Earthbound – Desolate

With a reputation well on the rise, UK metallers Earthbound have just released their new EP, an encounter which is going to do their ascent up the metal ladder no harm at all. Four slabs of the band’s melodic death metal nurtured sound, Desolate swiftly grabbed attention and only proceeded to tighten its grip thereon in.

Hailing from Hitchin, Earthbound emerged in 2017 and soon lured interest with their debut EP, Endure a few months after. Originally a quartet, it was with the recruiting of guitarist John Stacy to stand alongside vocalist Tom Watson, guitarist/vocalist Louie Penfold, bassist Chris Stroud, and drummer Richard Shearing that something “clicked” within the band. An acclaimed appearance at Bloodstock Open Air Festival and playing support to Doyle and Countless Skies followed to enhance the word on the band and a sound which within Desolate devours the senses and ignites the imagination.

With the likes of Trivium, Iron Maiden, Arch Enemy, and Countless Skies declared as influences, Earthbound create a tempest borne out of death metal voracity meets melodic metalcore dexterity. It proves a compelling proposition within their new EP, each track adventurous in intent and accomplished in invention. It begins with Of Suffering, the track looming from the distance with open ferocity to quickly explode upon ears. Riffs and grooves invade as rhythms blitz the senses yet immediately there is an instinctive contagiousness which escalates the lure of attention. The raw throated squalls escaping Watson are just as potent a trespass as the sounds around them, the backing yells of Penfold as forcibly eager, but it is with the clean delivery of the former that the track truly ignites. Both sides to his presence provide strong quality but his melodic presence is especially striking. The song itself continues to harass and tempt as it too reveals an enterprise of varying flavours and textures across its dramatic landscape, the EP off to a powerful and impressive start.

Solitude follows with melodic enticement as its coaxing, its atmospheric breath soon welcoming another emotion rich clean delivery from Watson. Drama soon lines every note and the subsequent rally of rhythms before dark clouds intensify skies encroached by equally darkening sounds. From within more classic metal spiced threads of guitar emerge as keys float across the air of the song, its ground a motion of volatile endeavour. Toxic breath also infests the vocals as the track continues to expand and blossom, its landscape as unpredictable and imaginative and indeed magnetic as its predecessor’s.

Similarly Worlds Apart opens up with melodic radiance to the fore, vocals and guitars a warm invitation though shadows still lurk and eventually step forth as the mercurial climate of the track sparks with greater tempestuousness. Nevertheless, its melodic metal imagination fuels every twist and level of intensity before Remnants grips just as thick attention with its steely wires and invasive ruthlessness. It is a tempest of sound and craft which leaves no second void of persuasion and moment lacking the drama of enterprise. With a passage of atmospheric calm and emotive intimation like an irresistible oasis in an ever compelling storm, the track provides a powerful end to an equally striking release.

There are certainly moments and aspects which excite more than others within Desolate but from start to finish it only impressed, Earthbound living up to their reputation so far and laying seeds to a far greater level of plaudits ahead as they continue to grow and evolve.

Desolate is out now.

https://www.facebook.com/earthboundmusicuk   https://twitter.com/Earthbound_band

Pete RingMaster 15/10/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Survival Code – Crosses To Carry, Coffins To Fill

With their attention grabbing second album still a rousing presence in our ears, alternative rock outfit The Survival Code have returned with another collection of pleasure fuelling tracks in the shape of the Crosses To Carry, Coffins To Fill EP. It brings more of the sounds and individual flavour which the band firmly established within their last offering but songs which swiftly reveal their own individual character and temptation.

Formed back in 2012 by Dublin hailing vocalist/guitarist Gary McGuinness, the London based band slimmed to a duo as Hopelessness of People escaped their craft and imagination last year. Since then a change has seen drummer Simon Hartop, formerly of The Barbs, join McGuinness, Crosses To Carry, Coffins To Fill the first encounter with the new line-up and another which confirms The Survival Code as one of the most refreshing and potent propositions on the British rock scene.

With the EP seeing the band link up once again with producer Matt Hyde (Trivium, Slipknot, Ash), Crosses To Carry, Coffins To Fill quickly hit the spot with its opener. The Innocent immediately leaps upon waiting ears, riffs and rhythms a nagging pleasure as McGuinness’ guitar springs one of the shapely hook sharing grooves which go to help define the band’s sound. As virulent as within the last album, inescapable catchiness fuels the song in sound and the songwriter/guitarist’s persuasive vocals; full participation in its roar inevitable and swift.

Darker hues line next up Something Beautiful, a track though instantly just as contagious as its predecessor even as its relatively calmer contemplation and attack leads to thicker intensity and energy. The delicious throaty tone of bass is just one compelling aspect to the eager encounter, vocals and guitar enterprise as magnetic whilst skilfully backed by Hartop’s manipulative rhythms; imaginative twists and turns adding to the track’s pure infectiousness.

If the first pair is the epitome of catchy, So Serious is simply viral, taking little time to entangle ears and appetite in its choice hooks and wiry antics. Wrapping its temptation around the senses whilst taunting the body into involvement, the devil of a song casts a web of rock ‘n’ roll temptation where every groove and hook is riveting, each rhythm and syllable cunning and it all relentlessly stirring.

Just as animated and invigorating is Cycles, its eager canter and hearty roar alone enough to buoy body and spirit. As with all tracks the bold and imaginative essences and textures making up tracks come with a thought stoking lyrical insight and a vocal declaration which stirs thoughts. Twisting and turning with increasing prowess and invention, the song makes way for EP closer, Magnetic. It too is a proposition wrapped in shadows and with a more intense gait and breath rising, a proposal with volatility and tempestuousness in its heart, it only adds to the release’s increasingly compelling and potent presence.

Certainly Crosses To Carry, Coffins To Fill shares the attributes which made the band’s previous album so powerful and adventurous but The Survival Code also tease of new horizons and creative dramas within the outstanding encounter; a new lure proving the band one of the most exciting proposals out there right now.

Crosses To Carry, Coffins To Fill is released August 16th via Good Deeds Music.

 https://www.thesurvivalcode.co.uk/    https://www.facebook.com/thesurvivalcode    https://twitter.com/thesurvivalcode

Pete RingMaster 16/08/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Survival Code – Hopelessness Of People

Checking out recent single Crawl combined with the potency of previous releases, we declared The Survival Code a band it is so hard for us not to be excited about. That track was the second teaser for the London based outfit’s new album; an intimation alongside its predecessor of something to truly anticipate. Having feverishly devoured the full-length we can announce that Hopelessness Of People not only lives up to the promise offered by its singles but has emerged as one of the year’s major gems.

Formed by Dubliner Gary McGuinness, The Survival Code has bred and earned a rich reputation since emerging late 2011, each release seeing their imaginative rock bred sound openly growing and evolving backed by a live presence which has constantly proven itself a rousing experience. Though numerous musicians have been alongside lead vocalist guitarist McGuinness, it has been his long term link up with drummer/backing vocalist Tom Cook which has been the heart and power of the band. A trio for their acclaimed Matt Hyde (Trivium, Slipknot, Ash) produced 2015 debut album, MMXV, and the subsequently just as striking Broken Strings EP two years later, The Survival Code has slimmed down to just the core duo upon Hopelessness Of People and the band has never sounded more powerful, dynamically bold, and rousing.

With Hyde again producing, Hopelessness Of People takes mere seconds to entice and thrill ears with opener Same Skin. Its initial guitar shared lure is a calm intrigue ridden coaxing which soon flares up with rapacious energy as Cook’s beats court their own infectious trespass of a swing. McGuinness’ vocals are just as captivating, like the sounds a blend of melodic composure with underlying aggression and volatility. Embracing rock in its various shades alongside a twinge of punk irritability and metal bred ferocity, the track and band’s sound soon establishes its inescapable identity though with its tenacious almost stalking hooks and hungry grooves there is a certain Sick Puppies hue to the excellent encounter, a spicing which enjoyable lingers across the whole release in varying degrees.

Crawl is next to snare thick attention, immediately imposing with its senses harrying riffs and formidable rhythmic swing. From its already infectious threat, appetite wrapping grooves and imagination stoking twists combine for a web of contagious enterprise matched by the equally compelling vocals of McGuinness in turn backed by Cook’s potent tones. There is a touch of Coheed & Cambria to the track, a pinch of Adelitas Way too as well as the aforementioned Australians but the song rises to be all The Survival Code. As a single it got us lustful to hear Hopelessness Of People and still does each and every time roaring from within its midst.

A calmer entrance by the following Take It As It Is only brings a mutually eventful slice of melody rich and highly catchy hook loaded alternative nurtured rock where rhythms swing with muscular intent and emotion fuels vocal expression while Anything Goes These Days strolls with emotive tempestuousness in its heart and raw power in its snarly breath. In their individual ways, both songs had the body and imagination bouncing, the first especially with its keenly crafted unpredictability.

One of the album’s early tasters is next, Along The Way a single earlier this year which effortlessly hits the spot whilst leaving a lingering breath which again just draws intrigue and attention the way of the album. Though the track does not have the incendiary dynamics of Crawl, it is a virulent persuasion which again has the body dancing to its whims before Self Medicate wraps thoughts in its emotive balladry and the imagination in a tapestry of creative and vocal intimation. A slow burner compared to its companions within the album, the song just grew by the listen enticing purposeful contributions from hips and vocal chords.

In so many ways the track epitomises the almost deceitful virulence of Hopelessness Of People, quietly nagging away yet openly seducing with its resourceful breeding; a template just as successful behind the decisive enterprise of Not Working. It is another which seems to be a touch subdued compared to other tracks but the truth is clear when from nowhere we found ourselves repeating melodies and a chorus which had burned itself into the memory.

Damn these Survival Code boys are devious and at it again within the smouldering and increasingly fiery and just a bit funky This Time Around. McGuinness and Cook unite to weave a contagion of hooks and melodic grooving as tenacious as the expectations devouring exploits of the song, repeating the feat with new imagination for the quite outstanding and devilishly tempting Too Late and in turn Next Step. Another major favourite here, the second of the two borders on the feral, its metal seeded antics spring grooves which demand subservience and riffs which harass to the point of addiction. Around them, melodic flames and vocal angst roar to add to the undiluted captivation.

The final pair of Integrity and Goodbye proves there is truly no moment within the album which is lightweight in presence and enjoyment. The first has a vocal calm which rests perfectly within the more unevenly tempered air of the song though McGuinness’ delivery has a hint of prickliness to it too while the closing offering is a slice of magnetic rock ‘n’ roll which too mixes hushed aggression with volatile energy whilst casting an infectious wind of melody woven turbulence and emotive exclamation.

Quite simply releases like Hopelessness Of People are the reason our hunger to devour new music is more lustful than ever. It is an appetite which has been rewarded so many times this year alone but few as relentlessly and powerfully as by The Survival Code.

Hopelessness Of People is released Friday 31st August, through Good Deeds Music Ltd.

 https://www.thesurvivalcode.co.uk/    https://www.facebook.com/thesurvivalcode    https://twitter.com/thesurvivalcode

Pete RingMaster 30/08/2018Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Tides of change: Talking Currents with In Vain

Photo by Jørn Veberg

There have already been some truly striking releases in 2018 and maybe no more so than the new album from Norwegian metallers In Vain. Currents is a progressive metal adventure which surprises at every twist and enthrals at every turn. With big thanks to him, we recently had the pleasure to explore the album closely with guitarist/songwriter Johnar Håland and the band, getting to its heart, its journey to release and much more….

Hi Guys, many thanks for sparring your time to talk with us.

It is fair to say that it is a busy time for the band with the recent release of your new album, Currents. Have you had time to sit back and reflect on its initial success and plaudits yet?

Hi! Thanks for your review and for taking the time to do this interview. Things are quieting down a bit now and as you say, the feedback has been really good. However, I am not really a person who looks back. My thoughts are more focused on the next album.

It seems that you have spent a long time in its creation, that time certainly reflected and heard in all its honed intricacies and bold adventures. What is the time scale for its creation?

Our previous album, Ænigma, was released in 2013 and there seems to be people who think we spent five years writing this album. That is not the case. There are several reasons for why this album was delayed. Personal issues forced me to put composing on halt for almost a year, and with me being the only songwriter in the band that forced the whole process to a standstill. In addition, I was working on the debut album of my other band, From Strength to Strength, which is a hardcore band that will release its debut album some time during 2018. On top of that I spent the majority of my spare time reading for the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst), which is a self-study in finance I have been doing the last three years besides my full-time job. The album was actually finished in June 2017, but we could not set a release date until we had a proper tour booked to support the release. So there are many reasons for this long delay. Hopefully it will not take five years until the next album!

I am sure you will not disagree with us when we say it is your biggest, boldest, and most imaginative release. Did you have any specific aims when writing and creating Currents or it just organically evolved into what we hear?

I am not really sure to be honest. Our debut album The Latter Rain (2007) was also quite bold. Back then we were a totally new and unknown band who released an album of one hour with grandiose and complex music supported by 20 guest musicians. So that was definitely a brave musical undertaking.

In all aspects, we feel Currents eclipses its acclaimed and also richly enjoyable predecessor, Ænigma. Where do you see the biggest evolution?

To be honest, I am not a fan of comparing music. In my opinion, Currents is another strong album in our catalogue. It is a very diverse album full of contrasts and has high-quality music with longevity. I take it as a sign of quality that there are different opinions with regards to which of our albums people enjoy the most. I do not believe Currents is that much different from our previous work, but there are some changes. The production is more organic, there are some shorter songs and it is less black metal compared with our previous releases.

Currents embraces the widest array of flavours and styles in your sound yet, a truly expansive landscape weaved around bold yet often delicate contrasts but it still has that signature In Vain breath. Did you have to concentrate on keeping that character or it again just naturally evolved as indeed that broad tapestry of sound?

I think it is just a natural evolution to be honest. I do not really think that the music is that much different from our previous releases, however there are some new elements. For instance we have one song, Soul Adventurer, with mainly clean vocals. We also have a song with acapella choirs, Blood We Shed, and that is something we have not done before.

You linked up, as for the previous album, with producer Jens Bogren. It is fair to say he gets your sound and imagination but what does he especially bring to the mix which you feel adds to the realisation of your ideas?

We were very pleased with Jens’ work on Ænigma. We did not really have any other alternatives at hand and decided to go back to him. We wanted a much more organic sound this time around though, and I think we achieved that. Jens usually knows what we want and I think we have the same views on what sounds good and not.

Give us some insight into the recording of the album.

All the guitars and bass were recorded in my home studio, except for some lead guitar solos that Kjetil recorded at his home. Vocals and other instruments were recorded in Strand Studio in Oslo. Everything was re-amped by Jens Bogren and he also did the whole mixing and mastering of the album. However, we were never present in his studio and only communicated with him via email and phone.

We have had the real pleasure of having an insight into the lyrical side of the album ahead of its emergence. Can you share some of the themes and inspirations to the songs?

Currents is not a concept album in the traditional sense, however there is a topic and a red line in the music, lyrics and artwork. Currents, reflects on the colossal shifts and changes of our time. The present world is characterized by continental flows of people, traditions and cultures. Migration of people across continents and borders…Cultures merging. Dramatic shifts in lifestyle from one generation to the next. This topic exists in both the lyrics and the music however we only touch upon it in an abstract way with a top-down view. It is important for me to clarify that we do not have any direct political views on this matter reflected in our lyrics.  Besides that, the lyrical themes are varied, ranging from personal experiences and struggles, to contemplations on nature, philosophy and the historical and political development of this twisted world we´re living in.

Was there a particular process to the writing of songs for Currents?

The process was the same as previously. I write the songs alone and present complete compositions to the rest of the band. Later on I involve Sindre in the preproduction, as he also lives in Oslo. All members are free to add their personal touch to the songs and to give suggestions, but as the songwriter I have the final word.

It also sees a few guests such as drummer Baard Kolstad (Leprous, Borknagar), vocalist and former band member Kristian Wikstøl (From Strength to Strength), and vocalist Matthew Kiichi Heafy (Trivium). Were these happy happenings or thought of early on in the album’s creation?

This was something we decided on during the preproduction process. All the guests added their personal touch to the album and we are very pleased with their performance.

I know as for so many bands finances make a major part in decisions and possibilities in keeping going let alone forging ahead with releases, tours etc. for In Vain. How did this put restraints on Currents and do you see crowd funding as a feasible way forward?

We are fortunate to be able to record albums of the quality we prefer. The total budget for this album is around 50 000 EUR I guess, so hopefully people understand that they need to support us financially if they want to hear more In Vain albums in the future. We have not paid anything out of our own pockets. The label pays and we are also fortunate to get some financial support from various grants in Norway. However, the label obviously needs to get in break-even before we will get any part of the potential profit. Touring is more challenging and a tour costs a lot of money. Financing definitely puts a limit on how many tours we are able to do.

As with your previous albums, Currents is available through Indie Recordings. How have they helped, apart from the obvious, in bringing the album to our ears?

We have been with Indie Recordings since 2005 and we are actually the first band they ever signed. We have a good relationship with them. Obviously there are things that could be better, but that is always the case.

For those new to In Vain can you tell them about the beginnings of the band…the early days?

In Vain is a Norwegian band that plays progressive extreme metal and was formed in 2003. Andreas (vocals), Sindre (vocals) and myself (guitar) are the founding members, while Kjetil (guitar) joined the band in 2009 during the recording of our second album Mantra. Our bassist Alex has been around since 2013 and our drummer Tobias joined us recently. So far we have released four albums and two EPs, and we signed with Indie Recordings after releasing our second EP Wounds in 2005. Our latest album Currents was released on 26 January 2018 and we just came back from a European tour with Orphaned Land, Subterranean Masquerade and Aevum.

What is next for In Vain, shows etc. and once the dust of its triumph settles ahead?

We just came back from a European tour with Orphaned Land, Subterranean Masquerade and Aevum. We covered London, France, Spain, Arnhem and Essen. Our hope is to do another tour later in the year where we cover the countries we did not have the chance to go to on this tour. Besides that we will play some shows in Norway and some festivals.

Once again big thanks for giving us your time. Any last words you would like to share?

Thank you very much for your support, we appreciate it! To the readers; keep supporting great music, have a go at our new album Currents, and stop by our FB page at https://www.facebook.com/InVainOfficial/ for news, music, tour dates and other stuff.

Check out the review of Currents @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2018/02/04/in-vain-currents/

http://www.invain.org/     https://twitter.com/invainofficial

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 07/04/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

In Vain – Currents

Just a handful of weeks short of five years back, Norwegian metallers In Vain released the ear gripping Ænigma. It was a release which brought and honed all the potential and impressive attributes of its two predecessors to one seriously striking head. That triumphant encounter has now been swept away in the creative eddy of the band’s fourth album Currents, a proposal which lustily roars In Vain as being one of metal’s finest and most exciting propositions.

Since emerging in 2003, In Vain has grown within and persistently ascended the European metal scene with their adventurously imaginative progressive extreme metal. Their 2007 debut album, The Latter Rain, swiftly stirred keen attention and critical praise, and a reputation for craft and sound which the more variable Mantra nevertheless only reinforced.  The Jens Bogren (Opeth, Dimmu Borgir, Katatonia, Devin Townsend, Kreator) produced Ænigma simply sparked the imagination as it built upon and pushed the traits of those before. It all pales though before the majesty of Currents, a release which surprises at every twist and enthrals at every turn. Intricately woven yet as organic as the passion which drives it, Ænigma not only takes the In Vain sound to a whole new level, it brings progressive metal a fresh landscape shaping breath.

Seeing Bogren united with the band once again, Currents contemplates “the colossal shifts and changes of our time” looking at the currents behind major events and changes across the modern world from “Migration of people across continents and borders, cultures merging and the dramatic shifts in lifestyle from one generation to the next.” It also features guest appearances from the likes of drummer Baard Kolstad (Leprous, Borknagar), vocalist and former band member Kristian Wikstøl (From Strength to Strength), and vocalist Matthew Kiichi Heafy (Trivium) among various more.

Currents opens with Seekers of the Truth and immediately entwines ears in steely vines of guitar as beats bite. Andreas Frigstad’s raw throated vocals soon prowl the engaging lure, rhythms and melodies colluding in a web of threat and intrigue around him with the song’s climate imposingly bracing but equally infectious  as the guitars of Johnar Håland and Kjetil Domaas Petersen almost dance on the ear. The progressive nature of the band’s sound subsequently infuses the track’s aggressive intent, varied strains of extreme metal merging with melodic enterprise for a captivating trespass.

Even so it’s potent and ear grabbing entrance into the album is soon eclipsed by next up Soul Adventurer. Within its first breath as keys rise, grooves are writhing around the imagination, their earnest exploits matched by the superb clean vocals of keyboardist Sindre Nedland. It is instantly compelling, increasingly so as the song gets right under the skin with resourceful harmonies and rolling rhythms only adding to the richness as the guitars spin a web of creative temptation. It is the superb vocal blend across the band though which brings it all together for easily one of the best tracks ever spawned by the imagination of In Vain.

That is a height though regularly equalled from hereon in staring with Blood We Shed, the track a wall of predacious intent and tone led by Frigstad’s vocal threat. Riffs and grooves soon collude in their own menacing enterprise, the bass of Alexander Bøe a thick grumbling incitement but from within their dark nature a ripple of melodic suggestion becomes a heated, harmonic serenade. There is plenty more going on too as keys and voices take the stage before falling under the incoming rumble of those earlier imposing textures, an array of imaginative moments which seem to reveal more with every listen.

Currents comes in two editions, the Special Edition offering two additional tracks with And Quiet Flows the Scheldt the first. Like a developing landscape, the song grows by the second as vocals and guitars shape an atmospheric flight through suggestive sonic scenery. The track does not have the snap of its predecessor but infuses a drama which draws the imagination right into its heart, vocals again as stirring as the music with the flames of sax a captivating heat in its evocative climate.

The funkier tapestry of Origin and the inviting mystery of En Forgangen Tid (Times of Yore Pt. II) bring their own enthralling reflections to ears and thoughts next, the first a robust yet considerate confrontation masterfully blending contrasts in power, aggression, and tone not forgetting flavours. This is an ability In Vain have never been lacking but as so many other things it has breached a new pinnacle within Currents as the second of the two confirms. Sung in the band’s native tongue, the song is glorious. In no time melodies vein a portentous air, dark and light wrapping round each other as a kaleidoscope of vocal and atmospheric intimation entices from within the magnetically tempestuous vortex.

Ghost Path is the second song found only on the larger edition of the album, the track sharing its own mysterious shadow haunted realm. The imagination is taking on a stroll through an underworld of fear, despair, and increasing creative ill-intent which comes to a head in a rhythmically driven, rapaciously fuelled predation of sound and intensity. The song is pure creative theatre, and reason alone to go grab the bigger version of the album as you really do not want to miss out.

The album concludes with firstly the similarly enthralling infestation of As the Black Horde Storms. Its blackened assault has a folkish tinge to its melodic undercurrent, death bred traits soon as prevalent as the track consumes the senses and begins spinning another web of striking imagination and sound where, as throughout the release, every moment brings surprise and invention to absorb and impress. Its successor, Standing on the Ground of Mammoths, smothers ears with its dark air and slightly corrosive texture whilst again gripping attention with is aural enticement and vocal dexterity. More a song with its creative tenacity and enterprise understated compared with other tracks within Currents; every dive into it brings them closer to the surface though its slip in a thoughtful melodic seduction mid-way is a beguiling caress from the first moment.

It provides an end to an album which simply excites from start to finish. Setting a new marker for not only the band but extreme progressive metal, In Vain has become one of the most fascinating and enjoyable propositions within world metal.

Currents is available now through Indie Recordings digitally and as a normal and special edition on CD and Vinyl.

http://www.invain.org/    https://www.facebook.com/InVainOfficial/    https://twitter.com/invainofficial

Pete RingMaster 04/02/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Chronos – Pallid Reflection

chronos-pic duncan everton

chronos-pic duncan everton

Coming from the combined areas of Bath and Bristol, UK metallers Chronos recently released their debut album Pallid Reflection. It is a seriously intriguing encounter unleashing an imaginative blend of death and progressive metal with plenty more flavours, many inspired by influences such as Metallica, Trivium, Opeth, Iron Maiden, and In Flames, embroiled in its imposing and resourceful challenge.

Formed in 2014, the quartet of vocalist/guitarist James Rideout, guitarist Joshua Boniface, bassist Tom Chapman, and drummer Jack Camp swiftly made a potent impact on their local and the south of England metal scene. First EP Hour Atonement was released in 2015 to eager reactions, whilst live the band soon found itself playing with the likes of Biohazard and Abhorrent Decimation. Pallid Reflection is the next step in the band’s emergence within the national metal landscape, an encounter which will certainly put their name on the map.

Produced and mixed by Ben Turner and mastered by Joe Caithness, the album opens up with Blood River and a sonic strand of guitar luring ears into the waiting predacious jaws of the track. In no time sturdy rhythms and hungry riffs collude before the quickly impressing skills of the band’s guitarists weave a captivating web of melodic enterprise. It is a feature which lights up the album throughout, as too the contrasts of clean and guttural vocals which give further colour and temptation to the song, especially the former. Though uniqueness is less open there is a great unpredictability to the track which just grips and impresses.

It is a strong and increasingly potent start to the release soon outshone by the following Sea Of Guilt, a hungry tempest of nagging grooves and rapier like rhythms in between passages of stalking riffs bound in restrained energy as clean vocals paint the creative canvas of the song. Again moments of unexpected imagination thrill, helping turn a great song into something even more striking and enjoyable, all offered with instinctively flowing coherency.

art_RingMasterReviewThe epic Thuribles Veil Part 1 is next, ten minutes of carnivorous riffs and grooves courted by just as predacious rhythms as throat raw vocals merge with harmonic beauty and melodic suggestiveness. The track is a cauldron of perpetual intensity, mercurial aggression, and compelling imagination, a playground for ears and thoughts even without the direction of lyric and voice. To be honest, that pretty much sums up the whole of Pallid Reflection and though familiar elements still emerge it would be fair to say they  are treated with an invention and flair which defuses familiarity.

Through the snarling ravenously nagging exploits of Lobotomised and the glorious melodically haunting Shiver, the album continues its trend of each track building on its predecessor and impressing just that little bit more while Awake displaces the elegance of the last track with a bestial swamp of waspish grooves and irritable riffs around more of the predatory rhythms which Chapman and Camp so effortlessly engineer. Arguably the least adventurous track of the album it still leaves the appetite greedy and ensures praise is easily given before Emerald Soul cradles the senses in its melodic arms, they additionally caressed by Rideout’s clean delivery and accompanying harmonies. There is a feel of KingBathmat to the outstanding track, its progressive nature given a clear climate to entrance within.

Crossover is a brutally feral encounter but again one prone to melodic radiance within its primal trespass, superbly crafted switches within a perpetually volatile atmosphere and grievous sonic intent shared with an ability and invention that constantly rises throughout Pallid Reflection and the calmer but no less sonically carnal of the song’s resourceful successor Shadow Of The Sun.

The album is concluded by almost twelve minutes of creative drama and volcanic ferocity courtesy of Thuribles Veil Part 2, a stormy incitement equipped with fiery melodies and scorching grooves around pungent contrasts musically and vocally. It is a fine rousing end to a release which reveals and offers more to greedily devour with every listen. Pallid Reflection is a mighty first step by Chronos and one of the best debuts heard this year with the potential and suggestion in its imagination of bigger and bolder things to come.

Pallid Reflection is out now though https://chronos1.bandcamp.com/releases or http://chronosofficial.bigcartel.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ChronosOfficial   https://twitter.com/OfficialChronos

Pete RingMaster 14/12/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Anti-Clone – The Root Of Man

Anti-Clone_RingMasterReview

If asked at the start of the year which was the one release we were most anticipating in 2016 there would have been no pause of thought involved in saying the debut album from UK metallers Anti-Clone. They had us addictively hooked into their own distinct nu-metal bred, psyche twisting sound from the outstanding Hands Sewn Together EP, which had its highly successful national release back in 2014. Its tracks were a regular part of our podcasts too, finding the same eagerness across a horde of other shows and stations with the mainstream media soon waking up to the band’s emergence in turn. Now two years on and quickly following reputation cementing and pushing performances supporting Mushroomhead and Sanguine on certain dates of their recent UK tour, the Boston hailing quintet are poised to unleash The Root Of Man.

The question was never going to be would the album live up to expectations seeded in the last EP and the hefty fuss around the band, that just seemed to be a given in thoughts, but would their music have grown and evolved enough to make them a real contender to stir up the metal scene beyond the UK as earlier songs suggested. Well, the answer is found within the first few tracks of the eleven song incitement alone. Together they give a rousing confirmation with their creative roar, only being forcibly backed by the rest of an album which in some ways continues where the Hands Sewn Together EP left off but immediately shows a craftier and imaginatively more exhilarating, not forgetting broader, weave of styles and flavours in its boldly sculpted songs. The Root Of Man is Anti-Clone on a new mature imagination drenched plateau from songwriting to sound to presentation. There is inventive confidence and fierce adventure at every turn as the scent of inspirations from the forefathers of the nu-metal scene are again embraced, twisted, and honed into openly fresh textures within the band’s own fascinating experimentation.

art_RingMasterReviewFormed in 2011 but really finding its creative mojo once the current line-up was in place a couple or so years later, the Lincolnshire band soon sparked a hungry and swiftly growing fan base for their dramatically addictive sound which reached its first pinnacle in the Hands Sewn Together EP. Live too, the band has grown to be one of Britain’s prime incitements, sharing stages with the likes of American Head Charge, Kindred, ESO, Breed 77, Sworn Amongst, Maplerun, Evil Scarecrow, and Bloodshot Dawn amongst many along the way. Linking up with EP producer Matt Hyde (Machine Head, Trivium, Fightstar, As I Lay Dying and Slipknot) again for The Root Of Man, the quintet of brothers Drew (drums/ programming) and Peter ‘Mr Clone’ Moore (vocals), Conor (guitar) and Liam Richardson (guitar), and Mike Bradbury (bass) are seemingly poised to set their place at the head table of the UK and indeed European metal scene.

Dually looking at “the beginning of the human race, starting with Eve committing original sin which resulted in us being cast out of Eden” and symbolising the band’s beginning as a band; “These are the roots that we are planting to fully establish ourselves as our own entity, to establish ourselves as Anti-Clone“, the pledge music funded The Root of Man immediately grips ears and imagination with its title track. It is a brief but inescapable lure into the album, an as expected apocalyptically ambience clouded scene setter which is soon crawling portentously over the senses as steely bass and toxic grooves wrap the enjoyably familiar tones of Mr Clone. Its dark tempest rolls straight in to Deracinated which seamlessly draws ears into its own animus of intent and creative rapacity. Straight away an industrial toning merges with the schizophrenic nu-metal prowess which flows from the band, Society 1 meets Mudvayne like essences adding to the imposing character and trespass of the fearsome magnetism on offer. Ebbing and flowing in raw confrontation, the track bewitches ears and stirs up the appetite, setting them in an unfamiliar and disorientating yet welcoming blend of old school aired modern imagination for a seriously rousing slab of predacious incitement.

SwitchBlade growls at and brawls with the senses next, vocals from Mr Clone and the Richardson brothers almost pestilential in their psyche invading animosity as the sounds around them rise and fall with constant inhospitable adventure. Melodic calms and percussive invention are just as potent lures in the agitated imagination and landscape of the song; all colluding to savage and spellbind before A Sight For Sewn Eyes prowls ears with Fear Factory/Spineshank tinged ingenuity. As replicated across the whole of the album, every moment of the song brings greed breeding drama to the listener, Mr Clone showing his clean melodic tones are as fiercely agreeable as the rawer psychosis fuelled side of his vocal character. The song persistently twists and turns from the start before reaching a bedlamic crescendo that never truly departs once erupting as the song leaves on a groove bound web of suggestiveness.

With a constant range of peaks across its landscape as momentous and memorable as the Alps, B9 adds another with its Manson-esque textured slice of predatory heavy metal whilst Twisted Neck entangles ears in the intoxicating vines of toxic grooves which wrap a calmer melody hued serenade beneath a thickly tempestuous and predatory climate of sound and personality. Both tracks present a tapestry of styles and textures, the first also flirting with steampunk like elements where, not for the last time, Anti-Clone have a touch of the now sadly demised Shanklin Freak Show to them. Its successor flirts with a colouring which is more 6:33 meets Dog Fashion Disco though as always, it is hard to pin down a flavour such the Anti-clone ingenuity as they align spices to their own enthralling ideation.

A great punk metal hue seeps into the riveting and mercurial soundscape of Mechanical Heart, the track as welcoming as it is fearsome with sinister keys and avant-garde devilry lining another almost rabid mix of nu and industrial metal carrying at times more than a whisper of death metal to it. Compelling to the extreme, the track simply wants an apocalypse based Hellraiser movie to grace to see its majesty totally fulfilled, though fair to say there is no time to linger in thought with any song during the album as here Feed The Machine steals attention instantly with its vocally anthemic and physically bracing proposal. Repetition in word and sound within the track is a glorious igniting of instincts; that simplicity employed in another rich weave of roving grooves and a cantankerous rhythms skilfully sewn into an irresistibly unpredictable but dramatically galvanic onslaught. Like early Korn in some ways and Slipknot in others, the track still stands distinctively tall as another unique Anti-Clone ravaging of the senses and passions.

ComaSpace brings a moment of relative calm and the chance to catch breath next though unsurprisingly it too has irritability to its tone and dark imposing edge to its atmosphere. Vocally Mr Clone entices ears with a clean delivery as melodies merge acoustic and more aggravated hues into the Deftones spiced offering. Again the band has ears and appetite enthralled, though even being another impressive moment within The Root Of Man, it gets overshadowed a little by Astaroth. The band’s new upcoming single, the song is sonic slavery; the reason mosh pits and lustful reactions were bred into life. As barbarous as anything on the release and the most virulently contagious assault too, the track has everything you need to know about Anti-Clone and whether they are the tonic to your personal musical passions.

Completed by the grisly presence and voice of Sentinel, a sonic inferno of psyche burrowing riffs and grooves amidst an insatiable and concussive tempest of sound and attitude, The Root Of Man is the declaration of a new major force in UK and undoubtedly European metal. Anti-Clone is set to be one of those guiding their journeys over the following years whilst with this superb release, the band has placed themselves right there in stature alongside a great many of those who have inspired their adventure to date.

The Root Of Man is released 29th April  via PHD (Plastic Head Distribution) with more information @ http://www.anticlonehq.com

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Pete RingMaster 04/04/2016

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