HIGHWIRE DAZE
Empire EP by Begin The Rapture (Self-released)

Begin The Rapture is a up-and-coming collective from Glasgow, whose ambitious post-hardcore reveries will surely acquire the band a good deal of worldwide attention. Empire is their debut self-released EP, an exhilarating commencement that will assault the senses and leave you wanting a whole lot more. It is obviously that each of the band members possess a wide variety of musical influences, and it all meshes together with a vengeance on the Empire EP. Shades of deathcore, hardcore, progressive, even black metal and punk rock make their way into the recording, and the results are thoroughly impressive.

Empire kicks off with the ferocious refrains of Organization XIII, at once demonstrating Begin The Rapture’s knack for unleashing a truly creative manifesto of pummeling sound. Imaging European death metal meanderings mixed with a punk rock aesthetic and you are just beginning to envision the sonic destruction at hand.

The sheer intensity continues with the mesmerizing strains of Forever, where the band launches an intensive clean vocal into the mix.  Dead Inside is sure to ignite some lively slam pit action when performed live, and this recorded version makes you want to rip everything to shreds.

Take A Bow (For The Final Curtain) is a victorious hardcore anthem that will rock your world with its triumphant “all I know is haters make me famous” chorus. Monuments is a soaring composition showing Begin The Rapture at the height of their resourcefulness, complete with a spiraling chorus that will leave the listener feeling wondrously euphoric. And then as a stunning grand finale, the title cut Empire grabs the listener by the throat with its punishing beats, vibrant musicianship and brutal vocal inflections rendering this one a glorious standout.

The imaginative musicianship found within Begin The Rapture includes the participation of Conor Haining on lead vocal, Conor McCune on lead guitar, Ciaran Devine on rhythm guitar, Connor McFallon bass and clean / backing vocals, and Ewan McLeod on drums. Judging from what’s heard on the mighty Empire EP, we’ll be witnessing a lot more massive devastation from Begin The Rapture in the many months ahead.  Spin this fiery magnum opus, jump headfirst into the nearest pit, and bring on the end of time!

(Review by Ken Morton)

Begin The Rapture on Facebook

Fragment by Bruised But Not Broken (Standby Records)

Their debut EP for Standby Records, Just(Defied), oozed with passion and promise, leaving the listener wanting to hear a whole lot more.   And now with their full length effort Fragment, Bruised But Not Broken explodes into the stratosphere with a shattering collection of songs that will surely captivate the senses. Complete with heartfelt lyrics displaying an intriguing sense of urgency, Fragment is a sonic puzzle of post hardcore intricacies well worth piecing together. The discoveries found within this emotional roller coaster ride of an album are vastly rewarding.

This is a voiced generation, our stance you will not break,” the lyrics announce on the triumphant Enter(Fear), a pulsating cut that will make the listener want to take on the world. Bruised But Not Broken has surely written an anthem for a generation with this topnotch composition. Color Theory then arrives, further enrapturing the listener with its thoughtful lyrics and mesmerizing musical interludes.

Euthogy haunts your psyche with its piercing refrains followed by the fiery strains of Devil’s List fanning the flames of deep contemplation rendered through a mighty collage of soundtrack.  The Prodigal Brother exhibits rebelliousness and individuality with highly emotional vocals sending this one through the roof. One them swims through the murky waters of Dead Current Sea, with its hard hitting “If only I could hate my pride, half as much as I used to hate myself” sentiments reverberating throughout.

Mourning Glory is dazzling in its sheer technical brutality, grabbing one by the throat and tossing them into the nearest mosh pit of destruction. The Third Heaven then supplies a cathartic reprieve before exploding into its own impassioned beast when the rousing lyrics kick in halfway through.

If ignorance is bliss, then bring me a crown, and I’ll burn this kingdom down” is the thrilling call to arms on Days Of The Weak, once again showing Bruised But Not Broken’s penchant for fearlessly laying it all on the line. Babel Orchestra then ferociously closes out Fragment, leaving a decidedly indelible impression with its expansive presentation swirling throughout your senses.

Based out of Charlotte, North Carolina, it won’t be long until Bruised But Not Broken make a name for themselves all across the country – especially if the powerful Fragment is indicative of greater glories ahead. With intelligent, thought provoking lyrics and a thrilling tapestry of sound, the band has clearly positioned themselves to make a connecting with fans looking for depth within their music collections.

The resourceful Bruised But Not Broken membership consists of Hudson Hower on vocals, Josh Rhodes on guitar, Trevor Floyd on guitar, Zac Johnson on bass, and Matt Bentley on drums. Fragment was solidly produced by Drew Fulk, bringing out the very best in what this band has to offer. With Fragment, Bruised But Not Broken has staked their claim in an otherwise overcrowded genre, and has unleashed an inspiring collection of songs that will absolutely take your breath away.

(Review by Ken Morton)

Bruised But Not Broken on Facebook

Color To Canvas EP by Color To Canvas (Self-released)

Color To Canvas is the solo project of Ray Prichard, best known for his work in the mighty metalcore entity known as Seladora.  At this time, Seladora is on hiatus, after a revolving door of members and some truly stunning musical output. Prichard remains quite a creative force however, now releasing the debut Color To Canvas EP, an exhilarating self-titled effort showing an impassioned artist ready to launch into the big leagues. With decidedly spiritual-based lyrics and a musical soundtrack which soars into the stratosphere, it’s impossible not to be moved by the wondrous compositions contained within.

After a brief Introduction where an ominous narrator warns of false prophets, Color To Canvas explodes with the staggering refrains of WeThePeople. One notices right away the post hardcore inflections and the thoroughly heartfelt lyrics permeating throughout, enrapturing the listener with its powerful sense of conviction. “We knew that we would pay for this, the world is held responsible,” the vocals reflect with a commanding sense of urgency.

(Ray Prichard of Color To Canvas)

Statements Under The Poison Tree continues the path to sonic deliverance, with thought provoking entreaties weaving a kaleidoscopic wall of sound. A brief reprieve is found with the atmospheric Intervals, soothing the soul like a prayer issued deep in the night. Be then surrounds the senses with its reflective missives and triumphant melodies.

Closing out the EP way too soon is the spiraling A New Age of Conformity, where Prichard is joined by David Borges of Convalesce. Together, they unleash the most persuasive track on the EP, leaving the listener rapturous and ready to face to trials and tribulations of everyday life.

Based out of Augusta, GA, Ray Prichard has grown tremendously as a musician on a mission. On Color To Canvas, Prichard places it all out on the line, and the results are sure to stimulate all who demand to be lifted up by the bands they seek to support. It will be exciting to hear the future tapestries Color To Canvas has to convey. In the meantime, check out the breathtaking Self-Titled EP by Color To Canvas and prepare to be thoroughly captivated by this compelling testament of faith.

(Review by Ken Morton)

Color To Canvas on Facebook

Lost In Myself by Burdened Hearts (Self-released EP)

image

Burdened Hearts unleashes a breathtaking brand of spirit-filled metalcore that fans of acts such as Fit For A King and Mouth of the South will surely enjoy. Their debut EP is entitled Lost In Myself, an ambitious collection of heavier-than-hell hymns that should ignite hearts and minds, as well as mosh pits all across the country.

A record label such as Solid State or Facedown could surely take notice of these talented Baltimore-based musicians, judging by the testament of faith heard on this five song EP.  Your time to discover this vibrant up-and-coming entity however, is now!

The EP launches into the stratosphere with the spiraling sounds of Make Your Mark, instantly leaving an indelible impression on the listener with its stark sense of urgency. Make Your Mark is destined to be a massive crowd favorite when performed live.

Release is thrilling and cathartic – a relentless cut that is sure to cast out even the most ferocious of demons. One By One then assaults the senses with its super-intensive breakdowns, magnetic guitars, and aggressive vocal performances.

Temptation shows Burdened Hearts at their most determined and imaginative, filling your speakers with a pulsating wall of sound. And then at the conclusion of Lost In Myself, one encounters the pummeling strains of Who We Are, the type of memorable anthem that really garners a band a good deal of admiration.

The musicianship is tremendously tight and intensive, featuring the participation of Nicholas Reardon on vocals, Caleb Rodriguez on guitar and clean vocals, Tyler Mazza on guitar, Mickey Basil on bass and backing vocals, and Casey King on drums. When spirituality and sonic devastation collide, Burdened Hearts will be there guiding the way with their wondrously exhilarating tunes! Be sure to check out Lost In Myself and prepare to be thoroughly enraptured by what this promising new collective has to offer.

(Review by Ken Morton)

Burdened Hearts on Facebook

Manthe by Deadly Carnage (ATMF Records)

image

Based out of Northern Italy, Deadly Carnage presents post-black / doom metal in its most desolate and imaginative form. Manthe is the name of their latest magnum opus, an absolutely stunning collection of dark hymns that will transport the listener to the most uninviting and inspiring of places.

It is easy to become swept away by the absorbing reveries Deadly Carnage bestows upon the world at large. Released by the always innovative ATMF Records, Manthe is an exquisite work of artistry that should chill the ears of serious music connoisseurs all over this fading planet.

The journey into the abyss of sorrow commences with Drowned Hope, demonstrating both the sheer melancholy and sonic intensity of the Deadly Carnage experience. Dome Of The Warders is a highlight of majestic proportions – where wide eyed shoegaze and foreboding doom soundscapes collide with magnificent results!

Carved In Dust is like a nightmare set to music, thoroughly intriguing while ultimately possessing a relentless bleak underscore throughout. Beneath Forsaken Skies sweeps through your psyche with its cosmic sense of claustrophobic doom permeating throughout the poisoned air.

Il Ciclo della Forgia sludges on with its austere reprieves followed by the unsympathetic waves of Electric Flood soaking the listener to the very core. And then closing out the disc on a staggering note is the mighty title cut Manthe – an epic 14-plus minutes of captivating misery showcasing Deadly Carnage at the very height of their creative prowess.

The musicianship found within the membership of Deadly Carnage is first rate, featuring the wondrously resourceful inventions of Marcello on vocals, Alexios on guitars and synths, Dave on guitars, Adres on bass, and Marco on drums and percussions. Manthe by Deadly Carnage is an enigmatic gem to be found within the obscure recesses of the metal underground, a masterwork whose elusive tapestries will enchant and haunt listeners for the depressive dark ages ahead.

(Review by Ken Morton)

Deadly Carnage on Facebook

Envy EP by Words Once Spoken (Self-released)

Hailing from various parts of Southern California, Words Once Spoken is an ambitious post hardcore collective more than ready to make a name for themselves on the national music scene. With influences such as Memphis May Fire and Crown The Empire, Words Once Spoken is still sharp enough to bring their own sense of vision and originality to the table. Envy EP is their first effort, a grand DIY undertaking possessing a great deal of promise.  This impressive collection of songs will surely garner Words Once Spoken a good amount of admiration from fans looking for passion infused with a massive jolt of sonic intensity. Keep this up, and Words Once Spoken may find themselves signing to a label in no time at all.

The EP kicks off with the powerhouse refrains of The Hopeless, where thrashing guitars merge into a gigantic chorus that is instantly memorable. This first song alone is enough to hook the listener in for the adventures ahead, and it clearly shows the band has a lot of convey with its wildly infectious lyrics and resourceful musicianship.

Our Calling then assaults the senses with empowering lyrics such as “Pick yourself up, you know this isn’t the end,” driving home the message with a massive amount of sincerity and conviction. Rise (A New Beginning is an ominous instrumental reprieve before the band launches into the reflective yet pummeling So They Say It Ends This Way. “You look so beautiful when you hate the fucking world,” the lyrics scream out at the song’s devastating finale – a catch phrase which could be associated with this band for the many months ahead.

Since the recording of the Envy EP, there have been a few membership changes within the ranks. One powerful aspect which remains are the expressive clean vocals of their charismatic front man Alex Mendizabal. Already on the verge of recording new material with a revamped lineup, Words Once Spoken has left an indelible impression with the Envy EP. It will be exciting to see what this band achieves in future days.

The current Words Once Spoken lineup is Alex Mendizabal on vocals, Alex Beaubien on drums, Rolando Munoz on guitar, and Johnny Igartua on guitar.

(Review by Ken Morton)

Words Not Spoken on Facebook
Words Not Spoken on Bandcamp
Words Not Spoken at Warped Tour Battle of the Bands

Resist by Hundredth (Mediaskare Records)

image

Resist is the second chapter within a two-disc combination that commenced with last year’s mighty assault to the senses known as Revolt. And while Resist may be a bit more on the melodic side of the spectrum, the intensity is in full force, with spiraling melodies and impassioned vocals sending the entire project into the stratosphere. Resist presents Hundredth at their very height of their creative energies, and the result are nothing short of profound.

After a calm yet ominous introduction entitled Wake, the disc launches into the ferocious strains of Shelter. “Separation from everything” the opening lyrics scream with a mesmerizing degree of conviction. The darkness and desolation found within Shelter is sure to intrigue the listener to follow the path for the sonic confrontations ahead. The title cut Resist then follows, relentlessly tearing through the heart of the matter with its intoxicating reveries.

No one can save me from my demons!” vocalist Chadwick Johnson screams like a man possessed on the startling Demons. Manifest then arrives, unfolding further stark introspection unto the world at large. The disc then closes with euphoric Wage, a spoken word reprieve about the human condition ending the album on a cautiously optimistic note.

Resist is a short yet thoroughly satisfying release with a ton of heart, unleashing an ultimate sense of hope and healing that is wondrous to behold. The resourceful Hundredth lineup includes the participation of Chadwick Johnson on vocals, Blake Hardman on guitar, Andrew Minervini on guitar, JP Gressman on bass, and Matt Koontz on drums. Recorded with noted producers Bill Stevenson (Rise Against, Black Flag) and Jason Livermore (Stick To Your Guns) at The Blasting Room in Fort Collins, Colorado, Resist exhibits a thrilling 18-minute journey through the perilous consciousness and ultimate triumphs of the human spirit that is not to be missed.

(Review by Ken Morton)

Hundredth on Facebook

Temple Under Hell by Erebus Enthroned (Séance Records)

imageErebus Enthroned is based within the vast wasteland of Sydney, Australia, and their music is just as expansive and spiraling as their country. Their recently unveiled Temple Under Hell album enraptures the listener with its thrilling reprieves and fiery lyrical content. With all the makings of a genre classic, the imagination and intrigue found within Temple Under Hell is sure to captivate minds all across this expiring planet.

The journey into the Temple Under Hell commences with the diabolical Sorathick Pentecost, a blackened doom song of epic proportions. Trisagion continues the bleak yet intensive madness into the feral abyss. Crucible of Vitriol pummels the senses with a relentless ferocity, pushing further into the depths of madness and malevolence.

Black Swords cuts through your soul with its wickedly piercing reverberations. Void Wind unleashes a punishing gust of torment and despair that is wondrous to behold. The grand title cut The Temple Under Hell is nothing short of mesmerizing, showcasing the Erebus Enthroned clan at the very height of their wicked virtuosity. And then closing out the recording on a staggering note is the mighty Return, leaving an indelible impression destined to plague your psyche for the metal ages ahead.

The musicianship found within Erebus Enthroned is stellar beyond compare, featuring the rabid participation of N on voice, D on guitar, A on bass, and M on drums. Expect Temple Under Hell to establish Erebus Enthroned as one of the modern day Black Metal elite. A magnificent triumph to be sure – destined to become enthroned within the confines of your stereo system.

(Review by Ken Morton)

Erebus Enthroned on Facebook

I Döden by Skogen (Nordvis Produktion)

image

I Döden by the prodigious Skogen is their fourth dark and melancholic magnum opus, a wondrous collage of sonic artistry that is sure to intrigue the metal masses all across the world. Based out of Sweden, Skogen present thrilling tapestries that will stir the senses and set your imagination in flight. With a striking combination of Black and Folk Metal, the soundscapes found within are nothing short of mesmerizing.

The adventure commences with a brief yet ominous introduction entitled Vargher, setting the stage for the triumphant reveries ahead. The majestic title cut I Döden then crashes through your senses, sweeping you away for the journey of a lifetime. När Himlen Svartnar continues the intensive path into Northern darkness, grim and icy to the core. Solarvore is lush and dynamic with its exhilarating atmospherics sending this track into the stratosphere.

A somber reprieve arrives in the acoustic instrumental refrains Livets Ruin, followed by the spiraling inflections of Griftenatt. Midvintergraven pummels the senses with its chilly intensity raging out, meshing superbly with clean singing, haunting chants, and ferociously unclean vocal inflections. Svartskogen arrives with its melodic overtures enveloping the frozen recesses of your mind. The grand finale Sleep clocks in at over 13 minutes, an all-out epic exhibiting Skogen at their most resourceful and ambitious.

With a running time of one hour in length, I Döden by Skogen leaves an indelible impression on all whom encounter this obscure yet captivating masterpiece. The musicianship found within Skogen is visionary and immense, featuring the grand participation of Joakim Svensson on bass, guitar and vocals, Mathias Nilsson on guitar, bass, keyboards and vocals, and L. Larsson on drums. Fans of bands such as Agalloch, Kampfar, or Drudkh should uncover the astounding mysteries contained throughout I Döden and prepare to be dazzled by a true genre classic!

(Review by Ken Morton)

Skogen on Facebook

Grieves, The Melt, Hollywood, CA., 02/12/14

Grieves, The Melt, Hollywood, CA., 02/12/14