Dick Venom & The Terrortones – Rockin Rollin Vampire Man

With a warm smouldering glow deep inside the new EP from Dick Venom & The Terrortones is placed in the slot and the play button pushed by an eager excited finger. It has been a long long time since a psychobilly release has passed this way, a form of music that brings tingles that most genres can only aspire to at The Ringmaster Review. But can this UK quartet fulfil this anticipation or disappoint to bring an anti-climax?

The Rockin Rollin Vampire Man EP is a gem, from the moment the first track flexes its sweat soaked mischievous pecs the release courts and seduces the senses with honest graveyard rock ‘n’ roll.  Actually the press release calls this a double A-side single of ‘Rockin Rollin Vampire Man’/ ‘Sticky Pants Trance’ but with a third track included too I am sure they will excuse us calling it an EP.

Consisting of Dick Venom, Vicky Twist, Sugar Beats, and Wrex St Clair the band have a insatiable garage/rockabilly/psychobilly sound evolved through a nasty flesh violated union between the likes of The Cramps, Heartbreakers, Reverend Horton Heat and Demented Are Go. It is a glorious tease upon the senses and an instinctive instigator of the body’s rhythms, essential rock ‘n’ roll. The quartet has sucked energy and blood from audiences all over the UK sharing stages with the likes of The Meteors, The Radiacs, and Vince Ray & The Boneshakers and this EP instantly nurtures the need and want to catch the band live as for all the excitement generated on the release you just know they on stage is a totally different experience.

Sticky Pants Trance’ ~(we’ve all been there right?) opens up proceedings with a Cramps spawned garage punk energised sound and pulse racing rockabilly urgency. You can add a touch of early Birthday Party and Meteors to this but for all the comparisons and references that openly ooze the finished sound s are all Dick Venom & The Terrortones. The guitars chop greedily across the senses as the bass throbs like a wanton beast on heat whilst Venom spits and writhes with words as he thrusts the messy fun filled lyrics forth.  The rest of the release could be crap and it would not matter thanks to this excellent opener.

Of course the remaining tracks only get better. ‘Rockin Rollin Vampire Man’ is the best track on the EP, irresistible and hypnotic. With a wonderful lustful and inviting drum beat alongside a grumbling bass the song  hooks its seductive nails in firmly. This opening reminds one remarkably closely of a Zanti Misfits song ‘Kidz Songs’ (look it up) from the 80’s and it is hard to think of a better beginning to a song.  The track also carries the dark energy of 80’s band Bone Orchard and sweeps one up in its pulsating scrawny arms in a blood fuelled dance.  The track is psychobilly majesty that will bring deep smiles and longing desire from all fans of the genre.

Dirty Heartbreakers flavoured rock’ n’ roll lines the final track ‘Lilly & The Killers’, its beginning coming with a spice reminding of ‘Chinese Rocks’. As always Venom conjures a tale with his words inspiring crypt borne imagery and dangerous romance. Brief, straightforward, and direct the song is the perfect closure for a stunning release. I tried to find fault somewhere but it is impossible. Yes music like this finds a relatively narrow market, its delights and death drawn mischief a mystery and confusion for many but if you have tasted the wells of rockabilly and psychobilly and grown appreciative fangs then Dick Venom & The Terrortones will soon be an addition to your favourites folder.

Rockin Rollin Vampire Man and the decayed treasures within are simply manna from the cemetery and the cause of impatient anticipation for much more from the band. UK psychobilly is in safe hands, we can all rest in peace for that.
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RingMaster 26/01/2012

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Dick Venom & The Terrortones – Sticky Pants Trance

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Burn The Sunset – Home

With the force of a wind tunnel cranked up to the top, Home from Scottish metalcore band Burn The Sunset is a punishing assault on ear, senses and self security. The debut album from the Stirling based metalers saps the energy and breath from its listener whilst leaving the shattered shell a smiling wreck from its infernal intensity. It is not an easy listen and many will run for cover the instant it places its sonic claws into their psyche but stand tall in the face of its tumultuous aggressive sounds and the reward is deep and satisfying.

Formed in 2008, Burn The Sunset has steadily and effectively worked towards its brutal sound and this debut release. The years leading up to Home has seen the quintet crafting their musical thoughts and sound through countless impressive live shows including shared stages with and tours alongside the likes of Never Cry Wolf, Your Demise, While She Sleeps, Bleed From Within, and It Prevails, and concentrated songwriting, the band garnering strong respect and acclaim along the way. The album is proof that the time taken honing and finding their sound has been well worth the wait. To be honest Home suggests there is still much more to come from the band and that they still have not found that really defining element that will make them stand heads above the rest but they are well on the way and the promise this release offers is frightening and very exciting for future releases and years.

Opening pulsating instrumental ‘Home Pt 1’ proves to be reasonably subdued against the rest of the release, its striking and intrusive riffs a mere hint to the devastation to be unleashed upon the ear. The track leads straight into the excellent ‘Moving On’ and the awakening of the beast that is Home. The track rifles the listener with treacherous riffs and incisive melodic guitars from  Jonathon Almond and Duncan Fyfe that sear rather than groom the ear. It hits hard but still the band is not at full intense capacity, the song bullying rather than crushing its victim. The vocals of Andy Bruce are caustic, his venomous growls dragged from a swamp of bile, and a perfect fit to the blistering sound.

Lonely and Defeated’ throws full force upon the listener, obliterating with destructive riffs, rhythms that numb, and pissy basslines from Jack Sullivan. From here on in the intensity is all consuming and impervious to resistance. ‘The Changing Times’ pummels the senses with towering riffs and power which never diminishes even through the smooth and distinct pace changes. From a rampant animal to a lumbering brute and back the track is relentless and demanding. As throughout the release Home gives no time for a gulp of air between tracks as ‘Insincere’ slams into view belligerent and full of animosity. Its winding groove twists and teases the senses until they are ready to snap whilst scorched guitar play taunts behind. The gang shouts are a good contrast to the harsh delivery of Bruce and maybe if a criticism there were not enough.

The album’s best track is ‘Memories’ and by a long way, it is a classic. It is hard to define what it has different or what sets it apart from the other fine songs but it simply ripples with extra exited energy and enterprising creativity. Without losing any of the urgency and intensity found elsewhere the song ignites and pleases the ear and beyond with a tremendous rhythm attack from Callum Bain, who it has to be said is outstanding throughout Home, essential riffs that trigger the primal inside, and a siren mesmeric groove that attaches itself like a leech giving rather than drawing pleasure.

Home is not without minor faults, mainly in the fact that despite his fine display and aggressive delivery Bruce’s vocals are a touch one dimensional and often veils the variation going on musically. Not a major criticism but a slight diversity would make on feels great songs even better and it is no coincidence that when the collective shouts and chants come in the songs find another dimension.  Despite that Burn The Sunset has announce their arrival with a ferocious and blistering release that will give deep satisfaction for those with an extreme metal/metal core bent.

RingMaster 26/01/2012

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My Tiny Robots – Zut Alor

With each release Edinburgh’s My Tiny Robots has shone brighter and engaged deeper with their eclectic melodic discordant sounds. From their debut release the Some Of My Best Ideas EP of 2007 through to the free to download single ‘Rock Bossa Nova Four Beat Black’ via the Rock Bossa Nova EP the quartet has intrigued and thrilled with their imaginative well crafted songs.

November of last year saw the release of the first of three singles from the band in the shape of the captivating ‘Guild Of Defiants’. This past week saw the release of single two ‘Zut Alor’ and yet another mesmeric and sparkling release from the quirk pop band. Once more the distinct melodic yet discord spiced vocal combination of Dylan Childs and Ryan Marinello swarm all over their own jangly hypnotic guitars. Backed by the thoughtful rhythms of drummer Gareth Anderson and the moody bass of Russell Williams the foursome create their own unique sound. In a previous review of ‘Guild Of Defiants’ which we loved we ended by saying “the song is not ground breaking as such and does not deliver any striking surprises…” To clarify that and to put it into context with regard to the band’s music, against all other current contemporaries My Tiny Robot offer fully original and inspired songs that few if any match in sound. What the band does do though is bring forth the intelligent and musical quiddities of very early Orange Juice and definitely the brilliant Josef K. Whether intentional or by chance there is a certain defined similarity and evolution from the 80’s band’s sound, reinterpreted into their own striking creations which is the reason for the original comment.

Zut Alor’ starts on an emotively touching subdued feel, caressing the ear for a soothing minute before unfurling tantalising guitars and firm rhythms. The single has a more chaotic feel once it swells into its full texture making it less instant then the previous single but more adventurous and eventful. As with most of their songs ‘Zut Alor’ is instinctively anthemic, it invites and encourages spirit and voice to join its call without trying.

Released with Wood Thief Recordings, ‘Zut Alor’ is another dazzling track from My Tiny Robots and leads to the eagerest anticipation and impatience for third single ‘My Tiny Robots’ later in the year.

http://www.mytinyrobots.com/

RingMaster 25/01/2012

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My Tiny Robots – Zut Alor

 

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Chainfist – Black Out Sunday

With the recent signing of Danish groove metal band Chainfist in a worldwide management deal with Rock N Growl, the band’s debut album came back into view so we thought it was time to dive into it and get a taste of things to come. The band has just finished recording a 3 track promo with producer Søren Jensen with the results to be mixed by the legendary Jacob Hansen and from the evidence of their album Black Out Sunday there is nothing short of eager anticipation and high expectations building for its release later this year.

Consisting of Jackie Petersen (vocals), Michael Kopietz (guitar), Jesper Heidelbach (drums) and Braca Pedersen (bass) Chainfist recorded Black Out Sunday in 2010 and gathered some good acclaim upon its release. Since then the band has been joined by the skilled guitarist Thomas Hvisel recently, to take over lead guitar and there is a sense that the band now a quintet, is only going to be more powerful and creative.

Chainfist has strong pedigree with members previously in the likes of Infernal Death, Epicenter, Panzerchrist and Frozen Sun. Their individual ability and accomplished songwriting is evident from the opening track to the last lingering note of Black Out Sunday. Chainfist’s sound is a heady mix of metal, heavy metal and hard rock, the band seamlessly blending the flavours into an intriguing and thrilling beast of a sound that offers something captivating and powerful at every turn. First listen brought an appreciative nod and full enjoyment but upon subsequent plays as more and more qualities emerged within songs the album simply worked itself deeper and deeper to become one of the more rewarding and satisfying rock releases heard in a while.

The infectious rampant ‘Free Me’ opens up the onslaught of Black Out Sunday. Driving riffs, dominating rhythms and a swinging groove from start to finish make the song a vibrant exhausting party. The vocals of Petersen are clean, crisp and expressive yet hard and aggressive in the right spots. The track does not offer too much new but to introduce a release and band it is an insatiable pleasuring of the ear. If you are looking for an explosive straight forward rock song this is it.

The songs from here on in are nicely varied and creative whether more melodically led as in ‘Edge Of The World’ or on a thunderous charge as in ‘Be A Man’. The latter of the two is an aggressive little fiend of a track, defiant and carrying a stunning senses twisting teasing groove. It recalls elements of the likes of Society 1 as does the brilliant ‘Have You Ever’. This song is a gloriously dark pulsating brute winding within the head and heart with sinister riffs, grouchy basslines and a hungry waspish groove that consumes relentlessly.

It has to be said when the Chainfist go for the heavy and intensely direct route they really light up the senses though their ‘mellower’ melodic flows are just as gratifying. In the excellent ‘Stay’ the band begin the song with an emotive voice and feel before the song lifts off into a forceful but controlled rock song. On the less aggressive songs such as ‘Show Me’ the band has a sound that reminds of bands like Volbeat and Dommin with a touch of Danzig which pleases just as much as the heavier more intense tracks.

Throughout the album feeds the senses wonderfully with the chugging riff fest of ‘In Your Face’, the rampaging mischievous and venomous chaos of ‘Clown’, and the chunky guitar loaded ‘Blackout’ as striking and thoroughly as stirring as those previously mentioned. Black Out Sunday is simply a great rock album from a band that has yet to find one feels its full potential. Guitarist Michael Kopietz has said “The new material is stronger, heavier and even more melodic than the songs we made on our debut CD Black Out Sunday.” We say bring it on!

RingMaster 25/01/2012

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Chainfist – Have You Ever

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Pilgrim – Misery Wizard

Dark, heavy and thoroughly imposing the debut album from US doom metal band Pilgrim is an immense beast with monstrous sonic claws that show no mercy once their undeniably epic and extremely satisfying grip has clasped around and into the senses. Riding the intense brutal form of “true doom metal” Pilgrim assault and bludgeon deep beyond the ear whilst pleasuring and igniting black deep emotions within. Their new album Misery Wizard is a colossus of black dirges, resonating ravenous riffs and blistering caustic melodies dragged from the pits of hell and sorcery.

Formed in 2010, the Rhode Island trio of Krolg, the Slayer of Man (drums), Count Elric the Soothsayer (bass) and The Wizard (guitars and vocals) openly take inspiration from the likes of Black Sabbath and Pentagram, the weighty classic feel  soaking every pore of Pilgrim’s oppressive yet invigorating sound. As mentioned the album is brutal but without being openly destructive or violent, its slow drawn heavy mass enveloping every sense to wear away defences and consume whilst enflaming and instigating full unbridled pleasure. Pilgrim dominate through sonic persuasion and crushing drones, the lengthy passages and journeys of the tracks an experience that absorbs everything from ear and thought to the primal inside.

      Misery Wizard is unleashed via Metal Blade Records on February 14th and is in many ways a real example of a slow burner.  The initial listen finds the great positives that live and flourish within its dark long winding corridors but at first the slow grinding muscular ripples that drone across its bulk give up more the similarity between tracks that seem to pay homage to their open influences rather than use them as inspiration for something strikingly new.  That is at first for given numerous listens the album’s slow consuming intensity immerses one deeper and deeper into its depths to find oneself mesmerised and eagerly wanting more.

The tracks within Misery Wizard are boundlessly instinctive; their natural intense flows taking the listener down six epic travels that only once lie short of six minutes plus, the majority touching ten minutes or more. Often doom metal drags and lumbers at such lengths but with Pilgrim it feels the right evolution of a song, the music taking its time and only departing when it is finished not when told it should. The impressive eleven minute title track and the closing thirteen minute unsettling ventures of ‘Forsaken Man’ are the best and most fulfilling examples. On ‘Misery Wizard’ the band twists and turns eagerly and the track ebbs and flows all within the dense sound and it engages from first note to last despite its lengthy intent, whilst ‘Forsaken Man’ strikes with an initial sonic violation that brings heat and blood to the surface, the track being the one time that listening is somewhat uncomfortable but at the same time deeply hypnotic to ensure due attention and focus.

The equally hungry formidable songs of ‘Astaroth’, ‘Quest’, ‘Adventurer’, and the down-tuned majesty of the enthralling ‘Master of the Sky’ satisfyingly complete the album with equal power. Misery Wizard is an effortless listen, its uncompromising guitars, imposing riffs, slow mesmeric melodically strained vocals, and unrelenting smothering intensity combining to make a release that one cannot deny or want to refuse attention. It may not be the most original album in recent years but it is one of the most captivating and easily returnable to.

RingMaster 24/01/2012

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MaloKai – Heartbeats EP

 

Whether you class them as power pop or pop punk UK band MaloKai as they show with their new EP, know how to blend insatiable melodies with energised riffs and pulse racing urgency. Neither threateningly aggressive nor a band simply plumping for easy options their music is an uplifting rip-roaring thrust of fun and enjoyment.

Formed in 2007 the band is a multi nationality band with members coming from England, Ireland, Wales, Bolivia and the US. Through the years despite many line-up changes suggesting an unstable beginning, the band has steadily built up an eager underground fan base with live shows and recordings.  Their debut album Perception Of Reality drew in firm critical acclaim and even though the band members changed it set in motion an increased attention and rise for the band. Now with the solid line-up of Alex Greig (vocals/guitar), Andy Bell (guitar), Dack Powell (guitar), G Suaznabar (bass) and Dave Williams (drums), their new Heartbeats EP will add fuel to and ignite the band’s climb and recognition.

The EP released February 13th via Nameless/Faceless Records, explodes after an opening intro with the welcoming catchy melodies and hooks of ‘Rumours’. Chunky guitars and riffs flood the track alongside flowing and insightful melodies showing the band’s skill. Grieg’s vocals mellow yet forceful melt all over the music to great effect and though the track to be fair does not offer anything particularly new it is an infectious bundle.

The title track delivers a similar formula but with a more serious emotive tone that grabs attention easily. ‘Heartbeatsas does the whole EP dangles tantalising hooks, punchy riffs and contagious melodies that shout pop more than punk though there is nothing lightweight about the release or its components.

The release takes a step up with the following two tracks, a cover of Jessie J’s ‘Price Tag’ and ‘Young And Dumb’. Though a simple interpretation of the original, ‘Price Tag’ leaps across the ear with energy and most of all shows the band’s ease at not always taking themselves too seriously. The second of the two is a stoked burst of intense and distinct creativity.  The track drips passion and emotion veined by stirring riffs and tempered guitar play.

Remaining tracks ‘You’ and the rampant ‘What’s Inside’ carry on the attack with blistering guitars and irresistible melodies, the closer probably the best track on the EP and certainly these two with ‘Young And Dumb’ give all the evidence that MaloKai are a band with immense promise, With a sound that is in the area of the likes of All Time Low and You And Me At Six the band still feel as if they are a few steps from their true sound but have all the tools and engaging elements in place to see healthy and productive musical years ahead.

With a tour of the UK in support of the Heartbeats EP planned for the year the time to taste their pop punk with the emphasis on pop is now and if their live shows are as powerful and enjoyable as the EP there is no reasonable case for not catching the band as their rise continues.

www.malokai.co.uk

RingMaster 24/01/2012

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Decode

UK rock band Decode begin 2012 in the same vein they graced the previous year, with a fine release in the shape of new single Before We Burn. To be released February with an  excellent accompanying video, the track shows a band on a strong rise and one that crafts music with minute attention and passion. Previous EP Shaping Shadows from 2011 announced the band as ones to watch with its fascinating blend of big rock sounds, engaging melodies, unpredictable twists, and metal edges. The new single cements all previous thoughts whilst placing Decode as a band on the verge of greater heights.

The Sheffield quartet (a five piece live) have recently linked with Ambicon Records and one can only feel things are falling into place for a band already acclaimed for their music and vibrant live shows. Their sound is a heady creative mix that recalls the likes of Fightstar and Taking Back Sunday as well as Manchester band Our Innocence Lost and label mates Down The Machine. The guitars of Adam Mintram and vocalist Daniel Jeffery rampage through tracks whilst bringing stylish and often intricate melodies and variation. The band are not afraid to add swooping keys and haunting strings either to make each track an experience that holds something new no matter the amount of times you listen to it.

The single opens on an emotive guitar before harsh growls lay on top leading to excellent smooth vocals from Jeffrey. The frontman’s delivery is expressive and controlled, the song’s passion dripping from every word, and assisted by the equally strong vocals of bassist Lewis Wild their vocals are as compulsive as the sounds surrounding them. Before We Burn is littered with rock hooks alongside its metallic aggression and though these never slip into the obvious they are easily digestible and mesmeric.

The single is a natural progression from the Shaping Shadows EP, the track feeling an easy fit with the songs making up the previous release. This does not mean a lack of progression just the high quality of the band’s songwriting from day one. Released April 2011 the EP is a bustling and exciting collection of songs. From the opening title track the release unleashes everything the band possesses from power and aggression to creativity and melodic intricacy. With sing-a-long parts and teasing hooks the song is an instant invitation to the band and their stirring rock sounds. The bass of Wild is deep and taunting, playing with the senses whilst drummer Daniel Greasley wonderfully softens up the ear with deliberate and skilled abuse and the guitars unveil their musical twists and turns.

Your Country Is Ours’, ‘If Only (We Live To Tell The Tale)’, and ‘The Days After You’ carry on the great and attentive quality whilst the striking and excellent ‘Enemies’ punishes and pleasures with equal measure and intent. So far every song unveiled by Decode has the ability and desire to rile up the senses whilst treating them to soulful melodies and infectious excitable energy. This energy that floods from the recorded tracks gives eager thought and anticipation to the impressive live force they must be and the carnage they unleash.

One still feels there is much more to come from within Decode to really define their sound but they are already leaving many other bands in their wake and 2012 feels like the year they will become the focus of a great many more enthused ears.

For a free download of the Shaping Shadows EP go to www.soundcloud.com/decodeuk

RingMaster 24/01/2012

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