Xerosun – This Dark Rage

Photography by Olga Kuzmenko

Time for another catch up moment, this time with the This Dark Rage EP from Irish melodic death metallers Xerosun released a handful of months back. It is fair to say that since we covered and enjoyed the band’s debut album Absence of Light way back in 2011, they and their sound have quite simply evolved into completely new attention grabbing beasts, changes and evolution leading to their latest impressive  proposition more than deserving of a belated look.

With a just as hungry progressive bent to their ravenous sound, the Dublin quintet has persistently drawn greater praise and support in recent times. Building on previous successes like that first album and sharing stages with the likes of Avenged Sevenfold, Soulfly, Xerath, and In This Moment, the past two years have been exceptionally busy for Xerosun. Two headline UK tours have been accompanied by performances at festivals such as Mammothfest and Siege of Limerick, times capped off by the release of EP/mini album This Dark Rage and the Olga Kuzmenko created video for its title track, both themed around the Craigslist killer Miranda Barbour, a subject set to be further explored in the band’s new album set for later this year.

This Dark Rage opens with that title track, vocalist Martyna Halas-Yeates’ raw throated scowls courted by the predatory prowl of guitars and rhythms; it all soaked in venom and spite. As riffs continue to gnaw and beats stab, the primal instincts of the track suddenly flip into a groove driven canter, Halas-Yeates’ tones becoming a siren of beauty before the beast returns in voice and song again. The rapier like jabs of drummer Damian Dziennik hold even more spite while David Kuchar’s bass is savage in tone and flirtatious in swing matching the now established web of hostility and grooving. It is a compelling blend and result, the guitars of Fiachra Kelly and Gareth Jeffs rich in craft and enterprise while Halas-Yeates captivates in her dual persona. She is angel and demon and though her melodic prowess feels more natural, her vocal causticity only convinces within the adventurous tapestry around her, wicked grooves deviously colouring the unfolding lyrical drama.

Anatomy of a Lie follows the great start, even overshadowing it as it creates its own groove sculpted temptation, one again bred from ruinous fractions of intent and a blossoming of magnetic melodies and harmonic flames again led by Halas-Yeates’ kind side. It is a song which has grown and evolved since its first outing within a great video back in 2013 and another sign of the band’s hunger to grow and draw every ounce of their imagination to the fore. As all tracks, it is a fusion of flavours beyond the description we first gave you, a controlled but bold maelstrom of antipathy and warmth lighting the senses much as the tempest within next up I Spared Hundreds succeeds in. With electronic essences almost taunting ears from its shadows, the song is a carnal provocation with a relatively latent but openly glimpsed peace. Harmonies and keys temper the cancerous instincts surrounding them, while imagination is an increasingly riveting trait in the song as innocence and insanity mingle in the corners of its psychosis.

The release is brought to a close by firstly The Mother of Morality, a corrosive web of sound with Middle Eastern veining radiated in suggestive melodies and vocal elegance. At times it is like a mix of The Agonist and Motherjane, in other moments more Scar Symmetry and Arch Enemy nurtured, and quite beguiling. As the EP, the track just grows with every listen, the enjoyment of its first appraisal becoming more lustful and impressed with every venture into its passionately lit caverns.

Repent, Rewind, Reset brings it all to an end, its seven minutes plus a spiral into emotional and mental turbulence matched by a soundscape of volatile and schizophrenic sound. Though for whatever reason the track does not grab as powerfully as its predecessors, it makes for a fine and fascinating conclusion to a release which only impresses more and more. Xerosun is a band on the ascent with a potential driven, imagination powered sound to match.

This Dark Rage is available on CD and download @ https://xerosun.bandcamp.com/

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Pete RingMaster 31/03/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Unheard Before The Wake – Humanity Burning


It is fair to say that Humanity Burning took its time to fully convince, for its ideas and elements to fall into place within ears and understanding, but when it did, the new EP from UK melodic death metallers Unheard Before The Wake showed why the band is beginning to be strongly noticed within the British metal underground. Unleashing five intrusive tracks which devour the senses while intriguing the imagination, the band’s sophomore EP emerges as an attention grabbing trespass.

Formed at the end of 2013, the Sutton hailing Unheard Before The Wake has increasingly lured fans and keen interest through the release of their self-titled debut EP on 2014 and more so a live presence which has seen the quintet share stages with the likes of Xerath, Meat Train, and A Vulgar Picture. Their sound is a tempest of extreme flavours unafraid to entangle black and classic hues into its death and melodic metal bred invention. Humanity Burning is the band’s new national assault on ears, a release which maybe does not always fit perfectly with personal tastes but certainly left them with an appetite for more.

The EP opens with its title track and a nagging of riffs, their whiney hue like raw nectar swiftly grabbing keen attention further enhanced by the barbarous torrent of beats and the great gnarly tone of the bass. As its predatory nature continues to ignite the appetite, the track rumbles and grumbles like an awakened beast, subsequently stretching into its prowling gait and animosity as the heavy throaty growls of vocalist Chris Rossiter enter the scene. At this point the guitars of Dylan-Thomas Chinchen and Ryan Adams expand their own tapestry of enterprise and sonic flavouring, the song blossoming into an unpredictable and increasingly rousing proposition. On the initial listen, it almost seems to have too much going on in its rabid assault but with time each twist and turn skilfully flows and in turn impresses. The personal taste thing does kick in as cleaner vocals make their appearance, an addition which just does not work for these ears, though the only time something grates against rather than benefits the song.

Unheard Before The Wake Cover Artwork_RingMasterReviewLurker steps up next, again with an opening which demands attention. This time the invitation is a threatening collusion of sound and texture, almost asylum like in its tone and vocal cries. Framing the drama, drummer Jasper Brownlow and bassist Adam McGuinness again place wonderfully grouchy bait which only finds greater impact as a thrash bred surge of riffs and energy erupts. As its predecessor, the song also flows through intensive and slower predacious moments to keep expectations on their toes, especially the almost theatrical passage of the lyrical protagonist’s introspection which comes forward.

It is clear Unheard Before The Wake know how to compose a song to make an immediate impact, The Pluto God also stirring up ears in seconds with its fierce waltz of grooves within an intimidating rhythmic shuffle. In no time from that great start, the song is stalking the senses and psyche with the excellent heavy throated growling of Rossiter a potent lure in the corrosive storm. The twist of classic metal seeded vocals derail the track a touch again for these ears though it is soon back to its former glory with raw guttural vocals leading to a weave of tantalising craft and flavours.

The EP’s best track, Right To Die, comes next; it a maelstrom of intrusive rhythms and riffs bound in roaming grooves and melodic toxicity which swiftly inflames air and ears. Clean vocals do make another appearance but in spoken form to great effect, providing another texture in the resourceful blaze of sound and imagination.

Completed by an instrumental reprise of its title track, Humanity Burning is a release which takes its time but makes a thoroughly enjoyable persuasion of the potential and readymade qualities of Unheard Before The Wake. Their sound still feels like it is in evolution which only adds to their promise. The press release suggests Humanity Burning is something fans of The Black Dahlia Murder, Carcass, Dimmu Borgir, and Cannibal Corpse might take a shine to; something easy to agree with. As for the clean vocals, we suggest the band really does not need them with everything else boiling up rather nicely.

The Humanity Burning EP is released April 29th @ https://unheardbeforethewake.bandcamp.com/ and most online stores.

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Pete RingMaster 28/04/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Blackwork – Impasse EP


There has been an increasingly loud whisper in recent times casting good things about Scottish metallers Blackwork and now with the release of their debut EP, you can expect it to become a more forceful roar. Impasse uncages five tracks of ferocious multi-flavoured metal which maybe falls slightly short of a dramatic startling of ears but easily sparks the imagination and incites a lingering appetite to hear more of the band’s inventive sound.

The Glasgow bred Blackwork was formed in 2014 and quickly lured local attention with a three-track demo and an uncompromising and invigorating live presence which over time has seen the quintet play with the likes of Xerath, Bloodshot Dawn, and Exist Immortal among many. Last year saw the band begin work on the writing and creation of the Impasse EP and its certainly memorable fusion of everything from groove, progressive, and varied strains of extreme metal to hardcore and other equally fierce flavourings. The result of the band’s intensive time crafting and honing their release and sound provides, from start to finish, a commanding and attention grabbing wide spread introduction to their mouth-watering potential and imagination fuelled exploits.

art_RingMasterReviewAlias opens up the EP, emerging on a melodic breeze within a warm atmospheric coaxing. In no time imposing rhythms and strands of wiry guitar badger and wrap ears as the track’s aggressive and intensive nature takes over. The growling tones of Josh Graham swiftly add their expressive weight to the proposal, whilst simultaneously a swinging swagger, led by the captivating bassline sprung by Tony Dunn, unveils its infectiousness as magnetic grooves and hooks inventively sculpted by guitarists Greig Cunningham and Chris Dunn align with their own caustic riffery. There is a touch of Lamb Of God to the track, maybe a whiff of Devildriver at times too, yet every twist and turn revels something if not majorly unique certainly individual to the writing and imagination of Blackwork

It is a great start matched by latest single Filthist, a similarly structured but instantly more volatile and antagonistic incitement for ears and appetite. There is a venomous toxicity to the grooves and melodic suggestiveness of the song; a belligerence as open in vocals and the barbarous nature of the rhythms too. Equally there is a punkish element to the track; that hardcore essence pleasing ears as it gets woven to the adventurous maelstrom of diverse sounds and intrusive textures.

Unguided needs barely a second to take its hold of ears and imagination; the initial hard rap of Chris Vezza’s beats breeding a predacious collection of hungry riffs and prowling grooves quickly straddled by the vocal animus of Graham, he in turn backed as potently by the band. With slithers of progressive and folkish resourcefulness within its rousing and cantankerous onslaught, the song is an irresistible tempest taking best track honours. Mellow emotive passages bound in poetic melodies only add to the fascination and intriguing nature of the track; merging perfectly with a tempestuous heart and the song’s vicious ferocity and touch.

The EP is completed by firstly the aggressively flirtatious Rust with its again great mix of metal styles and the releases’ title track which maybe made the least dramatic impression on personal tastes yet never allowed a moment to pass where ears and imagination were not fully involved in its creative blaze. The final pair were equally slow burners on ears compared to their successfully more instant predecessors but each only rose to captivate and reinforce the EP’s impressive persuasion.

Impasse is a powerful and increasingly enjoyable first look at Blackwork; a release stocked with the potential to stir up greater and broader attention the way of the band and set them off to greater creative heights.

The Impasse EP is out now @ http://blackworkband.bandcamp.com/releases

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Pete RingMaster 29/03/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Brutai – Self Titled EP


There has been a potently growing buzz around UK metallers Brutai since the band’s inception around 2007/08 and listening to their self-titled EP it is easy to see why. Consisting of five explosive and adventurous tracks which reap the seeds of numerous styles twisting them into their own melodically coated fiery sound, the release is a stirring declaration from a band you sense has an even bigger fire inside their creative depths. It is maybe not an EP which quite has the passions raging though it comes close often but certainly it has them and an appetite for the band’s presence fired up and keen to discover more.

Earning a good reputation through their live performances and first release, the three track Becoming Alpha EP of 2009; the London based quartet has evolved a melodic metalcore centre into an invigorating force soaked in rapacious imagination with the new release. Featuring Xerath drummer Mike Pitman, who stepped in for the recording when the band’s drummer left, the EP brings in deep intensive flames of varied flavours to wrap and entice their sound. It makes for a collection of songs which are adventurous and dramatic with plenty to hint that Brutai could be a tour de force of the future. Definitely there is enough to set the band apart from the majority of melodic metalcore bands emerged over recent years and arguably some of the more established ones in the UK, but also they have an imaginative flair and riveting breath to their music which leaves rich intrigue and a lively appetite for their presence and future.

Opening song Flood takes little time in capturing the imagination, the vocals of Felix Lawrie an aggressive antagonist from the track’s firsta0064076812_2 breath backed up rigorously by his scything guitar strokes and those of Henry Ryan. It is a forceful and attention grabbing entrance which flows into an incendiary journey of sound clad in commanding rhythms, inventive guitar enterprise, and the prowling ever pressing bass craft of Michael Crouchman. With an imaginative intent to the song which never settles too long in one stance but seamlessly twists and turns in on itself and the listener’s assumptions, and an impressive diverse mix of vocals which merge squalling and clean deliveries for an enthralling confrontation the track is a scintillating surge of superbly crafted sounds.

The following Alpha is a less explosive start but one which is soon inciting and crazing the senses and thoughts with a further excellently sculpted blaze of unsettling mouth-watering ingenuity. Whether down to the promo sent our way or the actual production, the song loses its strength through a shallow lifeless glaze which defuses a great deal of its strengths though the band still manages to impress in every aspect apart from production. Sleepers though has things back on track, its opening melodic seduction an evocative embrace which gracefully caresses the ear whilst the guitars steer in a sinew clad rhythmic presence and a sonic enterprise as colourful as the song’s energy of the song. It is a mighty fusion of muscular provocation and melodic beauty which on a par with the opener leaves a want for more the overriding response to its resourceful persuasion.

Straight Silver does not find the same height of satisfaction as other songs which is a little surprising as again Brutai carve out excellent patterns of skill within an imaginative adventure, the track persistently shifting its attack and enterprise with fluidity and transfixing craft, though there is something missing to enslave like other songs on the release like the closing Onyx. The final song is a rapacious storm of energy and hungry urgency which explores senses and thoughts like a carnivorous puppeteer, every rhythmic poke and sonic entanglement a precise and explosive tempest of ideas which moves towards a latter platform where the track can soar through slower and sultry melodic climes, once more showing the expanse of the band’s songwriting and exploratory intent.

Brutai is destined to great things you can only suspect given the quality and strength of their EP. It also shows there is much more to come from the band which is just as exciting as the sound they unveil and thrill with on the release. Ultimately it is a record which suggests we will be getting excited over future Brutai exploits such its unbridled promise, and the anticipation of that is already awakened.



RingMaster 01/11/2013

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