Black Lilium – Dead Man’s Diary

credit_by_Andy_Gruenitz

Last year saw the digital release of Dead Man’s Diary, the debut album from progressive melodic metallers Black Lilium. To provide an injection of fuel to its ear grabbing presence, the German outfit has just unleashed it in physical form, another reminder and nudge on the rich attention its impressive exploits deserves.

You could say the seeds to the band were first sown in the school days of guitarist Marcel Wroblewski and drummer Jan Knoop, the pair friends who subsequently played together in their first band in 1987. Jumping forward to 2013 and the pair began to work together again with Black Lilium formed a year later. In time its line-up was completed by guitarist Maurice Scholz, bassist Lasse Lammert, and vocalist/keyboardist Felix Hochkeppel, a quintet swiftly showing their imagination, craft, and bold adventure within Dead Man’s Diary.

There is something familiar but more so boldly individual about the band’s sound, its melodic seduction and rousing physical roar something akin to a fusion of Malum Sky, Silent Descent, and Voyager with a potent splash of early My Chemical Romance. Album opener Beast In The Backseat quickly insists of a predominate uniqueness to the band’s sound though, the song a swiftly and persistently striking introduction to the band for ears. Keys spread an engaging mesh first, rhythms lurking in its midst before triggering a voracious stride complete with swinging beats and the instantly delicious grievous grumble of the bass. There is an instinctive catchiness to the Black Lilium sound in general which just as quickly soaks the first track even as it calms a touch for the entrance of Hochkeppel striking tones. Every note and syllable comes with an inherent swing, the imaginative dexterity of voice and sound prowling every twist and moment with the same tenacity.

COVER_credit_by_Chris_Valentine

It is a great start to the album and straightaway Paragon Of Imperfection builds on it. An electronic reflection initially hugs ears, keys a thoughtful intimation as all the while darker shadows brew around them. Drama tints every evocative caress before Hochkeppel’s throat sparks another surge of contagious agility and energy which too embraces a melodic heart already bared. The volatility at the soul of the track never truly erupts but brings extra appealing drama to the encounter before Demon In Disguise out shines both with its virulent character and almost prowl like gait. As siren-esque as the embodiment of dangerously dark temptation that is its central protagonist, the outstanding song infests as it seduces, invades as it charms; its shadow wrapped moment of calm as magnetic as the galvanic roar driving its impressive presence.

As all tracks within the release next up Start All Over effortlessly fuses light and dark emotion and intensity with rich enterprise and imagination; the nurturing of a fine line in unpredictability within a fluid landscape of infectiousness extra captivation. The rhythms of Knoop and Lammert bite as they tempt and encourage, keys and guitars weaving a just as compelling persuasion within the track’s dark serenade while both Never and Walls Around My Soul seriously aroused with their respective uninhibited creative agility and emotive brooding. The first again is the epitome of one of the band’s stirring traits which helps shapes the album, its sound physically stalking body and imagination as it manipulates both into eager engagement with organic almost pop like catchiness while its majestic melancholy lined successor teases and tempts intimate shadows whilst brewing its own singular virus of invigorating sound and emotional orchestration.

Across the likes of equally inward seeking Everything I Am and The Ones You Made Us with its bold declaration, the band’s ever varied blend of flavours and captivation adds greater depth and captivation to Dead Man’s Diary; darkness, inner light, and the melancholic beauty which pervades the whole of the release uniting with individual attention hounding craft and a combined imagination which never lets expectations settle. If not quite breaching the depth of lust as incited by earlier tracks both offerings left ears and pleasure enriched, the following My Purpose similarly nurturing quick and increasing greed for its swiftly established distinction.

The closing pair of the album’s title track and Ghosts Without A Voice ensured Dead Man’s Diary left as dramatically and powerfully as it began, the former rising from a solemn sigh on melodic guitar threads to craft an incendiary pyre of emotion and sound; Hochkeppel’s continuing to impress vocals exposing heart and intensity. The final track almost infernally nags before opening up its electro metal resourcefulness and suggestion; a continuing rich temptation as the song unfurls its aggressive metal and invasively contagious trespass. Both songs alone left a hunger for more, an appetite severely exposed and escalated with every listen of this exceptional album.

So whether preferred as files or as something firmly grasped in the hand on CD, Dead Man’s Diary should seriously be checked out and indeed with great releases like this Black Lilium are unlikely to remain in the shadows of recognition for much longer.

Dead Man’s Diary is out now across most stores.

https://www.blacklilium.de/    https://www.facebook.com/blackliliumband/   https://twitter.com/blackliliumband

Pete RingMaster 18/02/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

Maziac – Forged

When a release instantly and impressively smacks you in the face and proceeds to tease, taunt, and fascinate thereon in you know there is something rather special in the brewing. Forged is one such proposition, the new album from UK based outfit Maziac devouring ears and attention from its first breath and only continuing to captivate with its eclectic body through every passing second.

Formed in 2017, the London residing trio of guitarist/vocalist Tony Best, bassist/synth player Tim Stokes, and drummer Marc Vachon have already faced potent fan and critical praise through their first EP, the Justin Hill (SikTh) mixed and mastered Parallel unveiled in the May of 2018. Its success alongside the band’s rousing sound and live presence has led the band to share stages with the likes of The Ever Living, Epsilon, Derange, On Hollow Ground, and Winchester; it all adding to their growing reputation. All previous acclaim though should be quickly paled by that destined to be garnered by Forged, one of the year’s brightest gems so far.

Again recorded with Hill, Forged erupts with an immediate predacious hunger, opener Symptomatic a tempest sweeping in and consuming the senses. Rhythms bludgeon as riffs dismantle the senses, Best’s vocals just as urgent and rapacious as a cyclone of djent/technical and alternative metal/rock disgorges its rabid temptation. It is a starting introduction which only continued to incite and thrill as the song reveals its craft and prowess. As quickly and continually proven, Maziac have a sound which enjoyably proves very difficult to pin down with references to others but certainly within its ferocious sonic kaleidoscope essences resembling bands such as Fear Factory, Deftones, The Contortionist, Between the Buried and Me, and Spineshank swirl.

It is a stunning start keenly and powerfully matched by the following Escapism. Relatively restrained in comparison, the track still prowls with a definite predatory intent; its rich body wrapped in melodic wiring as alluring as they are cutting. Best’s vocals equally have a calmer harmonic edge in a delivery as varied as the sounds around it, the band’s alternative rock instincts a thick colour to the inventive metal of the song. It is hard not to think of the track as a beast, stalking and preying on willing ears tempted by sonic plumage of inventive temptation.

Cortisol teased an already eager appetite right away with the rhythmic rapping of Vachon, his beats taunting attention as the guitar brews up its subsequent eddy of bold enterprise and melodic flaming. The song’s progressive nature shapes its imagination; rock ‘n’ roll contagiousness fuelling the animated gait of unpredictability. There is a touch of Voyager to the track as too Muse but once again, it emerges solely Maziac before Prisoners saunters in with its swiftly beguiling lures. A whiff of The Kennedy Soundtrack shades its beginnings, a Muse-esque hue adding to the mix as the riveting track unfurls its intrepid enterprise and adventure to challenge for best track honours.

The melodic intimation of brief instrumental Vicissitudes had the imagination conjuring ready for the far more feral but composed dynamics of Again. Once more progressive and djent elements collude in its buoyant design, Stokes’ bass not for the first or last time a rousing snarl of incitement in the midst of skilled melodic and sonic endeavour. It is fair to say that as potent tracks are on first listen, each following play only reveals fresh depths and textures for greater rewards as no better proven than here.

Deceptive of its title, Allure instantly embroils ears in a pestilential cauldron of metal but soon relishes the band’s melodic dexterity and the almost poppy catchiness that breeds. It is a thunderous encounter teasing with glimpses of the peace at the eye of the storm, never giving in to predictability or anything less than compelling while closing track, Resolution, casts its own experiment in texture and tone to bring the album to a fine close. In certain moments almost primal in its climate and in others like a melodic sunspot, the song just enthralled as another aspect to the Maziac sound and imagination is shared.

With Forged ringing in our ears it is easy to be excited about what is ahead for and from Maziac because as suggested, they have created one of the year’s finest moments so far.

Forged is released July 5th; available @ https://maziacband.bandcamp.com/album/forged

https://www.facebook.com/MaziacBand/   https://twitter.com/maziacband

Pete RingMaster 05/07/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Khaidian – Penumbra

The release of the debut album from UK metallers Khaidian has been long time coming, seemingly expected and all geared up to be unleashed in 2016. But as ears and the passions are finally being infested, those patient many will feel it has been more than worth the wait and can assume they will soon be joined by tides of new hungrily impressed and lustful hearts. Penumbra is quite simply superb; a cauldron of imagination and intensity wrapped in a rainbow of melodic enterprise amidst a tempest of technical and multi-flavoured dexterity.

Listening to Penumbra, there is no surprise at the rising reputation and stature of the London based outfit; both recently given boost by a trio of lead tracks to the album. Weaving a web of rich intrigue and thick persuasion bred from a fusion of progressive and technical metal, the band’s sound is just as inventive and tempting with its alignment to eager strains of electronic cunning. It is something akin to a fusion of the voracious flavours and touch of Gojira, Sikth and The Browning with the ravenous/melodic adventuring of Tricore/An Entire Legion; even so Khaidian pull it all to a proposition which is as unapologetically unique as it is greedily captivating as Penumbra forcibly proves.

Founded in 2010 by guitarist/programmer John Tyrell (ex-Interlock), Khaidian found its first few years as much a difficult journey to find the right mix and line-up of people as an adventure in nurturing and breeding their vision and sound. In fact, the perfect mix of personnel only really appeared once drummer Paul Fowler (ex Dragnerve) was enlisted to join Tyrell, vocalist Andy Hutton (ex-Stoopi/Dragnerve), and bassist Joseph Perumal (Mortad/ex-Almamorta). It was Fowlers departure leading up to the original release date of Penumbra which he plays upon which played a big part in its delay it seems but the band has since found the equally striking and agile percussionist in Kris Perrin (Gravil, ex-One Fell Down, Faux Fighters), he completing the current line-up last year.

Now with everything firmly in place Penumbra has been unveiled and we for one can only suggest it is the first leap in a massive and surely certain ascent for the band into the broadest spotlights. The album opens with Pearls Before Swine and immediately had ears pricked and appetite keenly intrigued as sonic and electronic enticement colluded with already stirring rhythmic lures. Just as swiftly the equally potent and enticing vocals of Hutton step forward; his clean, calm yet emotive tones an alluring bridge between the band’s sides of physical trespass and suggestive melody, their indeed their technical hunger and electronic intimation. The track continues to stomp and dance with the senses, a mix of the familiar and boldly fresh creating a whole new vehicle for ears and imagination to ride with.

The striking start is only reinforced by the band’s outstanding new video/single Dominion. Its entrance is even more rapacious but almost instantly wears a portentous calm before its predacious instincts unite with inventive and somatic catchiness. Pure persuasion with increasing enslavement of the senses, the track embraces further hues resembling those cast by Voyager and Fear Factory as it twists and turns with relish but never breaking its fluidity or charm carrying rapacity.

The following Trigger The Landslide glides in on electronic shadows around a slim but copious melodic insinuation; all the while its air brewing an intensity and threat which turns into a senses harrying stroll. Still the menace is part anger, part seduction; the song never choosing sides even as its body and imagination boils across another devilish landscape of thought, emotion, and craft. As with all tracks some kind of participation is inevitable with the increasingly blossoming and thrilling encounter, a manipulation just as potent within next up Thrive and in turn Sense Of The Spherical. A Korn-esque scent pervades the first of the outstanding two, its carnivorous breath colluding with the skittish flirtation and bite of rhythms and the tantalising yet voracious almost rabid lures of guitars. Hutton again is a matching magnet in its midst as the track creatively and vocally writhes while its successor similarly draws dark and esurient strains of sound and intent with melodic and flirtatious enterprise to tempt, seduce, and infest ears and imagination in tandem with the body.

The album concludes with the pair of Evasion and Dramatic Professions Of Martyrdom, the band getting under the skin with relish in the first where again whiffs of Korn meets Fear Factory share its own inescapable  individuality, and through the second’s musical irritability, melodic and electronic espionage, and simply unique prowess. Both tracks enslaved as heartily and strenuously as those before, the bounce of bodies enough to suggest eager submission, the following lust unbridled confirmation.

No release is going to win over all but with its thick mix of flavours including at times spices of grunge, alternative metal and more alongside sheer invention, Penumbra is one which is going to conquer far more than most and with ease we suggest. Though in theory three years late it is one of the freshest most thrilling things heard here in a long time and Khaidian one of the most exciting propositions.

Penumbra is out now through Armalyte Industries; available @ https://armalyte.bandcamp.com/album/khaidian-penumbra

http://www.khaidian.com/   https://www.facebook.com/khaidianmusic/   https://twitter.com/khaidian

Pete RingMaster 30/01/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Hyvmine – Earthquake

High praise has been brewing up around Los Angeles quartet Hyvmine and it is not too hard to understand why listening to their debut album, Earthquake. The release is a tapestry of attention gripping craft and substance, an encounter woven with individual style and enterprise united with a single rock ‘n’ roll intent.

Hyvmine could be said to be a proposition built around or for the striking technical skill and open imagination of lead guitarist/vocalist Al Joseph but the band’s first album soon shows it is all about four very talented musicians bringing individual prowess to a common guile and aim. Their sound is a magnetic fusion of progressive metal, hard rock, and grunge, a weave which at times ebbs and flows in its imagination stoking qualities and success but is never less than one seriously fascinating and enjoyable proposal.

Earthquake wakes upon ears with Shift, keys like suggestive mist immersing the senses before piano and guitar cast their own inviting welcome. Al’s earthier vocals step forward soon after bringing grunge nurtured hues with him, the song already aligning a mix of flavours and only continues to broaden its web as Al’s guitar paints its creative intent around the rousing rhythmic rumble sprung by bassist Christopher Joseph and drummer Fabrizio Cavallaro. With veins of progressive and heavy metal continuing to escape the strings of Al and fellow guitarist Alon Mei-Tal, the track simply lures intrigue and increasingly keen attention.

The following Mirror Master opens with a bass led grumble, a Sick Puppies like breath joining it as the song swiftly eclipses its predecessor. Veins of technical dexterity and cunning ensure the imagination is persistently caught unawares and pleasured as wholly as ears, the track bursting from its earthier canvas like a firework before settling down to similarly enticing heavier rock incitement. It is a weave emulated across the album in numerously individual ways, as the following Shogun shows with its instinctive rapacious growl and Seether-esque croon. Flowing through mellower scenes, the backing vocals of Alon a warm caress, and steelier climes, the song seduces and snarls with equal tenacity and temptation.

All Of Creation brings its own braid of menace and melody next, grooves winding around the senses as vocals and melodies smoulder if with a great gravelly raw edge especially in the former. If you can imagine a fusion of TesseracT and Stone Temple Pilots, this absorbing track could very well epitomise your thoughts. Again Al’s skills radiate but as elsewhere they are never, even with the startling twists leading to his strands of creative flair, forced upon ears but organically embraced with a track’s roar.

The album’s melodically seductive title track engagingly, almost lovingly, wraps around the listener but still holds a thick growl in its depths while Fire Escape prowls with a plaintive grouchiness as it flirts and challenges with a funk infused, predation lined shuffle. Each left a definite want for more, a lure pretty much all tracks within Earthquake sow as echoed by the melodically atmospheric Elysium. Like a heavy rock equivalent of The Christians meets Voyager, the song is pure mesmerism, its metallic touch addictive and harmonic heart irresistible.

The album closes with firstly the similarly hued but firmly hard rock nurtured Great Divide and lastly the flaming almost tempestuous Cliffhanger. Neither song quite ignited the appetite as their predecessors but both just left an already bred intent to enjoy the album again and again a little more urgent each offering moments of real mouth-watering adventure within their bodies.

Though making a great first impression, Earthquake really grows with every listen, recognisable aspects aligning with uniqueness for one thoroughly pleasurable encounter.

Earthquake is out now through Seek and Strike, available @ https://hyvmine.bandcamp.com/releases and https://seekandstrikemerch.com/products/hyvmine-earthquake-cd

https://www.facebook.com/hyvmineband/

Pete RingMaster 23/01/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Of Allies – Night Sky

As release by release they have realised and pushed on the promise which came with their first steps into the UK rock scene, Of Allies has similarly step by step grown into one of the most riveting and exciting prospects within its grasp. Because of the potential and craft shared through their previous EPs, and enjoyment found, anticipation for their first album has been patient and increasingly eager with the reward being one rather wonderful encounter going by the name of Night Sky.

Emerging in 2013, Of Allies soon had intrigue and pleasure stoked with the release of their first EP, Tempers the following year. It was a beyond solid and skilfully accomplished introduction which suggested bigger and bolder things to come, that suggestion part realised and supported by its successor, the Fragments EP in 2015. Everything has now come together within Night Sky, all the promise and craft uniting with adventurous enterprise for a kaleidoscope of sound and imagination where you know there is still a tease of even bigger, bolder things to come.

Night Sky opens with its title track, an atmospheric invitation cast by the guitars of Tom Hewson and Rich Nichols against an electronic fizz. The latter’s ever impressive vocals soon intensify the lure; a Voyager meets An Entire Legion like hue soaking the blossoming encounter. Soon the vigorous muscle and stroll of the song takes hold, a rich grip of sound never quite let of the leash and all the more impacting because of it.

It is a striking start swiftly rivalled by the following 17, its calm equally as magnetic and subsequently fevered as the energies and emotions boiling up around the swinging rhythms of drummer Danny Barrick and the alluring groan of Nick Tyldsley’s bass. Controlled yet tempestuous, the song is a rising infectious blaze of invention and captivation before making way for the equally compelling presence of Collapse. Its grumble is heavier, more rapacious, but superbly tempered by its melodic dexterity and the instinctive catchiness which runs through the Of Allies sound. Like Breaking Benjamin meets Shattered Skies, attention and appetite are quickly enslaved.

The haunting beauty and melancholic grace of brief instrumental Apparition leads the imagination into the waiting harmonic drama of Run. As guitars spin a beguiling web, Nichols croons with organic temptation being just as potently backed by the vocal chords of Hewson as the song flows evocatively through ears. It is a caress of aural sunlight with emotive shadowing which only draws the listener deeper into the heart and emotion of the album; a prowess as deftly conjured within the celestially warm and increasingly volcanic Waiting For You where progressive and melodic textures collude with metallic trespasses. With a capricious character and mercurial climate, the track is nothing less than thick enticement for ears and plaudits.

The steelier Lost Not Found has a firm grasp on rock pop boisterousness in its similarly skittish gait and eventful body while the lapping waves of scenic seduction and undercurrents of gloom clad aural thoughts within the suggestive slither that is Drifting leads the imagination into the spatial and immersive fineness and deceptive calm of Open Sea. It too has a dark edge and underlining predaciousness which perfectly aligns with the heated drama of voice and sonic enterprise.

The warm atmospheric succour of Solace lifts emotions up from those darker hues, the instrumental piece as provocative as it is manipulative before passing an open imagination over to easily the best track within Night Sky. The open ingenuity of all songs frames the sheer magnificence of CMD-Q. Straight away post punk instincts are gnawing on the passions, guitars and bass linking up in agitated discord and melodic trespass as beats scythe across their glory and vocals skilfully wrap their addictive throes. The track is just majestic but so frustrating when it just leaves lust hanging at two minutes.

It is a hunger soon satisfied though by the robust but graceful exploits of Glass House, Of Allies showing how inventive and artful they at aligning contrasting elements. It is a quality never far from the surface of their music even the slim moments of atmospheric instrumental haunting as shown once again in Stranded.

The album finishes with In Low Light, an echo of all the diversity and craft across the release in its own individual theatre of adventure and imagination with a bite to its nature and dynamic drama to its breath.

Night Sky is superb, easily one of the most captivating propositions this year and most importantly, one of the most enjoyable; both aspects only increasing listen by listen.

Night Sky is out now on iTunes.

 http://ofallies.com/    https://www.facebook.com/OfAllies/    https://twitter.com/weareofallies

Pete RingMaster 30/11/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Vie Jester – All In Jest

It was around two years ago that L.A. trio Vie Jester grabbed ears and impressed with the Etches In Aether EP, a collection of multi-flavoured and imaginatively sculpted melodic/alternative rock bred songs. Recently drummer Cliff Conway got in touch to introduce the band’s latest offering, All In Jest, to our ears. Another EP sized clutch of songs, it was gratefully received especially once discovering the new adventure and maturity shaping the band’s sound and even more striking new offering.

As much as it left a greedy appetite for the Vie Jester sound, Etches In Aether is forcibly eclipsed by the exploits of All In Jest. Everything about the band has grown and matured with its five songs giving dramatic evidence within their skilfully woven episodes of enterprise and imagination. Magnetically melodic but with a snarl which may ebb and flow but always lurks to add greater depth, All In Jest is an inventive roar unafraid to lyrically take a bite at intimate and social issues.

It opens up with new single Please and one of the best starts to any release this year. The track is immense, rising from a calm but portentous melodic yawn into a muscular yet inviting spire of sonic nagging. The guitar of vocalist Kyle Guerrero needs mere seconds to tempt, his powerful vocal prowess just as swift in persuasion once gracing a song already revealing an unpredictable and adventurous body. Vocally backed by both Conway and bassist Jaime Salas with matching potency, Guerrero’s niggly citric tendrils addictively persist though stepping back nicely at times as the track blossoms from one twist and idea to another with increasing magnetism.

It is a magnificent start which hints at bands like Voyager, Tool, and Karnivool in its own individual adventure; a blend echoed in the equally creative Sunburn & Moonshine. A gentle melody wraps its suggestion around ears first, harmonic whispers adding their elegance before Guerrero’s expressive tones join the already bubbling adventure brewing within the catchy encounter. Embracing an engaging intimacy as it brews up emotive crescendos, the track just seduces ears and attention. It does lack the tempestuousness of its predecessor but replaces it with melodic flames and warm infectious tenacity for similar if not quite as spectacular success.

Enigmata follows quickly catching expectations unaware with its electronic tempting as vocals gather. The same essences continue as they are joined by the imaginative enterprise of guitar, rhythms, and vocals; the song evolving with every passing note and idea with enticing endeavour. Its relative calm and boisterous expulsions are similarly gripping whilst the array of flavours and textures within its body only captivate. It has the boldness guiding the whole release to the fore but with its richest invention in play as the song explores it simply demands plaudits.

The release is concluded by firstly The Punchline, an ethereal caress with volcanic tendencies, and lastly through the rousing endeavours of Colourblind. Both tracks keep pleasure and ears intensely involved with the second of the two especially gripping with its stylish touch and creative tapestry framed by Conway’s rhythmic prowess. It is probably fair to say that neither quite lights the major fires in personal passions as those before them but both inflame an already installed appetite for the Vie Jester invention whilst pushing the new craft and imagination shaping their sound.

Vie Jester has always deserved greater attention and they should get it with All In Jest; certainly they and it warrant a moment of your concentrated time.

All In Jest is available now @ https://viejester.com/album/548219/all-in-jest

http://www.viejester.com/     https://www.facebook.com/viejester    https://www.instagram.com/viejester/    https://twitter.com/viejester

Pete RingMaster 07/11/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright