Within the vast swamplands of the fifth ring the sullen and the wrathful seethe and rage, as is their wont. Some lurk beneath the cold, silt filled waters, breathing in filth and breathing out bile and bitterness, blind to all but hatred and grievance. Some thrash through the sucking mud, flinging themselves upon their fellow sinners – rending and ripping with tooth and nail, screaming in anger and agony, bleeding the black blood of the damned into the torpid waters of their eternal prison. No devils torment these boiling, resentful, turbulent souls; they wound themselves, trap themselves and tear themselves asunder.
If all the rage of all the souls who have poisoned themselves with anger over the centuries of mankind’s dismal tenure on this earth were transformed into sound, then maybe that aeons long scream would possess a fraction of the fire and fury held within the debut album from Fifth Ring. Masochist is phenomenally heavy, a staggeringly fierce outpouring of extremity, a maelstrom where blackened deathcore, progressive death metal and sheer bloody brutality collide and explode! Yet while the firestorm intensity and bludgeoning blows of songs like ‘The Snake’ are fearsome in their power, the breadth and depth of imagination displayed in multifaceted creations like ‘Dust To Dust’ is equally remarkable. The international trio who make up the beast that is Fifth Ring - Zachary Kepley (Vocals, Bass, Drums) based in Taiwan and Q. Keith Brown Jr. (Drums) and Christopher Williamson (Guitars) based in Atlanta, Georgia, USA - might have started down this path with no higher goals than conjuring up some brutal tunes and seeing just how heavy they could get, but along the way Fifth Ring has grown into something none of them could have fully anticipated. No-one could have foreseen the birth of a monster this colossal, this inspiring and intimidating from such humble beginnings and simple aspirations.
Following on directly from the three track EP Dawn, Masochist is a huge leap forward for Fifth Ring in every department. The individual performances have reached new levels, the song writing is breathtaking in its ambition and the sound captured by Zachary Kepley combines clarity and power with a wicked, raw, serrated edge which keeps things sounding downright dangerous. The multi tasking Kepley has also created the intriguing cover art that adorns Masochist, an image which helps the album take another step away from those who might imagine themselves to be peers or contemporaries. When Masochist becomes available in digital format and as a limited edition CD from October 28th do not hesitate to leap into those swamps of rage – feel your mind forcibly expanded while your bones are remorselessly broken!