ION VEIN – IV v 1.0

The years since the second album Reigning Memories from Chicago rockers ION VEIN have been long and within time came big changes to the band delaying new material until now. Now with the release of a three track EP IV v 1.0 as a free download in thanks for the patience and support of their fans during that time, the quartet has at the same time announced their powerful and impressive return with a trio of songs to inspire big anticipation for a third album amongst rock fans.

It was during writing for the third album that the music given strong impetus by the arrival of drummer Chuck White and returning bassist Brian Gordon, was emerging on a new and more aggressive, energetic and inspired level. This brought the realisation that vocally the songs needed a different approach and feel, leading to the unhappy decision to part ways with vocalist Russ Klimczak. The search for a replacement began for founder/guitarist Chris Lotesto, a search that was not easy or swift. In between Gordon also left due to professional differences to be replaced by Rob Such (Twelfth Gate/Syris) at the beginning of 2010. The vocalist issue was resolved when the band received an email from Scott Featherstone ( Enertia/Atticus USA) and Lotesto knew from hearing his work on Enertia tracks that he was their man.

Work began immediately on three demo tracks which would become the songs on IV v 1.0 to be finished in the studio with Grammy winning producer Neil Kernon (Nile, Nevermore,  Queensrÿche,  Redemption) as well as working on further material. September of this year saw the band partner  with Mortal Music to release their new music worldwide with IV v 1.0 the first release. In a statement from the band they said “It’s been a long, hard road, but the time has finally come for us to be able to release new ION VEIN music to the world, and we couldn’t be more excited!  We’re making our first DR(digital release) “IV v1.0” available to you for FREE for a limited time as a token of our appreciation for your continued patience and support.  We’ve been through quite a lot since the release of “Reigning Memories” in 2003, and the only thing that kept us going was the belief in the strength of the new material, so we hope you enjoy it…and remember to crank it loud! \m/”   

    The three songs will more than satisfy their fans with robust riffs, unrelenting energy and impressive melodies to feed all rock hearts. Opening song ‘Enough’  bursts in with crushing rhythms from White, throbbing basslines pulsating from Gordon (still in the band at the time of recording the songs) and guitars that are incisive and creative from Lotesto. All three combining the intense energy and flowing melodic play in a forceful and engaging encounter. Featherstone gives evidence of the worth of taking the time and effort in finding the right man for the band, like for many the recruitment of John Bush took Anthrax to a higher and more credible level Featherstone does the same with ION VEIN .

Love/Hate’ and ‘Anger Inside’ continue the strong  levels with rampaging riffs and pulse racing energy.  The first is on an even par with the opener maybe even edging it as strongest track on the EP but as both thoroughly entertain and feed the senses equally  it matters not which is best and to be honest it changes with each listen anyway. The latter of these two lacks a little of the spark of the others songs but arguably is even better crafted in the merging of power and melodies.

To return after so long is celebration time for their fans and to come back with this quality the inspiration of an even more enhanced anticipation for their full length return.

To get your free download of IV v 1.0 from ION VEIN go to http://www.mortal-music.com/IonVein/DR1.html

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Whitechapel – Recorrupted

There are sure to be many views as to the reasoning and worthiness of the Recorrupted EP from Knoxville TN metalers Whitechapel, many wondering the credibility of releasing an EP with only one original track, a cover, an acoustic track, and two remixes. Whether Recorrupted works as a true opening for new fans to the wealth of brilliance the band has behind them or holds enough within to entice existing fan’s enthusiasm enough to purhase it is arguable and surely will be debated across the web and world. The most important aspect of the EP, the music though cannot be challenged. Simply as always from the quintet the sounds are stunning and undeniably rich, brutal and astounding.

Released November 8th via Metal Blade Records, the EP is an immense slice of Whitechapel might to fill the gap between last album A New Era Of Corruption and whatever comes next. The first two recordings on the EP feature new drummer Ben Harclerode and shows immediately he has fitted in well and brought his own distinct skill to the sound. 

Since starting in 2006 it has been a fairly rapid and heady rise to the top of the deathcore ranks for the band and of all their companions in the genre are surely the most eagerly awaited and anticipated to release anything. Because of this one could raise the question as to if the EP taking advantage of that but listening to the release numerous times the thought never rears its ugly head, of course the fact that the EP is so impressive overall helps.

Opening track ‘Section 8’ is the brand new song and another for their fans to drool over. Crushing beats, ground shaking riffs with primal aggressive vocals and intensity, the track is a colossus showing future Whitechapel music is going to be as devastating and impressive as in the past, even more so on this evidence. Stripping the ear of feeling the song tramples incessantly over the senses, the guitars of Alex Wade, Ben Savage, and Zach Householder as merciless in intensity as they are unique in creativity behind the dominating wall of noise. The bass of Gabe Crisp is equally demanding and insatiable while vocally Phil Bozeman is as gratifyingly venomous and uncompromising as ever.

The cover of Pantera’s ‘Strength Beyond Strength’ is not obviously only a great song in its own rights but a thoroughly satisfying beast in the hands of Whitechapel. They instil it with their own vehemence and distinct ungodly power to take it far enough away from the original to stand as a very worthy addition to the Tennessee quintet’s catalogue.

Remixes never sit well here being hit and miss as on the new EP from As I Lay Dying, or as is usually the norm a complete waste of ear energy, their reason to be evading understanding. With a very deep satisfaction and much surprise it has to be said the two remixes on Recorrupted give evidence for their validity to some extent, the duo of songs retaining the essence of the original versions with the band’s power within their interpreted variations.  The Big Chocolate Remix of ‘Breeding Violence’ is especially surprising and impressive considering the less than glittering remix done with an As I Lay Dying song. Combining an industrial flow to the Whitechapel brutality with overtones from dare one say techno origins it works well and is easily up for repeat plays. ‘This Is Exile’ is remixed by Ben Weinman (The Dillinger Escape Plan) who takes it further away from the original than Big Chocolate did theirs. Tribal essences welded on to the power and fused with atmospheric menace the track roves to be much more agreeable than one imagined before time.

An acoustic version of ‘End Of Flesh’ ends the EP. Kept to an instrumental the song is a vibrant and expressive piece of music that reveals the creativity of the band which at times is hidden behind their consuming sounds. The classical feel and musical poetry of the song is enlightening and wonderful.

Whatever one feels about the value of the makeup of Recorrupted is up for discussion but the bottom-line is the EP is excellent, every track worthy of its place and the attention of their existing and future fans. Never thought this page would say that about remixes.

www.facebook.com/whitechapelmetal

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RKC (Roses Kings Castles) – British Plastic

British Plastic the new album from RKC ripples with the lo-fi DIY feel inspired by the late 70’s punk rise and the electronic pop sensibilities that followed. Ex- Babyshambles drummer Adam Ficek has created an adventurous and vibrant release that brings two eras into an undeniably engaging and unique union to bring some welcome nostalgia alongside thrilling new adventures.

Originally named as Roses Kings Castles, the name having been abbreviated recently, the band was first conceived in 2007 for songs that were too ‘odd pop’ for Babyshambles, the project to be an underground base for their emergence. A debut self titled album released via his own label, The Sycamore Club in 2008 received strong acclaim, as did the subsequent 2009 Apples & Engines EP and 2010 album Suburban Time Bomb. With British Plastic also via The Sycamore Club, there is an evolution not only in the reduction from being a six piece unit on its predecessor to all instrumentation coming from Ficek apart from lead guitar from former band mate in Babyshambles Patrick Walden, but also in a bigger and bolder adventurous sound.  

The album was recorded solely in Ficek’s makeshift home studio and I guess critics could claim a naivety and at times an undefined sound on the production but one would argue this adds to the instinctive and personal feel that a polished big studio treatment would have lost. The accompanying bio to the album comments that British Plastic is an ‘aural scuffle between The Buzzcocks and The Beta Band’s resurgent hero Steve Mason’ which is a very apt declaration especially on songs like ‘I Can’t Say’ which has a distinct Pete Shelley flavour to the melodies against the mesmeric electronics and pulses. There is much more to the music here though, many classic bands and sounds fused into modern touches and additives. This song epitomises everything that is British Plastic, its electronic pop recalling bands like early Depeche Mode, The Normal and especially The The, blending with the DIY of bands like The Television Personalities and the disquiet from the likes of The Strokes.

The tracks within British Plastic are varied with the only inconsistency coming from the best songs on the album being so good they show up the slightly ‘weaker’ ones. Opener ‘These Are The Days’ is a perfect start to the release, its pop tendencies and open sounds the perfect invitation into the album’s unique qualities. The song reminded of 80’s band King Trigger with its electronic flowing sounds surrounding natural melodies and rhythms; the bass is pretty tasty too.

The song ‘Here Comes The Summer’ has already garnered attention and airplay with its fuzzed up sounds, urgency and The Cure like pop laced with a grittier approach and completes a strong ‘awkward’ pop beginning to the album. The first single from the album ‘Kittens Become Cats’ follows next. A more subdued and soulful song but no less intriguing and satisfying though maybe a surprising choice as lead track to draw people in as good as it is.

Many highlights follow, the punk vibe of ‘People And Places’, the scuzzy air of ‘Seeds Of Moscow’, and the pulsating discordant experimental delights of ‘Tapping’ all play easily and with enterprise upon the ear. It is the quick fire incessant post punk drive of ‘Cockroach’ that takes the top dog award on the album. With essences of 80’s bands The Three Johns, Swell Maps and Wire mixed in with some The Mae Shi and The Pixies, the track is a wonderful hypnotic inflamed blast at life.

Fuelled by a feeling of anger and distrust the album is a thrilling and expressive release that shows real music does not need to be polished beyond recognition to be very satisfying and stunningly effective. The more one listens the deeper the attraction and love affair with British Plastic and RKC.

Check out the British Plastic @rkcmusic.bandcamp.com/releases

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Interview with Conor Dockery of Red Enemy

One of the most exciting and powerful releases this year has been the What We Are Contained In Is What We Are EP from Irish metalers Red Enemy. Since 2008 they have won over their homeland with impressive shows and debut EP Outsiders. Now the band and sound has ventured further afield to start what is sure to be an equalling success in the UK and beyond. The RingMaster Review had the pleasure of talking to guitarist Conor Dockery from the band give some insight into the world of Red Enemy.

Welcome to The Ringmaster Review and thanks for letting us throw some questions at you. Could you firstly introduce the band members?

The line-up currently is:

Kevin Letford: Vocals

(Myself) Conor Dockery: Guitar

Jay Doyle: Bass

Daniel Lang: Drums

How and when did the band form?

Myself, Dan and Kev have been playing together since we were kids. We would just learn our favourite songs, meet up and jam them out. Probably how every band starts really! It has essentially been the same band since then with some line-up changes and obviously some growing up musically. This line-up has been solid for about 2 years now.

Is Red Enemy the first band for each of you?

For Dan, Kev yes and myself. We’ve all filled in and helped out friends along the way but none of us have been in another band full time. Jay has been in a couple of bands; he’s been around for a while. He’s ours now though ha!

How have you as musicians and the band’s sound evolved over the past three years?

It’s quite hard to pinpoint any sort of evolution. We still write heavy music, some songs faster than others etc etc. We’ve focused on the song writing process a lot more this time around. We’re trying to simplify it as much as we can. As for content, it hasn’t changed much ha. I’m sure the songs will sound a lot different. I suppose we’ve ‘matured’, or whatever it is bands call it nowadays.

What is Ireland and specifically Dublin like for music, especially metal?

Dublin is great when it wants to be. On its day it can be as good as anywhere else in the world! There are some amazing metal and in particular hardcore bands in Dublin at the moment, so there’s a nice little scene going. We’ve played some incredible shows in Ireland but it suffers hugely from the lack of population. There just isn’t a huge market for bands, hence the severe lack of labels, management, magazines etc. In fact, there are no metal labels or management. To put it in perspective, there are what, 16 million people in London alone? Well there’s only 5 million in the entire country of Ireland haha.

Is there a close unity between the metal and rock bands there?

Yeah absolutely. We have had people from all sorts of bands at our shows! If people genuinely like a band in Ireland they will make an effort to support them. Well, to an extent anyway. We have friends in bands of all shapes and sizes and try to support them when we can! Dan has played drums with a few incredible prog bands. Kev has sung on a few bands releases and in an Alexisonfire cover band haha. Everyone is pretty close! It’s cool.

Your ferocious blend of hardcore and technical melodic metal has excited Ireland for a while now but not so much over in the UK until now which surprised us here. Was this just down to circumstances or a less focused attack until now?

You know, it’s not an easy thing for a band to build up the confidence to push themselves out there to the industry, especially if you’re stuck in Ireland. We had built up a pretty good following over here and people had been wondering why we had never toured or anything. It took us a long time to realise that we should be taking this further. We wanted to wait until we were ready to do it and when the time came, we were lucky that people like James Monteith (Tesseract) and bands like Carcer City and No Consequence were willing to help us out. They have all been unbelievable and have really got the ball rolling for us in the UK. Big shout out to James in particular. And you guys of course for taking the time to interview us. We’re very grateful.

Your latest EP What We Are Contained In, Is What We Are Worth has just been released to more strong acclaim for the band, what were your expectations or hopes with its release?  

We tried our best on this EP. I know we’re capable of better but it was the best material we had at the time. I think you have to be hopeful when releasing something new. It would be unfair on the hard work you put into making it to just write it off. You obviously worry all the time about how it will be received but our expectations were…..healthy for want of a better word!

What had you learned between your well received debut EP Outsiders and the new release that had a big impact this time in the studio?

Yeah, we learned a hell of a lot after we recorded that first release. I suppose the biggest thing we took from that whole process was the fact that jamming songs in the practice space and then actually tracking them in a studio are two very very different things! We put a lot of pressure on ourselves performance wise, so when we went to record the latest EP we had prepared the songs much better. It was our second time recording with Stu Mackay in Studio 6 so that made for a much more relaxed atmosphere.

Tell us about how you write your songs and if they changed much between entering the studio and the finished results?

Songs generally start from a riff or drum idea. If we like the idea a lot, we will try and use it a few times throughout the song, with some slight variations. It takes us ages to finish a song! I’m not sure why that’s the case but I suppose you just want it to be perfect. They never turn out perfect though……so it’s a strange one haha. Vocals will usually be written last. Kev will have the bones of the lyrics written and will piece them together over all the parts. Our songs change very little in the studio. Some songs are left to the very last minute to complete, as was the case for the last track ‘Wolves’ on our latest EP. We wrote the last section of that song in the studio. It ended up being one of our favourite parts so maybe it wasn’t such a bad thing.

Your lyrics are as strong in political and social themes as the sound itself; for sure there is never lack of material in this world but which is the biggest inspiration for you, human greed, selfishness, or its apathy?

I can probably speak for Kev in that he takes inspiration purely from what he sees and experiences. With this EP it just so happened to be written around the time that Irelands economy shat the bed. The lyrics on the album may be very different.

Do you believe the majority of people listening to your music and with other bands with strong messages and points to their songs, actually take on board the lyrical content as maybe they did over the previous decades? Or just listen with a less focused ear in that way?

I would probably say the majority of people do not take on board what the vocalist is saying. I certainly don’t speak for everyone because I know myself that there is certain bands whose lyrics I love and find extremely relevant. I think it very much depends on the band. Some vocalists have that ability to just focus your attention solely on what they’re saying, and nothing else. Other vocalists don’t have that ability. Certainly in previous decades, songs were more often built on a strong lyrical idea than a strong riff so to speak. Again, it depends on the band really.

You have just come off your first UK tour with Save Your Grace, Visions, TesseracT, and Once A Wolf, how did that go?

It was amazing. As I said, we couldn’t have asked for anything more. We were looked after really well by the promoters and all the other bands were great. Happy days.

Were the audiences aware of the band as such? Was there a good core there for you guys?

We have a few friends in bands over there who have really helped spread our name around a little bit. A few people at the Brighton show had come especially to see us, that was a bit mind blowing. We don’t have huge expectations when it comes to crowds, which I think is a healthy thing. You’re rarely disappointed then as they. J

You have also supported Parkway Drive on their tour of Ireland, how did you find that and was that a point when people outside of the country started to take notice?

Those Parkway Drive shows were a huge milestone for us. I’m not too sure how it affected people outside the country, but certainly it put the marker down in Ireland if nothing else. It all kinda comes and goes so fast and then it’s over. Like anything good I suppose! We really enjoyed ourselves. Some of our families came too. It’s nice to give them a completely false sense of how the band is doing haha!

What are your own influences as musicians?

I mean, as we’ve gotten a bit older our tastes have broadened substantially. That tends to happen to most people I think. The biggest change we’ve noticed, especially writing this album, is how much of an influence bands and artists from other genres are actually having on the music. Ireland is producing some incredible Post-rock/shoegaze bands like Enemies and Overhead The Albatross (to name but a few) who are rubbing off on us, inspiring us to explore a bit more I think. It’s not necessarily what they play, but the way they play it. The way the drummer may accent part or the way they play a certain chord progression etc. Don’t get us wrong though; we’ll always be a metal band and still love listening to metal. But the origins of some of our ideas seem to come from very different genres.

What is next up for Red Enemy?

We’re playing a show with those Americans Texas In July next week then its back over to the UK for two weeks. We’ve begun writing our first full-length album so that’s pretty exciting. We’ve never had a full release before so it’s all a bit new. Your best way to keep up to date is through our Facebook page.

Cheers for letting us in on things Red Enemy and good luck with the EP. Would you like to give us some last words?

Thanks so much, guys. Eh…..we mainly just want to thank anyone who has taken the time to check us out, interview us or come to a show recently, especially all the promoters involved in our upcoming tour. Sound.

What We Are Contained In, Is What We Are Worth is available from http://redenemy.bigcartel.com/

Check out their Facebook page @ https://www.facebook.com/RedEnemy

 

What We Are Contained In, Is What We Are Worth reviewhttp://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2011/09/29/red-enemy-what-we-are-contained-in-is-what-we-are/

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Interview with Louis Jucker of Kunz

The recent split EP release from members of German experimental metal band The Ocean in their side projects Coilguns and Kunz was a startling and intriguing powerful insight into different musical sides to the members. Kunz consisting of Luc Hess and Louis Jucker provided songs that were challenging and provoking, bristling creatures of trampling rhythms and distorted discordance. Inventive and intrusive they left a definite mark on the senses. The RingMaster Review had the chance to ask Louis about the band, EP and distinctive sounds of Kunz.  

Welcome and thank you for talking with us.

How long has Kunz been in the works as an idea or band?

Actually, even before we joined the ocean. We’ve been playing together in many bands before that, and jammed a lot too. We always had the idea to do something as a duo, but we really started officially in 2009 under the name KUNZ.

Your sound is extremely intense and caustic, how do you approach your song writing and are the songs as spontaneous as they appear?

A song always starts with a beat, that’s actually the only thing we use rehearsals for; to find new beats. Then I’ll work on some melodic ideas to sing on top of it, and finally we meet in the studio and
improvise a structure to it. Flush is the perfect example of this process; we had this riff, I had lyrics, we tried one take without a single idea of structure and that’s what you hear on the EP.

There is a very varied mix of flavours and sound to your songs once one burrows through the sonic attack especially a strong punk and hardcore one, what are your influences that has helped shape your sound?

Whoops. Hard to say, at the time we recorded these songs I was really into duos like One Day As A Lion, Lightning Bolt, Pneu. But our sound is not really reflected by these 4 songs on the EP, we have a lot of other songs on tape that are way more mellow, pop. What we unveiled for now is only the heaviest part of our sound, because it was supposed to fit with Coilguns.

Is the music from Kunz your natural and instinctive sound within you both that you have had to curtail somewhat for The Ocean or something you have created? Is it deliberation from or evolution of your musical journeys to date?

KUNZ is a more intimate project than The Ocean, and in many ways: we’re two, we’re new, we’re less exposed. So yeah, it’s more instinctive and direct, free somehow. I hope we’ll be able to put some KUNZ spirit in The Ocean!

Were the songs recorded at the same time as those you did for Coilgun?  

No, they were recorded a year before! We did two sessions, one in the summer in a big hall full of mics (flow, apnea), and another in winter in a small crappy studio (flush, what makes me sleep).

As with Coilguns did you record your tracks for the EP live as well?

Sure.

There is seemingly plenty of venom and violence that bristles within the songs, are you unleashing personal demons or haha simply are angry men?

As I said that’s only the noisy/heavy part of our live set. KUNZ is not about violence, I’m sure. Flow is a peaceful song and is a relief to play usually. Check out the ukulele version if you don’t believe us.

Are there live shows in the near future for Kunz and if so who will you bring in if anyone to deliver your sounds?

We play only when we’re invited to. We don’t book shows ourselves. Nothing is announced yet, but we’re working on some new concepts for 2012. We don’t try to find the perfect FOH for us, we rather let technicians come up with their own ideas and method.

Any conflict or problem arisen yet from being part of three great bands?

Not at all. We’re thinking of playing together actually. Maybe some festivals in Europe… TBA

What is your vision for Kunz short term and long?

Publish all the tracks we’ve already recorded. Invite more people to play with us, play weird shows all around the planet. Record more, write more songs. You know, what bands do. Except I don’t want any routine in KUNZ, so obviously we’re not gonna sign with any big label and tour to promote albums we don’t get royalties for.

Can you envisage a time where projects like Kunz with its growing popularity will become a welcome but intense pressure on your time and lives with The Ocean?

Glps… hard to say. I hope we’ll be able to do both as long as possible.

Many thanks for giving us insight into Kunz and yourselves would you like to leave those new to the band which song should be their starting point on their discovery of your treasures?

Forget about one song that would explain it all – check instead our videoblog http://www.k-u-n-z.ch <http://www.k-u-n-z.ch>  : that’s all you wanna know about us.

Thx, Louis

Kunz spilt EP with Coilguns is available now via Pelagic Records

http://pelagic-records.com

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