Idol of Fear – All Sights Affixed, Ablaze

 Photo -Jamie Morton

Photo -Jamie Morton

Idol of Fear’s sound is like the black shadow or light limited passage way which manages to be simultaneously inviting and threatening whilst offering the possibility of safety or the darkest outcome. Hailing from the Barrie/Toronto area of Canada, the band creates an imposing and immersive soundscape of extreme metal which comes with a blackened heart and experimentally fuelled provocation. It is a fiercely challenging and rewarding confrontation as evidenced by the band’s debut album All Sights Affixed, Ablaze, eight individual torments which align for one grievous and pestilential seduction of ears and imagination.

Formed in 2011 with a name inspired by the quote from Ingmar Bergman’s 1957 movie Det Sjunde Inseglet (The Seventh Seal), “We must make an idol of our fear and that idol we shall call God”, Idol of Fear made an imposing statement with their 2013 EP Scavenger. It awoke attention but you suspect nothing to that which All Sights Affixed, Ablaze has the potential to ignite. Recorded across 11 months of “fiery personal turbulence and development, musically and otherwise”, the Tore Stjerna (Watain, Corpus Christi) mastered and Jeff Wardell mixed album is a unsettling maelstrom of fierce flavours and expressive invention, merging everything from black and death metal to progressive, occult, and avant-garde experimentation. It is not always an easy listen, and often a test of stamina and the senses, but always All Sights Affixed, Ablaze is a gripping and epic fall into the depths of the band’s raw imagination and sonic voracity.

Opener Vanquish instantly smothers ears in an intriguing and imposing web of enterprise and sound, the guitars of Dave Bach and Austin Myers an immediate blaze of caustic provocation with melodic seducing. This is soon joined by the raw vocal rage of Myers and the rhythmic intimidation unleashed by drummer Doug Belcourt and bassist Johnny. The song instantly allows no escape from its oppressive yet magnetic tenacity, grooves and melodies searing the senses as rhythms bruise and vocals scar. As eventually discovered on all tracks, there is also a fascinating drama to the lyrical and sonic side of the track, as well as a skilled investigation of distinct flavours amidst constant twists. The song also proves that this is an album which needs time to explore, often its real and undoubted treasures lying well beyond its surface storm and violation.

The following Morningstar makes a more merciful entrance but is soon immersing ears in a persistently shifting and ravenous tapestry of corrosive riffery and radiant sonic endeavour. Swiftly cover1an even greater variety of spices are at work on the imagination alongside an inventiveness which manages to assault, stalk, and seduce with sublime efficiency and temptation, the track’s scenic passage of atmospheric resonance and melodic caressing within a rhythmic enslavement quite delicious. Its fluid cold causticity and enthralling beauty makes way for the darker and harsher Circle of Vortices, a scathing and consuming piece of music inflamed by the malevolent tones of Myers. Again though there is radiance to its persuasion and invention, its soundscape harsh but haunting, cold rather than bitter. The track also slips into bewitching melodic scenery, its calm stroking of the senses a hopeful snatch of light before the song again savages emotions.

The album’s title track is a lively jungle of rhythms and fascinating inventiveness within smog of crushing intensity and smothering dark emotion. There is nevertheless a flirtatious element to the song and an unmissable swing which makes it almost joyful and mischievous, certainly in comparison to previous tracks, whilst the following It Demands brings its own addictive predation to the expansive dark of the album. It also prowls with an enticing lure, guitars scything and taunting across a heavy bassline and provocative beats with venomous yet invitational potency. The bordering on picturesque craft and colours sculpted by Bach and Myers transfix throughout but as mentioned time given reveals the full strength and depth of their and the whole band’s ingenuity.

This period of the album ignites the passions most fervently, the next up It Militates with its hunting riffery, anthemic rhythms, and captivating sonic intrusiveness adding another peak to the increasingly impressing album. The song is a real predator, one luring with sinister beauty and ravishing with coarse hunger. Its triumph is followed by the even more hellacious body and soul of It Tyrannizes, a tsunami of erosive intensity and creative barbarity with engrossing melodic tendrils and sonic rapacity across the tempestuous consumption. These are enticing hues harkening the longer calm and elegant reflection which emerge, though all is eventually swallowed by a new twist in the furnace of the narrative’s animosity.

The closing Carrion provides a blackened exploration of raw ambiences and dark forces, its crawling serpentine temptation and sonic resonance a colluding suffocation and primal seduction. It is an absorbing instrumental bringing the fascinating trespass of senses and emotions to an evocative and climactic close.

All Sights Affixed, Ablaze is a testing and demanding proposition but one with lingering and intensive rewards for body and mind. It is an album which no one should judge or rest upon over just one or two listens, but an incitement from Idol of Fear which warrants and deserves numerous dives into its unrelenting sufferance for the most compelling and unique experience.

The self-released All Sights Affixed, Ablaze is available from November 18th via http://idoloffear.bandcamp.com/album/all-sights-affixed-ablaze

http://www.idoloffear.com/

RingMaster 18/11/2014

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Death SS – Resurrection

death-ss (1)

    Resurrection the follow-up to the critically acclaimed previous album The Seventh Seal sees the return of Italian heavy metal band Death SS and their compelling tales and sounds of horror soaked devilry. Formed by vocalist Steve Sylvester with its first recordings as far back as 1988, the Pesaro band has been an ever potent presence within Italian heavy metal and to a lesser degree the world. Taking, one suspects a more than healthy influence from the likes of Alice Cooper, and possibly inspiring again on assumption the likes of current bands such as Houston! and Superhorrorfuck, Death SS create a blend of metal and drama inspired by horror movies and literature and apparently also this time around the Italian sexy-horror comics of the Seventies especially in the album art work. Resurrection is at times a riveting excursion through crimson red temptation but also has tracks where inspiration is lacking for song and listener, something which suggests that many of the bands they may have sparked life within have since surpassed their own creativity. Despite that for the main the album is a pleasing and easy to return to riot of familiar fun.

For the first half of the Lucifer Rising / Scarlet Records released album, Resurrection is a bit hit and miss, the alternating tracks bringing death-ss-coverrides of horror rock and more straight forward heavy metal, and the former much more thrilling than the latter style. For the first time Sylvester produces a Death SS album and does a great if unspectacular job whilst alongside guitarist Al Denoble, keyboardist Freddy Delirio, bassist Glenn Strange, and Bozo Wolff on drums, he leads the stirring passions through a disjointed but appealing journey of rock ‘n’ roll. The album certainly gets better the further into its body you go too, finding a stronger consistency to the variation working its devilment.

Opening track Revived opens on a pulsating heartbeat with a sinister ambience soon emphasised by the vocals of Sylvester. This menace is accelerated by the joining throaty bass and wide rhythmic punches all scored by sonic guitar lashes. Into its thumping stride with a blanket of refreshing electro temptation, the song is a rampant stroll of horror rock which instantly brings thoughts of Wednesday 13, Frankenstein Drag Queens from Planet 13, and as mentioned earlier Superhorrorfuck. It is not bursting with originality but as the riffs and rhythms cast their contagious net around the senses and the vocals unleash their raucous grazing it is imagination capturing fun.

The following track The Crimson Shrine avails itself of a more classic heavy metal breath, riffs and drums a tower of sinews whilst the keys paint a symphonic picture upon the big boned canvas. The guitar work of Denoble is impressive and creates enthralling shards of melodic flames across the song whilst the additional female vocals temper things with grace and beauty, but the track is pale in potency against its predecessor and next up The Darkest Night. To be fair some of this is down to personal preference towards the two styles offered but it is an uneasy lie in many ways nevertheless. Its successor takes a mere breath before launching another muscular stomp of horror rock/power metal like persuasion. The electronic veins provided by the keys are like torches, lighting the thick shadows of the narrative which dance within the crushing frame of rhythms and hungry predatory riffs. Like the first song there is nothing unheard before but delivered in the accomplished and energetic style of Death SS leaves a very satisfied appetite.

The decent enough melodic charms of classic metal honed Dionysus lead into the rapacious growl and hold of Eaters, the track a bestial torrent of steely jawed riffs and mountainous rhythmic provocation driven by great vocal incitement, lyrically and in delivery. Again it is no coincidence that the song is a Cooperesque/Murderdolls like romp with lethal dangling weaponry disguised as guitars solo and bass lines to enslaved and tear the senses into bliss, and is the style exciting these ears.

The likes of the Ogre’s Lullaby, with its psychotic whispers and heavily laden vocal tempting, and the metallic swing/swagger of Santa Muerte both ignite thoughts and a little bit of greed for their sinew stretching and especially in the first, schizo charms, whilst The Devil’s Graal is a crawling provocative beast that leaves welcomingly entrenched sonic claws and dramatic teeth in the senses. As mentioned previously, Resurrection gets stronger and more perpetually appetising as it works nearer its climax, both the Manson like Precognition with its rhythmic juggling and carnivorous riffing and the bruising rock n’ n’ roller Bad Luck proof as they leave limbs and passions laying down an accompanying energetic escort. They make a thrilling conclusion to the album and compensates for the disappointment of songs such as the bland The Song of Adoration, certainly in comparison to this last pair. Wrapped in the great artwork of Emanuele Taglietti, an internationally renowned painter and author of all the covers of cult adult comics such as ‘Belzeba’, ‘Zora’, ‘Sukia’, ‘Cimiteria’, ‘La Poliziotta’ to name a few, Resurrection is a very enjoyable album even with songs which just do not ignite any heat for their presence included, and though there is nothing truly new here which has not been discovered and reaped elsewhere, it is hard not to like and want to return to.

http://www.deathss.com/

7.5/10

RingMaster 31/07/2013

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