As Paradise Falls – Digital Ritual

Label: Eclipse Records. Release Date: 21 July 2017.

Australia is gaining quite the reputation for quality metal acts; KARNIVOOL, VOYAGER, NORTHLANE, AVERSIONS CROWN…get the idea? Now you can add Brisbane’s AS PARADISE FALLS to that list too. The band who are proving to be an unstoppable force, faced a few setbacks while the recording of Digital Ritual, mostly the sudden passing of guitarist Glen Barrie in late 2015. Not only did the band have to regroup and support each other after his death, but the band were also more conscious about creating an album worthy of preserving Glen’s legacy. Produced by Shane Edwards (NORTHLANE, TROPHY EYES, HELLIONS) the band have achieved a solid album; a heavy tech record full of interesting nuggets here and there, with more grooves, beats, riffs and curious titbits than you can shake a stick at. Influenced by bands such as EMMURE and fellow Aussies THY ART IS MURDER and PARKWAY DRIVE, it’s no surprise Digital Ritual is an album which packs a punch.

The title track kicks off proceedings with a tense introduction, erupting into an instrumental banger with a smattering of electronic tinkles. Balance then completely blows the senses with its massive drums, ferocious riffs and the raw vocals from frontman Shaun Coar. One of the heaviest tracks on the album, Balance threatens the listener with what AS PARADISE FALLS are capable of.

The chuggy, EMMURE-ish riffs soon break way for the start of Star Blind. The lead single entices with its calming intro of blissful clean vocals but we’re soon back in business with a punishing riff to make sure you continue your way to the killer chorus reminiscent of AMORPHIS or even ORPHANED LAND. Once again, nothing prepares you for the switch in style for next track, The Ultimate Consumer. With a riff not too dissimilar to DECAPITATED’s Spheres of Madness, the song switches between mesmerising vocals and downright punishing metal.

Automated Sacrifice is a mish-mash of all sorts making it one of the more rewarding tracks on Digital Ritual. With the album’s best guitar solo and breakdown , this song also features more of Coar’s versatile vocals as well as more atmospheric flourishes which enriches the dynamic. A relentless groove greets listeners for Glory To The Server, but frequently breaks into djent moments with a SIKTH-esque edge.

A melodic opening to Reborn soon evolves into something reminiscent of a MALEVOLENCE groove but with an extra metallic crunch. This intensifies for Dead Message, an absolute stomper of a track. It’s becoming evident AS PARADISE FALLS pull off every style they play, but this also means they are lacking a sound which is distinctly theirs. Having said this, the material is strong enough and exciting enough to kick up anticipation to see how the band will progress. A very promising full-length, AS PARADISE FALLS should be on your radar.

 

 

Eighteen Visions – XVIII

Label: Rise Records. Release Date: 2 June 2017.

XVIII might just take the crown for most unexpected 2017 release. Last year Metalmance raved about EIGHTEEN VISIONS’ back catalogue in Weekly Roundup #6, and stated it would be very unlikely there would be a reunion in the near future. Well, 10 years on from their breakup, EIGHTEEN VISIONS sneakily reformed and recorded a new album with the help of ANAAL NATHRAKH’s Mick Kenney (who also produces ex-EIGHTEEN VISIONS and BLEEDING THROUGH member Brandan Schieppatti’s solo project THE IRON SON.) and it’s fair to say it’s a return to their roots. Everything, from their logo to shots of bees and mannequins in their promotional materials, all hark back to their first major release Until The Ink Runs Out in 2000. XVIII feels like a homage to their past selves and their late bassist Mick Morris, as it meanders through familiar territory (i.e the use of film samples which has not been practised since Vanity in 2002), but in true EIGHTEEN VISIONS fashion, it sounds nothing like anything they have written before. Each album shifts massively from style to style and this new release is no different.

Blasting in with Crucified, EIGHTEEN VISIONS are shaking off any false impressions from their last self-titled album, an album which saw the band being branded as sell-outs. This storming intro, with its ferocious drumming and blackened riffs, immediately makes the point that EIGHTEEN VISIONS are heavier than ever and are back to show the scene how it’s done. The lyrics themselves could be interpreted in many ways; “Still crucified. I’ve never been consumed. Never conformed like you.” Could this be the band’s response to comments about their last album? How they’ve always done what the hell they’ve wanted despite what fans and the scene say?

The Disease, The Decline, and Wasted Time is quite a groovy fair, with James Hart’s distinct screams tearing through the track. The chorus is not too dissimilar to something you would hear on their self-titled, infectiously catchy yet backed up with heavy accompaniment. They always had killer breakdowns (Tower of Snakes anyone?) but the breakdown in this track is something else. Guitarist Keith Barney has seriously concocted a batch of tasty riffs for this album and has plunged the band into another level of heaviness. This formula continues for the third track Underneath The Gun, with the vocal melody in the middle eight and the end sounding reminiscent of the self-titled track off Vanity. Heavy. There’s that word again, heavy…

A tribute to Mick Morris comes in the form of the intense track Live Again. An unapologetically heavy single, it features more top notch riffs but also some of the album’s most carefully considered lyrics; “Stay inside me. We’ll never forget the days. We made the most of our memories.” The song descends into a powerful rock chorus but never strays far from the brutal foundations of the composition. A fitting, and heartfelt tribute to Morris’ legacy indeed.

Hart’s rock vocals raise their head again in Laid to Waste in the Shit of Man but erupt back into their raw state for the punishing Oath. Many have interpreted this song to be the band’s loyalty to the straight edge, but it could represent many things. A likely interpretation is staying true to music and family, it follows the same attitude as You Don’t Have to be Blood to be Family-era THROWDOWN. The gritty instrumentation is a mish-mash of all their previous albums, it sounds like Until the Ink Runs Out, Vanity and Obsession all rolled into one. Ladies and gentlemen, this is EIGHTEEN VISIONS.

Spit and Picture Perfect are further examples of filthy tunes with oodles of groove and distortion. If their self-titled album was geared towards an 80’s vibe then XVIII definitely veers towards a 90’s ALICE IN CHAINS edge in places. Fake Leather Jacket could easily fit on 2004’s Obsession, with its groovy riff reminiscent to Crushed and its crushing chorus. The lyrics are also quite curious; “Said youʼd make me famous. The year of the “v.” But youʼre just so epic full of shit.” Could this be directed to Epic Records who let them down with promoting their self-titled? This track is full suggestive comments but once again in true 18V fashion it could be interpreted in many different ways.

Each EIGHTEEN VISIONS’ album has an absolutely spellbinding track and XVIII is no different. A solid album and one which has exceeded all expectations, this record needed a statement finale. With For This I Sacrifice they have achieved this, a track dripping with passion and feeling, it is one of the heaviest love songs you’ll hear all year. It also demonstrates just how far Hart’s vocals have come since the introduction of cleans on Vanity. A spine tingling ending for one of their best albums to date, there’s no doubt about it, EIGHTEEN VISIONS are back and ready to rejuvenate the metalcore scene again. Welcome back chaps.

 

My Vitriol + Marla + Kamensko

15 May 2017. The Waterfront Studio, Norwich.

It had been over 15 years since London’s “nu-gaze” masters had graced a stage in Norfolk’s fine city, but they had finally returned to fans both old and new. Last year eventually saw the release of the band’s highly anticipated second album, The Secret Sessions and a UK tour was always expected by fans. If the Norwich show was anything to go by then the rest of the UK tour would have been well worth the wait.

Supports for tonight’s gig were Norwich’s own KAMENSKO and MARLA, bands which prove the local scene is in safe hands. KAMENSKO warmed up the crowd with their classic sound but surprised with the odd cheeky breakdown, fresh yet funky. MARLA had an immense sound considering they were one member short, their stage presence and rich material more than made up for the absent member. A high-energy indie band in the same vein as THE EDITORS but bolder, there were lots of interesting and captivating sounds to pull the crowd closer to the stage. One band to watch for sure. 

There was a modest excitement before MY VITRIOL took to the stage. Remember, this is a band who performed on Top of the Pops and main stage Reading and Leeds back in the day, so to see the group in such an intimate venue as The Waterfront Studio is a special treat indeed. One striking component of their set was their impressive light rig, it made the small venue feel like a room triple its capacity and perfectly complimented the dreamy and melodic rock the band from London produce.

Kicking off with a few newer songs from The Secret Sessions, such as We’ve Lost Our Way and It’s So Damn Easy, the band, including frontman Som Wardner, looked relaxed and oozed professionalism on stage. The new songs nestled nicely amongst the old with fans greatly appreciating Finelines’ lesser known songs such as Infantile as well as the classic single Grounded. By the time the band finished with Always Your Way it felt like tonight had been a celebration of the band’s reunion but also a celebration of their unique material which had been sorely missed in the UK music scene. “Hopefully it won’t take us 15 years until we play Norwich again.” Hopefully Som, hopefully. 

Rezinwolf EP

Self-released. Release date: 26 April 2017.

You may remember Metalmance reviewed REZINWOLF’s single Poison Ivy way back in September, but now the lads from Harwich have finally released the EP and it is a shining example of what metal delights Essex has to offer. If you’ve been following the band from their early beginnings and their debut Corruption Kingdom, you may be surprised by the change in direction from thrash leanings to a more classic approach to proceedings. Keeping it old school yet refreshingly modern, it is clear from the first listen REZINWOLF have poured their hearts and souls into this record, but are metal to the core.

Kicking off with Voice of the Youth, the quality and depth of the song writing is only the start of it. Vocalist Danny ‘Murf’ Murphy’s clean vocals have improved massively, with his yaps and yells spot on in classic fashion, yet sounding smooth and charismatic for the melodies. With solos aplenty, the talent of the band is apparent straight away yet they somehow avoid clichés, most likely through their passion for their craft which just oozes out the speakers.

Nearer My Hell To Thee is a punchy and bright number. With this second track it is already impossible not to be seduced by the band’s infectious choruses. The vocals in this track in particular are stellar but it also becomes evident the band’s decision to record and mix in a studio was an excellent choice, as the recording positively shimmers with polished tones and has set the band to flourish. The bass is nicely nestled in the mix, enabling a full and dynamic sound full of rich layers of melodies and riffs, resulting in a delicious gateau of heavy metal.

Third track is in memory of Murf’s mother who tragically passed away before the release. Restart Your Heart brings 80s classic rock to the fore, with cheesy and catchy melodies but with extra heart. If a less experienced band attempted to pull off a track such as this, it might not have been convincing, but REZINWOLF execute the emotion in this song perfectly and you know they mean every word. Even the riffs are catchy. By now you know the band are onto a real winner with this EP, they’re everything you wanted AIRBOURNE to be. They live and breathe this.

The EP closes with the stunning Poison Ivy, which harks band to the band’s heavier origins with more thrashy elements than the rest of the EP. With another catchy chorus but a darker feel, this track is still as irresistible as when it was first released last year. There is a sprinkling of piano on the closing bars, resulting in a dramatic yet thrilling ending for the EP. REZINWOLF have set themselves a high bar here to top when they record their next album. It will be exciting to see what direction the band move into next, but one thing’s for sure, you’ll want to buckle up and go along for the ride to see what heights REZINWOLF can reach with this release.

Rezinwolf – Poison Ivy Review

The Royal – Seven

Label: Long Branch Records. Release Date: 31 March 2017.

Since releasing their debut album Dreamcatchers in 2014, THE ROYAL have slowly been causing a stir in the European metalcore scene, and now hopefully with the band’s first label release Seven through Long Branch Records, this group of promising Dutchmen are set to take the scene by storm. Seven continues where Dreamcatchers left off, but things sound a lot sharper, more structured, and vocalist Sem Pisarahu has definitely found his vocal niche with this release.

To kick off proceedings, Thunder storms in with riffs galore, and soon enough we’re back amongst THE ROYAL’s safe clutches. With this opening track, the band’s confidence oozes through the speakers, with bold tones and an urgent presence, the song soon gives way to one of the album’s highlights, Feeding Wolves. Featuring Carlo Knöpfel of BREAKDOWN OF SANITY this song features a lot of exciting elements; elegant riffs which soon erupt into a crushing mass of tech riffery and catchy lines which are destined to be firm favourites for fans to shout along to. Unapologetically heavy, yet diverse enough to remain interesting, this track sets the milestone for the remainder of the album.

The third track, single, Wildmind maintains the band’s infectious energy and features one of the album’s most memorable riffs. It is becoming apparent THE ROYAL are definitely ones to watch, with their mix of a bruising foundation, topped by piercing guitars and crushing vocals. This variety is worked to create an interesting and unpredictable bag of metalcore. Creeds and Vultures surprises the ear with tech riffs that border on the djent, along with an unexpected acoustic middle-eight and a triumphant outro. A truly impressive track in terms of seamlessly mixing all these components together, THE ROYAL confidently demonstrate they are still unfazed by including acoustic and orchestral parts, as any fan of the debut album would be familiar with.

This continues with the piano opening of Counterculture, the second single taken from Seven. With a desperate message, the band storm their way through the song, once again with killer riffs and a hardcore attitude of camaraderie. A thought provoking song about the state of the world, this message has time to sink in during the album’s atmospheric interlude, appropriately named…Interlude. This is soon interrupted with the whirring riff of the title track, which is an example of the band’s leaning towards the more tech side of metal.

Life Breaker and Thalassa are chock-full of tech influences, with both songs of course containing signature killer riffs, you can just assume by this point that the remainder of the songs will also plentiful in the riffage department. Indeed, closer Viridian needs something special to offer to put the tech metal cherry on top of THE ROYAL’s metalcore cake. And it certainly delivers; a fast-paced, energetic number, it is the perfect counterpart to Thunder, nicely sandwiching all the riffs and screams between two solid tracks of THE ROYAL goodness.

A seriously blinding effort, Seven will hopefully propel THE ROYAL to the forefront of the burgeoning scene. It will be exciting to see what the future holds for this promising lot and how the band evolves for future releases.

 

Dreamshade + The Royal

Boston Music Room, London. 26 March 2017.

There was quite a lot of hype surrounding tonight. DREAMSHADE had finally made it to the UK and this was their first ever London show. DREAMSHADE fans are a fiercely loyal bunch and this small community had found its way to Boston Music Room to give the Swiss metalcore band the warm welcome they deserved.

Getting to the venue just as THE ROYAL kicked into their set, these rising stars of Dutch metalcore were pulling out all the stops, making it impossible to tear your eyes away to get to the bar. Frontman Sem Pisarahu commanded the crowd’s attention with his ferocious delivery and infectious energy. The rest of the band were also on fine form, jumping in time with a hardcore punk attitude. Fella from DREAMSHADE jumped on stage for guest vocals which really got the room  moving. Winning over new fans tonight with their absolutely tight delivery, THE ROYAL will no doubt cause a bigger stir in the scene. Be sure to check them out at Tech Fest in July!

Keeping the energy up by opening with the storming It’s Over, DREAMSHADE fed off their fan’s vibrancy (pun intended) and in return put on a performance worthy of a venue triple its size. Mostly playing tracks from last year’s Vibrant, the modest crowd shouted back every word, clearly pleasing the band as there were smiles all round for the remainder of the night. Playing old gems like Photographs and Consumed Future really sent the crowd into a frenzy, but London was in for one heck of a treat. Before erupting into Wide Awake, former vocalist Iko joined the band on stage, sending old fans into meltdown. DREAMSHADE were always teasing something special for London, but no one could have predicted jumping along to both Iko and current vocalist Kevin Calì sharing vocals. Newer tunes still went down well with Dreamers Don’t Sleep and Autumn Leaves having the loudest crowd sing-alongs. The band sounded just as good live as they do on record, oozing talent and professionalism yet still bringing the fun by joining the crowd and rocking out with us. Tonight was one of those nights when everyone looked super chuffed after the set. Every person in the room was in high spirits and the band stuck around to chat and take photos, clearly appreciating their fans, some of whom had travelled many miles to catch their first London show. It had been worth it, a very special night indeed.

PIG + Mortiis + Seraph Sin

Epic Studios, Norwich. 17 March 2017.

Epic Studios, an old television studio, seemed to be the perfect setting for an evening of industrial rock and metal. Wires, plugs and projections all contributed to the visual dynamic for the show. There wasn’t a big turn out tonight unfortunately, but if there was ever a gig which would make the goths of Norwich dance, then this would be it.

Getting the industrial gears oiled up for the evening were SERAPH SIN. Considering the room was still quite sparse, the Glaswegians put on a show worthy of a venue double the size. Flitting across many genres, they started with a blackened industrial sound before enveloping the room with 80s electronic vibes. Clad in New Rocks and black face paint, frontman Gabriel Lennox commanded attention with his ferocious stage presence, but it was drummer Roddy McCahon who stole the show with his tight beats and PRODIGY-esque rhythm. An impressive performance from the band, ones to watch for sure.

 

Now the venue had filled up a little more, there was now a real buzz in the room for the first of the headline acts, Norway’s finest, MORTIIS. Last year’s The Great Deceiver stunned fans and critics alike and now tonight they’re ready to unleash their industrial metal upon this small city. Guitarist and drummer Levi Gawron and Tim Van Horn enter the stafe hushing the cheering crowd to silence before legendary frontman Havard Ellefsen jumped on the platform. From then on in, the room descended into a dark and gritty groove. Projections of film clips and album artwork gave the performance an electronic intensity. Dancing barefoot and with his trademark make-up, Ellefsen proved what a visually captivating frontman he is, a man decades into the game and still able to rock harder than most, signifies someone very special indeed. Classic track Decadent and Desperate sounded a hundred times bigger live than on record, proving the quality of the songs and true showmanship show MORTIIS are still on top form.

 

Alternating headline slots on this Swine and Punishment tour, tonight’s headliners were the funky and punky PIG. Entering the stage with pig masks, the unsuspecting punter was probably anticipating an absolutely filthy industrial ruckus. But lo and behold PIG mastermind and flamboyant frontman Raymond Watts graces the stage in a faux fur coat and a captain’s hat before the band erupt into a swirling, sensual mass of funky, industrial groove. With an overwhelmingly 80s sound, the band stay fresh with modern effects and an irresistible flair. Watts is impossible to tear your eyes away from, a superb frontman, his vocals were on point but his moves were even sharper. Everyone was in good spirits, dancing and mesmerised by the band’s superb showmanship. A truly captivating band with a stadium sound, it was impressive viewing. A stellar night overall, the city’s goths left the venue smiling and still with a spring in their step.

NOAD – Nature of a Doppelganger EP

Self-release. Release date: 27th January 2017.

Solo instrumental djent EPs are often very much hit or miss, but in the case of Mike Vermeire’s NOAD, it’s a hit. Featuring enough elements to stay interesting yet be able to maintain a sound unique to the musician is always a challenge yet Vermeire has managed to achieve this with his 8 string guitar for Nature of a Doppelganger. Also incorporating ambient metal and death metal, the EP is an enjoyable slab of trusty ol’ djent, but it is in no way tech-metal-by-numbers.

Nature of a Doppelganger begins with a heavy ambient track called Intro which soon blends into Collapse; a punchy tech track full of djent mannerisms and rumbling bass. It soon becomes noticeable how full the mix is which is impressive for a solo production, some one man band recordings are sparse on layers of sound, but Vermeire has produced material rich in substance and textures – a bit like an indulgent djent dessert.

The atmospheric start to Deceit soon breaks away to a punchy, chuggy riff. A few GOJIRA-like squeals here and there help make this track a heavy tech metal track which pounds through the headphones. Deceit is probably the song most likely to induce some head nodding as it never lets up. It is one constant riff-athon. At first the drums do not sound entirely convincing but halfway through the song they’re close to stealing the show.

A killer riff kicks in with Forlorn before it erupts into another splendid array of ferocious heavy progressiveness. There is an opportunity here to go full riffy djent but it is a relief in a way that Vermeire doesn’t as it would have been too predictable and not the most original. Instead he provides us with interesting effects and an ambience not too dissimilar to SHOKRAN.

With Bardo we hear NOAD’s more ambient side, a treat of a song with harmonics galore and a Fragile-era NIN vibe happening with the main guitar hook. Although it is unlike the other tracks on the EP it does not sound out of place. It is a beautiful and well composed piece and is actually the most memorable track on Nature of a Doppelganger. If NOAD end up pursuing the ambient route of metal, it certainly wouldn’t be the worst idea.

Bardo almost acts as a palette cleanser before the punishing closer Antumbra. By far the heaviest track on the EP, the middle of the song absolutely obliterates the senses and keeps on delivering until the very end. An impressive release, there are enough components to Nature of a Doppelganger to make you want to return to the EP again and again.

Weekly Roundup #19

Melodic death, melodic tech, metalcore, oh heck!

Band to watch: THE OBLIVION. Everyday there seems to be a new tech/djent or metalcore band popping up, but what about trusty old melodic death metal bands? Well, THE OBLIVION now have it covered. Describing themselves as ‘modern melodic death’ they sound just like that, rather than ‘SOILWORK-by-numbers’. The band harness a classic melodic death metal feel but with a fresh crunch to proceedings. Earlier in the week THE OBLIVION released a video for their debut single New Messiah and hopefully it is a good taste of what to expect when the band release their first record later in the year. If you think vocalist Attila Erdélyi sounds familiar, then you may have heard his warblings when he was the vocalist in Germany’s CYPECORE. With THE OBLIVION however, things sound a bit crisper, more straight to the point rather than bogged down with aesthetic and heaviness. THE OBLIVION achieve heaviness in other ways, mainly with the intensity of their delivery. Currently only a two-piece with session musicians, once the band establish themselves with a full line-up then they could indeed send the competition into oblivion. 

Video to watch: UNEVEN STRUCTURE. These French pregressive metallers are due to release second album La Partition, through Long Branch Records on April 21st. This week the band released the video for new track Incube and it is a spectacular and epic visual accompaniment for the band’s blissfully melodic metal. A striking and memorable video, UNEVEN STRUCTURE have certainly whetted people’s appetites for their new material. With a sci-fine aesthetic and eye-catching glow in the dark make-up, the band have achieved a video which compliments their stellar songwriting, which is on par with TESSERACT and TEXTURES. Having recently played Complexity Fest and recently announced for Tech Fest in July, if UNEVEN STRUCTURE are not already on your progressive metal radar, then they should be soon.  

In the stereo: GHOST IRIS. Featured in the last Weekly Roundup, it’s hard to resist not to write about GHOST IRIS again because their latest album Blind World is just too darn good! Opening with the blistering Gods of Neglect, the album smashes its way in with the band’s glorious brand of tech metal before it brings the killer vocal hooks in Save Yourself. Even with the obvious djent elements, GHOST IRIS are not a predictable or average band. Each song has a slightly different feel, making it a rewarding listen you can return to again and again (hence why it is still in our stereo!) The Flower of Life and Time Will Tell demonstrate the band’s ability to flawlessly mix melody with heaviness, they are not afraid to use a catchy chorus along with crushing riffs and ferocious vocals. First single Pinnacle has a chaotic and melodic vibe in the same vein as FALL OF TROY which makes the track and exciting listen, never knowing if you’ll be greeted with soaring vocals or raw screams. An album which keeps you on your toes yet constantly brings the fun, Blind World is sure to launch GHOST IRIS into the tech metal stratosphere. 

Band to rediscover: THE AGONY SCENE. Yeah we’re still on a noughties metalcore binge since the EIGHTEEN VISIONS announcement. This week we’ve been rediscovering the AGONY SCENE and their career defining album The Darkest Red. Back in time of black and red hair, black shirts and black make-up, THE AGONY SCENE sure did look the part but bloody hell they didn’t half sound the part too. Released in 2005, it is clear when listening to The Darkest Red again just how many metalcore bands both then and now were influenced by it. Overshadowed by contemporaries AS I LAY DYING and BLEEDING THROUGH, the band have always seemed one of metalcore’s most underrated, yet one of the most talented. Lead single, Prey is a shining example of the raw verse and clean chorus, but at the time it was still coming to the fore of metal by the likes of KILLSWITCH ENGAGE and the like. Scapegoat still features one of the most punishing breakdowns of the genre, rivalled only by Tower of Snakes by EIGHTEEN VISIONS. After breaking up in 2008, the band hinted at the end of last year they were recording a new full length and will tour in support of the record. Long live metalcore!

Weekly Roundup #18

Band to watch: KILL THE KONG. In an oversaturated metalcore scene it takes something special for bands to stand out nowadays. KILL THE KONG offer an enticing package in the form of seven, yes, SEVEN members; two vocalists but it is the two percussionists which give the band from Sweden their unique sound. With an irresistible groove and chugging riffs, KILL THE KONG are hard to ignore and impossible not to enjoy. The hardcore screams in tracks such as Bring The Heat bring the energy, yet the melodic clean singing in songs such as Ignite, demonstrate the band’s ability to pen a catchy vocal hook. Newest single Ashes In The Wind is a straight-up metalcore banger, with obvious influence from bands such as PARKWAY DRIVE and FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH. There’s no denying listening to KILL THE KONG is an entertaining experience, and with the additional percussionist it adds an exciting dynamic to a style which is running out of ideas. If you’re looking for a fresh perspective then you could do worse than giving KILL THE KONG a listen.

 

Video to watch: GHOST IRIS. Last week these Danish metallers released the new video for single Save Yourself off their new album Blind World which was released today! The video is probably what any djent party in a limo would look like, along with dapper suits, champagne and sunglasses. The humour in the video is what makes it shine, but it is also backed up with a tune which is absolute killer. This isn’t djent by numbers, heck it probably shouldn’t even be classed as djent but there’s no denying the sound is there nestled amongst the catchy chorus and just downright good songwriting. With a single as good as this, don’t be surprised if the album is quality too.

 

In the stereo: VIPASSI. This year ain’t half been a treat with regard to instrumental, extreme progressive metal. We’ve already had an album from ALLUVIAL but January also saw the release of Sunyata by VIPASSI through Season of Mist. Who is VIPASSI you might be asking? Well, they are somewhat of a super group, comprising of members from bands such as A MILLION DEAD BIRDS LAUGHING and a little band called NE OBLIVISCARIS (you might have heard of them). Together they compose gloriously dark yet technical songs (what else would you expect) with album highlights including Benzaiten and the stunning closer Samsara. Black metal vibes run through the album at times, and Samsara is definitely on the darker end of progressive metal. The atmospheric wispy hints of vocals take the track to a dramatic level, making the song the perfect finale. With only seven tracks, Sunyata feels a bit like a tease, a bit like a punishing starter before a main course. Go on, indulge.

 

Band to rediscover: THE HOPE CONSPIRACY. Following on from last week’s trip down memory lane with the likes of EIGHTEEN VISIONS and THROWDOWN, another hardcore band we’ve been reminiscing about is THE HOPE CONSPIRACY. The album Death Knows Your Name released back in 2006 was a sickeningly good hardcore record with riffs as big as its production. A massive sound without losing any rawness, standout track Suicide Design is still an impressive slab of relentless hardcore energy. The driving riffs, the rumbling bass, the desperate shouts, all mount up to a killer track. Released on Deathwish Inc. you know you’re in for a mucky treat. Masters of no-nonsense heaviness, the band never officially broke up, so here’s to hoping THE HOPE CONSPIRACY remerge in the near future.

The Hope Conspiracy Bandcamp