Hagl – Lenket til Livet

Hagl_band_picture_RingMasterReview

There is something bewitching about stark and expressionless landscapes, a chilling seduction which embraces the senses and enthrals the imagination. This also applies to cold and desolate aural terrains, especially those conjured by Norwegian black metallers Hagl on debut album Lenket til Livet. With masterful creative hues throughout, it is a ten track ravenous exploration of uncomfortable emotional and physical terrains, a captivation of ears and thoughts providing an hour of thickly satisfying provocation.

Featuring members of other Norwegian black metal exports in Beastcraft, Endezzma, and Vulture, Hagl’s sound basks in the seeds and original depths of their region’s black metal, infusing it with strains of modern resourcefulness and ideation. As shown by Lenket til Livet, the trio of Malphas (guitars, bass and mellotron), Sorath (vocals), and Gheist (drums) also delve into the darkest pestilential climates and ruthless depths of ruin, decay, and sound, dragging the listener with them. The album is a long term investment of time and attention it is fair to say, but with increasing rewards repaying the demanding effort.

The album opens with Askefast, its initial web of guitar and sonic tempting a cold, ruthless wind alone setting the terms and conditions of the impending crawl through ears and psyche. The raw monotone shaded tones of Sorath equally set the scene for his delivery and also the insidious nature of song and release. As harsh and abrasive as it all is, there is also a magnetic swim of melodic suggestiveness lurking in the ambience of the track, the guitars almost flirting with the imagination until stepping into clarity further into the song to expel fresh evocative expression.

Hagl - Lenket til Livet - Artwork_RingMasterReviewIt is a transfixing start matched by the more rigorous and savage Den Sorte Porten where rhythms and riffs immediately show more aggressive urgency and volatility. A lumbering stalking of the senses emerges eventually though, scythes of guitar and brutal rhythmic stabs lining the incitement before busying themselves again beneath the singularly gaited stroll of the vocals. The song continues to flit between both assaults, smothering all before with its ruinous touch before making way for the predatory and glacial trespass of Ulvehyrde which in turn gives the listener to Fra Kulden Til Flammene to consume. The first of the two reveals a great trail of sonic colouring, grooves which could just as much be bred in the barren realms of post punk as metal, whilst its successor from an enthralling and delicious acoustic serenade of guitar, spreads a melodically toxic tapestry courted by heavier and less dramatic but just as potent bass predation. The track is a gripping affair, the guitar of Malphas absolutely stealing the show but sizeably backed by the individual intimidations and threats of Sorath and Gheist for one of the major moments of the album.

   Helvete Ligger Så I Lende is a little less striking yet the melodic shimmers from the guitar within the relentless encroachment by its bitter and rancorous presence is almost sorcerous in its tempting, whilst Ondskapt brings its own blend of aural savagery and melodic beauty right after. There is a running similarity of sorts in the templates and sculpting of many tracks within Lenket til Livet, as shown again by this pair, but it matters little such the radiant lure and exploits shaping each track’s individual cancers. There is an additional undefined spark to the second of the two allowing it to shine out over others and the fruitless scenery cast by Liksøk right after it, another offering with plenty to entangle ears and appetite in such as the slow rabidity of the vocals and rhythms as well as almost intoxicating melodies.

Sjelefiende almost bounds along compared to the previous songs, its keen stroll an infectious enticement draped in tendrils of sonic suggestion and hate infested vocals, whilst Vardøgn drifts solemnly through its own emotional desolation littered with crystaline temptation. As all tracks there is much more going on within the intrusion, plenty to be discovered over time which ultimately only increases the success and impressiveness of Lenket til Livet too.

Closing with the corrosive weight and ferocity of Endelikt, a track in a constant evolution as bracing as it is inhospitable and as creative as it is overwhelmingly tempestuous, Lenket til Livet is an enthralling and punishingly enjoyable encounter. Though overall it did not ignite ears as to the same consistency as it might and as one of two other recent genre releases every listen brings something new and more persuasive, its stature only growing. Well worth a hearty checking out is the suggestion.

Lenket til Livet is available now via Folter Records @ http://folter666shop.de/

https://www.facebook.com/haglbyge

RingMaster 25/06/2015

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By The Rivers – Vulture/This Love

By The Rivers Field July 2013_1

Re-igniting the impressive and exhilarating presence and success of their self-titled debut album last year, UK reggae band By The Rivers release new double A-sided single Vulture/This Love. Taken from the album, the songs tell you all you need to know about the melodic beauty and vibrant creativity of the band and their mouthwatering sound. It is another irresistible call for those yet to discover the splendour of the Leicester sextet and another reason for us in the know to let feet blaze over the ground with one of Britain’s most exciting bands.

Formed in 2010 by friends, Nile Barrow (lead vocals/guitar) and Jordan Birtles (drums/vocals), By The Rivers has mesmerised fans and media alike with their unique fusion of reggae/ska/soul/and afro-beat. With a line-up completed by Matt Willars (bass), Sam Read (keys/guitar/vocals), Will Todd (Tenor Saxophone), and Leo May (Trumpet), the band from their first steps were soon gracing stages with the likes of Dawn Kinnard, Neville Staples, Fun Lovin’ Criminals, and Toploader. Their swiftly growing reputation only accelerated as the six-piece continued to play with the likes of the Buzzcocks, Maxi Priest, Musical Youth, Dawn Penn, Saxon Sound, and The Specials whilst released eagerly received EPs and singles. Last year’s album through Kompyla Records thrust the band into an even more intensive spotlight with festival demand and appearances a plenty following its release.

The new single is the next dart of contagious persuasion by the band, one to have lips licked and passions romping. Vulture opens with a Graphic1 glorious wash of vocal harmonies, their touch a seductive caress before the song opens up its entrancing arms into an elegant sway and magnetic swagger. Guitars and bass dance and tease across the length of the song giving a base contagion to fall into, then once enslaved brass flames aligned to anthemic vocal and melodic lures bind the passions even tighter. It is an energetic but respectful romp leading imagination and emotions by the hand into a seductive and vivacious dance.

The musical and lyrical provocation of the song is emulated in its own distinct design by This Love, the song an evocative affair with ears and thoughts which gentle strolls as melodic tendrils and expressive passion drifts off every note and harmonious syllable. It is too easy and maybe lazy to provide UB40 as a reference to the sound of By The Rivers but it is unavoidably suitable for this flowing summer wind of a song. The heat of brass and magnetic touch of the guitars make the initial steal of the heart but as is very often the case with their songs, it is the vocals and melodies which bring the virulent infection to which there is no known cure.

With an instrumental version of Vulture completing the tracks offered, the single is another riveting triumph from By The Rivers, inescapable bait for feet, heart, and soul. Released April 21st alongside a Tom Swindell (Shy FX, Jamie Woon and Die & Breaks) directed video the same day for Vulture, the single and the band’s irresistible blend of catchy songwriting and powerful lyricism make another potent statement for one of the very best new bands here in the UK.

Vulture/This Love is available via Kompyla Records now!

https://www.facebook.com/bytherivers

10/10

RingMaster 21/04/2014

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