Mr.Kitty: Life

Mr.Kitty

Like a knowing soundtrack to every aspect of its title, Life the new album from US musician Mr.Kitty is a canvas for reflection, emotive dance, and drifts into diverse enveloping feelings inspired by its elegant and beautifully sculpted beauty. The most complete and rounded release from the Dallas based artist to date, the fifteen track album is a rich and smouldering wash of electronic pop and new wave adventure, an album to ignite the senses and invite the passions into a long and ardour fuelled companionship.

Mr.Kitty is Forrest Carney, who takes his inspirations from an eclectic array of artists such as Joy Division, The Cure, Depeche Mode, Crystal Castles, Pictureplane, and Grimes. His music employs numerous flavours and textures in addition to the basic tag we previously mentioned, elements of eighties post punk, gothic emotiveness, and electro ambience all playing their part in the depth and distinct characters of sound and individual songs. Released with Engraved Ritual, Life is the fourth album from Mr.Kitty, and part of a four album series consisting of two “light” and two “dark” albums, this drawing on the lighter shade of his imagination, though it is not without its rich and mesmeric shadows.

From opening song Insects, the album as well as seducing the ear and senses provides a visual backdrop to its songs in its coveratmospheric narratives and colour soaked expressive breath. Evocative and with lush emotional hues, Life provides the paint box and aural paper for the listener to explore their own dark corners and heart bred thoughts as well as those offered by and of the artists himself. Insects is an immediate medium to ignite those interactive qualities, its animated stroll and pulsating rhythmic veining an absorbing lure with the crystalline electro oscillation alongside another mesmeric suasion. The vocals of Mr.Kitty soon caress the ear with a sultry lure to their soothing texture, the artist a constant tempter across every song with his impressive and expressive delivery. The eighties inspiration is open within song and album though only another breeze to the refreshing wind wrapping the listener from the very first minute.

The impressive start is soon equalled by both Heaven and Unstable, the first cradling the senses with a choral kiss of angelic harmonies before heady rhythms and cantering melodic synth fascination emerges to explore the lofty heights already in place. The song bounds over thoughts and emotions with eagerness but a respectful energy that seduces the imagination and opens up its romance and that of its recipient. Like its predecessor it is virulently infectious, the roaming electronic atmosphere a spark to the simpler but no less effective and irresistible hooks and has thoughts in lustful expectations for its successors, something the darker but no less contagious Unstable feeds with poise and beauty. Across its provocative and slightly sinister embrace there is a Depeche Mode call to the veiled heart but again only a taste fused into something transparently contagious and unique.

Through the harsher touch of Sacrifice with its riveting and senses worrying intro and caustic intent, Holy Death where the vocals have a Dave Gahan lilt at times, and the excellent Labyrinth, the album continues to stretch the journey and venture into a wealth of emotions and thought taunting scenarios. The latter of the trio brings a Visage like melodic tonic to its glorious smouldering presence and though at times you want to sing “Fade To Grey” as the bulbous melodies suggest their source, the song is another striking highlight.

Those pinnacles just keep coming though as tracks such as the exceptional London, a song enjoying the added siren call of female vocals within its Pet Shop Boys like waltz, the stunning gothic cast Dearlove, and the intense Choke with its shadow fuelled drama, all explore imaginatively further impacting emotion lit pastures. With so many songs there are rare moments where some hold a similarity as they hold hands but it is rare and such the strength and potency of each and every one it is an ‘issue’ you are searching for just to offer up as a temper to the otherwise full acclaim it is hard not to place over Life.

As the closing Father provides the deepest emotive honesty of the album, the artist unafraid to venture where pain dwells, Life leaves a powerful and lingering imprint on mind and heart. It is an outstanding encounter that leaves no emotional stone unturned yet does so with a light and melodic energy which captures the passions. Mr.Kitty is destined to take electronic pop to new fields, Life the impossible to dismiss evidence.

https://www.facebook.com/mrkittydm

9/10

RingMaster 05/07/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Doom’s Day: The Unholy

Doom's Day

Though arguably offering more promise for the future than major satisfaction in the now, The Unholy the debut album from Canadian  occult metal/horror punk band Doom’s Day is still a recommended investigation if the likes of Mercyful Fate, Venom, Ghost, and early Misfits grab the imagination. There is also an eighties essence to the sound which pervades the eight songs which make up the release bringing spicery from the likes of Joy Division, Sex Gang Children, and Fields of The Nephilim into the mix. It is a far from flawless release but given time makes a more than decent persuasion that this is a band to keep an eye on.

The Québec based band has been making big waves in their surrounding area since forming earlier this year, soon moving from a small project into a full band for shows around their province. The Unholy was originally released as a hand numbered CDR consisting of just 50 copies, but soon came to the attention of PRC Music owner Remi Cote. Impressed by what he heard and no doubt the promise ahead, his label has re-released the album on CD and digitally. It is a release proudly steeped in the musical past but with the intent to embroil things with a freshness of modern imagination and opinion, it is debatable how successful it is in that but certainly engages enough to incite returns to its sounds and inspire intrigue ahead.

From the opening track Overture, a gothic cathedral instrumental breath within an oppressive storm, the album enters fully with dooms_day_lowresthe title track. Dark heavy riffs and Hammond organ like keys merge for a heated embrace upon the ear which holds many similarities to fellow Canadians, the excellent New Jacobin Club. The gruff unpolished vocals stand aside from the strong guitar play and scorched melodic  touches to add an abrasive bite to the track. It is quite a compelling song despite the weak production, a trait for the whole release which manages to leave the strong aspects of the album rather lifeless and the raw unrewarding parts accentuated. It is a more than decent start though inspiring good expectations for the rest of the release.

The following trio of songs She’s Possessed, Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, and Sabbath Deadly Sabbath do not exactly live up to the hopes though most again offer things which suggest the possibility of good things coming from the band on the future horizon. The first of the three has a great female vocal alongside the restrained and tempered delivery of vocalist Doom, it makes for a magnetic encounter lined with hypnotic rhythms and a snarling bass  within the sonic wash of guitar. A short and crisp track it is certainly one of the better efforts on the album to ensure continued investigation. The metallic groove of the second song makes an enticing additive to another strong enough song whilst the latter is a bland formulaic song but one fans of classic metal will find something to latch onto.

The best moments of the album are kept to the end with The Sorceress and its great Bauhaus like opening, the muscular Your Last Breath, and the closing Ghost Of Fate. The smoother vocals of the first pair of the songs are a definite plus to the sound of the band and used within a sinewy and formidable intensity works a treat. The last track Ghost of Fate is a great tease of what one senses hopefully will be ahead with Doom’s Day, the song a rampaging well thought out merge of riling energy and melodic craft.

The Unholy is overall enjoyable with its strengths managing to outshine its negatives but it does lack the spark to ignite any real passion for its contents. Placed in a studio with a top producer who can breathe life into their certain creativity and the band itself discovering a unique heart to their invention, it is not too hard to imagine Doom’s Day turning into a more notable ingredient within occult metal.

https://www.facebook.com/dooms666day

RingMaster 03/12/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

My Jerusalem: Preachers

photo Chad Kamenshine

     Preachers from post-modern gothic soul conjurors My Jerusalem,  is an exceptional and impacting delight which at times feels like the perfect soundtrack to a union of TV shows Carnivàle and American Gothic with its smouldering shadows and menacing breath. It is a release which haunts emotions and thoughts whilst evoking images and feelings wrapped in drapes of dark and inspiring suggestive ingenuity. It is a delicious piece of imagination and enterprise which goes far beyond the ear as its provocative warmth kisses every pore like a passion driven flickering candle.

Preachers is described on its accompanying promo sheet as ‘the first My Jerusalem album genuinely made by a band, not just performed by a group of musicians.’ This suggests that their second album felt a more instinctive and natural creation than its predecessor, the critically acclaimed debut Gone For Good of 2010, for the band. It certainly has the presence of something organically spawn, a creation brought from a union of imagination and passion rather than a mere collection of ideas. It flows over the senses and thoughts like a smouldering seductive breath equipped with tension brewing surges and blackened enrapturing elegance. Formed by vocalist Jeff Klein (ex-Gutter Twins, The Twilight Singers), the Austin, Texas band recorded the record with Spoon drummer Jim Eno at his Public Hi-Fi studio, and achieved according to guitarist/keyboardist Jon Merza sound and release which is “more representative of what our live shows sound like.

As keys open up the title track to start off the escapade into enthrallment, there is an immediate chilled caress which puts ones attention on alert. Swiftly following harmonies and an enticing bass beckoning herald the outstanding expressive baritone vocals of Klein within the thick atmosphere enveloping, its shimmering charm laying a lush canvas for the song to ignite melodic fires and emotive sparks upon to enhance rather than ward off the closely watching shadows. It is a hauntingly mesmeric start which has a beauty and reassuring clasp as potent as the oppressive menace of its theme.

Things just explore and expand to greater heights then on in across the album, with firstly the wonderful Shatter Together. The song is the perfect dark pop song, its crawling bass murmurs and golden shards of melodic infection a delicious adventure which invigorates whilst opening up the elegance of dark painful love. It is quite glorious and sets up the passions for the following senses scorching stroll of Born in The Belly. The Southern burn to the angst soaked plaintive fire of Klein transports one into a squall of emotive intensity erupting at the heart of the song. It is another stunning slice of dramatic imagination with once more the bass of Geena Spigarelli a compulsive lure alongside the strong cage of rhythms built by drummer Grant Van Amburgh, but it is the vocals and titanic play from Merza and multi-instrumentalist Michael St. Clair which reap the fullest furnace of pleasure for their efforts.

The thrilling engagement continues at the established hypnotic great height through the likes of This Time, a track which plays like Johnny Cash meets Kings Of Leon through a majestic dusty western haze, and the persistent Death Valley, its dark rampancy of rhythms and consuming shadows igniting a Max Payne like imagery and presence. It is an urgent rolling insistence which frames expansive and inciting melodic invocations to leave one basking in sheer insurgent beauty.

The latter part of Preachers unveils songs which gently wrap themselves around the heart, the likes of Devoe, Between Space, and Chameleon glancing rich heart borne caresses across thoughts and emotions for rewards as equally irresistible as the more urgently driven encounters. Amongst them though there is the stirring rocker Oh Little Sister, a track which just romps with excitement inspired by the teasing bass lines, heart bursting horns, and the sensational acidic discord soaked guitar. It is a brilliant final thrust of dynamic energy before the stunning closer, I Left My Conscience In You. The song coaxes with subdued and subtle tendrils of warm creativity with the expressive breath of vocal and acoustic guitar gently aided by keys and bass. As it progresses though there is a slowly building ambience and increasing bristling of sounds which eventually erupts into a riot of passion and energy for a fiery and climactic crescendo to leave one breathless.

Released via The End Records, Preachers is simply sensational, easily one of the emotive and musical highlights of the year made from the colossal combination of shadows and imagination of My Jerusalem, and a release which just gets better and more powerful with each and every listen

http://thisismyjerusalem.com

RingMaster 18/11/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

 

Days Of Our Decay: Electric Twilight

Days Of Our Decay is a Canadian goth/black/industrial metal band which carries many more additional flavours to its music. Theirs is a distinct and imposing sound which is sure to lure a reaction whether in the positive or negative, a band one cannot ignore or easily pass by without their incisive tentacles of inventive sound instilling itself in at least some part of you.

The Ontario band was formed in 2002 by Darvius Noctem and is a keyboard and synthesizer led dark and imposing musical project. Though originally meant as a full band the project remained as a solo entity for Noctem though alongside him there are the hypnotic talents of Demonika Demise who brings backing vocals and choir voices to the compositions. The music Noctem brings forth is a deep and expansive mix which carries the rich spices of the likes of Rammstein, Deathstars, Dimmu Borgir, and Cradle Of Filth as well as the even darker gothic flavours of Type O Negative, Sisters Of Mercy, and Fields Of The Nephilim. With an additional symphonic metal atmosphere the music wraps around the senses to chill and instigate a mesmeric rapture with its darkened poetic intrusions.

Electric Twilight is the latest album from the band and It is fair to say that though it may not find a welcoming canvas to spread out upon with everyone if imaginative and expressive blackened sounds find a place at your table this album is a full and satisfying meal for consumption. Given time and allowed to unveil its musical glory and for the initially slow to warm to vocals of Noctem to state their case as to why they should find room in your ear, the rewards are very strong and pleasing.

The title track opens up the album with a glorious deep rumbling bass sound as the keys swoop and prey upon the ear with grace and instant appeal. The vocals of Noctem stalk in almost at once, his deep resonance bouncing off the walls within the ear to be nicely balance by the warmth of the melodies and the golden backing of Demise. The music is all gothic frills, ruffles and grandeur and with the continuing predatory bass line adding a menace it all easily absorbs attention.

As the equally enjoyable Aristocratic Blood and Let’s Grow Cold Together with another hypnotic bass beckoning, spread their wings and flourishes across the ear the album begins to take a firm grip though it does offer up one element that you can see putting some off. The vocals of Noctem are great, deep and wickedly imposing like an old hypnotic evil waiting to corrupt and consume, they also are relatively singular in their delivery, though rich and dramatic they are often an overpowering distraction to the fine composing and engaging sounds surrounding them. Given time to allow they and the music to show how they combine and it is a working pleasure but one can imagine others with less endeavour to explore his creations looking for an early exit, though it is their loss admittedly. The combination and contrast of the vocals from Noctem and Demise works impressively throughout with songs like Hopeless In This Hopeless World with its emotive key work and Shallow Diving showing their enterprising and successful mix. The vocals of Demise are not just backing sounds but an instrument and essence of the music which is powerful and as expansive as the synth soars alongside her.

The best songs on the album are Only In A Place Like This with its distinct Gary Numan like melodic manipulations which sound like they were inspired by his Tubeway Army album Replicas, and the excellent Anemia. This track is easily the standout one, its vibrant and pulsating heart leading one by the hand into the wealth of inventive and impactful creativity. The song teases and invites thoughts into making their own images and visions, the atmospheric and dark shadows with the song the lead characters.

Electric Twilight is a great album which deserves a slice of attention from all with a dark and expressive heart to their music choices. If you have an emotion for any of the artists mentioned above than take some time and effort to go and introduce yourselves to Days Of Our Decay. They may not become your new favourites but certainly they and the album will become firm friends.

http://daysofourdecay.yolasite.com/

RingMaster 30/04/2012

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The Mariana Hollow Interview

Photo & Copyright Thanira Rates

Every now and then a band comes in to view that sets the ear and imagination racing with sounds that inspire and intrigue whilst treating the senses to a deeply felt pleasuring. The Mariana Hollow is such a band, their sound a feisty distinct and unpredictable feast of alternative metal and vibrant rock that makes each song an experience and journey to immerse fully within as their excellent new album Velvet Black Sky more than impressively proves. Needing to know more about the band and release we had the pleasure of having three members of The Mariana Hollow sit down and answer our questions, the trio offering more insight into one of the most intriguing and rapidly rising bands in the UK.

Hi and many thanks for talking to us here at The RingMaster Review.

Well thanks for the interview (and for your interest in The Mariana Hollow!!)

Firstly would you please introduce the members of The Mariana Hollow?

We are:

Rebecca Spinks (Spinky) – vocals

Danny Russell – Lead Guitar

Richie Walden – Rhythm Guitar and backing vocals

Scott Chesworth – Bass

Adam Stanley – Drums and backing vocals

For this interview, you’ve got Spinky, Richie and Scott (the other two were busy hunting zombies).

When and how did the band begin?

Richie: I guess TMH really began when Danny joined my previous band ‘Paperplane’ as our lead guitarist.  I’d written all the music for the band by myself up to that point, but as soon as we sat down to write together, something really clicked and we pretty much wrote the whole of Coma Heart sat in his bedroom in Brixton.  The other guys in Paperplane weren’t really into the direction we were taking and decided that they would move on – at which point we started looking on the internet for more musicians!  We managed to dodge the usual internet collection of total nutjobs and ended up with Adam and then Scott. We spent a few months getting the songs down tight and then from out of nowhere Spinky turned up to blow us all away!

I believe finding the right vocalist for the band which eventually was Rebecca was not easy?

Richie: It was a long and….definitely interesting search. Between TMH and Paperplane I probably auditioned 60/70 singers. It was very demoralizing at times, from people who were just excruciatingly bad to singers that were good, but just didn’t really blow us away.  I think the honest truth is that we were looking for Spinky the whole time.  I saw her ad on a website and she’d listed Human Waste Project (who I’d always quite liked) amongst her influences, so I immediately sent her a message.  She sent us a demo and we were floored by what she could do musically and how incredible her lyrics were.  I remember her sending over demos of ‘Enemy Lines’, ‘Come Undone’ and ‘Fires Go Out’ and the rest of us just hearing that she was exactly right for us, then we met her face to face and she was just the nicest, most humble person you could meet – despite the fact she looks pretty angry onstage!

The band name has a great gothic ring to it, was it a name you deliberated on or like many of the best names just jumped out on its own by chance?

Spinky: It took a long time to come up with the right name for the band, and we discussed many many options before deciding upon ‘the one’!  We had quite a few brainstorming sessions, putting together various words that we felt suited us, but nothing was quite right.  We had considered a ‘sea theme’ for the name from early on in the process, as we’d been told by some that our music reminded them of the ocean!  I believe it was Richie who read an article on the ‘Mariana Trench’ (the deepest point of the ocean, near Japan) and then suggested ‘Mariana Hollow’ as it captured the vibe of the band.  Danny suggested adding a ‘the’, and we pretty much unanimously agreed on it there and then.  It just felt right!

Your music is a very flavoursome melodic metal with many elements that makes it wonderfully hard to pin down. How do you describe it to others?

Spinky: I usually describe it as alternative metal/rock, with a progressive edge!  People often say, “Which other bands do you sound like?” and I find that particularly hard to answer!  I just say that we’re a melodic band, who likes to write “songs” as opposed to making things as heavy as possible!

Scott: I often find words are ineffectual for describing music. Most people switch off by the time I’m 5 sub-genres deep and floundering around for a graceful way to stop talking. Perhaps I just don’t know enough words yet. I try to play a bit of a tune for them instead.

I noticed individually you all have very varied and diverse influence sand favourite bands to each other, do you think this is where the distinctive sound of your music mostly comes from?

Spinky: Definitely.  I personally think it’s really important to all bring different influences to the table, as it keeps things fresh and exciting.  It may not mean that we fit into any genre, and perhaps we may close opportunities to ourselves by not “fitting in”, but at least we’re happy doing what feels right and making music that really comes from the heart.

How do you write your songs, what is the process within the whole band?

Richie: I tend to write a lot of the initial riffs, then Danny and I sit down and cherry pick the best bits to knock into shape as songs.  We get a structure down and send it out to the guys so we have something to work with – then it usually all changes when we jam it in rehearsal!  Spinky tends to listen very carefully for a while whilst we’re hammering it out and then just come out with something completely unpredictable but amazing!

You have just released your second album Velvet Black Sky; emotions must be flying right now?

Spinky: Yes, it’s fantastic to have the album finally out there for people to hear, after such a long process of writing, recording and ‘perfecting’!!  It’s been brilliant to get positive responses to the album, to know which songs are people’s favourites and to hear reviews – which have thankfully been fairly good on the whole!

What can people find on the album and how has the band and sound evolved from your 2009 debut Coma Heart to this?

Spinky: I think we’ve come quite a long way from Coma Heart, though obviously we’ve still a lot to learn.  The band sound has evolved organically as we have got more comfortable as a 5-piece; both as musicians and friends.  We’ve become braver, I think, in suggesting ideas and musically we’ve challenged ourselves further with Velvet Black Sky.  We’re all excited to continue to write new music – and to hopefully keep improving with each album!

Did you learn anything from recording your debut that has had an impact this time around?

Scott: We recorded both albums in-house (our Danny assumes the production hot seat), and I’m a pedantic geek who probably drives him to distraction. We’re always learning how to get the best sound we can from the gear we’ve got and our meager budget, that won’t stop until the budget grows enough for us to hire in someone to shout at. As a consequence, by the time we sent ‘Velvet Black Sky’ over to Brett Caldas-Lima for him to start mixing, our vision for each song was pretty clear, and the recordings he worked from were in much better shape than what Chris Sheldon received when he mixed ‘Coma Heart’. Plus, by the time we started tracking VBS, we’d made a ton of subtle changes to the songs we were still playing off of CH at shows, so we came in to record with a better understanding of what we needed to bring to the table individually for the songs to work on the record as well as they do live this time around.

The new album seems to have a darker and more intense feel, is that fair to say?

Spinky: Yes, that’s definitely what we feel about it.  There are a number of songs on VBS that are far heavier, and indeed longer, than those on Coma Heart and the lyrics mirror this also.

Scott: Danny dreamt up some awesome “guitar soundscape” ideas and big washy guitar atmospherics on this one – they do a lot to contribute to that darker sound you mentioned.

Where has this new or more defined tone to your music come from?

Spinky: I think the mood behind VBS reflected our general unrest and uncertainty with the state of the world, and also some fairly substantial life changes and struggles for various members of the band.

Scott: Ha, yeah, there’s nothing quite like your life being utterly shit to conjure up the vibe. Can’t wait to record Album III…

What influences your music lyrically?

Spinky: I generally write about negative experiences, which I think would be true of a lot of vocalists in this field.  The lyrics on VBS centered on issues that I have been affected by emotionally in recent years, such as natural disasters, social and political unrest.  The main theme of the album is my personal reflection on what has passed, and my frustration that we never seem to learn from our mistakes.

The lead single off the album is Your Halo, an emotive yet catchy song, what was its inspiration?

Spinky: The lyrics are inspired by when a friendship deteriorates into something sour, which I think is something everyone can relate to!  It deals with the emotions that are felt when someone you thought you knew turns out to be something completely different, when all the trust you had in that person is lost as you realise they merely were hiding their true intentions.  It’s about a Jekyll and Hyde character; when the person that everybody sees on the outside is not the real them.

Tell us about the excellent video that accompanies it?

Richie: Thank you!  It was our first proper shot at a video (although there is also a video for our song ‘Come Undone’ using live footage) and we were really lucky with the location as Danny had access to a massive old pig barn in the middle of the countryside.  We shot it over the course of an afternoon and night and finished up at 3am, totally exhausted and pushing the director’s car up a hill after it broke down – turns out that being in the middle of the countryside is slightly more problematic when you have no phone signal and a broken car!  I remember how nervous we all were before we saw the first cut and then being like excited kids when it was sent out, ringing each other up to see who’d seen it!  We were so pleased with how it came out and it’s been really exciting to have people get in touch after seeing it on Kerrang! and Scuzz.  It was a really fun experience and we’re really looking forward to the next one!

We see you as a metal band with a female singer rather than a female fronted band, meaning you are a band where the music leads the band as a unit rather than a band writing around and playing on the female voice, would you agree with that?

Spinky: I would absolutely agree with that!  I never want to be singled out as the focus of the band.  That would always feel totally alien and wrong to me, as we all contribute equally, and at the end of the day it’s not about me – it’s about the band.

Scott: That’s an epic complement in my book. Thank you!

Do you find the band is tagged automatically as a certain type of band because of Rebecca sand if so is this a problem?

Scott: Sometimes it goes in our favour (in that it makes it more likely that people who’re really in to female fronted bands will check us out), other times it goes against us (in that people can assume we sound like a particular trend in female fronted bands that they’re not keen on). On balance, I’d say it isn’t a big problem, because the people in the latter camp who end up hearing us from their safe retreat of the bar at shows or at some other point down the line seem to realise that they missed a trick. Inevitably there’s going to be people who have shrugged us off that we won’t cross paths with again, and people who just don’t dig what we do once they’ve given it a listen. It’s a shame, but ya can’t win ‘em all!

Coming from London where there are seemingly new bands appearing daily how hard is it to stay above the sea of bands to stand out? Is your great music enough?

Scott: I don’t subscribe to online availability being anything short of the best thing since sliced bread for a band on our level. Ask me again when our fifth album has just been leaked a month early with a barely legal sextape included and I’ll give you a rant on how badly torrents have fucked up our career, but right now, the internet has sold Coma Heart and Velvet Black Sky to a ton of countries and far flung places that we might never have reached without it. Within London itself, you’re right that there are a hell of a lot of bands trying to drum up interest. You’d think that’d be a positive thing (healthy competition, raising the bar etc), and you’d be right if it weren’t for a lazy breed of promoter who cashes in by booking bands whose songs do nothing to complement each other, putting way too many acts on each night, then completely relying on the musicians they’ve booked to bring the paying punters in instead of promoting the shows themselves. At the moment, that’s what I rant about. Luckily, London does still have some fair people working decent venues. We know a few of them, and in time hopefully we’ll stumble upon the rest.

April sees you on a short tour with a band we love, Breed 77. Exciting stuff, how did that come about?

Richie: We were actually placed on an acoustic bill with Breed77 last year, but we had to pull out at the last minute due to various reasons beyond our control.  Breed77 were really supportive and cool about it though, but even then I couldn’t believe it when I got the call to offer us the tour!  I’ve known a couple of the guys in the band for a few years now and they’re really, really nice people so it’s doubly exciting to be touring with a band that I not only respect for their achievements but also one that are already making us feel very welcome – it should be a lot of fun!! I also think we’ll learn a lot from them as they have been doing this for so long and their live shows are always really good – Paul is a great frontman, definitely.

Will this be your biggest gigs to date?

Spinky: It will certainly be some of the highest profile gigs we’ve done – it’s an absolute honour to play with the mighty Breed!  We’ve also never done a tour before, so we’re really excited!  We have only really played other big gigs in London venues thus far, so it’s good for us to do bigger shows out of the capital.

Quite a few bands now seem to explore the reaction at their live shows to decide if new songs make the grade rather than record them before revealing them publicly, is this something you have tried?

Scott: Yep, it’s a great way of gauging audience reaction, and it can even bring on “AHA” moments within the band. ‘Knife to the Throat’, ‘Weight of the World’ and ‘Dead Reckoning’ were all given an airing before we started recording.

After these dates what is next for The Mariana Hollow and what are your aims for the rest of the year musically?

Spinky: We’re hoping desperately to get on some festival line-ups for later in the year, both in UK and abroad – so we’ll just have to keep you posted on those!  We also hope that the tour with Breed 77 may bring us a few new fans over the UK so it will be great to go back to places such as Manchester/York to play there again.

Scott: I’m all fired up about the idea of recording some acoustic stuff and a live EP at the moment. Nothing firm yet, but hopefully we’ll find time to do at least one of those this year.

A big thank you for taking time out to talk with us and good luck with Velvet Black Sky and the April dates.

Spinky: Thank you very much!!

Would you like to end with a thought for the day from The Mariana Hollow?

Richie: If you like a band enough to listen to their music, please buy it – don’t steal it!

For more info on the album, band and their live shows go to http://www.themarianahollow.com/

RingMaster Review 05/04/2012

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The New Jacobin Club – This Treason

Though This Treason from Canadian shock rockers The New Jacobin Club has been out for over a year,  it and the band are new discoveries here at The RingMaster Review and because the find is so immensely enjoyable a review though late was an inevitable outcome. The first question was how on this internet connected earth it has taken until now for a band this good and formed in 1995 to capture these eagerly searching ears though the fact they have is all that matters.

Since its rise from the depths of its original conception in the dark creative minds of the original trio of which vocalist/guitarist The Horde remains, The New Jacobin Club have released four album and various EP’s, cassette singles and contributions to compilations, the first official release by the trio coming in 1998. The debut self titled album arose in 2001 and was the first to have bassist/vocalist The Swarm within the band’s dark ranks. Second album Retake the Throne was the moment the band really started to divert ears and eyes their way as college radio and international media began taking notice then in 2006 third album Wicked City and the single from it ‘Creeping Flesh’, pushed the band further out from their own home shadows as their undeniably eye catching live shows and wonderfully darkly intrusive sounds toyed with more and more senses. This Treason takes the band even further out into the masses with a wonderfully flamboyant theatrical wicked essence combined with impressive striking heavy intense sounds and senses treating dark gothic creativity.

Alongside The Horde and The Swarm the band consists of guitarist The Fury, Brother Vitruvius on keyboards, drummer Rat King, plus The Luminous and Poison Candy on cello and theremin respectively. Together they have created a gothic punk , rock metal veined tour de force concept album which takes the listener into its eager and black bloodied depths as it explores the relationship and events surrounding the true life and death of England’s notorious warlord Sir Hugh Despense and his relationship with King Edward II, or as the band’s website calls it ‘A morality play set to music’.

Having read The New Jacobin Club being compared to a mix of Judas Priest and modern era Misfits there was an uncertainty as to what they would sound like and maybe a little fear too not being an enjoyer of classic heavy metal. There was thought s that maybe they would be a band bringing the overblown pomp and excess of 80’s artists who over indulged with concepts and rock operas or maybe another Gwar type beast where they venture to close to ridiculous to win real credibility, though there might have been the warped corruption from the likes of Macabre to enjoy too. As the title track opened the album the theatrical grandeur was there, the welcoming soaring keys inviting with a flourish but then came a delicious grumbling bassline and gothic keys taunting the ear. One minute in here was one hooked, captured and trussed up victim to the merciless bombardment of pleasure feasting upon the senses. Tumbling riffs and dominant rhythms seize the ear as incisive hot guitars slither through  and the suggestion of sweet insanity  comes with the theremin intrusions. The track and subsequent songs have a little of everything and sounds from numerous sources but it is all distinctly The New Jacobin Club.

This introduction to the album and the tale to unfold could not be more satisfying and as subsequent tracks play and unveil the people and the events in the life of and leading to the death of our lead protagonist in the opener we are treated to an array of sounds, skill and pleasure. ‘Private Hell’ is a more heavy rock based track with Jerry Only like vocals, and gives reason for the often used comparison previously mentioned. The cello of The Luminous swarms and soars all over the track wonderfully and lifts it to even greater heights.

The musicianship of all is stunning as it offers up sounds and influences of bands like the two previously mentioned and often stated The Damned, Christian Death, Killing Joke, The Birthday Party and Maiden but others less expected spices oozed out too. ‘Countess Scorned’ offers up a taste of Wall Of Voodoo whilst the punk fuelled ‘The Fall’ is expanded with a heady mix of Asking Alexandria  and Alien Sex Fiend, and throughout one is reminded at moments of bands like The Mission, Southern Death Cult and fellow gothic bands. The best track of all on the album ‘Like Dogs’ which brings an irresistible mix of psychobilly spawned rock with a blend of The Cramps, Calabrese and Danzig.  A triumph that ignites the passions within and takes one on a primal dance around the length of its mighty display.  All proof that This Treason offers up a mesmerising array of sounds and despite referencing many it is all uniquely The New Jacobin Club once given their inimitable touch.

There really is not anything negative to be found about the album, even the meandering 13 minute epic ‘All Mourning Long’ with its abyss spawned bedlam that eats away at the senses and throws torment and despair by the moat full at the listener is wonderfully effective despite its testing soundscape and alarmingly hypnotic caustic aural assault.

The album comes in a cd/DVD package with an included live performance that corrupts as it engages and shows the band as dominant and irresistible on stage as they are aurally from the studio, and why The New Jacobin Club has graced shared stages with the likes of KMFDM, Nashville Pussy, Groovie Ghoulies, Voltaire and Discover Channel’s Guinea Pig show. Eventful, dramatic and most of all wonderful, everyone should have one.

http://www.newjacobinclub.com

RingMaster 06/01/2012

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Eden Wakes – Darkest Before The Dawn

The strong and positive word about UK metal/rock band Eden Wakes inspired some eager anticipation for their debut album but it did not prevent total surprise at the unexpected sound that flew from the tracks that make up Darkest Before The Dawn. The first ‘meeting’ with any band is a surprise to some extent and with the Manchester quartet it was certainly wrong footing, the album taking a while to immerse into before the awareness of what a distinct and darkly engaging release it truly was sunk in. As a fan of music and artists that use discordancy as a tool and weapon it was a little strange that it did take a while to get the ear attuned to the creativity the band produce but once hooked there was no escape. With a sound that is hard to fully pin down in description and influences there is a down turned vibrancy to Eden Wakes that is as hypnotic as it is challenging.

Formed in late 2008 by twin sisters Jane Hebenton (lead guitar) and Helen Hebenton (bass) with close friends Mark Holden (vocals & guitar) and Tom Buxton (drums & vocals), Eden Wakes have created a sound that is best described as Deftones meets The Fall with early Misfits filtered through the punk of The Damned and Hagfish. With added diversions only the likes of Pixies and Swell Maps could come up with this mix gives you an idea of the vicinity the music the four piece produce hangs in. For many the album may need a practice run first just to get a feel of its different flavours before then sitting down to properly focus on and ultimately appreciate its impressive elements. Primarily it is the vocal/music ‘conflict’ that throws the ear and thoughts at first an intriguing as at times it is almost as if Holden is going down a different road to the music within songs but once the ear warms up to this it is a very hypnotic and unique aspect that becomes one of the biggest positives. Over the years many bands have tried this approach but not many take it this far or as successfully. If it is a natural occurrence or planned only the band knows but it works a treat giving something new and exciting to the sounds. For some it may not ever sound right but for those it does it is a thrill alongside the well thought out and delivered rock, metal and punk sounds the band grace each song with. 

Darkest Before The Dawn starts off strongly but as it progresses it gets immensely better and better.  The opening duo of tracks in ‘Fortune Favours The Brave’ and ‘Hide & Seek’ open up the ears and senses firmly with a great mix of rock and metal sounds fused with punk energy, the guitars of Holden and Jane Hebenton at ease in melodic sensitive parts as they are thrashing out riffs whilst the rhythms from Buxton and pulsating bass tones of Helen Hebenton reach deep and forcibly. As the album moves through its songs it is as if the band‘s confidence and belief increases and by the time the excellent ‘Faust Macabre’ and the brilliant ’Fall Before Vermillion’ unveil their glory near the albums end, the band is on a different plateau. The first of these two is marked by scorching scything guitar riffs that brand the soul, their discordant strikes intrusive in contrast to the melodic play surrounding them, whilst the latter ripples with 70’s gothic punk sounds to stoke up the pulse.

Released via Rising Records Darkest Before The Dawn is a true gem, yes it needs a little bit of focus at first but once it reveals it’s wonderfully disjointed but mesmeric charms there is no going back to plain formula sounds again. Upon the album Eden Wakes, despite its impressive and great satisfaction giving sounds, still give the impression that they are a release or two away from finding their truly distinctive and glorious sound which makes the anticipation of what is ahead, listening to this stunning release, very exciting indeed.
RingMaster 24/11/2011

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