Oruga – Blackened Souls


There is a chilling honesty to the emotionally destructive sound unleashed within Blackened Souls, the new album from French metallers Oruga; an undisguised ravenously truthful breath which revels in the corrosive melancholy and raw misery which breeds its compelling canvas of sound and intent. Fusing the darkest, heaviest doom sculpted malevolence with the most irritable invasive sludge attrition, Oruga create a tsunami of provocation which leaves mercy and respite as lost in the depths of the overwhelming intensity as the senses they invade and violate. Their new album is not a ground-breaking persuasion, slotting in perfectly with numerous similarly bred releases over recent times but whether many others come close to the emotional ferocity and erosive voracity which breeds their thunderous rhythms and colossal riffery is doubtful.

Formed in 2010, the quintet from Northern France caught wider attention with the release of their self-titled debut last year, its dark ravenous premise the certain base from which Blackened Souls explores further and deeper, uncovering primal layers within raw and cold agonies. Whereas its predecessor found avenues for tempting melodic classic metal lures the new release is a charnel house of stark and harsh emotions, though it too is unafraid to colour its cavernous hunger with riveting adventure. There is also a sense of frustration to every note and vocal roar which seeps from the album, a despair at its heart which intensifies and enlivens chords and syllables with persuasive toxicity. It all makes for a thoroughly compelling incitement which shows Oruga to be a potent emerging force within extreme metal, one deserving of major attention.

Heretics brings the album to bear upon the senses first, its opening tide of sonic ravishment and instinctive antagonism brewing in a3478321359_2intensity from the opening note as the guitars of Julien L. and Fred P. swarm portentously around the ears. Simultaneously the rhythmic coaxing of Bruno H. adds to the thickening web, a capture increased by the dark throated strains of bass from Pietro G. and the initially clean spoken vocals of Cedric M. It all converges into a singular menacing which still with some restraint begins crawling over the senses peering into the darkest corners of the psyche as Cedric twists his delivery into a caustic growl. Elevating its potency, spite, and energy in varying degrees, the track crawls under the skin capturing the imagination with its specifically aimed and concentrated creative venom. It is not a track which startles in its invention but skilfully bewitches in its emotional malevolence and undiluted straight forward voracity.

The following We, The Darkness crawls from the same imaginative fiery sonic pit of oppressive invention, its sonic hooks and distorted melodic endeavour shards of acidic light within the lumbering prowl and hunger of the song. Again Cedric brawls with his lyrics with a bestial predaciousness whilst the rhythms cage and punish with each heavy fisted swipe but it is the spearing sonic bait of the guitars which provide the passion spawning lures which pushes the album up another level within two songs.

Both Dead Among The Living and Disciples reinforce the impressive start, the festering aural animosity of the first sculpting a sonically scarred canvas upon which great melodic vocals unveil their suasion alongside expected squalls and guitars paint their intrusive scenery with rapacious hues and searing emotions. It is an even tempered encounter compared to other tracks initially but eventually the predator within loses its chains to unleash violent riffing and cantankerous rhythmic animosity before revolving between a poetic scorched beauty and a vitriolic fury for a breath-taking and at times uncomfortable journey. Its successor opens with a gentle yet primal elegance as the guitar emotionally hints at the impending intimidation of an unbridled fury. A tempestuous cloud of sound and intensity smothers ears and senses subsequently, lurching over and preying on thoughts and emotions as Cedric expels the heart of the song. It is a brutal tempting which bruises and transfixes with every rabid beat and edacious squall of guitar, both enriched by the hellacious dark tone of the bass and the ever threatening vocals.

It is fair to say that from its formidable start the album just increases its weight and quality, the final two songs providing the evidence. Cursed savages air and ears first, its carnivorous presence and breath a perpetual sonic scrub on the senses, a lethal highly addictive scourge punctuated throughout by the uncompromising strikes of Bruno. It is a torrential violation where you soon make assumptions but have them almost as quickly dismissed with force by the brilliant twist into a post metal drift of spiny melodies and cleaner predatory vocals. It is only a temporary detour but an inspired and invigorating one giving the returning maelstrom more depth and intrigue. The track is a glorious example of the ability and invention of Oruga though it is soon left looking up at the plateau set by Ghosts Of Anneliese. The closing song manages to bring an even nastier element to its incitement, every rhythm holding sheer malice and each scrub of riffing scratching deeper into ears and psyche. The excellent spread of gruff and again cleaner vocals spread greater spice to the album whilst the toxic melodic designs and underlying emotive groove paint sultry toxins into the spiteful corruption. Throughout the release there is a stoner-esque spice which here is at its strongest, though twisted with the Oruga invention it emerges as a deranged and rigorously thrilling tainting. The track is glorious, a titanic beast of invention and passionate ferocity, and almost alone the reason why the band and Blackened Souls deserves a strong bright spotlight.

Blackened Souls is available now via Apathia Records @ http://apathiarecords.bandcamp.com/album/blackened-souls



RingMaster 20/05/2014

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Psychotic Gardening – Hymnosis

Psychotic Gardening Press Photo small Credit Barry McCaulkner

Canadian metallers Psychotic Gardening has continued to catch imagination and certainly expectations off guard with their potent releases, taking them both on demented doom bred adventures which are as merciless as they are unrelentingly compelling. Self-released fourth album Hymnosis is certainly no different with its vivaciously flavoured sounds boldly brutal and torrentially vindictive as they infest what is the band’s finest moment yet. It is an album which like its predecessors in various ways is not quite the full triumphant package, occasionally bringing less successful moments within incredibly thrilling and inventive assaults, but the band seem to be edging towards that ‘perfect’ creation and this monster of a release suggests it will be sooner rather than later.

Hailing from Winnipeg, Psychotic Gardening was formed in 1995 by Chuck Labossiere initially as a side project. Linking up with vocalist Chris “Gillishammer” Gillis, the pair released debut album Sold For Four Souls and a Seed in 1998 but by 2000 the band was put under wraps as Labossiere linked up with Serrated Scalpel though still continuing to write his own material. Their demise in 2005 led to the guitarist/vocalist reforming Psychotic Gardening with Gillis, and the soon enlisted guitarist Andrew Wiens (ex-Children of Tragedy) bassist Aaron Krause (ex-Serrated Scalpel/Lykeum), and keyboardist Will Janssen (Lykeum). With Mike Janssen coming in on bass and Carlos Copaban on drums subsequently, a new line-up unleashed the album Hürdür in 2007 to strong responses, its blackened sombre intensively permeating thoughts and attention. Four years later Humanitorium was set loose to again ignite acclaim and appetites, the release seeing Matt Penner taking over stick duty in the band. Hymnosis comes as the band returns from a break which saw them working on new material and also Labossiere filling in with Broken Hope for their tour dates in Europe and Canada. With the album’s line-up only seeing the absence of keyboardist Janssen, the band infuses rich malevolence of death metal and classic metal temptation into the veins of their new album, creating another proposition which has little regard for assumptions and boundaries. As mentioned previously the release at times ebbs and flows in success but never once leaves the listener short of pleasure and removed from riveting incendiary violation.

The album starts off with its highest pinnacle in the startling onslaught of Origin of The Infection. The band’s recent single, the track HYMNOSIS-cover-Chuck-Labosssprings from demonic breath with immediately portentous riffs and a just as swiftly threatening heavy throated bestial bass prowl. Drum swipes also show instant venom but it is when the opening coaxing shifts into gear and becomes a savage predacious charge that ears and pleasure explode and greedily devour the brutal treat. With the weight of a murderous horde and the military precision of a legion of undead warriors, the track stalks and savages the senses. As virulently contagious as it is vehemently inhospitable, the song provides sonic guerrilla warfare before which primal submission is inevitable, especially within the claws of the outstanding gut wrenched vocal squalls and short spears of sonic enterprise. The track is so good that it is ‘downhill’ for the album here on in though against anyone else the following violations leave most only wishing for parity.

The following Defile entwines a heavy metal groove around the ears, one ridden by a dual vocal delivery which invitingly reeks of pestilence and decay. Again a groove charms with infection drenched efficiency whilst riffs drill their way deep into the psyche, neither quite matching their predecessor but enslaving with their own wealth of toxicity as the excellent range of vocals from Labossiere and Gillis explore the narrative. With captivating guitar craft adding further gripping hues the song gives the senses an exciting pasting which the intensive Re-Hybridized Strain exploits with its insidious, slowly crawling malevolence. The song smothers with its labouring gait and weighty intensity, snuffing out escape and light though the poetic keys of Labossiere and the winding sonic laces of guitar guide thoughts like beacons. It is an overpowering and empowering track physically and mentally which intensively satisfies but surprisingly lacks the dramatic impact of the first two songs within its gothic funereal incitement.

Both Mindfold and Genome Degradation throw the senses into distinct turmoil, the first rampaging with a pack like voracity to rhythms and riffs whilst vocals scavenge the debris of their virulence with another immensely agreeable mix of stances, the band and songs always at their very best when employing this enterprise. The deeper into its body and soul you go the more animalistic and cruel the track becomes, at times even carnal with its invasive solo and vicious hunger. Its successor is another merging more melodically brewed poison into its doom fuelled proposition, deliciously whining acidic grooves and addictive metal hooks reaping the rewards within the overpowering bulk of sound for another tremendous involvement.

The groaning delights of Searing Cital bring the next enthralling episode of ravenous intent, its invasive prowl soaked in an immoral but wholly seductive ambience. It is a track which takes its time to fully convince but eventually is one which lingers long after departure to colour nightmares. Its absorbing threat then makes way for the similarly menacing Garden Raiding, though its potency comes in melodic smog which entrances and invades as it permeates senses and emotions. Not as impacting as other songs, the track still keeps appetite and pleasure high ready for the strong cover of Death’s Open Casket which features Tim Roth (Into Eternity) and Chuck Wepfer (Broken Hope) and then the closing Journey to the Sun, a mesmeric atmospheric gothic journey through celestial shadows and seductive evils.

Hymnosis is a scintillating album which takes the listener on a rollercoaster of an intrusive ride which more often than not hits the loftiest heights and in certain places sets new inspirations for extreme metal whilst Psychotic Gardening has returned to prove themselves the fearsome stalkers of dreams and passions.

The self-released Hymnosis is available now @ https://psychoticgardening.bandcamp.com/



RingMaster 20/05/2014

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Broken Records – Weights & Pulleys

Broken Recordspic

Missing the coach the first and second times our introduction to Scottish melodic ‘emoteurs’ Broken Records came with the recently released Toska EP, a release which to be honest underwhelmed despite the impressive craft and ideation oozing through it. This made anticipation for the band’s third album less than enthusiastic but it has to be admitted that Weights & Pulleys makes a more than solid convincing to open up understanding as to why the band is so well thought of. Definitely the album does not light any major fires in our thoughts and passions but a smouldering attraction it certainly makes, one very easy to recommend to fans of the band and of the likes of Doves, Sigur Ros, and Arcade Fire.

Formed in 2007, the Edinburgh band was soon teasing in attention with their folk/indie bred textures and dense emotional enterprise, their first release the ‘gig’ EP inviting plenty of attention and excited praise. As they refined their sound the band successfully shared stages with the likes of Idlewild, Sons & Daughters, and Editors across Scotland before a series of singles including the first, If the News Makes You Sad Don’t Watch It on Young Turks in 2008, saw the band covered in acclaim from all areas of the media and led them to signing with 4AD. The following year was the canvas for acclaimed debut album Until The Earth Begins To Part and the continuation of highly praised shows and festival appearances. The Out On The Water EP also made its appearance at that time whilst 2010 saw the band line-up change into the sextet of Jamie Sutherland (vocals, guitar), Rory Sutherland (violin), Ian Turnbull (guitar), Dave Smith (piano, trumpet), Craig Ross (bass), and Andrew Keeney (drums), and the supporting of bands such as The National and Freelance Whales, as well as second album Let Me Come Home to again intense recognition and support. Three years in the making Weights & Pulleys is the ‘return’ of Broken Records and it is hard not to expect it to be swamped in the same accolade of acclaim as its predecessors from varied and wide quarters.

Released on their own label J Sharp Records and produced by Tony Doogan (Mogwai, Delgados, Belle & Sebastian), Weights & Pulleys br image005moves on from the earlier Toska whilst seemingly continuing its evocative intent. Why the album is a bigger impacting persuasion than the previous four track release is hard to exactly say but it feels like a bigger picture is explored and unveiled rather than mere scenic glimpses as offered by the EP. Also without finding major fuses to raging fires, there is a new spark to a great many of the tracks which captivates and intrigues whilst simultaneously finding an almost anthemic lure to entice senses and emotions. Opening track Ditty (We Weren’t Ready) is a fine example, its thick hypnotic rhythmic coaxing irresistible bait within an emotionally intense melodic swamp. Vocally Jamie Sutherland roars with expression and emotive endeavour, his call cradled in soft but incisive sonic arms and eventually an orchestral caress which equally fires up the senses. It is a richly potent start raising a keen appetite for things ahead, a hope soon sizeably fed by the Springsteen/Petty-esque Winterless Son. Again the rhythms grip attention as they thump out their intent seemingly spurring on the heart of another impressive song.

Toska steps up next and as on the EP fails to entice any real power to reactions even though it is a satisfying and accomplished offering. Sculpted around an evocative narrative of keys, the song merges melancholic breath with an invasion beauty, hope and reality meshed into one dramatic scenario. Musically the song is almost mesmeric but that trigger to light up the passions is a dormant factor, though awake once more with So Long, So Late. Across the release thoughts of fellow Scots Letters and also for less open reasons Josef K emerge with the richest suggestiveness coming with this fully immersive slab of emotional intensive and melodic fire wrapped in drama drenched shadows.

The title track envelopes ears and imagination with a full and heavy incitement of emotion and reflection, a consuming weight of drama and thoughtful provocation which easily pleases if without stoking that again simmering fire in the belly of the album and listener. That poke is provided by the excellent Let’s Call It A Betrayal, an agitated revelry of rampant rhythms, dark throated basslines, and sonic imagination ridden by the persistently impressing vocals. The track tempts, challenges, and simply hits the instinctive provocateur in us all, heights of dramatic expression and melodic dispute walling in the passions.

The following track, Instrumental is just what it says and makes little impression though you appreciate why it is included as it gives a breather within the torrential emotional deluge of the release. The enjoyable You’ll Be Lonely (In A Little While) strolls into ears next with a rhythmic swagger and melodic drizzling which undeniably enthrals but ultimately it is the rhythmic lure which makes the only lingering impression.

The unapologetically emotional Nothing Doubtful comes next to again absorb ears and thoughts. Its opening body and tone has a dulled and shadowed breath, a mono like air which brews up a riveting cloud of intensity before breaking into the light and expanding its full heart and stereo spawned grandeur with delicious flames of brass. Much like the album the song is a slow burner which only impresses more with each encounter to maybe not steal the passions but certainly give them a big nudge.

The album is completed by the folk bred I Won’t Leave You In The Dark and finally All Else Can Just Wait. The first of the pair makes a controlled but keen entrance, that folkish lilt to sound and vocals painting a narrative until the song erupts into another seemingly Springsteen seeded premise but with tantalising sixties pop toxicity carrying a definite sense of The Walker Brothers whilst horns again just excite. Its successor is a slow brooding ballad with a great mix of vocals and pleasingly nagging repetition to its melodies, it all working towards a climactic finale which never really materialises. It is a decent enough end though which like the album gives plenty to make a compelling encounter but not enough to make its case as a constant playlist contender.

Nevertheless Weights & Pulleys is a captivating proposition which will light up the ears of fans and draw a wealth of newcomers with its collection of skilful tracks which combined show just why Broken Records is so highly thought of and at times offer evidence that the band just might have the potential to help reshape British indie rock.

Weights & Pulleys is available on J Sharp Records now!



RingMaster 20/05/2014

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Rage of South – I See, I Say, I Hear


Unleashing their presence to a wider audience with the release of debut album I See, I Say, I Hear, Italian metallers Rage of South show themselves to be a highly enthralling proposition with the potential to make major inroads into the metal scene with their fiery creative sound. Merging the voracity of thrash metal with the inventive twists and nuances of nu-metal, with plenty more flavouring the brew, the Sciacca quartet captivate the imagination from the first minute of their full-length to its dramatic last. Arguably the band does not really create anything powerfully new for ears though their songs twist and challenge more often than not in a fresh and vigorously provocative way which sets band and certainly the album out from the crowd.

Formed in 2006, Rage of South consists of Tano (vocals/ guitar), Leo (guitar/chorus), Salas (drum), and Smoke (bass/ chorus) and emerged from the Read Only Memory project, a cover band in the early part of the last decade. Turning to work on their own original music alone, the members released their first EP South before changing their sound and intent into a new direction, the moment when Rage of South stepped forward. The release of I See, I Say, I Hear follows a successful year in 2013 which saw the band play the Rock Metal Fest in Taranto, chosen as one of five from 140 emerging bands across Europe. Signing with Red Cat Records for the release of their album, Rage of South looks like making this year just as potent and successful, the release’s strengths and exciting presence holding all the promise to break into a wider, stronger attention.

From the short provocative Intro, the band instantly takes a grip with Sheep as thumping rhythms, gruelling riffs, and antagonistic 632851d6a5e0ef80dc04b7c881d7730eenergy unleash their compelling suasion on the senses. Vocally too the song provokes and incites with craft and passion, their coaxing as impressive as the rigorous and aggressively inventive sounds around them. The song lurches and stomps from start to finish, sinews barracking and nostrils flaring as the intensively driven nu and groove metal fusion violates on a thrash bred urgency whilst sonic enterprise wraps its toxic tendrils excitingly around the whole things.

The immediately punchy Silence continues the impressive start, riffs and grooves again casting a contagious impacting mesh which rhythms and bass intimidate and darken respectively. As with the first song essences of bands like Korn whisper loudly within the tempestuous brawl of sound and animosity but with the rhythms rampaging at certain times with bestial intensity and guitars matching their predacious fury, the track is a constant exhilarating predator, an enthralling encounter matched by the following Prayer. Unveiling an acidic web of guitar to cage attention the song reveals itself a less forceful encounter, passing through captivating melodic scenery with similarly reflective and emotive vocals. It still involves rigid rhythms and rapacious colouring from the guitars and bass but with a pleasing sonic skill and imagination from Leo it is a different kind of an absorbing encounter.

Both Stay Down and That Fear About Me keep thoughts and appetite enslaved, the first though not as striking as the previous songs providing a constantly shifting and persuasive landscape of thought and creative incitement whilst the second almost preys on the listener, prowling and taunting ears and psyche with roving rhythms and entwining sonic endeavour within a caustic and pleasingly raw bluster. Again the song is in the shade of those first few songs but still adds more to the potency and promise of album and band, as does the harder lipped Reflection with its seemingly irritable rhythms and blazing riffery, complemented by just as assertive vocals. The song borders on belligerent as it holds ears and satisfaction in its rewarding hands, scolding and seducing with impressive design.

The wonderfully niggling groove and spite of The Falling Down brings the return of the very lofty heights of the album, the guitars sculpting a corrosive net of sonic animosity aligned to punishing rhythms to which the band’s imagination brings its own excitingly textured ideation. The song is a bewitching protagonist revealing more of the undeniable promise of the inventive band.

     Theme of Juliet provides a rigorous melodically bred slice of accomplished and vivacious multi-flavoured metal before the opening groaning riffery of Let Me Die takes over to forge another major pinnacle upon I See, I Say, I Hear. Instantly the guitars are grinding their toxicity into the senses, swiftly raising new hunger in the appetite as its narrative emerges whilst rhythms add their distinct weight to the persuasion alongside a heavy throated bass line. It is the nagging intrusive grooves though which steal the show, their toxins permeating every synapse and thought to ultimately seduce the passions for the best moment on the album.

Closing with the mutually outstanding Approved, another track scything through the senses with sharp infection soaked grooves and unpredictable invention, the album ends on a massive high equal to the way it started. Certainly there is more to come from and more for Rage of South to find to truly become a distinctly unique prospect but as proven by the immensely enjoyable I See, I Say, I Hear, they are well on the way.

I See, I Say, I Hear is available via Red Cat Records now!



RingMaster 17/05/2014

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Phono Emergency Tool – Get The Pet


If originality was high on your lists of wants then Italian rock band Phono Emergency Tool probably would not register too highly but if fun, contagiousness, and straight forward enterprise is the desire then their new album Get The Pet might just go down a treat. Comprised of twelve varied and easily accessible romps fusing, in varying degrees, alternative and indie rock with power pop vivacity, the album provides a pleasing and adventurous friendship; one with a definite already established familiarity but thoroughly enjoyable all the same.

Phono Emergency Tool began with guitarist/vocalist Andrea Sgarzi who provided a song for a compilation on Fridge Records in 2003 called Soniche Avventure VIII. From there the project took its first live steps as a full band in its home town of Bologna, Andrea joined by bassist Sandro Sgarzi and drummer Marco Lama. The trio fused together perfectly from that moment, going on to release two albums, a self-titled in 2005 and Get Lost four years later, as well as playing a wealth of shows across Italy and into the UK. Earlier this year saw the release of third album Get The Pet on Red Cat Records, an encounter which without any immensely striking dramas more often than not hits the sweet spot in pleasure and creative mischief.

The instantly urgent Floating so Fast launches at ears first, guitars releasing a great noise rock scrub of riffs before rhythms punch in their presence and the bass brings a throaty coaxing. Vocally too the song is an appealing proposition as it strolls with energy and a pop punk swagger into the imagination. The core hook of the song through those still slightly caustic guitar rubs has a slight Buzzcocks lilt to their bait whilst in full flow the song leans on a definite eighties power pop breath which only helps the song become a heavily catchy entrance to the release.

The following Five in Four matches the success of the first with another mix of naggingly infectious hooks and enticing rhythms, this time within a more blues dressed pop rock premise. Like all addictive songs it has irrepressible bait which repeats and repeats with incessant potency to capture imagination and emotions. Again there is little which is unsurprising but much which leaves you wanting another healthy helping of its revelry, the same which can be said about On the Air even if it does not quite match those early heights set. Fusing a Nirvana like voice to its presence with a Weezer flavoured sound, the track makes for another appetising encounter although vocally it sometimes misses the mark.

Blow Moulding Machine pushes the album back to that previously higher step with its dark basslines and choppy riffs, the song a reserved but engaging melody enriched stomp, before the outstanding pair of I Don’t Belong and especially Hevo take things to a new level. The first of the two shimmers and prowls with a masterful pop rock temptation soaked in what is best described as a Blur meets The Zanti Misfitz. It is an impossibly riveting slice of indie rock which almost alone makes Phono Emergency Tool a band to keep an eye on but alongside its impressive successor is a done deal for attention and appetite. The second of the pair pierces ears with a persistent jab of sonic delight which the roving dark sound of the bass soon aligns itself too. The start of the song has a definite XTC feel about its tempting before opening its inventive arms with an additional punk rock adventure and creative wantonness which has more than a touch of The Barracudas to it. An energetic quickstep of flirtatious hooks and boisterous rhythms, the track takes top honours on the album whilst reinforcing the increasingly enticing presence of the band.

The intrigue coated charm of Crimentology unveils another twist in the variety of the album, it’s plainer but no less appealing rock exploits tantalising thoughts though its chorus is slightly less inspiring compared to the excellent design around the verses, whilst Better Stay Home produces a quirky slightly off kilter piece of pop infested ingenuity. It is song which maybe should not work but the band turn it into a deliciously alluring and salaciously bewitching tempting hard to tear away from.

It has to be said that from here on in the album slips away in potency and power though the next up sixties blues dressed rocker Don’t Stop Making Money is riotously infectious leaving a smile on lips and in the imagination. Neither the more predictable Farther nor the underwhelming A Lower Life manage to raise anywhere near the reactions most of the previous songs inspired, their undeniably accomplished offerings lacking the spark to make a real impact whilst the closing Heyday meanders without really going anywhere. They cannot prevent Get The Pet ultimately being wholly entertaining and joyful company which shows a definite potential within Phono Emergency Tool still waiting to be discovered.

Get The Pet is available via Red Cat Records now!




RingMaster 16/05/2014

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Axis Mundi – Sci-Curious


If debut album Chapel Perilous was the gas cloud holding the seeds to their genesis and the Science Junkie live single the spark to their expulsion, Sci-Curious is the big bang thrusting UK’s sound adventurers Axis Mundi into global recognition. An incendiary merger of aggressive rock, voracious rave, and untethered dubstep just to suggest some of its blistering invention, the band’s second album is a coming of age, a realisation of the potency in songwriting and sound which tempted before whilst breeding another strain of potential to even greater heights. A roaring celebration of science with insatiable riffs, hooks, and melodic predation, the album puts an already irrepressible proposition into the arms of essential investigation and devouring.

The trio of drummer Matt and guitarist/vocalist Gary Frewin with lead vocalist Shaun Garner first emerged in late 2008, taking little more than a year to become rated as one of the top upcoming bands in the UK. Originally a quartet, Axis Mundi earned an acclaimed reputation for their live performances and emerging songs. Already holding a passionate appetite and exploratory intrigue for all things science and its battle against the likes of politics, religion, and apathy, the Hinckley band worked closely with best-selling science author and New Scientist writer Michael Brooks during his election campaign against Hinckley and Bosworth MP David Tredinnick. Their first EP Find the Others caught strong waves of attention but it was with Chapel Perilous that the band really sparked a wider appetite for their sounds within the underground scene and subsequently more established media spotlights. Sci-Curious though makes it all seem like just the appetiser before its own main meal.

Through an attention raising Introduction, the album erupts with the instantly transfixing and highly animated opening shimmering of Sci-Curious-CoverE-Bomb. Synths merge on the senses with sonically drenched colour and vivacity from its first breath, tempting the senses in league with increasingly tantalising sounds. Into its energetic and fiery stride the track dances around ears with a dervish like enthusiasm before settling into a more relaxed stroll within which the melodic tones of Shaun unveil the song’s narrative as infectious guitar toxins bred by Gary entwine their shadowed bait around the imagination. The sounds are as provocative as the lyrical view and its look at the turning away from scientific truths from those which choose to be blind. A masterful blend of electro alchemy and compelling heavy rock, the track is a magnetic tempest setting the album off to a tremendous start.

It is a potent entrance swiftly taken to another level by Movie In The Mind which emerges from the finale of the previous treat. Like a side show barker, Shaun coaxes in thoughts as a great niggling rub of guitar skirts his tones. The rhythms of Matt join the revelry soon after, his precise jabs adding to the unpredictable and intriguing showmanship of the song’s initial gambit. Just as immediate is the contagious air to the track, its irresistible call wrapping every note and syllable of the punk and metal kissed canvas beneath the subsequent rampantly swirling keys. Whereas the its predecessor had a feel of the Pendulum to its character, this plays at times like a rapacious merger of Pop Will Eat Itself and Enter Shikari, though as with the first song Axis Mundi have developed their sound to a point that first thoughts are always of the band itself when describing any of its distinct aspects.

The album continues to stir up hunger and passions with its might and established band sound as Science Junkie steps into view next. A favourite of seemingly everyone upon its release as a live track a while ago, the trio have understandably relinquished some of the unbridled urgency and rabidity which marked the original release with a greater adventure and melodic clarity on the album. The track still gallops like a stallion in heat, keys and guitars brewing up a techno maelstrom which is impossible to escape. As it sways, lurches, and climbs all over the senses you can almost see the invention of the song pulsating through its veins, its sonic blood rushing around the hypnotic hooks and seductive melodies which parade relentless across its ravenous body as glorious vocal harmonies between Shaun and Gary caress like a devious temptress. The track is a ridiculously thrilling encounter soon rivalled by the enthralling and confrontational rocker Shut Down The Rave. Feisty guitars and more sinewy toned vocals lead the track into another variation within the release, it in many ways a more straight forward course of electronic metal and rock but with plenty, like the acidic scythes of guitar and flowing evocative key sculpted hues, to steal the imagination all over again. With an antagonistic climax which smells of Rage Against The Machine at their best before a final bloom of seducing melodies, the song is a magnificent incitement.

As undeniable impressive as the album is already, the next stretch of songs secures its status as a classic protagonist. Springing from an informative sample, their use another pleasing additive to the album, The Astounding Fact unleashes almost ten minutes of heart racing, bone juddering invention but equally it involves elegant and sweetly melodic caresses between rabid outbreaks of predacious ravishment. Consistently evolving into and involving further anthemic strolls and almost Manic Street Preacher-esque like croons the ingenious provocative and unpredictable storm alone shows just how far the band has come in its songwriting, musical skills, and mischievous designs. It is just the start though as both What Do You Get? and Little Stories Of Discovery climb up to yet another plateau of persuasion. The first plays with that earlier carnival like premise of Movie In The Mind, though its intensive menacing onslaught of initial rhythms and guitar around discord blessed keys is a differing frightening prospect. Once the vocals enter to stir up air and lyrical dirt, a deranged fairground essence seeps into the riveting equation, wonderfully darkly tainted verses inspiring thoughts of Insane Clown Posse more than one or twice. Switching with a chorus cast in melodic rock, the song is a puppeteer of shadows and passions, the best track on the album though straight away challenged by its brilliant successor. It is a psyche /indie rocker which leaps and swaggers with the relish and craft of a Reuben and a Bloc Party aligned to the melodic craft of a Feeder, though despite those references the bewitching slice of invention is again uniquely and irrepressibly all Axis Mundi.

The album carries on enslaving thoughts and emotions though maybe not to the same heights such the brilliance of earlier songs but certainly the rich and welcomingly bruising rock endeavour of Only Genes Can Judge Me and the jagged reggae inspired canter of The Gospel According To Science steal their very fair share of the passions with their highly accomplished and skilfully coloured tales whilst the closing New Scientist brings one final undiluted festival of dancefloor igniting voracity. Within all the tracks the band again thrusts a middle finger to expectations with their enchanting harmonies and reserved melody fuelled breezes within diverse tempestuous stomps, and all constant instigators of feet and passions.

Sci-curious is an exceptional kaleidoscopic offering which takes Axis Mundi into a whole new realm of quality and instinctively invigorating adventure. You can only hope and suspect that the world will take intensive notice of the UK trio as they and the album dive into an insatiable rampage which maybe even scientific doubters will find no resistance for.

The self- released Sci-curious will be released on June 1st



RingMaster 16/05/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Mongrel – Evolution

MONGREL - Evolution - front cover - scaled

Towards the end of last year US punk metallers Mongrel released the single Snakes to provide a very appetising taster for their next EP whilst simultaneously reconfirming themselves as unique and passionate provocateurs of antagonistic punk rock and dirty metal. The band now unleashes that highly anticipated Evolution EP, a release which surely places them on the precipice of a well-deserved intensive world spread spotlight. Sealing a spot on an impending cover mounted CD of the renowned Terrorizer magazine as well, The Boston quartet are poised to make the next big step in recognition. It is an ascent their releases have threatened to spark for the past couple of years but it is easy to feel and expect that Evolution will be the potent fuse that achieves the breakthrough.

Formed in 2003 by guitarist Adam Savage, Mongrel has earned themselves the reputation of one of the hardest working and increasingly acclaimed bands in the underground of metal and punk rock. Each one of their releases has thrust the band on another lofty step though it was the addition of vocalist Jessica Sierra in 2010 where things truly clicked into place and the arguably dormant fire in their already impressive sound and presence erupted. From The New Breed of Old School EP of that year through the following Declamation EP in 2011, there was a new potency and venom on the grooves, hooks, and rhythms which core Mongrels’ invention. Alongside these successes the band live has earned a reputation most bands could only dream of, their sharing of stages with the likes of GWAR, Korn, Otep, Sepultura, Prong, Halestorm, Wednesday13, Fu Manchu, Dizzy Reed, Misfits FEAR, Blitzkid, Trashlight Vision, Michale Graves, Mindset X and hordes more garnering tides of fans and recognition. The Reclamation album of 2012 saw the band ascend to new heights in songwriting and imagination which now Evolution pushes further forward. Recorded with Jim Foster (POD, Nullset, Sully Erna), mixed by Dave Fortman (Slipknot, Evanescence, Godsmack), and mastered by Howie Weinberg, (Metallica, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pantera), the EP is a stirring anthemic brawl which is as contagious and addictive as it is raw and lyrically uncompromising.

Snakes opens things up and as soon as the initial controlled blaze of guitar from Savage hits the ears there is a sense of impending infection which is soon confirmed by the crisp beats of drummer Mike Hogan and even more so by the riveting vocals of Sierra. With the pulsating bass groan from Michael Ariza added to the mix, the song is rapidly into a potent stride heading towards its virulently compelling chorus. The band takes little time in enslaving the imagination, treating it further with a seamless drift into a smouldering sultry passage with emotive guitar rubs and a glow to the voice of Sierra, a lady who seems to own ears, thoughts, and songs whether she is roaring with antagonism or seducing like a temptress. Building up its energy and passions throughout the lighter flight, the song creates a dramatic crescendo of a finale which leaves appetite licking lips and emotions looking at a lustful hunger.

Mongrel have a certain distinct sound which never deceives its source but within that the band with Evolution seems to be exploring their punk side this time around, the first song giving a major hint which the following Oxygen Mask elaborates on within a still heavily insatiable metal toxicity. An acidic groove hits ears first, though rhythms and a great gritty bassline is courting its coaxing. Pulled together by the commanding vocals, the track twists through a predatory intensity and gait, Savage spearing the air with metallic vines of sonic bait. Persistently turning with singular moments for the bass and guitars to flirt with ears, the song recalls essences of Siouxsie and the Banshees, certainly if they had embraced metal. Imposing but respectfully forceful the track backs up the immense start easily even if without matching its heady heights.

That first plateau is equalled by Consumed; a deliciously abrasive enticement of caustic hooks and senses burrowing grooves. Guitars worm under the skin within seconds with rhythms swinging punches soon after, the combination a hungry platform for the dark hearted bass sounds and rich vocals to colour their canvas. Unleashing a swagger to match the almost brutal energy, the song stomps with epidemic irresistibility, those spiteful grooves especially inescapable whilst sonic hues sculpted by Savage in an engrossing solo provide further rigorous colour to the outstanding incitement.

Best Revenge has the hard task to follow the triumph which it does with a rawer hostile punk enticement, the bass finding a carnivorous throat to its presence and the guitar a combative attitude to its riffs and squalling flames. Once again though it is caged by great controlled rhythm work by Hogan and led by the expressive might of Sierra. The track is not as immediate as others on Evolution but emerges as another pinnacle with punk nostrils flaring and metallic muscles challenging.

The release is concluded with another sizeable success with the riotously catchy Over And Over. An addiction forging bassline sparks ears first before riffs and rhythms cascade upon the lure to build a rampant canter of punk rock. Hooks and grooves from both stringed antagonists grip with a constant temptation whilst Sierra swings syllables and intent into their barbed scenery with the expected but never under-appreciated skill and passion she brews. It is an exhilarating conclusion to a tremendous encounter, leaving ears, thoughts, and passions bursting with greed for more.

Guiding their sound to a side step in many ways from that taking Reclamation to such heights, Evolution stands side by side with its predecessor’s undoubted success and quality, though with a heart for well-crafted punk rock if pushed the EP shades it. What is clear for all though is that Mongrel just goes from strength to strength whilst evolving with a constant flair and voraciously appetising enterprise. It really is about time the band was known worldwide and Evolution might just be the trigger.

Evolution is available on iTunes on May 20th and via all major online retailers and streaming services from June 3rd with physical copies available through Mongrel, Unable Records and Amazon.




RingMaster 16/05/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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