Six String Slaughter – Born Unspoiled

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Creating a tempestuous onslaught bred from the pestilential malevolence of death metal and the virulent antagonism of thrash, Danish metallers Six String Slaughter unleash their debut album to reinforce and push into greater attention their emergence as one of the more compelling protagonists within extreme metal. Ten tracks of exhaustingly confrontational and ravenously intensive enterprise, the release is a brutal and riveting protagonist twisting an old school spawned sound with intrusive invention and merciless sonic savagery. It is fair to say that the album is not flooded with striking uniqueness and undiscovered toxicity but with the band members bringing forward two decades of experience and adventure into its ruinous incitement, Born Unspoiled is a ruggedly accomplished aggressor with a hunger and intent which leaves the pack in its wake.

Six String Slaughter was formed in 2007 by ex- Corpus Mortale members Søren Jensen (guitars/bass) and Nicholas Maschøln (drums) who not having played together for many years decided to “collaborate on this new project to see if the original energy was still there.” Spending a year writing songs and searching for the right vocalist, Daniel Wilkens was brought into the band which swiftly led to the release of The World Slaughter EP. Their debut release was eagerly received and met with acclaim as was the Frederikssund trio’s The Next Slaughter EP which was uncaged a year later in 2010. Signing with Horror Pain Gore Death Productions not so long ago, the band now unleash their first full-length and such its corrosive rabidity of sound and intent aligned to pure thrash contagion it would be foolish not to expect similar and stronger attention rising up around the Born Unspoiled as with those earlier encounters.

The album opens with its title track and in no time is running over the senses with nagging riffs and heavily swung rhythms which are soon joined by the bear like growls of Wilkens. It is irresistible bait especially as a hornets nest of riffery frontcoverniggles away before being pushed aside by an intensive heavyweight pressure of vocal and portentous energy. It is a fleeting moment in the persistently turning gait of the song though, the great irritant of riffs returning to re-ignite the senses and imagination whilst Maschøln pounds the former to an inch of their being with inventive and violent beats. Jensen casts an inescapable web with his guitar alongside the deliciously threatening and throaty bass endeavour which adds further to the masterful and pleasingly unpredictable start to the album, though it is soon left standing by the outstanding Holy Lies. The second track from its first breath is swinging grooves and rhythms around like Godzilla throwing buildings, every second a colossal incitement of creative rabidity and toxic enticement honed into one of the year’s best tracks. Managing to lumber with the sheer weight of its intensity but also bounding with voracious enterprise, the song is magnificent, a horned beast driven by the craft and energy many bands dream of and few achieve.

The following Gathering Dust makes a more reserved but concentrated entrance with a winding flame of guitar. It is soon a rampant barbarity but still reins in some of its rancor and intensity to stalk rather than devour ears. Not quite matching its predecessors though, the song still fires up thoughts and emotions potently ready for the challenging maliciousness of Everywhere (There are Prophets). It also prowls the senses but finds a greater concentration of infectiousness to its core hostility whilst brawling group calls add to the persistently gripping guttural baiting of Wilkens. Riffs lash and tease with open rancor whilst rhythmically again the song is a maelstrom of attitude and viciousness, it all making for a thrilling violation.

Both Nothing but Death in the End and I am not at War bring a different colour to the constant pugnacity of the release, the first a corrosive predation of darker toned riffs and bass predation twisted into a virulent and mouth-watering groove of the richest persuasion. A brew for addictiveness but tempering its inescapable bait with a blackened sonic expression which slowly meanders and permeates the senses from within the unrelenting blasting of Maschøln, the track is another pinnacle of the album swiftly backed by its successor. With only the lyrical prowess something to challenge with its at times ‘lazy’ and simplistic repetition, the track is still a forceful and captivating quarrel to sink eager teeth into for strong satisfaction.

Virulent Narcissism is a less dramatic brute of a song but still holds plenty to light ears and appetite with its strenuous riffing and sharp grooves within a cage of pungent rhythms whilst the next up Careless which features Anders Lundemark of Konkhra, is a tangle of waspish grooves and crippling rhythms led by bile splashed snarls. Like the previous song it also fails to reach heights of previous tracks but makes a statement to enhance the album and puts other bands in the shade.

Born Unspoiled is brought to a close by firstly the brawly charms of Building the Monuments and an excellent cover of the Brutal Truth track Birth of Ignorance, each a maelstrom of intensity and sound bringing an outstanding release to a thunderously thrilling conclusion. As said earlier maybe strong originality is a low factor in Six String Slaughter’s album but few death or thrash blended releases have pleased and impressed as powerfully or with the shape of invention the band offers here.

Born Unspoiled is available via Horror Pain Gore Death Productions now @ http://hpgd.bandcamp.com/album/born-unspoiled

http://www.sixstringslaughter.com

8.5/10

RingMaster 20/08/2014

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Get Stoked – Washington Street EP

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Creating a proposition which simultaneously invites the listener to brawl and party with its feisty mix of pop punk and rawer hardcore aggressiveness, the Washington Street EP is one impressive entrance from US punks Get Stoked. It unleashes five tracks which show an imagination and want to invent something strikingly different yet comes with a familiarity which plays like a returning friend loaded up with devilish intent. It is a highly enjoyable romp which dares to be adventurous and is confident enough to employ those highly flavoursome and recognisable spices.

Hailing from Mount Pleasant, Michigan, Get Stoked consists of vocalist Cameron Wheeler, guitarists Ryan Turek and Zach Smith, bassist Ben Jensen, and drummer Jacob Cardona. Other than the quintet citing influences such as The Wonder Years, The Story So Far, Set Your Goals, A Day To Remember, and All Time Low upon their music, there is little more we can tell about the band other than they write and craft rather appetising slices of sinew sculpted pop punk.

Released via Imminence Records, Washington Street opens up with the instrumental Intro, a minute and a half of thumping rhythms provoking through infectious riffs and hooks courted by a dark toned bass temptation. It is not an ep_Cover_3explosive piece but one hinting at the potent offerings to come whilst treating feet and imagination to an energetic dance. Its successful beckoning is followed by the imposing presence of Actions Speak Louder Than Words. Starting with the strong tones of Wheeler over swipes of guitar and an increasingly intimidating run of beats, it is an engaging if unsurprising start even with the also appealing backing vocals of Turek building up the lure of the song. It is when the track suddenly twists into a livelier surge of antagonistic beats and scything strikes of guitar that it comes alive, slipping into a melodic flame of expectations feeding and ear refreshing pop punk revelry. From vocals to sonic incitement, heavy rhythms to abrasing riffery, the song is a thrilling stomp which allows its inventive unpredictability to run naked through the track. The song also shows why the band has been compared to some of their inspirations but just as strongly and pleasingly it lights the senses with older essences of Hagfish and Mucky Pup.

The following Hand In Your Demise takes little time in seizing the imagination and appetite, its opening roam of compelling rhythms and an evocative melodic tendril the forerunner to a blaze of sonic endeavour and melodic tenacity ridden by once again impressing vocals and flirtatious energy. The track is soon stamping its rhythmic feet with firm intent too whilst the guitars cast a web of emotive and infectious designs to which Wheeler wraps his pleasing delivery and lyrical narrative. Though not quite matching its predecessor, the track similarly just grows and excels vocally and musically the deeper into its body it goes to provide another exciting proposition.

Forward Progress lacks the spark of the last pair of songs but nevertheless parades a strong mix of ideation and sounds revealing more of the depth and expressive ability of the band whilst shaping another infectious and provocative encounter. It is soon left in the shadow of the closing title track though; a song from its opening crystalline melody embraces a string of styles and inventive exploration. A rugged cage of riffs and beats initially traps ears with a vocal drama from Wheeler captivating the imagination. The track then bursts into another pungent stride of pop punk clad in a hardcore predaciousness before slipping into something melodically comfortable and anthemically contagious. It is an enthralling slab of punk rock which alone provides enough evidence to suggest Get Stoked is a band with the potential to make major strides and create impressive marks on the punk scene.

That suggestion is more than backed up by the rest of the Washington Street EP, a release easy to recommend to those wanting something more substantial and braver in their pop punk.

The Washington Street EP is available now via Imminence Records @ http://imminencerecords.bandcamp.com/album/washington-street

https://www.facebook.com/GetStokedMI

9/10

RingMaster 20/08/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Cardinals Folly – Our Cult Continues!

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It is fair to say that Finnish doom metallers Cardinals Folly is a band you are going to take to or not. Certainly there is a middle ground too where intrigue keeps attention and thoughts embraced in interest and indecision over the band though listening to new album Our Cult Continues!, it seems to demand adoration or avoidance with little in between. Cardinals Folly is not a band to just soundtrack an hour of simple listening pleasure is soon obvious as the band’s second album challenges the senses.

Released via Shadow Kingdom Records, Our Cult Continues! is a dark trespass of ears and thoughts with a generally crawling pestilential persuasion which at times ignites the imagination as forcibly as it violates the senses. It can be a riveting intrusion with imposing heavy riffs and deeply permeating rapacious grooving but also a lingering threat which loses its potency through the length of songs, a seeming aversion to spread its creative wings, and the daunting challenge of the vocals where notes are often dishevelled and squeezed of flavour. As mentioned it is not going to be for all but it must also be said that it left a compulsion to investigate the release again and again and is definitely likely to lure the appetite of those with a passion for bands like Reverend Bizarre and Electric Wizard. For sure it needs time to make its persuasion a full argument, with still no guarantees of success, but if band and album clicks with wants it has the potency to make for a unique test and enjoyment.

Formed in 2004 as The Coven and called Cardinals Folly since 2007, the Helsinki based trio of vocalist/bassist Mikko Kääriäinen, guitarist Juho Kilpelä, and drummer Sebastian Lindberg soon made an impression with their first pair of EPs, 2008’s Heretic’s Hangover and Orthodox Faces the following year. Two years on the band signed with Shadow Kingdom and unleashed debut album Such Power is Dangerous!, again to strong responses which the new release is sure to emulate with those holding a taste for the band’s distinct takes on doom metal.

Opening with the evocative and cinematic Chant of Shadows, the album makes an imagination poking entrance. It is not a hugely dramatic start, but an introduction to the dark realms and sinister devilry of the band which holds enough a2356633421_2coaxing for fans and newcomers to take the plunge into the hellish depths of Our Cult Continues! As its satanic call drifts away the following Morbid Glory steps forward and soon presses ears with acidic grooves and hollow but pushy rhythms. There is an immediate shallowness to the production which takes time to acclimatise to but is not as big a leap to embrace as the vocal tones of Kääriäinen. With a voice which flirts with melodies whilst infusing a monotone lilt equipped with tonal alienation, the bassist croons and serenades throughout the track and album with varying success. It is another aspect to get used to and will of all the things about Cardinals Folly, probably be the biggest test for many, but to be honest it is also something to gradually warm to and embrace in the singers potent moments and hold reservations over in their less momentous turns. The song itself lurches and lumbers with ravenous intensity and labour intensive predation to seduce ears and rile the senses.

The Black Baroness makes a greater impression than its more than decent predecessor with a carnivorous throat to the bass and sonic enterprise from the guitar. There is a punk air to the acidic strokes of Kilpelä, riffs an abrasing antagonism and the meandering chords bleeding whispers of Spizzenergi and The Pack. With a healthier contagion to its bait, it crawls potently through body and mind before passing over to the oppressive rapacity of the title track. A thick web of riffs and blunted rhythms, the track is appealing smog of sound and intent, a sonic cloud veined with an engaging raw groove and a moment of bewitching clarity. Vocally too the song is persuasive, Kääriäinen better in an aural crowd than providing a driving lead in many ways.

The virulent surging of Sighisoaran comes next, the song a torrential abrasion held on a slight rein as it rampages and an even shorter lead in its slow consumptive twist of primal voracity. As most tracks it is a proposition which takes time to explore and come to terms with in many ways but ultimately provides an uncompromising assault enhanced by the great guttural snarl of the bass and a keen repetitious incitement. Like the majority of songs it is also border line on whether outstaying its welcome length wise, though when things begin to labour the band does throw in a timely twist to pull back any negativity a little.

The pair of Walvater Unveiled and The Lover´s Crypt smothers the listener in a sonic causticity and vocal starkness to again challenge and solidly persuade. The first is a lumbering expanse of venomous riffs and demanding rhythms which from an underwhelming opening evolves with scorched grooves and another potently gripping bass temptation to enthral. Its successor brings a more classic heavy metal breath in its melodic toxins and healthy doom swagger on its way to sculpting one of the bigger highlights of the album. The song also invites a richer invention and imagination from the band which in turns flirts with the listener to greater effect as it creates another reason to give Our Cult Continues! time before deciding its fate.

Last track Fallout Ritualist provides, despite its far too long a presence, a highly convincing conclusion to the album, its Sabbath-esque swagger of riffs and incendiary grooves along with the previous track crafting the best part of the album with ease.

Even after numerous visits Our Cult Continues! still leaves us undecided; its raw production defuses as much as it enhances and with a vagueness of imagination at times, the album seems to be an adventure of missed opportunities. Yet it also makes for a compelling proposition to keep considering. Cardinals Folly is one for the individual and to be honest the only way to know if they are for you is to allow them a chance to challenge and convince.

Our Cult Continues! is available via Shadow Kingdom Records now @ http://shadowkingdomrecords.bandcamp.com/album/our-cult-continues

https://www.facebook.com/cardinalsfolly

7/10

RingMaster 20/08/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Escape The Cult – All You Need To

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All You Need To is a persistent little temptation, an album which admittedly did not really blow thoughts and senses away initially but did engage them in a pleasing and intriguing proposition. Away from its aural embrace though hooks and melodies, rhythmic twists and grooves kept swerving around the imagination and memory, all leading back to and revealing themselves as being bred by the debut album from Escape The Cult. The seven track encounter is still not an experience to leave you intensely awestruck but with its lingering and ingenious enterprise certainly enthrals as one of the year’s more exciting progressive metal propositions.

Escape The Cult is one of those super groups you read about, a collection of established musicians taking time out from their more recognisable exploits to explore new hopefully impressive avenues, something the quartet does with ease from start to finish. The brainchild of Kamlath bassist Peter G. Shallmin, Escape The Cult came to life in 2008 with its founder drawing on the qualities of vocalist Matthieu Romarin of Uneven Structure, guitarist Mike Wead from King Diamond/Mercyful Fate, and Primus/A Perfect Circle drummer Tim Alexander to help realise his vision of creating a progressive metal audio/visual experience. It has been a journey for the band to this point and for Shamlin who talked about the album saying “It was a dynamic and exciting start, with blood, sweat and tears shed throughout the process and a long exhausted preparation for the attack. Every day was worth to make it real. We were sincere in our ideas that are embodied in our debut.

The gentle but resourceful entrance of opener Backfired, with a bass twang courting spicy guitar enterprise, swiftly catches the imagination and though it is not a dramatic start to the album, an intrigued appetite for the song’s offering is

Created by Igor Omodei

Created by Igor Omodei

drawn. The distinctive tones of Romarin bring a familiar and passionate texture to the emerging narrative of the song, one never forceful or in a rush to challenge ears and thoughts but leaving inventive tendrils of melodies and strains of sonic incitement to infest the passions. It is a potent and riveting start to the album, basking in the renowned individual skills of its creators whilst forging a compelling and unique suasion of its own.

The following Clandestine opens with a muscular and aggressive threat which is soon tempered by an evocative heat of sonic colour and warm vocals. There is still an intensive weight to the rhythmic potency of Alexander though to keep senses on edge and balance out the almost Queens Of the Stone Age like sultriness coating the melodic exploration of the song. Grooves are seemingly slight in their bodies yet make for the most addictive and as mentioned earlier relentless temptations, the outstanding second track one of those which makes the most re-appearances in thoughts away from its source, whilst the flames of guitar endeavour from Wead transfixes as they scorch air and senses.

A definite pinnacle of the album, it is soon backed up by the gentle croon of I’m Absolute. With an immediately delicious web of hypnotic bass flirtation and the similarly mesmeric vocals of Romarin, the song sways and immerses ears in a smouldering and jazzy emprise of progressive fascination. The beats juggled by Alexander further captivate and ignite an already invigorating breath to a song, which as the album as a whole, does not explode in the passions but worms its way seductively into the psyche to forge an even more intensive bond.

Both the melodically tender Feel The Flight and the rapacious Tired Of The Past provide an absorbing canvas to lose one’s thoughts within, the first adding tense riffs and restrained yet incendiary grooves into its impassioned but mellow landscape. It is another where particular elements fire up ears and the passions rather than an overall combination but that united blend provides the embrace and rich foundation within which the sublime twists and essences can impress. Its successor is a feistier encounter in sound and intent which boils with imagination and unpredictability, preying on and tempting the listener with a provocatively charged invention which snarls and seduces with equal predation. An exceptional track binding ears in a thrilling adventure, it also sows seeds which blossom at a later date, though that is something truthfully which applies to all songs, as shown by the brilliant This Time Will Come. Hints of Alice In Chains and Tool, which have flirted with other songs too, make a rich enticement within the masterful blaze of intensive melodies and sonic acidity. There is also an underlying snarl and angst fuelled growl to the track which simply scintillates within the impressive and constantly evolving invention as it pushes itself to be the pinnacle of the release.

Where No Grown Up Grapes brings the album to a fine close with its web of heavy vocal and sonic passion. It is another where it simmers without lighting fires but then in a twist of a chord or rhythmic shuffle finds an enslaving idea or slither of imagination to set thoughts and passions ablaze. That sums up All You Need To as a whole, it at times simply pleasing with skilled ease and then striking with sheer genius and expectations slaughtering ingenuity. It all makes for an album which leaves a rich impression and presence with even deeper laid lures which prey on the listener later. How frequently Escape The Cult will be exploring ears and imagination ahead we will see with its members ‘day jobs’ etc. but anticipation and hunger for more is already breeding healthily thanks to All You Need To.

The self-released All You Need To is scheduled to be unveiled in September 2014.

www.facebook.com/EscapeTheCvlt

8.5/10

RingMaster 19/08/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Jona Overground – On The Outside

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A persistent caress on the ears, the soulful acoustic pop of Jona Overground as vibrantly presented on their debut album On The Outside, is a proposition to warm up any thought, emotion, or day. Presenting ten easy going yet elegantly crafted and persuasive songs, the release makes no demands yet provides a tender persuasion of memorable and lingering propositions which melt the senses.

Formed in 2011, Jona Overground is the creation of vocalist Ann-Marie Gilkes, who has worked with the likes of Erasure, Kylie Minogue, Lionel Richie, and Tricky, and guitarist/keyboardist Jon Griffin. Meeting whilst studying music at Goldsmiths College, the pair began writing together after discovering a mutual love of classic pop, with the creation of the band coming soon after. Establishing a potent reputation on the live scene around London and the South East, the duo linked up with producer Alexander Mayor to work on their debut release, the impressive IRL Records released On the Outside.

Opener If You Were Free sets the tone of the album right away, warmly coaxing chords of guitar courted by firm if unadventurous beats styling a canvas to which Gilkes paints intimate narratives with her potent tones and delightful 0003691228_350expression. There is much more to this and the other songs of course but it is a magnetic undercoat which leads to brighter enchantment. With the leaner backing vocals of Griffin skirting his tantalising guitar prowess whilst seducing harmonies break free throughout, the song swings and sway with a gentle but forceful enticement, making for an attention awakening and ear pleasing start to the release.

The following Spin Cycle sidles up to the senses with a sultry climate and dark seduction next; its majestic melodic curves from the start reminding of Burt Bacharach composed musical shadows, and more specifically at times the song Walk On By. With a glowing shimmer of keys leading to evocative flames of melodies around the emotive lyrical expression, the song continues the impressive beginnings of the album before moving on to be replaced by the intimacy of Last Time I Saw You. Though the song does not grip as its predecessors, ears and thoughts are still captivated by the enticing melody seeping from the guitar and the glorious heat of classically bred stringed suasion which immerses the imagination. A track which impresses further with time, it adds another potent hue to the body of the release, as does the next up title track. A song which from a powerful first meeting also increases its lure which each involvement, it parades a joyful stride and vibrant energy in creating an increasing infectiousness whilst keys add their individual colour to meet the ever agreeable vocals and harmonies of Gilkes. It marks the pinnacle of the album, a plateau which embraces its successor too. Caught In A Line is a ballad which lies close to ears and emotions, its repetitive harmonies and evocative incitement of keys mesmeric whilst Gilkes smothers the senses in her intimate vocal beauty. That alone is enough to delight an already contented appetite but it is the rub of strings and keyboard additives which add unpredictable intrigue to the tale to turn a great song into something which sticks in thoughts long term.

Both the smiling gait of Let’s Pretend and the darker throatier breath of When Sorrows End keep the highs coming, the first a slice of reined in pop revelry which is still allowed to swish its melodic skirt in seductive fashion and the second a glorious embrace of deeper toned sounds and encroaching shadows which flirt with and kiss the senses from start to finish. The best track on the release, the song is an imposing beauty and quite irresistible.

My Word, Your World is a provocative call for feet and emotions next, its again heavier emotive premise still an easy bait to dance floors before the similarly flavoursome revelry of Time For Games parades its summery festivity. Employing a duet between the melodious temptation of Gilkes and the down to earth tones of Griffin, it is a song which takes a little time to acclimatise to but soon has body and soul locked into its flirty waltz of sound.

The album is brought to a close by the more than decent Fallout, though its balladry lacks the spark of certainly the previous track. It still makes for a satisfying close to a thoroughly enjoyable romance of melodic pop in its most relaxed and refreshing state. On The Outside leaves contentment and a hunger for more in its wake, and that is more than enough to light up dark days and uncertain nights.

On The Outside is available now via IRL Records through all digital stores

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jona-Overground/134394776704542

8/10

RingMaster 19/08/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Gracias – Elengi

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Ebbing and flowing with a magnetism which admittedly shines and dims across its compelling canvas, Elengi the new album from Congolese-Finnish rapper Gracias, is an encounter which demands attention. Released via Cocoa Music, which the artist part-owns, the album is a potent offering of vocal and lyrical persuasion but it is the varied and unpredictable provocative sounds around them which push tracks and release to a more inventive and exciting plateau.

Born in Congo and moving to Finland aged four to escape the building war in his home country, the Helsinki based rapper, real name Deogracias Masomi, originally emerged under the name Luminate and released an unofficial debut mix-tape called Listenin Comprehension in 2007. After a couple of years away from recording, he returned as Gracias, releasing a self-titled EP in 2011 which with its singles, loudly awakened attention and critical acclaim subsequently leading to awards. Debut album Globe recorded with producer JTT (Juuso Talsi) followed a year later again to similarly strong reactions and now it is the turn of Elengi and its lyrically personal and intimate songs to press for a wider spotlight upon the imaginative artist.

Elengi grips from the off, opener Repent casting a weave of dark atmospheric sounds and vocal hauntings into which Gracias unveils his provocative narrative. It is a bewitching entrance turning to a persistent persuasion across the track, the rapping and melodic croons from the artist as magnetic as the slightly disturbing and thoroughly compelling musical brew embracing him. It is a masterful start soon reinforced by the following Levels (Stream Fast, Die Young). The second song again brings an evocative air to bear on ears, this time with a crystalline coaxing to which a more intimidating breath wraps vocals. A rhythmic adventure with a slight tribal essence soon lights up the encounter whilst vocally Gracias evens out his imposing presence with another fine shuffle of his inventive and melodic delivery. Sultry and constantly with an edge of danger, the track is a mighty contagious offering opening up even stronger appetite for the release.

The unhinged entrance of Paint Me A Picture, its opening distress perfect for any Asian horror, is bait to greedily devour. It relaxes into a no less perturbing climate of warped voices within a cold intrusive atmosphere under which Gracias paints an intimate portrait of artist and a moment of his life. With another intrigue ridden rhythmic adventure teasing inside the chilling incitement, the track increases the weight and unique creativity of Elengi, something which is turned on its head by the melodic and more formulaic presence of Slow It Down. To be fair for someone with a more intensive knowledge of hip-hop and rap, the song probably calls out with a more distinct personality than felt but after the invention of its predecessors, the song is an underwhelming and expectation feeding proposition, though certainly accomplished and satisfying.

The elegant Eastern melodies of Gloomake brings thoughts a more imagination teasing offering even if vocally the song lacks the spark lit in the earlier forages of ears and mind. As in many of the songs it does offer a whisper of Tech Nine in its enterprise and willingness to weave original designs, if not in energy and dramatic virulence. Its relative success is matched by the cold embrace of Sada Yakko which features YSI. It is a track which at times borders on alienation with its twists and concentrated repetitive glide yet this is tempered by a great deranged breath to its stark coaxing resulting in another enthralling encounter.

The busy and skittish cloud behind the vocals of OD Cumulus is another which has thoughts initially undecided. At times it also threatens to disappoint but in further turns of its creative maze hits the sweet spot, nagging and teasing out another wave of hunger towards the undefined but riveting ingenuity at play. With guest Noah Kin adding tempting tones to the thick electro kissed baiting, the song grows in potency over each play just like the darker rhythmic and vocal stroll of Open, though the following captivation never manages to touch the levels of the previous song and those making up the impressive start of the album. In many ways the second half of Elengi is its weakest, Jubilee also with YSI for example, almost trying too hard to create a dark frame of intimacy and experience ending in a loss of the ability to make a lingering impression. You do have to admire and praise the want of Gracias to explore his feelings and personal exploits in a unique and individual way to the crowd though, this need making the album even in its less successful moments still an enthralling presence.

To buck the trend of the second side of the album, Even Out steps in with its sultry and creatively agitated dance of feet provoking rhythms, fanfares of dark sounds, and melodic mystique. It is a tantalising treat which demands to be taken notice of and eagerly consumed; a lofty triumph making the most aggressively contagious entrance for newcomers to the world of Gracias.

The final trio of songs also make a mix of persuasive strength. Burgundy Red, featuring Femme En Fourrure, is overall a mesmeric lure if with a few success defusing elements whilst Muhiva suggests more than it delivers with its understated rhythmic and quick footed African seeded enterprise never allowed the clarity and freedom to ignite the senses. Assisted by Brandon on the song, Gracias still adds an oppressive haunting to the sounds around him which engross as much as they frustrate. The album is completed by Lost n Found, one of only a few songs which come with no surprises and thus hold the least potent tempting, though the additional vocals of A. Miettinen are seductively enchanting.

Elengi has issues, though probably many are just to do with personal taste and want from hip-hop and rap driven propositions, but it is a riveting and many times a truly thrilling treat, especially in its opening stretch of songs. Whether it breaks Gracias into a wider European and world spotlight we will see but it is easy to be confident he will make that break through at some point if the impressive elements of the album press into even bolder evolutions.

Elengi is available via Cocoa Music now.

http://www.gracias.fi/

7.5/10

RingMaster 19/08/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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Men In The Sky – Version 1.0.1 EP

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     Version 1.0.1, the new EP from UK electronic rock band Men In The Sky is a stylish web of sound, a fusion of recognisable styles and influences woven into an inescapable net of refreshing and captivating temptation. The release is a magnetic adventure casting mesmeric melodies and attention stirring riffs as easily as it entwines an intrigue of samples and throaty bass seduction. The EP is not the most original thing you are going to hear this year with its rich eighties inspirations but certainly it is going to be one of the most flavoursome and enjoyable.

Hailing from Liverpool, Men In The Sky emerged in 2012 wearing inspirations openly on their sound’s sleeve from day one. The accompanying press sheet declares that the band ‘draws as much from the jazz-blues of Jeff Beck and the funk of Chic as it does from classic British New Wave.’ This is something you can only agree with as their release flirts and dances with the imagination yet there is plenty more whispers, loud and quieter, of bands and essences which springs from an encounter which still manages to be something new. Co-produced with Factory Records’ Michael Johnson, Version 1.0.1 romps and entices with ears and emotions from its first vibrant second, providing something familiar yet surprising.

The release opens with a track called Men In The Sky. Eighties bred synths immediately grasp attention around the first sample of the release, their touch crystalline but soon sharing a varied embrace of melodies, acidic and elegant. A 10410613_713652578674096_487800950591790924_nhint of Visage comes to the fore early on whilst an unavoidable reference to New Order, as across the EP, is swiftly offering its suasion. Soon into a pulsating stroll with melodic flourishes within an electro enticement, the song continues to swing contagiously with a funk lilted bassline and an electronic revelry leading the way. With thoughts of Depeche Mode and Pet Shop Boys in various degrees also offering their references, the overall body of the song actually reminds of early Ministry before Al found his muscular industrial aggression.

The track makes a great start to the proposition and is instantly backed up by latest single Doom. The track mixes an agitated enterprise of beats and riffs with another fluid stream of synth temptation, but this time around a stronger rock spine of sound and intent. As it persistently throbs on the senses with a healthy infectious smile, the song ripples with an essence of the songwriting of Vince Clarke but equally the funkier styling of Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh in their Heaven 17 era. It is an irresistible romp, just as unpredictable and enthralling as its predecessor but with an even catchier bait and mischievous side to its dance, especially shown in the Oingo Boingo like vocal twists.

The remaining pair of songs, Expect Anything and Stone has a task to match the previous songs and to be honest do not manage to reach the same heights yet easily leave ears happy and emotions keen. The first of the pair ventures further into the band’s rock creativity without neglecting the electronic tempting, infusing it with a more classically cultured grace and endeavour. With flames of guitar bringing a progressive texture to the mix the song reveals more of the depths and adventure to the band’s sound which is confirmed straight away by its successor. The final song was born to light up dance-floors with its flowing melodies and sparking electro enticement, though it is the reserved moment where the vocals are allowed to shine with their minimal presence that the song works best.

The track is a fine end to a masterfully charismatic and gripping encounter. One which is at its best in the first half but leaving a bulging satisfaction by its end through a quartet of absorbing songs. Version 1.0.1 has a potent effect on ears through to feet, thoughts on to emotions. It might not quite be your favourite release of the Summer but we suggest it will be the one you return to most often and not just for this passing season either.

The Version 1.0.1 EP is available now @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/version-1.0.1-ep/id895145567

http://www.men-in-the-sky.com/

8/10

RingMaster 18/07/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Sin Cos Tan – Blown Away

Sin Cos Tan by Vilhelm Sjöström

Sin Cos Tan by Vilhelm Sjöström

With a sound as bracing and compelling as the concept story behind its narrative, Blown Away the third album from synth pop band Sin Cos Tan is another tantalising proposition from the Finnish duo. Flourishing from the potent base set by its two critically acclaimed predecessors as well as the band’s ever increasing reputation through live shows and festival appearances, the new release adds another twist to the creative web of intrigue which comes from the exploratory minds behind the project.

Consisting of Villa Nah songwriter/vocalist Juho Paalosmaa and producer/DJ Jori Hulkkonen (Processory) who has also worked with the likes of Pet Shop Boys, Chris Lowe, Jose Gonzalez, and Tiga, Sin Cos Tan follow their 2012 self-titled debut and the following Afterlife a year later, with a different kind of adventure. The album is centred round the concept story of Michael Burana, a middle-aged American man facing a dead-end job and a failed marriage. “To turn his life around, Michael decides to take a trip to Mexico, where he soon discovers a new career opportunity: that of a drug courier between the United States and South America. Blown Away picks up from the sunny beaches of Mexico, and follows Michael’s journey of newfound excess, fast money and hedonism; all the way to the corrupted heart of the Colombian cartels. Forever chasing the elusive ‘American Dream’, Michael’s tale is the soundtrack of a world like no other.” The tale is enveloped in a mix of electro and synth pop with a shoegaze like ambience which caresses the senses with a melodic beauty whilst inciting imagination and feet to embark on their own instinctive exploits. Blown Away is a captivating journey which even with a few less successful moments for personal tastes makes for an unrelentingly enthralling proposition.

The story opens with Divorcee and warm waves lapping upon a balmy atmosphere over enticing melodies. It is not long before the similarly tender coaxing vocals of Paalosmaa, amidst an irresistible web of guitar enterprise and pulsating image002bass breath, adds further simmering heat to the instantly delicious song. It is the perfect pop song, every twist coming with unpredictable yet welcoming ideation and a warmly embracing infectiousness. There is an eighties air to the track too, thoughts of China Crisis and Paul Haig coming to the fore with hints as the opener lights up ears and emotions. Its success is not quite matched but superbly supported by the following pulsating stroll of Love Sees No Colour. With a slightly punchier urgency to its rhythmic intent and pungent electro canvas, the song colours thoughts with a sultry twang of guitar and expressive keys. There is an OMD essence to the song’s elegant melodic croon which in turn is given extra evocative texture and weight by horn like flames and the incessant stride romping through the middle of it all.

A New World brings a danger in its touch, shadows flirting with the draw of the keys and the persistently mellow and inviting vocals. The song is like a drive through a new landscape, fleeting glimpses of emotive hues and potent melodic colouring stalked by an intimidating breath offered by the bass tones stalking the track. It is a treat for the imagination, allowing thoughts to cast their own premise whilst keys and voice take care of ears with poise and temptation. It does not quite live up to the first pair but certainly outshines next up Colombia. The slow provocative nature of the song with growing melodies and inventive keys makes for an expansive investigation of the tale within the album but the singular vocal delivery of Paalosmaa falls short and lacks the spark shown previously and when effects wrap his tones elsewhere in the song. It is too much at odds with the music but nevertheless the song is an engaging encounter, though soon a distant memory through the great dances of Lifestyle and Traffic.

The first of the two is a festival of sonic colour and mouth-watering endeavour, rhythms a magnetic revelry and keys a refreshing breeze. As much as they impress and ignite ears, it is the anthemic blaze of the chorus with Paalosmaa back on compelling form which steals the passions. Like a familiar friend yet entirely new, the chorus is an irresistible lure which makes a masterful temper and compliment to the more reserved but lively sounds around it. The instrumental travelogue of Traffic bubbles from its first note; keys and beats an invigorated provocation within a wind of crystalline scenes and turns, all swiftly passing into new aural sights for ears and thoughts.

The darker tone and presence of Addiction is a thrilling combination of imposing shadows and ominous melodies but with the constantly inviting vocals and more sparkling melodies it all merges for an imposing and engrossing mix. Its successor Cocaine offers the darkest twist of the album, its noir kissed climate of brass and desperation edged vocals aligned to drama bred keys, a disturbed but again enthralling and scintillating provocation for senses and imagination.

The release is completed by firstly the John Foxx like title track, with its emotional chills and haunted air, before the emotionally raw and inflamed presence of Heart Of America brings its epilogue of reality to bear on story and thoughts. Both are gripping turns in the album and as singular incitements, bringing the excellent Blown Away to a tense and fascinating conclusion. Quite simply Sin Cos Tan works on all aspects of the listener with their latest proposition and leaves a lingering and blissfully full appetite in its wake.

Blown Away is available now in CD digipak, gatefold vinyl LP, and download formats via http://solinarecords.com/

http://sincostan.net

8.5/10

RingMaster 18/08/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Draw – Alone Again Or

Draw cover

Released to support the Children’s Hospice Association Scotland, Alone Again Or is the riveting cover of the classic Love single by Scottish band Draw. The never heard before track has been brought into the light by Empire Records owner and the Fife band’s manager Nicholas Russell with all proceeds going to CHAS, a reason to grab the release as potent as the fact that the track is a mouth-watering proposition in its own right.

Formed in 2000, the quartet of Vocalist/guitarist Brent Proctor, lead guitarist Dave O’Neil, bassist Rozanne Boynton, and drummer Ryan Lees went on to play over 150 gigs across the UK and released a trio of well-received singles, as well as the album Simple To Severe in 2003. Named the Live Band of the Year by Radio 1’s Session in Scotland in 2002, Draw supported Arthur Lee and Love on their 3 week Forever Changes tour of the UK the following year. Seemingly on the brink of major things the departure of one of the band led to the cancellation of the original release of this single amongst many things and subsequently the demise of Draw.

Love’s Alone Again Or originally appeared as a very successful single off of their 1967 Forever Changes album, and now finds itself being warmly and inventively treated to a fine interpretation. Recorded in 2003 but we understand never released, the song is a vibrant flirtation of roving riffs and psychedelically spawned melodies around distinctive vocals. There is an appealing restraint to the track but simultaneously a thick enterprise which springs from the guitars and rhythms. Not just a cover the song is a tribute to the original and Love brought with an individual presence, a uniqueness confirmed by the single’s accompanying pair of songs.

Taken from Draw’s previously mentioned album, both Incidentally and Today embrace ears and imagination with resourceful and elegant propositions. The first of the pair is a gentle stroll which is prone to rawer flumes of guitar and passionate vocal incitements whilst melodies wander invitingly across the scenic landscape of the track. Its successor is a more inflamed slice of indie rock yet still moves within scenery of graceful melodies and reined rhythmic incitement. As its predecessor the track bursts with passion driven surges of raucous endeavour and fiery enterprise which is as unexpected as it is magnetic.

The two songs remind what we have missed from the early end to the band and help make Alone Again Or a release on music terms alone which should be embraced and devoured greedily.

Alone Again Or is available via Empire Records now for 79p at http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00JWNHLFS/ref=dm_ws_sp_ps_dp?ie=UTF8&qid=1408357146&sr=8-1 with all proceeds going to the Children’s Hospice Association Scotland

9/10

RingMaster 18/08/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

 

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Ragweed – Parerga

Ragweed Online Band Photo

Raw, abrasive, and sonically uncompromising, Parerga the new album from UK sludge punks Ragweed is one of those treats you did not know you had a lustful appetite for but soon breed an insatiable hunger towards upon introduction. A caustic maelstrom of punk, sludge metal, noise, and psyche rock, band and release is a delicious violation of the senses with hooks and grooves as irresistibly appetising as the webs of corrosive noise wrapping their lures. Imagine a mutated union of XII Boar and Fugazi with Swell Maps and The St Pierre Snake Invasion, all stirred with a healthy spoon of Melvins devilment and you have Ragweed.

Formed in 2012, the Brighton band has gone through a few line-ups before the duo of duo of vocalist/guitarist Tom Adamson and drummer Nick Spooner linked up with bassist Joe Dann at the end of last year (though Spooner has recently now left the band). Gaining a fine reputation and following for their live shows, the Ragweed had already released the well-received Double Chalker EP before the current threesome were united but it is easy to feel that Parerga will be the break through release, certainly to a more potent and wider recognition.

From the first gnarly strains of Dann’s bass which opens up first track Black & Scaly, ears and attention are gripped, with appetite swiftly following especially with the subsequent squall of guitar confrontation leading to bracing grooves. Ragweed Album CoverThe track is soon prowling with a devilry and shadowed temperament, riffs infectious bait to which the swinging beats of Spooner impose greater suasion. Vocally Adamson switches between a discord kissed yet smooth delivery and raging expulsions to match the crawling weight and addictive posture of the track. It is an outstanding start which flirts through the inventive craft of the band but is primarily a predator of the senses and imagination.

The following Dermol Dispenser whips out contagious grooves from the start, teasing and exciting ears with their catchy enterprise and carnal intrusion before entwining them with slower lumbering twists. Elements of Fra Pouch and Therapy? offer hints across the also feverishly compelling song, whilst the underlying twang which erupts to stronger clarity at times is surely Pantera inspired. The track keeps the album a seriously impressive confrontation which is backed just as mightily by Nip The Bud. Offering a funk seeded groove from the off within a less concussive web of noise than previous songs and scything guitar strikes, the track twists and entices with a garage punk ingenuity stalked by another superbly enslaving bass sound and adventure. It is a brilliant proposition, Television Personalities, The Fall, and even a whiff of Red Hot Chili Peppers whispers in the tempestuous warped majesty of the song.

     Strange Colour rumbles in with a heavy weight gait and intent next, bass and beats a primal incitement to which the guitar of Adamson saws and snarls away irrepressibly. The monotone lilted vocals add to the inescapable temptation whilst the guitarist’s coarser roars enhance the ever present punk voracity which soaks the song and whole album. The track alone proves that Ragweed is a band able to provide a rich and captivating meal for fans of punks, metal, doom, and stoner infused sludge rock with ease.

Both the unpolished propositions of Divorce Reality and Gun Fever keep ears and appetite hungry if without quite matching their predecessors. The first is a more metal driven stroll but with a sultry groove which simply smoulders threat and seduction. Vocally the song lacks the bite and invention of earlier ones yet with invention to the causticity of the guitar and imagination to the rhythmic gallop and bordering on sadistic savagery of certain twists, it is a magnetic encounter which gets better and better with time. Its successor is a bruising and brawling slab of punk antagonism which again lacks the spark of others but still breeds a need for more with its merciless and relentless sonic rabidity.

The release closes with George Moshington, another intensive tangle of ravenous grooves, biting rhythms, and virulent sonic temptation. Bass and guitar spin a net of ridiculously addictive endeavour which the swings of Spooner punctuate with just as riveting venom and ferocity. The track is an incendiary and tremendous conclusion to an outstanding album which will and deservedly should, push Ragweed to a new eager and extensive spotlight.

The self-released Parerga is available from Monday 18th August

https://www.facebook.com/Ragweedrock

9/10

RingMaster 17/08/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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