Forcing dreams with realisation: talking ESCAPETHECULT with founder Peter G. Shallmin

Peter G. Shallmin

A proposition which increasingly impresses and continually reshapes thoughts and emotions the more time shared with it, All You Want To is one of the year’s most intriguing, ingenious, and exciting progressive metal explorations. It comes from ESCAPETHECULT, a band created and driven by Kamlath bassist Peter G. Shallmin and filled with the further creative talent of Uneven Structure vocalist Matthieu Romarin, Primus/A Perfect Circle drummer Tim Alexander, and guitarist Mike Wead from King Diamond/Mercyful Fate. The project has been a passion brewing away within Peter for years and their first album a compelling and striking incitement for ears, and imagination. We had the pleasure to learn about the band and more with Peter who kindly shared his time to talk band, the search for specific elements, the debut album, and much more….

Hi Peter and thanks for taking time out to chat with us.

Tell us about the beginnings of the band and the initial spark and inspiration behind it.

Greetings from far Siberia, dear Pete! Pleasure to meet you!

Thank you for this great opportunity. Much appreciated. Always nice to have a talk between two Pete’s btw…haha!

Well, it was me, who was so crazy and passionate to begin ESCAPETHECULT. It’s me who’s the spark, inspiration, nerve, force…and even the plague. I’m almost everything.

The absolute “driving force” – my dream when I was very young – was to play with my favourite musicians: Tim Alexander of mighty PRIMUS I was quite fortunate to reach him sending the e-mail with the idea to cooperate. You can understand my highest level of excitement when I’ve received his words “This is cool!”.

Mike Wead is my guitar hero. I’m lucky enough to say he is my long-time partner, we have worked together in my main band Kamlath and I wanted to see him in ESCAPETHECULT.

Was there a sound already in mind as the project came to life and if so how did that evolve as the line-up of ESCAPETHECULT grew?

In fact, I didn’t think about the sound. The keys were: the idea and the music that I had.

Till the very end we didn’t care about the sound. I mean there were no questions how should, say, drums or riff guitars be sounding. As far as the construction of the actual ETC sound was under many factors I was very calm and confident in a result because the highest level of professionals I collaborate.

How about the visual side, was there a concept or direction in mind there too?

I had everything in my mind to embody I just was needed the right artist to make it real.

I get the impression that the project was a seed growing inside over time rather than a sudden spur of the moment idea.

Yes, you are right! Thank you for this question. Not a spur of course…A picky, detailed and really hard job.

Despite the fact that I’ve started to work with Tim and Mike practically immediately, I considered finding a further guitarist for the riff parts and a vocalist. And this was the hardest task ever that has been lasting for 4 years in total. A numerous shots with various guitarists and vocalists all over the world…(around 20 musicians in total or even more) haven’t brought the outcome I hunted to achieve. The final line up was formed just more than year and half ago.

No success to find the right rhythm guitarist has forced me to compose and to demo it by myself and ask Mike to forge and improve them with his brand fingerprint.

And the songs which grace your debut album All You Want To; ideas from before the band or freshly sculpted since its emergence?

Artists involved had a full freedom and all the time they needed to compose and record everything.

Could you imagine that for example one song had blast beats? Yes it was. Some of my basic ideas were so extreme, on the edge. My ideas are not holy, I’m very flexible. Everything on this album was balanced with a clever and mature approach of Tim’s unique touch; the songs were shaped, sculpted as you said, re-arranged by Mike in details (through many months). Matt’s personal contribution as a composer and vocalist is so huge.

Sometimes it sounds like a jam but there’s no jam at all. They have given a new breath, new soul and new life to our creation.

I hate the term super group but certainly ESCAPETHECULT has some already acclaimed talented and inventive musicians involved as you have already talked of. Can you elaborate further on how the link up with you all came about and was this collection of talent always in mind as the band came to reality?

For me ESCAPETHECULT is my musical family. If there’s no Tim Alexander there’s no ETC. It would be a completely different band.

I’ve composed all songs the way like I‘ve “seen” Tim behind the drums. I’ve imagined our jam together: where we stop and go where we put this accent, where’s the fill etc.

Mike is the artist I see in the band – his talent and technique is so unique. Matthieu is the star that I finally found after the years of painful research.

There was a proper picture what should be played, how and where but no restrictions to create something new. There was a full autonomy to Tim, Mike and Matthieu to turn it to another direction. I didn’t care about the whole album sound but I was insane to discover the vocalist with exact timbre, style and the voice charisma.

Now I think the stars (in the sky I mean) did the job right! I had to go through this long way to accomplish exactly what I wanted.

With the likes of Primus, A Perfect Circle, King Diamond, Mercyful Fate, Uneven Structure, and Kamlat the ‘vehicles’ by which we know you all, was there any expectations on the outside towards the ESCAPETHECULT and your debut album escapethecult coverAll You Want To that you came across?

I see ESCAPETHECULT has broken many expectations, I see it on FB when we’ve got a decent amount of “unlike” straight after the first worldwide spin of I’m Absolute. Even in some reviews I felt this big disappointment (why so big?).

I guess some listeners were hoping to hear an aggressive mixture of heavy death metal riffing with more dynamic and fast drumming with harsh recitatives ala “Tommy The Cat” and epic clean vox over mega-delayed ambience with touch of growls here and there…I bet.

Alongside with this kind of reaction we keep receiving mostly praise. We’ve got an immediate support of PROG UK / METAL HAMMER UK – all our official steps were translated through their channels – first promo video, single video, full album stream and the 3 pages feature interview by Dom Lawson in # 49 Prog Magazine printed with such serious analyse and amazing words from him.

We are sincere thankful for those who have devoted much more time (than usually do) to try to get ETC’s message twice (3, 4 times and more), who has postponed for a “next time” to come back and to listen again and again.

Now we are associated with different styles and genres from progressive metal to pop-rock. It’s such a wonderful feeling to learn what our music gives the listener, what thoughts arises and associations brings. Not simple comparison to Tool only :)

You have to listen to our instrumentals – it has so many layers, hidden parts to discover, some unexpected revelations. You’ll find bossa nova in the main bass part of Feel The Flight, tango with “slows and quicks” in Tired Of The Past, psychedelia in This Time Will Come, jazzy odd signatures in I’m Absolute.

There are such varied backgrounds and flavoursome styles behind you all, I am imagining writing and bringing songs to life is a fun but maybe also an intensive kind of moment with numerous ideas coming to the fore. How did the songwriting work in regard to the album and in its recording?

The entire album has been done in my home studio. It has taken no more than 2 weeks in total to compose, record, and arrange all ideas.

I’m lefty, maybe it explains a bit, why our music is so weird…Rhythm section is my passion, I have demoed all drum parts; luckily Tim has kept my drum ideas and enriched it. Tim’s drums are the same as they were delivered by him in the first recording. He has recorded it in his home studio on the same custom TAMA/Zildjian drum he uses with PRIMUS. Don’t need to say that his playing is top notch and tight like a clock so it stays untouched with the rest of the old (at the first demo stage) and the new arrangements.

Unfortunately through those years it was a misfortune to find the right rhythm guitarist and this fact has impelled to record riffs by myself and pass it to Mike then. Mike Wead has re-arranged and recorded riff guitars, leads/solos with a kind assistance of Simon Johansson (guitarist of WOLF, MEMORY GARDEN, ABSTRACT ALGEBRA etc.) at Solna Sound Recording Sweden.

Our rising star – Matthieu also recorded his vocals in own studio. The final production of All You Want To has been completed by Mike.

To sum up…the outcome of all members involved was very fast. The research of the artists has taken 4 years.

The band members are settled in various areas of the world. Did you all come together in one location for the album’s recording or was it done across studios and time etc.?

It was done across studios and time. The web has been a key aspect for the creation of ESCAPETHECULT. The web has made the world small enough for all of us to be able to work together.

There were thousands of mails, notes, guides, mega packages of audio files, sequences, even multi-seconds. It was a smooth and productive experience because everyone knew his role.

In few words it looked like:

– Hey, here’s the sequence 00:45 – 01:15 I put here an additional harmony and few overdubs to support the main part. What you think?

– I love it!

– Don’t you think we need to up the bass volume + 0,00005 dB…

– Hmm… it might work…

– No… roll back + 0,00005 is TOO much …make it + 0,00004 dB

– Yeah, man…I love it!

Kiddin’ of course although you can imagine how meticulous I am. Nevertheless every single note, accent, instrument and the whole performance is natural.

Give us some insight on how the album came together and the energy and determination it has taken to get it all together and out there without any label support.

Free will and sincere approach, Nothing more… If you don’t like the idea or music you won’t join…right?

We do it without any label support. Yes, I wanted it in the very beginning but few hints showed that the labels hadn’t interest in this kind of creative alliance despite the names. To be honest, the music we represent is not for the masses.

Thanks a lot to our partner – HOLD TIGHT PR! James you are doing a really hard job and I guess it was one of the hardest task to let people heard us and to find a balance between existing media tastes, expectations and disappointments and integrate ESCAPETHECULT into it. It’s quite hard nowadays to open the eyes.

Moreover I must admit it’s a very expensive project. Don’t do that if you haven’t the crazy truth in your forces and balls…J

Is there a particular theme or veining musically and lyrically across All You Want To?

Our hearts and souls in every single note!

What have been the main inspirations to the album’s heart and lyrical paintings?

The full title we quote as “ALL YOU WANT TO ESCAPE THE CULT”. We convey our own and simple philosophy on every day’s symbols, signs that have many meanings.

Mostly it’s about the time through many skins, origins, components that are around us: social life, politics and religions. About something that quite often fears us with a touch of sarcasm and self-irony. The primary message is quite simple: Be free. Your freedom is a gift to live and build your own day, life and “world”.

How about the visual side of the project, who drives that and how does it relate to your music.

It was a parallel period that has been took the years too. I’m extremely picky because I know what I want. I was needed a very detailed conceptual art.

The creator of our visual concept is Igor Omodei, a truly talented French artist and he is in UNEVEN STRUCTURE too.

I’ve gave him my ideas, “the story” behind each song and he has created all arts, illustrations to every song and full layout to our debut. Inside of the digipack release you can find a monologue written by Igor. He also did ESCAPETHECULT’s promo video and a debut single video for I’m Absolute.

I’d say more our visualization for this album is not finished yet. Our crew is much wider than you could think and the final list of artists is really big.

ESCAPETHECULT will bring some wonders till the end of this year!

Is there a live side to the band yet with you so far apart?

We are very close with Mike because we haven’t stopped to work and we are on the finish line with the second Kamlath album that should see the light in the end of this year. With Matthieu too – I’m glad he rises higher with Uneven Structure and I’m quite happy for his success.

We were very anxious about Tim’s heart’s surgery lately but now everything’s fine, he is a titan and right now he is back to rehearsals with Primus for the coming tour in November.

Everything’s just fine between us.

It is right to say that the aim is for ESCAPETHECULT to be a unique multi-sensory experience?

At least we’ve tried and now we have our own experience, personal and in the creation of All You Want To. If the listener thinks the same – we are happy! In any case we continue our creative investigations

We found All You Want To made a potent initial impact but flourished more the further down the line we went, its charm and elements a lingering lure drawing us back into its arms where to be fair we discovered more and more of its depths with every listen. As you brought the album to life did you feel or sense how it might work predominantly with listeners?

Strange… Weird?

Bizarre!

Avant-garde!!!

Hell, No..!

Hell…Yeah!

WTF?!

So boring…

Damn, it’s a gem!

(ah ..yes I’ve forgot all those who has disliked …you know what they usually say J)

We called it a progressive album to give a sense of its sounds to readers, but it embraces much more than that. How would you describe it?

This is the MUSIC and ART first. The second – it’s not a “piece of cake”, a “hard nut” indeed. It’s very intelligent concept for a forward thinking person. No clichés…A book within deep musical and art landscapes. You HAVE to take a time to understand it… Not just one take. All You Want To opens up more with every new spin. Mature, honest, diverse and unique.

What comes next for ESCAPETHECULT?

The second album of course… a new visualization in a more bizarre way.

We have faced some reviewers making a mistake in the title of the album put the word “Need” instead “Want”, so I think we have to call our next work “All You NEED To”…

(The RingMaster Review holds hands up in guilt)

People want to see us on the stage in 2015 we consider some opportunities to make this project live.

Till the end of this year there will be a limited edition release in a very special package of all instrumental versions of the songs plus some cool surprises.

Thanks again Peter for sharing your time to talk with us. Any last words you would like to share?

My pleasure to answer to your interesting questions!

All the best to our listeners, to RingMaster!

Listen to the MUSIC! We bring it to you!

Cordially,

ESCAPETHECULT

www.facebook.com/EscapeTheCvlt

Read the All You Want To review @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/08/19/escape-the-cult-all-you-need-to/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 31/10/2014

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Escapethecult – All You Want To

ETC-band-2

All You Want To  is a persistent little temptation, an album which admittedly did not really blow thoughts and senses away initially but did engage them in a pleasing and intriguing proposition. Away from its aural embrace though hooks and melodies, rhythmic twists and grooves kept swerving around the imagination and memory, all leading back to and revealing themselves as being bred by the debut album from Escapethecult. The seven track encounter is still not an experience to leave you intensely awestruck but with its lingering and ingenious enterprise certainly enthrals as one of the year’s more exciting progressive metal propositions.

Escapethecult is one of those super groups you read about, a collection of established musicians taking time out from their more recognisable exploits to explore new hopefully impressive avenues, something the quartet does with ease from start to finish. The brainchild of Kamlath bassist Peter G. Shallmin, Escape The Cult came to life in 2008 with its founder drawing on the qualities of vocalist Matthieu Romarin of Uneven Structure, guitarist Mike Wead from King Diamond/Mercyful Fate, and Primus/A Perfect Circle drummer Tim Alexander to help realise his vision of creating a progressive metal audio/visual experience. It has been a journey for the band to this point and for Shamlin who talked about the album saying “It was a dynamic and exciting start, with blood, sweat and tears shed throughout the process and a long exhausted preparation for the attack. Every day was worth to make it real. We were sincere in our ideas that are embodied in our debut.

The gentle but resourceful entrance of opener Backfired, with a bass twang courting spicy guitar enterprise, swiftly catches the imagination and though it is not a dramatic start to the album, an intrigued appetite for the song’s offering is

Created by Igor Omodei

Created by Igor Omodei

drawn. The distinctive tones of Romarin bring a familiar and passionate texture to the emerging narrative of the song, one never forceful or in a rush to challenge ears and thoughts but leaving inventive tendrils of melodies and strains of sonic incitement to infest the passions. It is a potent and riveting start to the album, basking in the renowned individual skills of its creators whilst forging a compelling and unique suasion of its own.

The following Clandestine opens with a muscular and aggressive threat which is soon tempered by an evocative heat of sonic colour and warm vocals. There is still an intensive weight to the rhythmic potency of Alexander though to keep senses on edge and balance out the almost Queens Of the Stone Age like sultriness coating the melodic exploration of the song. Grooves are seemingly slight in their bodies yet make for the most addictive and as mentioned earlier relentless temptations, the outstanding second track one of those which makes the most re-appearances in thoughts away from its source, whilst the flames of guitar endeavour from Wead transfixes as they scorch air and senses.

A definite pinnacle of the album, it is soon backed up by the gentle croon of I’m Absolute. With an immediately delicious web of hypnotic bass flirtation and the similarly mesmeric vocals of Romarin, the song sways and immerses ears in a smouldering and jazzy emprise of progressive fascination. The beats juggled by Alexander further captivate and ignite an already invigorating breath to a song, which as the album as a whole, does not explode in the passions but worms its way seductively into the psyche to forge an even more intensive bond.

Both the melodically tender Feel The Flight and the rapacious Tired Of The Past provide an absorbing canvas to lose one’s thoughts within, the first adding tense riffs and restrained yet incendiary grooves into its impassioned but mellow landscape. It is another where particular elements fire up ears and the passions rather than an overall combination but that united blend provides the embrace and rich foundation within which the sublime twists and essences can impress. Its successor is a feistier encounter in sound and intent which boils with imagination and unpredictability, preying on and tempting the listener with a provocatively charged invention which snarls and seduces with equal predation. An exceptional track binding ears in a thrilling adventure, it also sows seeds which blossom at a later date, though that is something truthfully which applies to all songs, as shown by the brilliant This Time Will Come. Hints of Alice In Chains and Tool, which have flirted with other songs too, make a rich enticement within the masterful blaze of intensive melodies and sonic acidity. There is also an underlying snarl and angst fuelled growl to the track which simply scintillates within the impressive and constantly evolving invention as it pushes itself to be the pinnacle of the release.

Where No Grown Up Grapes brings the album to a fine close with its web of heavy vocal and sonic passion. It is another where it simmers without lighting fires but then in a twist of a chord or rhythmic shuffle finds an enslaving idea or slither of imagination to set thoughts and passions ablaze. That sums up All You Want To as a whole, it at times simply pleasing with skilled ease and then striking with sheer genius and expectations slaughtering ingenuity. It all makes for an album which leaves a rich impression and presence with even deeper laid lures which prey on the listener later. How frequently Escapethecult will be exploring ears and imagination ahead we will see with its members ‘day jobs’ etc. but anticipation and hunger for more is already breeding healthily thanks to All You Want To.

The self-released All You Want To is scheduled to be unveiled in September 2014.

www.facebook.com/EscapeTheCvlt

8.5/10

RingMaster 19/08/2014

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Heart of a Coward: Hope & Hindrance

Two years in its creation Hope & Hindrance the debut album from UK metallers Heart of a Coward has been the focus of much eager anticipation. The media and fans alike have been waiting with at times a less than patient gait but the mightily impressive release more than justifies the saying that all good things come to those that wait, and does it with a formidable and explosive collection of bruising anger fuelled defiant and intense tracks.

Formed in 2007 the Milton Keynes based quintet of guitarists Carl Ayers and Steve Haycock, bassist Vishal V Khetia, drummer Christopher Noddy Mansbridge (ex-Enter Shikari and Fellsilent), and ex-Sylosis vocalist Jamie Graham, has fired up much attention and enthused acclaim for their muscular mix of groove metal and metalcore through their live shows, an early demo plus the Collisions EP both 2008, and The Dead Sea EP the following year. It is arguably with the addition of Graham and Mansbridge last year to the band that interest rose even more acutely to ensure an eager definite waiting audience for this first album.

Hope & Hindrance badgers and rampages through the ear from the opening full heart beat of first song Motion through to closing intense cranial investigation of Break These Chains. The album challenges and consumes the senses with tumultuous riffs, technical skill, and ingrained melodic grooves that attach themselves with a compulsive attraction. It is testing and provocative but equally inspiring and infectious. As the opening song also shows the album and band is strikingly inventive. Motion descends on the ear from distance as it invites itself in to then  explode into venomous and  acidic melodies that drip from the violent intent that spines the song. With technical intricacies spawn from the likes of Meshuggah and Uneven Structure the track manipulates and convinces submission whilst the vocals of Graham passionately growls and aggressively spews out lyrics that are as caustic and invoking as their delivery. The balance the band brings between the intense nature of the music and the intelligently crafted progressive and melodic technical invention is perfect making each song a rounded and fully satisfying experience.

As the album moves through its slices of stirring tracks it twists and turns constantly making for a release that is varied and never predictable. From the excellent All Eyes To The Sky with its thoughtful and emotive melodies, the wonderfully abrasive Nightmare, to the Deftones flavoured Light, the album leaves one searching for cover but equally breathless and grinning from the pure power and striking craft that pours from each song. The third of these three songs is a slow brooding creature that consumes with a  dark grace whilst veined with a building ominous tone which is never allowed free rein at any point. The track is majestic and an inspired break from the raging intensity elsewhere.

It is hard to pick a highlight from this persistently high quality release but Around A Girl (In 80 Days) definitely makes a good shout for it. The song plays against and with the insidious intensity that takes the ear by force with smoothly compelling vocal and warm yet sharp harmonies. As always there is never a moment of complete safety from the adversarial intent and sounds but the band knows how to temper this with imaginative skill as the corrosively urgent We Stand As One shows.

Hope & Hindrance is an excellent album that endorses and elevates all the hopes and expectations that were laid before its arrival. Heart of a Coward has stated with strength and the undeniable proof of their album that they are a band that should and surely will become a major part of UK metal.

RingMaster 24/04/2012

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Outcast: Awaken the Reason

As we go into the fourth month it is increasingly becoming apparent that the choosing of an Album of the Year when December closes its darkened eyes is going to be a task and a half, the amount of impressive contenders already building up into a formidable challenge even this early into 2012. Well that was until French metalers Outcast stole a march on everyone with their staggering new album Awaken the Reason. The release is truly immense in sound, power, and invention. It is a disruptive and addictive maze of ingenuity and invigorating ideas, a maelstrom of unpredictable diversions, senses twisting manipulations, and a beast of intriguing mischief and heightened intensity. It is simply brilliant, an album that sets the heart on fire, sends the mind racing, and triggers deep emotions to an orgasmic conclusion.

      Outcast is like an alchemist come sonic chef. The band takes ingredients from previous inventions, as well as flavours and spices borne in musical recipes elsewhere to turn them with their own special ingredient of imagination, into something completely and stirringly new. Awaken the Reason is an explosion of innovation and a seemingly chaotic tapestry of sounds, a mighty journey that challenges, hypnotises and offers something new on each quest taken within its pulsating metallic walls.

The Parisian band formed in 1998 and originally under the guise of Overlander, started grabbing attention from the French underground scene with their death metal tinted thrash flavoured debut 4 track CD The Source Of All Creation in 2002. March 2005 saw the release of First Call/Last Warning, a ten track album blending the power of Swedish thrash metal with the intensity of death metal whilst bringing in passion fuelled melodies. The current line-up of vocalist Wilfried Fagnon, guitarists Jean-François Di Rienzo and Nicolas Soulat, bassist Clément Mauro, and Mathieu Santin on drums, was established in 2007, the quintet releasing the second Outcast album Self-Injected Reality a year later and the emergence of a diverse and technical sound alongside their enflamed melodies that has evolved wonderfully in Awaken the Reason.

Released via Listenable Records on April 4th this metal/progressive jewel is set to place the band firmly in the eyes and ears of the world. If the likes of Uneven Structure, Texture, and Meshuggah get your juices dribbling, Awaken the Reason is an essential must, but there is so much more within the release and its creations. The progressive metal Outcast unleashes has essences found in the likes of Between the Buried and Me and Circles, the aggressive uncompromising intensity they grip the ear with can be heard from the likes of Bloodsimple and especially vocally Society 1, whilst the sheer eccentric and unpredictable conjurations remind of bands like Five Star Prison Cell. All this is disassembled and designed into something wholly unique and wholly Outcast.

The album breaks out with the opening frenzy that is Elements, the track taking no time in sending splintered acidic melodies and grunting riffs through the ear whilst seeking and filling every corner of the senses with progressive meanders seeded in insanity and upon an intimidating metallic vein. Flitting through chaotic changes and detours the song never sits still or leaves one time to grab a deep breath, its driven manic evolution surprising and pure temptation from beginning to end.

Every aspect of the band and songwriting is at a staggering height, from the manipulative guitars that mesmerise and exploit with intrusive riffs, the acute and scorched melodies that sear the senses with innovational skill, through to the uncompromising yet stunningly and attentively crafted rhythms. Adding vocals that bring a caustic menace and expressive added texture to the brilliantly conceived constructs of sound, the likes of Abysmal, the epic A Solace from the Shade, and the metal wildness of Isolation, emerge as the astonishing results.

     Awaken the Reason – Part IV: When Dawn Brings Clarity slows things down with a beautifully atmospheric piece of music, the haunting ambience and piano/string grace striking at a personal level as it transports one to a lonely shore and mind. It finds a climax that unravels within a distorted cloud to turn to the best track on the album in Spin Angular Moments. The track blisters the ear with stupefying acute explosions of melodic insurgency and uniquely structured provocative rhythms and malignant toned growls and power. The senses are then blindsided by wonderful progressive invention before succumbing once more to the psychotic nature of the composition. It plays like the continually shifting mind of a madman, a glorious ingenious kaleidoscope of warped brilliance.

There is not a weakness on the album as the likes of What Would be my Final Commitment? and the closing Awaken the Reason – Part XI: Reprise prove. Mixed by Jochem Jacobs (Textures) and mastered by Alan Douches (Mastodon, Dillinger Escape Plan) Awaken the Reason is truly a masterful and magnificent feast. Outcast have probably escaped the attention of a great many until now but with this stunning album that is just about to change.

RingMaster 31/03/2012

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Hypno5e: Acid Mist Tomorrow

This review of the new album from French experimental metalers Hypno5e has been one of the hardest to write. Acid Mist Tomorrow is immense, a true masterpiece and master class in ingenuity, imagination and technical ability of musicianship and songwriting. The problem with writing about it is where to begin, what to concentrate on, and how to present in written form all the qualities and startling imagination and originality within its stunning soundscapes. To try and understand the album and its workings leaves one bordering confusion, its stunning invention and conjurations difficult to get a handle on. Thankfully the band had no problem during its creation and has been borne a release that stands astride genres, thoughts, and boundaries, its innovation seamless and unfailing. The album is organic and instinctive despite so many attention grabbing elements and that makes the release so much more impressive and incredible.

Des Deux L’une Est L’Autre the debut album from Hypno5e in 2007 made the world sit up and soak the release in acclaim though it is fair to say the band still did not find the recognition worldwide that they and the release deserved. In some ways the release was ahead of its time and only in the past couple of years have others caught up with the invention and imagination the band inspired. Of course now they have got there they find that the men from Montpellier have moved on and with Acid Mist Tomorrow have set new heights and ingenious musical experiments to aspire to. The quartet of Emmanuel Jessua (lead vocals/guitar), Thibault Lamy (drums/percussions), Cédric Pages (bass/backing vocals), and Jonathan Maurois (guitar) have returned with a matured and more defined craft in their composing but still it is no less barrier flipping and eccentrically adventurous. They do not allow limitations of any design to stand in their way or restrain musical ideas however off kilter they may appear, they just embrace and explore them as Acid Mist Tomorrow proves.

The title track opens the impressive event and within the first two minutes brings such diverse elements into a glorious spread for the senses to immerse into. The opening seconds finger the ear with tense yet provocative touches before firmly gripping with stomping riffs and a hardcore vocal delivery.  These step back not long after as the melodic mellowness of the band swells and envelopes the ear with a warm smooth caress, though the weighty brute of sound is prowling and waiting just below the surface. Soon they merge and combine into a bewitching unsettling beast, their perfect sounding union leaving the senses unsure whether they are being violated or made love to. Through ten minutes of glorious imagination the song twists and pulls the senses though a journey of unpredictable wizardry, grinding riffs, rousing and  intoxicating melodic manipulation, and persuasive atmospheric  enchantment.

To be honest words do not do justice to the song or album, it really is impossible to portray what inspired treasures lay within its pulsating walls. The emotion packed Six Fingers In One Hand She Holds The Dawn – Part II steps up next to tear the heart into a hundred grateful and satisfied pieces. Following on from the brief emotive introduction of Part 1, the piece mesmerises and holds the hand as it unveils a deep and impassioned elegance, the song laying its heart before the ear. Once captivated the track bursts into a ferocious nightmare with an intensity that invades every pore and synapse. It is stunning and adventurous with plenty of what would be for any other band distracting interludes and detours that do not work but from Hypno5e it is challenging but natural and seamless.

The rest of the album is just as amazing and inspiring so the suggestion is to go investigate yourselves what is one of the finest albums to be unleashed in a long time, and just note that the other tracks Story Of The Eye, Gehenne (Parts 1 through to 3), and Brume Unique Obscurité (Part 1 and 2), also leave only deep rooted adulation and awe inspired acclamation in their wake.

It is fair to say Hypno5e will not find a willing home with everyone but if the likes of Uneven Structure, Gojira, and Textures get your juices excited Hypno5e and Acid Mist Tomorrow will have you leaking all over the place.

RingMaster 20/03/2012

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Spawn of Possession – Incurso

Having heard impressive things about Swedish technical death metal band Spawn Of Possession there was an added intrigue about the eagerness that accompanied the venture into the new album from the band, Incurso. One can read a never ending flow of words in praise but it is only when the sound and creativity hits you that you understand the height or depth of a band or their release. Nothing indicated the stunning and immense power, uniqueness, and pure imagination that were to unfold as Incurso laid its wizard spawn artistry and ingenuity upon the ear. First listen has one staggering under the sheer weight of diversity and inventiveness not to mention the all consuming intensity, but given further attention and shared experiences the album becomes part of everything, as potent as breathing and as lingering as death.

       Incurso is the third album from the band and their debut on Relapse Records. The five year wait has been long for their fans to endure and an unpredictable time for the band with multiple line-up changes sine predecessor Noctambulant. Last year saw the combined might of guitarists Jonas Bryssling ( last remaining band founder) and Christian Müenzner (Obscura, Ex-Necrophagist, Ex-Defeated Sanity), bassist Erlend Caspersen (Deeds Of Flesh, ex-Blood Red Throne), drummer Henrik Schönström (Unmoored, ex-Torchbearer), and former drummer Dennis Röndum who moved to fronting the band with his inspired vocals, emerging and together conjuring and album which not only sets the senses aflame but manipulates and toys with them like maniacal puppeteers.

It really is hard to describe the majesty and incredible technical skill as well as the pure organic feel the band creates on the album. Incurso is a release that hits you instantly but also takes time unveiling all of its qualities and deeply rooted additive grip. Whether listening to it for the third or thirteenth time something new finds its way into the ear bringing each listen a surprising and new experience taken with a close hearted friend. Repeating dreams or nightmares offer something new with each venture into your sleeping state, Incurso does the same bringing new shadows and light with malicious twists each and every time it fingers your senses and consciousness.

The release opens with instrumental Abodement, a piece which is for them relatively straight forward but opens up the ear with a skilled musical weaning before taking one into the maelstrom of intrusive delights ahead. Where Angels Go Demons Follow takes no time getting down to business, its guitars slicing through the ear with crafty intricate skill and maximum venom whilst the slightly reserved rhythms rather than blast its victim wears them down with incessant niggling. The bass plunders the nerves with intimidating riffs whilst Röndum spews out his intent and words with the blackest malevolence. Combined they pilfer the senses of feeling until they lie numb and shell shocked under the intense testing. This is only the second track; you can imagine how one feels as the closing threat of Apparition takes its leave.

As songs like The Evangelist, a track which spatters the ear with intensive rhythms and provocative riffs whilst meandering through scorched diversity, and Deus Avertat rupture and expel a sonic beauty and devastation upon every corner of the mind and body, the album just grows in greatness and more power. The second of these two songs courts the mind with acidic intrusions whilst leaving it with bruised contusions from its unrelenting complex and sophisticated senses blowing conjurations. From beginning to end the album ignites and fires up so many emotions and thoughts to match its vast cacophony of ingenious creativity, songs like Servitude Of Souls and No Light Spared as triumphant as those already mentioned.

Imagine the likes of Obscura, Gorod, Uneven Structure, and Meshuggah boiled down to a puree and then added to something distinctly different and you get Spawn Of Possession. Incurso is a monstrous beast, and as it annihilates and blisters the senses with its technical brutality and sophisticated creativity it takes them into new realms and pleasures, lighting them up and eager for more and more of its violations. The album hits hard and fast inviting you to spend more and more time in its devious arms, but the delights it gives when you succumb are beyond measure, try it!

RingMaster 09/03/2012

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Uneven Structure – Februus

The anticipation for the debut album from French progressive metalers Uneven Structure was tempered a little when finding out how long Februus took to create. Actually it was not the time taken as that shows care and the element of perfection in the band that has to be a good thing, it was reading the quote from guitarist Aure Pereira who commented on the album “We have been constantly re-writing Februus over the past two years with the aim of turning it into something really special and soulful. We wanted to be sure that we had put the best of us in it and I think we’ve been successful at doing that.” It was the ‘constantly rewriting’ part that raised a little concern as any artist in any medium knows and finds there comes a point where something is finished, it is at its height and continued work upon it simply takes the subject further away from its envisaged finality. Of course now one regrets doubting the sextet as Februus is a masterpiece of creative songwriting and its stunning realisation.

Formed in 2008, the Metz based band released an EP a year later called 8 (available as a free download in its entirety from the band’s official website) and immediately drew acclaim and eager enthusiasm for their debut which is released via Basick Records October 31st.  Februus is a concept album spanning across two discs dealing with evolution, the passage from nothing to a beings completion. A bold effort for the first official release for any band but as the time spent on it shows Uneven Structure push and stretch their skills, ideas and songwriting until they achieve their intent. As good as 8 was there is a marked leap in quality and levels with Februus , their progressive metal and djent polymetric rhythms and riffs fluid within the astonishing ambient and atmospheric soundscapes. Expectation was of sounds loaded with Meshuggah/TessaracT type polyrhythmic layers but though they are prominent they fuse within the intelligent melodic tapestries and ambient passages, from this is where the real power of the release lies.

 Februus is one of those fine albums that have an instantaneous connection as well as containing substantial textures and intriguing corridors to explore on each subsequent visit. It is a flowing album from the opening aggressive ‘Awaken‘ through to the closing ‘Finale’ on disc 1, each track merging into another with seamless elegance and effect but still making each song distinctively separate. From this the album works as a single experience or in its individual parts, though the greatest satisfaction is from experiencing Februus in its entirety. As mentioned ‘Awaken‘ strikes intensely before unveiling its melodic might and the impressive vocals of Matthieu Romarin, in a release of only highs he is one of the most triumphant elements, his voice and delivery a perfect balance between harsh and clean.

The opener flows into ‘Frost’ a darkly toned track with taunting riffs and a less violent attack though just as intimidating in it’s different attack. The trio of guitarists in Jérôme Colombelli, Igor Omodei, and Aurélien Pereira, who also provides ambient flows with synths throughout the release, unleash stirring and emotive sounds that make the song and Frebuus more than an aural experience. Romarin again fills the song with a perfect mix of light and dark over the forceful rhythms from bassist Benoit Friedrich and drummer Christian Schreil, in a band of talented musicians he really is imperious.

Tracks like ‘Hail’, ‘Awe’ and ‘Quittance’ enflame the senses with their startling construction and unique sounds, the band the instigators of imagery and emotions with their thoughtful and original arresting compositions. The two ambient fuelled instrumentals of ‘Exmersion’ and ‘Limbo’ are as striking as any other song and effective in making a respite to the intensity though both carry their own strength, especially the latter with its haunting and disturbing feeling of sensing something is there but impossible to touch or clearly view. This leads into the album’s best track ‘Plenitude’ which is the realisation and conclusion as it joins ‘Finale’ of the concept within Frebuus.

The production from guitarist Igor Omodei is impeccable with every element, sound and intricacy openly heard but still an even part of the overall mixture. There are no obvious flaws to Frebuus and with its depth and uniqueness it is at the head of the best releases this year. The second disc contains three tracks running 30 minutes of ambient sounds that run on from the first disc’s closing track and conjures up more imagery as it plays in the mind and senses. If there is one album to make a deliberate b-line to this is it, Uneven Structure has set a new standard for melodic metal with their debut and will surely make a lot of bands reassess their own sound and approach.

http://www.unevenstructure.net

http://www.facebook.com/unevenstructure

RingMaster 26/10/2011

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