contagion of imagination and passion which is hard to deny. It needs time to make its persuasion, numerous plays we suggest, but the reward and enjoyment is there to devour even if the release probably will not make an impression on the year’s top choices.

Mortui Vivos Docent is the fourth release from the solo project of Pete Flesh (ex- Deceiver, Thrown, Maze of Torment), the previous three coming under the name Flesh. Using session musicians, notably here Micke Broberg for some of the vocals and Andreas Jonsson (Tyrant, The Black, Vinertand) for drums, the new album stalks cavernous halls of death metal with additional provocation of black and at times thrash metal. It is a heavy bruising and at times disorientating assault but one which is unafraid to challenge and venture into discord clashing ventures. Released via Pulverised Records and recorded, mixed, and mastered by Peter Bjärgö (Tyrant, Crypt Of Kerberos), who also provided all keyboard and piano on the release, at Studio Beast in Sweden, Mortui Vivos Docent is an album which takes you on the darkest fearful journey. One you will take to or not but one which has to be ventured.

Opener Fallen Bliss goes straight for the throat of the senses; prowling riffs and tightly reined grooves crowd and chase the ear Mortui Vivos Docent Coverwhilst the vocals of Flesh snarl and chew on his prey with strong and expressive spite. It is an immediate hook which only grips tighter the further into the track you are sucked, rhythms rampaging with the guile and might of a battalion of Roman guards and the guitar scoring air and recipient with fine sonic branding and insatiable enterprise. Whether there is anything new going on is debatable but undoubtedly the craft and aural bait offered is impossible to resist.

The following fire of The Eternal Dawn is a varied and adventurous escapade through rhythmic enticement and melodic shadows, its gait reserved yet forceful and presence heavy but seductive. The vocals break some of the almost sirenesque attraction once their serpentine clutches dig into thoughts but the song continues to burn as  sonic ash drifts over the brewing intensity and roaming intrigue. The groove is a great niggling addiction which only goes to lure the emotions deeper into the now fully fledged tempest of sound and provocation as the song continues the strong start, impressively passing the leash to the thrash charged furnace of aural rabidity, Crave the Fire. Bringing more variety to the album, the track has a predatory intent which demands and receives every ounce of attention, and though it does not quite ignite the rich responses as its predecessor it is a bestial swarm of animosity that leaves lasting satisfaction.

The excellent haunting nursery room ambience opening up The Suicide End immediately marks the track as a must submerge within encounter. Doing so will leave you open to inner demons incited by the chilling textures and pit spawned malevolence lurking within every note and imaginative turn of the song, but it is worth the intrusion of the psyche.  Like the album it is a track which needs plenty of attention to truly discover and immerse within but another which drapes pervading fear over thoughts and emotions for a thrilling experience.

The intensively vexatious Burning Darkness and the blackened Ravens Reborn continue to hold attention firmly whilst the ravenous God of the Crawling Whore takes its pound of flesh from the senses with a brutality and sonic web that is inescapable. The trio do fall below the previous high standards, not by much certainly with the last of the trio, but arguably the element of surprise and originality within the album is lost at this point, though all only leave a wealth of satisfaction that is impossible to dismiss. Bleed which features additional vocals from Cecilia Bjärgö (Arcana) does stand out as a pinnacle on the release, its gothic temptation and absorbing presence evocative and thrilling.

Closing with the more than decent thrash sculpted Recycle My Death, the dark themed lyrically and aurally Mortui Vivos Docent makes for a compelling provocateur. It is irrepressible in its hunger and captivating in its imagination, making for a striking confrontation. Maybe not the release to thrust The Pete Flesh Deathtrip firmly on the death/extreme metal map it is one which will raise awareness for sure.

www.facebook.com/PeteFlesh

8/10

RingMaster 25/07/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

http://www.audioburger.com