We Hunt Buffalo – Blood From A Stone EP

     whb_live

     Clad in a thick rich blanket of enticing fuzz, the quartet of stoner sculpted tracks making up the Blood From A Stone EP provide one of the most refreshing and invigorating treats from the genre in recent months. The new release of Canadian rockers We Hunt Buffalo, it is a masterful tempest of intensively persuasive riffs and commanding rhythms around melodic imagination, the result a release which captivates and fires up the emotions.

     The Vancouver trio of vocalist/guitarist Ryan Forsythe, vocalist/bassist Brendan Simpson, and drummer Brandon Carter, soon set tongues wagging and appetites awakened for their compelling sound with the release of a first EP in 2010. Linking up with Tanis Gibbons at The Hive recording studio in Burnaby BC the following year, the band recorded their self-titled debut album, the release re-working tracks from the previous EP and new slices of psychedelically touched stoner spawned rock ‘n’ roll. 2012 saw the band place in the top three, out of 400 entries, in the 99.3 The Fox annual SEEDS competition which led them to supporting Monster Truck at Vancouver’s The Commodore Ballroom, a stage which subsequently saw the band returning often to sharing space with the likes of Chevelle, Matt Mays, Danko Jones and Steel Panther over time. Released at the tail of last year, Blood From A Stone reinforces and stretches the band’s stature and potency with four tsunamis of creative power and hungry riffery, the release a wake-up call for a still sleeping world to the band’s tremendous potential and presence.

      We Hunt Buffalo opens up the EP with its title track, a song which from a restrained sonic mesh of guitar acidity canters into an coverinstant attention grabbing proposition, fuzz cloaked riffs and crisp rhythms leading the imagination into an evolving and enveloping stoner grooved almost doom based embrace. The vocals are as impressive and appealing as the sound, their expressive and earnest clean pleas openly magnetic within the squalling incendiary smog of fuzz and sonic invention. Essences of Black Tusk come to mind briefly during the excellent track’s persuasion but with its dirty climate and roughened touch the adventure creates an evocation of sound purely down to the Canadians.

    The bouncing yet heavy weight opener is followed by an equally energetic suasion in Cobwebs. A blues soaked flame of guitar veins the merger of military seeded drum beats and the tempestuous sonic scuzziness drifting across and drenching every note. Vocally the delivery takes a slower mesmeric radiance, Forsythe and Simpson blending for a resourceful and compelling mix within the fiery breath of the song. There is a Palms essence to the track, something which reappears again later in the EP but again an essence which is merely a radiant spice in a distinctive and unique recipe. You admittedly would not say song or EP is setting new avenues for stoner and heavy weighted rock but certainly it offers something strikingly fresh and individual to We Hunt Buffalo.

     Hometown taps a stronger vein of southern blues in its flame of guitar, the sultriness of its charm evolving into shards of heat and invention through the slowly strolling reflection of stoner fire and emotive ambience. We mentioned Palms earlier but maybe more so a Deftones embrace wraps this track through the atmospheric and evocative intensity dripping from every chord and syllable of the excellent track. It is a hypnotic incitement with punch and inventive endeavour to contrast with and add to the immersive journey into the depths of the song, excellently crafted twists and imaginative nuances working away at the senses on route.

     The triplets of outstanding tracks become four with the closing Telepathic Eyes, an arguably cleaner faced meeting though also not adverse to a healthy dose of fuzz permeated enticement. It is another slow and smouldering piece of melodic rock with blooming stoner flavouring, a fire of sound and temptation which retains the release on the same impressive plateau it started on and held. Blood From A Stone is one of those stoner cast treats you hanker for time and time again, and We Hunt Buffalo a band the world will be eagerly aware of sooner rather than later on the evidence of this.

http://www.wehuntbuffalo.com

http://wehuntbuffalo.bandcamp.com/album/blood-from-a-stone

9/10

RingMaster 12/02/2014

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Sons of Huns – Banishment Ritual

SONSofHUNS_Will_Bragg-6233

Riff clad and groove shoed, Banishment Ritual is one of those albums which is so hard to tear yourself away from once it has its eager and rapacious hooks deeply entrenched within the ears and passions. Sculpted by Oregon trio Sons of Huns, the eleven track release is as virulently contagious and thrillingly magnetic as any stoner/heavy metal confrontation to come along over recent months and though its originality can be argued and debated the album is a ridiculously easy to devour magnetic treat. Since 2009, The Portland band has been firing up and building a keen and potent home fanbase since forming but now with the release via EasyRider Records of the riotous Banishment Ritual, expectations are simply rife with the expectation that the band will soon be recognised and cooed much further afield.

Consisting of guitarist/vocalist Peter Hughes, drummer Ryan Northrop, and bassist/vocalist Shoki Tanabe (who has recently departed the band to be replaced as touring bassist by Aaron Powell of Belt of Vapor), Sons of Huns has already earned a major reputation for their live performances which has seen them grace numerous Portland festivals and stages supporting the likes of Red Fang, Andrew W.K., Danava, and also comedian Brian Posehn. The band’s 2011 self-titled EP drew potent acclaim as did the 7” single Leaving Your Body, but you feel as debut album Banishment Ritual stomps and ravages through the ears like a sonic terrier on heat that everything before was mere foreplay for the real thing.

The title track opens up the storming exercise in persistent dramatic riffery and rhythmic entrapment with an eager swagger and Cover Artfiery breath if not the rabidity and aggressive attention grabbing shown in later tracks. A warm blues squall wraps the guitar enterprise whilst the vocals have a strength and expression which matches the sonic intensity and melodic tantalising veining the track. It is a compelling accomplished start which lays down the appealing canvas for greater things to play upon starting with the following Argenteum Astrum.

The second track is a delicious flame of sci-fi inspired adrenaline coaxed stoner rock ‘n’ roll, a merger of Motorhead and Red Fang with the sinews of Black Tusk rippling throughout its contagious charge. The band is equally unafraid to twist and shift things around within the charge, a slow melodic croon teasing the senses midway in for a mesmeric enticement that tempers and compliments the sturdy riffery and thumping rhythms. It is the first of a few pinnacles closely followed by the mighty seduction of Heliolith, a track where grooves entice places which should never be felt up in public and riffs cage thoughts of escape with resourcefulness and irresistible addictiveness.

The dual assault of Horror In Clay and I’m Your Dad bring the album to another peak, the first with a blues crafted energy and rampancy which flirts with the passions through evolving gaits and inquiring sonic imagination whilst its successor, the best track on the album is pure undiluted bruising rock ‘n’ roll. Part early Queens Of The Stone Age and part Black Sabbath with a spattering of Trucker Diablo, the song emerges as a unique and exhilarating blaze of voracious enterprise to ignite a greater rabidity to the already spawned hunger for the album.

Following the decent but out of place amongst the other tracks instrumental Waking Sleep, Sons of Huns unleashes another incendiary device for the passions with the intensive infection of Planet No. 9, another track where grooves are as epidemically inciting as the riffs and rhythmic confrontation. With strong vocal harmonies to aid the always enjoyable delivery of Hughes and Tanabe, the track storms the barricades with charm and insatiable energy aligned to aggressive endeavour and addiction forging adventure. Seriously challenging for best song on Banishment Ritual it gives a tall order for the rest of the album to live up to.

Both the smouldering lure of Lord of Illusion and the garage rock escapade of instrumental Rollin’ the Dice make a fine if unsuccessful attempt, the pair as many of the tracks breeding a psychedelic air to their stoner and blues emissions, whilst Super Kanpai Rainbow steps up to the plate with an impossibly infectious temptation of garage punk and metal merged into a psychedelic psyche taunting with sonic colour as vibrant and transfixing as the imagination spawning its intriguing and thrilling offering.

Completed by final stoneresque fire of Oroboros, The Sword meets Led Zeppelin to give a whiff of its heat, Banishment Ritual is an outstanding release which makes a stronger persuasion with every encounter.  Maybe not strong on originality but towering in every other aspect, it is an outstanding full length debut placing Sons of Huns towards the frontline of stoner/blues metal.

http://sonsofhuns.com/

8.5/10

RingMaster 03/12/2013

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Red Fang – Whales And Leeches

Red Fang "Whales and Leeches" press photos 2013

Back again to send heavy cascades of thumping rhythms, demanding riffs, and exhaustive rock ‘n’ roll contagion down upon the senses, Oregon’s Red Fang unleash their third dramatically compelling album upon the world. Whales And Leeches is a commanding storm of what the band does best, making intensive and rapacious heavy rock with more barbs and hooks than an angling convention, and though arguably it does not bring anything strikingly new from the Portland quartet it is undeniably pure Red Fang and a definite highlight of the year.

With the past two years or so a constant round of touring and shows, the foursome of guitarist/vocalist Bryan Giles, bassist/vocalist Aaron Beam, guitarist David Sullivan, and drummer John Sherman have at the same time written a collection of songs which rampage on adrenaline and hunger and seduce with a virulently additive expanse of temptation clad grooves and incendiary riffery. Featuring guests Mike Scheidt (Yob) and Pall Jenkins (The Black Heart Procession), the Relapse Records released album outshines predecessor Murder The Mountains to stand almost side by side with Red Fang’s explosive self-titled debut full length in stature, an album which always has the passions inflamed.

Opener DOEN immediately tells you all you need to know about Whales And Leeches, a spiralling guitar tease across rabid rhythmswhalesandleeches_1500 bursting from a discord kissed introduction to lay the seeds for a groove cored flight of predacious energy and adventure. As you would expect riffs and drums command and bewitch the ear whilst the dual vocal attack is a pleasing magnet within the tempestuous assault, but there also seems an extra dose of mischief and infection to the song which subsequently permeates the whole album, a fun or devilry which has lips licked and anticipation brewing an even stronger hunger.

The following excellent Blood Like Cream is a thrilling feisty dance with a strong Queens Of The Stone Age tantalising to its breath whilst its chorus is epidemically captivating and the trigger to its recipient’s vocal and feet shuffling contribution. The song is a magnificent temptation with a punk rabidity to its urgency and enthusiastic swagger whilst its successors No Hope and Crows in Swine add their individual flavours to continue the terrific start to the release. The first of the two has a snarl and bruising quality which again offers a punk essence but this time within a Black Tusk like causticity whilst the second digs up the depths of the dirty side of the band to clad its sides in Mastodon like filth and aggressive enticement. With a wonderfully niggling presence to the serpentine grooves and sonic licks, as well as excellent unpredictable invention over a torrential drum attack, the song is one of the major pinnacles of the album especially with the Eastern mystique which seduces from within its enthralling climax.

     Voices of the Dead is next to keep the passions enslaved, the song a gentler sinew framed persuasion with great vocal harmonies providing a sweltering gentleness across  the more intimidating sounds. It continues to hold the imagination as firmly as the previous tracks before passing over the task to Behind The Light who then sends the baton into the eager hands of the Black Sabbath skirting Dawn Rising. The two tracks again leave attention and appetite fully satisfied but do miss the heights of their predecessors in many ways. There is plenty of gripping adventure to the songs but there is a lack of that killer aspect which makes them leap from the speakers into an infernally persistent and welcome long term instigator.

There is no such problem with Failure, the track an irresistible lure with broody shadows and a spellbinding menacing temptation. Slowly stalking senses and thoughts the track is a heavy prowling joy, riffs and rhythms crowding the ear into submission whilst the vocals add their demonic tension as guitars sculpt a mesmeric sonic web of invention and sultry desire. It, as many of the tracks shows the diversity and maturity within Red Fang’s songwriting before letting 1516 take the album back into a primal insatiable heavy stomp of blood curdling intensity.

This Animal ensures the album delivers another major highlight before its end, the song bringing again a QOTSA like twisting of inventive sonic diablerie and pulsating metallic predation which at times reminds of Therapy? whilst the final song and latest single from the album, Every Little Twist provides a smouldering , endearing slice of muscular rock with melodic caresses. It is a very decent conclusion though personally not a song I would imagine being the strongest pull into the album compared to much stronger infection soaked tracks upon Whales And Leeches. It undoubtedly brings the release to a fine finish and helps leave exhaustion and pleasure the overriding emotions and thoughts from one exciting album. Red Fang seemingly constantly create music you just cannot get enough of and their third album is another prime example; maybe not a classic but pretty damn close.

http://redfang.net/

8.5/10

RingMaster 17/10/2013

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Clashing sinews and sonic deities: an interview with Gregg Higgins of Venomous Maximus

Photo by Mark C. Austin

Photo by Mark C. Austin

 Rock/metal, however you wish to describe the enthralling leviathan of invading shadows and seriously addictive melodic alchemy that is the music of Venomous Maximus it is a confrontation which leaves you gasping and hungry for more. The recent worldwide re-release of their debut album Beg Upon The Light has slammed the quartet right in the midst of the most rapacious yet sonically rewarding bands today. Towering riffs and equally mountainous rhythms crowd maelstroms of irresistible grooves and an intensity which staggers within the impressive release backing up the almost fearsome reputation of their live performances. Given the welcome opportunity to quiz and dig deeper into the band with vocalist/guitarist Gregg Higgins, we soon realised this is much more than a band for the man and his colleagues.

Hi Gregg welcome to the RingMaster Review and many thanks for taking time to talk to us.

First of we will ask for the benefit of those yet to be fully acquainted with Venomous Maximus can you give us some background to the beginnings of the band and its members?

I am an artist and a tattooer. Our drummer Bongo builds motorcycles. Trevi is a math mathematician and a hot sauce master and Christian makes everything happen. I moved to Houston 6 years ago and had been planning for 4 or 5 years on starting the band. I was just waiting on the perfect time and the right people. Then everything fell into place…the end.

Was there an immediate connection musically and in thought about how the band would progress between you?

Yes of course. We weren’t getting anyone involved if they had to be taught anything. I think that’s important when putting together a band. Not just finding members that can just play the music. They have to understand the master plan.

Some bands have a ‘leader’, a founder who is the prime force behind the direction or creative input is that the same with Venomous Maximus or is it a more democratic process within the band?

It’s like being on a submarine. It’s a tight ship with not a lot of space to move around. Everyone has a role and job in the band and doesn’t have to be told what to do. I am the main creative force but it’s just a bunch of ideas. Everyone puts in their input but they are the ones that actually make it happen.

You are seemingly tagged as anything from an occult rock band to a doom or heavy rock. I am not sure any of those truly describe your intense flavoursome rock’ n’ roll, how would you describe your massive sounds?

The whole name game that is involved with underground music is getting pretty silly now days. None of it really matters it should be just for fun and a way to describe and communicate what bands sound like to friends. Our goal was if we play a metal show we are the rock band. If we play a rock show we are the metal band. A chameleon if you will.

I have to ask the about the seeds to the great band name, which alone raises images personally of an insidious dark unknown with

gladiatorial strength and purpose.

You have given the best description of the name. When I hear it that’s what I think of… A titan or god from the ancient world. It basically comes from a tattoo design from the 60s and 70s of a solider that has been away from home a little too long.

Lyrically your songs also approach and investigate the unknown and unspoken shadows. Is this an interest which goes beyond just writing songs?

Yes of course. All of the material comes from experiences or situations I have found myself in over the years. I am not signing about graphic novels or movies or religions. This shit is real man!

Your excellent originally self –released debut album Beg Upon The Light has just been given a re-release through Napalm Records, did they come to you with the offer or were you searching for a wider outlet for the release?

We have always had the attitude whatever happens… happens and Napalm was very interested immediately. Some other labels hit us up but we didn’t wanna get lost in the mix so we decided to go with our gut.

So they were not alone in showing interest over past months or so?

Yea I guess I don’t know what your idea of interested is. We can be pretty picky and choosy about dealings with our band. But most of the buzz has started again in the last couple months. The material on the record is getting old to us and time for some new tunes.

942460_10151622495054738_934875440_nBeg Upon The Light was very well received on its first unleashing, were you more confident with this world wide release or in some way more nervous than before?

Truthfully this band began with a spark and I have always known that we would grow into a flame. It’s kinda like when you meet a woman. Something is a little bit different about it…things just seems to work and flow naturally even when problems arise they seem to take care of themselves, almost guided if you will. When things seem to naturally work in life you shouldn’t question them. ..that’s arrogance to me.

The album follows your first EP The Mission of 2011, and though you are still young in terms of the time the band has been in existence how do you feel your music and songwriting has developed between releases and also what you are presumably coming up with as either new material or ideas now?

Yea I feel the material has grown light years. We spent a good two years just me and the drummer working on a set to finally scratch it when the band actually started playing. We spent damn near the 1st two years playing every week, there has been more time spent on stage than in a practice room now. When your material is written in a practice room compared to being written on the road and in a fully functioning band you really see what you’re made of. Right now we are in the process of writing the next record. I truly feel that it is a true interpretation of what we have wanted to sound like. Much more mature song writing with more of a classic approach to rock n roll than just metal or doom or fucking yea. Hopefully there will be a group of people that don’t like it because it’s not our old material… hahahaha…but they can live in the past and do nothing

How does the song writing process work within the band and are songs as good as completed before entering a studio or do you prefer evolving ideas within that environment more?

Its 3 parts me in my bedroom. Then brought to the practice room and then worked out for the stage. Once the kinks are worked out for performing the song, then the studio. All of the salt and pepper is put on in the studio through intense examination and then its dead to me.

Are you quite strict with yourselves over ideas and things that do or do not work when writing? Do you have a mound of elements discarded or shelved for another opportunity?

We treat the band as if it was a being. As if it’s a ghost. He has his own personality and own opinions and knows what he likes and if he wants to change or stay the same we have to respect his decision. We are just here for his voice to come through. He does half the work we do the other half, so not all the decisions are up to us.

Is it riffs or melodies which generally come first for songs, or do are more often triggered from the lyrical side of your invention?

Actually goes back and forth. A lot of times its lyrics and thoughts that really drive me to write a song, or it could be as simple as me jamming Fleetwood mac and going to the guys with we have to write a song like this our way. Which is normally slightly faster with a little bit of chuggy and a blues lick laid on top. If you got a sharp year you could relate every one of our songs to The Cure, Madonna, David Bowie, all the everyday music that elitist underground’s lie about how much they love. We don’t give a shit about any of that. One of my favorite bands is Enya and she ain’t even a band. hahahaha

Beg Upon The Light is an inventive and intensive ravishing which does not really allow any breaths to be taken within its leviathan like confrontation of towering riffs and equally mountainous rhythms as well as enthralling of invading shadows and seriously addictive melodic alchemy, well how we see and feel it anyway. Is it a deliberate intent to have the listener use every part of body, senses, and emotions within its encounter or just something which naturally evolves?

I believe that all artists that have suffered and given their lives up so that they could interpret their experiences to art hope that other people will pick up on what you’re putting down. What you’re explaining is pure projection. It’s the same as someone is lying to you. You can sense they are full of shit, but when people are truly disturbed and upset to their core you can literally feel. Their emotions are so strong and being amplified so much that they literately travel from your body to yours…that’s one of the 12 super powers humans are naturally born with. It’s a shame that people in this modern technology world of information don’t even know the 12 special powers that only human beings possess…or I could be lying about all this. All that really matters is what rings true to you.

You hail from Houston, how would you say the city and surroundings have impacted on you as musicians and band either positively or negatively, if at all?

Houston is my home and I have many friends here but Texas is where I am from. Houston itself is a hell hole of grime and multi cultures. It’s like the New York of the south. One thing that it has provided for us is all the many flavors of culture. So it’s helped us be a little more diverse and not seem like hippie grass eaters from Austin or Pantera rednecks from Dallas. We love all the cities here we just love to talk shit too. It’s a Texas thing. Fun loving shit talking.

Is it a supportive metal scene there for new and emerging bands?vm

Texas can be the easiest and the roughest crowd anywhere you go. People don’t care about the bullshit politics of what kind of band you are. All the crowd wants is for you to play your hardest and get off stage and have a beer and talk to them like a real person. Everybody in Texas thinks about themselves as a rock star on or off stage. So the crowd doesn’t give a shit who you think you are. They wanna drink a beer with you.

You have a great reputation for your live performances and have played with the likes of High on Fire, Down, Guns and Roses, Mastodon, Pentagram, Eyehategod, Fu Manchu, Torche, Black Tusk, Bison BC, the list goes on. Apart from great experience and recognition, what has playing with bands of this calibre brought to your own headlining shows now and in the future, again in a good or negative way?

From day one the bar has been set super high. More than 1/2 of the bands we have played with the members have been playing longer than I have been alive. The intimidation and self-consciousness got to a point of almost conquering me but I am not really one to fail. I will bite my own leg off to get out of a trap. So we had to really bear down and focus and stay out of the bar to figure out if we were gonna do this it’s gotta be all or nothing. But it was just a trial period. When things are forced to live up to a certain expectation after a while that’s just the level it becomes and then you get bored and you take it up a notch and up a notch and up a notch. It’s truly up to you if you ever want to stop progressing because the second you do. You can clearly hear it.

I sense you guys love the live side of the band intensely, more than the time and creative process involved in writing and recording new songs?

Our band is more than a band to us. It’s more like a cult. It’s taken over all of our lives and the wives of the band, but in a good way. It’s became something that brings us all together as people for birthdays, weddings, movie nights and just straight up weekend partying. Not everyone in the world still has the family they had when they were children but everyone needs a family whether they are blood or not. A band or anytime humans group together creativity and happiness should arise. so to answer your question yes this is way more than a band.

What has Venomous Maximus in store for the rest of the year and are we able to talk about a successor to Beg Upon The Light yet?

For the rest of year we are working on writing and recording the new record which will have videos, new line of merch, and a short film. We have a few shows sprinkled in the next couple months but we have worn ourselves thin so right now we are juggling our personal lives, writing and recording and planning most of next year.

Once again a big thanks for sparing time for us, anything you would like to say to the readers?

I wanna thank all the people that have taken their time to take a second glance at something and follow their gut when they feel that there’s a deeper meaning in things. If you ask the question is it going to happen to me that means it is and that’s the truth.

And finally what have been the five most potent inspirations on you musically or personally?

Music I would have to say Beethoven, Pink Floyd The Wall from 5th grade, The Crow and the Doors from 6th grade and for films that helped me get a visual for music. The lists can go on and on. I am the kinda of guy that’s good with lists. For some reason music from people who are sad or disturbed has always just made me happy. It’s the people who relish in superficial joys that make me angry and Kenneth Anger is the shit. Read books so you don’t have to wait

https://www.facebook.com/VenomousMaximus

Read the Beg Upon The Light review @ http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/07/07/venomous-maximus-beg-upon-the-light/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 26/07/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Black Tusk – Tend No Wounds

black_tusk_satan_2  Geoff Johnson

The promo with Tend No Wounds, the new six track EP from riff sculptors Black Tusk, says it is a stop-gap release between the outstanding previous album Set The Dial and its successor sometime in the future, and in many ways it feels like that. There is something indefinable missing within the release which leaves it in the shadows of certainly the last two albums but even in saying that the EP leaves senses and hunger more than satisfied as the band unleash more of their rapacious riffs, equally predatory rhythms, and squalling throaty vocals to ravage the ear.

Twenty minutes of raw and furious rock ‘n’ roll, the Relapse Records released EP sees the band merging their earlier sound with its subsequent evolution over the years, the sludge bred rock abrasiveness given further caustic venom from hardcore and punk sculpted additives. It is a compelling and insatiable sound which sparks a strength of appetite in the listener that is always welcome and though as mentioned there is an absent element which prevents the release being one of the major provocations of the year it stands tall and muscular against plenty of the other more than decent releases unleashed to date. To be honest by the end of only its first listen Tend No Wounds inspires the desire to hear more of this approach from the band ahead and numerous encounters with it only reinforce that thought.

A Cold Embrace opens up the enjoyable brawl, the track a brief instrumental which opens on a sprawling expanse of jangling tendnowounds_1400guitars before unleashing the trade mark riffs and grooves the Savannah, Georgia trio are renowned for. With the drums of James May as punchy and spiteful as ever the piece softens up the senses and lights the greed inside despite being barely two minutes of corrosive beauty. It soon passes the baton over to the belligerent Enemy Of Reason which takes no time from its opening barrage of beats in creating a tempest of animalistic rhythmic intent and unpolished encounter. The guitar of Andrew Fidler scorches the senses with tight acidic grooves in between gnawing at flesh with his dirty metallic riffing whilst the bass of Jonathan Athon prowls and provokes within the maelstrom like a beast on heat. With the vocals a truculent hardcore confrontation pushing all the right punk crafted buttons, the song has no problem seizing attention and enlisting the listener into its adrenaline fuelled charge.

The strong start is taken to its biggest peak on the release with the following gem The Weak And The Wise. Its start is a deliciously mesmeric call of seductive strings, cello and violin making a sultry temptation which actually reminds of UK band The Mission. It is an introduction that only gains greater potency as bass and then guitar share their emotive presence to the persuasive lure. With full submission to the smouldering embrace ensured the band release the throttle for another ferocious blaze of punk filtered rock ‘n’ roll, riffs and grooves coated in vitriolic aural oil to easily slip through the ear and vocals challenging and provoking with chest beating antagonism. It is a screamer of a song, easily the best track on the EP and the one which lingers the longest after its departure.

Internal/Eternal sonically niggles from the off with a groove spanning the mesh of sound which has a Celtic lilt to its voice. Into its stride the track strolls with rabidity to its gait that again makes sure it has the full gaze of the ear and thoughts on its combative body and though the track arguably is unremarkable in originality within the release, it still gives a rugged experience that is impossible to dismiss, the returning groove irresistible bait as the song leans into its heavy weight climax.

The closing pair of Truth Untold and In Days Of Woe continue to grip the listener firmly, the first a heavy metal/hardcore torrent of aggression and evolving predacious riffs whilst the last song is simply a sonic fire that sears whilst riffs and rhythms crawl over the emotions with sludge laden intensity and metal borne antagonism. It sums up the whole of Tend No Wounds too, a song which leaves you richly satisfied and drawn physically into its superbly crafted furnace of sound but lacks the killer touch or final piece of its aural jigsaw.

Tend No Wounds is not the best thing Black Tusk has thrust through our ears but is still easily worth an investigation and purchase such the impacting fun and qualities the band brings to the table.

http://www.blacktuskterror.com/

8/10

RingMaster 23/07/2013

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Lord Dying – Summon the Faithless

Lord Dying

You are standing under a moonless sky with all the hordes of hell descending on your singular patch of light. You need back-up to fend off the insidiousness eager to devour every atom, who would you want by your side? If we were you we would choose heavy metallers Lord Dying because if their gladiatorial prowess and consuming might is as immense and irresistible as that of their debut album Summon the Faithless, everything will fall before their mountainous strength. The eight track tsunami of rapacious riffing, deliberately antagonistic rhythms, and sonic ferocity wrapped in melodic fire, is a sensational introduction to the Portland, Oregon quartet. It is unbridled high intensity unfussy heavy metal of the highest quality and animosity which instantly and firmly slams the band down at the same level as the likes of Black Tusk, Svolk, Red Fang, and maybe even Mastodon.

Within a year of forming, Lord Dying was sharing stages with the likes of Unsane, Red Fang, Yob, Valient Thorr locally as their sound and live presence ignited a rapidly increasing following. This start just grew as the foursome of vocalist/guitarist Eric Olson, bassist Don Capuano, guitarist Chris Evans, and drummer/vocalist Jonathan Reid ventured along the west coast with Danava and Lecherous Gaze as well as co-headlining a tour with Nether Regions around their home state. A self-titled 7” released came next via Powerblaster Records label and again drew strong attention towards them whilst shows supporting for Black Cobra and Gaza and a tour with Witch Mountain at the heart of 2012 thrust them up more rungs of recognition, accelerated again by a US tour in that October with  Red Fang and Black Tusk. Summon the Faithless is the key to a worldwide recognition, a muscular unlocking of that awareness which will not take no for an answer.

As soon as the Relapse Records released sinew strapped tempest lets opener In a Frightful State of Gnawed  SummonTheFaithlessDismemberment off of its leash you know what you are in for, an onslaught of adrenaline fuelled predacious metal as infectious as carnal relations and just as sweaty and dirty. The opening sonically sizzling start of the song is a climatic build offering a sense of impending danger wrapped in an intensive coaxing, riffs and drums heightening the energy and tension. The leap from its precipice is a fall into further inviting riffs and tumultuous rhythmic beckoning veined with carnivorous sonic sculpting of the senses. Into its full stride with the growling bear like vocals of Olson wonderfully intimidating, the song merges a sludge thick breath to white hot sonic provocation, the union speared with flesh scorching guitar invention and melodic toxins. It is an insatiable confrontation feeding the equally fevered appetite rampant in its recipient, and a breath-taking start to the onslaught.

Despite its immense stature and sound the starter is a mere appetiser to greater things as the title track soon shows. Immediately provoking the ear through a crescendo of riffs and drums the song evens out its pace into a lumbering prowl, the guitars and bass stalking the listener as the vocals graze with its narrative all within a cage of already impressive drum work on the album from Reid. With sonic scythes flaring up throughout there is a build into another commanding and dramatic focus of demanding intensity. Grooves, as throughout the album, bring another contagious lure to succumb to whilst the superbly shaped and honed guitar blazes whether as a solo or melodic seduction seal the deal for the passions in a fiery storm of superbly developed yet uncomplicated aggressive metal.

The following Greed Is Your Horse and Descend Into External continue the rise in power and quality of the album, the first a ravishing mix of Bloodsimple and Mastodon which insistently and relentlessly gnaws and pressures the senses whilst offering wantonly winning melodic mercury and sonic acidity as potent reward. Its successor stands face to face with the listener, riffs crawling over the skin like a swarm of locust whilst the drums give rhythmic acupuncture to the delicious itch driven deeper by the ever appealing vocals. Both songs leave hunger rife and lips licked voraciously for whatever is to come, in this case the best song on the album, Dreams of Mercy. With a Kyuss call to the sonic spires shooting from the base of the song and a rabidity to the squalling riffs, the track takes a mere breath to command the passions, the punk lilt to the vocal delivery adding further rich bait. It is a scintillating ferocious fire of melodic and sonic temptation taken to another pinnacle with the brilliant enslaving rhythmic enticement of Reid which has its own singular moment of seduction midway in. Accompanied by the bestial snarl of the bass it is dramatically persuasive, especially as shards of guitar flames lay their hot enticement into the coals and leads one eagerly into a closing dirt clad passion fuelled storm of metallic voracity.

Perverse Osmosis and Water Under A Burning Bridge stand tall in their mission to match their companion in the album’s furious creative assault, the first unleashing a new nastiness to its rapacious savagery whilst the second is a doom breathing oppressive smog of intensity and hunger driven riffing placed on reins of sonic contemplation. Exploring its every corner and depth, the song is arguably the most inventive track on the album and certainly alongside the others in inspiration.

The closing esurient What Is Not…Is,  where riffs, rhythms, and vocals fuel a ravenous thrash bred canvas clad in sonic waspishness and melodic toxicity, sums up band and release in one incendiary swoop, its creative poison  pure sirenesque aural manna. Summon the Faithless is easily one of the best albums this year so far and the best debut anywhere. Lord Dying will be chewing our senses and souls for years to come, this only the exceptional beginning and that is truly exciting.

https://www.facebook.com/LordDying

10/10

RingMaster 11/07/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Venomous Maximus: Beg Upon The Light

VM Composite - Large

Released in North America last year, Beg Upon The Light the debut album of Texan Dark Occult Metal band Venomous Maximus gets its worldwide unleashing via Napalm Records, and a powerful deep mark it is sure to make. Ten tracks of towering riffs and equally mountainous rhythms alongside a web of potent irresistible grooves and an intensity which sweeps you off your feet, the album is an enthralling leviathan of invading shadows and seriously addictive melodic alchemy wrapped in a classic metal inspired embrace. It and the band stand as a major stoner/doom clad player, their presence sure to be an inspiration to many.

The album follows their EP, The Mission of 2011, a release which set thoughts and appetite in strong motion with its promising start for a band which formed in 2010 and has since risen to be one of the most successful and important metal bands from Houston in recent years. Equally live the quartet has earned an enormous reputation  as they have lit up stages alongside the likes of High on Fire, Down, Guns and Roses, Mastodon, Pentagram, Eyehategod, Fu Manchu, Torche, Black Tusk, Bison BC and many more. Now thrust into the faces of the full expanse of the globe Beg Upon The Light will take little time in persuading, one suspects, that it is one of those classic moments which defines a band and their presence in the ears of the world.

The ominous emotive keys opening up Funeral Queen instantly engage the imagination, the brewing darkly exotic atmosphere a 485 Venomous Maximusspark to devil spawned thoughts and challenging sonic caresses. As it closes the distant but distinct vocals of Gregg Higgins add their corruptive presence though his tones truly stand eye to eye with the listener at the beginning of the next up Path of Doom. His part spoken resonating tones provides here and across every song a glorious unique narrative which invites irresistibly the listener into the heart of the dark realms explored. From its opening crescendo of energy and potent sound the song prowls the senses with scorching flames from the guitars of Higgins and Christian Larson licking at the ear whilst Trevi Biles brings further menace with his bass lures. The track continues to roar and growl through to its thick and provocative conclusion, the band providing a sonic fire to eat at and ignite the senses.

From the immense start things only reach to another depth and plateau with firstly Give Up the Witch and then Father Time, the first of the pair a fresher version of a song from their first EP. Stroking the ear with sinew driven riffs and firm rhythms from drummer Bongo from its opening breath, the track is a primal contagion which incites the imagination and toys with the passions through spires of sonic wind and tumbling cascades of addiction causing rhythms whilst vocally again Higgins pulls us through an invocation of devilish mystique. It is a slice of compelling excellence soon matched by its atmospheric successor. With keys crafting the intriguing ambience a lone guitar colours thoughts with its emotive description whilst Higgins again paints the scene in his unique style. It is only a brief song but quite delicious as its sets up the climate for what is to follow.

Complete with bulbous beats and stalking rhythms the outstanding Dream Again (Hellenbach) is next to inflame the passions, its thick stoner fragrance a sizzling temptation within the uncompromising intensity and power of the track. Another major highlight of the release with grooves and sonic colours wrapping greedily around the listener, the song encapsulates every rich aspect of the individuals within Venomous Maximus, their absorbing songwriting and its invigorating burning realisation, and the union of everything into what surely is a major breakthrough into the echelons of metal for the band.

All through the exhausting Moonchild, the predacious Battle for the Cross, and the dramatic and antagonistic triumph that is Venomous Maximus, the album reinforces its riveting authority over the passions with inventive ease whilst Mother Milk is simply another emotionally conjured delight with strings providing a mesmeric melancholic cradling of the ear whilst quaint keys paint their equally suggestive hues. Quite stunning it is a masterful fascination leading into the final blaze of inventive ravishing, Hell’s Heroes, a lasting confrontation which sears and chews on the senses with rapacious riffs and rhythms veined by sonic radiance and vocal intimidation. Complete with more ridiculously contagious grooves it is a mighty end to a magnificent album.

Though lyrically you can question some of the ‘comic book’ like tales and the band does not break into many new arenas of invention with Beg Upon The Light, you will not have heard it before in the individual and thickly persuasive style as brought by Venomous Maximus. The album is an insatiable treat and one setting the band as a true force in world metal.

https://www.facebook.com/VenomousMaximus

9/10

RingMaster 07/07/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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King Hiss: Snakeskin

King Hiss

With nostrils flaring and muscles flexing to their limits Snakeskin, the debut album from Belgium rockers King Hiss, is a mountainous terrain of thunderous rhythms, voracious riffs, and exhausting energy.  It is  a powerhouse of a release which draws the potent essences of melodic metal, hard rock, and stoner rock, not forgetting at times a caustic breath of hardcore, into a confrontation which leaves the senses ignited and passions soaring. Consisting of seven tracks feeding off  inspirations from the likes of Red Fang, Black Tusk, Corrosion of Conformity, Down, and Clutch, Snakeskin is a powerhouse of an album, one injecting new blood and predatory strength into rock music.

As soon as it emerges from a sonic mist and finds its feet, the opening title track launches into a tirade of contagious riffing and a4123523464_2rhythmic barracking, a tight beckoning groove winding the passions around its call within moments of its appearance. The vocals of Jan Coudron begin their impressive narrative next, his voice having an excellent grizzled tone and a melodic power which sends every syllable to its target with purpose and appeal. It is an instantly enthralling encounter rising to greater temptation with the ridiculously catchy chorus and further seductive grooves amidst a tempest of rhythmic provocation from drummer Jason Bernard and bassist Dominiek Hoet. Such its immense presence there is a slight suspicion the rest of the alum will struggle to match its heights but its successor soon dispels any doubts.

    Into The Mountains opens with a carnivorous bass groan and rolling drums, their jabbing persistence hypnotic and persuasive alongside the predatory lines of Hoet. It is another irresistible start taken to greater heights when guitarist Josh Fury unleashes sizzling melodic flames and air carving craft. It is an absorbing blaze soon taking on an intensity and raw almost muggy encroachment which sears flesh and soars across the senses raining down sonic adventure alongside further vocals persuasion. The track easily matches the opener and though across the chorus there is something familiar, though impossible to pin down, it is another refreshing and impacting treat, especially the blues lined solo leading to a riotous climax.

Both D&F and Endorphine swagger and stroll through the ear to equally impressive effect, the southern rock whispers in the sound heated and sinewy, especially in the towering hard rock embrace of the first of this pair whilst the second reveals sturdier textures and dramatic fires within its Mastodon meets Kyuss like invention. Again grooves dangle pure irresistible temptation from their lures whilst vocally the group harmonies find an emotive heart not lacking in previous songs but given a clearer canvas to lay out their rich feelings here. Though both tracks just miss grabbing the plateau set by their predecessors they still capture the imagination and compel the passions to greedily accept them.

    Rollergirl though is not happy to accept second best and from her opening crescendos of fire bred sonics and tsunami tall rhythms rampages with high octane energy and virulently compelling infection loaded riffs and hungry drum enticement, the bass groaning with primal rabidity whilst acidic melodic fascination from the guitar scorches ear and beyond with skill and imagination. It is another bruising triumph which colours the passions until full but still lustfully wanting more.

The final pair of tracks ensures there is not one ounce of dissatisfaction or unfulfilled appetite, The Greater Good an ear burning, senses tearing juggernaut of hard rock and classic metal spicery wrapped in the passionate muscle bound vitality that is King Hiss whilst the closing Word Made Flesh, from its opening bass devouring of the ear, is a scintillating rapacious consumption from a delicious and insatiable rhythmic ravaging and sonic scalding. Like Crowbar meets The Sword it is an epic and towering conclusion to a staggering album.

Whether Snakeskin offers anything new can be debated but you know when something sounds this good and raises passions and energy to such heights, who really cares. King Hiss is a force of the future, hell they have already made a deep branding am mark with this, one of the albums of the year.

http://www.king-hiss.com/

10/10

RingMaster 27/06/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Howl – Bloodlines

pic Andrew Fladeboe

pic Andrew Fladeboe

 

Following their for the main impressive debut album Full Of Hell of 2010, anticipation for the follow-up release from US metallers Howl as they hopefully built on the promise ignited with the first record was certainly fuelled by a level of eagerness. This was a band which showed a sludge/stoner/doom mentality and strength which suggested major things from them ahead. The release of Bloodlines via Relapse Records, certainly shows the Providence, Rhode Island band as having evolved and expanded their sound though maybe to the detriment of real clarity of their direction but then predictability has no place in music so there is no problem with the stance of the new album in that respect. It does though leave a sense of missing its target. Bloodlines ravages the ear with accomplished potently sculpted aggressive sounds and an undoubted passion but it fails to ignite the passions and fervour their earlier promise suggested possible,  it is simply a release which just has not anything truly new to say.

It should be said right away that Bloodlines is a thoroughly enjoyable and commanding confrontation, the release showing the band evolving and honing their immense power through their relentless touring ethic which has seen the band alongside the likes of Saint Vitus, Kylesa, Pentagram and numerous others. Recorded with producer Zeus (Hatebreed, Crowbar, Terror), the album is a muscle bound predator with intimidating rhythms, malevolent riffs, and devious sonic acid combining to be an undeniably satisfying aggressor. It has hooks which carve lingering moments and a prowling snarl that has the measure of the defences and appetite yet at no moment does the album light a fire, something its predecessor was more successful at.

Opening track Attrition makes a rich and attention grabbing entrance, the early flames of guitar a sonic beckoning upon chewing 4pnl_folderurgent riffs and firm rhythms. Into its stride the track prowls and stomps with sinews pressing the ear and vocals scowling like a bear in heat, Mastodon and even more so Black Tusk references rearing their head quite soon on. Bass and drums provide a sturdy cage around the enterprising guitar teases and sonic cuts, and by its departure the song has lit a definite appetite for the release which the following Midnight Eyes with its rampaging drums and scything melodic blades alongside persistently niggling riffs has the fight for. A carnivorous death metal breath marks its charging metal gait whilst the song twists and turns on its feet, a thick stoner persuasion emerging from the savage intensity before changing into a doom lined finale.

The Devildriver like Demonic leaves an exhausting and enterprising if familiar onslaught upon the ear with a sonic wind from the guitar spiralling within the brewed raptorial intensity, whilst the likes of the excellent Down So Low and the equally impressive With A Blade reach higher pinnacles for the album. The first of the two emerges from a chilling sinister ambience, a heavy malevolence in vocals and energy wrapping its leering presence around the ear with devilish intent within a mesmeric yet muscular stoner embrace. The track soon brings thrash elements in to press thoughts and emotions to their limits before returning to the almost crawling insidious invidiousness. The second of the two again finds a compelling union of nastily aggressive intensity and a melodic touch which sears with acidic might and craft. The tracks standout with their inventive intent and ready to shuffle up their pace, energy, and directions, though again neither dramatically or effectively unveil anything new of enough potency to open up ardour or feisty passion. Of War is one song though which is close to doing both things, and though it like the others is delivering recognisable weaponry, the track is an anthemic and contagious storm from which its Lamb Of God toned voice makes a familiar but tempting call.

The Mouth of Madness with its vindictive bass sound and the closing rapacious Embrace Your Nerve complete the album with strength and notable craft if failing to find the lure of the bigger triumphs on Bloodlines. Maybe it is being unfair to expect the band to immediately fulfil the promise previously suggested and without doubt the album is one which gets the job done and makes for a pleasing hour or so but the feeling of a lost opportunity and a tinge of disappointment does accompany the release. With emerging bands such as XII Boar and especially Desert Storm finding original and far more heady heights with their new album, Howl have some evolving still to do to persuade ears and passions to go their way.

https://www.facebook.com/HowlHeavyMetal

7.5/10

RingMaster 30/04/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Bovine – The Sun Never Sets On The British Empire

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Brawling, squalling, and impossibly contagious, The Sun Never Sets On The British Empire is an album which charms and harms the senses for easily one of the most thrilling and exciting albums this year. Its sculptors are UK rockers Bovine, a band who has set another bench mark within the realm of exhausting sludge, rapacious heavy rock, and predatory progressive metal alchemy. Released via FDA Rekotz, their new album is a scintillating and threatening tempest of insatiable invention and primal aggression fused into an even greater storm of muscular sounds and equally imposing intensity brought with a sonic persuasion as addictive as it is viciously imaginative.

Tapping up the keen essences of the likes of Mastodon, Kyuss, Black Tusk, and Soundgarden and twisting them into veining for their own startling invention, Bovine has created a brute of an album which is forever evolving and turning on the senses for an unpredictable and compellingly enthralling confrontation. With melodies and barbed hooks as lethal and addictive as the primal rhythms and carnivorous riffing, The Sun Never Sets On The British Empire is nothing less than an album of the year contender.

From the short opening ambient instrumental Barium, there is little warning of what is to follow, its dawning haunting atmosphere255275_477420662275813_1151896898_n a portent of something sinister yet undefined. What does step from its chilled shadows is the rapacious assault Ghost Chair, a track bruising the ear within a short breath of time with crippling rhythms from drummer Damon Cox and the scything and searing guitars of Marcus VVulfgang and Thomas Peckett. Within their encounter on the senses the bass of Christophe Schaunig prowls and leers with pure intimidation whilst the vocals of VVulfgang roar and soar across the attack with a clean but snarling might. Across its blistering presence the shifts in pace and energy are demanding with equally rich rewards, the greed of the guitars and drums insatiable as is their inventive rage whilst all the while that bass stalks and hounds with a resonating beauty.

From the staggering start things only crave and succeed in grabbing a bigger slice of the passions firstly with Thank Fuck I Aint You and then Heroes Are What. The first of the pair is a blaze of towering rhythmic persuasion and burning sonic voraciousness with an urgency to brand the senses with scorching melodic mastery and crushing riffs bound in a ravenous expulsion of bone splintering rhythms and gluttonous intensity. The track devours the ear and beyond, finding an absence of resistance for its appetite in return. The second of the pair takes all that came before and stops it in its tracks, the acoustically led emotive caress with equally expressive vocals a smouldering invitation. This is just its opening gambit though and a minute into its journey the song unleashes another tirade of malevolent rhythmic bombardment from Cox and a furnace of caustic sonic fire. Like the previous songs the stoner/sludge like components are an open vein yet the pulverising onslaught of every atom of the track is an intensely textured maelstrom of diverse and  riveting sounds, peel them away layer by layer and the eclectic and resourceful invention in place is as riveting and impressive as the overall results.

The title track emerges with Cox and Schaunig in control, the metronomic demanding of the drums courted by the bestial throaty grizzle of the bass. A shimmering heat soon is expelled by the guitars to offer a sultry caress to the commanding core, the union leading into a fuller flame of irresistible brilliance. Arguably with a recognisable yet impossible to define breath to its voice, the track is a grunge lilted crawl over the ear with climatic crescendos of seismic intensity and another major highlight on the release which hands over to a fellow conspirator in securing long-term ardour. The Battle Of The Sinkhole is a sensational carnal consumption with an invidious swagger to its debilitating corrosive attack. Again there is something familiar at work but mere intrigue to the enormous rage of malicious beauty at play. As with all tracks the progressive persuasion ensures its voice is heard to bring further mesmeric temptation to the infernal intrusion, and as the song offers its full abrasion things really can get no better.

Of course the likes of I Will Make You Real and Military Wife disagree, both songs making their own distinct and voracious declaration. Across the whole of the album the variety and diversity of sound and imagination is as enrapturing as the sounds and this pair is no different, the first seducing thoughts and passions with a twisting spiral of sonic grooves and scarring riffs with the drums beating a submission out of the listener with jolting invention which borders on emotional and physical affray whilst the second opens up its stoner cauldron for a breath taking excursion through fervent sonic and melodic passional ferocity.

As the equally stunning Not Another Name brings the aural convulsion of invention and bewitching imagination to a close with arguably its finest moment, though admittedly that choice changes constantly, The Sun Never Sets On The British Empire is a release you cannot escape from and the temptation to re-enter its torrents of delicious abuse impossible to refuse. If there has been a better senses battering passion feeding album this year so far we missed it but doubt that there will be many this year which will rival Bovine’s exceptional release.

http://www.facebook.com/bovinemusic

10/10

RingMaster 13/04/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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