Everything Burns – Take Your Aim

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It is probably fair to say that Take Your Aim, the second album from UK melodic metallers Everything Burns, has been a lesson in determination, patience, and dedication for the band such its traumatic emergence. Through the likes of an injury to the drummer, shock departure of the bassist, long studio delays due to a refit, and several changes of mixing engineers, it has been a long drawn out process to the point of release. Add to that the delay due to vocalist Tim Kellow being run down by a car after a gig it has not been an easy ride for the release and quintet. Thankfully and miraculously the singer stepped away from the accident with only shoes flying down the road rather than him, and apart from being pissed that by the time he picked himself up the KFC he was heading to for a post London show feed had closed, the band is ready to make a big mark with their Meshhead released gem.

Everything Burns emerged from the ashes of Seven Days Awake in 2007 and signed with Rising Records the following year. 2010 saw their debut album Home released, the Mark Daghorn (Orange Goblin, Trigger The Bloodshed) produced earning strong positive responses. A mix of post hardcore and melodic metal, the eleven track album set the band up as ones to watch and bred a couple of hungrily viewed videos. The first release with their new label, Take Your Aim with its tightly carved aggressive traits and even more emotive progressive potency is set to take Everything Burns to a new level of awareness. It has a sound which is familiar, already the release pulling strong comparisons to Bullet For My Valentine with its voice maybe too close to the Welsh band for some, but also there is invention which intrigues and suggests the band is well on its way to finding its own true stance.

From the intriguing Intro, a very brief piece of combustible sonics and fiery vocals with metalcore tendencies, the release opens EverythingBurnsup its melodic arms with Ghosts & Angels. Initially it has to be said that there was a tinge of disappointment as the intensity and commanding first track suggests something similar ahead to what the second track delivers but song and band soon with a potent mix of crisp rhythms from drummer Jez Marshall alongside sonic flames of guitar from Chinn Lawlor and Vince Finch inspires concentrated attention. As the excellent vocals of Kellow light up the already bright encounter with strength and expressive melodic poise, ably backed up by the equally strong tones of Finch, it is impossible not to be excited by the first single from the album and release after all.

The skills of the guitarists and vocals easily impress at this point and only further their status as the title track steps up next. From a music box beckoning the song pounces with melodic elegance and inciting temptation, their seductive fire finding the equally inviting bass of Aaron Robins prowling the outskirts of their imagination. It is a captivating and contagious mix which spreads open the invention and thoughtful songwriting of the band into clear sight and though again you could claim the song is heavily whispered with the BFMV spice, it more potently reveals the promise and creative enterprise and class of Everything Burns, whilst again the vocals of Kellow and Finch leave a smile on the ear such the solo and combined talent and raw harmonic delivery they find.

Both Our Story and Interlude fall beneath the impressive stance set by the opening trio of tracks but at the same time reinforce the quality of band and sound especially the second of the pair where emotion and passion drips from every note and syllable. Neither find something truly new or distinctive to engage deeply though as the release is one which gets better with each and every listen, it has to be said to dismiss anything about this pair is wasteful with both revealing plenty to be enthused if not exhilarated about. The same can be said of Battlefields, another track where a flame of beauty accompanies undeniable passion and creative intensity. With almost carnivorous riffs and snapping rhythms the song is a formidable proposition but fails to find a strong snarl behind the wealth of melodic triumph. It is a thoroughly pleasing song though and one easy to return to, like the album itself.

Shadows and Whomper finish off the release, the first an excellent blend of growling bone splintering, riff guided antagonism in league with tempestuous emotive harmonies and searing melodic invention. It is an easy rival to the opening songs and again leaves only keen to endorse impressions of the band whilst the closing track is an unpredictable tempest of ideas and rhythmic shuffling honed with metal cursed invention. Both make a final persuasion which is pleasing and ear catching, something you can throw over the whole of Take Aim.

Yet to find their true voice, Everything Burns sets a satisfying and exciting base for their future endeavours whilst lighting up the appetite right now.

http://www.everythingburns.co.uk/

8/10

RingMaster 20/05/2013

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Waking Theo: Reborn EP

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    Sparkling with strong enterprise as it accosts the ear, the Reborn EP from UK metallers Waking Theo is a thoroughly satisfying and impressive release primed to spark a national recognition to the powerful quartet. As melodically compelling as it is unrelentingly aggressive, the three track release marks the band with ease as one of skill and thought in their songwriting and sounds alongside a passion which expands their creative intensity.

The Yorkshire foursome formed in 2006 and took no time in exciting the underground metal scene locally before spreading beyond with their fusion of varied influences including thrash, metal, melodic death, and metalcore into their own instinctive ideas. Since that initial entrance the band has shared stages alongside bands such as Malefice, Mendeed, Trigger the Bloodshed, and Biomechanical and released two well received EPs, the second Ghost in the Machine in 2011 setting the band up as ones to watch for a great many. The beginning of the following year saw the departure of vocalist Mikey Slatcher, one of four essential cogs in the evolution of the band to that point. A band driven by determination as much as anything, Waking Theo recruited Craig Gordon to its ranks and began working on new material which was showcased at Bloodstock the same year, an event they were handpicked for. Now with the release of Reborn and its formidable sounds it is not fantasy to imagine the EP being the trigger to nationwide awareness.

The release is an instant lure as opener To the Lions grabs the ear with a firm sinewy grip and sonic enticement. Immediately the Waking Theo Cover Artworkrhythms of drummer Chris Vinter snap with control and energy whilst bassist Chris Giles prowls the song waiting to pounce on the unsuspecting listener with thrilling intensity. The track into its stride is a perfectly abrasive endeavour veined by the masterful melodic flames of guitarists Ben Wright and Chris Town. It is constantly magnetic and provocative especially with the vocals of Gordon, his delivery a brawl with the senses which adds excellent muscular confrontation to the bewitching acidic charms of the music.

Second song Downcast evolves the ear with a fine melodic caress before the again sturdy riffs and rhythms state their declaration. Once satisfied it has your attention the track explodes into an unrelenting barrage of thrash drenched riffing and sonic teasing from which only pleasure is borne. Arguably the song fails to match the heights of its predecessor but with the ravenous energy and stalking of the riffs side by side with malice soaked beats, the track is a thrilling and uncompromising encounter for which you can only add further praise to the release. To slightly contradict the previous comment the song leading into its climax also offers a passage of sonic elegance and fiery seduction which is possibly the best individual moment across the release and quite mesmeric.

Ending on the title track, Reborn is without doubt a release all metal fans need to look at. The final song is a furnace of invention and passion which consumes and energises the listener whilst chewing them up and stomping on their spat out carcasses. It is a monster unleashed but with that melodic craft and imagination which persuades fully and helps set the band apart from and ahead of many others. With an album scheduled for later in the year, 2013 is looking to be a very big year for Waking Theo.

www.facebook.com/wakingtheoband

7.5/10

RingMaster 11/02/2013

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Severenth – Reveal

UK metal band Severenth since forming in early 2007 has built a strong and continually increasing reputation and following in the UK though they still have yet to make the big break through.  It surely is only a matter of time as they create sounds which are powerful and stirring with strong invention and imaginative enterprise as shown with their excellent album Reveal. Though released last year another look at it for new comers to the Chester based quintet is definitely in order as we try to do our little bit in sharing not only a strong and impressive band but one with immense promise within their skilled hands.

Over the past few years the combination of vocalist Peet Bailey, guitarists Ste Ensall and Adam Sidor, bassist Ben Jones, and drummer Dave Roberts, has made a definite and impressive mark on UK underground metal with their 2009 debut album The Age Of Paranoia and the blitzing of stages around the UK with their cluster bombs of aggressive and sharply melodic sounds. The year of their first release saw the band also winning the Playmusic UK best unsigned metal act whilst across the years to date they have shared and lit up shows alongside the likes of Skindred, Il Nino, Kittie, Soil, Hed p.e., Bring Me The Horizon, 3 Inches of Blood, Biomechanical, Trigger The Bloodshed, and Panic Cell to name just a mere few. America buckled under their assault in 2010 where the band played the likes of Hells Kitchen and the Cedarwood Dome and last year saw Severenth hitting up and devastating Hammerfest Prestatyn, HRH Ibiza Roadtrip and Wacken Open Air. It also was the time of an even more important event in the release of Reveal, an album which shows there is a fresh wind waiting to create a storm within the metal scene in the UK.

The album opens with the thunderous track The Question to lay down its intention to ignite the senses with explosive and well crafted metal. A growling cry introduces the onslaught to be followed by sumptuous demanding riffs and ear spattering rhythms. It is the vocals though which grab the attention at first, the twin caustic and clean attack of Bailey exceptional and dripping spite drenched attitude. The song takes breathers with unexpected but outstanding melodic asides but as a whole the track is a driven and towering opener which excites deeply.

Often such a strong start finds a dip in its wake but Cover Your Mouth easily maintains the high octane start with its collective storm of riling riffs and inescapable intensity. Stalking melodic surges from the guitars fire up the air whilst the vocals offer a more overall smooth approach though plenty of the great scowling elements prowl the song too. Slightly less contagious than the first track it continues the excellence with accomplished songwriting and stature.

The following caustic predator called Taken The Fall and its equally ravenous companion In Air They Dawn rampage across and through the ear with skill and might. Both songs with a tumultuous series of oppressive rhythms and knee weakening riffs with little mercy in their intent though the near brutal combative consumption is  tempered by the stunning heated guitar solos and scorching melodic invention. Again the vocals are striking and though preference prefers the harsher and distinct delivery there is no question Bailey is adept and effective with his rounded range and style.

The best track on the album is Not Worthy, a song with classic written through its core. From an excellent opening throaty bass presence the track accompanied by instantly mesmeric melodic play, expands its arms with an electrified unveiling of its weapons before exploding into a hypnotic stomp of addiction forming grooves and battering rhythms. Further irresistible guitar play and irrepressible energy drives the track deeper into the heart and provides more evidence of a band on the verge of something special.

Two Mirrors and Born To Suffer simply leave one drooling in contentment as the album to its last note provides melodic metal in its finest form. To be extra critical there is not a remarkable uniqueness about the band yet though one can say that about plenty of the ‘giants’ to be fair, but as the album proves the band are still a distance from their full potential yet which with the great quality and sounds within Reveal, is a truly exciting prospect. Severenth will be a major force ahead, if it is sooner or later is the only question.

http://www.severenth.org

RingMaster 31/07/2012

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Corroosion: Dirt Awareness

Like the effect of sand in a wind tunnel notched up to the maximum, the new album from Italian deathcore band Corroosion is as abrasive and lethal as their name gives hint to. It is a nasty and destructive piece of work, a sonic blistering without mercy or respect. It is also corruptively magnificent. Dirt Awareness is not the easiest of listens or probably not the most appealing for some at times but stare it right in the eyes and it is becomes one of the more rewarding albums to assault the senses this year and has the makings of an insatiable addiction.

From Turin, Corroosion emerged from the ashes of Hekatomb in 2005. Consisting of vocalist AnD, guitarists Sentenza and Lino, bassist Marco, and Dave on drums, the band made their first mark with their 2008 demo Maze Of Human Deprivation. Relentless gigging followed as well as the six track EP Two Steps Before The Vein, the band all the time creating attention grabbing strokes with their storm of extreme metal leading them to sharing stages with bands such as The Acacia Strain, Deicide, Neaera, Annotations of an Autopsy, Knights of the Abyss, and Slowmotion Apocalypse. Mid 2009 and the band signed with Rising Records and set to work on their debut album Punish The Mind with producer Alan Douches (Killswitch Engage, Emmure, Carnifex, The Acacia Strain, Cannibal Corpse),which was released the following year. 2011 saw the band destroy stages alongside the likes of The Ghost Inside, Bleed From Within, Suffokate, Trigger The Bloodshed, For The Fallen Dreams, before working on their second album. Produced by Fredrik Nordstrom (At The Gates, Job For a Cowboy, Bring Me The Horizon, Dimmu Borgir, In Flames) and released again on Rising on July 23rd, the album is a titanic treat of invention, imagination and outright violence.

The album creeps up on the ear with the opening to Awareness as echoes of war emerge from the sinister whispers to be replaced by the intrusive windings of guitar grooves and flesh grating vocals. At full stretch the track badgers the senses with crisp punchy rhythms and bruising riffs through an attack which seems tempered, as if the band is simply teasing and taunting its victims. The intensity though is oppressive throughout and heightened in the climaxing storm of scowled group vocals, rigid beats, and manipulative guitars, and the song itself the intimidating beginning and appetizer for the annihilation ahead.

The crushing and quite brilliant track The Loser Slave flies for the jugular within seconds of its appearance, air flaying riffs and grinding grooves to open up the deepest sores laying siege upon the senses. The song evolves into a raging stomp of sounds and bestial borne vocals with a ravenous hunger not to be denied. It is pure malevolence brought with the surest ferocity but dive beyond the surface and there is a continual evolution of invention and sound going on which makes every rampage a new offering. It is this which has the band standing out over other similar bands and makes Dirt Awareness far more than a great album.

More impressive brutality comes in the form of the greedily consuming and relentlessly raging Crimes Of Fathers Times with its dehabilitating diversity of riffs and rhythms skewered with a cruelly niggling groove and the stunning Polarity, both further scarring on the ear and scrambling of synapses with sharp twisting manipulations. The second of the two is a maelstrom of hellacious energy and sounds which use their notes like kinder to spark an inferno of fury and creative excellence to bring one to their knees.

The release is simply one continual high quality and imaginative brute with just the intensity and the caustic covering uniformal. The songs twist and turn within their skins, tempo disruptions, unexpected breakdowns, and perfect unpredictability raging in the eye of every storm such as in further triumphs like Collective Humiliation, Falena, and Repulsion, though every track deserves a mention such the depth of excellence.

The suspicion is Corroosion is still an unknown most have yet to discover but with Dirt Awareness the days of that secret is numbered with the band surely on the verge of deserved major attention.

https://www.facebook.com/corroosion

RingMaster 11/07/2012

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The Dead Lay Waiting – Almost Heaven

It has been impossible to miss quite a flurry of negative almost vehement reviews and first reactions to the new album from UK metalcore band The Dead Lay Waiting. Certainly Almost Heaven is not the perfect album or a classic in the making but it is also far from being the car crash and failure that many seem to be declaring. Obviously any review is down to personal opinion and taste as much as the evidence that is the music but it is hard to understand the harsh and destructive views of many towards the album and band itself. Maybe The Dead Lay Waiting is simply the current band to hate much as My Chemical Romance and Disturbed and countless others have been before them. All that is apparent from Almost Heaven is that though not flawless the album is a very agreeable and enjoyable release that shows a band creative and with great promise.

From their coming together in 2007 the band has grabbed attention, making a marked impact on a swiftly growing fan base. Debut EP Memories Of A Massacre in 2007 followed the next year by a self titled one plus an appearance at the 2008 Bloodstock Open Air Festival increased the interest and led to signing with UK based label Rising Records. January 2010 saw the release of the band’s debut album We Rise surrounded by acclaimed performances at Download in 2009 and ’10, plus tours with the likes of Trigger The Bloodshed, Bleed From Within and Sarah Jezebel Deva. The band this year found themselves nominated for KERRANG! Magazine’s ‘Best British Newcomer Band’ award, and the Metal Hammer Golden God ‘Best Underground Band’ award, their stock and rise continuing at a rapid rate, something surely Almost Heaven will accelerate further. 

The album starts with an ascending intense sound erupting into the explosive ‘This Day Will Be Your Last’ through the brief but mountainous intense ‘Wake Up’. Crushing riffs and ear bending rhythms pour incessantly over the senses, vocals growling deeply and threateningly aided by lighter screamo chants and shouts. As following track ‘Take Me Away’ picks up the hard lined energetic baton it is apparent The Dead Lay Waiting know how to create and deliver flesh melting sounds and have a string ability to write memorable and intricate songs. It is also clear that they are far from the finished article which gives exciting promise ahead from the impressive sounds within Almost Heaven.

One can understand some of the criticism laid at the band’s door for as good and as agreeable the strength and incisive music within the album is there is not a great deal of originality there. This is not to say it is just reproducing sounds others have created but there certainly is nothing awe inspiring or jaw dropping either. This can be said about75% of all releases this year so it is a criticism that applies to a great many. The two things that do stop the album from being a major land mark is firstly and something that I never thought I would complain about, that the songs are too varied within their own skins. This makes songs such as ‘Always Ask Why’, chaotic with many elements included which would really work if they were better blended with a more seamless feel, something experience will surely improve. It should be remembered this is a very young band and credit should be given that they do try to be different and attempt to make their songs unique, it is just they need to know when less is more. The other problem with the album is that it feels like the band is trying too hard, as if comments given and seemingly continuing made them try so hard that their instinctive touch and ease was held down.

Despite this the album is an impressive release with songs like ‘Open Your Fucking Eyes’ with its crunching basslines, the abrasive ‘Choke on Your Words’, and the immense ‘Burnt to Ashes’ easily bringing great pleasure and pulse racing emotions. Even the epic meanderings of the closing title track ‘Almost Heaven’, despite its slightly overblown near ten minute journey gives far more joy than doubts.

Almost Heaven has its negatives but far more positives and is far ahead of the majority of albums coming out of the woodwork these past months. Why some have such a downer on the band is hard to comprehend unless it is solely based on their seemingly manufactured visual image. The Dead Lay Waiting will ahead make those doubters eat their words one suspects; they just need more time to find their very own unique sound and undeterred belief.

RingMaster 27/11/2011

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Sarah Jezebel Deva – The Corruption Of Mercy

After the negativity for her decent debut solo album with even Sarah Jezebel Deva herself not over enamoured with the end results there has been a subdued anticipation for its follow up even with the impressive pedigree of artist.  For all of those holding back investigating The Corruption Of Mercy released via Listenable Records, the recommendation is easy just dive into its splendour and enjoy. The release may not quite touch album of the year standards but its generous and glowing sounds matched by eager intensity and emotive energy is a sure thing to pleasure the senses and feed all harmonious and adventurous taste buds.

It does seem strange that it had taken until 2008 for Sarah to take the step into the limelight with her own solo work. Fourteen years as a backing singer with Cradle of Filth, and work with bands like The Kovenant, The Gathering, Mystic Circle, Trigger The Bloodshed, Mensrea (GWAR side project), Graveworm, Tulus (Name later changed to Khold), and Creations Tears (Featuring ex Paradise Lost drummer Lee Morris) has sealed her place in metal even if it subdued her potential in many ways. 2005 did see her join forces with Tommy and Chris Rehn to form Angtoria whose album God Has A Plan For Us All gained strong acclaim. The band never toured with her COF duties always the pull away for her.  Three years later she did take the move to go solo releasing her debut album A Sign Of Sublime , featuring a host of guests including Dave Pybus (COF/Angtoria/Anathema) on bass, Chris Rehn (Angtoria) keys/programming, Martin Powell (Ex COF/My Dying Bride/Anathema) keys and Max Blunos (Trigger The Bloodshed) on drums.

For The Corruption Of Mercy which she started working on immediately after her debut, Sarah Jezebel Deva brought together a permanent and touring band under the umbrella of her name consisting of guitarists Dan Abela and Jonny Gray, bassist Ablaz and drummer Jamie Abela. The album also has the guest wizardry of Pzy-Clone from The Kovenant to contribute programming and orchestration. Recorded at Legacy London Studios, England the project’s official website states ‘Sarah feels “The Corruption Of Mercy” should have been the first album.’ With the major step forward in all aspects musically, lyrically and song craft it is understandable and the reason people should not think twice about checking the album out.  

The songs within the album are as firmly varied as Sarah’s vocals are impressive; her soaring and glorious tones matched by the diverse and large soundscapes conjured up, though at times the band unveils the simple and elegant sounds to equal effect. The release starts off with ‘No Paragon of Virtue’, a large dramatic song with soaring orchestral sounds fused against driven energetic heavy riffs and thrusting beats. The song sounds like an even more theatrical version of Stolen Babies but staying well within the bounds of pomposity. The song is immense and grows even deeper into the heart the more times one enters its charms.

The straight forward and satisfying direct rock flow of ‘The World Won’t Hold Your Hand’ comes next before passing over to the melodic majesty of ‘A Matter of Convenience’.  Though it is not exactly a ground breaking song its smoothness, expressive vocals and lyrics, and captivating allure makes it a highlight amongst many. The dark synth vein running through it brings a twinkling wickedness also adding to its power.

A great song that leads into the album’s finest moment in the glory of ‘Silence Please’, which like the opener it is another grand and sparkling theatrical flourish of sounds. Sarah’s vocals are as expansive and wonderfully soaring as the orchestral arrangements both swarming over the striking intense riffs and attack. One can imagine it framing any highly dramatic gothic movie scene or dark hearted animation, the sound larger than life and as powerful as one would wish.

The remaining tracks all bring bright creativity and impressive substance from the stunning piano and voice piece ‘Pretty with Effects’, the pulsating urgency and striking harmonies of ‘Sirens’, to the folk metal tinged immensity of ‘The Eyes That Lie’ a track that Arkona would eagerly grab, the songs ripple with engaging mesmerising beauty and beguiling energy, Even the cover of The Cranberries’ ‘Zombie’, a track well bled dry by multiple versions is a mighty fine and different effort.

 The Corruption Of Mercy is a thoroughly impressive and enjoyable release and evidence that Sarah Jezebel Deva herself and the band are a more than formidable and important part of anyone’s playlist, and as this piece comes to a close whilst listening once more, the album is nearer that best of the year step than ever before.

RingMaster 09/11/2011

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