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Friday 9 February 2018

Reviews: Marmozets, Visigoth, Metaprism, Sam Russell

Marmozets: Knowing What We Know Now (Roadrunner)

A lot has happened since Marmozets debut record in 2014, since then they have evolved into an incendiary live act, played all over the world from small clubs to festival stages in very short period of time, much of this is due to their crossover appeal their music is drawn from the math rock genre but has a pop sensibility that sees them having been featured on BBC Radio 1, Kerrang and more 'metal' press such as Metal Hammer. On their second record they have expanded their sound even further, tighter musically, they start this second with the propulsive Play a song recently featured on WWE NXT: Takeover supershow, it's a blood pumping opener with a foot tapping riff and chorus that has more hooks than a butchers ceiling, it's a song that needs to be sung aloud and neatly moves into Habits which does the magical Marmozets trick of pairing technical riffs with a mainstream appeal.

The band are made up of two sets of siblings and this familial bond between the band has them all in perfect sync, the rhythm section of Josh MacIntyre and Will Bottomley have a telepathic link to the groove with Lost In Translation and the bouncing Like A Battery while Jack Bottomley and Sam Macintyre's guitars are angular on Major System Error, they are set to stun on Start Again and but they always have a fluid technicality shunning the normal chord structures for their math rock influenced heavy riffs, check out New Religion which brings a punk rock attitude but with a progressive base layer. What I've always loved about Marmozets both live and on record is the expressive, quirky vocals of Becca MacIntyre, she has a one of a kind voice which never seems to struggle, on the psychedelic Insomnia she's bewitching and unsettling, Meant To Be she screams like she's possessed but Me & You gives her a fragility.

Knowing What We Know Now reaffirms that this Bingley band are no one hit wonders, their debut was a breath of fresh air and while the musical landscape keeps evolving around them Marmozets seem to inhabit their own unique space where they continue to create interesting, engaging modern rock music. 9/10

Visigoth: Conquer's Oath (Metal Blade)

I'll admit I was already on the bandwagon when this album dropped on my desk at MoM towers, I'm a card carrying member of the Visigoth fan club, the patch that was included with their debut album is sewn proudly on my battle jacket and the album itself is played quite regularly. What do they sound like? I hear you ask well they are a broadsword wielding classic heavy metal band the Salt City Utah based act are representing everything that's fun about heavy metal, they don't attempt to reinvent the wheel they just pay homage to the legends of chest beating metal Cirith Ungol, Virgin Steele and Manowar, songs of war battles and brothers in arms set to galloping fingerstyle baselines, NWOBHM riffs and leather clad machismo.

Visigoth are a must have for Grand Magus fans sharing many similarities to the Swedish act even down to the tenor vocals of Jake Rodgers and the obsession with both hammers and steel. If you need more songs about Highlander (Outlive Them All), Boudicca (Warrior Queen) and Salt City itself (Salt City) then you need this album, with Virgin Steele and Cirith Ungol very sporadically making appearances and Manowar on their farewell tour the mantle of Warriors Of The World is still being carried by Grand Magus and Visigoth, buy Conquer's Oath, play it loud and worship the steel and silver! 9/10

Metaprism: Catalyst To Awakening (Graviton Music Services)

Since their debut album Bournemouth band Metaprism have changed one of their two vocalists with Joey Draper stepping into the role alongside founding member Theresa Smith. Their vocal interplay is a crucial part of the Metaprism magic, Theresa vocals are the beating heart of this band she soars above the ruthlessly aggressive musical backing of Ollie, Callum, James and Matt who peel off riff after riff of melodic modern metal that has touches of thrash, death, groove bringing heaviness at every turn. Joey's contribution can't be understated though much like his predecessor he compliments Theresa with his booming cleans and adds polarity with his growls.

The record brings everything they established on their EP and debut full length and brings it to a powerful continuation, from the opening synths of intro The Awakening, the tough grooves, virtuosic playing power Unleash The Fire which is definite single, due to it's colossal chorus, it gets heavier with the two part track Anomalous which features the excellent lyric "There's a conurbation forming", whether the song is about Birmingham is yet to be confirmed but it's a great mini-concept in the middle of this already intense record, what I love about Metaprism is their commitment to play as heavily as possible but pack their songs full of hooks which brings them broader appeal, even with a song such as Aftermath they keep up the volume though the lyrics become more romantic. Wake up and smell the metal Metaprism are the flag bearers for modern metal in the UK. 8/10

Sam Russell: Impetuous Desire (Danneskjöld Records)

Sam Russell is a neoclassical guitarist from London, for his debut record he could have taken the well trodden road of a record full of double tapping and arpeggio'd instrumental tracks. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with that and for guitar fans these albums act as inspiration for their musical education as well as an enjoyment of their preferred instrument. Sam has gone another way by recruiting a real drummer, Jason Bowld (BFMV) rather that relying on computers, he also brought in Jacqueline Philips to contribute cello to the beautiful cleanly played instrumental Longing adding another dimension to the song.

With the instrumentals sorted he brought in New Device singer Dan Leigh who adds his melodic voice to the all but four of the tracks, I've always maintained he's a great singer and here he has a chance to shine on a project a bit heavier than his normal band, taking over the mic on the romantic ballad Leigh Woods is Metal Queen Doro Pesch, it's the slowest song on the record and takes it into AOR territory it's a dalliance that's quickly forgotten, with the classic metal sounds of The Darkest Night and then Fire, Desire which is thundering slice of black metal featuring little known Canadian singer Ryan Muller rasping away.

With three quality vocalists, Sam has focussed on songwriting over displaying his obvious technical prowess but he does occasionally let loose the dogs of war with his shredding soloing action. Impetuous Desire is a pretty solid metal album from a solo guitar player with aspirations of being a band. 7/10    

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