The Firstborn: Lions Among Men

With a sound as unrelenting and unforgiving as a towering storm Lions Among Men, the new album from The Firstborn is a devastating and compulsive smothering of the senses. It does not have an explosive destructive might that strikes with a swift vengeance but instead consumes and over whelms with a merciless sonic tirade upon the senses, leaving them under an aural avalanche of intensity. The album from the Portuguese metalers is a directly testing and formidable release that has no qualms in taking one to their limits in focus and patience. It is also a deeply rewarding release once given the strength and patience needed to discover its wealth of satisfying sounds and invention. For many it will be too much work but for others it will be an enlightening experience that works on many levels.

Though the seeds of the band go back to 1995 it was with the release of their concept album based on the Tibetan Book Of The Dead, The Unclenching Of Fists in 2005 that the band came to the notice of a wider audience, and though the album due to poor distribution did not find itself reaching as many as it deserved the media was openly on its side. This was followed by The Noble Search in 2008; furthering their sound and direction it explored the Buddhist Scriptures and the multiple paths to nirvana in concept. Lions Among Men sees the band return with an even more closely united blend of metal intensity and the fusion of Buddhist philosophy. Powerful and provoking it leaves no sense untouched and gasping for air nor any thought lingering without meaning or at least a question to contemplate.

Released via Rastilho Records, Lions Among Men opens with a slowly dawning atmosphere, slightly foreboding and partially inviting. The title track emerges at its own pace, as if it is watching and sizing up the listener. As the low grizzled tones of vocalist Bruno Fernandes slowly grind upon the ear the song expands, continuing its lingering emergence into the light. Almost five minutes in and mid-point of the song the guitars light up with Nuno Gervásio and Filipe Lima exploring sounds and its recipient with inciting sonic stabs and twisting riffs. The song offers technical metal without the embellishments most bands attach to it, ensuring the song and subsequently the album intrigues and engages deeply whilst manipulating with the immense heaviness of sound surrounding it.

The following track Without As Within though with a lighter initial tone carries on as the opener ended. This marks the only real issue with the album in that overall there is a similarity between many of the songs which is hard to dismiss. Within the songs though as here with the drums of Rolando Barros barracking and bullying the ear whilst the vocals switch and vary wonderfully, there is distinct variety but you have to work quite hard at times to find it, questioning how many are patient and determined enough. Obviously that is really a flaw of the listener and not the band and once inside to play with the treasures the songs are immensely gratifying and unique.

The further in the greater the quality of Lions Among Men, the likes of Vajra Eyes and Eight Flashing Lances exploring further and shining brighter. The latter of these two with its seamless mix of sitar majesty and powerful metal strength is a mighty black metal flavoured feast for the ear. This is equalled and then eclipsed by the closing duo of tracks, the album ending on a real high. Nothing Attained, Nothing Spoken though a less intense track still ripples from the drums and dark impressive riffs of bassist Hélder Malícia. It swoops and teases the senses, pouncing with mighty riffs and venomous growls from within its depths. Sounds Liberated as Mantra ends things perfectly; the lumbering intent and defined groove a thrilling companion to the Indian spiced sounds and chants. The instrumental though lengthy is vibrant and a welcome guest in the ear.

Though Lions Among Men does not always make it easy to stay patient it is an excellent album that invites and requires constant attention. Give it and The Firstborn that and the rewards are greatly impressive.

RingMaster 12/03/2012

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Interview with Jost Kleinert of Lay Down Rotten.

For well over a decade German metalers Lay Down Rotten have brutalised and obliterated the senses with their devastating death metal creations. As the years pass the band simply get more ferocious and impressive as their brand new album Mask of Malice proves. The new release which is also the first album with new guitarist Daniel “Kensington” Seifert, is a mighty collection of tracks rippling in intensity and hard destructive sounds. We had the chance to ask vocalist Jost Kleinert about the album, their newest addition and other aspects of Lay Down Rotten.

Hello and thank you for sparing time to talk to us at The RingMaster Review.

You have just released your excellent new album Mask of Malice, what were the emotions approaching release day, fear, relief, excitement….?

Excitement, of course! We are very proud of this particular record. This is our darkest album to date and the first album that features our new guitarist Kensington.

The album is your eighth release I believe including your first demo, do you still feel the same buzz now as then or has it evolved into something else each time?

Well, we have naturally grown as songwriters, musicians and as a band. This is for sure! But deep inside we are still music maniacs with a passion for this genre and each album teaches us something else and has a different approach and a new vibe!

Mask of Malice is a formidable animal, did it emerge exactly as you envisaged going into the studio or did it hold some surprises even for you?

It was amazing: what a great experience! We just gave it our best and were surprised how strong and dangerous we still are! We haven´t lost our chops yet! Uwe, our bassist, wrote a song for this album: La Serpenta Canta. It is his first song to be featured on a Lay Down Rotten album. Then we have mid tempo killers and really fast stuff such as the title track. When I went into the studio to record the vocals I was overwhelmed by the sheer power of the instrumental tracks.

Lay Down Rotten as a band and musicians know what they excel at and with each album has pushed the limitations of your expertise and invention but you do not feel the need or urge to venture into startlingly new domains and sounds, is that fair to say?

All I can say is that we cannot be bothered with trends and new, musical, fashion accessories. We all are strong, unique personalities. We do not sit down and start discussing shit like: Well, dude, nowadays pig squeals are the real shit and we need more blasts and samples and freaky, colorful T shirts. This is just ridiculous, lame ass bull shit. We have a history and a certain upbringing. We are an aggressive Death Metal Band and the music grows as we grow and develop both as personalities and musicians.

On the new album there does feel a more concentrated definition to the songs and a larger weave of invention beneath the aggression than ever before. Is that an organic evolution or something you have focused upon?

Kensington is a very opinionated and talented songwriter. He added a new vibe to the Lay Down Rotten sound. And we rehearsed very hard and very often as we wanted this record to be the beginning of a new era. But, you know, one cannot plan things like this! It has to come naturally!

The album also feels darker and actually more venomous than ever before too, is this a reaction to something or simply again a natural harsher intensity coming in.

Well, just take a look around. These are no happy times, hahaha. And we were really pissed and angry as we started writing new songs. We had to deal with a lot of unwelcomed commodities. But then again. Music is in the end an emotional expression. We did not plan anything.

Last year founder of the band and long time colleague Daniel Jakobi left the band, firstly how did this hit the band and was it something you saw coming?

We saw it coming a long way. And it is for the better, I can assure you. Lay Down Rotten is a full time job. Give it your best shot…this is what it all comes down to when you want to be part of the band.

Was it easy to take a positive view on the departure or did it feel like a setback that the band had to dig deep to get over initially?

It was a relief when it was finally said and done and Kensington replaced D. Jacobi. No hard feelings. The funeral is over. We are back on track and stronger than ever!

Did his departure affect the preparation of Mask of Malice or had you not reached the songwriting stage at that point yet.

Mask of Malice wasn´t affected by anything concerning this matter. By the way Kensington came to the first rehearsal with 8 songs and a ton of ideas and inspirations. Do I have to say anything more?

The impressive and skilful Daniel Seifert is your new guitarist, how did that come about, was he someone you already knew?

Like I said before, we know each other from Sarx. But what is really amazing about this guy is his ability to stay calm in the most stressful situations, his loyalty and honesty, his dedication and ambition. He lives and breathes for Metal, you know.
Let me tell you about a funny coincidence: shortly before Daniel left, Kensington met up with me to drink a bottle of whiskey and to take a trip on memory lane. We were both in one of my first bands called Sarx. We talked and drank and remembered the good, old times. So when it finally came to the break up, Kensington was one call away.

Did Daniel have a big influence and say on Mask of Malice?

We are like a machine, a Death Metal machine and Daniel is a great part of it. He gives us a lot of inspiration and his songs fit into the sound of the band. He works like a dog and practices very hard. He inspires us all with his talent, openness and generosity.

What does he bring to the band that gives Lay Down Rotten something new to explore?

He adds a new aggressiveness and he likes variety as you can hear. Kensington has an open personality which is reflected in his songwriting. No borders, no regulations. He is a creative go getter.

How has Lay Down Rotten itself changed across its length as a band apart from being mature musicians and songwriters?

Well, we had to grow up to become what we are today. We had to learn how to deal with life and life´s challenges and stay brutal in our music. We didn´t slow down or wimp out. This is why I am very proud of every album and of the band.

For all of the possibly more involved and layered tracks on Mask of Malice we adore the sheer metal might of the opening song Deathchain. Can you give some background to it?

It was one of the first songs we wrote for the new album. My brother and me wrote the lyrics. Deathchain was also one of the first songs we played live together with Kensington.

I believe the majority of your albums have been recorded at Desert-Inn Studio, what does it offer that keeps you from trying other studios?

This studio contains our history!!…really, T-Low and the Desert Inn mean a lot to us. It is nearby and has a good feel to it. He is smart, kind and knows how to keep things going. We trust him and feel safe with him. So never change a winning team, right?

Have you shows and tours lined up ahead to promote the album in Germany, Europe and further afield?

Yes, we have. Please check our website for further details: www.laydownrotten.com

How soon do you usually start playing with ideas for the next release and songs after bringing out an album?

It is a natural process. We are currently getting prepared for the Mask of Malice Shows. But songs sometimes come out of the blue. So we will be working on new songs very soon. We now have a great songwriter in the band. So there is nothing holding us back.

Again many thanks for sharing your time with us, and good luck with what is a brute of a great album.

Would you like to leave us with a comment for Lay Down Rotten fans everywhere?

Thank you so much guys for your ongoing support. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for coming to our shows, staying heavy and listening to Lay Down Rotten. Hope to see you soon! Hail to all you crazy maniacs.

And lastly how about revealing one thing from the softer side of the band’s members?

Soft? …what do you mean? I eat two kilos of raw flesh every day, kill pigs with my own two hands and drink gasoline in the morning!

Read the Mask of Malice review@ http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2012/02/27/lay-down-rotten-mask-of-malice/

RingMaster Review 11/03/2012

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Pharaoh – Bury The Light

Pharaoh seem to be one of those bands that either click with you or not. If they do it is an unbridled affinity and if they do not it merely brings a shrug of the shoulders as to why their sound has such an effect on others. To be fair even if their power metal does not appeal one can appreciate the fine aspects to the band and understand how it sweeps others up into a keen response. With classic rock/metal and power metal not finding a home in these ears the band were on a hiding to nothing in this review but it has to be said that at times Bury The Light, their new album did pull a firm attention as often as it lost a grip on the biased ear. It certainly did not have us trawling sites to grab their previous releases but nor was listening to the album as venomous as one expected within these unwelcoming tastes.

Formed around 1997 it was with debut album After the Fire in 2003 that Pharaoh came to the attention with their sound steeped in the seeds of classic heavy metal. The focus they received was firm and ever growing especially with the release of its follow up in 2006, The Longest Night. They had earned a strong underground following at this point which spread with the release in 2008 of third album Be Gone. The marked maturity in sound and songwriting took them to more and more attention pushing them forward on a further wave of focus. With Bury The Light and its continuation of the groundwork laid by its predecessor it is sure to bring them to the gaze and notice of many more soon to be eager fans.

That is if you like this genre of music of course. Bury The Light is nicely varied within the genre but low on external influences to spice and diversify it further. For power metal fans this is not an issue and it is hard to imagine many who will not enjoy and acclaim the music and songs within the album. The quartet of vocalist Tim Aymar, guitarist Matt Johnsen, bassist Chris Kerns, and drummer Chris Black, are a skilled group of musicians who certainly are strong on songwriting and how to bring forth their ideas. Bury The Light is a vibrant release using their obvious love of metal from the likes of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Saxon to inspire their own sound. Though it does nothing for these ears it is impossible to dismiss the craft and honesty which veins each and every song.

There are moments which bring one up abruptly, times where the album snatches full attention from the ear. The intriguing Castles In The Sky is one example where the electronic touches make use of the element of surprise nicely, and in the expansive The Year Of The Blizzard the band explore ballad and enthused rock n roll with a skilled hand and intelligent vision. The song actually is very well composed and though there was a wish they dwelled on the slower elements more it works very well. With the impressive beefy riffs and dynamic melodies of The Spider’s Thread and the teasing forceful might of Cry the album often leapt out with a firm eagerness.

There is hard to find any real flaws with the album, the production is quite raw but that actually gives a darker edge to the energy which works well. Though not a style and delivery that works here, anyone with a love of classic metal and enthused power metal will find more than enough to excite their ears. Pharaoh create music with an energy and melodic certainty that is sure to ignite the hearts of old traditional metal fans everywhere.

RingMaster 09/03/2012

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Spawn of Possession – Incurso

Having heard impressive things about Swedish technical death metal band Spawn Of Possession there was an added intrigue about the eagerness that accompanied the venture into the new album from the band, Incurso. One can read a never ending flow of words in praise but it is only when the sound and creativity hits you that you understand the height or depth of a band or their release. Nothing indicated the stunning and immense power, uniqueness, and pure imagination that were to unfold as Incurso laid its wizard spawn artistry and ingenuity upon the ear. First listen has one staggering under the sheer weight of diversity and inventiveness not to mention the all consuming intensity, but given further attention and shared experiences the album becomes part of everything, as potent as breathing and as lingering as death.

       Incurso is the third album from the band and their debut on Relapse Records. The five year wait has been long for their fans to endure and an unpredictable time for the band with multiple line-up changes sine predecessor Noctambulant. Last year saw the combined might of guitarists Jonas Bryssling ( last remaining band founder) and Christian Müenzner (Obscura, Ex-Necrophagist, Ex-Defeated Sanity), bassist Erlend Caspersen (Deeds Of Flesh, ex-Blood Red Throne), drummer Henrik Schönström (Unmoored, ex-Torchbearer), and former drummer Dennis Röndum who moved to fronting the band with his inspired vocals, emerging and together conjuring and album which not only sets the senses aflame but manipulates and toys with them like maniacal puppeteers.

It really is hard to describe the majesty and incredible technical skill as well as the pure organic feel the band creates on the album. Incurso is a release that hits you instantly but also takes time unveiling all of its qualities and deeply rooted additive grip. Whether listening to it for the third or thirteenth time something new finds its way into the ear bringing each listen a surprising and new experience taken with a close hearted friend. Repeating dreams or nightmares offer something new with each venture into your sleeping state, Incurso does the same bringing new shadows and light with malicious twists each and every time it fingers your senses and consciousness.

The release opens with instrumental Abodement, a piece which is for them relatively straight forward but opens up the ear with a skilled musical weaning before taking one into the maelstrom of intrusive delights ahead. Where Angels Go Demons Follow takes no time getting down to business, its guitars slicing through the ear with crafty intricate skill and maximum venom whilst the slightly reserved rhythms rather than blast its victim wears them down with incessant niggling. The bass plunders the nerves with intimidating riffs whilst Röndum spews out his intent and words with the blackest malevolence. Combined they pilfer the senses of feeling until they lie numb and shell shocked under the intense testing. This is only the second track; you can imagine how one feels as the closing threat of Apparition takes its leave.

As songs like The Evangelist, a track which spatters the ear with intensive rhythms and provocative riffs whilst meandering through scorched diversity, and Deus Avertat rupture and expel a sonic beauty and devastation upon every corner of the mind and body, the album just grows in greatness and more power. The second of these two songs courts the mind with acidic intrusions whilst leaving it with bruised contusions from its unrelenting complex and sophisticated senses blowing conjurations. From beginning to end the album ignites and fires up so many emotions and thoughts to match its vast cacophony of ingenious creativity, songs like Servitude Of Souls and No Light Spared as triumphant as those already mentioned.

Imagine the likes of Obscura, Gorod, Uneven Structure, and Meshuggah boiled down to a puree and then added to something distinctly different and you get Spawn Of Possession. Incurso is a monstrous beast, and as it annihilates and blisters the senses with its technical brutality and sophisticated creativity it takes them into new realms and pleasures, lighting them up and eager for more and more of its violations. The album hits hard and fast inviting you to spend more and more time in its devious arms, but the delights it gives when you succumb are beyond measure, try it!

RingMaster 09/03/2012

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Our Innocence Lost – Like A Complete Unknown

From Manchester, UK rockers Our Innocence Lost is a band with a difference. They robustly incite and flare up the senses like many other quality bands but surrounding their heavy forceful riffs and direct and far reaching melodies there is a passion and personality to their sounds which few other bands can bring as readily and consummately as the North West quartet. The music comes from beyond the heart, the band putting their soul into the eagerly absorbing creations they produce. Their new and second album Like A Complete Unknown is the perfect proof of their natural and organic use of this heartfelt emotion. It is taken and blended into an infectious melodic rock sound that never stands still, forever provocative and always trying new diverse ideas.

Formed in 2006 Our Innocence Lost has taken the UK by storm up and down its length as well as venturing over into the United States to great effect. Critical acclaim surrounded the band with the release of their debut album Facts Called Fiction via Sideout Records of Japan in 2008, the country alerted to a fine emerging rock band which was emphasised and built upon by a 36 date UK tour with American band Darling Waste and sharing stages with the likes of Voodoo 6, Glamour Of The Kill, Jody Has A Hitlist, Dear Superstar, Reckless Love, My Passion and Kiros over the past two years. Written and recorded during 2011 at Patron Studios with producer Elliot Middleton, Our Innocence Lost has unleashed in Like A Complete Unknown, an album which takes you to its heart instantly. It is a strong successor to their debut and more importantly an impressive continuation of the bands maturity and songwriting ability.

The album offers a heady blend of songs spawn from the flavoursome mix of alternative rock and post hardcore sounds that have evolved over the past years.  From the opening Worthless it attacks with a surety of a band confident in its path and skilled in its ability to get there. With sturdy riffs and attitude soaked vocals from James Holman the song plunders the ear with a defiance and strength which is impossible to resist. The guitar of Tom Crane is inventive as it leans on the senses with a striking melodic energy ably supported by the stirring bass of Steve Taylor and drummer Johnathan Kendrick, who constantly demands attention with his muscular beats.

One of the things that has grown within the band in the recent years is the harsher side of their sound, the post hardcore intensity raised to form a tight contrast and companion to the melodic prowess the band possesses. Holman growls and expresses a caustic malevolence at times which is an opposite extreme to his excellent clean vocals. It works impressively with the band using both spectrums seamlessly and always at the moments a song needs it.  Shout It Out is a perfect example. It is a song which engages the ear through mesmeric melodies and calm emotion but then removes the safety net with harsh interventions that stir things up wonderfully, expressing the lyrical turmoil to great effect. The song has led many people in eager anticipation for this new album, finding repeated airplay with the likes of The Reputation Introduces Radio Show. The song also raised expectations for the future which have been answered and surpassed with Like A Complete Unknown.

The songs come thick and fast in power and emotive creativity. The likes of the excellent End Of Time with a glorious bass led mid section where the band unleash their ability to out rock any band metal or other, the impressively diverse monster How Soon We All Forget, a song which easily combines a towering intensity and hard riffs with caressing smooth melodies, and the metal guided hard rock glory of Thank You take the album to distinct heights. It is a thoroughly consistent album too, from the more urgent strikes from songs like Breathe Deep and Over And Over to the inventive and exploratory sounds of the power ballad like Damaged Goods and Last Goodbye, the album never fails to bring a deep satisfaction and pleasure.

It is hard to pick any holes in the release apart from maybe an initial similarity which runs seemingly across it. Close attention shows that it is not so and there is a deep wealth of sound and variety within its walls but that initial impression does deceive quite strongly. Like A Complete Unknown is an excellent album from one of the very best emerging rock bands in the UK, do yourself a favour by taking a listen.

http://www.ourinnocencelost.com

Ringmaster 09/03/2012

 

Tokyo Chaos City – Nothing Is Happening

 

It is a crime when a band goes unnoticed, a sin that when they have so much quality to give and do so constantly, it is without any awareness they exist by  the world outside their city or at best homeland. This applies to Japanese band Tokyo Chaos City, a band that oozes powerful and emotive sounds created and delivered with great craft and passion. To be fair from the outside it feels like the band likes their ‘solitude’ with any search for information on them a big void even on their own site to some extent but that will change the more they are heard.

Last year saw three EP’s from the band starting in January with Losers Bruise, followed in May by In My Deathbed. The third Nothing Is Happening has just been released and is a masterful and powerful statement lyrically and musically. The band consisting of Aki (vocals, guitars, bass, drum programming) and Ken (guitars), have as with their previous releases worked with a theme within the new EP. Losers Bruise was made up of songs fuelled by emptiness and loneliness whilst In My Deathbed exposed a feeling that things were desperate and pathetic. Nothing Is Happening deals with the sense of powerlessness and anger and as with the other two is emotively strong and incisive.

The sound of Tokyo Chaos City has changed across the EP’s, not in the songwriting or core sound of the band but with what it is made. Losers Bruise flowed with creative and uplifting keyboard sounds now a duo from the first EP’s line-up of three; the same effective and soaring sounds come without synths and the like to give a different edge to the music though as across all the releases there is still a clever mix of dark and light, aggression and subtlety.

Dumbfucks’ opens up the new EP with a Dead Kennedys like dark grumbling bass line and aggressive guitars interspersed with sorrowful melodies and break. Inspired by the Fukushima nuclear power plant failure and its handling the sense of disdain and disgust wrapped in intense and melodic sounds is impressive. Vocally Aki sounds very much like Matt Bellamy bringing the lyrics emotion through with his voice, harmoniously and delightfully smooth he has a voice to savour and delivery to admire.

Second track ‘Desperate Cries’ is a softer flowing song coming from feelings inspired by the Tsunami that followed the earthquake and it is impossible to not feel something deeper beyond the ear as it graces the senses. This is followed by ‘When I Kiss The Earth’ to complete the trilogy of stunning tracks. The song leaps into view with playful guitars that dance eagerly over a driving and incessant rhythm. The song bringing a tale of a broken heart and feelings of hopelessness and incompetence in this world against a background of engaging and inviting sounds and varied interplay is the perfect ending to a truly glorious EP.

With a sound that sounds like it comes from a mix of Muse, Radiohead, and a splash of Foo Fighters, Tokyo Chaos City are sadly one of the best kept secrets in music and with Nothing Is Happening it is sorely hoped that will change as there has certainly not been this year a release as glorious and wonderfully engaging as this, well apart from the band’s other EP’s of course. http://www.tokyochaoscity.com/

RingMaster 07/10/2011

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Interview with Adam McKee of Dead ‘Til Friday

The moment the video for The Longest Year from Belfast band Dead ‘Til Friday grabbed our attention with its unbridled fun and enthused aggression further investigation of the band was a no brainer. Their current EP Water further impressed and set the band as one to watch closely over the year ahead with their stirring blend of rap metal and inventive rock sounds igniting a strong anticipation for future sounds from the quintet. Wanting to know more about Dead ‘Til Friday we had the pleasure of getting vocalist Adam McKee to answer our questions about the band and their music.

Hello and welcome to The RingMaster Review

Firstly would you introduce the band and members?

I’m Adam I sing, we’ve also got Conhuir and Steve who play guitar, Jonny on bass and Colin on Drums.

How and when did the band begin?

The band began in around 2007/2008 but there’s been a few line-up changes since then and the band has only really been this formation for the past year or so.

Is Dead ‘Til Friday the first band for you all?

Not at all, we’ve all been in previous bands before, myself and Conhuir we’re in a band called Acidtone, Steve played alongside us in other local bands for a few years, also Colin and Jonny have been in a few local bands before too.

What was the influence for the band name?

The band name came from a random conversation on a night out between Colin and our previous vocalist/guitarist, they joked a bit about it and said it would make a great band name, and hey, it stuck!

Your sound is a feisty blend of rap metal, muscular riffs and infectious melodic choruses what are the influences that have added shape to your music?

Feisty? Haha, cool! Yea, I myself have been singing and rapping like this for years now. We listen to a VERY large spectrum of music between us all. The metal side of things isn’t normally what I would listen to myself in my free time. All in all it’s a great thing because when it comes to writing we’re never stuck for ideas, melodies or riffs.

You and another great metal band Gacy’s Thread come from Belfast so what is the metal and rock scene like there for bands and fans?

The metal scene at the moment is great! We’ve also recently proved it by heading a short distance outside of Belfast and the amount of bands looking to play Belfast is exciting. The bands and band members look out for each other, which is awesome; we definitely all help each other and do our best for the scene.

Is there a bond between the bands in Belfast that bands in other cities especially in the rest of the UK do not have with each other?

Yes and no, haha, we would definitely be more tight knit being on an island with other bands compared to the likes of America or Europe where everyone is so much further apart. We can also relate to the same struggles you go through trying to get touring and travelling overseas as much as possible. If we don’t all help each other out then we all kind of lose out at the end of the day.

As you mentioned you formed around 2008, how has the band evolved over the subsequent four years or so?

Our sound is one of the big things that has definitely evolved, especially through the line-up changes I mentioned earlier. A different vocalist and song writer definitely changed things up a lot, but this line-up and sound is very solid now, it takes any band a little time to find this and we’re excited! :)

The last two years appear to have been the biggest to date for the band, touring alongside bands Your Demise and Lower Than Atlantis, sharing the stage with the likes of Skindred, And So I Watch You From Afar and Forever Never, plus a prestigious slot at the Tennent’s Vital Festival to name a few notable moments. Has this time felt like a sudden intense elevation for you as a band in the same way that it appears to us on the outside?

Definitely, it’s a whole world of emotions all at once, fear, excitement, joy etc… but the key thing it has given us all is the hunger for it, every one of the opportunities and shows you mentioned gave great clarity to why we’re doing what we’re doing.

Tell us more about the Tennent’s Vital Festival; I believe you played to 50,000 with a slot between Jimmy Eat World and The Kaiser Chiefs?

Yea, we were nervous, but I think we certainly held our own. It was both surreal and exciting all at once, it’s a little hard to put into words almost! We got an amazing response to our heavier sound we have was great! We’d do it all again in heart beat! Haha!

Last year saw the release of your excellent EP Water, but I am led to believe there was an earlier release before that?

Thank you! Yeah there was a few EPs previous, but they were from a previous line-up or formation of the band, it certainly doesn’t represent us now.

Water grabs the attention with its great hard hitting insatiable sounds; did it exceed your expectations response wise?

Every time new ears hear it with touring we’re overwhelmed by the response! We love all our fans and it’s amazing to see it mean so much to people we don’t even know. Even simple things like people taking off work to come to one of our shows just blows our minds.

The Longest Year is the song from the EP which really grabs the listener by the throat and wonderfully demands attention; it must be a big crowd favourite at your live shows?

It definitely gets a sing along that’s for sure. We found the video release helped immensely for people to identify with it live.

Can you tell us about that video of the same song?

Sure. We shot the video with the very talented Darren Lee of Maverick Renegade Productions in an old abandoned warehouse in Downpatrick. We spent a day of filming close up, slow-motion and all the band shots, then to top it all off we even brought down some of our mates for the crowd shots and made them go mental.  We must have heard the same song 200 times, haha, but it was a lot of fun.

Turning back to the Water EP, you usually seem tagged as a rap metal band but the release shows a much more diversity to your sound. Do you feel frustrated at the more limiting tag you seem to be generally given?

Not at all, we find people need to give a name or tag to something these days so we just tend to go along, we’ve seen it called many different things, which is great cause it shows us people are taking an interest at least.

How does the songwriting process work within Dead ‘Til Friday?

Our guitarist Conhuir usually starts the ball rolling with a good riff and initial structure then ideas flow from there. We all then help out with structure, lyrics and other wee ideas usually.

With the band having a strong reputation and following across both sides of the border in Ireland it seems, is the UK the next centre of attention for you or are you looking further afield for 2012?

Definitely! We travelled to the UK last year and done a few days and met some new friends on the way, we could only hope we can keep going back and making strong connections and see some interest grow.

You are known for a firm DIY approach as with the EP release, is this something you always intended or simply the only option available to you right now?

A whole lot more of the first, we are lucky to have such a talented producer (Conhuir) in the band already we didn’t really feel the need to splash out on studio time etc.

I believe you are working on your debut album? How is that going and when are we likely to feel its pleasures?

We are indeed! It’s going great and we’re spending a lot of focused time on it at the moment. You can feel some of its pleasures now in our live show, but for the actual release we’ll be aiming for sometime mid to late 2012 after our over the top quality control gets a look at it, haha!

What is next for Dead ‘Til Friday as we move further into 2012 apart from the album?

The album is our main focus at the moment, but we have a few other things planned for around that time too.

Have you given yourselves any aims or objectives as a band for the coming year?

Haha, other than knuckling down and keeping doing what we’re doing not really. We’re going all out on the new album and focusing all our attention to it to try and make it the best it can possibly be!

Thanks so much for talking to us.

Would you like to finish by telling people who find you in a venue near them why they MUST come watch you?

It’s a no brainer! We’ll wreck the place and let them join in on the action! ;)

The Ringmaster Review 29/02/2012

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