Metal guitar virtuoso XANDER DEMOS Reveals New Fan-Submitted Album Artwork‏

Metal guitar virtuoso, Xander Demos reveals the winning album artwork submission from his “Get My Guitarcadia Artwork On” contest.

Xander Demos and MTS Management Group, in association with Rock N Growl Records, are pleased to announce the winning album artwork submission from Xander’s recent “Get My Guitarcadia Artwork On” contest and it is RingMaster Review favourite and creator of our new profile image, OneTwoTree Designs.

The contest ran for two weeks, during which fans were encouraged to submit their original designs for the re-release of Xander’s album, “Guitarcadia“. Entries were received from all corners of the world, with the winning entry coming from Sami Ahvenainen, a 23 year old graphic design student from Finland.

“I’m stunned! Speechless!” said Mr. Ahvenainen, owner of OneTwoTree Designs, which offers 100% free artwork to bands. “In the beginning my art was not free, but as time went on I figured that it is more inspiring – easier for me to create and help bands if my art was free”. A big “thank you” from the band is a good enough reward for me, I love music, I want to help out, and this is a great way for me to do so!”

“This artwork is badass!” said Xander. “I can’t wait to get the album out there with this new look. Congratulations and thank you, Sami!”

Xander Demos, is signed to Rock N Growl Records for exclusive worldwide digital distribution. His debut album, “Guitarcadia” was mixed and mastered by Firehouse frontman, CJ Snare. Xander Demos is also a member of the US East Coast chapter of Sabbath Judas Sabbath.

For more information, http://www.xanderdemos.com and http://www.rockngrowl.com.

Bands and artist looking for artwork get in touch with Sami @ https://www.facebook.com/pages/OneTwoTree-Designs/291518004205786

Shrikes: The Ruiner Of All Things Good EP

Shrikes is a band which quite simply defies labelling or any straightforward comparisons, their sound and creativity from a world and mindset of its very own. Their exciting debut release The Ruiner Of All Things Good EP is borne of this uncharted land, an unrelenting maelstrom of ideas, sounds, and distinctly different flavours which in most hands just would have no right or ease being alongside each other. Shrikes though is a band with invention and imagination found in so few and their EP one of the most exhilarating and inspiring releases heard in a long time.

With the demise earlier in the year of the outstanding Great Imitation there was a heaviness left in many hearts. The return of frontman James Scott-Howes though has not only filled the gap with something completely new and unexpected but with something which is even more impressive. The additional great thing about the undisputedly excellent release is it offers an equal and immense promise of even more orgasmic musical moments ahead.

Each track on The Ruiner Of All Things Good fuses an electronic/hip hop core into unpredictable and perpetually evolving aural breaths and directions brought by their own mouth watering uniqueness to ensure nothing merely matches expectations instead leaving those limitations to others to exploit. At times the sounds and ideas are as lethal and destructive as the inspiration for the band name whilst in others they enflame with a grace and disrupting discordance to leave safety nets redundant. For those who need a sure footing in their music Shrikes may be a challenge too far but life is nothing without adventure and intrigue and this release has it all in abundance.

The biggest highlight in a release of nothing but heights to give vertigo sufferers nightmares comes in the mighty form of Applauding With A Handful Of Snapped Fingers. From a glittering caress surrounding the forceful tones and aggression of Scott-Howes the track spreads its arms with a warm discordance coated sound and vocals. Scott-Howes is as unique as the music, his tones challenging notes wonderfully finding and stretching their limits to bring weaves of textures and energy around his spoken and more regular hip hop delivery. The song itself as on the release as a whole, envelopes the senses through shadowed atmospheres and ambiences, its course choosing sinister and insecure avenues to flourish within which most other bands do not see let alone venture. As the track surges with the added weight of punk attitude and metallic muscle to the sonic experiment the sense and awareness of something truly new emerging grows and strengthens.

The dark and disturbed Mare Aux Sange sets senses and synapses on full alert at the beginning of the EP, its disorientating ambience and corruptive intent intrusively provocative and suggestive whilst Third Eye Pinioned teases and envelopes the ear with an initial slightly industrial macabre before taking a breath to step in a acoustic melodic presence which has a distinct inviting hook. The song then explores and ripples with multi flavoured majesty again combining diversity and expressive ingenuity. As mentioned it is hard to truly represent with comparisons the sound the band create but imagine a brew of hip hop, eighties melodic prowess as of The Jam with slithers of Senser, World Domination Enterprises, and Great Imitation and you get a slight whisper of what Shrikes conjure.

Completed by the brief and arguably least successful track Milk With Knives, well in comparison to the other songs, and the tantalising I SAMSA, the EP is pure excellence and quite possibly the start of something special for UK music. The latter of the two tracks is one where a more direct comparison or influence can be offered up with a sound which reminds of Pop Will Eat Itself whilst with all the others songs combines to make the EP something all should pay attention to.

As much as Great Imitation will be missed by many Shrikes will and possibly already does transcend their promise with The Ruiner Of All Things Good. It is a release so remarkable that surely only the shallow and mundane will fail to response to its stunning and explosive glory. Lyrically and musically it leaves one open mouthed and wanting more and more and with its release as a free download from http://shrikes.tumblr.com/ makes a play for most original and striking EP of the year so far.

RingMaster 24/07/2012

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Black Polaris: Envisage EP

Hold onto all loosely attached articles or hairpieces ladies and gentlemen because if you thought the album Empires from Black Polaris of last year was a staggering storm upon your senses the return of the band with their Envisage EP is going to leave you deliriously wasted. The UK melodic death metal quintet have without doubt moved on from being something already special to set themselves at the dawn of becoming a major force in certainly extreme if not metal as a whole within these shores. Their new release shows a band just as devastating and aggressive as ever if not more so but with a certain evolution in the imagination and craft of their already impressive melodic invention.

Since 2009 the band has only accumulated more and more acclaim and an eager ever growing following though their releases  like debut album This City Falls and Empires plus explosive live performances which has seen them setting nothing but impressive statements alongside the likes of Martyr Defiled, This Is Colour, Eradication, Devil Sold His Soul, and Seven Year Kismet. A band with a work ethic as strong as their sounds they have been through the likes of line-up changes and financial difficulties which are never far away from independent and unsigned bands, using these setbacks to fire up their energies and defiance. The new EP has been no different with the departure of their drummer just before its release and a string of shows. Thankfully the band find the resolve to continue each time and as Envisage easily proves just get better and better.

From the early weaves of the opening title track there is undeniable evidence that Black Polaris has found even more depth to their sound and creativity. The track instantly grabs synapses and senses pulling them taught with spiralling corruptive riffs alongside air twisting sonic manipulation. The guitars of Paul Futter and Gaz Groombridge litter and splatter the ear with enterprise and aural spite for a mesh of Meshuggah and In Flames whilst creating a sound unique to Black Polaris, the band without doubt now having found their distinct identity. The rhythms of bassist Luke Jackson prowl with a further air of menace to that generated by the intensity whilst the drums batter with skill and controlled violence. Vocalist Sam Burgess simply boils the atmosphere with his caustic and bullying tones, his delivery not the most varied if one is honest but easily one of the most welcome and riveting of the emerging British metal front men in recent years and a perfect aggressor to enforce the powerful songwriting.

The mesmeric melodic breath of the following Power, Corruption is a startling intro to the track and immediately brings a deeper focus to what is going on especially with this continuing harmonic beauty underlining the blistering assault raging within the ear from then on in. The track is a fiery weave of twisting imagination and scorched exploratory sounds. Even after numerous plays one never gets a full handle on where the song is going so each venture across its oppressive expanse is fully rewarding and surprising.

Oblivion and Mountains originally had a place on Empires but both make an easy and impressive entry in their new guises on Envisage. The first is a rampant beast of a track, its flank rippling with heavyweight sinews of expressive energy and treacherous riffs. Like an aural sand storm with heated atmospheres of melodic venom the song is immense but then one has to say that about each and every song on the EP. The second of the pair is a less direct aggressor though no less oppressive whilst its incendiary breath ignites the air with a malevolent dynamism and spite.

Valleys has the honour of closing the stunning release and does so with no drop in intensity and quality. As ever the band is merciless seizing the senses to sand blast them with stone borne riffs and a scything melodic courting which scars as deeply as it hypnotises. Ferocious and unwilling to compromise the song is brilliance in its cruellest form and ends what is a stunning magnificent onslaught.

Envisage EP is one of the best releases to appear so far this year but more so is the mightiest declaration that in Black Polaris extreme metal has an emerging force to take the genre to future untold heights. This is a band and release which should not be neglected by any metal fan so to buy or stream for free check it out at http://blackpolaris.bandcamp.com/right now.

RingMaster 24/07/2012

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Jump Ship Quick: Where Thieves Cannot Tread

With almost a sense of stepping back in time the debut album from punk band Jump Ship Quick slams through the ear and pounces on the senses like a veteran release of melodic uncompromising thought poking punk rock. Normally yet another band trying to re-energise and rehash the sounds which the likes of Pennywise, NOFX, and CIV made their own is not one to ignite the emotions no matter how good they are. Jump Ship Quick though with Where Thieves Cannot Tread have something extra to make a fully pleasing release which through arguably is over long length easily captures the imagination more often than not.

Formed in 2005 by guitarist Jeff and drummer J, the trio with vocalist Harry has a more than decent pedigree with the likes of Focused and Ultimatum in their history as well as other bands which lit up the Vancouver punk scene. Now Colorado based the band unleash their debut album, a release which certainly marks the band as one to keep in full view ahead. Produced by Five Iron Frenzy saxophonist Leanor Till and mixed/mastered by Masaki Liu (Five Iron Frenzy, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Echoing Green and The W’s), the release is a well presented and lively album which with ease draws one into its eager and feisty energy. The seventeen tracks on offer including a hidden song, as mentioned even in their relatively brief timings do border on over staying their welcome. This is not down to quality but an unmistakable similarity across a few of the songs and the thought that a cut down album would have been more potent is strong by its end, when the songs do hit the sweet spot though the album is a fully satisfying and hard to pull away from release. Originality is maybe sparse overall though Jump Ship Quick bring their music with an accomplishment and enthused intent to leave similar sounding bands in their shade and occasionally the faith driven and morally ‘lecturing’ lyrical presence ventures too far in to preachy to avoid bristling the senses.  Musically the band has it fully loaded and firing throughout though with intelligent infectious melodies and hooks unleashed with an unrelenting passion and craft to brew an attention which is beyond many similar veined and driven bands.

Released in combination with Punk Roxx Records and Thumper Punk Records the album erupts with full contagion through opener Through The Ears. The song stomps with anthemic riffs and unbridled bruising rhythms for a storm of irrepressible and completely engaging rock n roll. The vocals of Harry are direct and uncomplicated, fully earnest in passion and intent to mark all the songs no matter their individual success. The song is a brief and controlled pounding unwilling to grab or allow a breath to be taken in its presence and a wonderful start to the release.

   Next Mask On Greed has one captured from its immediate barbed hook and pulsating bass probing of the senses. From this very CIV like start the song expands in to a coarser though no less energetic assault which loses some of the effectiveness of its opening but still has one more than contented in its midst.

The album is a journey of peaks and lulls to some extent and though the distant between the two is not vast it is more noticeable because of the heights tracks like Here Comes The Clowns and Not My Fault reach whilst others like the pleasing He Must Increase and Hollywouldn’t have a similar breath which defuses their effect. Here Comes The Clowns is a definite winner from its snarling bass and ear blistering muscular riffs to the antagonistic rhythms and vocals. Throughout the album the group shouts and vocals hit the sweet spot and no more than on this riot of a song. With teasing melodies and enticing hooks the track leaves nothing but addiction in its wake.

Songs like the Shelter spiced As We Overcome, the highly charged musically and lyrically Killing For Convenience, and the stalking defiant Clueless But Not Hopeless leave further triumphs within the ear whilst I Defy Your Violence with its venomous predatory bass and united aggressive stand takes the top honour for the album and ignites a hope this is where the band drive their future sound, its snarling and raw yet well defined assault outstanding.

Where Thieves Cannot Tread is an album all punk fans need to make acquaintance with. It may not take one into new ventures but within it Jump Ship Quick more than light up the senses with some fine and satisfying examples of punk rock. A little more consistency and the emergence of their distinct flavouring and the band may set new levels for punk rock.

RingMaster 24/07/2012

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