Violation Wound – Self-Titled

violation wound pic

The fact that Violation Wound is the brainchild of Chris Reifert, a musician who has been a major genre shaping instigator through Death, Abscess, and Autopsy alone, is enough to make his new proposition a must investigation. The fact that it and its self-titled debut album is a rigorously exciting and enjoyable fury is an extra unbridled bonus.

Violation Wound is Reifert creating a dirty uncompromising brawl of punk rock and metal with hardcore ferocity, a sound and release which finds its seeds in old school punk/HC whilst forging its own distinctive voice. It is not a sound which rips up templates but certainly one which makes Violation Wound a fresh and viciously attention grabbing prospect. Reifert formed the band in 2013, the response to an ‘itch’ to play traditional pissed off punk rock. Moving from his usual position behind the drums to guitar and vocals, he enlisted friend and ex- Fog of War bassist Joe Orterry and current Fog of War drummer Matt O’Connell into the idea and band. The trio set to work creating and uncaging their punk ferocity which is perfectly caged within the album. Also featuring guest appearances from Autopsy guitarists Danny Coralles and Eric Cutler, the release like its sound is as raw and honest as it comes. The production is minimal in many ways and also as raw as it comes, allowing the heart, passion, and hostility to songs to breathe without restraint. The album plays like a collection of tracks brought together from different times or recordings, acting with an almost ‘fly on the wall’ like presence over a torrent of live performances. You feel and smell the sweat and aggression in the songs; immerse in their primal essence and emotion as they roar at the world. It is not a release for those without an appetite for the origins of punk in its most vicious guises, but for those where fire in the belly burns with vicious causticity, it is a must.

The album starts with a ferocious bang, opener Don’t Believe It a fire of abrasive riffs and crunchy rhythms over which Reifert snarls and violation wound coverart growls out the lyrics. Sex Pistols like hooks also sears the oppressively raw encounter, adding to the instantly contagious lure of the song. It is a tremendous start, especially with a great expulsion of guitar enterprise towards its conclusion, which leaves the next up Eyes Red And White in its wake. To be fair the track flies at the jugular with jaws clenched ready to rip out the throat of the senses for another riveting and blistering thrill but it is unfortunate to be sandwiched between the strong starter and the excellent Seeing Scars. At even at this point assumptions are set for the feel and voice of the album which the third song pleasingly confirms with its caustic graze of sonic hostility, vocal maliciousness, and rhythmic predation.

It all makes for a formidable and compelling entrance by the band swiftly put into context by the brilliant Glue Trap. Again riffs and rhythms are just a crescendo of vitriolic energy and intent to lay down an appetising canvas. A base which is then dealt exhaustive exploits of heavily throated grooves, spiteful hooks, and a flame of harmonica toxicity. It is barely over one minute of classic punk mayhem, a mix of Circle Jerks and The Exploited with just a touch of Stiff Little Fingers and quite outstanding.

Band and album continue to excite and impress in varying degrees, the likes of the Dead Kennedys sounding Everywhere is Nowhere with its irresistible niggling barbed hook and anthemic chorus and the surely Motorhead inspired rock ‘n’ roller Brian In A Sling casting new infestations into thoughts and passions whilst tracks such as the emotionally grizzled metal fuelled In My Veins and The Ramones kissed Disposable Soul without reaching similar heights still inspire and ignite a greedy hunger with their sonic and muscular vehemence. To be honest there is not one track which does not leave an invigorating and lingering mark, the depth of the savage rancor and occasionally the raw production helping choose some tracks over others as favourites, as well as of course the richness of hooks and shapely riffs, but all songs easily spark new strains of greed towards the album.

Bigger highlights of the album come in the eye balling intense Disconnection and the ridiculously catchy Complaint Box, a song which in fifty two seconds simultaneously bewitches and ravages ears through to emotions like a dangerously peeved tornado. Their triumphs though as soon exceeded by the abrasing animus of Off The Rails and the even stronger alienation of Circle of Wounds, a track where discord and anthemic potency align for a mouthwatering slice of brutal invention.

Brought to a potently solid and enthralling close by the lethal punk croon of Learn and Burn and the heavier rock bruising of Nothing To Say, the album is an excellent bridge to old school punk and modern ferocity which sparks an anticipation of much more from the band, hopefully this not a one off project. Flaws on the album, if they can be classed as real issues, is the production which meanders too much across the songs and as evidenced by the last two tracks, at times there is a too close a similarity between some tracks. That though is more than anything just finding something to temper the enthusiastic recommendation we can only make to all wanting honest merciless punk rock.

Violation Wound is available via Vic Records @ http://www.vicrecords.com/ now!

www.facebook.com/Violationwound

9/10

RingMaster 27/05/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

 

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Rubella Ballet – Planet Punk

RB

It is probably fair to say that most punks know the history of, impact, and importance to the genre UK’s Rubella Ballet has made since forming at a Crass gig in 1979. Built around the nucleus of Sid Truelove and Zillah Minx the band brought intensive colour musically and visually to an anarcho/gothic punk scene. Their subsequent course saw the band perform two John Peel sessions and release from the first dramatic Ballet Bag cassette only unleashing of 1981, a trio of albums, and a mass of singles and 12” encounters as well as numerous collections. Live the band toured and supported the likes of Crass, Death Cult, and the Poison Girls amongst a great many whilst helping upcoming bands such as Ritual, Sex Gang Children, Ausgang, and Skeletal Family. As said most know the background to Rubella Ballet and their presence, the band summed up recently as, “They were the band who bridged the gaps between The Sex Pistols, X Ray Spex, and Crass.”

That is history though, important but belongs to the past. What is relevant to the now is the release of their new album Planet Punk, the first release of new material since 1986’s album If, an album declared by the majority as their finest moment. That was until the uncaging of Planet Punk, a quite extraordinary and fascinating provocation which sits boldly on the frontline of the pinnacle of punk releases in recent years. A release which provokes thought, passions, and feet like an ingenious puppeteer; a sonic devil which sits on the shoulder inciting and teasing until it has wormed under the skin and is riding the psyche in an irrepressibly diverse punk rodeo. Sid Truelove and Zillah Minx have conjured one of the most riveting and invigorating rebellions to sit alongside the likes of the recent Steve Ignorant with Paranoid Visions album When…? and the new Waging War full-length from The Duel as important propositions within punk rock.

From the opening title track the London band and release strikes at the heart of world and social wrongs, the like of banks, the illuminate, RB coverand the Hillsborough Stadium disaster amongst many things under a spotlight in the fifteen track creative tempest. The songs never preach and shove opinions down the throat though, just inform, inspire, and give their own premise. The first song instantly takes the listener and imagination back to the band’s early days, its old school stomp and breath a pervading suasion entwined with middle finger bred grooves and combative vocals which have a modern day eyeballing maturity. With sharp hooks and fiery dynamics, the song is a glorious spark to set Planet Punk off, its title track an instant trigger to the agonist dormant in us all.

The excellent start is swiftly matched and pushed to a new plateau by both All Potential Terrorists and Run Run. The first, spawned by 9/11, thrusts angry riffs and rapacious rhythms at the ear as the magnetic tones of Minx ripple with intensity and antagonism. Clad in contagious resourceful sounds, the track rampages irresistibly but then twists the scenery into a delicious darker incitement as Truelove adds his vocal suasion into a mix now coursing with warnings and sirens as well as startling enterprise. It is hard uncompromising rock ‘n’ roll at its best, guitars flaming with a reserved yet bright flame within the imposing scenario. Its successor stalks and prowls around its victims, the banks. Again samples as in the previous pair colour the landscape, their information courted by throaty basslines and predatory riffs which Minx manipulates further with her vocal confrontations. There is a raw air to the song; every aspect ablaze with a caustic glaze which only adds to the narrative whilst within the unrelenting menace the essences of bands like Fatal Microbes and The Molesters only enhances the pleasure.

The album continues to get stronger and more dramatically thrilling as each track infests senses and imagination, the next up Killuminati climbing another step with its voracious heavily weighted riffs which ooze ravenous hunger. The rhythms are just as full of rabidity but as ears succumb to their pressure the band suddenly explodes with a kaleidoscope of invention and ingenuity, the imposing Truelove vocal lead joined by soaring flumes of Minx’s symphonic seduction. At its core the track is an antagonistic brawl but with all the riveting twists of invention now at play equally soaked in the predation which drives the song from the start, the encounter is one of those moments you can only use the word classic for.

The bewitching Pandora’s Box has its designs on that mantel too, and achieves it with a sirenesque portentous hymn. It is a song which seduces and slowly swarms all over senses and passions, a mix of Siouxsie and The Banshees and The Duel, but as in all cases any references are just a hint to the startling originality. The album’s greatest offering, the track is as sinister and compelling as the science it is prowling, Minx at her glorious whilst the songwriting and invention of the band could be best described in literary terms as Frankenstein meets Something Wicked This Way Comes.

Both the equally chilling and ominously glazed Anonymous and the insatiable Hellbilly Heroin fire up body and emotions next, the first a captivating slice of bleak cyber punk and its successor, a track seemingly looking at Truelove’s own health problems and issues with drugs, their effect and ownership, is a honest and uncomplicated punk rock roar which pulls no punches. Both songs without matching the previous tracks, a level always going to be hard to maintain, easily ignite another wave of hunger in the appetite for the album which Bio Hazard instantly reinforces with its accusing web of sonic enterprise aligned to the temptress tones of Minx, its bait and lyrical canvas enthralling.

Through the absorbing stark infectious lure of Silver Or Lead, a song with aspects of calling All Astronauts to its presence, and the heavy rock smog of Wonderful Life, the album continues to find new impressive ways to light the passions, the second of the pair an incitement thick in intensity and robustly smothering sound which is speared and lit with the oppression tempering croon of Minx. It is a mouthwatering intimidating mix which is equalled in success by the coarse pop punk vivacity of You’ll Be Sorry and then the crunchy charred sound of Sedition. Both tracks in their unique ways embroil sounds of the late seventies and modern multi-flavoured punk into an irresistible uncompromising proposition. It is fair to say that the album is not as strong in its latter stages as its blisteringly inventive start, the songs at this point, more direct and straightforward then strikingly dramatic but still wholly addictive.

The final trio of songs are a mixed bag starting off with the outstanding Victory For The Victims. The imposing heavy bass within seconds flicks the switch to return the imagination to the heights which opened the album, quickly contradicting our just mentioned thought at that point. It is a minimalistic song in many ways looking at Hillsborough, but stunningly effective as it enslaves and invigorates thoughts and emotions. Its triumph is then matched by the brilliant Vampire Wedding, a dark gothic waltz equipped with Sister Of Mercy like rhythmic seduction and Sunglasses After Dark shadows which is then transformed further with bloodlusting angelic charm and vocal imagination.

The album concludes with Starship Transporter, a spatial flight of acidic colour and celestial sonic weaves narrated by Minx. It is a decent enough song but fails to come anywhere near the other tracks on the album though admittedly it still makes a provocative and skilfully sculpted end to an exceptionally tantalising and thrilling release. There may be a vast amount of time between new material but Rubella Ballet has not been resting on laurels instead designing and honing an evolution of presence and sound which in so many ways sets a new template for punk bands and fans to been inspired by. Planet Punk is the band’s best release with ease and a definite album of the year contender.

Planet Punk is available via Overground Records on all formats now!

https://www.facebook.com/rubellaballet

9.5/10

RingMaster 26/05/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Johnny Kowalski and The Sexy Weirdos – Kill The Beast

JK cover

How best to describe the sound of Johnny Kowalski and The Sexy Weirdos which runs virulently threw the veins of new album Kill The Beast. Well if you take a fusion of Tankus The Henge and Gogol Bordello and spice it up with healthy doses of Les Négresses Vertes, The Pogues and Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers, you get a fair flavouring of the fun found within the band’s second full-length. The ten track release is a magnetic energetic party of varied sounds and flavours brewed into the band’s own riveting “carnival punk” proposition, it one rigorously exciting and enjoyable encounter. Essences of gypsy punk, ska, swing, and straight forward punk also add to the irrepressibly captivating mix, the result a wonderful deranged waltz of unpredictable adventure.

Johnny Kowalski and the Sexy Weirdos spent their early years honing and shaping their sound on the live arena before unveiling debut album Victory for the Monsters in the October of 2012. Acclaimed the release was followed by the band striking out on tour across France, Belgium, Germany, and the Czech Republic, again to strong and eager responses. Returning to Europe again last year, the Birmingham based band courted the passion of countries such as Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg in the course of their next tour, whilst appearances at festival such as Boomtown, Y Not, Tramlines, Nozstock, Wychwood, and Swingamajig as well as a third European excursion has only strengthened their presence and reputation, breeding strong anticipation for their new album. Produced by Gavin Monaghan (Editors, The Destroyers, Robert Plant), Kill the Beast seizes attention from its first breath refusing to release its hold until the final note of the last song. It is a release which like all punk bred incitements, which it really is in so many ways, the album challenges and thrills with mischief and antagonistic wantonness, rewarding with a feel good factor other bands can only imagine.

Nailbiter starts things off and is instantly throwing its body through ears, revelling in its boisterous energy as brass inflames the air and rhythms march resourcefully over the senses. Eventually settling into a more controlled yet still rebellious stride with a sultry mystique to its evolving sound, the song seduces and incites the imagination with the violin of John-Joe Murray a potent lure within the strong rhythmic frame provided by drummer Matthew Osborne and bassist Chris Yates. A devious swagger breaks out from within the captivating stomp, the guitar of Kowalski stirring things up before his raw vocals add to the striking dance. There is a fairground barker drama to his delivery, expelling forcibly the narrative as strings and brass colour the scenery further, the trombone croon of Ellie Chambers and trumpeting pouts of Simon Noons rich hues to immerse within. Building up to an explosive crescendo which wickedly never materialises, the track is a glorious start to the album setting a high bar for the other songs to match.

The following When the Time Comes makes a worthy attempt, growing potently from its reserved opening stroll with flumes of brass warming a rhythmic scattering and the more reserved delivery of Kowalski. It is a spicy romp, which like a smouldering temptress sways and swerves with melodic curves and energetic tendencies over the senses, teasing with its seductive nature. It does not match its predecessor’s heights but still leaves emotions and ears enraptured as the Tequila Song stands poised to inflame their ardour once again. As you can probably imagine from the title the song is a festival in the ear; liquor kissed revelry which stomps with rhythmic knees high and infectious melodies bordering on salaciousness. The brass again almost taunts with their evocative blasts, adding to the mischief breeding every note and syllable uncaged by Kowalski and the backing shouts of Osbourne and Murray.

Next up Question the Answers strides with a rhythmic tantalising courted by a great throaty bass lure and punctuated by again fiery stabs of brass. There is a sense of unrest to the sound and feel of the song, a troubled sigh locking onto the rigid contagious press of rhythms. As vocals and subsequently violin bring their unique flavours to the developing evocative landscape, the track absorbs attention and appetite, twists of guitar and acidic stringed invention spearing the enveloping premise. The track is more restrained and arguably straight forward than the earlier tempests of adventure but no less gripping, much like Same Mistakes which swiftly adds its bold canter to the terrain of the release. Again it is a more reined in protagonist but with plenty to engage the ears if without sparking the same strength of fire in the passions as certainly the first and third song.

The excellent folk/gypsy vaunt of Raggle-Taggle Gypsy comes next to bring a traditional treat with a sense of the Pogues to its exhaustive imagination infesting polka before making way for the instrumental ‘shanty’ of What Shall We Do With a Blonde?, another track which lifts spirits and feet like a maniacal puppeteer for the fullest of pleasures. The album sees the additional dark charm of the tuba from David Yates across its body, and here he is at his exhilarating best perfectly matched by the mouthwatering skill of Murray.

     Another major treat comes with the carnival-esque sortie of That’s the One, brass and violin casting a picture of circus swing which the expressive vocals and gypsy punk spawned heart of rhythms and guitar paint in their own rich textures. In its full stride the song is an addictive tempting which as others steals control of feet and soul but it is not maintained throughout to the same potent effect leaving the listener feeling the song missed an indefinable trick somewhere. It is still a vivaciously pleasing track which the punkish The Good Shark builds from. Like The Clash meets Mano Negro in many ways, the song is a feverish provocateur which impresses and excites even more when from its fire flailing romp it hits a vein of dub/ska haunting sparking that Strummer and Co reference and thoughts of Ruts too. Finishing on the same brash and vigorous exploit it started with, the track is a wonderful slab of fun.

The title track brings the album to a strong hypnotic close with plucked violin strings around a resonating beat immediate bait and trap to devour greedily. That enticement is soon accentuated as Murray spreads the charm of his craft pushing deeper the core temptation of the song. The track as it explores its walls has a feel of Dizraeli and The Small Gods, not so much in sound but the way the song is constructed and blossomed, though the guest vocal skat of Call Me Unique itself holds some similarity to the other band’s Cate Ferris. It is a maelstrom of sound and imagination providing a final blast of fun and adventure to a tremendous album.

     Kill the Beast is a scintillating treat which even in its less lofty moments still leaves appetite and emotions raging. Johnny Kowalski and The Sexy Weirdos are the minstrels of ‘Body Snatching Carnival Punk’ and if coming to a graveside near you are well worth gripping tightly on to.

Kill The Beast is available now@ http://sexyweirdos.bandcamp.com/album/kill-the-beast-2

http://www.sexyweirdos.co.uk/

9/10

RingMaster 26/05/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Castor Troy – Across The Water

Castor Troy Online Promo Shot

Over the course of this review there will be a wealth of reasons supporting the whole hearted recommendation of Across The Water, the debut album from UK rockers Castor Troy, but with just one reservation which is it lacks the spark to ignite the passions. Certainly there are times where appetite drools eagerly but these are scattered moments within certainly an impressive and enjoyable yet merely simmering landscape. Undoubtedly it is a personal thing which is why we heartily suggest a b-line for the album is taken by fans of heavily boned and rigorously punchy alternative rock. As suggested there is little to throw against the nine track encounter worth a skirting around of its presence, its songs thoughtfully and skilfully composed and delivered with individual craft as vibrant as the passion which drives its heart, but there is just that one niggle that it is missing something.

Consisting of four school friends, Castor Troy began in the middle of 2012 in Newcastle upon Tyne and has taken only a short time to make their presence known and eagerly followed by fans across the North of England. The quartet has drawn comparisons to bands such as Alterbridge, While She Sleeps, and Alexisonfire but for a first plus about the release, it is hard as the album fills thoughts and emotions to really find an equivalent to the band. Though their sound is not so distinct as to be shouting from the rooftops it is a proposition which leaves the band with an individual presence from the pack.

The Sam Grant produced release opens with Chapter One, an atmospheric instrumental which casts a sonic mist over ears before a Castor Troy Cover Artworkmelodic haze paints an evocative if underwhelming scenery. There are little hues like the vibrant picking of the guitar and erupting sonic flames which spark enough intrigue to have attention keen before welcoming Winter Lights which flows seamlessly from the climate of the opening piece. With bold rhythms and brash riffs courting the ear first, it is an instantly appealing suasion, one enhanced by the great lead vocals of rhythm guitarist Benn Gibson. His voice has a hint of gravel and a full wash of emotive expression which has little problem lighting ears as sounds work away on the imagination. Soaring melodies, heated passion, and a rhythmic tempting engage senses and thoughts from start to finish but epitomising the album as a whole it lacks the fuse to reap the fullest reactions and ardour it probably deserves. It is strange as raging crescendos and earnest expulsions of passion only lift the song to greater heights across its body but certainly for these ears something indefinable is smouldering rather than burning feverishly within the song.

The following Undivided though is a different beast, a major triumph on the release which almost alone reveals the potential and fire that is still to be explored within the band. Riffs from the first second have a snarl and crackle to their voice which immediately grips, a hold soon reinforced by the dark shadows offered by the bass of Joey Dryden and antagonistic rhythms from drummer Chris Gilks. Standing boldly above all of this are the vocals of Gibson whilst beneath him intensity begins to boil as those earlier riffs take on a carnivorous aspect as lead guitarist Michael Fulcher sculpts a web of sharp sonic netting. Despite its predatory intent there is plenty of room for melodic endeavour to also flame and seduce, its presence almost tempering the aggression as it eventually evolves into a rampant stroll of heavy weight rock which again twists and entwines with the many designs of the song. This is another big attribute of Castor Troy, creating songs which defy predictability and keep attention and imagination alive even if emotions have yet to find the same depth of submission.

Nineteen next brings another twist and diverse episode in the album, its semi-acoustic entrance of guitar and vocal a seducing caress where the voice of Gibson really shines. He may not be destined to be put in the list of classic vocalist but he is one of the more interesting and extremely listenable to have emerged in recent years. With floating harmonies and crystalline shards of additional melodic guitar graced by a dark throated bass line, the song from a strong first showing evolves over time into another big highlight of the album, its broad band crowded closing stretch bringing a potent finale before the piano led instrumental Infatuation engages ears. The piece is a melancholic reflection which as the first track, is masterfully crafted and presented but underwhelms a little, though it is hindered by being between its brilliant predecessor and the excellent title track. Like Undivided, the song strides purposefully across the heaviest side of the band’s sound and passion, riffs and rhythms a rapacious treat around which Fulcher colours air and the muscular canvas with evocative flames of sonic invention. For some reason, and it has to be said not for the first time on the album, Castor Troy remind of nineties rock band Skyscraper even though sound wise they are very different. Merging aggression with emotive elegance, the track is an enthralling adventure which again in itself holds all you need to know to feel that the band can be a potent and important protagonist ahead.

Both Jenny 23 and This Is Not…. impress without finding that essence which made the last song leap into ears and passions so effectively. The first is deeply passionate in sound, intensity, and delivery whilst the second is melodically tender which is emulated in the vocals and its emotionally sultry breath as well, and both are beautifully presented but neither find the same formula to excite, though to be fair the album’s penultimate song is another which grows and flourishes given time to become a compelling joy over time.

Closing with the thoroughly enjoyable and rivetingly textured The Condemned, a track which right away found a hunger for it with an opening melodic coaxing which reminded of Julian Cope’s Spacehopper before evolving into a different kind of invigorating incitement, Across The Water is an undeniably captivating and impressive introduction to Castor Troy. There is so much to praise about the album and very little to find issue with but that most important ability to excite us means it is more potential in waiting than realisation, though you can only feel that the band will be succeeding in lighting a fire in our belly at some point as they evolve and grow.

The self-released Across The Water is available now!

www.facebook.com/castortroyuk

8/10

RingMaster 26/05/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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MiXE1 – Starlit Skin

Starlit Skin

The Lights Out EP last year confirmed the kind of evolution undergoing within the music of UK electro rockers MiXE1 whilst also hinting at the potential of the band’s impending and eagerly anticipated debut album. Uncaged June 1st, Starlit Skin shows that those suggestions were strong and truthful whispers to its new and enthralling tempest. Originally the band started as a solo project by vocalist/songwriter Mike Evan, a ‘soft spoken’ proposition which caressed and seduced the senses whilst growing in strength and stature not forgetting reputation with every release. Now with the album as its evidence, the Hatfield trio without losing any of its mesmeric passion and floating melodic persuasion has transformed into a snarling bordering on ravenous provocateur of synth rock.

Starlit Skin is a masterful encounter which plays like an eye of a storm, its evocative peace and radiant beauty encircled by a tempestuous incitement of intimidating guitars and imposing rhythms encased in a turbulence of passion and intensity. In hindsight you can see its triumph was an inevitable landmark on a continuing journey but at first touch it is a surprising and dramatic proposition which swiftly has hunger bred and intrigue lit for its emotive adventure. It is a striking flight for the band which began in 2010 as mentioned with Evans (ex-guitarist of alt-metal band Broken Butterfly X). Experimenting with electronics aligned to his smoothly lying and emotionally expressive vocals, Evans released debut EP Module 01 to strong reactions especially sparked by the eagerly devoured track Breathe. Linking up with Static Distortion Records, the Module 02 EP followed in 2012 again to eager acclaim as the richly personal songs showed a growth in confidence, maturity, and sound. It also marked the start of a more aggressive essence to MiXE1 epitomised by This Is Not Goodbye, a song which became a firm favourite with fans and the underground media. That same year the band expanded with Evans bringing in guitarist Lee Towson and drummer Lee O’Brien (formerly of Indie-Rock band Load), the move the signpost to the exploration of a rawer rock element to the band’s music. The Lights Out EP provided potent signs of that evolution but against Starlit Skin, was just a mere suggestion which is now vivaciously vocal in the eleven track all-out electronic rock encounter.

The album opens with a warning, a declaration of a wide spread evacuation which opens the way for voracious riffs and rampaging rhythms to charge down the scenery, sinews resonating and nostrils flaring as Talking In Our Sleep explodes in the ear. Immediately gripping the band’s new single soon settles into a more ordered gait upon which Evans unveils his vocals and narrative. His voice is as melodic and warm as ever but certainly caught in the thrust of the energy around him. As the track expands with Evans’ synths shaping the atmosphere as both Towson and O’Brien keep on their sturdy course, the track brings thoughts of Ghost In The Static meets Johnny Wore Black. Its chorus is pure infectious virulence, an anthemic call flush with enticing melodies perfectly contrasted and accentuated by a guttural growl which creeps in the vocals, all creating a roaring moment to craft a climactic treat within the otherwise compelling body of the impressive opener.

Break You Down swaggers in next, keys and guitars weaving a transfixing yet intimidating dark haze to which Evans croons magnetically whilst again slipping in the caustic squalls as introduced in its predecessor. Riffs and hooks capture the imagination as much as the melodic breezes evocatively colouring the intensive breath of the track, each combining for an easily accessible but unpredictable incitement. Though the natural warm delivery of Evans is the lead lure to songs, the use of abrasive textures and expulsions in his voice is an inspired and exciting twist which is matched and coaxed eagerly by the guitars and rhythms.

Both the emotive We’ve Changed and the following title track keep the imagination thrilled whilst offering new diversity to the release. The first soars across the senses with elegant charm and invasive melodies framed by a muscular appetite, though one happy to simply skirt the sultry smouldering heart of the absorbing personal venture whilst its successor explores a slight eighties synth pop spice within its reflective melodic wrap around the senses. There is a tint of Modern English and Depeche Mode to the song which only enhances its poetic wash of sound and expression, whilst again with more restraint than the first song it brings crescendos which infectiously grip and inflame thoughts and emotions.

The next up Plug Me In Tonight with its discordant brew of electronic agitation and probing within a mist of melodramatic synths makes a promising entrance but one which whilst growing into a thought provoking canvas lacks the impact and spark which caught ablaze within the previous songs. Nevertheless it has attention and appetite healthily poised for the pleasing electronic stomp of Here, a song with techno tendencies and synth pop revelry. It is another where the chorus recruits the listener’s feet and vocal chords, though around these moments the track’s shadows are more of a portentous breath, which Towson lights up with his invention, than an incitement to dance. It makes for a richly satisfying and appealing fusion which is then put in the shade by the bordering on antagonistic Image. Thumping rhythms and voracious hues assault first as keys spot their provocation with electronic shards before without losing its stalking ferocity the track opens with the continually impressive tones of Evans and fiery strikes of guitar imagination. It is a tremendous web of invention which instantly has ears gripped and passions sparking. The best track on the album it is unrelenting in its force, invention, and predacious hunger whilst providing a bewitching landscape of thought and imagination.

The Show takes the raw rapacious side of its predecessor to new levels whilst merging it as expected with mouthwatering melodies and vocals courted by electronic sunspot. Riffs and rhythms seem bestial as the synths seduce and smooch their evocative colours upon the senses, thoughts of The Browning freeing themselves in some ways to the predation. It is another glorious pinnacle showing the depths and suggesting the potential of the band still to be fully explored and exposed which All 4 U in its own distinct way supports. It is not as potent as certainly the previous two tracks but employs all of the already unveiled strengths of the album in another captivating storm, though the truly guttural vocal spewing which occasionally erupt arguably do not work. It is the beauty and the beast delivery from Evans which is an unbridled success for us not the demonic causticity, his voice just too nice to succeed.

Airwaves brings the album to an excellent absorbing and emotionally haunting end, though there is a decent enough Beat Version of Talking In Our Sleep as a bonus track with great female vocals from Amie Morandarte-Evans for extra spice. Starlit Skin is a commandingly impressive and thrilling encounter; a major step forward for MiXE1 but one suggesting there is still plenty more to come, a rigorously and irrepressibly exciting thought for us and the electro rock scene.

Starlit Skin is available @ http://mixe1.bandcamp.com/album/starlit-skin

www.mixe1.com

Check out an interview with MiXE1 @ http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/08/05/brewing-melodic-fire-an-interview-with-mixe1/

9.5/10

RingMaster 25/05/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Arcania – Dreams Are Dead

Arcania pic

It is hard to know how much of a secret or renowned French band Arcania is in their homeland but outside their borders it is probably fair to say that the quartet is still an undiscovered treat. But that could and should be about to change with the release of their striking second album Dreams Are Dead. A stirring and thrilling brew of multi-flavoured thrash with just as rich essences of progressive metal aligned to darker extreme tendencies, the twelve track creative riot has the potential and weaponry to thrust the band into a far brighter and wider focus. It is a proposition which offers enjoyable familiarity but also inspiring and refreshing invention to make it stand out from the crowd. It is an album which though not flawless also gets more addictive and anthemic with each and every encounter giving evidence to Arcania being one of the really exciting emerging propositions.

The band began in 1999, formed by vocalist/guitarist Cyril Peglion, bassist Guillaume Rossard, and drummer Gabriel Georgelin. A couple of demos followed as the band grew in presence but it was dealt a devastating blow with the tragic death of Georgelin. The trio regrouped and decided to carry on, their debut self-titled EP being released in 2004 to great responses. Numerous line-up changes occurred over the years before in 2008 guitarist Nicolas Alberny joined the band which was followed by the recording and release of first album Sweet Angel Dust a year later. Again the release was well-received and led to the band sharing stages with the likes of Gorod, Kronos, Trepalium, Ultra Vomit, Black Bomb, and Born From Pain as well as playing festivals such as Hellfest 2012, ), Motocultor, Hell’Oween Fest, and Les Metallurgicalles. The departure in 2012 of Alberny to join Gorod saw the entry of Niko Beleg into the band, the line-up which entered the studio last year to record Dreams Are Dead.

The album’s Intro is as so many other bands seem to open up their albums with, an orchestrated epically rising portentous piece of music and very appetising; a start which despite its lack of originality brings a twinge of excitement and anticipation to an already awoken appetite. Its chilling haunted close is instantly swamped by the fiery start of Watch us dying, guitars and rhythms launching themselves at ears with urgent voracity. The track immediately has attention enslaved and senses under-siege before settling into a more ordered sonic and rhythmic tirade driven by the excellent vocals of Peglion, his great tones almost sand like in texture and invasiveness. The energy and attack of the encounter never relents in force and hunger yet embraces inventive guitar enterprise and a great almost schizophrenic design from the drums of Olivier. Arguably there is nothing new on offer but boy is the track gripping as it sets up the listener for the brilliance of next up Rise and never fall and the album as a whole.

The third track also has no intentions on making a gentle coaxing, every element of the band and sound cascading down upon the senses Arcania-Dreams-Are-Dead1-e1398358060555like an avalanche. Virulently seductive grooves wind from within the invigorating tempest alongside wiry hooks and shorter lures from the guitars. It is a rigorously magnetic enticement beneath an exacting tsunami of rhythms which as the vocals unveil their narrative, ignites the imagination like a mix of Slayer and Bloodsimple. Peglion mixes up his delivery throughout though saving the best of his lures for the roaring chorus which is led into by a great guttural expelling of malevolence. Musically the track matches his delivery in crescendos and potency but adds compelling flames of sonic invention and more of those deviously addictive grooves. It is a glorious track and no surprise that it is the one leading most into band and album right now through its video.

The following Face in the Mirror has a darker breath and face to its initial provocation but one which is tempered by restrained but certainly predatory riffs and melodic intrigue. The chorus as with its predecessor’s, provides an anthemic contagion whilst the twisting landscape of the track enthrals and sparks thoughts as a new wave of hunger hits passions already lit by the album. Its reinforcing of the strengths of band and album already impressively paraded is matched by Dreams are dead, whose arguably stronger progressive intent and adventure brings further rich hues to the release. Though not always given as much clarity as in this track, the technical aspect of the sound across the album is as riveting as all the other inciting colours and here forges an almost mesmeric temptation within the storm of the forcibly evocative song.

Another pinnacle is sculpted with next up Inside the crowd, a blistering suasion which from its fiery and earthy start suddenly whips out impossibly infectious and addictive strains of guitar forged toxins. They are honed into delicious short grooves courted by climactic riffs which in turn are aligned to ridiculously catchy and anthemic vocals from Peglion and the band. The track continues to pull out twists and turns across its scintillating creative body, each move unpredictable but seamlessly masterful and soaked in contagion whether marching with almost military precision over the senses or unveiling an atmospheric elegance and emotive expression. There are moments the track brings thoughts of October File to mind but it is a wholly unique track which takes best song honours

The breath-taking instrumental Dreams end all days floats in next to show another impressive element to the band and its songwriting. Nearing eleven minutes the piece is a mouthwatering adventure giving the imagination and emotions a wealth of melodic colours to paint their own evocative canvases with, to which the guitars add their poetically skilful and inspiring hints. For personal tastes the song is too long for where it is upon the album as before its finale you are locked in an urge to investigate the next track. It would have made a sensational closer for the album but with another instrumental waiting there, it is where it is.

Both Suffering for an answer and Scar in our mind keep things burning brightly for Dreams Are Dead though neither matches what comes before them. The first of the two carries a slight Testament feel to its more melodic classic metal air, within which vocals and the whole design of the track from rampaging rhythms and throaty bass enticing to the constantly developing weave of guitar emprise captivates. It lacks the same unpredictable element though which pushed earlier songs into something startling but despite its really annoying fade-out the song is a richly pleasing encounter. Its successor rides a thunderous tirade of beats before the guitars unleash ear smothering flames of caustically melodic rapacity, a proposition which again deeply satisfies without lighting fires.

The closing Days ends all dreams is a sultry smouldering finale to the release, again impressive in its craft and expression but easily second best to Dreams end all days. Personally putting it aside for another release, though it makes a good book end to the intro, and closing with the first instrumental would have been more successful. Nevertheless it makes no difference to the success and immense pleasure unleashed by Dreams Are Dead, the album a powerful wake-up call to the world to the presence and might of Arcania.

Dreams are dead is available via Great Dane Records now!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/ARCANIA/214904209725

8.5/10

RingMaster 23/05/2014

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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Fleshdoll – Feeding The Pigs

Fleshdoll pic

If you like your death metal voraciously brutal and old school bred but with the balls to twist that template to its own devious ends, oh also with a tongue firmly in someone’s cheek at times, then Feeding The Pigs from French metallers Fleshdoll is one recommendation to definitely check up on. The third album from the Toulouse quintet is not a proposition sculpting something new or scarcely trodden before but for uncompromising yet mischievously adventurous extreme hostility, it is a thoroughly contagious and satisfyingly exhausting protagonist.

Formed in 2001, it was the band’s debut album [w.o.a.r.g] five years later which really awoke the French underground metal scene to the arising presence and force of Fleshdoll. Released via French label Thundering Records/Manitou Music, the album was well- received and lauded as the band spent their energies playing show after show on the way sharing stages with the likes of Svart Crown, END, Blockheads, and Zubrowska. In 2006 Fleshdoll became the first death metal band to play in Casablanca, bringing their raw spice to the Moroccan scene treading in the line set already by Kreator and Moonspell. The following year second album Animal Factory is uncaged and again the band is garnered in acclaim and attention as they take it on the road, playing with bands such as Malevolent Creation and Loudblast. A line-up change stepped up next before Fleshdoll stepped into the studio with Gorod drummer Samuel Santiago to record Feeding The Pigs. Its triumph has thrust the band into another soaking of eager plaudits and focus, a new spotlight enhanced already this year as they went on tour across France with Loudblast and Benighted, Europe with Resurrection and Cremation, and before that Japan with Vomitory, Beyond Creation, and Defeated Sanity.

The album launches at the listener with its title track, an instantly vicious and ridiculously compelling maelstrom of annihilatory rhythms, Fleshdoll coverguitar violations, and vocal predation. Into that delicious hellish mix sharp and short acid spewing grooves infest the psyche to further spawn eager rapture. It is an immediate enslavement as the rhythms settle into a controlled prowl whilst still making the most intensive demands and threats alongside a devilish swagger which drives the vocals and guitar enterprise. It is an extraordinary track, one as suggested in regard to the album, not necessarily breaking boundaries but certainly caging the essence of the genre in a virulently infectious and explosively incendiary design.

The opener is such a stunning song that certainly for a while the album struggles to match up to its strengths and toxicity though right away both Collateral Murder and A Feast For The Rats give very worthy shots. The first of the two virtually stalks down senses and imagination, its bestial provocation sizing up and crawling all over the ears and emotions whilst rhythms juggle skilfully with their bait whilst the guitars in league with the bass swarm over the listener in horde like fashion but with enough sonic endeavour and creative invention to cast a constantly intriguing premise. Its successor sits back on the tail of urgency initially before twisting its gait and body through persistently changing and unpredictable turns of direction and pace. It also is loaded with impressive craft from guitars and brutality from Santiago but like its predecessor lacks the explosive spark of the first song as well as the vaunt and open smile. Nevertheless the pair healthily feed an already greedy want from the album bred by the title track as too does the following song, The Wolf.

The album’s fourth song lives up to whatever the imagination can conjure for the song name, its vocal roars and the unrelenting jaws of the riffs worrying and tearing at the senses whilst the heavy paws of the bass and crippling swipes of the drums only compound the mouthwatering attack. Spiteful grooves latch onto the charge of the song soon after before its body switches between prowls and all out assaults again and again ensuring expectations have nothing to latch on to and full attention is taken on a feisty captivating ride. The track gets closer to bridging the gap between the starting pinnacle and the rest of the album especially with its fiery hues of the guitar and solos.

Dead Monochrome is a demonic pestilential fury which sears and consumes from its first malevolent breath, a dark venomous scourge complete with deceitful melodic tempting and addiction sculpting grooves which offer respite knowing the rest of the ruinous intent of the protagonist will suffocate any hope. From this point in many ways the album goes through a slight evolution starting with the sinister breathing instrumental The Hollow Men. It is not a big twist in the premise of the release more a stronger investigation of the melodic and adventurous hints shown in A Feast For The Rats but it does bring a slight movement from animalistic intensity to inventive exploration. The Shadow Of A Man right away certainly shows no signs of diminishing its carnivorous appetite, riffs and rhythms uniting for a tunnel of grievous chastisement, but that is subsequently joined by a flood of melodically seeded flumes. As its mass continues to fill ears, the song brings in a rhythmic enticement which in turn moves into an oppressive swamp within which acid running veins expel sonic tempting.

The pair of Ecstatic Random Carnage and King Of Patusan more dramatically bring something distinctly new to the tortuous fun, the first wrapping its savage and imposing weight around the senses before unveiling a weave of furnace bred melodies and psychotic patterns around the gutturally spawned vocals. Imagination is lit right away but given a greater thrill as the song sweeps into a heavyweight passage of invention which is jazzy in its colour and funky in its energy before returning to a keen ravaging of ears and beyond. The second is technical/progressive flavoured metal imagination within a severe and tempestuous domain and again as the previous song easily seduces thoughts, both songs stepping forward to not equal but definitely rival the first peak in the album.

Completed by the excellent North Sentinel Island, an absorbing encounter which can be onerous at one moment and within a single lung’s expulsion seduce with entrancing ambience and beauty, Feeding The Pigs is a thoroughly satisfying and enjoyable intrusion. Certainly Fleshdoll can be compared in varying degrees to the likes of Cannibal Corpse, Napalm Death, Carcass, Bolt Thrower, and Kreator as a reason to check out their album but it shows that the French band is working on forging their own unique path and it is coming along very nicely.

Feeding The Pigs is available via Great Dane Records now!

http://www.fleshdollband.com

8.5/10

RingMaster 23/05/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

http://www.audioburger.com