Naked Lunch – Beyond Planets

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    The return of Naked Lunch, one of the UK’s first electronic rock bands, has been an increasingly impressive and thrilling proposition with a clutch of single showing that this is not just an aesthetic return of an eighties band as with so many others. Reinventing their sound and early songs with a craft and invention which sees them an easy fit in the modern premise of electronic world as well as casting new and invigoratingly inciting encounters to bask in, the band has made a striking statement with their debut album Beyond Planets. Anticipation was high because of the previous singles but the album exceeded all assumptions and hopes with its refreshing and magnetic slices of electro rock/pop.

    Originally formed in 1979 by vocalist Tony Mayo and guitarist Gary Shepherd, under the name Sons of Perdition at first with Naked Lunch becoming the moniker after their debut gig, the band built a strong and feverishly followed presence through shows with the likes of DAF, Cabaret Voltaire, Fad Gadget, B Movie, and Clock DVA, as well as their own gigs and tours, and first single Rabies. The band also made a major contribution in helping Stevo find bands for the ground-breaking Some Bizarre compilation album which was released via the Daniel Miller (The Normal) owned Mute Records and to which the band itself contributed the track La Femme. That first single followed to acclaim and good support though was banned from day-time radio play because of its title; but subsequently line-up changes and differences led to the band ending in 1981, though there was a short lived live presence through Mayo until 1985.

   2010 saw Mayo reunite with early member Paul Davies with the pair writing new material before original line-up members Mick Clark and Cliff Chapman joined a year later. The band was expanded by Mark Irvine in 2012 and Jet Noir last year. First single Alone sparked the attention and bred an appetite in a great many for the band’s return, which the following Slipping Again, Again and Glow only reinforced and accelerated. Now with their excellent debut album, Naked Lunch position themselves back to the fore of British electronic music with a mature craft and imaginative invention which time has obviously bred in their creativity.

     Opening track We Are, the new video single from the band, opens on an electronic dazzling of sound and sonic light, a space bred beckoning enticing the imagination into play. From the celestial ambience magnetic beats soon register an eager coaxing before stretching the bait with firmer rhythmic temptation. The song soon settles into a restrained stroll with vibrant electro colour courting the somber and pressing dark vocals. It is an enthralling mix with a subdued funk swagger, the track playing like a mix of Fad Gadget and Yello as the narrative sets the scene and premise of the release, humanity in all its oppressive shadows. The song takes longer to fully convince than subsequent tracks it is fair to say but ultimately succeeds to set the album off on a potent and engaging start.

    Slipping Again, Again comes next, the song a reworking of the B-side Slipping Again of that very first single. The song has a dark bordering on sinister essence to vocals and ambience which adds a delicious noir breath to the tantalising mix of melodic enterprise and rhythmic revelry. The dust clad tones of Mayo only accentuate the heavy intrigue and shadow of the song whilst the synth teasing and guitar sculpted flames provide riveting adventure and mystery to the contagious and menacing croon of the song. It is an enthralling new chapter to the original song and easily ignites the senses before being straight away matched by next up Rabies. A new album version of the band’s first success, the track emerges on a skittish shuffle of percussive bait soon joined by pumping electro vibrancy and caustic guitar scratching. The band has taken the heart and essential power of the original but polished up its sides and intent to sculpt an even greater contemporary synth pop dance. It is a mouthwatering piece of enterprise which alone shows how the band has evolved and grown its sound without losing the  striking glory of its first entrance.

     The album continues to raise its plateau as the next trio of songs starting with Emotional Turmoil, toy with, entrance, and manipulate the passions. The track is a bouncy infection drenched romp of electro pop with scuzz kissed guitar and seductive sonic beckoning all framed by a rhythmic toxicity which is equally irresistible. A tonic for any down trodden day, the track is an energy fuelling, emotion regenerating dance of creative endeavour and irrepressible mischief. It is immediately followed by a new version of Le Femme, the song receiving its originally intended spelling but one changed by Miller for the Some Bizarre release. Like Rabies, the track is bursting with fresh updated invention but without losing any of its original strengths, and like the other thoroughly enjoyable. Alone steps in next with its shadowed brew of evocative elegance within an almost oppressive web of emotional drama, its premise that of individuals in a disconnection to the world the voice within an immersive atmosphere. It is a gentler embrace than the previous tracks but no less resourceful and thrilling.

The album’s best track, Weekend Behaviour struts in next with an instantly addictive electro seduction, a tempting soon aided by less intensive vocals and a wash of melodic radiance. It is slightly deceitful though as from within the warm stomp returning intimidation coated vocals join the affray alongside a snarling graze of guitar aligned to raucous energy. The song is a scintillating brew of electro rock with old school punk rock essences taunting and firing up the passions.

     A new version for the album of that previously mentioned single B-side, Slipping Again treats the ear next with similar success to the other re-workings on Beyond Planets whilst its successor Glow, a song which like all the recent singles gets an album make-over, provides a Landscape like expanse of exploratory imagination from the keys and guitar within a smouldering and pulsating electronic soundscape. With a delicious groove around and spicy twang to its central narrative, the track is a lofty pinnacle in a climate of peaks.

     Completed by the excellent Fade Away with its absorbing oscillating radiance and electro majesty, Beyond Planets is an outstanding exploit in a vibrantly expressive journey. Rich in nostalgia but only to the extent of re-kindling old flames to unite with greater new and potent excitements, the album easily declares Naked Lunch the real deal to give all the young electro bucks a run for their creative money.

www.nakedlunch.org.uk

9/10

RingMaster 11/02/2014

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Cynical Existence – Erase, Evolve and Rebuild

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It only took a minute of the opening track to Erase, Evolve and Rebuild to hear and feel something has stirred and evolved within Cynical Existence. The band’s second album it is a riveting collection of distinct and diverse soundscapes soaked in a maturity and craft which sees the project at a level only hinted at previously. It is a hypnotic web of invention and exploration which embraces the darkest shadows but also the most acidic and caustic light, the result a release which stalks, rampages through, and dances with senses and thoughts whilst seducing the emotions, though not always in that permutation.

Formed by Fredrik Croona (ex- Project Rotten/ Menschdefekt) as a solo project, Cynical Existence as evolved into a startling and formidable beast which has continued to impress across EPs and earlier this year the project’s debut album Come Out And Play, not long after followed by the Beholder EP. For most bands this frequency of releases leads to the occasional less than endearing or potent encounters but this is definitely not the case with Croona and co, in fact it has to be said that Erase, Evolve and Rebuild leaves much of what came before pale in its company despite their also impressive declarations. The depth and strength unleashed by the new album suggests that maybe the other recent releases have consisted of older written material or simply the striking evolution sculpted by Croona and Steve Alton of UK project System:FX who joined the band late last year, the pair now joined by third member George Klontzas of Pre Emptive Strike 0.1, is that dramatic a sudden leap. Erase, Evolve and Rebuild certainly does nothing to diminish the sizeable impression and quality forged by A Familiar Kind of Pain, Come Out And Play, etc. though instead it just breeds another wave of striking accomplishment by Cynical Existence.

Released via Belgium label Alfa Matrix, Erase, Evolve and Rebuild has little problem in having feet and thoughts in eager frontmovement through opener Something Strange. Synths instantly cast a festivity of sound over the ears, an ambience which is welcoming and almost devilish especially with the darker feisty electro stomp which keenly joys the invitation. The vocals of Croona squall with the caustic breath and malevolent lure which we have come to know and enjoy but the song also shows the appetite to infuse a cleaner darker gothic tone to the narrative which only excites. There is a lighter essence and buoyancy to the track compared to certainly the Beholder EP, but shadows and dark menaces still have room to toy with the listeners thoughts. A track sure to add fire to the dancefloor, it makes a compelling start to the album.

The following Erase Me is equally as potent and effective in rousing up the passions, its electro caress of a dawning soon a bulbous beckoning moving into an electro punk confrontation through the guitar of Alton. A riotous snarl coats the song from vocals through to the causticity breeding an irresistible temptation and wrapped in another waltz of electronic sedition which invites limbs and a voracious hunger to enlist in the track’s insatiable incitement, it is a rivetingly sculpted pinnacle of the album and further evidence of the evolution at work.

    My Decadence, Your Sins which features Rave the Reqviem has an absorbing eighties temptation to its thrilling landscape, a scenery which is like Depeche Mode does industrial at times and at other moments like Celldweller on a distinct mission to taunt the songbook of Fad Gadget. Despite those thoughts the track is still uniquely Cynical Existence in its stance and enterprise with the fact that the three minutes plus are over far too soon the only niggle. The feast of invention continues the scintillating presence of the album with ease, passing its heady presence on to the magnetic searing electro quickstep of Imperfect followed by the evocatively hued The Divine. Elegant classically wrapped keys open up the second of the two songs, its gentle radiant coaxing leading thoughts into the haunting melancholic caresses at the heart of the track. It is a masterful provocation of emotion and shadow cloaked climes, the gravelly vocals as on all songs that rasping texture which tempers and compliments the clean delivery and the melodic rays of sonic beauty.

The album from this point on immerses in even darker wells of malevolent rapture and predacious intent. The imagination consuming Falling with its thumping heartbeat the centre of a tempestuous emotional cloud and the pulsating heavy booted yet still irresistibly charming Deus Ex Complex are both unafraid to stalk the blackest corners within especially in the second of the two, shards of irrepressible electro romping whilst Our Bright Future is a twisted riotous incendiary tango of sound and energy which is prone to long breaths and pleasing unpredictability. This new energised character of a dance also reaps and offers its rewards through Sins Of Your Flesh and though the trio of songs maybe lack the final knock-out punch of their predecessors all leave satisfaction full.

The Endless Stride has a structure and contagion which feels closely akin to the first album without any definition as to why or to which offering whilst the effulgence of An Eternity Stuck On Repeat bewitches from its first glassy elegant touch, seducing with a wantonness which is refined yet brazenly uncompromising. The songs bring more open variation to the album as does the guitar grazing company of No Compromise and the industrialised rapacious crowding of the senses from Transformation (a search for change), both tracks successful conspirators in a slavery of the passions.

Completed by the outstanding smouldering cinematic instrumental of At the end (Outro), Cynical Existence has thrust themselves to the very fore of electro/industrial mastery with the transfixing Erase, Evolve and Rebuild. Arguably top heavy with its first selection of tracks a more vigorous exploit for feet and energy though the latter is no less an accomplished instigator of darker emotions and realms, the album takes the existing successes and sounds of the band into new breath-taking adventures of imagination and craft.

https://www.facebook.com/cynical.existence.official

9/10

RingMaster 21/11/2013

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Tactical Module – Into Exile

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Having been seduced by previous album World Through My Sight from UK industrial band Tactical Module, there was a definite anticipation and expectation upon its successor Into Exile. The new release’s predecessor was a slow burner of a persuasion but one which made the securest potent convert of the passions for its aggressive symphony of electro enterprise, punk attitude, and industrial intensity. Into Exile is no different except that it makes a more immediate impact and its core ingredients and invention comes with a greater intensive snarl and uncompromising confrontation. It is an enthralling and challenging release which has reaped the impressive seeds of earlier releases and sounds to hungrily explore their sonic blossoming with greater craft and imagination.

Hailing from Poole, Tactical Module is the solo project of Michael Davis, a musician who since creating the band to unleash his creative imagination within has earned and garnered strong constantly deepening praise and acclaim through his releases. Using inspirations from the likes of Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, KMFDM, Godflesh, Gary Numan, Skinny Puppy, Killing Joke, and Depeche Mode in his invention, Davis after numerous EPs and remixes made his first strong wide mark with the Dead Zone EP of 2012. The release triggered greater awareness and appetite for his sounds which were soon feasting greedily upon the single Where Angels Rise and earlier this year the impressive expanse of World Through My Sight and the Resurrection EP. Receiving its first CD release with Into Exile, Tactical Module has sculpted an album which is more diverse and adventurous than the previous releases, and they were no slouches in experimentation, and an encounter which employs decades of industrial/electronic whispers into one invigorating magnetic incitement.

Released via Juggernaut Media, Into Exile takes little time in bringing attention and imagination to bear on opener Awaken, its emergence through a sizzling sonic haze chilling yet thoroughly tempting. Brewing up a greater menace to its climate, the song has complete control of thoughts and senses, especially when the predacious guitar tone unveils its metal spawned restrained yet voracious causticity, matched by the confronting vocals of Davis. A definite Gary Numan spice glazes the invention whilst organic beats cage the fired up passions further, herding them into the fierce electro embrace. It is an excellent gripping start not quite matched by the following title track. The song is certainly alluring; its ebm breath stalked by a great electro twang which spears the evocative ambience but there is a spark missing compared to the first which debatably might be down to the track evading the metal bred antagonism. Nevertheless it is a pleasing continuation of the strong start and evidence of the variety of ideas and sound upon the release.

Outer City Limits soon picks up the earlier baton of strength with its instrumentally stalking flight of coarse textures and electro beauty, both combining for a voracious journey through dramatic and suggestive climes. From providing the imagination with a sinew clad impacting plaything, Into Exile then reveals more of its emotive heart with Breathless. The song is a fizzing electro plaintive with angst drawn vocals cursing agony over the acidic sounds. Like the second song it takes a firm hand on ear and thoughts without challenging other tracks on the album for the passions but all the time deceptively it is working away and though face to face impact is less startling it is a moment which returns at will even away from the release.

Both Cypher 2.0 and Downpour urge limbs and emotions to take part in their electro waltz, the first with a pulsating veining of jabbing rhythms. A real plus for the song and album is the use of live drums which brings an organic pulse and frame to the album setting it apart from most others instantly, and with the crystalline fire spawned electronic pulses and stabs from around the ever satisfying and shifting vocal delivery here an irresistible instigator. Its companion is a rhythmic raptor, beats prowling and stomping with ever switching rabidity whilst the electronic teases and kisses come with their own sense of menace and salaciousness. There is a punk essence too which is a mere hint, as on other songs, but there waiting and probing vocally and musically alongside a Pitchshifter like primal suasion. The thrilling duo are backed up by the more than decent Hellfire, a cantankerous fire which merges moments of slightly underwhelming electronic bait with addictively thrilling aggressive almost corrosive metal and guitar voracity. That punk element is back here, a Spizzenergi nag pleasing thoughts whilst, and not for the first time, the electro calls bring Fad Gadget into the mind, and in even greater potency upon Unbreakable. With a post punk/metal esurience and attitude to its presence, the song is another pinnacle upon what ultimately is one exciting and inventive release.

    Into Exile comes in digital and CD format, both with unique remixes. The former format finds the Back to Hell, Back to Reality Mix of the title track by D.E.P, which gives the track the flame arguably missing in the original, the Destructed mix of Downpour by Detuned Destruction, and Corroded Master’s Harlot Mix of Breathless, both inventive takes without matching the originals. The CD offers the G-Mix look at the title track which certainly takes it into a new adventure, the Knife Fight remix of Breathless, and another by Defeat, with both formats seeing the Ruinizer Remix of Awaken, the track becoming a nastier predation and antagonist to the album version.

     Into Exile is an exciting and richly rewarding provocateur, a release showing the ever evolving and increasing strength of Davis’ songwriting and its striking realisation through Tactical Module.

https://www.facebook.com/TacticalModule

8.5/10

RingMaster 05/10/2013

 

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Naked Lunch – Alone

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Receiving the promo for the new single from Naked Lunch instantly raised a tingle as thoughts shot back to our first discovery of them through their appearance of the Some Bizarre compilation album from Mute Records way back in 1981 with the excellent Rabies single coming soon after. Returning after a 30 year break the band shows that maturity and time has not diminished their unique sense of and adventure within electronic music one iota. Alone is an evocative slice of haunting and provoking imagination drenched in the presence fans of the band remember and brought with a fresh and potent, almost destructive dark breath.

Formed in 1979 by vocalist Tony Mayo and guitarist Gary Shepherd as Sons of Perdition, though this name was changed to Naked Lunch after their debut gig, the band underwent a few changes in personnel as well as working out and delivering their sounds live. To condense their story, from a show alongside the likes of DAF, Cabaret Voltaire, Fad Gadget, B Movie, and Clock DVA organised by the band and Stevo, who Tony had DJ’ed with previously, the band undertook the Naked Lunch’s Electronic Indoctrination Tour in 1980 which included a show at Leeds Futurama, which was filmed and eventually broadcast on BBC2. Naked Lunch then set about helping Stevo find artists and recordings to make up the Some Bizarre album, to which the band itself contributed La Femme (a song originally called Le Femme but Phonogram who the Daniel Miller (The Normal) owned Mute released the album through, changed it to grammatically correct French, missing the point of the androgyny of the electronic music scene and that the song was about that). After a parting with Stevo, Naked Lunch became managed by Ramkup with the single Rabies backed by Slipping Again being released, though it suffered from a ban on day time radio play due to the title but did receive good play and support from the likes of John Peel and Nicky Horne on their night time shows. Line-up changes continued t before the band split in 1981 with Mayo retaining the name Naked Lunch, which he registered with Companies House in May 1981. A second version of the band emerged as a live thing until 1985 and though Mayo continued with Naked Lunch projects the band as such was a quiet presence.

2010 saw Mayo link up again with early member Paul Davies and writing new material, with Mick Clark and Cliff Chapman joining in 2011, both in the original line-up. Their first gig for over 30 years came at BAS II with the addition of Mark Irvine coming in early 2012 and Jet Noir linking up in June of this year.

Themed by “Isolation, Loss and Feeling Disconnected from Society”, Alone immediately unleashes a rich beckoning atmosphere upon the ear to dramatically mark the return of the band, its lingering caresses and expansive breath an evocative cloak around the vocals of Mayo, his tones understandably feeling older and authoritative. Keys and guitars bring suggestive hues to the air and thoughts whilst the excellent backing whispered vocal kisses of Black simultaneously chill and seduce the touch of the track. With a more than slight Fad Gadget essence and the vibrant light spots and melodic teasing holding a sense of Yello to their temptation, the song is a mesmeric blend of frosty intent and warm electronic persuasion.

The single is an absorbing pleasure which raises real appetite for future sounds and endeavours of the band. Naked Lunch is as strong and as impacting as ever and electronic music will only benefit from their return.

www.nakedlunch.org.uk

8/10

RingMaster 22/08/2013

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Krebs – Cellophane

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    Krebs is a new electronic/ebm project to recently emerge and on the evidence of its debut EP Cellophane, will be one we will be hearing a lot more of across future horizons. Just signed to excellent independent label Bluntface Records, the Philadelphia, PA band mark their next step with a release which is potent and evocative, and though in some ways it manages to miss providing the sting which listening to its five tracks you sense is within its heart, there is nothing but unadulterated and exciting promise left in its wake.

Started in 2012, Krebs is the creation of Mike Haggerty, the vehicle for his merger of ebm synth sounds of the 80’s and 90’s with industrial and electro snarls. There is also a metal apocalyptic breath to the shadows which permeate the sounds for a resulting cross genre adventure. Influences come from the likes of Front Line Assembly and KMFDM with further whispers of others such as Skinny Puppy, Combichrist, and Virus Cycle all making suggestions within the imagination capturing invention. Honing the sound through a full range of industrial exploration Haggerty, since joined by Chris Mattioni on backing vocals for live shows, has sculpted and unleashed a debut which seduces and excites with a freshness and enterprise that suggests 2013 will see Krebs making an immediate impact.

The June 29th released Cellophane stares directly at the ear with opening track Humanity Drained, its sinister toned Krebs-cover-600atmosphere and brewing rhythmic dust hazing the skies before a dark melodic hook prowls and intimidates with a compelling voice. It is a suggestive and provocative lure which mesmerises to leave senses open for the following industrial metal cast of energy to pervade and thrill. As the vocals of Haggerty enter with the shadowed narrative the track takes a step back, his tones given space and assistance to bring a rich expressive dark caress to bear upon the ear. At this point the track reminds only of Fad Gadget, the vocals with a Frank Tovey gait and the sound heavy in suggestive ambience but with an electro temptation which is never far from lighting passions. The coarser presence of the air surrounding the chorus presses into further adventure whilst the song itself twists and turns across varied industrial pastures for a captivating encounter.

The great start is followed by Chisel (Guitar Mix), a track which expels a venomous rabidity to its electro wash and intensive energy. It is an oppressive light smothering test but equally creates its own acidic radiance with addiction making melodic taunting and electro venture. Like the first, the track does not settle into a straight forward passage but shifts and turns in on itself to ensure intrigue and eager attention. It does not quite match the opener for contagion and strength but still leaves the strongest satisfaction in its wake and hunger for more.

The song also is one with fails to deliver the bite it suggests is waiting to break out, something which can be applied to the whole release. Across its excellent invention the wish it would go for the jugular especially with its more industrial metal escapades, is a strong feeling which is never quite satisfied, though as the only aspect lacking within Cellophane it does not defuse the enjoyment and quality skilfully played out.

     The Corner opens with a Visage like beckoning, that eighties pull wonderfully potent again especially as once the vocals join the stance and the sound spreads its arms further thoughts of Fad Gadget again make their irresistible persuasion. The track is an emotive slow stroll across weaves of shadows and through a kaleidoscope of electro imagination, its enveloping tone and impacting textures hugging thoughts and emotions tightly with a hint of menace though without an element of danger. The track makes way for the first single from the release, Peace Injection. With bold and heightened rhythms and hot electro stomping, the track is a full contrast to its predecessor with a swagger and hungry enterprise which enflames the air. At times it looks like the song will unleash its predatory hounds but restraint wins the day and from start to finish the excellent temptation eagerly taunts and teases with impressive craft.

Closing song Rings is a pleasing riot from combined shafts of harsh ebm, rapacious ambiences, industrial malevolence, and rhythmic intensity. It is forceful and highly infectious, a song like the album which enrols varied flavours and spices into a gripping and fascinating confrontation. At its conclusion the proof that Cellophane is an excellent debut is open evidence, proof that only sparks a greedy appetite to hear more from Krebs. Accompanied by the first single Peace Injection, which itself comes in a full package containing remixes alongside the song from new label mates Virus Cycle, Otto Kinzel, and Varicella, and released as a free download, Cellophane is the arrival of one of the more inspiring and exciting bands within industrial. Are you ready for the shadowed temptation of Krebs is the only question left to be asked.

www.bluntfacerecords.com

http://www.bluntfacerecords.com/fr_krebspeaceinjectionsingle.cfm

8.5

RingMaster 27/05/2013

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Defeat – [Seek Help]

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Our first introduction to UK electro/industrial duo Defeat came with their impressive Outbursts! EP, a release which marked the band as having the promise to be a prominent part not only national but the European industrial scene. Since that the release anticipation for their debut album has been keen to say the least but even that hunger fell short in expectation when finally feeling the might of [Seek Help]. The eleven track album is immense, a sinister and sizzling beast which whilst thrilling and igniting thoughts and passion still provides evidence that there is plenty more still to be discovered within the band.

Taking inspiration in the sound and area of music stalked by the likes of Nitzer Ebb, 242, Depeche Mode, and NIN, the pair of Anthony Matthews (Vocals) and Gary Walker (Synthetics) firmly gripped the imagination with their sounds and debut release, the album though shows the band has since taken a major leap forward not only in sound and composition but confidence and stature. Two school friends who from meeting were writing songs together, Walker and Matthews have realised the brewing strength and flavoursome imagination first indicated on Outbursts!, with [Seek Help], the album title incidentally the name of their first venture together, confronting the ear with enterprise and compelling provocative mastery. Seek Help the project, existed from 1992 to 95 with the duo playing several gigs before it came to an end, with Defeat  emerging from its ashes with a new intent and flavour to the already existing and subsequently reworked songs. The EP, released as the album through Static Distortion Records, thrust Defeat to wide attention but the suspicion is that their album will see them on the fullest lips of attention.

The Hertfordshire based pair draw the listener into the album with In Vestri Genua Descendamus, a brief piece of dawning epicAlbum Sleeve Final toned ambience and grandeur heralding vocal harmonies offering religious whispers upon air of cavernous magnificence whilst a seductive falsehood deviously leads right into the hungry jaws of Fear. The track flexes its muscles with a slowly opening swagger, melodic caresses firmly igniting the senses whilst the shadowed more rapacious spine of the introduction intimidates and seduces with equal voracity. Settling into an even pace with the wonderfully raw vocals of Matthews stalking the ear and prowling the lyrical venom, the track ignites emotive connections and flames of passion especially with its sonic eruptions around the chorus and the returning breath of church bred provocation. It is a stunning  track which sets up the rest of the album perfectly though also puts the following songs under pressure such its early benchmark.

Not that Ripcord and Defeat struggle in that respect, both songs offering individual stances with full unity in their contagion. The first of the two initially sizes up the listener with predatory concentration, the pulsating dark shards of electro probing testing the waters before opening up its grip for the emotive ambience and shadowed breeze of the song to envelope ear and thought. With Matthews gently pressing forward the menace of the narrative within the evocative sounds of Walker, thoughts of Fad Gadget easily invade, the conjuring of dark beauty here as impacting and irresistible as in the hands of Frank Tovey. The track soon announces it is one which will not settle in one corner and explodes with a fiery caustic rub to further the danger and malevolence brewing within the shadows, whilst the Tubeway Army sonic teasing which breaks out also only enhances the adventure and pleasure. The following track raps on the ear with thumping sinews whilst a scintillating abrasion threatens to break free, its taunts and grazes within the coarse groove at play challenging the nerve whilst similarly grained vocals leave no atom untested. It is an uncompromising mix of beauty and beast like sonics, a ferocity lurking with rabid intensity just waiting its chance to feed but held in check by the potent melodic toxin pervading the track.

    [Seek Help] does nothing but further impress as the likes of the toxic, lyrically and musically, Revenge, the brooding Tear Me Apart, and the insidious Wish You Dead, unleash their imaginative magnetic poison emotionally and excellence sonically. Though the latter pair do not quite rise to the heights set in place before them there is only the fullest satisfaction and hunger bred from their offerings whilst the outstanding Pedestal soon has the album touching the highest bar again. An industrial scourge honed into an immersive restraint of melodic and electro temptation, the track plays with passions and limbs like a satanic puppeteer, its control and insatiable fascination impossible to resist or not devour greedily.

Both Coffin and Cry At Your Funeral lay an appetising and inflammatory impression deep within inciting and stimulating thoughts and emotions before leaving closing song, the smouldering Scar,  to waltz off with the last ounce of passion yet to be submitted towards the release. Released June 22nd, [Seek Help] is an album which sets the previous thought that Defeat ‘will become a major player in their genre’ in stone making it now a towering undeniable declaration.

www.defeatmusic.com

8.5/10

RingMaster 16/05/2013

 

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Man Without Machines: The Kreuzberg Press

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    With a heavy influence from the synth pop and post punk of the eighties, Scottish band Man Without Machines has an electro sound which though an warm vibrant kiss from today is one which Mute Records would have devoured three decades back. Debut album The Kreuzberg Press blooms all its seeds into a pleasing and engaging package which fluctuates from consistently enterprising and satisfying to openly thrilling, an infectious encounter which pulsates with imagination and electronic dazzling.

From Dundee, Man Without Machines is the brain child of Adam Lockhart who upon the album conjures every aspect of its intriguing presence from songwriting and playing to production, with only additional help from Andrew Mitchell on bass and bass synth on certain tracks, whilst live the band is a five piece with a line-up completed alongside Lockhart by Mitchell, Val Campbell (Keys), Michael Benbow (drums), and Steve McCullough (guitar/synths). Influenced by the previously mentioned eighties sound and European politics, the album title referring to Kreuzberg in Berlin notable for its radical and counter-cultural movements in arts and music, the band has been capturing attention from fans and media through singles like Something’s Happening Here, a release given strong attention from the likes of BBC’s 6Music and BBC Scotland something the album surely will strengthen to a wider degree.

Released via Man Vs Man Records, The Kreuzberg Press takes no time in seizing ear and focus with opening cyber ticks and a coarse electro rub leading into an energetic wrap of welcoming guitar, warm vocals, and teasing keys. Even Still Even Though has a heat and smoothly flowing stance which combines repetition and subtle shifting tones for a compelling and catchy dance upon the senses. With essences initially of Fad Gadget evolving into a more OMD caress, the track is a strong and tempting start to the album which is instantly built upon by the following tracks.

Anyway unloads bulging pulses upon the ear before keys reveal their song with a sizzling touch alongside guitars staging their own display of magnetic lures ably aided by the throat contagious bass tones of Mitchell.  As the opener the song has easy access to an impressed reception with the vocals of Lockhart bringing extra fine elegance upon the hungrily energetic song. The song like the following Share The Love with its wonderful underlying niggling leaves a lingering taste brought through a varied stance within the overall electro pop wash of imagination to ensure many returns.

Through the likes of Sound Of Your Lies with an intro which loudly whispers Visage, the shimmering glow of Peterloo, and Falling Star, the release paints colourful pictures musically and lyrically which without finding earlier heights still entrances and ignites the senses for a continuing compelling experience. The latter of the trio offers washes of pre-disappointing pop era Human League with a blush of latter day Ultravox to wrap the listener in a quizzing emotive hug, its persuasion eventually staking its claim on the passions.

First single form the album, Something’s Happening Here is a delicious stroll through the ear with a Numanesque flavouring to its contagious swarm of mellow rhythmic agitation and seductive melodies driven by an excitable but held in check energy. It is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the album and it is obvious with its irresistible beckoning why it has lit the fires of so many. Scorelines is an equally tasty treat with an equal depth of allurement, its sterner guitar taunting and spellbinding synth melodies an electro polka of invention and exceptional temptation.

The heavier muscular It’s Closer and the closing rousing saunter of In Salt helps bring The Kreuzberg Press to a fine close with very agreeable accomplished invention. As well as the mentioned references inspired by songs at certain points there is also an overall feel of the smaller indie bands like Radio 5 and Music For Pleasure, bands which despite imaginative sounds departed as silently as they arrived and stayed during the eighties. With Man Without Machines it is hard to expect, on the evidence of their album, that they will see the same underwhelming fate.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Man-Without-Machines/101401753255976

7.5/10

RingMaster 4/03/2013

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Centre Excuse – Generation Z EP

Having missed their previous singles and well received EP All Systems Go, but aware of the growing acclaim around the band, it was with strong anticipation we went into the new release from Centre Excuse, the Generation Z EP.  The earlier single from the six track release Don’t Let Go certainly fired up the keenness to hear more and the EP definitely does not disappoint, its vibrant and well crafted electro rock sounds only reinforcing and building on the promise the song offered.

Formed in 2010, the Rutland (in the sleepy rural village of Empingham) based trio of brothers Jamie (backing vocals / lead & bass guitar) and Alex (drums) Rush alongside Teddy Lewis (lead vocals / keyboards / guitar and programming), have earned a rapidly growing fan base and respect for their impressive blend of eighties electronic pop and modern pop rock. Their music is a fusion which is far more expansive than that simple description but at the end of the day it is indie pop of the highest and most enthralling nature. With massive views on Youtube, the video to their debut single Last 3 Days alone last year receiving over 30,000 YouTube plays in its first month, and exciting energetic shows the band is a loud whisper on a growing wave of lips which the new EP should bring to a crescendo. With strongly successful performances at the likes of the Riverside Festival and support slots to Texan band A Sky Jet Black and I am Giant from New Zealand in recent weeks to add to their own dynamic shows, Centre Excuse are at the point of mass recognition, the EP possibly sending things over the edge.

Once the Generation Z EP gets its claws into you it is impossible not to be captivated and that contagion is immediate with Don’t Let Go, a song of crystalline melodies and pulsating heart. Like a meeting of Depeche Mode and the poppier side of Enter Shikari, the song resonates with a warm and energetic presence. Its melodic caress and mellow atmosphere is cored by a steely intent from the drums and guitars to add further depth to the already expressive vocals and breath of the song. It is easy to see why the song has been the doorway into the band for a great many though arguably there are more infectious and compelling songs on the release.

Stop Drop & Roll and Where Do We Go are two examples of an even greater irresistibility to the ear. The first opens with an ambience sizzling electronic touch slowly building to another eighties electro kiss. Into its stride with again a feistier gait alongside the Daniel Miller like sonic skill and Fad Gadget sounding shadows, the song can only ignite the senses. Do not mistake this for retro sounding though, the song and release very much of the now with elements of bands such as Swound! and the Bravery to what is overall something original. Whereas the first is an openly anthemic song the second is a brooding encounter with the same impactful results. It is an expansive song with the keys wrapping their heated arms around the senses whilst sonic spotlights sweep across its soundscape. The infection is a slow consumption but by its end the song is swirling around the head, the strong vocals and beguiling keys a remaining companion and memory.

MTV Generation is a plaintive rock song, its flight a muscular provocation even in its reflective moments. Again an anthemic joy but it comes through its intensity and inciteful voice, the track a mighty thrust of passion. The guitars flame up the skies of the song with sharp and precise sonic expulsions whilst the dramatic punk breath of the song brings The Psychedelic Furs to mind. If not the best song on the EP it is easily the favourite.

The remaining songs on the release, It’s Okay and Live It All Up, bring another flavour to the table, the first a pop punk riot reminding of bands like Stay Okay! and the other a New Order/Fall Out Boy like mesh, both continuing the high quality pleasure as easily as what came before.

Generation Z is an excellent release which feels like the trigger to shoot in Centre Excuse, a truly exciting band with still plenty of promise to be realised, around the world.

http://www.centre-excuse.com/

RingMaster 29/09/2012

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BlakCan: Dark Daze

Shadowed and uplifting, the new single from UK dark electronic indie pop band BlakCan is a vibrant and enjoyable introduction to the Wolverhampton quartet. Dark Daze is a song which grabs the attention and takes it on a ride of infectious melodies, incisive lyrics, and impassioned emotions from arguably all shades of life and the heart.

Consisting of vocalist/percussionist Ash Bradley, Jon Nash on keys and synths, and Ryan Deakin on guitar and synth, alongside drummer Mudie and bassist Adam hall, BlakCan has created their impossible to ignore sounds for the past eighteen months and drawn strong responses and acclaim for their live performances, which included supporting The Twang at the opening of the new 02 Academy in Birmingham. The band has already firmly began to turn a growing wave of heads their way and the new single, taken from their forthcoming album Flat Pack Nation, will be and is the next big step in their rise.

Produced by Gavin Monaghan (Editors, Twang, Ocean Colour Scene) and released through Big Industry Records, Dark Daze instantly sweeps the senses up in an energetic yet controlled breath. The slowly brewing keys wrapping gently around the ear as the vocals start their emotional questioning, ignite warmth which the track never loses but does test with the chilled ambience and shadowed whispers which make their presence known throughout. It is though a magnetic song overall with hooked melodies which playfully light the heart and guitars which chip away with slight mischief and heated enterprise.

An intriguing mesh of sounds which would have settled nicely in the works of Blancmange, Fad Gadget, early Depeche Mode and Joy Division with more current traits of a Calling All Astronauts or Strangers to flavour things, Dark Daze is a pleasing and infectious treat which not only keeps its too brief a time fully engaging but makes the anticipation for the album strong and keen.

http://www.blakcan.com

Ringmaster 18/09/2012

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Illustrial: Eloquently Violent

Fuelled by emotional shadows and darkened energy the new album from UK electronic/darkwave project Illustrial brings forth a reflective journey born of its creator whilst being the inspirer of personal involvement and feelings. Eloquently Violent is an album which offers a journey through heartbreak, inner loneliness, and slightly destructive dark essences of life. It is vibrant though bringing as much hope as resignation to evoke thoughts and feelings which all can interpret to their own struggles and blistered highlights.

Formed in 2006, Illustrial is the solo electronic project of Baz Badrock (aka Neformore). Early EP Discipline the Devil’s Country drew good responses to the project though it was with the link up with London-based artist Strobegirl a more concentrated attention came their way through songs Don’t Look Back and a cover of California Dreaming. 2010 saw the Genesis EP to be followed a year later by third EP Darkness Falls and a returning full collaboration with Strobegirl on the enthusiastically received album Glitter and Twisted. The same year also saw Badrock team up with another vocalist on two songs Lost City Ghosts and Dream again to very favourable responses. Eloquently Violent is the first full length solo release from Illustrial and easily marks itself from the outstanding sleeve artwork from OneTwoTree Designs through to the sounds within as the best individual and mature work the artist has produced.

The album opens with Xciter, a pulsating electro pop dazzle upon the ear. It has a definite early Fad Gadget feel to its air without arguably the pop infectiousness but is still a satisfying treat. As with the majority of his songs Badrock brings a minimalistic presence to the track allowing its ambient whispers and atmosphere to give service to the passion and emotive heart. The original intent for the album was for guest vocalists on some of the songs but as the release developed Badrock fell into an ease and rapport with the music and his own style to end up taking on the role himself. The opener shows it was not a bad move and again offers up the Frank Tovey comparison here and at varied times during the album.

Heartbeat follows and is a more reserved manipulation of electronic weaves. It brings splintered pulses and fractured melodic twists and only really finds a full appeal when it raises its temperature through an eager and driven energetic surge. It is still a strong and appealing song though showing the variety to the album as well as a firm yet rippling consistency which never leaves one drifting elsewhere in attention.

The title track has a similar feel and intent as its predecessor though seemingly carries a more personal heart for more intensity which ignites further the searchlights of melodic enterprise. It is quite mesmeric as it envelopes the year and continues the strong start commendably. Coming in its wake though is Tribal Dance which did not failed to inspire similar responses though it is as much down to expectations from the title than the composition itself. Expecting something primitive in energy and raw the track is a quiet and one means quiet, measure of beats and electronic whispers. It feels like an interlude to be honest but with a beefier production would probably have made a bigger impression.

From here on in the album brings a fine mix of ideas, textures, and sounds, from the sultry Gothic Fantasy and wonderfully distressing aural violation of My Distortion on to the likes of the New Order influenced The Silence and the haunting darkness that is Dark Night Of The Soul. The release consistently treats the senses to invention and imagination and though at times this exploration does not always quite come off as well as in other parts but it is never less than intriguing.

The latter half of the album unveils further thoughtful and evocative songs as the sinister Horrorgasm alongside the melodic caress of Breeze which inspire responsive feelings to the aural triggers. Eloquently Violent is an album which graces with expressive and satisfying sonic tapestries for the ear to immerse within. It maybe is lacking a raw edge and anger at times to break up the unerring shadowed smooth fondling of the ear but it is a release which effortlessly leaves one in thought and reflection.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Illustrial/104161896358

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RingMaster 02/07/2012

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