Deadfall – New Light

US band Deadfall with their progressive distorted guitar chords and riffs are exponents of the djent genre. To be honest  tags, sun genres and labels seem to jump out of the woodwork whether recent or not and it all gets a little tiresome and seemingly contrived, so really all you need to know is that Deadfall are impressively creative, mightily powerful, and gloriously complex in sound and ideas. New Light is the debut EP from Massachusetts duo Eddie Kim and Sean Dusoe, an intelligent, adventurous, and stimulating instrumental release that blends the distinct traits of progressive imagination, throbbing grooves, hypnotic melodies and heavy passionate metal riffs in a seamless union that inspires and satisfies.

The five track gem that is New Light was written and produced by Kim who provides the guitars and drum programming and Dusoe who brings his great bass skills to the ‘program’, Kim also covered the mixing, engineering, mastering and the artwork for the release, a fully ‘in house’ project with a result that is high quality and impacting.

It is not easy to use other artists as reference to give one a clue to the power and sound on New Light, something that is   a massive positive but imagine a blend of Periphery, Meshuggah, plus Between the Buried and Me and you vaguely scratch the surface. Soaring varied progressive excursions play eagerly on the ear whilst rhythmically complex guitar riffs call the tune and emotive touching melodies expand each of the songs. The opening track ‘Shades of Inception’ sets the scene, its perfect balance between the driven grinding riffs that powers the track and the harmonic instinctive variants that play with ease and warmth are at times hypnotic. Within moments of the first groove laden riff the siren like attraction takes hold and the ear hungrily devours the stirring adventure.

The Divergence’ sets off next with an atmospheric melodic flavour as a grinding riff tunnels into the ear, again showing how immense the band are at sending intrusive but appealing almost primal riffs and energy out as emotive imaginative sounds play with the senses. As it lays down its last restless note the haunting tones of ’In Death’s Path’ start up, again fuelled by more intense and burrowing roots of aggressive riffs to infiltrate the ear. Though in length it is over three minutes the track swiftly passes without missing any moment to make its mark.

The title track carries a sense of optimism and hope with its flowing sound and forceful power, not that other tracks carry any excessive darkness or misery but ‘New Light’ has a feeling of renewal and freshness that inspires the emotions. ‘Utopia’ closes the release, the driving and striking riffs and intensity taking a more backward position giving the song a sensitive and golden joyful atmosphere without losing its powerful effect on the senses, a wonderful contrast and companion to the direct and potent tracks that came before.

There are really no real negatives to the EP but there were times when the inclusion of vocals seems like a natural addition, not necessarily to improve the song but to add another layer of creativity. The use of a live drummer possibly would have added something more too; though the programmed ones on the EP are more than satisfactory the instinctive feel of a human drummer with the possibility to surprise against the predictability a machine carries no matter how one tries to avoid it, would have given the release an extra edge.

New Light is a striking and impassioned release that stirs similar reactions in the listener and the anticipation for further releases from Deadfall eager and acute.

www.deadfall.bandcamp.com

RingMaster 31/08/2011

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Donovan Rice and the Standing Cinema – The Space Race

Philadelphia based musician Donovan Rice is fast gaining highly respectful acclaim and a strongly growing following for his stylish blend of indie rock/folk incorporated into the firm setting of singer songwriter. His skilful and creative use of melodies wrapped in a senses touching caress has gained him a definite place and recognition in the Philadelphia music scene as well as in areas surrounding his home state Ohio. Now with the recent release of his debut album The Space Race with his band the Standing Cinema, a rapidly favourable response and greater awareness should emerge further afield in the US and around the world.

The Space Race is made up of eleven engaging and enthralling tracks that ooze with intelligently written and realised music and obvious influences that though strong never over power the originality of the songs. Rice’s informative years were in a household of music with his parents both musicians and instruments readily available. He grew up with the likes of the Beatles and the Beach Boys in his ears and thoughts, working through the repertoire of artists in strict order, Abbey Road heard only after Revolver had been devoured for example. This background of musicianship at home and in ‘study’ helped Rice develop his songwriting skills and the ability to bring them to fruition, The Space Race being the result, its tracks vibrant with flavours and studies of the icons he ‘lived with’ fused into a modern layered structure and feel. 

The album follows on from previous EP’s Single File and Sink The Ship released in 2009 and 2010 respectively, the seven month or so creation confidently bringing a warm and inviting collection of songs to light up the ear. Alongside Rice who handles vocals, guitars, and keys, the Standing Cinema also consists of on the album, Billy Rose (drums and guitar) and Jeff Wuollet (bass, guitar, keys, drums, and backing vocals), together the trio have an instinctive and natural feel that reflects in the songs. From the moment opening track ‘The Space Race’ lifts off the feeling of something special permeates the air not only in the song itself but for those to follow. The song bounces with a fresh vibrancy that reminds of moments from bands like ELO, a lightness of touch and melody that swoops up the listener in its enticing charms. Right away the song challenges for the best track of the release but soon it is rivalled and edged by the tremendous ‘Stones In The Boat’. A stunning song with a personal element that gives it a depth that is inviting and captivating, the track shows the strength of Rice’s songwriting perfectly. Its folk vibe alongside the melodic indie pop flow works a treat as his voice touches emotions and the heart, the song a soundtrack to every perfect love.

As the album progresses and tracks come and go mesmerising the senses the varied spices of influences and musical styles are obvious and perfectly added. The McCartney feel of single ‘Here In Ohio’, the edgy stroll of ‘Let The Embassy Know’ which at times inspired thoughts of Green Day, and ‘Steady Machine’ another single off the release that recalls wonderfully the elements of the craft of Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford that made Squeeze unequalled so often, are all fine examples of the parade of immense influences that are distinctively used  by Rice.

The use of stringed instruments and intelligent creative techniques and ideas makes The Space Race an album that shines like a beacon in a pretty dull genre right now. The measured and fascinating melodies, some insanely catchy hooks, plus the heartfelt lyrics and their emotive delivery all add up to one impressive and beguiling release and gives firm evidence that Donovan Rice and the Standing Cinema will soon soundtrack many lives as their fan base explodes.

www.DonovanRice.com

www.facebook.com/DonovanRiceMusic

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Mordbrand – Necropsychotic

Swedish band Mordbrand despite being formed a few years back and having recorded a split 12” with English metalers Evoke in 2006 when just the duo of guitarist/bassist Bjorn Larsson and drummer Johan Rudberg, will be newcomers to the ears of more than a few when their EP Necropsychotic is released via Deathgasm Records on September 6th. The re-emergence of early Swedish death metal as an influence for more and more sounds and bands is a strong element in the genre right now and the trio from Karlstad are one band who brings its full force through with accomplished results.

Larsson, Rudberg and renowned vocalist Per Boder of God Macabre/Macabre End acclaim, who joined the band in 2010, have filled their EP with six focused and impressive tracks that evoke and encapsulate the true spirit of the genres origins. To be honest Mordbrand do not venture too far from the roots of death metal the influences from the likes of Entombed, Neurosis and Dismember to name just three clear and strong in their sound, but these elements are infused into the music and realised with a quality and vibrancy that leaves many other bands in the shade.  

Necropsychotic starts off with ‘Eaters Of The Void’ and immediately through the aggressive riffs, the meandering and inviting guitars, plus the menacing and ominous darkly coarse vocals of Boder places the bands intent and purpose distinctly in the ear. The track also carries a compulsive groove that permeates the track bringing indecision as whether to fear going on or to open up and submit to the darkness of the release.

Graveyard Revisited’ continues the unsettling oppression on the senses laying another enticing groove behind the low and guttural growls of Boder, the driving incessant urgency and aggressive delivery of vocals and riffs wrapped and intertwined with memorable and engaging melodic interjections throughout make the experience more than worthy. This set up is even more impressively delivered in the EP’s best track ‘Skärseld (Return to the Unholy)’, the dark spices of folk metal and its sinister atmosphere seeping through the dark chaos is excellent and the song is worth the releases entrance fee all by itself.

The three remaining tracks on Necropsychotic that complete the very satisfying package are ‘The Fall of Flesh’, ‘Deathbound’, and ‘Deliverance’. Each match and add to the high consistency and level achieved by the previous tracks. ‘The Fall of Flesh’ has a more straight forward rock base forging the song forward than other songs here but still it leaves marks from its crushing riffs, incisive creative grooves and Boder’s ever challenging and senses pushing delivery. ‘Deathbound’ like ‘Skärseld…’ lifts the EP and shows Mordbrand as a band with more than strong skills in their armoury and giving evidence of promise and intriguing times ahead in future releases. The track like a thunderous storm batters relentlessly at the ear whilst at the same time inviting and pleasing the ear with some inspired directions and sounds.

Deliverance’ closes the EP and is as strong as what has come before but it does lack a spark and labours somewhat in its performance which has as much to say about the other songs than its own construction and realisation. It certainly does not detract from the overall satisfaction of Necropsychotic though and is a song well conceived and delivered.

Mordbrand show with Necropsychotic that they have all the weapons and material to be a force in the death metal genre in the future and despite the EP reliving and returning to older sounds and influences their sound does has a freshness that sets the band apart from most other similar veined bands.
http://www.myspace.com/moribranddeath

RingMaster 30/08/2011

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Promethium – Welcome to The Institution

It is always with great satisfaction when a band that maybe not be new in existence but new to the ear surprises and delights as in the case of UK rockers Promethium. Though the Lancaster band has been going for at least three years it is fair to say even with the acclaim for their debut EP ‘Tribute to the Fallen’ in 2009 they have not found the deserved notice outside of their more localised area, with their debut album Welcome to The Institution that is a situation that should be soon rectified as it finds its way into more ears and awareness.

Promethium emerged from the remains of Skin Crawl, Bodies, Desolate and Natual Thing, all bands well known and respected in the Lancaster / Morecambe music scene. This pedigree of Promethium brings a distinct and extremely skilled ability and song writing process to the band that is very evident upon the ten tracks that rumble within Welcome to The Institution.  As represented by the band’s name the music they produce is a kind of by-product of varied rock ingredients such as hard rock, metal, classic rock, and thrash, all melded and worked into a resulting energised sound that with equal power, eagerness, and open accessibility entertains with honest enthusiasm and unrelenting intent. The one thing that stood out apart from the strength of the songs was that despite these varied influences apart from one time, they did not particularly remind me of any other band which is rare and that is never a bad thing.

Firstly to get the negatives out of the way, well just the one and that is the artwork, as well as being poor and generic in many ways it gives a wrong impression of the band, suggesting another formula rock band trotting out Sabbath/Maiden like tunes, and to those who run to the hills at the thought it is too easy to move on quickly without checking out what is a very fine release out.  

The album opens on the excellent instrumental ‘Distant Illusion’, which after the packaging’s initial interpretation immediately intrigues but also deceives a little, holding off from revealing the sounds to come, once ‘Visions’ bursts in with its hard rock vigour soon the truth is revealed. The song which is also the first video from the album is a perfect introduction to the band, its relentless riffs and addictive chorus openly inviting and impossible to not be joining in with by half way. It also shows the fine vocals of Gary Mogahon, filling the song with a delivery equal in power to the surrounding sounds.

As the tracks play the creativity of guitarists Daniel Lovett-Horn and Rossi is obvious, driving hard and flowing in all the right places backed by the intense drumming of Fraser and the calming and eventful bass of Wayne Ward. At times Ward’s riffs firmly hold a song in check and in others he adds distinct and throbbing inclusions of his own.  The consistency from all across the whole album is very solid but three tracks really show the promise and a definite upward climb in popularity for the band.

Tribute To The Fallen’ flies with devastating wall crumbling riffs and harmonious vocals backed by growls that add a great extra dimension to the song. The heavier attack certainly suits the band as they skilfully blend it into melodic play that dances on the ear. This was the one time thoughts of another band came to mind, a Disturbed flavour seeping through though this track. Equally impressive are the closing duo of tracks ‘The Curse’ with a gloriously compelling bass sound and the mighty ‘Murder Inc’ showing murder based rock is more fun than one can imagine as drums pulse in the skull whilst intrigue and revelations in lyric and sound excites.

Welcome to The Institution is a great album and though the band still have a little way to go to find a sound immediately distinctive they have shown they are one of the more promising bands and should be watched closely in the future.

Welcome To The Institution is available now on Casket Music for details go to http://www.myspace.com/promethium666/

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The Victorian English Gentlemens Club – Double A-sided single

‘As Jungle Drums Rang Across The Amazon (We Held Our Heads And Screamed)’/ ‘Richer Than My Tribe’

The RingMaster Review has been enamoured with Cardiff discord indie pop maestros The Victorian English Gentlemens Club since purchasing their double A-sided single ‘Amateur Man / ‘Ban the Gin’ in 2006 on the back of the band name alone. From then through their debut self titled album, its follow up Love On An Oil Rig and numerous singles the trio has never failed to get the pulse racing and satisfied the eager anticipation that builds before each release. Such was the case with the bands recently released third album Bag Of Meat from which the new double A-side   ‘As Jungle Drums Rang Across The Amazon (We Held Our Heads And Screamed)’/ ‘Richer Than My Tribe‘ has been taken.

The double A-side release due to drop on September 5th via This Is Fake DIY Records, brings more of the bands distinctive and unique frenzied rock sounds coated in incisive and addictive melodies and undeniable incessant hooks and lures. Their sound is uncomplicated though under the surface not as simple as it often seems their intelligent if crazed creations are inspired and determined, and most of all irrepressible.

As Jungle Drums Rang Across The Amazon (We Held Our Heads And Screamed)‘ strolls through the ear with chunky guitars and vibrant insurgent sounds and hooks. Lean and mean it strikes deep inside with an 80’s post punk feel something that is a little different to their earlier songs. In small degrees one is reminded of bands like Wire, The Fire Engines, and Cardiacs, the flavour seemingly interpreted and infused into the bands very solitary and special sound. Adam Taylor with guitar and especially his voice are as always expressive with a manic tinge that compliments the music’s agitated edge. Backed by the more stable tones of bassist Louise Mason and the hypnotic beats of James Griffiths, once more The Victorian English Gentlemens Club create a musical flourish of insane beauty. 

Lyrically the songs are as ever diverse and fascinating as ever and the words of the band themselves gives the best descriptions, the first of the two songs is “a pop song that’s been through one of those old-fashioned shaky exercise machines leaving a thinner, sweatier, jerking, catchy racket. It’s about feeling sick and abandoned after someone you trusted and relied on lets you down. It’s set in the Amazon to add some 70s-style surreal escapism; it’s grey, British problems in a jungle. It started life as an ESG bassline, went through a million incarnations and arguments, and ended up being stripped-down and straight-up” and ‘Richer Than My Tribe’ is “a bass and drum boom: a racket with enough audio space to swing an African puma in. It’s about those guilty feelings of pleasure from taking a sick day off an inane job, being bored but not bored to insanity – a small victory song for freedom. It’s the first song that was written for the album; it defined the bass sound for the album, and is the first TVEGC song with rhyming in it”.

‘Richer Than My Tribe’ is a discordant groove that inflames the senses, its throbbing swing grabbing the listener and take them on a frenzied electrified ride in sound and feel. The song’s mesmerising hook plays in the head as the vocals and band confront and play with the senses as only this band know how. The blend of melodies, harmonies and all things safe intertwined with daring and challenging thoughts and sounds catching the listener off guard wonderfully.

The Victorian English Gentlemens Club makes cryptic music of the most glorious kind and this double A-sided single is the perfect introduction to the band and their unique musical minds and sound. Once hooked by them there is no escape, not that you will want to. The Victorian English Gentlemens Club is one of the most important reasons and examples of why music fuels so many souls.

http://www.thevictorianenglishgentlemensclub.co.uk/

RingMaster 29/08/2011

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Beyond Dreams Of Grandeur – Self Titled EP

Birmingham emo rockers Beyond Dreams Of Grandeur release their debut EP September 12th with the acclaim of ‘their captivating blend of melodic hardcore’ on the press release. Now this is not strictly true, yes the band certainly have some intelligent and delightful melodies and at times they do captivate with some impressive musical creativity and play, but despite the occasional nod to the sub genre with growls and the occasional raising of intense metallic surges the quintet are definitely nowhere near attaining a hardcore or post hardcore sound. This is said just as to not confuse people but if good strong melody driven guitar sounds with emotive vocals and lyrics are to your flavour then Beyond Dreams Of Grandeur and their self titled release should without doubt be checked out.

Since forming in late 2009 the band has worked tirelessly to write and develop their sound whilst gigging as often as possible. A few changes as people were tried led to a settled line-up in 2010 of founding members vocalist Joe Morton, and guitarists Chris Green and Will Sanderson plus Chris Daccus on bass and Green’s brother Jack on drums, though since recording the EP he has left the band. Throughout that year the band worked hard with intense rehearsals and a string of impressive live shows, all part of the preparation for this their debut release.

Each song on the EP bristles with strong riffs, upbeat cutting guitars, and melody-drenched choruses combining to make satisfying tracks that even without exploring new avenues are still pleasing and an indication Beyond Dreams Of Grandeur are a band that are going in the right direction. For a debut it is a definite positive for the band even if not a flawless release.  

Dust Bring Shells’ opens up the EP bringing an abundance of crashing riffs, direct harmonies, and pounding riffs behind the smart melodic flows. Subsequent tracks keep the level up confidently though the closing two tracks ‘The World Loves An Underdog’ and ‘Sobriquet’ do stand head and shoulders over the others. Both have a mellower controlled feel to them and show the band when taking a calmer approach has a more distinct sound than shown on the other tracks which at times sound like many other bands supplying similar sounds. The tracks also show vocalist Morton in his strongest light. The opening three songs which are strong and skilled do lose some of their appeal with his variable vocals though it seems more down to the production on his sound rather than himself. On the closing duo of tracks this is proven as he and the band blend well and everything falls into place and gives definite proof that the band has a bright future.

Beyond Dreams Of Grandeur with their bold and solid sounds will appeal to all who like a taste of 30 Seconds To Mars, Exit Ten, and Fightstar, the excursions into emo drenched expressive and melody soaked songs that fills the band’s EP will bring delight and excitement to their ears.

http://www.myspace.com/beyonddreamsofgrandeur

RingMaster 29/08/2011

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Feud – Waterdog

If you thought grunge was whimpering in its grave then think again as High Wycombe, UK based rockers Feud show with their debut album Waterdog it is still healthy and full of instinctive energy. The twelve tracks on the album ripple with essential grunge flavours and sentiment recalling the height of and infusing new breath into the genre as well as adding extra edges and rock essences.

Seeds of the band started in South Africa when brothers Greg (vocals/guitar) and Guy (drums/vocals) Combrinck worked on songs that would eventually be the base for the band that emerged after their relocation to the UK and an extensive search leading to the eventual addition of Ian Harper (guitars/vocals) and Tom Syrett (bass/vocals) to the line-up. The past four years with formidable work and numerous shows with the likes of Cancer Bats, Young Guns, Jettblack and Days In December, has seen the band earn acclaim and critical praise  especially with the release of their debut EP Out From The Inside.

With Waterdog released 19th September, the quartet have now announced their arrival as a strong expressively engaging and entertaining band with heart and style and with a sound though heavily influenced that is fresh and inviting. ‘Dying To Meat You’ opens up the album, direct in sound and lyrically its punk edged grunge recalls bands like Foo Fighters and Gruntruck. The track marks an inviting and vibrant start to a release that continues in the same pulsating vein and with varied spices.

Consistent across the whole length of Waterdog some tracks throb with extra radiance and style over others. The simmering and expressive Nirvana flavoured ‘Breathe’, the Bush like ‘Through Your Eyes’ with a tasty incessant flow, ‘Blame Me’ with its Stone Temple Pilots rock riffs and lighter pop addictive melodies, and the punk grunge glory of ‘Don’t Care’ riding in on an obvious Nirvana riff/hook homage and laced with touches of Green Day and Weezer are all irrepressible invitations to be totally absorbed into the album. 

The best two tracks on the album though are ‘Alkaline’ and ‘Get Out’. The first has a dark moody bassline with siren like qualities giving with the drums, a resonating empathy to the Gavin Rossdale like emotive vocals and aggressive guitars. All the tracks on the album suggest the band’s live shows are an exciting and robust event but this track is a firm confirmation with its intense energy. The second of the songs entering again on another blatant Nirvana riff carries good punk edginess with attitude soaked vocals which as the song progresses brings a great Rancid like quality to them parallel to the great melodic grunge pop vibe that flows throughout.

For some Waterdog will have too many very close and similar sounds and moments that have been forged in the fires of works from classic grunge bands of the 90’s but they miss the fact that Feud from those influences and personal loves have created an album that excites and thrills the ear as well as engages the heart with its honest and catchy openness and addictive sounds. The band definitely walks the right side of the line that is plagiarism, using homage to their influences alongside their own fun and fresh vibrancy to give songs that are alive with pulsating riffs and addiction causing melodies. Feud once they do find their very own distinctive spark will be the new leaders of a genre that still has a definite impressive pulse.

http://www.feudmusic.com

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