Bootlegs – Ekki fyrir viðkvæma

Bootlegs_RingMasterReview

With the band recently inking a worldwide management deal with GlobMetal Promotions, we thought a look at Bootlegs’ recent album, Ekki fyrir viðkvæma, was in order.  Formed in 1986 and soon becoming one of the bigger names in Icelandic metal history over the next five years or so, Bootlegs released two highly praised albums in that period before disbanding in 1991. Since then the band has come and gone through a couple of brief comebacks before returning more permanently in 2012. Released last year, Ekki fyrir viðkvæma is the Reykjavik quartet’s latest incitement of raw and ferocious thrash metal, a release metal fans will not want to be missing out on.

WC Monster and their self-titled second album, released 1989 and 1990 respectively, certainly pushed Bootlegs from national success towards recognition upon the broader metal map as too appearances on compilation albums over the next couple of years and a live presence which saw the band break into the likes of Denmark. After coming to an end, the band did come back together for a big reunion concert which was recorded and subsequently released as a live album a few years later in 2006. Before its release though, Bootlegs were already active again, returning in 2004 for a two to three year presence.  Then in 2010, they arose again with original members back; the fresh return followed by releases of the band’s first two albums in 2014 via Minotauro Records. Last year saw Bootlegs enter the studio for their first recordings in over two decades, and emerging with the rather impressive and rousing Ekki fyrir viðkvæma.

With the vocal roars of guitarists Jón ‘Junior’ Símonarsson and Jón Örn ‘Nonni ‘ Sigurðsson to the fore and its energy and intensity driven by the rhythmic predation of bassist Ingimundur ‘Elli’ Ellert Þorkellsson and drummer Kristján ‘Stjuni’ Ásvaldsson, album and sound is old school, thrash in its irritable prime. It is unafraid to offer some punk attitude too, at times songs breaching a Suicidal Tendencies like punkiness, but for the main and in its individual style, Ekki Fyrir Viðkvæma is the perfect fit for tastes bred on the likes of Voivod, Exodus, Metallica, Slayer, and Subhumans.

Front_RingMasterReviewFrom the hungrily abrasive and riotous punk ‘n’ roll of Gervigleði er ógleði, the album has ears and appetite in league with its ferocious intent. It is a great opener quickly matched in success and persuasion by the thrash prowl of Fullur á Facebook. Grooves and hooks collude with rapier like swings from Stjuni in the second song, luring in the listener before uncaging a ravenous assault and devilment reminding of the crossover thrash sounds of the previously mentioned California hailing band.

As the likes of the senses nagging KúkurPissOgÆl and the glorious exploits of Bootlegs fyrir börnin come and go, it is fair to say that major surprises are few yet fierce temptation and unbridled enjoyment unmistakable and inescapable. Within the second of the two, there is also something very familiar about certain melodies and flavoursome hooks yet all escape comparison to anyone in particular as the track steals ears and passions with ease. There is an occasional sense of early Stam1na, passing essences fleetingly bringing the Finnish band to mind as the track provides the first major pinnacle within the album.

Tribute to Thrash is one of the few English sung tracks and more than lives up to its title, swinging along with a snarl and swagger while being as multi-flavoured as its predecessor. With some great guitar interplay involved it is followed by Eitur naðra which explores a darker and heavier canvas of textures and character as sonic flames vein its intimidating posture and tone. The track is just one more highly memorable proposal, whether stalking the listener or in a rampage of niggling riffs and the snakiest of toxic grooves, and swiftly irresistible as too the in the face predation and roar of the excellent Gjallarhorn.

By this point it is fair to say that Ekki fyrir viðkvæma had us hooked, sharing physical and vocal, where we could language wise, involvement with instinctive eagerness. The pair of Fórnarlamb tískunnar and Kjörkassasvín only add to the album’s temptation and uncompromising thrills; both tracks providing an immediate and merciless trespass as anthemic as they are grouchy. They are highly addictive proposals carrying an array of imagination pleasing twists and turns backed by the band’s individual craft; the latter especially intriguing and devilish in shape and resources.

Making less of a dramatic and lingering impression is Poser though fair to say that its antagonistic attack leaves only satisfaction in its wake before Haleluja adds its own creative incitement and SOD III uncages the album’s shortest and most hostile offering yet. Again both leave pleasure full without matching earlier triumphs with the closing Ó Reykjavík providing a final spirit arousing galvanic punk ‘n’ roll stomp to greedily devour.

It is a great end to an excellent release. Ekki fyrir viðkvæma might not be the best thrash album you will have heard this past year or so, though it is in with a real shout, but it is undoubtedly on the frontline of the most enjoyable and ridiculously easy to return to propositions you will come across.

Ekki fyrir viðkvæma is available @ https://bootlegsthrash.bandcamp.com/releases

http://www.facebook.com/bootlegsiceland

Pete RingMaster 11/05/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Sonick Plague – Self Titled

SP6_RingMaster Review

You have to be grateful to Sonick Plague and Pavement Music for bringing us not only a blast from the band’s past but giving it a fresh breath and energy, though it is easy to suspect a straight release of their 1988 debut album would have been a treat too for those us missing it first time around. The West Virginian thrashers though have re-recorded and re-energized that rampage, originally titled What’s the Purpose, and uncaged it as a self-titled offering and attention filler whilst the band works on new material. It is old school thrash dosed up with punk and classic metal ferocity, and yes the band’s sound has been emulated, reworked, and twisted many times over the years since Sonick Plague unleashed their album, but still the songs just stir up ears and appetite.

Formed in 1984, the band’s first ‘memorable’ line-up of Ken Cuccaro (drums) and Tim Meehan (guitars), alongside Tony Teodoro (guitars) and Sean Donnelly (bass, vocals) came a few years later, the four behind the band’s 1988 debut album. Though it swiftly gained hordes of new fans and attention, not long after it’s unveiling, Meehan left the band to be subsequently replaced by guitarist Chuck Crilly. From there Sonick Plague undertook their own self-supported tour and shared stages with the likes of Death Angel, Voivod, Gwar, Pantera, Ludichrist, Crumbsuckers and many more. The intensity of that tour and surrounding shows saw the band’s stability shaken, and after a few unsuccessful line-up changes the band parted. It was apparently the sad passing of Teodoro in 2012 that sparked Cuccaro, Donnelly, and Crilly to begin talking musical things again, and with the addition of Matt Dupre, Sonick Plague reformed and set about re-recording their first offering.

album-cover-_RingMaster Review     Recorded at the legendary Carriage House Studios, the album quickly gets down to business with Street Wars. An alluring melodic entrance gives no indication of the sonic rioting to come but it does wake up ears and imagination nicely. Increasing its muscle and drama with every passing chord, riff, and spiky beat, the track eventually hits full steam, the vocals of Donnelly ripe with attitude and aggression. We are as many, not able to bring a comparison to the first version of the album but it is hard to imagine his delivery being any more potent first time around. Musically, with age and maturity involved, you can assume the release also has a richer and thicker body, and certainly the opener rumbles and grumbles as if old school thrash was a fresh proposition.

The great starts continues with My Gun, the throaty bass of Donnelly a great coaxing alongside the virulence of driving riffs and concussive swings cast by Dupre, Crilly, and Cuccaro respectively. Settling with an attack somewhere between a lively prowl and an all-out charge, the track bites and snarls whilst a solo lights the air. Of course we have heard this all before in many ways, but from those coming after and being inspired by Sonick Plague and the bands around them in the eighties, and a great many of them definitely labour to make the same highly satisfying assaults as the reworked but undiluted proposals offer on this release.

Both AA and I Don’t Want to Relax churn up air and the senses, the first with a rabid nagging of riffs and crisp beats led by the grouchy tones of Donnelly, and its successor through its military and Celtic teased imagination. The second of the two is pure anthem, enslaving from its opening contagious moments to and across a ravenous landscape of psychotic grooves and quarrelsome riffing speared by rhythms as hellacious as they are viciously precise. The track is thrash bred but simply rock ‘n’ roll in its most irresistible form, and easily our favourite, and probably the best track on the album, despite many challengers. Its punkish character also adds to the anarchic glory before making way for the crushing yet infectiously tempting turbulence of View of Death and straight after the middle finger growl of One Swift Kick. Each keeps body and appetite greedy, the first with its predatory and unrelenting gnawing at the senses and the second courtesy of a deliciously bestial bass sound and another scourge of heavy niggling riffs and contagion spilling grooves; the mesmeric melodic oasis deep into its tempest is pretty juicy too. The track stands aside I Don’t Want to Relax as the pinnacles of the album, each the perfect invitation to newcomers to Sonick Plague past and present.

The pair of Misc Bullshit, with its classic metal hued enterprise within another savaging embrace, and finally NRG brings the album to a great close. The last track simply brawls with the listener vocally and musically, leaving no attitude coated stone unturned in its tenacious and uncompromising carnage, and both songs again showing plenty of accomplished and inventive touches not always fuelled by hostility.

As mentioned we cannot say how much the songs have changed during their re-recording etc. but there is no denying the unfussy but skilled craft and technical ability set loose. This is certainly an album in many ways you already know thanks to those who have followed over the years employing the sounds Sonick Plague and their like inspired originally. It is going to be interesting how the band’s new songs shape up, but easy to suspect they will also offer a thoroughly enjoyable ride.

Sonick Plague is available now digitally via Pavement Music and on CD @ https://squareup.com/market/sonickplague/sonick-plague-cd

https://www.facebook.com/sonickplague   http://www.sonickplague.com/

RingMaster 28/07/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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All Tomorrows – Sol Agnates

All Tomorrows_Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review

With the release of their second album Sol Agnates, Chilean metallers All Tomorrows are hoping it will be the doorway into establishing them within a European if not global metal spotlight. Listening to the encounter it is easy to suspect it is a desire destined to find success at some point as their impressive release and sounds assaults more ears and appetites. It is not a startling proposition, the band’s sound as familiar as it is promisingly fresh, but the album is a certainly stirring and increasingly magnetic incitement hitting the sweet spot of ears and emotions with persistent regularity.

All Tomorrows began in 2010, emerging from Santiago with the inspirations of bands like Gojira and Meshuggah in their creative blood and vision. 2011 saw the release of debut album Opilion, an acclaimed release at home and further afield. It helped push the band to broader attention, a recognition reinforced and increased by a live presence which has seen All Tomorrows share stages with bands such as Children of Bodom, Voivod, Megadeth, and At The Gates over the subsequent years. Their sound is tagged as progressive metal, if an extreme strain of the style, but as Sol Agnates reveals there is equally a death metal voracity and nature to their music which adds to the drama and intensity of songs. It also suggest that this is a band which gives equal concentration to every aspect of sound and to creating a release, the album an imposing proposal of clarity which allows every note, syllable, and rhythm to individually resonate and linger whilst uniting for a riveting predatory provocation.

All Tomorrows - Sol Agnates_Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review     It all begins with the album’s title track, a song which takes a mere second to unveil a web of sonic intrigue and temptation through the guitars of Pepe Lastarria and Ramón Pasternak backed by rigorously intimidating rhythms. Choppy riffs and beats stalk and badger the senses whilst the fiercely, raw vocal delivery of Lastarria is as abrasive as it is magnetic. You can openly hear the Meshuggah influence but equally as the outstanding opener vents its hostile creativity, there is a sense of Mudvayne and In Flames to the striking confrontation. The sonic enterprise of the guitars persistently flare up with sizzling endeavour across the song whilst the bestial tones of Oscar Arenas’ bass are as compelling as the wild but skilled swings of drummer Pablo Martinez are punishing.

The album could not have got off to a better start and keeps the raw power and impressiveness going through both Undying Seasons and Eidien. The second track equally rampages into view on a torrent of inhospitable rhythms and ravenous riffs, all seriously inviting whilst bound in acidic grooving and pierced with spiky hooks. Again unexpected whispers emerge as the track expands its turbulence, Slipknot and Tool reminded of as much as those earlier mentioned Gojira and Meshuggah spices. The trespass of the senses continues to twist and rage, erupt and seduce across its length before making way for its similarly hectic and tenaciously flavoursome successor. Slightly less hostile at its start, grievous riffs and rhythmic barbs holding some restraint as vocals rasp with predatory intent over ears, the track sculpts its own individual maelstrom of persuasion equipped with rich grooves blossoming in another bed of contagious imagination.

A devouring stalking of ears by Fiver’s Visions keeps enjoyment high and thoughts impressed even if the track lacks a certain spark of its predecessors, whilst next up Downpour spills an animus of stabbing beats and fiercely scything riffs across a barbarous landscape. Loaded with antagonistic vocals and a sinister sonic narrative, the track is arguably the first to really begin exploring the rich progressive depths of the band’s imagination. Previous songs hinted at rather than fully employed that provocative side of the band’s songwriting, and even this track does not dig too deep whilst thrilling ears, but Burnt by Call of the Bleak after definitely makes a bolder leap as it lights up the senses. Also fuelled by a relatively uncompromising aggression, the track’s guitars entwine imaginative textures with evocative invention whilst even the rhythms rein in their rabidity as song and band create a certainly intensively tempestuous but equally absorbing kaleidoscopic adventure.

Immanence draws on the more truculent side of the band’s sound for its physically predacious proposal but the guitars ensure they flirt with a melodic tempting between moments of sheer carnivorous majesty. It is a blistering challenge and treat, a bruising entrapment of the passions leaving the listener embracing the melodic opening of Ophidian Vibrations like a comfort blanket. The song allows that security to be assumed before uncaging its own nefarious enterprise and creative nature, riffs and rhythms fuelled by destructive hunger but perfectly tempered by the band’s venture into melodic flames of sound and progressive imagination.

Sol Agnates is concluded by the epic turmoil of Union, vocals and musical expression angst soaked as rapacious rhythms roam alongside a sinful bass tone. It is a bewitching roar of volcanic emotions and turbulent sounds aligning for a powerful and lingering conclusion to the riveting release.

It is impossible to imagine that All Tomorrows will be a South American ‘secret’ for much longer once Sol Agnates gets to work on new ears and attention. As ever of course, a hefty slice of fortune will be needed but if not with this album there can be no stopping the band breaking into the strongest recognition if they carry on creating treats like this as their music evolves.

Sol Agnates is available from May 19th via most online stores.

http://www.alltomorrowsband.com/   https://www.facebook.com/alltomorrows

RingMaster 19/05/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Hollow – Mordrake

Hollow - Press Photo

There are some debut albums which impress, some which raise a depth of excitement sparking a long term connection, and then there are some like Mordrake from Canadian death metallers Hollow which simply have you shouting feverishly from the rooftops. The release is an extraordinary maelstrom of startling invention, mouthwatering imagination, and enslaving hostility which simply blows thoughts and passions away. There has been talk of great things about the Montreal quartet from their live performances and previous release, the six track EP Cynoptic Eschaton, but it is fair to say we were not expecting something so devastatingly brilliant for our first introduction to the band.

Formed in 2009, Hollow has earned a fine reputation and potent presence across Québec and Ontario moving across their homeland through their live incitements which has seen them excel alongside the likes of Voïvod, Suffocation, Sword, Jungle Rot, Iwrestledabearonce, Blackguard, The Agonist, Beyond Creation, Marduk, 1349, Tyr, Orphaned Land, and many many more. Cynoptic Eschaton drew further strong acclaim and attention with its release in 2010 which Mordrake is sure to emulate in much greater strength and expansion. Bringing new character to some of the tracks on the previous EP and plenty more new breath-taking encounters within its twelve song body, the Kevin Jardine (Slaves on Dope) produced, with Dan Lauzon (Entropy) and the band, album was recorded with an uncluttered ‘analogue’ like approach which brings a raw and honest dimension to the proposition allowing music and individual craft to paint a stunning fiercely textured adventure.

Opener Lament Configuration emerges upon a sonic prowl which is almost lumbering in its gait and thoroughly engrossing in its Album Cover - Hollow - Mordrake 2014 - smallsearching sonic exploration over the senses, the fingers and strings of guitarist Cadaver already capturing firm attention. Pungent rhythms add to the portentous tension brewing within the dramatic coaxing whilst orchestral melodies and harmonies soak the oppressive atmosphere lying thickly over the evolving scenery. Eventually the band step from the initial evocative smog with a surging stride of riffs and concussive beats from Blaac which vocalist Mott roars over with every muscle of his malevolence. It is an impossibly contagious charge which is just as compelling in its imaginative twists and enticements, not forgetting individual skills, as in its turbulent catchiness. The track is the thrilling declaration of things to come, a tempest of bewitching ingenuity and lethal aggression within a blackened pestilential beauty of sound and creative intent.

It is a staggering start which both Cryptic Howling and A New Life explosively reinforce. The first is a voracious torrent of rhythmic rabidity matched by an unbridled hunger in riffs and outstanding vocals, Mott gloriously unpredictable in his venomously corrosive varied delivery. Within the scourging onslaught, bassist Snow finds an even more intensive bestial voice from his strings to add to the hellacious web, a tone which is as at home sculpting a carnal texture to the vitriolic attack as it crafting deliciously haunting lures to the enthralling melodic hues which seduce robustly later in the track. The track is a severe examination of senses and psyche with more riveting rewards in its single body than most death metal bred albums offer across their full lengths, a treat repeated by its predecessor. Entwining ears in a climbing vine of sonic imagination which is soon under a tsunami of pungent antagonistic intensity and ravenous enterprise, the track adds to its surprises with contagious grooves which lead to a heavy metal endeavour beneath a symphonically seeded elegance. This is all around a heart which is predatory in the extreme and soaked in a simply irresistible rapacious appetite.

It should be noted that whatever description tracks are given here they only hint at the whole picture, so much going on and being sculpted that it is impossible to truly represent their brilliance and impossible to take all in on just a few encounters ensuring the album is a constantly giving proposition with every assault. The next up rampage of Landscape is instant proof, its ferocious vehemence in sound, vocals, and imagination a senses eroding, thought provoking ruin which wrongs foot with majestically flighted harmonies of keys casting seducing melodies. As ever it is just a twist in the soundscape of the song’s blisteringly shaped and exposed narrative, the track a purposeful sublimely designed meander that chains mind and soul from start to finish, whilst lorded over by the just as impressive vocal diversity of Mott, more of which coming later.

The pair of Iscariot and Sunriser throws senses and imagination into further exacting furies, both again intensive weaves of addictive hooks and toxic grooves upon exhaustingly adventurous and demanding canvases. As with every track on Mordrake, each is a distinct individual with the first finding a poetical grace in the keys within a uncompromising plague of voracity whilst Mott brings a brief but just as impressive clean twist to his vocals amidst another range of guttural and poisonously squalling growls. It is a glorious track which is followed by the just as staggering triumph of Sunriser, clean vocals given another outing whilst standing in a storm of demonic toxins from the raw throat of the frontman. The bass of Snow is also a real highlight in the foreboding drenched climatic air of the song, though to be fair to all the encounter is a scintillating blur of inventive animosity and imaginative pestilence for which all deserve the outmost credit.

     The emotively driven Vlad comes next, a track we assume inspired by a former band member from the band’s first days who passed away unexpectantly. With keys and violins an insatiable seduction, the song is another which rabidly suffocates as it inflames senses and emotions before making way for the provocative epidemic of sound and fascination that is Anomie, a track bringing orchestral flumes into an entanglement with heavy metal wantonness; keys, bass, and guitars conspirators in a savagely hued, magnetically cultured creative virus.

Generally in an album so incredibly gripping and awe striking there are going to be lulls or weaker moments but honestly Mordrake holds no such inventive languor, the following innovatory alchemy of both the chilled Snow where those cleaner tones of Mott are given extra time and the hypnotic maze of Birth, rhythmically and sonically as spellbinding as anything on the release. The same applies to closing tracks Hate and Death, two final incendiary expanses of fertile minds and musical ingenuity.

Mordrake is simply remarkable, one of the most promethean debuts in a long time and certainly within death metal this year, though Hollow have a sound and presence which you cannot confine to a single genre or singular mind-set. A brilliant album from a brilliant band, what more do you need to know?

The self-released Mordrake is available via http://hollowcanada.bandcamp.com/album/mordrake

http://hollowofficial.com/

10/10

RingMaster 30/05/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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E-Force – The Curse

E-Force1

For all newcomers to the band, disregard the off putting name and get your claws into one cracking album from E-Force. Though formed in 2001, the band’s moniker has never nestled easily with us but it has not stopped the thrash and heavy metal fusing encounter from lighting up the ears, new album The Curse their most potent aggressor yet. Hailing from Montreal but now France based, E-Force uncages eleven raw abrasing assaults which savage, antagonise, and thrill the ears. It is not an album breaking into new pastures for aggressive metal but certainly one to fire up the passions and imagination of metal fans across multiple genres such its flavoursome exploits.

The band was created by vocalist/bassist Eric Forrest, the frontman of Voivod from 1994 till 2001, a period which included the albums Negatron and Phobos as well as the live release, Voivod Lives. Taking his nickname as the band name, E-Force released debut album Evil Forces in 2003 to strong acclaim from fans and media alike. Relocating to Toulouse soon after, Forrest pulled together a new line-up which continued the emergence of the band; the second album Modified Poison in 2008 also earning eager plaudits for its stronger and more diverse sound. The years has also see the band forge a mighty reputation live, successful tours with the likes of Carpathian Forest, Tsjuder, and Wykked Witch, and acclaimed festival appearances highlights over the years. Now The Curse brings the next potent rampage of the band; Forrest alongside new guitarist XAV and returning drummer KROF with contributions from special guests Glen Drover (Megadeth, King Diamond), Kristian Niemann (Therion), Vincent Agar (Yotangor), bringing forth the caustic breath of the band’s live aggression to drive a new creative riot on the senses.

The concept album which takes its premise from the power and temptation of, and obsession with, the female race, makes a portentous E-Force - The Curseentrance through the brief Invitation. Its atmosphere is soaked in warning whilst a seductive female teases and lays bait to expose the weakness of man. The track is pushed aside by the following Perverse Media, riffs and rhythms immediately ascending upon the ears with a voracious hunger and combative urgency. The vocals of Forrest are equally as confrontational making for a strong and solid start, but it is just an initial lure which is soon given to greater appeal by ravenous grooves and scything twists of adventure. The track turns into a formidable predator, an aggressor which teases and intimidates throughout leaving appetite and pleasure ablaze.

The virulent temptress that is Witch Wrk steals attention next; riffs an abrasing incitement framed by a rhythmic rabidity which is controlled but rapacious. There is a gnawing pressure from the song which never relinquishes its appealing persistence whilst vocally again the delivery is soaked in a causticity to match the antagonism of the sounds. The potent bestial contagion of the encounter is matched by Serpent’s Kiss, its distinctly different temptation just as carnally insistent and masterful. From weaving seductive sonic enterprise the track brawls with the senses but again with a control which is more of a stalking beast than an unbridled storm. Continually twisting its body and gait the track, just as the album, evolves into a killer proposition over each provocation taken; both only increasing their rigorous and irresistible strength with each assault.

Both Awakened and Psyclone keep the intensity and impressive levels on full throttle, the first an inventive scourge of guitar and bass ravishing driven by the irrepressible charge of the drums whilst the second discovers a more insidiously addictive lure to entwine around ears and imagination, the track lashing the senses whilst simultaneously rewarding with dramatic hooks and infection drenched grooves, every second a tempestuous and powerfully compelling intrusion. Again both songs take a while to conquer the passions but subsequently neither leaves them idle or lacking fire in the engine room.

The instantly intriguing and exploratory Devoured fires up the passions next, its opening the prelude to the most inventive and imaginative track yet with the band infusing their thrash cored maelstrom with even broader veins of groove and melodic metal with a blackened majesty. The track ripples and pulsates with a barbarous beauty whilst the guitar casts a mesmeric and skilled web around the explosive confrontation. It is outstanding showing the depth to the band’s endeavour and potential still unrealised, a potency examined again in varying detail by the scourge like Mass Deception and the irresistible Your Beloved Hate, the latter’s opening bass call a trap of addiction, its bait easily backed by the finely carved grooves and hungry predation of the song.

The penultimate track Infexxxous unveils a virulent nagging to recruit attention and appetite before forging its own specific rampancy and enslavement of the senses with the unrelenting craft and creative fertility of the band. The second half of The Curse is the most inventive and imaginative with the first clutch of tracks on the album besieging the listener, caging their submission before stretching the ideation and resourcefulness with the following horde of persuasions as evidenced by the insatiable final song The Curse Of The Cunt. Concluding the album in exhausting sadistic style with plenty of blood soaked colour, E-Force leave satisfaction and enjoyment bloated. The Curse may not be the most original album to be let loose this year but it sure is one of the most invigorating.

The Curse is available via Mausoleum Records now.

https://www.facebook.com/eforceoffical

8.5/10

RingMaster 12/04/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Chariots of The Gods: Tides of War

Chariots of the Gods -Tides of War official (group)

     Exploding out from the depths of the underground, Tides of War the debut album from Canadian metallers Chariots of The Gods, is quite simply sensational, a metal album of the highest order. It offers no indulgency or pretences to mislead on paper or aurally, but openly knows what it is good at and delivers those aspects with a passion and force which few other bands certainly recently have matched. Fusing diverse textures and sounds from melodic metal, thrash, and death, their music and album is simply a tour de force of metal.

Formed in 2007 by guitarist Mathieu St-Amour alongside bassist Christian Methot and guitarist Christian Carrière, the Ottawa band grew into a quintet with the addition of drummer Rich O’Neil and vocalist Renaud Jobin. Soon impressing live, the band released to very strong responses their Reverence EP in 2010. The release pushed them onto another level locally and sparked better opportunities live for the band, though the end of the same year going into the next saw the departure of Methot and Carrière. Moving forward though Chariots of the Gods brought in long-time friend and guitarist Dimitri Gervais and bassist Payam Doryani and set about laying waste with their towering sound. The band has bruised stages alongside the likes of Misfits, Voivod, Despised Icon, Kataklysm, Blind Witness, Misery Index, Martyr, Fuck the Facts, Blackguard, Neuraxis, and The Agonist, over the years and now burst into the world with their triumphant first full length release.

The Glen Robinson (Gwar, Annihilator, Queensryche, Voivod) produced album is a thrilling tempest of insatiable riffs, rhythms Tides of War - Cover - High Reswhich make demands no one should be forced to take but do willingly, and deliciously confrontational vocals. Spread throughout there is also a melodic and sonic enterprise which burns like an invigorating furnace and combined the result is one of the most impressive metal albums in recent years. Self released, Tides of War immediately from its dramatic and compelling opening instrumental Overture has a hold over the ear and thoughts. It is brief yet the perfect atmospheric lure into the epic intensity and drive of the album starting with the ravaging Seventh Weapon. The first seconds consists of thumping beats and sizzling guitar twists around the ear before expelling a ferocious breath through the squalling scowls of Jobin and an avalanche of rhythms. Now settled into its fearsome charge the track towers over the senses with the intensity and expansive reach of a storm. Across its bristling sinews and colossal breath, the track unleashes a whip lash triggering attack from O’Neil, exceptional and fiery melodic persuasion from the guitars of St-Amour and Gervais, and an irresistible raptorial vocal devouring.

As in the first full song, Blind Assassin reveals the prowling might of bassist Doryani; it is not always an aspect with as much clarity as the other elements but removed would undoubtedly leave a big gaping hole and when the heavily consuming notes find clarity of voice, the songs just bulge with impressive shadows. The third track is a less forceful entity than its predecessor with a sonic elegance which lays rough caresses over the ear, though it is not lacking any demanding spirit or heart either. It arguably pales a little against the previous track but outshines so many efforts from other artists.

Each and every track is immense and in varying degrees offers hints of the influences which vein the sound. Within the likes of Ambrosian Wings, the Russian Revolution inspired pair of the crushing Revillusion (1905) and the voracious Severing the Bloodline (1917), and the violently smouldering Red Skies, as examples, essences of the likes of In Flames, Norther, Testament, Lamb of God, and August Burns Red are apparent and add extra spice to the rich sonic menu of the band. As to be expected some songs reach the highest pinnacles and the biggest highlights on Tides of War come firstly with the title track. It is a thunderous rampage of sizzling guitar magnetism and invention driven by again the tumultuous and outstanding rhythms of O’Neil.  It is the perfect blend of aggression and melodic persuasion which chews up the senses whilst treating them to a fine dining of sonic imagination. Further lofty heights come with the senses grasping and obliterating Collapse of an Empire with its delicious spearing flames of melodic intrigue, and the corrosive and glorious Unbound which also features Aleksi Sihvonen from Norther.

The album is not just intensity and brawling aggression though as to perfectly break up the onslaught there are a couple of compelling instrumentals in the enthralling shapes of Snow Falls On The White River (1914) and Nebula, both beautiful pieces of music in their very different guises and far from interludes and fillers.

Tides of War is an exceptional creative ambush for the heart with a rage of the fullest rewards and an expressive depth of unbridled undiluted metal. You may not have heard of Chariots of The Gods before now but that is sure to change very soon as their album is exposed to the wider world.

http://www.chariotsofthegods.net/

RingMaster 29/01/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The New Jacobin Club Interview

Recently here at The RingMaster Review we came across a band and album that stopped us in our tracks with its majestic darkness and vibrant energy, as well as a creativity and theatrical presence that captivated deeply. The band was Canadian shock rockers The New Jacobin Club and their album This Treason. The album, their music and jaw dropping live shows show a band with a perfect grasp on originality, visual impact and insatiable impressive metal sounds. We had the pleasure to find out more about the world of The New Jacobin Club thanks to the band agreeing to and taking time out to answer some questions.

Welcome to The RingMaster Review and thank you for taking time to let us ask you about all things The New Jacobin Club.

So The New Jacobin Club, where, when and why?

HRD (The Horde) – The group began as only a trio in 1995, the original members a combination of inexperienced instrumentalists or from other existing groups of contrasting styles. The New Jacobin Club was a response to the mid-90’s holier-then-though attitude prevalent in Canada at the time within the underground punk and hardcore scene, bands signed to labels like Fat Records. We were politically incorrect and unafraid to incorporate those views into subjects of the occult, demonology and history.  There was no scene for what we did. We created our own. We put up with a lot of hostility for being attention grabbers at a time when everyone was obsessed with the “message in the music” and how if you dressed for the stage and emphasized the performance you were somehow less of a musician.

We’ve always been based out of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, which is the dead center of Western Canada. Probably the most land locked place in North America.

For all those still not had the pleasure could you introduce the members of the band?

HRD – We have a large group, we rarely get every member on stage every time we organize a series of concerts, but the line-up that was on stage throughout 2011 has been:

The Horde – guitar/vocals, The Swarm – bass/vocals, The Fury – guitar, Vitruvius – synth/vocals,  Poison Candy – theremin/percussion/vocals,  The Luminous – electric cello, Rat King – drums

We see some shuffling of duties at the end of certain shows – Rat King playing guitar, or The Luminous picking up the bass. Our programmer and former drummer Eclipse (who played on Retake the Throne & Wicked City) also sometimes joins us onstage.

When did the current line-up get together?

The Horde

HRD – After we finished 2 years promoting “Wicked City” in 2006-2007, we met up with 2 members of what would become the Angry Teeth in a short while. We put together a big carnival themed event with some other collaborators from a local burlesque group and realized we couldn’t go back, and that this was going to be expected of us again and again.

The beginning of our relationship with the Angry Teeth in 2008 was the beginning of a new band line up as well. We gained Rat King, replacing our previous longtime drummer who had just moved to the UK and Vitruvius on synth. Luminous and Candy joined during the long process of recording This Treason (2009 – 2010), although both of them had been indirectly involved with the band before that.

The band has had quite a few changes in personnel over its fifteen odd years, has this been something that in hindsight has improved the bands diverse sound over the years?

HRD – New members have always provided the band with a new angle on the material. The songwriting core has been largely the same for 10 years, but the interpretation and delivery of the music has always stayed exciting and new. Everyone has brought something unique to the table that puts an imprint on the band, and becomes part of the sound and style.

RAT – Each new member brings with them something different which the band can use to expand on its main theme. So basically the band changes when its members change. With a band that’s been around this long, “improvement” is relative. For a band to improve it has to evolve and continue to be a positive creative outlet for all involved. Each album and lineup has done this; therefore making every effort the band puts forth a positive addition to its continuing career.

Is losing a member something you can ever get used to, especially if they have been part of the band’s life for a fair amount of time?

HRD – When it’s someone who was responsible for a major musical component it can be frustrating. I now look forward to the mystery of what we’ll be gaining rather than what we’re losing. We’ve never had a member leave on bad terms, it’s just that this group can be incredibly taxing to be a part of, and we all completely respect anyone’s decision to retire. We all have responsibilities and careers outside of the group as well, sometimes they take us places the band can’t go.

LUM- Every new member is a growth, but every loss is a tragedy. It’s a unique part of the sound that won’t be present in our future endeavors. Luckily, we console ourselves by the fact that we are truly a “club” of sorts and old members are never far away and usually willing to come back and moonlight from time to time.

How would you say The New Jacobin Club has evolved most predominantly over its existence, in sound and live?

HRD – The music angle is weird, I think it’s the delivery that has evolved the most. The delivery is dependent on the diverse line up of musicians in the group.  I tend to write songs with the group in mind, to play on everyone’s strengths and make the most of our instrumentation. So what we’re working on now will be sonically very different from what worked well with the line up we had for Wicked City, or the punky power trio that we were in the 1990’s.

As for the live performance, I think it evolved hand in hand with the sound. As we grew as musicians and songwriters we began writing more and more elaborate parts. It forced us to concentrate more on our musicianship. We’ve all improved with age, and the comfort zone of our technical ability has widened, allowing us to put more emphasis and energy into the performance. You could say that as the music evolved, the side effect was a more commanding and confident live show.

How does the songwriting process work within the band?

LUM – It’s definitely a collaborative approach. A majority of the ideas both musically and thematically are put forth by

The Luminous

our founding father, The Horde, but everything is laid out on the table in raw form and all of us get a chance to add our own unique spin on the idea and we collectively morph it into what you see on stage and hear in the recordings. And as our avid fans can attest, we are never “done” with an idea. Our records show how our changes in line up and personal taste have driven us to re-vamp older tunes into something that inevitably comes “alive again.”

Your last album This Treason is where we came across you, a release that it has to be said left us open mouthed with awe and pleasure. How long was it in the making?

HRD – It started in late 2007 with one song – the title track.  Then it turned into 4 songs that were linked together, for a possible EP.  By summer 2009 we were performing half the album live on tour, and it helped the process a great deal. It was a year of writing and rehearsing and another year of recording and assembling the elaborate package that included the promo video, live show, documentary footage and concept artwork.

This Treason is an involved yet easy to digest concept album, can you tell us about its theme and inspiration?

HRD – In 2007 the remains of a man who had been hung, drawn and quartered were found in an English abbey graveyard.  Speculation was that it was a portion of the mutilated body of Sir Hugh Despenser the Younger, executed for treason n the early 1300’s. He was accused of sleeping with and manipulating King Edward II, “sowing discord” between the King and Queen. The story is so involved I don’t even want to start. It’s full of plotting, backstabbing and revenge, not a single character involved could be said to be any sort of hero, although we do make Hugh out to be a sort of sacrificial lamb for a world lost in its own wickedness.

Since 2007 there has been a lot of attention drawn to this enigmatic medieval villain. A fairly well received historical fiction novel was written about his family (“The Traitor’s Wife” – Susan Higgenbotham), which I was only made aware of when our album was about to be released. A UK writer, Jules Frusher, is currently working on a book that focuses more on the man himself, and I have corresponded with her on several occasions since we were both eager to exchange opinions on the subject.

Was this the first album to be made this way or did Retake the Throne and Wicked City also have a theme?

HRD – Retake the Throne and Wicked City both had unifying themes. Retake the Throne was about the evils of ruling political bodies and the ignorance of the masses to their oppression.  Victor Hugo’s depiction of the urban masses in “Notre Dame de Paris” as well as the French revolution was the main sources of inspiration, but in no way did the album tell a story.

Wicked City was a little more of a concept album. It is about the western world as a theocracy, a ruling class using religion to excuse their brutalities and atrocities. We covered a lot of ground on that one, from the Russian Revolution to witch hunts in colonial America.

Is it different to write an album with a distinct connecting theme compared to one made up of unconnected songs, especially lyrically?

HRD – It didn’t seem that different, it almost seemed natural. It was like having a story first, then fleshing out the script. When we decided on a whole concept album and not just a 4 song cycle, it progressed incredibly quickly. I laid down the storyline as a sort of song by song narrative with what lyrics already existed and made booklets for each band member so we could finish the complex soap-opera like tale as a group.

The album as it unveils its tracks feels like an aural play, or maybe theatre is the best term, is that how you look at it?

HRD – This Treason is a tale told from the point of view of different characters, each with their own story – making it more of a rock opera than just a concept album. In fact, the way the songs describe events slightly out of order is kind of like watching Pulp Fiction – the stories all cross each other’s path but viewing them in chronological order would not make sense.  We like to think that it is a larger story told episodically, which is how we treated it live, like a theatrical compilation of one person plays all tied together with a common background story.

The one description of your sound and band that is famously used is that you lie “Somewhere between the realms of mid-era Judas Priest in a straightforward rock/metal style and newer era Misfits vocally and visually.” With a sound that is vibrant with much more than that in our view how would you describe yourselves?

HRD – That was from an American magazine, Metal Mania or Metal Maniacs, around the time “Retake the Throne” came out almost 10 years ago. It’s probably time we stopped allowing ourselves to be described that way. I think the anthematic element in our songwriting and the way we deliver pop and rock sensibilities in a barbaric and colorful way is our signature. We have evolved far beyond “horror rock” to still easily describe ourselves that way.

LUM – We’re a Pandora’s box. Untold horror, ecstasy and wonder are found within and will manifest differently depending on who does the unleashing.

What are the personal influences that have made the biggest impact on yourselves as musicians and the music you create?

HRD – There’s so much – it would be impossible to name any that I would consider a general influence on the band as a whole. Killing Joke is a big one for some of us; we even covered Love Like Blood live and on our 2008 Final Entertainment Show EP.  Conceptually and musically I think they’ve been pretty important too. Canadian visionaries like Forbidden Dimension and Voivod are both also massively big influences in terms of inspiring our plans for a unified musical, visual and lyrical theme.

In addition to the traditional instrument set up there is the haunting and emotive sounds brought by the electric bass of Luminous and Poison Candy on the Theremin.  Did the songs you were writing guide you in this direction or the decision to add them came first?

HRD – Luminous first joined us on stage in 2009 before we began recording. We had lots of orchestral arrangements planned for some songs and we wanted to see how having a live string instrument on stage would enhance that rather than just hear it through a synth or backing track.  The theremin was originally written into the instrumental “Kronos Devours His Children,” but then we found a couple other spots for it so we could justify having it on stage when we performed the album live. Candy also plays some baddass tambourine and provides some backing vocal harmonies.

This Treason also contains a DVD combining a live performance with interviews and backstage extras, do you feel this was important to in a way make a personal connection with fans, showing the band as people and something all bands should do at some point?

HRD – Yes, and also to give fans elsewhere on the planet the chance to be at one of our shows. It was also almost a necessity, we aren’t just musicians in the studio, we are performers as well. We wanted to give people a live performance they could take home with them. I know a lot of bands are scared to do that sort of thing – to put their technical imperfections and personalities on display like that, but I think it does give the fans a sense of really having been there. I would hope that people watch it and not only think “I’d love to see this show in person” but also “I’d love to hang out with these weirdos.” Some of our biggest fans have turned into good friends over the years.

Your shows are events, more than just simple gigs they are a full theatrical performance. One assumes from the beginning it was different, so how and when did the shows evolve into the full experience they are now?

HRD – The band had toyed with theatrical bits on stage as far back as 2003.  Our first shows with extra theatrical performers in 2008 were not true collaborations, the sideshow and burlesque dancers performed separately and not with the band. It was summer 2009 that we came up with the first unified stage show – the “Cannibal Circus Roadshow”,  Rima and Firecrotch Jones call it a “psychodrama.”  As the band expanded as well as the membership of the Angry Teeth, bigger and more involved stage spectacles were added. We needed big stages with proper backstage areas to safely perform, so it was a pain in the ass to tour with. For our stage show to promote “This Treason” in 2010 we had a dangerous number of people on stage.

For shows as you said you expand with the addition of The Angry Teeth, can you tell us about them? They were a completely separate troupe before the band or evolved because of and with The New Jacobin Club?

TNJC with Angry Teeth

HRD – The Angry Teeth were a group that broke away from a larger act. They wanted to do more bizarre and theatrical things instead of just traditional sideshow tricks. They still do perform occasionally on their own.

How do you find first timers to your shows react with the combination of your music and energy being punctuated with the disturbing visuals of The Angry Teeth? How many leave in shock haha?

HRD – A surprising number of people that come to our concerts are there out of curiosity, and later tell us something like “that was WILD! When are you playing in town again?” And the coolest part is they are not there because they are fans of metal or goth or freakshows, they just came out because they heard it was a great show.  I think the shock factor in what the Angry Teeth do lies in the reality of it. We have a saying that we like to remind people of – “Gwar is not real, we are” The machetes and swords are real. The syringes and sledgehammers are real. The costumes are real, the armor is real. The fire and torches and chains are real. And when someone bleeds, it’s real. I think the audience picks up on this and they aren’t cheering out of shock or awe, but in the same way you cheer on a fighter who refuses to stay down.

Watching the DVD that accompanied your album This Treason, the visuals the Angry Teeth bring onstage seem connected to the song that surrounds them, so do you all as one decide on what the girls bring to a gig at those points or do you trust and give their ideas full independent rein?

LUM – As can be imagined, there is no “standard” way that those girls do anything. They’ll bring forth an idea that they’re really excited about pursuing and we’ll try to work it into our set or we’ll express a visual that we want to convey and they’ll devise a way to make it happen. It’s always a work in progress making the different genres of art complement one another, but we really enjoy pushing the boundaries of “the experience.” At the end of the day, we aim to entertain. That’s what it’s all about.

Do you change the live show from gig to gig or play the same show across a tour or series of gigs as with for example, around the release of This Treason?

HRD – Typically we prepare a stage show for a series of concerts, like a touring theatre production. The more elaborate ones are conceptual collaborations with the Angry Teeth that usually see some sort of disturbing or enigmatic story unfold with the music. The “Cannibal Circus Roadshow” tour 2009, “Acts of Treason” 2010 and “Moral Adventurers” in 2011 were like this. A few elaborate shows are only performed once, like the infamous “Ragdoll Tea Party” show we did in late 2009 some of which appears on the DVD included with This Treason.

Home city is Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, not known for its musical heritage around the world. How is it for music and how has it if at all, helped shape your music and direction?

HRD –In a smaller more secluded community you stick out that much more. I think it trained us to be unafraid of making a spectacle of ourselves. Groups from bigger cities have such a conservative attitude about what’s cool and what’s not. We have absolutely no inhibitions. I would say that’s what Saskatoon gave us.

Our hometown did get some major press in Rolling Stone when the Sheepdogs (from Saskatoon) made the cover last year. They wrote an article on what Saskatoon was like and made it sound like a northern backwoods village full of drunks, prostitutes, hockey hooligans and really seedy bars with horrible music playing in them. Perhaps there are a few bits of truth in that, but the music and arts scene here is unbelievably vibrant. Bands from the bigger Canadian cities like Toronto and Vancouver often comment on how busy and diverse the scene is here despite our small size and population. Amigos Cantina, the club that we filmed “Inside the Cannibal Circus” at was named by the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Council) as one of the 20 most important live venues in Canada.

With the size of Canada and vast distances between some cities how easy is it to expand beyond your home area through the country let alone into the world?

HRD – It’s tough. It sucks. Sucks sucks sucks. We are a 5-6 hour drive away from any city that would be considered “big.” Any band that tours Western Canada puts some serious mileage under their belts just to play a handful of shows. We have recently begun to be more aggressive with our online presence to balance that out.

You have shared stages with the likes of Nashville Pussy, Groovie Ghoulies, KMFDM, and VOLTAIRE, a distinct diversity of sounds. It is not a surprise your own diverse sounds fit such a range but how did the individual artists fans take to you?

HRD – Or did you mean how did our fans take to them? Haha…I’m kidding, sort of. The guitarist from Nashville Pussy is from our hometown; they’re loud and obnoxious and breathe fire, so we fit in fine. Interestingly enough, the only time I’ve ever heard that we didn’t fit well on a bill was with KMFDM.  They’re more techno-based, and we were actually playing in front of a sizeable audience who had never heard of us. We have several different species of fans – the punks, the metal dudes, the goths, the garage rockers, the artsy types; our appeal to all sorts of different people is what gives us our healthy draw.

Rat King

From the band and all its public face, the world only knows about you as musicians and the band personas. How important is it to you to have that distinct image and privacy too, or is it ‘merely’ another part of the drama and theatrical power of The New Jacobin Club?

RAT – For me, it’s an extension of the theatrical element of the band. I use it to separate my everyday self from the stage in order to achieve the best performance possible.

What has The New Jacobin Club got in store for 2012?

HRD – we’ll take some time in spring to write new songs and promote our new EP “Left Behind” with some western Canadian tour dates during which we will also be trying out some new material on stage. We always tour with new material before we record it. There are plans for a sort of 15th anniversary compilation, probably containing some new tracks, but it is still in the early stages of conception.

Thank you so much for letting us into the world of The New Jacobin Club. It has been a pleasure.

Before you ending would you like to leave a last thought or comment?

HRD – It is more than a pleasure for us to talk with you. We value our fans outside of Canada immensely. In the digital age we can easily monitor our popularity outside our country, and the UK as well as continental Europe has given us a lot of encouraging support.

And lastly how about giving us something to intrigue about the people behind the personas that make up The New Jacobin Club?

HRD – We are a multi-discipline artistic endeavor. We embrace everything. Within our group we have a painter and art teacher, a radio personality, a film director, a dance instructor, music teachers, a freelance journalist, a post secondary math instructor, illusionists, and the obvious performance artists that you see with the Angry Teeth. Members of this band also participate in other groups that play country and bluegrass, synth pop, experimental post-rock and Renaissance music.

Read This Treason review @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2012/01/06/the-new-jacobin-club-this-treason/

Read The Angry Teeth Interview @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2012/02/06/interview-with-raunchy-rabies-of-the-angry-teeth-freakshow/

RingMaster 06/02/2012

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