Anchored By Avarice: Axillion EP

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     Encapsulating the listener in a sonic furnace of heat, intensity, and passion, the Axillion EP from UK metallers Anchored By Avarice is a corrosive invigorating fire which extinguishes the air from lungs and replaces it with incendiary promise and awe. To be honest the release is so accomplished and captivating that it is a finished confrontation in its own right but you still feel there is much more to come from the band in imagination and craft, let alone further uniqueness.

The quintet from Wakefield formed in June 2011 and set about creating a tempest of invention and melodic destruction. Primarily you can declare the band a metalcore onslaught but with scorching flames of djent, hardcore, and melodic death metal to their confrontation, it is a sound which has a distinction and imagination which sets the passions ablaze and marks the band as a rising target for attention and acclaim. Already having unleashed live scourges upon stages alongside the likes of Villa Rise, Silent Screams, Our People Versus Yours, The Omega Particle, Carving a Giant and The Colour Line, the band is currently in the midst of a UK tour, dates to be found on their Facebook profile, and on the evidence of Axillion this is one band not to be missed if threatening your town.

Opening track Endless Corruption sidles up to the ear with seductive sonics and mesmeric keys filling a subdued ambience with 1600x1600coverslight agitation and compelling beckoning. It is a brief invitation before a surge of senses buffeting riffs and crisp unforgiving rhythms stretch and ignite their muscles, the initial elegant caress still in place but with a stronger acidic and cutting breath. The vocal squalls of Tom Bellamy immediately grab attention, their almost accusing forceful brawling tone a step above most and with a clarity which ensures the lyrical passion has full reign to impact on the listener. Into its full stride now the djent manipulating riffs from Danny Widdowson and Andy Parkinson ravage the senses whilst their adjacent sonic guitar whispers are loud and compelling throughout the track to perpetually whisk thoughts away from the unrelenting ferocity into evocative climes. It is a song which has little restraint in any aspect but a craft and composure to its creation which balances everything perfectly for an enthralling and unpredictable experience, something which applies to the whole release.

The following Furies of Charbydis instantly bewitches the senses with sonic mastery and sparks whilst chewing the synapses with ravenous raptorial riffs and punishing rhythms, the bass of Jack Bhogal mauling with a rabid hunger and intent whilst the drum beats of Blue Thorn resonate in ear and bone with a resonance and spite which is immeasurable. The song is a stirring blend of melodic persuasion and sinew stretching intimidation woven together with immense thought and skill so that each facet and extreme seamlessly and instinctively flows alongside and within each other. Admittedly whether, like in all songs, there is enough which lingers in the memory after the song has fled the scene is debatable but this is a band still evolving and the remembrance of how impressive tracks and the EP were as they burnt savagely upon the person is in no degree debatable.

Substance For Slumber is a stunning beast of fury and passion with a sonic and melodic embrace that explodes and entices like a siren. Arguably the song has less open temptation than the first pair but replaces it with more drama and emotive intensity to provoke and inspire an equal depth of satisfaction and ardour for its expressive and innovative storm. Because of its continually shifting gait amidst the torrent of breakdowns, crippling rhythms, and melodic intrigue, the song is one track which leaves a longer lasting voice behind, the expanse of ideas and emotion an inciting yet spellbinding brutal tide.

The title track is the fullest triumph of the release, its highest pinnacle. From its math/technical metal beginning hex, the track explores with riveting erosive breath and an equally captivating quarrel through consistently testing and teasing switches of position and sound entwined into one galvanic bruising treat. As elsewhere the vocals leave their stinging mark with quality and belligerence whilst the guitars perform a sonic alchemy to compliment the barrage of lethal richly defined rhythms from bass and drums.

The closing Resentment simply confirms the quality and strength of Anchored By Avarice and the release, its tight and explosive stance a final rousing instigator upon the by now lustful passions. The Axillion EP is an exceptional release which makes a towering declaration of how exciting and creatively powerful the band is and excitingly will be.

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9/10

RingMaster 02/03/2013

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Villa Rise: Wastelands

Classed as a hardcore/punk band in their own bio Australian band Villa Rise are one of an emerging breed that do not neatly fit in any department, this quintet alone veining their creations with a varied and flavoursome array of ideas and sounds. It makes for an intriguing and in some ways an initial undefined direction from many bands though one cannot say that about Villa Rise. As their debut EP Wastelands shows this is a band with clear ideas and thought as well as a craft and ability to achieve them.

Coming from Sydney the band took the decision to relocate to the UK not so long ago to hit the music scene here, making Brighton their base. Whether simply a confidence in their sound, the wish to try new pastures, or a statement about the scene in their homeland it was a brave move for a young band to undertake, though going on the evidence of Wastelands and the high profiled gigs on the horizon, they could and should find big rewards for doing so.

As mentioned they are classed as hardcore but the tracks with the EP reveal veins of metalcore and tech metal to same just two, the songs bursting with aggressive intensity, dark bulging riffs, thoughtfully crafted melodies, and a wonderful discordant touch that always hits the spot. There is also intelligent attention given to their lyrical side, the EP offering the  thought that happiness is a state of mind as it brings the story of ’a young man who descends into madness, because of his inability to accept the positives and in his life.’

From the brief opening track Fracture and its sampled disaster broadcast the release erupts fully with the following Keeper. With a breathless assault from the first note the band thrusts through the ear with towering riffs and incisive melodic guitars from Ben Clink and Brendan Farneli whist the vocals of Jarrod Martin scowl and rage perfectly, his attack dripping anger and venom. The song twists and turns with a seamless flow and success as group vocals, stirring rhythms from drummer Alex Wood, and belligerent riffs from bassist Kyle Usher punctuate the great searching melodic manipulations.

Blindeye and the title track take over next, both impressive and deeply striking tracks though the latter of the two has an easier gait to been drawn to despite being further down the descent to disengaged sanity. Though each track can be taken singly very effectively there is a definite connection and bond that can only be felt and appreciated between the songs when taken as a whole,  a provocative and thought inspiring package.

The EP is completed by Villains and Shadows. Again two songs as equal in quality and enterprise as those before them. In a parallel to the subject they are investigating the songs and EP become more challenging as it nears its end though never losing its firm creative grip and imaginative use of melodies, diverse sounds, and unpredictable invention.

Wastelands is also a grower that starts with an appealing and impressive first introduction but the more time spent in its company the more one finds its depths and creative treasures. Taking influences from the likes of Defeater, Alexisonfire and Comeback Kid, Villa Rise release the EP on April 30th via Monarch Records and as a free download. Already the band is proving a worthy new addition to the metal scene in the UK with Wastelands suggesting there is still much more to come.

Ringmaster 23/04/2012

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