Interview with Oleg Aryutkin of Desert

Through meeting a new friend in Kostya Aronberg of Globmetal Promotions we have been introduced to some real treats and pleasures in the shape of bands and music from around the globe. One of the biggest enjoyments came in the debut album Star Of Delusive Hopes from Israeli metal band Desert. The album was not particularly demanding or challenging but was one of the best examples of honest and irresistible impressive metal. Given the chance to find out more about the band we took no time in bombarding keyboardist Oleg Aryutkin with questions.

Hello and thank you for talking with us at The Ringmaster Review

Please introduce the band.

Hi, and thanks for the opportunity.

We are Desert, a band of six guys who just enjoy playing a decent metal song!

The music we play is a blend of good old heavy metal and something we hope is unique.

With Desert you get epic feel for the lyrics and sing-along choruses from power metal Stratovarius, Dragonforce,, but also punchy beats and riffs from heavy metal, and crapload of keyboards to give it a more theatrical vibe.

How and when did Desert begin?

Sure. Let’s see… Our lead guitarist, Max, started a band back when he was in the military service, just to play some cover tunes he enjoyed. It was Stratovarius, Dragonforce, stuff like that, fast melodic power metal. People joined, people left. Around 2004 stuff got more organized, Max played a gig or two, I’m sure you know these really obscure gigs in basements with soundmen selling pot at the entrance :)

Is there any relevance to the band name?

Heh, you be the judge of that. Back in 2004 we all used to literally live in a desert, with camels and what not. So when it came to choosing a name, the guitarist simply looked out a window and went “oh well..”

Just like that.

How has the band evolved over its decade of existence?

It sure did. First, we all learned to play our instruments a bit better. We also managed to find our voice, and not simply copy the music of famous power metal bands like we used to.

Max used to be the sole songwriter, over the years he found the way to come up with these weird riffs I didn’t hear before.

After some time I too started writing, and my approach is completely different.

You have had a few line-up changes during your time as a band too, have these had major impacts on the way your sound has grown?

hmm. we did go through few drummers and bass players. I guess every time it just sounded better and better!

A big upgrade was when we invited a second guitarist, about two years ago, right before the album release, it really gave our live sound more punch, and more aggressive direction to the songs.

For those new to the band how would you describe your sound?

hh, like I said, simple sing-along choruses, low baritone vocals, phat guitars, and well, it’s heavy on keyboards :)

We like to keep it technically simple, so no weird breakdowns, but instead we go for almost theatrical vibe, each song is a story.

You bring many elements to your heavy metal sound, what are your major influences that have inspired this?

Talking about our rock ‘n’roll heroes, we grew up listening to Grave Digger, Freedom Call, Helloween, Ozzy, stuff like that.

I look for influences. I really try to absorb everything I hear, be it the new Behemoth CD or a dubstep track I heard on Youtube.

I guess closest to my heart is 80’s music, both metal and popular.

But in the end it all goes through a filter, so no, we’re not black metal meets A-ha :)

Star Of Delusive Hopes is your debut album released via Greek label Sleaszy Rider. How long was it in the creating?

Wow, a long time. It was a first major work, we worked the hell out of each tune.

The lyrics went through numerous revisions, the solos were practiced and thought through.

I’d say it took some 3 years to complete the writing. Then, a month of pre-productions, and three weeks in the excellent Nick Savio’s studio.

The album was recorded with Nick Savio (White Skull, Cyber Cross) who you just mentioned, and subsequently mastered by Andy LaRocque, the -nominated guitarist of King Diamond, both doing a great job with your excellent songs. How did you get them on board?

I think we found Nick on-line, and we really liked his work as a producer, so we went for it. Was a right decision, Nick really knows his stuff. And a great guy, too! Spent three weeks in his studio in Vicenza, Italy, so cool!

hm, Andy was an on-line acquaintance, too. He mixed by himself, we did not want to humiliate ourselves by suggesting stupid ideas. We just trusted him to do what he does! It’s funny how he sent us a first mp3 file, going “here guys, it’s like a pre-pre-pre-beta version, suggest something”, and we were like “yeah, don’t touch anything, it sounds golden!”

Can you tell us about the theme and stories that storyboard the songs within Star Of Delusive Hopes?

It’s kinda concept album, or maybe an idea album. All the songs share the same direction. It’s about the struggle for freedom. Most of the songs deal with and tell stories of historic personalities and events, like the title track, which is about the French revolution and the fate of Napoleon, or Victim of the Light, which is about Joan of Arc. We are really into history, and try to take our view on events and why we see them important.

Some songs are more ‘abstract’, like Whispers  – it’s about an inner struggle within a person, I created the spoken intro to help understand the song. And there’s even a pirate song, Letter of Marque, which was kinda meant as light-weight, lyrics-wise, but came out pretty ‘honest’, and I’m really proud of it.

It’s not called Star of Delusive Hopes for nothing. The stories told are all with a touch of bitterness, we tell about betrayal, delusion, failure, but also hope – the whole deal. We try to describe real life, not a fairy tale.

The ideas and song inspirations are quite intense but your music also carries a surprisingly light and exuberant feel within its powerful sound. Was this a determined aspect or something that simply emerged whilst writing the album?

Hmm, never thought of this. I guess it’s just something we did, the way we write. I like a punchy riff, and a good uplifting chorus!

But we always pay attention to unity of music and lyrics, they should deliver the same message, fortify each other! There are tracks like Letter of Marque, with epic feel and a cheerful vibe, but there are also tracks like Whispers, which is darker, since its lyrics are nothing happy…

There is a sense of theatre to your music too would that be fair to say?

I’m really glad you’re mentioning it. There is, I think… Not as theatrical as some progressive or gothic bands, who create almost full-scale theatre plays, like Silentium.

We weren’t set to create a theater music project. It just came out that way. I realized that our songs have a lot of this after Whispers was written. It actually has spoken parts, monologues of sorts, and these weird sound effects that I created, to increase the sense of madness going on.

One track one the album which also became a single was Lament for Soldier’s Glory, It also featured a guest performance from Joakim Broden of Sabaton. How did that come about?

We met Joakim back in 2008 I think when we opened for Sabaton in Tel-Aviv, Israel. Joakim and the guys turned out to be a great bunch, full of life and super-friendly. So we chatted, drank some beers, but no business talk at all.

Some months later, we were working on the album, and this particular song demanded a male duet, at least in my head. So we started thinking who’d be right for the part. The song being about the WWII, Joakim’s name came out first. I was like, ‘yeah, right’. This guy never collaborated with anyone before, and actually refused some serious offers. But we gave it a shot, asked him. And he agreed to take part!

The track came out just perfect in my opinion. Joakim’s vocals fit the tune like a glove, it’s like we wrote it for him. Perfect.

Since then we’ve met quite a lot, Joakim flew in for our album release party, and later performed with us live in Israel, Sweden, and Cyprus. I hope its right to say we’re good friends now.

Desert is renowned for its live shows with you having shared stages with the likes of like Sabaton, Draconian, Nightmare, and Tim “Ripper” Owens. Live shows are a very important aspect of the band for you?

Heh, you forgot Helloween and Stratovarius :)  I loved these particular shows! Oh, and Van Canto, they kill!

But let’s get back to us, he-he.

The most important. Desert is all about live shows. We put a lot of effort into rehearsing, thinking through the set, preparing all kinds of interactive experiences with the audience.

And we sure go crazy on stage. We run and we jump, and scream, like there’s no tomorrow!

The moment when I finally got my hands on a keytar (google it!) was a game changing one for me. Finally I can jump off the amp stacks, run into the audience, climb the lights, whatever, while still playing! I just LOVE playing live shows.

Do you see live performances and shows have in a time where people do not seem to be buying music now as more important than making recordings?

As I said, I value live music a lot, and try to attend as many live shows as possible.

But making records is still necessary, you gotta document your creations, and people enjoy the live performance more if they already heard the song, and read the lyrics.

How do you find things as a metal band in Israel, is there a strong scene for you  and others there?

It’s tough, like everywhere else.

In Israel metal is not mainstream, it’s in the underground. But the scene, while not that big, is really strong in the sense of connection between people – bands, fans, writers, photographers, journalists. People are warm, and there are some great bands, too!

We have plenty of shows here, and many bands from all over the world come visit, and they are always amazed by how people here make them welcome!

How effectively has the internet taken you beyond your homeland borders into the wider world?

We have great friends all over the world we wouldn’t have a chance to meet if not for the web.

We have great friends and fans in countries like Poland, Bulgaria, Italy, Mexico, Canada – people write us and buy records.

So yeah, internet is super. Still, there’s no substitute for a good live show! Hold on, we’ll get to play everywhere eventually, and meet all these great people in person!

What has the rest of 2012 got in store for you or rather you for it?

hhh, I like the play of words. Well, we kinda took few months off to finish the next album, that’s what we’re after now – releasing a great album. I hope it’ll be ready by the end of the year.

Still playing some live shows, because its great fun and we don’t wanna get rusty!

Do you set yourselves any targets or aims during a year or just let things evolve?

We do set goals. Otherwise things just don’t move. When recording or rehearsing there’s a real schedule, a plan. We take music-making real serious.

Writing, on the other hand, is out of control. We can’t say, ‘ok, we’ll write two songs by next Friday’. Doesn’t work like that, unfortunately.

Again thank you for talking with us.

Would you like to leave with any last words for your fans old and new?

Thanks for the chance to chat about the band!

We are Desert, we love what we do, we believe in what we do, and we’ll make your head go Bang!

Stay true, stay metal, and go see a good live band next chance you get!

Read the Review of  Star Of Delusive Hopes http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2012/03/23/desert-star-of-delusive-hopes/Star Of Delusive Hopes

The Ringmaster Review 31/05/2012

MyFreeCopyright.com Registered & Protected

The best and easiest way to get your music on iTunes, Amazon and lots more. Click below for details.

A Silent Escape: Self Titled

From a good but underwhelming start the self titled debut album from Swedish band A Silent Escape digs deep to unleash a series of diverse and imaginative tracks. It is a release which one can argue about in regard to its originality and uniqueness with at times some songs merging into the sea of similar fuelled and sounding songs elsewhere. What is not in doubt is the promise offered up and the skilled and intense imagination deployed when the band expresses and extends itself.

The band formed in 2010 though the seeds of the band can be said to have been planted further back in a band Union Square where A Silent Escape vocalist/bassist Patrick Stenborg, vocalist/guitarist Joel Nilsson, and drummer Nic Antoni Londqvist played together. On the demise of that band the trio linked up with guitarist and friend Eddie Hansala and A Silent Escape was born. June 4th sees the release of their debut as the band look to waking up the UK and beyond to their Comeback Kid/ In Flames/ Millencolin influenced and blended sounds.

The band slaps the senses around from the off with Blackhole Gravity a song of thumping rhythms and insurgent riffs. The track is punchy with a striking melodic grip upon the ear whilst being openly infectious and proudly eager. It does everything right especially with the reserved enterprising moment mid song but just misses lighting up the fires with any distinct individuality. The following Final Chapter is the same, though another good song which is impossible to feel anything but pleasure from it just does not inspire anything stronger, nevertheless both tracks unveil striking elements to ignite sure promise whilst easily entertaining whilst the senses in their presence.

Things truly lift though when From Words to Beating steps forward to ignite the senses. A melodic warmth permeates from it making a smooth yet bristling experience for the ear, the Avenged Sevenfold toned vocals a fine companion for the expressive sounds. From this definite lift to the album things truly explode with best track God’s A Liar(feat. Richard Sjunnesson from The Unguided). From the opening taunting and intimidating riff breakouts on the ear alongside punchy rhythms the track takes a hypnotic hold. Melodic wraps cover the metallic spine and contrasting venomous growls explore and illuminate the song alongside a great clean vocal delivery bringing the most compelling contrasts and startling interplay. The track is mighty and easily the major highlight of the album.

The album is in full flow now unleashing a series of undeniably impressive tunes as the following melodic metal Ticket Back and catchy hook luring Can’t Be The End show. The second of the two is almost like Bullet For My Valentine does pop punk but is not only far better than it sounds but is a captivating slice of infection.  Both songs are powerful and easily accessible without resorting to easy tricks and avenues. Again one could not claim they were breaking into new directions with truly unique sounds but one can easily state not many other releases bring as much fully appreciated pleasure.

The blistering attack of Bullets takes the album down another detour, its electronic spicery a great twist to the growing intensity, whilst Smalltown Outcast peers into the creative well of the likes of Silent Descent with great effect. Ending on another slab of intensity in Goodbye Mr Pig the album is an enjoyable creature with possibly more promise than realisation still upon its breath. The signs are all there and only time will tell if they can cultivate their own distinctive and even more striking sound but right now A Silent Escape, album and band leaves one more than merely pleased and satisfied.

RingMaster 31/05/2012

MyFreeCopyright.com Registered & Protected

The best and easiest way to get your music on iTunes, Amazon and lots more. Click below for details.

The Robbie Boyd Band: Autumn’s Flown

There has been quite a buzz building around The Robbie Boyd Band before debut single I Won’t Let You Go which was unveiled in April and certainly after. Now with debut EP Autumn’s Flown released June 4th the expectation is interest and acclaim will become an accelerated energy around them, especially with the impressive and irresistible quality within the new release.

Playing what they call “feel good funky folk” the band has grabbed attention in their mere two years having received attention and airplay with the likes of Graham Norton on BBC2, Tom Robinson on BBC 6 Music as well as sharing stages with bands like The Kooks, Razorlight, and The Delays. With over 370,000 views on their official YouTube channel it is fair to say the band is beyond a secret with a continually growing interest upon them, something the EP will again only inspire to greater heights.

The first thing Autumn’s Flown shows apart from its collection of great tunes is that Boyd is an instinctive songwriter with an easy and strong understanding of melodies and harmonies. He utilises their strengths in a defined and creative way to ensure total captivation and the fullest pleasure within his songs. His distinctive voice adds another firmly lure for the ear and as the EP plays through its five slices of impressive music their self termed description proves more than accurate.

The opening Angel actually did not grab the ear as much as latter songs initially though it is a grower and with time becomes as essential as the other vibrant offerings. With a mild energy and warm life the song takes the senses on a scenic melodic stroll with the keys of Adam Fletcher and stirring rhythms of Huw Beynon eager guides.

Debut single I Won’t Let You Go comes next and is an absorbing blend of harmonies and string enchantment from Boyd, Russel Smith, and Simon Fitzpatrick. With a chorus as catching as any virus the song blissfully excites and dances within the ear. With added pleasures from the backing vocals and violin of Mared Evans to add extra romance and shine the song is openly infectious.

New single Orion’s Belt is the biggest jewel of the release, a majestic blaze of melodic ingenuity and harmonious craft. From its emotive opening and passion fuelled breath the song slowly expands into an exceptional piece of folk pop. Veined with a velvet caress and a dazzling jazz energy the track is immense and destined for mass favouritism. Again the vocals of Evans supporting Boyd are wonderful, their combination as key a factor as the melodies and stirring heart of the song.

Completed by the delightful Never Never Land and a radio edit of I Won’t Let You Go, the EP is pure pleasure and surely a stepping stone to major recognition for the band. With irresistible melodies, imaginative invention, and magical sirenesque sounds Autumn’s Flown is a must for all lovers of melodic pop with real heart.

RingMaster 31/05/2012

MyFreeCopyright.com Registered & Protected

The best and easiest way to get your music on iTunes, Amazon and lots more. Click below for details.

Funeral Suits : Lily Of The Valley

Sometimes an album comes along to elevate anticipation and expectations nurtured through previous releases far beyond what was imagined. Such is the case with Lily Of The Valley from Irish indie band Funeral Suits. Based on a trio of singles there was a keen belief that an album would match and please as much but there was no real indication of the unsettling mesmeric aural swarm that was coming. Individually the songs contained within the album are not strikingly better or worse than the already unveiled songs which also find a place on Lily Of The Valley, but as a whole there is a much deeper and absorbing experience going on than from songs taken alone.

    Funeral Suits has created an album with on the surface an underwhelming diversity but with a deeply expressive breath, each track playing like a limb or organ within a vibrant emotive body. They have an intelligent and warming similarity across them but taken one away and there is a hole the others cannot fill, and given the fullest of focus one does find a beautifully crafted and imagined individuality to the songs.

From North Country Dublin the quartet of Brian James, Mik McKeogh, Greg McCarthy and Dar Grant has spent two years creating the album and that attention and time spent pours from each carefully and thoughtfully placed note, word, and passion. Released June 4th through Model Citizen Records and produced by Stephen Street (The Smiths, Blur), the album is a stunning enveloping heart borne piece of composing. It does not arguably ignite the fiercest of fires at any point but rather wraps itself around and within mind and senses for a further reaching and fuller impact. From their 2011 debut single Colour Fade the band has gained an ever growing mass of devotees and acclaim. The further singles as well as shared stages with the likes of Franz Ferdinand, Passion Pit, The Maccabees, and Local Natives plus appearances at SXSW, Great Escape and Reading/Leeds Festival the same year have only reinforced their increasing stature, something the album will surely explode in dramatic style.

The album opens with Mary’s Revenge and takes no time in capturing the ear with vocals harmonies and electronic waves of sound. The deep Tubeway Army like electronic melody is an instant beckoning as guitars scramble the air with their discord and impressive voice. The track is an exceptional electro pop song but with a bite and intent which brings deeper intrigue and an unsettling energy to its pulsating mass. By its end the track has overwhelmed the ear with a heavy whisper to elevate it wonderfully from just mere pop.

   Colour Fade and Health, two of the previous singles come next, the first an immersive enchantment of simple heart and mesmeric beauty from vocals and music. The crystalline melodies sparkle against the thumping rhythms and niggling guitars for an undemanding but attention seeking piece of music. Health is very different, from its awakening atmosphere and flexing electro muscles the song stamps its authority across the senses with punchy rhythms and lingering acidic guitars. Both songs are the perfect entry point to the band alone but within the album gain an even fuller resonance and height.

Tracks like the newest single All Those Friendly People with its shadowed anthemic undertow, the emotive enchantment that is We Only Attack Ourselves with its wonderful dark stringed vein, and Stars and Spaceships are further highlights, though there is not a weakness or lull in the sweltering invention and consuming ingenuity anywhere. The third of these three is a mesmeric and equally disarming track which encapsulates the band and its impressive creativity alone.

Ending on the haunting and sinister I Still Love The High, a song of emotive grandeur seemingly disentangled from the sounds around it, the album is truly impressive and impossible to leave without at least one more swim within its warm beauty and darkened depths. Funeral Suits unveiled their promise with the singles, Lily of the Valley realises it and more for the most gratifying experience you could wish for.

Ringmaster 31/05/2012

MyFreeCopyright.com Registered & Protected

The best and easiest way to get your music on iTunes, Amazon and lots more. Click below for details.