Rancid – Honor Is All We Know

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It is approaching six years since Rancid unleashed their last album Let The Dominoes Fall but the wait for another provocation individual to the band is now over with Honor Is All We Know. The California quartet has sculpted a presence truly unique within an intensive and expansive punk scene, and it is that sound and invention which again fuels the new release. A greatly satisfying and undemanding stomp, Honor Is All We Know is quite simply what Rancid does best; creating short stabs of contagious incitements which hit home lyrically and musically, punk and ska entwined in mini provocations.

Upon the fourteen track stomp, the band seems to revisit old times from across their years though they are certainly also mixing it with fresh attitude and energy. It is fair to say that surprises are low and familiarity high, resulting in a typical yet virulently addictive slab of sonic Rancid bred prosperity for ears and emotions. Expect some raising dissatisfaction at its almost ‘safe’ rioting in sound but fans will definitely and greedily lap it up whilst it is easy to see uninitiated pop punk fans making the leap into the bosom of one of modern punk’s founding fathers.

Released via Hellcat Records and produced by Bad Religion’s Brett Gurewitz, Honor Is All We Know instantly has feet and emotions alive with Back Where I Belong, a prize bull of Rancid incitement which roars and sonically squalls through ears. Guitarist/vocalist Tim Armstrong straight away stands tall and distinct in the infectious brawl whilst the bass lure of Matt Freeman pulsates with its similarly additive bait. Everything about the track is prime Rancid, the beats of Branden Steineckert insatiable whilst Lars Frederiksen also flares and sizzles on guitar and vocals, and whilst it feeds expectations there is nothing at play in the song to leave an already established appetite unfulfilled.

The following Raise Your Fist strolls in on a dark bassline whilst guitars layer caustic glazes of temptation. It soon settles into an imposing and unfussy stride, beats and vocals driving the raw punk tone and attitude of the track. Employing a healthy dose of oi to its again recognisable minimalistic landscape, the song also flirts with melodic scenery but it is just added colour to a rugged anthem which is matched by the fiery enticing of Collision Course. There is a feel of the band’s Let’s Go moment in time to the song linked to a Transplants spawned causticity, both uniting for another unavoidable anthemic persuasion which has body, voice, and hunger heavily involved.

Evil’s My Friend leaps in next with ska bent hips and riffs twisting and enticing respectively, keys just as flirty as guitars whilst the bass saunters and seduces with throaty temptation. The song is one inexhaustible bounce, its irrepressible energy and melodic irreverence pop/ska punk a contagious treat recalling the pinnacles of Armstrong’s solo album A Poet’s Life.

Both the title track and A Power Inside pound ears and imagination with raw riffing and pungent rhythms aligned to melodic and cantankerous enterprise. The first is a senses grazing slice of punk ‘n’ roll loaded with bruising antagonism whilst the second is a muscular yet easy going call to arms with infectiousness as insatiable as the plague. It also, around a delicious flaming of sonic endeavour, finds the band at its rawest and almost unruly in vocals and presence, lifting a good song to greater success before the aggravated intimidation of In The Streets snarls over ears      with its heavier rock intimidation. The track like many hits the spot without setting a blaze but still provides full enjoyment before the snarly dance of Face Up pushes up the ante again. With a sizzling melodic lilt to the guitar’s enterprise and thumping predation to rhythms courted by another binding bassline, the song has that familiar Rancid devilment and prowl which is maybe predictable but inescapable.

The raging hostility of Already Dead provides the next barracking, its spaghetti western climate over a ferocious canvas of antagonistic vocals and riled riffing speared by a devil spawned heavy bassline. The song is a riveting croon which does spread into new terrain for the band in some ways before the rhythm slinging, riff growling stomp of Diabolical grabs its moment in the spotlight. The track enslaves within seconds, never relinquishing its forceful devilry until the pop and sixties garage rock brew of Malfunction leaps upon the passions, it an irresistible hop of sound and energy with the flaming hues of keys as potent as the duelling vocals and cheek slapping beats of Steineckert.

The angry, busy barracking of Now We’re Through With You kicks up a bruising provocation next, its presence a senses tramping bitch slap of a treat whilst Everybody’s Sufferin’ slips into ska flirtation for a glorious two-tone shuffle which instantly makes subservient slaves of feet and emotions. Both tracks leave ears and appetite full but are surpassed by the closing triumph of Grave Digger, a quarrelling slice of street punk which has no excess to its lean confrontation but offers a fat anthemic lure which lingers as it brings the album to a mighty end.

It is hard to make claims that Honor Is All We Know is bringing anything truly new from the band and difficult to be convinced that it can convert those aware but not already enamoured with the band into their fold, but for a rigorously enjoyable assault of Rancid punk rock, it is another richly appetising scrap.

Honor Is All We Know is available from October 27th via Hellcat/Epitaph Records.

http://www.rancidrancid.com

RingMaster 27/10/2014

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Denim Snakes – Self Titled

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Rock ‘n’ roll obviously comes with constant variety of unique riotous tendencies, and each twist of rock music has a pioneer and driving force which recruits equally impressing cohorts to their direction within the expansive scene. There are few bands though which manages to weave a tapestry from a healthy scoop of all that vast flavouring which is something new and in itself wholly individual. Step forward Welsh rockers Denim Snakes and their debut self-titled album. It roars rock ‘n’ roll with every note, syllable, and second of its resourceful stomp. It makes no demands, has no delusions of grandeur, but instead rampages through ears into the passions with a fresh sound which recalls and revitalises essences which have ignited a million hearts and inspired just as many imaginations.

For a debut the album is irresistibly impressive and striking, though maybe that really should be no surprise as Denim Snakes is led by vocalist/guitarist Russell Toomey. The former frontman of the criminally ignored sonic punks My Red Cell and the inexcusably overlooked garage punks Innercity Pirates, Toomey has a knack of twisting songs into insatiable predators of the psyche whilst leaving a lingering temptation others can only dream of in their music. His new band as evidenced by their first full-length is no different in that ability, songwriting as expressive and intrusively seductive as ever, and an instinctive rock ‘n’ roll ravaging.

Formed in 2013, the Barry quartet of guitarist Jake Ellis-Scott, bassist Matt Clarke, and drummer/backing vocalist Tom Hall alongside Toomey, soon explored and whipped up a sound to ignites ears and imagination, first single 21 earlier this year the proof of something exciting brewing from the depths of the “ghost-town pleasure park” from where he band emerged. It sparked an exploratory interest and appetite for the band which second single The Guard in September soon ignited again. Now the band’s debut album is primed to wake-up the nation and such its potency and sheer thrilling adventure there will be calls of a conspiracy at play if Denim Snakes is allowed to slip away as those previous bands mentioned.

The release opens with The Guard, bulging beats lighting up ears before a raw blaze of riffs and a throaty bassline joins the emerging rugged sonic dance. In no time the song is leading body and emotions on a virulent stroll, Ramones bred Denim Snakes coverhooks and grooves flirting with the passions as the distinctive tones of Toomey’s voice similarly and mischievously colours the contagion. A healthy whiff of garage rock and surf pop is brought into the mix of what is insatiable pop punk of the old school kind, whilst a classic rock spicing clasps the solo and melodic enterprise of the sensational opener.

The band’s first single 21 is next and instantly provides a different creative hue to the release. With a caress of harmonica leading to more melodic scenery vocally and musically, the song sways with folk rock glazed adventure. It is just as catchy as its predecessor, though it has a gentle presence and persuasion which at times is part Weezer and part Late Cambrian, and whilst it does not set a fire in feet and instincts as the previous protagonist, the song emerges as a warm and increasingly tempting offering showing why it made such a strong impression earlier in 2014.

The following It’ll Be Alright also moves with a mellow and breezy charm, though there is a devilry which is never far from its surface. It also finds a forceful prowl in the bass and beats which come more to the fore leading to and in the anthemic chorus, it adding a muscular spirit to another unique slice of melodic pop. In its reserved passages there is a definite Kinks influence which instantly sparks the imagination into greater life whilst it’s punchier exploits rings of Innercity Pirates, though that was always inevitable at some point. It too is a slow burner which grows into something formidable and addictive, the opposite on offer next with Party Hard. This is a song wasting no time in gentle persuasion, instead swiftly gripping ears and thoughts with spicy chords and hungry rhythms before venturing into a hook laden lure of busy riffs and vocal revelry. My Red Cell toxicity teases throughout the song to further colour the fiery rock ‘n’ roll canter, but as across the album though you can pick out similarity of previous exploits, song and album is something openly new.

From the lofty heights of the song, Denim Snakes take another step up in temptation and brilliance with The Runaways. Sinews flex in every aspect of the track from the first breath, riffs imposing and rhythms cantankerous as Turbonegro like punk causticity initially smothers ears. The track is soon exploring its infection drenched melodic side too though, another ridiculously contagious proposition leaping at the passions as riveting twists of guitar and rhythmic endeavour toys with the imagination. A core of hard rock drives the explosively enjoyable encounter, another slither of rock ‘n’ roll variety exploited for something enthrallingly new before the pair of She’s A Woman and Making Money step forward. The first of the two stalks the senses and thoughts straight away, a dark and heavy footed bassline aligned to jabbing beats challenging ears before the effect spiced vocals of Toomey lay their predacious tempting in the web of intrigue. A classic rock breeding smoulders throughout the sultry drama of the song but yet again flavouring is varied and fluid as it almost growls with impressive potency before its successor brings out the big guns in predatory riffs and thumping beats as blues grooving spreads through classic rock devilment. Though not a favourite amongst the pack on the album, the song increasingly convinces and is a sure fire appetite pleaser for fans of bands such as Aerosmith and Alice Cooper.

Don’t You Want Me finds seeds in similar beds but only to lay a canvas for the blues and acidic flames of enterprise erupting over it. Electric Woodland meets My Red Cell meets The Stooges; the track roars and raucously simmers with sonic ingenuity and incendiary expression. It is a fire of anthemic seduction inducing another wave of greedy hunger for the album, which the raunchy tone and energy of Happiness has boiling over with its maelstrom of classic, hard, and punk rock. The song also finds room to drift into a hazy melodic landscape of rock pop, unpredictability as prevalent as imagination and mischief.

Closing with the similarly bred but openly distinct Sex, Denim Snakes has uncaged a slab of rock ‘n’ roll which manages to provide something for everyone in each individual song without leaving one overwhelmed by the intensive brew. The final song is a salacious temptress which simply sums up the whole of the outstanding album. Fans of Russell Toomey’s past works will maybe not be surprised at the craft and invention running over in Denim Snakes but there is no denying the band has tapped into a new depth and maturity in songwriting and sound which is matched by the impressive qualities and imagination of its members. Quite simply it is a must have release for all rock ‘n’ roll fans.

Denim Snakes is available now @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/artist/denim-snakes/id835921265

http://www.denimsnakes.co.uk

RingMaster 26/10.2014

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Deserted Fear – Kingdom of Worms

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An unrelenting storm of death metal embracing the genre’s varied grounding seeds and a more modern creative voracity, the second album from German metallers Deserted Fear is an uncompromising and brutal onslaught. Kingdom Of Worms is also a release which manages to feed expectations and throw curveballs at them simultaneously. It is a storming onslaught, never taking time out to rest on its ferocious laurels and give the listener any real respite from its hostility. A game changer or unique challenge for death metal the album is not, but as an attention grabbing confrontation and another big step in the rise of the band, Kingdom Of Worms is a rigorous success.

Hailing from Eisenberg, the trio of vocalist/guitarist Manuel Glatter, guitarist/bassist Fabian Hildebrandt, and drummer Simon Mengs was soon drawing local attention from the emergence of Deserted Fear in 2008. It was debut album My Empire in 2012, following an earlier demo, which suddenly triggered keener and broader spotlight upon the band. Soon the European metal scene was taking eager notice of them, even more so as they subsequently made acclaimed appearances at festivals such as Summer Breeze, Party San Open Air, and Extremefest. Now Deserted Fear has unleashed the next instalment of their emergence, and it is easy to suspect that the Dan Swanö (Edge Of Sanity, Bloodbath) mastered release will stir up another torrent of potent praise and concentration on the band.

The climactic, epically toned Intro opening up the album is nothing new in extreme metal nowadays but it has to be said that even though you almost expect this kind of beginning to an album, it cannot defuse the portentous and potent lure of the piece before it leads straight into the mighty rhythmic paws and sonic ravishing of Forging Delusions. It is an instant brute of a song with nostrils of imposing intensity flaring and sinew sculpted addictive grooves inescapably binding the imagination and passions. It is hard to get enough of the fiery proposition the song offers initially, and even as its relative restraint slips to open up a maelstrom of hostile rabidity, there is still that increasingly compelling groove driven bait insatiably seducing. With a heavyweight thrust of thrash ferocity aiding the all-consuming attack, the track is a storming start to the album.

The title track comes next and it too is swiftly consuming ears and appetite in tightly gripping grooves as the feet and arms of Mengs uncage hellacious energy and skills. As its predecessor, it too is unrelenting in its savagery and tenacious DF_Kingdom of worms_COVER_blackback_wwwenterprise, its touch raw and caustic yet equally coaxing and contagious as guitars weave a melodic tapestry. The scintillating song is a cauldron of craft from each of the band individually and in a united animosity of sound and rhythmic barbarism, whilst vocally Glatter growls with a depth and ferociousness that you feel for the lining of throat and gut.

The pair of Call Me Your God and Wrath On Your Wound, unveil their own spiteful landscapes of sonic and rhythmic enmity next, the first an intensive avalanche of bitter riffs and destructive beats scarred by the increasingly corrosive tones of Glatter, whilst the second is a fully fledged rage with malice dripping from teeth clenched vocals and spiralling grooving which line the bruising thrust of the transfixing song. Again Menghs proves himself to be an attention grabbing beater of skins whilst both Glatter and Hildebrandt spin a creative web which is as intrusive as it is enthralling.

The melodic breath and elegance of Torn By Hatred comes next, a short instrumental which does provide the one moment of mercy and warm colouring in the album, before The Agony pillages the senses with its blistering stride of riffs and sonic endeavour. It is a bestial proposition in voice and breath, but with the vocals finding their own animalistic growl and grooves another heavy dose of toxic infectiousness, it is an encounter which is happy to rearm established genre ideation with the band’s own flaming resourcefulness. Its intensive suasion is followed by the lean swagger and predacious stalking of With Might And Main. The track almost saunters as it batters and impedes on the senses, providing another delicious and almost anthemic provocation to engage in.

The slower entrance of Shattering The Soil makes for a different slant to the release though it is soon submerged in another unbridled fury of sound and intent before Mortal Reign parades its rhythmic and caustic rancor with vicious relish and skilled endeavour. Neither track lives up to what came before though each definitely only adds to the pleasure reaped from the album. The pair seems to be revisiting some of the success of earlier tracks in some ways and confirm that there is a surface similarity across some songs which defuses some of the strength of Kingdom of Worms. It is not an issue when the album is given proper and deeper attention, the diversity between songs soon discovered, and such the quality of the songs it is ultimately not as problematic as it might have been anyway.

The release is brought to a close by Last Of A Fading Kind, another engrossing and richly pleasing incitement but as the two previous tracks, it does not quite live up to certainly the stunning first half of the album. It is still impossible to dismiss and escape its masterful textures and tempting though as it brings a potent conclusion to Kingdom of Worms though.

Deserted Fear epitomises all that is compelling about death metal whilst infusing it with their own emerging brand of startling invention. New album Kingdom of Worms is not going to change the face of extreme metal but it does give it another intensively flavoursome savaging to devour.

Kingdom of Worms is available via FDA Rekotz from October 24th and at http://www.desertedfear.de/index.php/shop

http://www.desertedfear.de

RingMaster 24/10/2014

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Arcturon – Expect Us

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Released to mark their ten year anniversary, the Expect Us EP from Swiss melodic death metallers Arcturon, makes a tasty and intriguing proposition marking the beginning of a new decade for the band and twist to their enticing sound. Seemingly more adventurous than ever and certainly more bold in the use of additional flavours and styles, it is maybe not a release to blow anyone away yet its lure makes a compelling invitation to keep revisiting the encounter, a potency which should not be underestimated. More successful in some moments than others, but never leaving dissatisfaction lording over proceedings, the EP is a fascinating and ultimately highly enjoyable adventure.

It was around ten years ago that two fourteen year olds, guitarist Florian Moritz and drummer Samuel Fischer, gave creative birth to Arcturon. Honing their sound over time, the band’s first release, the Breaking Walls Demo in 2007, sparked increasing attention for their presence leading to support spots alongside the likes of Six Feet Under, Nile, Finntroll and Belphegor. Three years later came the extremely well-received debut album The Eight Thorns Conflict, with its acclaimed successor An Old Storm Brewing savaging ears in 2013. Sandwiching a successful Europe tour with Rotting Christ and Omnium Gatherum, both releases put the band into a more intensive spotlight which Expect Us does nothing to defuse. Released through Supreme Chaos Records, the Johan Örnborg (Arch Enemy, Soilwork, Amon Amarth) produced EP offers a new diversity and imagination than arguably previous Arcturon encounters. It might be more intriguing than rigorously successful in its imagination, but Expect Us unveils a rather potent and captivating suggestion of where the Basel quartet’s sound is evolving to.

The release opens with My Treasure, an instantly gripping and fiery proposition which from a lone rub of guitar, explodes into a turbulent stroll of abrasing riffs and punchy rhythms cored by a tight intrusive groove. Within seconds Arcturon - Expect Us - Artworkimagination and appetite is alight, greedy for the intimidating expansion of the song. The raw hoarse vocals of Aljosha Gasser venomously abrase the senses as a small respite to the tempest unfolds, but it is a reining in soon spearing by bulging beats from Fischer and a dangling web of temptation cast by Moritz, whilst the bass of Sam Fischer (yes two members with the same name) provides a shadowed prowl to the song’s continually twisting landscape. Sonic enterprise and melodic flames also scorch the multi-flavoured interpretation of melodic death metal pouring from the band’s creativity, the incendiary persuasion of the track playing like a mix of Bloodsimple, Dominanz, and Scar Symmetry.

The outstanding start is backed up by the EP’s title track. Raging from its first breath, keys and guitars swarm the senses with toxic melodies as rhythms and riffs sculpt imposing scenery to wall in the magnetic endeavour. As its predecessor, the song grows and expands into a threat of malevolent expression and sonic radiance though it lacks the biting wind and energy of the opener. Instead it breeds an emotive atmosphere which tempers and evocatively colours the robust furnace of intent and sound beneath it, the song captivating and impressing if not igniting the same strength of passions as the first.

A Restless Soul swiftly asserts its compelling hold on ears and thoughts next, an opening melodic caress and embrace of clean vocals unexpected and pleasing freshness, though it is soon turned by a spiteful and malicious intensity, Gasser reaching to his guts to roar with caustic antagonism. Surprises and unpredictability stay to the fore though as the clean vocal delivery entwines with the harsh tones whilst a carnival-esque like drama and sinister seduction flirts with and infiltrates the brewing tempest of the song. It is a tantalising treat of a track, a bruising and tender merger of creative hues which maybe does not go as far into the unknown and explore bold imagination as it could, but definitely leaves anticipation for the band’s exploits ahead excited.

The release is closed by Rowan, another resourceful and radiantly provocative entrance which needs little nudging to turn to its shadows and predacious side. The vocals stalk as keys mesmerise, but it is the rugged terrain of raw riffs and thumping beats which bind the emotions, though their presence again is never clear cut as haunting melodies and sonic expression veins their hostility. A song which at times is glorious and in others a more unsure persuasion, it still provides further food for thought and interest for the band’s new exploration in sound to make a potent close to Expect Us.

Already used to praise and keen attention, Arcturon with their EP as potent evidence, appear to be moving towards a fascinating new chapter in their sound which Expect Us suggests is going to be something very worthy of close attention.

The Expect Us EP is available via Supreme Chaos Records from 24th October.

www.arcturon.ch

RingMaster 24/10/2014

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Slug Comparison – Self Titled

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Though latecomers to the fascinating and melodic imagination of Canadian rock band Fen, coming in with the release of their fifth album Of Losing Interest two years ago, the band has been a regular contributor to our weekly soundtrack since. So it was with intrigue and keen appetite that we dived into the self-titled album from Slug Comparison. The band is the solo project of Fen vocalist/guitarist Doug Harrison, and the album a two year in the making embrace of melodic and emotive beauty. It is a release which further explores the majestic and inventive soundscapes which mark out his day job as one of the more compelling propositions around today, but equally ventures into new avenues of enterprise and creative intimacy. As Fen’s last album, it is a grower which from an initial impressive persuasion evolves into something which simply engulfs the imagination and emotions, though dare we say with even stronger, riveting potency. It is a stunning proposition and one of the major moments of the year.

The Vancouver musician has called on the likes of Mike Young from The Devin Townsend Band and Randall Stoll from Congenital Fixation to provide bass and drums respectively to tracks within the Mike Southworth produced album. Ultimately though it is a solo release blossomed from the ingenuity and craft of Harrison, and takes little time to enthral ears and thoughts. Opener Bringer of Doom instantly sparks attention as a guitar chips away at ears to intriguingly bring the song into view, a brewing ambience of emotive keys soon moving in with the instantly potent voice of Harrison. The song emerges and grows with every second and breath passed, bass and guitars adding shadowed and melodic colour to the thickening atmosphere of keys. There are no avoiding thoughts of Fen but also there are essences of Poets Of The Fall and Johnny Wore Black making suggestions as the track caresses and immerses the imagination, its reflective elegance over rugged scenery only increasing the magnetic presence of the song.

It is an impacting start swiftly matched by You’ve Seen Me, a track which from the off smoulders and resonates with radiant charm and resourcefulness, though it is the bewitching spread of variety to Harrison’s vocals which steals the Front Coverhonours. The song sways and soars with passion and sultry temptation, as well as a seemingly personal emotion which only accentuates its charm and autumn like warmth, before the hotter climes of Summer ’99 take over. Again there is an intimate air to the song which brings richer provocative hues to the melodic flames which ignite its already inventive canvas. Unpredictable yet controlled in its invention, the track simmers and boils from start to finish, switching and merging both heats for an increasingly tenacious encounter.

It has been a gripping and thrilling passage of songs to this point but everything kicks up a gear from hereon in. Short of Hell is next and as soon as the first pulsating beat of skin and electro resonance permeates bone and psyche, there is no escaping its extraordinary lure. Harrison is soon offering his darker tones to the bait, his voice as ever excelling in the clarity given. The track soon relaxes into a restrained stroll yet still there is a sinister and dark element to its presence which in turn incites the return of that opening temptation. As if it is exploring inner demons, the song pours out angst and menace throughout its sensational drama, setting a major pinnacle of the album which is right away emulated by the just as haunted and incendiary Evil Walks. The heaviest track on the release, and one again with an appetite to infest the senses with resonating intimidation, it expands its narrative and presence through contagious vocal and sonic hooks whilst the darker side of its temperament increases its snarl and imposing persistence. The track is glorious keeping the release at the highest peak, though it is too short for personal tastes for as soon as the teeth are really into its might it moves over for Long Live the Night.

     Featuring Tatyana Dobrowolski from Tatter’s and Ravens, the eight minute song is a folk bred anti-war flight of emotion and provocative textures, lyrically and melodically. It is a mesmeric piece which incites and transfixes with raw expression, Harrison’s songwriting explored with melodic poetry and sonic luminance for a song which you can argue would make far more impacting persuasion than any propaganda. Managing to make every second of its long length a vital and vivacious ingredient to its potent narrative, the song’s dramatic beauty is echoed In the Dark with Divinity. The song soothes the senses with its warm crystalline light and flirts with thoughts through elevated strikes of passion and rhythmic tempting, to again leave a lingering glow.

The final two songs on the album stretch the emotional and creative depths of the album again. Something to Bear veined by a classical guitar enticing, is a melodic croon with sinew carrying rhythms and throaty bass shadows all wrapped in a reflection of again mesmeric keys. With Harrison embracing the senses and thoughts through every aspect of the song, it is a scintillating provocative waltz. The final song Common Room also gently cradles ears and imagination, its elegant melodies and personal reflection a last enchanting kiss.

It was easy to expect big things from Slug Comparison, band and album because of Fen but even those hopes were left weak by the brilliance of Harrison’s solo album.

Slug Comparison is available now on iTunes, CDBaby, and at https://slugcomparison.bandcamp.com/

Doug Harrison is donating half of all proceeds raised by the Slug Comparison album to War Child (www.warchild.org)

http://www.slugcomparison.com

RingMaster 24/10/2014

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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Dope Body – Lifer

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In covering Natural History, the previous album from US noise sculptors Dope Body, we boldly declared the band as ‘without doubt one of the most exciting bands in music right now’. Returning with its successor Lifer, the Baltimore quartet has done nothing to change or dispel that declaration. The release is a glorious and voracious maelstrom of invention as now expected from the band, but also one with another open twist in the evolution of Dope Body’s sound. Certainly Lifer is the band’s most rock ‘n’ roll release to date, raw and attractively abrasive, but within tracks and sounds are as dramatically eclectic as ever.

Formed in 2008 for originally just a one off show, Dope Body soon saw and found their sound stirring up the local scene and its passions. Early releases via HOSS Records drew potent attention but it was Natural History, released as the new album through Drag City, which widely announced the band as one of the more original and creatively warped fresh breaths in modern music. Between albums the band has feverishly toured and played shows before seeing the latter part of last year out taking time focussing on other endeavours, bassist John Jones on his solo project Nerftoss and guitarist Zachary Utz and drummer David Jacober with their two piece band Holy Ghost Party, whilst vocalist Andrew Laumann turned to his visual arts side and exhibited work at the Galerie Jeanrochdard in Paris, the Pre Teen Gallery in Mexico City, and Signal in Brooklyn. This year though soon saw the foursome back together in the studio and with producer Travis Harrison creating what is another stirring encounter from them.

The album opens with Intro, an instrumental with carnival-esque vivacity and mischief to the gripping rhythmic juggling of Jacober and scuzz bred tenacity of guitar. It is a great raucous start to the album, instantly unveiling some of the varied rock ‘n’ roll seeded essences to be explored across the release. The piece subsequently slips seamlessly into Repo Man and its opening slow caress and shadowed crawl. Right away the distinct tones of Laumann entice and flirt with ears before raging to match the increased intensity and aggression of the music. It is a captivating track which has as much an air of Nirvana to it as it does The Stooges. In hindsight it is a steady opener to the album in many ways, a raw encounter which as the album, holds a real live feel to its touch and breath, but proves to be just a taster of greater things to come.

That stronger potency grips ears and imagination right away with Hired Gun. From a deliciously acidic web of sonic revelry, the song strides out with a garage punk energy and causticity, though it is still prone to the great scythes of sound liferwhich opened up the encounter. Taunting senses with a devilish swagger and punkish rabidity, the track is a transfixing slice of noise rock, but as expected from the band only part of the story as seductive surf rock sultriness and rhythmic tantalising emerges before a fiery finale. From this song the album really takes unpredictable and diverse shape, the following Echo sauntering through ears with a smouldering blues climate aligned to garage punk turbulence. Like Tom Petty plays The Cramps, the song is an enthralling croon with tendencies to expel caustic ferocity as it makes another step up towards the album’s highest peaks.

They come in the next clutch of songs, starting with AOL. A brawling slab of blazing hard and punk rock incitement, whispers of The Clash and Melvins hinting away, the track comes loaded with lingering grooves and biting hooks for a relatively brief but scintillating roar. It sets ears and emotions up perfectly for the even richer triumph of Rare Air. A song which kind of bridges this and the last album, it emerges from a metronomic coaxing lined with a ridiculously infectious sonic tempting. Instantly there is a post punk emprise to the song, bass and guitars flirting with a mix of Joy Division, Tones On Tails, and John Foxx led Ultravox breeding. It is a gripping adventure with Laumann as vocally enterprising as the tapestry of sounds and textures around him. The pinnacle of the album, the song alone reasserts Dope Body as the imaginative masters of sonic and noise alchemy.

Straight away confirming that point, the dark seductive Day by Day steps forward next. With a heavily shadowed bass resonance spotted by sonic elegance making the first gentle touch, the track forcibly intrigues and entices senses and imagination, increasing its lure and potency as it gathers pace to craft a Bauhaus like tension and presence. That increase in energy also brings a funky gait and appetite to the song, which in turn leads to squalling clouds of scuzz lined ferocity and garage rock devilry. With a pinch of psychobilly and a dab of old school rock ‘n’ roll too, the song takes the listener through scenery of explosive invention and bold creative mischief, all persistently cored by the irresistible throaty bassline which kicked it all off.

Toy strides purposefully across ears next to return the album to another boiling garage punk/grunge soiled stomp, engaging ears in a dusty rampage of Rocket From The Crypt meets Damn Vandals like irreverence. As everywhere though, references only give a slight idea of something uniquely Dope Body, the band forging new templates and imagination smothering ingenuity at every turn, proof of course immediately coming forward through the pair of Nu Sensation and I’d Say to You . The first of the two is another multi-flavoured rocker, seemingly embracing every corner and era of rock ‘n’ roll to give birth to an uncompromising and inescapably addictive rock devilry, whilst its successor is a torrent of repetitive hooks and lingering grooves as catchy as the common cold and sneakily lingering.

The album is closed by the striking Even In the End, a song opening on another skilfully conjured rhythmic contagion before spreading its melodic and atmospheric tendrils into a progressive terrain of bracing sonic invention and immersive dark shadows. Within that landscape though, guitars and beats unleash imaginative and lively agitation whilst vocals range from slow drawls to raging emotion. It is an absorbing exploration bringing the outstanding release to a mighty close.

Lifer is not a step forward in quality for Dope Body but a side step from Natural History into similarly impressive and individual waters. The excitement brought by a Dope Body encounter continues and the band grows in stature once more.

Lifer is available via Drag City now.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/DOPE-BODY/310914069790

RingMaster 23/10/2014

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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Laika – Somnia

Laika Press Photo

Though it ebbs and flows in the strength of its persuasion at times, there is no escaping that Somnia, the new album from Canadian melodic death metallers Laika is one compelling and thrilling encounter. It may not seemingly be bursting with open originality, the old school breeding of their style driving the creative tempests making up the album, but there is a specific drama and adventurous enterprise belonging to the band flowing through each fresh and seriously captivating persuasion that begs different. It is occasionally not as startling in places as it is elsewhere and maybe should be overall, but Somnia is certainly an impressive and lingering encounter ensuring that the name Laika will not just known for being that of the name of the Russian dog who became one of the first animals to travel to space.

Formed in 2009 with the name inspired by that hound, the then sextet soon drew strong local underground attention with the release of their full-length demo Crafting The Cataclysm the following year, and a live presence which has seen them play with the likes of All Shall Perish, Kataklysm, Necronomicon, Skeletonwitch, Abysmal Dawn, Septic Flesh, and Unleash the Archers over the past few years. The release of the Somnia EP in 2011 was subsequently followed by the band taking two years out to create and work on their debut album. Produced by the Winnipeg quintet, mixed and mastered by Ryan Forsyth, Somnia provides a striking and imaginative new assault for the band, one seeking and easy to see finding a more intensively crowing spotlight.

The release opens with Restless Mind, a brief instrumental which initially strokes the imagination with evocative piano drama against a ticking clock before expanding with a wash of similarly coloured keys and elegant harmonies. It is a laika 1-front cover- smallgentle and intriguing, if not startling, start which leads into the instantly imposing Escalation of Terror. It is a gripping entrance with riffs and rhythms offering hungry energy and intent straight away. Ears and appetite are ignited further as the bait intensifies with a muscular torrent of feverish grooves and vocal causticity crossing the intensive presence of the song. The keys of Steve Tedham bring rich and expressive hues to the great tempestuous intent of the track, their warm beauty a transfixing contrast to the raw scowls of vocalist Jordan Dorge and rhythmic provocation set by drummer Blair Garraway. It is a riveting blend which only grabs greater potency and suasion as ridiculously flavoursome and contagious grooves cast by guitarist Ian Garraway are matched by those throatily laid by the bass of Mike Mason.

It is a sensational incitement to body and emotions, a creative roller coaster which never dips below the exceptional on its way to setting up a hungry anticipation for the rest of the album. The title track is the first to feed that greed, its first touch rugged in riffs and beats but seductive in keys sculpted melodies. That evolves into a more expansive and less hostile landscape, though there is still a busy imposing air to the encounter. Guitars proceed to cast a sonic weave of enterprise and melodic tenacity across the still sinew driven terrain whilst the bass at times almost ventures into a post punk repetition and invention which, along with spicy grooves and vocal savagery, brings fresh character and intrigue to the enthralling track.

Both Fidelity and Caligae A Galea keep the creative and satisfaction levels high, the first stalking ears with a predatory attitude and gait but one fired in sonic invention and seductively inhospitable toxicity. As its predecessor, the track ripples with eclectic textures and imagination soaked ideation, defying expectations and binding eager attention from start to finish. It’s almost exhausting revelry and bold tapestry of sound is swiftly matched by the second of the pair. Opening on a heroic groove, its lure potent caped crusader like coaxing, the song growls and prowls with infectious charm and intimidation. There is a menace to it which Tedham’s craft can only wrap not defuse and Dorge’s grizzled tones easily accentuate. The song is soon providing an addictive canvas of sound which maybe is death metal based but just as pungently entwines a mass of flavoursome tendrils from the likes of noise and psyche rock to post punk and progressive metal. It is a stunning protagonist for ears and incessant lust for the passions.

The album’s pinnacle is followed by the enchanting instrumental Dream of Nothing, a magnetic and reflective slice of melodic beauty. Dark bass emotions lie easily with the sultry charm of keys whilst rhythmically the song walks with a firm and steady but restrained hand. There are also raw guitar crafted flames which intensify the expressive atmosphere and climate of the song, everything uniting for an immersive emprise of sound and imagination. The track also brings respite for the senses though they are soon under demanding pressure as the punk fired assault of The Immortal takes over. For all its ferocity and abrasing presence, it is another song unafraid to spring a web of melodic and expressive beauty in its successful trapping of ears and attention, and though in many ways it takes longer to persuade than elsewhere, it emerges as a simultaneously bitter and warm buffeting to devour with greed.

The final two tracks upon Somnia might not quite match up to their earlier companions, but each leaves no second or note unattended by the listener’s fullest attention. First up Predictions (Tide Bearer) rages and bristles with a merciless graze of sonic bad blood and vocal malevolence, a hostility which wears down the senses with its bruising but still flirts with the occasional melodic seducing. The tracks unrelenting pressure is followed by the exceptional majesty of final track Invaders, a song which sums up the album with its eclectic stock of sounds and spellbinding ideas within a virulent and concussive antipathy. The song is another intoxicating proposition leaving the listener basking in unique temptation and ready to share the glory of album and band.

Somnia just gets stronger and more impressive over time, shown by the fact that listening to it again whilst writing this, there are more reasons to argue against the earlier thought that the album is not as startling throughout as in particular certain moments. That gap closes with each venture, proving this is an album wanting more time than most to really reveal all of its consistent thick rewards and that Laika is a band with the potential to sit beside the ranks of Insomnium, Dark Tranquillity, and Amon Amarth.

Somnia is available now via Filth Regime Records and @ http://laikawpg.bandcamp.com/album/somnia

https://www.facebook.com/LaikaOfficial

RingMaster 23/10/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

http://audioburger247.webs.com/