Forged In Black – The Exodus

Forged in Black Online Promo Shot

Though UK heavy metallers Forged In Black is far from being a new band, they have found a new shift and exploration in their sound and thoughts which has led to a relatively recent name change, a renaming which reflects line-up changes and this progression in sound. Their new encounter is The Exodus EP, a release consisting of one brand new track and a couple of early demos of older songs. It is sure to be a tonic for all fans of adventurous classic metal, imposing riffs, and flesh scoring vocals, whilst for the rest it still has enough to stir attention.

The band began in 2009 under the name Merciless Fail, emerging with the intent to merge traditional heavy metal with a unique contemporary essence. The band swiftly earned a strong reputation for their live performances, playing both Bloodstock Festival and the main stage at Red Roar Festival in 2012 and going on to win Metal to the Masses and Band Quest competitions. 2013 was the band’s most successful to date, playing Metal Gods Festival 2013 alongside the likes of Beholder and Savage Messiah, supporting Skreamer and again Beholder, and re- releasing acclaimed debut album Forged in Black. As the following and similarly well-received The Tide EP, the album came out last year for its second outing, two years after the first appearance and under the new band name. It was the four-track EP which showed a suggestion of a twist in the band’s sound, something far more pronounced and exploratory now with the Romesh Dodangoda (Motorhead, Sylosis, Bullet For My Valentine) recorded The Exodus.

The opening melody of the title track is simple bewitchment, a potent lure reinforced by the emerging stride of imposing rhythms and climatic swipes of guitar. There is a definite thrash breath coverto the track once fully in view, an early Metallica essence to ignite imagination and appetite. It is swiftly infused with heavily toned riffs and the rich vocals of Chris Storozynski, his classic style standing eye to eye with the rugged elements of the track but matching the acidic sonic flames around him. A great bruising vocal backing from bassist Kieron Rochester badgers the fiery tones of Storozynski as they lie on the skilled weave set by guitarists Tim Chandler and Andy Songhurst. The track ebbs and flows with its driving torrents and dramatic crescendos, providing a fascinating encounter offering something for thrash, classic, and heavy metal fans and as suggested previously enough for even those not as enamoured in the genres to find intrigue in.

A 2013 demo of Accusations Of The Innocent is next, the original track having previously featured on album and last EP. Once again a thrash invention helps open up ears and focus before the track spreads into more classical metal scenery wrapped with a creative web of guitars and spicily delivered vocals. Again there is plenty to get your teeth into even if the track feels a little reined in compared to its predecessor. With a cauldron of impressing guitar craft and invention courted by the excellent punching rhythms of Joshua Moreton, the song before it makes way for the 2011 demo of the song Forged In Black, shows exactly why the band has inspired such a potent fan base and reputation. Its successor instantly reveals the rich seeds and bait which has been persistent within the band from their start. Comparisons to the likes of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and Black Sabbath come with the mention of the band’s name and it is easy to see why with the closing song. Muscular and sonically sultry, it has feet and neck muscles pumped whilst the operatic calls of Storozynski finds a welcome home in the rich melodies veining the incitement.

The Exodus is a release to put a smile on all heavy metal fans but as shown especially by its lead song, it also has the potential to awaken strong appetites in those less taken with its core breeding, a potency shown by it persuading our less than enthused tastes for classic metal and its vocal styling.

The Exodus is available through all stores from December 1st.

https://www.facebook.com/forgedinblacks

RingMaster 01/12/2014

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FORGED IN BLACK UNLEASH THEIR NEW EP UPON THE NATION!

Forged in Black Online Promo Shot

With a mighty affection for British heavy metal and a kinship with Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath, as well as taking inspiration from Machine Head, Forged In Black display a sound that is steeped in tradition but still truly relevant to a new audience. The Essex metal crew release ‘The Exodus’ EP on Monday 1st December through all stores.

The original seeds of Forged in Black were sown at the start of 2009 under the guise ‘Merciless Fail’. The band set out with the aim to deliver traditional heavy metal with a unique contemporary edge. From their early beginnings straight through to today, their operatic vocals lead the charge, backed by dark, hard-hitting music that includes full-throttle thrash, epic guitar harmonies, crushing doom riffs, and aggressive, guttural vocals. The band’s live show embodies a visceral energy, unleashing copious amounts of head-banging music with a charismatic stage presence.

Under their old moniker ‘Merciless Fail’, the band played the Bloodstock Festival and main stage at Red Roar Festival 2012, won ‘Metal to the Masses’ and ‘Band Quest’ competitions, played Metal Gods Festival 2013 (featuring Beholder and Savage Messiah), and have racked up supports with Skreamer and Beholder, as well as releasing their self-titled debut album ‘Forged in Black’ to critical acclaim. The band followed this release in 2013 with the EP “The Tide,” which displayed the development of the band’s sound and included tracks which have become a staple part of the metal crew’s live show. To mark both their progression and a shift in personnel, last year the quintet decided to change their name to ‘Forged in Black’. The metallers have recently been focusing their attention on recording and have just finished work with acclaimed producer Romesh Dodangoda (Motorhead, Sylosis, Bullet For My Valentine) for the recording of their latest single “The Exodus.” The band release ‘The Exodus’ EP and new video this Autumn and they plan to take the metal world by storm.

https://www.facebook.com/forgedinblacks  https://twitter.com/ForgedInBlack

 

Witchrider – Unmountable Stairs

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With a sound somewhere between Queens of The Stone Age and a pact between Nirvana and Soundgarden, nodding to the former more often than not, Austrian rockers Witchrider are poised to present their debut album Unmountable Stairs. It is a fiery and rigorously captivating proposition which merges familiarity with raw invention, culminating in a release which does not leave a blaze in its wake but definitely a smouldering and lingering temptation which persistently increases to leave appetite and satisfaction bloated.

Hailing from Graz, Witchrider began in the November of 2012 with initially the name Desert Mountain but soon decided the current name was a better fit for their music, the title taken from “riding the witch”, a another term for sleep paralysis. The band wear their inspirations from the likes of QOTSA and Eagles Of Death Metal openly but employ them in their own scuzzy recipe as evidenced on the new album and the band’s previous self-titled EP of last year. Initially a trio of vocalist Daniel Dorninger, guitarist Hans-Peter Leitner, and drummer Michael Hirschmugl, the band enlisted bassist Bernhard Weigl for their live shows who subsequently became a full-time member and makes up the quartet unleashing the colourful treats upon the Fuzzorama Records released Unmountable Stairs.

OCD starts things off, looming up on ears from a distance with sultry fuzz lit riffs and caustic melodies. A loud breath of Josh Homme and co is unmissable but it only adds to the intrigue and drama which comes with the song. Firm beats and a bass rumble brings shadows whilst the vocals of Dorninger, as the music, are not that far removed from a Homme like delivery and texture. The raw air to the song equally brings an imagination awakening aspect whilst the scorched slightly warped grooves and hooks throughout the opener, just hold ears and passions in their grip. It is a tasty contagion that has hunger for more bordering on lustful, so it is good that the following 1 For 5 is just as raucously compelling and virulently infectious. A bulging bassline matched by resonating beats provide an irresistible skeleton to the fusion of noise and stoner rock, swiftly hints of the likes of Melvins and Kyuss converging on thoughts as the song spreads its flames of sonic enterprise. Bedlamic at times, the track provides another twist and aspect to the sound and invention of the band, the two ridiculously addictive opening songs closely related in structure but individually striking.

The pair of Black and new single I’m Outta Breath keeps things boiling nicely, the first sending sonic shards through ears and across a feisty mesh of again heavily QOTSA influenced rhythms and riffs, before acidic scythes of sound aligned to potent vocal harmonies and melodic exploration express their tantalising narratives. It is a fascinating if less than explosive encounter which still easily grips attention before its successor strides in with an instant creative and addictive devilry. Riffs and hooks need little time to start reeling in the imagination and passions, whilst soaring blazes of guitar light the insatiable temptation of the song. Though it is one of the songs seemingly more intent on being catchy and enslaving its recipients it is also one of the most original and unique in sound, and if any comparison can be raised it is that of Australian band Voyager.

Its infection whets the appetite all over again ready for the scuzzy tempting of Far From You, a proposition cored by a pungent throaty bassline and a Nirvana-esque sonic scowl. With an additional hue of blues causticity, the track hits the spot without sparking additional lust before the melodic climate of SP immerses ears in its enticing graze of sound courted by mellow vocals. It also lacks the something extra which ignites the single but matches it on being something more uniquely different to Witchrider in sound, whilst both tracks parade encounters which still only add to the increasing potency of the album.

   The Cabin strolls in next with a dramatic air to its persuasion and wonderfully toxic sound, bass and riffs stalking ears with lustful intent for another helping of addictive pleasure. It is a sinister outing with a portentous breath to even its melodic fire whilst its predatory nature is a giveaway even under the erosive atmosphere of the excellent track. It’s almost theatrical narrative in word and sound is emulated by The Fog, the song also employing a gait which prowls with a devilish glint in its manner but with an even slower and heavier lumber. Additional attention reveals the real difference to the two songs which a casual listen misses, and both tracks create a haunting psychedelic landscape of intrigue and creativity which apart or together sparks imagination and pleasure.

Next the album’s title track strides through a Sabbath-esque terrain with Black Tusk like structures, across which spicy harmonies and wiry grooves lay out their mystery and incendiary temptation. As the album it is a slow burning but undeniable grower which makes the fullest seduction over time unlike Witch-Hunt which steals ardour and acclaim on the first examination of its tenacious enterprise over a sinew boned canvas. Marked by rutting riffs and beats inside a caustic wash of sonic enticing, the track flirts with the same spicery that flavours most songs but turns it into its own, not necessarily unique but definitely riveting trap.

The album is completed by the bluesy Styx, a track which as enjoyable as it is never quite convinces to the same depths as others songs upon Unmountable Stairs. Nevertheless with a presence which to these ears would be like Josh Homme plays the Kinks, it is a fine end to an increasingly impressing and fun release. The album as a whole announces that Witchrider is a band with all the invention and imagination to make a big impact, especially if they can or want to evolve a truly unique sound, the one thing reining in Unmountable Stairs from being a startling debut.

Unmountable Stairs is available from November 14th via Fuzzorama Records @ http://www.fuzzoramastore.com/en/cd-s/witchrider-the-unmountable-stairs.html

http://www.witchrider.com/

November sees Witchrider on tour with Truckfighters, with dates at…

Nov 10 – Brudenell LEEDS; Nov 11 – Sound Control MANCHESTER; Nov 12 – King Tuts Wah Wah Hut GLASGOW; Nov 13 – The Basement NOTTINGHAM; Nov 14 – O2 Academy Islington LONDON; Nov 15 Hard Rock Hell – PWLLHELI; Nov 16 – Oobleck BIRMINGHAM.

RingMaster 03/11/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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The Datsuns – Deep Sleep

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The press release accompanying new album Deep Sleep contains the quote from Dolf de Borst, the vocalist/bassist of New Zealanders The Datsuns, which states that “We’re not fucking around. We’re all conscious of the fact that we don’t live close to each other and we’re getting older and people have families, so, if we’re together, we’re going to make records.” It suggests a passion, urgency, and intent to pour everything they have into these creative opportunities and it is fair to say that the bands sixth full-length is a compelling and feverish bloom bred from the ten days the band took to record it whilst for a rare moment being in the same place at the same time. The release is a transfixing adventure which does not ignite a raging fire in sound and emotion but smoulders with persuasive persistence to emerge as one hot and lively simmering vat of rock ‘n’ roll.

Taking their energy fuelled voracious rock sound into a new sultry sonic landscape employing the richest essences of bands like Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and Blue Oyster Cult and similarly essential sounds of the seventies, The Datsuns have created a mesmeric tempest of insatiable rock ‘n’ roll which relishes either charging with flared nostrils or crawling over the senses and imagination with seductive menace. Deep Sleep also takes a healthy dose of inspiration from 1970s French comic Kris Kool which was created by cult psychedelic artist Caza (Philippe Cazaumayou), whose work also covers the captivating release. Summoning “images of 1970s cult film super-villains” with its darker inflamed sonic The-Datsuns-Deep-Sleep-Cover-400x400proposition, though we would suggest it suits even more so the folk darkness of a Wicker Man or a Blood on Satan’s Claw, Deep Sleep is a thrilling blaze of sound and intensity which just gets bigger and better with time.

The album opens on a moody tone as first track Caught In The Silver begins with a shadowed breath of riffs and atmospheric keys. A shimmering crystalline resonance swiftly joins the brewing climate of the song, guitarists Philip Somervell and Christian Livingstone casting haunting and elegant melodies around a pungent bass line and rhythms which appear to be just waiting for the right moment to expel their intimidation. It comes once the distinctive and varied vocals of de Borst unlock the heart of the song, everything erupting in a thick, muggy, and gripping wash of sound and intensity. The song proceeds to rumble and rampage as well as engage in a psychedelic radiance especially ablaze through the riveting solo commandeering attention.

   The potent start is powerfully backed by the heavy swagger and contagious swing of new single Bad Taste. Grooves make an inescapable web from virtually the opening seconds whilst Ben Cole’s rhythmic persuasion provides an imposing cage within which the excellent vocal calm and melodic flames explore ears and imagination with inventive revelry. The track is a delicious enslavement which the heavier footed and toned Claw Machine emulates straight away. It is another dramatically infectious proposition which with ease goes from a restrained yet vivacious stroll into expulsions of sonic fire, grooves and vocals soaring through the heated climate of the song with their melodic and ridiculously catchy flames. The album is at its most thrilling pinnacle at this point, the opening pair of tracks and this, joined by the glorious majesty of Shaky Mirrors and 500 Eyes to light a lustful hunger in appetite and emotions. The first of this pair is an incendiary groove fest with a tenacious energy and predacious attitude to match. Cole unveils a merciless bait of rolling and agitated rhythms which only seems to inspire the toxic lure of the guitars and throaty enticing of the bass whilst vocally de Borst roars with harmonic devilry. The song is instinctive in its temptation and ingenuity, purposefully preying on the submissive ardour already inspired by the album. Its unrestrained anthemic lure is matched by its completely different but no less predatory successor. 500 Eyes is stunning, a slow stalking of ears which slips tenderly over the senses with dark drama and portentous vocal temptation. It might just be the most evil and seductive song in existence, the band in full flirtation as they feed and devour the psyche, every aspect of the track parading a spellbinding voracious croon and sonic irreverence.

It would be unfair to say that Deep Sleep slips a gear from hereon in but such the alchemy driving the first clutch of triumphs, the likes of That’s What You Get and Creature Of The Week struggle to match their glory. To qualify that though, the first of these is a raging rock ‘n’ roll fire which is as ferocious in its sonic roar as it is infectious in its psych pop bullishness whilst the second of the two is a theatrical stroll with sinister drama and dark shadows draping every heavy rock and psychedelic enterprise making up its intriguing presence. Both tracks provide plenty of enjoyable food for thought and pleasure before making way for the bluesy rampage of Looking Glass Lies, a bruising and boiling slice of virulent energy and raw thrilling enterprise. The outstanding song is another anthem for feet and soul, a cauldron of sonic and melodic passion sculpted with enviable craft and flair.

Deep Sleep is completed by the mellower embrace of Sun In My Eyes, a warm breeze of melodies and radiance cored by a hungry stride which just gets more addictive with every listen, and finally its title track. The closer is a fuzzy wash with a dirge like breath and funereal intensity yet shines and shimmers with an absorbing beauty and irresistible charm.

It makes for an enthralling close to a breath-taking release. The Datsuns though admired, has never really brought our ears and emotions to a stop with their previous enjoyable releases. With Deep Sleep they have ignited a fire which can only be quenched with more of the same ahead please.

Deep Sleep is available via HellsquadRecords digitally @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/deep-sleep/id907118759 and on vinyl, CD, and cassette versions.

http://thedatsuns.com

RingMaster 08/10/2014.

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

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Doomster Reich – The League For Mental Distillation

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The League For Mental Distillation is a warts and all proposition which offers a compelling and unpredictable collision of seventies heavy metal with psychedelic and doom bred metal. The debut album from Polish metallers Doomster Reich, it is raw, passionate, and unafraid to show its flaws alongside the band’s dramatic enterprise. Equally it unveils an organic freedom to its invention, more than once suggesting that the Łódź quartet strapped themselves into their instruments, plugged in, and unleashed whatever was in their heart at the time rather than having a predetermined journey for a track. It is an encounter which ebbs and flows in its success it is fair to say, but one leaving ears and imagination riveted and happy to learn and hear more.

Doomster Reich was formed to the rear of 2011, with the foursome of guitarists Voytek and Markiz, drummer/vocalist Rasz, and bassist Radek settling down to write and record the songs making up The League For Mental Distillation the following year. Its recent release via The End Of Time Records gives the album a broader landscape to persuade, and whilst it may cause raised eyebrows at times, the album is a captivating and skilled blaze of heavy psychedelic doom which becomes more convincing with every listen.

Ears are wide awake and anticipation lit as soon as the opening strains of John Woe sets the album in potent motion. The guitars wind around the senses with a fiery and magnetic touch matched by the throaty tones of the bass and even heavier swipes of beats. It is a transfixing start teasing like a mix of Black Sabbath and Electric Wizard. The striking and also unpredictable vocals add another enthralling element to the mix, the tones and notes of Rasz at times wayward in delivery yet never harming the dramatic adventure around him, mostly adding to that theatre even in his less convincing vocal moments. The song itself continues to stalk and sway seductively before ears, guitars expelling flames of ingenuity and absorbing melodies as rhythms add rich shadows and intimidating weight to its proposal.

The following I Ate Some Desert Diamonds flirts with an expressive blues seeding in its introduction before stretching muscles for a lumbering gait, within which dramatic urges break free to ignite feistier passages of energy and vocal cddoomster_reichexpression. Also equipped with a thoroughly contagious web of hooks and acidic grooves, the track takes all the strong essences of the first to another engrossing level; strong vocals painting guitar sculpted walls of sonic intrigue against a heavy rhythmic canvas colourfully. It is a richly satisfying and evocative creative emprise swiftly matched by the maelstrom that is Comfort of Conscious Demise. Driven by an early thrash seeded charge, the track releases atmospheric smog of sonic oppression before opening up trails of urgent riffery and infectious grooving within the suffocating air. It is a glorious rampage, as savage as it is bewitching, and the best track on the album.

     Pornosopher’s Dream emerges under sultry skies coloured by sonic turbulence but it is a tempest restrained in its voracity and tempered by smouldering flames of coarse melodies and provocative sonic hues. With portentous spoken vocals and the bass pushing heavy shadows into the radiance, the track is as fascinating and gripping as the last with again thrash bred riffery aligning itself to the heavy metal ferocity hanging around the senses scorching designs of the guitars. Its lingering success is followed by the potent if less successful presence of I’ll Shoot You Down, a more sinew driven slab of sonic aggression. Vocals again vary in success but only add to the unique character of the song. The track proceeds to bine ears in excellent guitar play amidst strong rhythmic bait but does lack the spark and ingenuity of previous songs to certainly please but not make an imposing impression.

Closing track In Storms epitomises the album across its thirteen plus minutes. At times it leaves senses basking in scintillating craft and individual enterprise and at other times flirts too much with predictability and expectations feeding ideas, which stand out more because of the shining invention of other parts. Nevertheless despite it’s over long presence, another slight issue, the track is a rich end to a thoroughly enjoyable release. Certainly at times The League For Mental Distillation makes some wrong moves but it is easily compensated by the attention grabbing skills and inventive sounds within the release. It is not the most impressive release you will hear this year but an enjoyable one announcing Doomster Reich as a band more than worthy of close attention.

The League For Mental Distillation is available now via The End of Time Records.

https://www.facebook.com/doomsterreich

8/10

RingMaster 12/09/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Witch Charmer – The Great Depression

Witch Charmer

Raucously majestic and seductively intimidating, UK band Witch Charmer prove that not only was their previous acclaimed EP not a flash in the pan but that it was only the teaser to greater things with debut album The Great Depression. Five tracks which roar and hazily smoulder from a gripping fusion of doom, stoner, and heavy metal, the album is a riveting and scintillating incitement which musically stands out from the crowd but vocally sculpts a corner of its own to transfix from. Led by the magnetic vocal talent of Kate McKeown and assisted rather than backed by the grippingly individual tones of the band, it is an unpredictable and intriguing mix which only accentuates the raw and elegant extremes of the compelling sounds around them. This style of music is quite rich and thick in quality bands right now but the Sunderland quintet easily push themselves to the forefront of the masses with their exhilarating release.

Formed in 2012, the band consists of drummer/vocalist Dave McQuillan, guitarists/vocalists Len Lennox and Adam Clarke, and bassist Richard Maher alongside McKeown. Debut EP Euphoric Curse of last year drew in eager attention and acclaim with its stirring and intensive mesh of weighty rhythms and tantalising grooves aligned to pungent riffs and their compelling vocal mix. It proved irresistible to a great many but was just the base from which the Tony Reed (Mos Generator, Stone Axe) mixed and mastered The Great Depression has grown to greater heights for a heady captivation.

Themed around a “dark satirical view of this world gone mad”, album and band take little time in enslaving ears and imagination with opener Suffer. From its first breath it is spilling an enthralling groove which is soon surrounded by imposing rhythms and a sonic intensity which in turn sparks that initial lure to expel a greater flame to its potency. Just as swiftly the dramatic and impressive voice of McKeown joins the evolving narrative of the track, hot melodic designs alongside flirtatious grooves wrapping her rich tones. A brawling call from one of the band brings another thick texture to the song, his raw vocal squall the extreme opposite to the charm of McKeown but an impressing companion which seems to ignite another bout of virulent urgency and aggression in the sounds. Sharing the lead of the track for a fair portion, the two vocalists grab the attention but not enough to detract from the addictive enticement of the grooves and the sonic enterprise raging around them.

It is a mighty start but soon shown a clean pair of heels by the thrilling presence of The Cull. A more predatory gait is revealed by the track, its slow doom bred crawl an oppressive yet welcoming shadow through which McKeown’s voice WITCH CHARMER - COVERshines like a beacon. It is the vocal alliance which grips ears most of all though, certainly initially, the bruising growl heard in the first song returning with other allies bringing a punkish squall and a clean presentation to dual and flirt with the superb presence of the front lady. The track shows it is not just about that though, that like the release it stands out just as potently through its grooves and scorched atmospheres to create a riveting maelstrom of beauty and intimidation. Like a mix of Jess & the Ancient Ones and Electric Wizard with Triggerman, the track is a blistering provocation soaked in a smouldering blues haze and ferocious heavy psychedelic metal.

Both A Watching Of Wolves and …To Death (I’ll Drink) keep the temperature and might of the album ablaze and the passions aflame, the first arriving on a hypnotic stride of thumping rhythms within a humid tapestry of sonic invention. It takes little time to clad those lingering lures in a thick swamp of dark grooves and rapacious intensity which in turn is veined by melodic mystique enticing and infectious virulence. It is a merger of darkness and light, of brooding emotions and joyful revelry which is seamlessly entwined to create an incendiary incitement for thoughts and passions. Its successor is scintillating; the bass with a delicious bestial twang to its tone leading ears and thoughts into a haze of sonic expression and addictive rhythmic baiting. The song proceeds to lap the senses in waves of energy and seductive enticing, its potency never wavering in success and strength as grooves, riffs, and vocals weave and tease like an adulterous temptress with only eyes for its victim. The rhythmic imagination of McQuillan is inescapable as he frames and veins the track with unpredictable and engrossing bait matched by the delicious vocals.

The best track on the album it is soon rivalled by the closing Stare Into The Sun, a slow enticement which is even more of a salacious temptation than its predecessor in moves and grooves at times but ultimately is a persistently changing and evolving groove fest across a landscape of burning melodies and caustic riffs under a rhythmic thunder. It is a stunning end to a sensational release, though the album does have one final brief treat in hidden acoustic track Architects of our own Existence.

The Great Depression has everything fans of the likes of Black Sabbath and Goatsnake through to Electric Wizard and Blood Ceremony would devour in a second but also much more to bring a fresh air to doom and stoner flavoured heavy metal. Witch Charmer is a major force in the making and their album the first slab of irrepressible evidence.

The Great Depression is available from September 1st on Argonauta Records and at http://witchcharmer.bandcamp.com

www.facebook.com/witchcharmerband

9/10

RingMaster 01/09/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Long riffs and binding grooves: an interview with Valfader Interview

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With the ability to sculpt riffs that almost need a certain bravery to stand before and a skill in casting melodic designs stretched with rigorusly seducing grooves which take on a predacious quality when locked together, UK band Valfader has emerged as one of the most imposingly creative and thrilling adventurous propositions to come out of British heavy rock/metal in recent years. Hailing from Bath the trio of guitarist/vocalist Dean Gaylard, bassist Matt Jones, and drummer Gareth Jones first drew acclaimed blood with their Whispers of Chaos last year with even greater attention and praise coming through the epic single Opening earlier this year. Long overdue a chat we stole time from the band to talk about the birth of Valfader, their organic songwriting, and depriving sound engineers of half day holidays as well as plenty more…

Hi guys and thanks for taking time to talk with us.

First up can we find out about the beginnings of Valfader, how you all met and started the band as well as personal histories before the event?

It all started about 9 years ago, yep 9 years ago. Me (Gaz) and Dean were in a rock / prog band playing local bars in Bath – Bristol area from 2005 till 2009 and along the way we met a lot of awesome musicians which we still know today. We had a nice little run supporting some awesome bands but we were nothing serious. Sure in our booze fuelled minds we were going to take over the world, but it didn’t matter how much we put into the band we were going nowhere slowly. We split in the winter of 2009 and we both stopped playing music all together, and went our separate ways but still remained good friends. After 7, or maybe 8 months we ran into each other at a venue in Bath and we started talking about the good old days, music and whose round it was next ha-ha. Anyway, we talked about having a little jam at a local rehearsal rooms and that was it! We realized after the first jam that the passion was still there, ok a little rusty, but planned a second rehearsal a week later to pick up where we left off. A few months into it we started to look for a bassist. We asked a few mates but none of them could commit, but that didn’t stop us, so we posted an advert on the Web and after a few weeks, maybe 4, Matt rolled up and as they say, the rest is history and here we are now

Did you start out with a specific intent or direction for the band?

Not really – we really aren’t that organised! We never really plan stuff or think long term. In the beginning we never sat down and said “let’s be a stoner rock band” or “let’s be like this band”. We just knew what music we liked and enjoyed jamming together. After that, our “sound” came together so we put it out there to see what happened.

Your sound merges the rich essences of stoner and heavy rick with sludge and doom bred emotive tenacity, not forgetting the voracious riffs. It is a distinctive and increasingly unique sound daring people to try and label it. How would you describe your music to newcomers?

Ha – we have no idea man! It’s not something we have really worried about or tried to do! We have read lots of different descriptions about ourselves that have used the terms doom, stoner, psychedelic, rock, progressive, metal and ambient so take your pick I guess!!

How do you see it has evolved since starting out in 2010 and the recent release of Opening?valfader opening

In the beginning our songs were much shorter, more uniform in the sense of verse / chorus etc. and more one dimensional. However as we all played together more and brought our ideas to the table, the songs grew longer in duration and more diverse in different sounds, which is where we are now!

Is Opening a single or EP, I have seen it described both because of its length, often in the same piece ha-ha.

We put Opening out there as a single. As you may have noticed we tend to write long songs so this was just one track for us… however, if people want to consider it as an EP then that’s cool.

Last year saw the release of your debut EP Whispers of Chaos, which was where we discovered you. It has seemed to have whipped up a storm of attention and eagerness for the band. How has it been on the inside since its release?

On a day to day basis, not much has changed for us really. We all still work full time jobs, look after family, meet up for jams and try to get gigs! However we now have this global online presence which is lovely. It’s been very humbling and gratifying to see how far our music has travelled and how well it has been received. The attention for the band seems to come in waves, which can be a bit of an emotional roller coaster!

Did its success surprise you even with your obvious confidence in your own music?

It totally blew us away – completely. We still remember talking in the van the night before we were going to put it out there on Bandcamp, we really had no idea how it would be received as we don’t sound like other bands out there – we were so tense!! The amount of positive reviews and comments we received were far in excess of anything we could have hoped for, so a big thanks to everyone involved again!!

Was there any extra pressure on you because of its success emotionally for your next unveiling?

It’s hard to say – I guess so though. We were all really clear that we really wanted Opening to be another step forward from the EP, which we feel we achieved.valfader4

Did you learn anything from the EP which made you approach Opening any differently?

(Gaz) – I was a lot more relaxed this time around and I believe you can hear that in my drumming. Recording Whispers I was nervous as hell and only had a day to record four tracks, so was holding back trying not to fuck up. On Opening I was more relaxed and enjoyed every minute, plus the producer and a good friend of the band who came to film us are fellow drummers, so I was talking shop all day with them which made a nice change.

Opening consists of a single epic fourteen minute or so track; so with your songs generally on the side of epic in length how difficult was it to write a track of such a long presence to ensure it enthrals ears and imagination constantly, which it surely does?

In all honesty there was no real intention of making it so long, the song evolved out of the initial clean riff and just kept growing. I think we have a pretty relaxed approach to song writing, we rarely set out to do something deliberately, it’s usually just a case of letting the mood of the music take us somewhere and not getting too analytical about it.

So it a track which evolved organically in sound and length, or one you planned more precisely before strings were plucked and riffs spawned?

Generally our songs do evolve quite organically, though this one was more or less written as a whole prior to playing it together. This is quite unusual as I think we benefit greatly from each other’s contributions when song writing.

How long did the song take to record, I heard it was done in a day?

Yep – all done in a day!! I think the sound engineer thought he was in for an early finish when we told him we only wanted to record one song – then he found out it was 14 mins long!!

Opening presented a different facet to the music found on the EP; is this a swing in direction for future releases to explore or just another character in your overall sound?

A bit of both really. Again – when we write songs we never try to make them sound a particular way or force them into a genre. They evolve naturally which means all our songs are quite diverse. We are currently writing quite a lot of new material, some of which is more like Opening in style, others more like tracks from the EP.

VALFADER  Cover ArtworkThere is also an intimacy to the song maybe not as open on Whispers of Chaos, something you feel too?

Yeah definitely, it’s quite an emotional song, and I (Dean) felt pretty damn nervous about recording so many clean vocal lines. I think there’s quite a vulnerability to the song, but hopefully that’s a good thing, there’s no pretence, just an honest expression of something both painful and beautiful.

Riveting riff driven rock whether stoner/sludge/or simply of heavy metal descent seems to be on a very healthy and powerful ascent across the UK right now with emerging bands, such as Morass Of Molasses, Desert Storm, XII Boar, Caravan of Whores being four examples coming to mind alongside yourselves. Are you finding the appetite and hunger is there from fans too not only for releases but live shows?

Honestly? Not really! It does seem to us that people don’t seem to be prepared to go out to local shows and bands to support music scenes anymore. People will spend hundreds of pounds to go to some large venue to watch a band that’s been around for 20-30 years but don’t seem willing to walk down the road and spend £5 to see 4 or 5 bands that they haven’t heard. We have played some gigs where there is a good local scene and support for new music, but feel these are all too rare. We have also played on bills with some amazingly talented musicians to pretty empty rooms!

How about from promoters and venues putting on gigs, same attitude?

We are lucky to work with Cowbell promotions in Bath. These guys are REAL music enthusiasts who put on shows simply because they love the music. They have been amazingly supportive of us and helped get us out there, so a huge thanks needs to go to them. The music industry desperately NEEDS more people like this. Unfortunately all too often promoters and venues don’t really give a shit who you are or what you sound like, they just want you to guarantee ticket sales and make money. We understand that of course they are businesses and have costs etc. to cover, but there seems to be little to no interest in music, or working with and supporting bands

What comes next for Valfader and for the rest of 2014 from you?

We are having a little break over the summer after a run of gigs and then hoping to get back into the studio to record a new full length album towards the end of the year. This thing is shaping up to be massive. Over an hour in length and more riffs that you can point a very pointy thing at!

Finances are tight if absent for most emerging bands so many are turning to crowd funding sites to try and finance releases etc. Something you feel you might look at ahead or do you feel it is an option still only for bands with an established active fanbase right now?

It’s something we have considered and talked about, but not something we are completely comfortable with I thinkvalfader3

Once again a big thanks for chatting with us; any last words or thoughts you would like to leave us pondering?

Thank you! We really appreciate websites such as yourself and the work you do to help bands. Huge thanks to everyone who has bought our music, come to see us, sent us nice messages or supported us in anyway. It really makes a difference and is so appreciated by us all. And support local music – new bands need your help!! Don’t worry – Dave Grohl and Trent Reznor are ok for money!!

And lastly give us an idea of the most inspirational records which went some way to sparking the need in you to make music.

GAZ – It’s all about Sabbath and Zeppelin. Just hearing any tracks of theirs inspires me to play the drums whether I’m behind the kit or not.

DEAN – Well the bands which got me going originally were Metallica, Pearl Jam, Pantera and probably a load of dodgy Nu metal bands when I was 16, ha-ha. Now I’m always searching for music which doesn’t sit too comfortably within one genre, I really love Opeth, Elder, Baroness, and Maeth to name but a few!

MATT – oh so many!! I suppose early on bands like Slayer, Nirvana and Pearl Jam gave me the idea of picking up an instrument and playing it. Deftones, Glassjaw and Isis made me want to express something emotive and beautiful, and the guys from a band called Jim Fear first made me believe I could do it!!

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Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 26/08/2014

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