Titans & Kings – Set Fire To The Night

titans and kings

Creating a feisty and energetic blend of eighties hard and modern alternative rock with extra pleasing spices, UK rock band Titans & Kings is an encounter impossible not to develop an eager appetite for, especially taking new single Set Fire To The Night as the doorway into their fiery sound. The band has been earning strong praise and attention over recent months and it is not hard to see why using the single as evidence. The song does suggest that the London quartet is still defining their musical voice and uniqueness but that just adds that little bit more spice to the promise within the already accomplished and engaging encounter.

Set Fire To The Night follows the well-received recent release of the Hold Your Tongue EP as well as the success of the band’s first Titans & Kings - Set Fire to The Night (iTunes Artwork) (1)UK tour they have just completed. Recorded at Freefall Studios, the single leaves no riff bred beckoning and melodic enticement at home, the song from its first moments a riotous and agreeably anthemic proposition. It plays like Jimmy Eats World meets Black Stone Cherry with the fire of Buckcherry involved, though there is more to it than that. The song emerges from a distant blaze of guitar on a drum thumping before relaxing with muscles still flexed into an embrace of melodic endeavour and sonic enterprise. Once the vocals begin their narrative, aligned to the great throaty bass skirting, an eighties rock essence washes over the imagination. It is a pleasing if undemanding coaxing which recruits full attention; jagged riffs and entwining melodies adding to the bait of the song.

There is a definite familiarity to the track too which makes it simply over friendly rather than a replica of something else but it is the constantly evolving and emerging imagination of the band which steals the spotlight, twists in ideas, gait, and energy an exciting unpredictable enticement. That recognisable element of the song fuels the thought that Titans & Kings is still searching for their distinctive flavour but equally with its inventive exploration the single provides proof that something individual to the band is coming to push a sound which is already a mouthwatering suasion on ears and emotions.

It is fair to say that Set Fire To The Night will not be the song that sets your year alight but it certainly given the chance will warm it up quite nicely as Titans & Kings continue their increasingly impressive way to that incendiary event they seemingly have the potential to create. For vivacious rock ‘n’ roll Set Fire To The Night is well worth romping with.

www.titansandkings.com

7.5/10

RingMaster 24/03/2014

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Calabrese – Born with a Scorpion’s Touch

 

CALABRESE  2 (Born With A Scorpion's Touch) 2013

    Calabrese has continued to steal the passions of psychobillies and horror punks worldwide since stepping forward in 2003. Album after album, song after song, show after show, they have been a persistent magnet for those infected by their distinct sound and riotous b-movie inspired presence, and we stand amongst the legion infected. So it was with relish we dived into the band’s fifth album Born with a Scorpion’s Touch which receives its UK uncaging this month. Each of the band’s previous albums has impressed and pushed the band’s adventure but with the new contagion, the trio of blood brothers, Bobby, Davey, and Jimmy Calabrese has unlocked a maturity and exploratory enterprise which opens up a new chapter for the band in songwriting and presence. The trademark Calabrese sound is still the potent lure but it is graced and veined with a greater expanse of styles and ingenuity to create quite possibly the pinnacle of the band’s exploits to date.

     The band has always built their sound on the influential breaths of bands such as The Misfits, Black Flag, Samhain, The Damned, Black Sabbath, Danzig, and Ramones, and there is certainly no deviation from that potent well upon Born with a Scorpion’s Touch either but it is infused with a rich incitement of varied metallic and heavy rock essences within their individual sound. It emerges from this dramatic brew as an enthralling and unpredictable encounter, one which continues to make Calabrese a major force and provocation in underground rock ‘n’ roll. Now though they might just become a well-known incitement for world attention thanks to Born with a Scorpion’s Touch.

    Released via Spookshow Records, the album opens with the brief American Rebel Death Riders, a primarily instrumental Calabrese Born With A Scorpion's Touch Album Covertrack which fires up the energy of album and listener with its mix of groove and thrash metal within a juggernaut of rock ‘n’ roll voraciousness. The track rampages down the ears highway igniting imagination and emotions before departing for the following title track. From the first of expected film samples which has always coloured the band’s releases, a ravenous groove breaks free from within a blaze of riffs and thumping rhythms. It is irresistible toxic bait from which the band swings their hooks and infectious chorus to predictably irresistible effect. It is fair to say there is not many bands who can breed the virulence to their barbs and calls as the Phoenix threesome and no chance that the band will lose their lethal touch, as proven by the second track. Again there is a broader hard rock stroke to the song without removing itself from the masterful walls of psychobilly and horror rock.

     I Wanna Be a Vigilante continues the impressive start, its opening wind swept beach reminding a little of the classic Shangri-las’ song, is soon welcoming the croon of Bobby and Jimmy’s vocals and an emotively honed blaze of melodic punk spawned pop balladry with a definite Ramones like aspect to its expanding walls and lures. There is also an element which reminds of The Damned, a gothic glaze that only adds to the depths of the track’s drama. From its commanding presence the snarling bass of Jimmy welcomes in the next up At Night I Am the Warmest, a track which launches at the ears with a feverish appetite and energy once into its full charge. The rhythms from Davey thump and pummel with intimidation whilst grooves and hooks engage and seduce the senses, all held under the rein of the excellent vocal persuasion singularly and dually of Bobby and Jimmy. As epidemically commanding as a voracious fever, the track leaves appetite and emotions aflame before they are taken on another inflammatory ride by the sonic surges and hunger of Loner at Heart. The track burns and sears the sense with a predatory gait and intensity to its antagonism but tempers it with a delicious weave of melodic and addiction forging enterprise.

     Both Mindwarp and Danger leave lingering fingerprints on passions and memory, the first an almost brawling stomp of rock pop with horror rock provocation and its successor a rhythmically menacing encounter courted by sonic beauty and a cache of insidiously compelling barbed grooves and anthemic toxins. It is a brilliant trap living up to its name with ease. Its might is as good as matched by the tarmac smelling heat of Ride with the Living Dead, the song just another which sparks imagery and creative thoughts as powerfully as it does the ardour which only increases its rapture for the release.

    Only the Dead Know My Name moves in on the imagination next, another ambient setting the veil for a track which seduces with more swerves and curvy temptations than a lap dance and just as unhealthily captivating as reality fades away once up against the claws and grip of the song. It is a stylish and impossibly alluring dance with riffs and hooks instinctive protagonists to give full submission to, as are those unleashed by the brilliant I Ride Alone, though brilliance can be draped over every song on this exceptional inspiration as a trait. As with all the songs, there is a wider, richer colour and fermentation to the band’s songwriting and sound which simultaneously feeds all wants and desires for a Calabrese release whilst exceeding those needs with even greater challenging adventure.

   Closing with the rigorously catchy There’s an Evil Inside, a more singularly rockabilly cast treat, Born with a Scorpion’s Touch is a magnificent slab of resourceful and inventive rock ‘n’ roll, one unafraid to push its and the band’s formerly perceived boundaries, though they have never stood still in pressuring limits to be fair. We suggested that the album was possibly the pinnacle of the band’s creativity until now, listening to it again as this is written let us amend that by omitting possibly.

http://www.calabreserock.com/

10/10

RingMaster 17/03/2014

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Wild Throne – Blood Maker

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Photo Credit:
Ryan Russell

    There are times when an introduction to a band smacks you dead centre in the face and stops you in your tracks, one fine example being the debut EP from US band Wild Throne, only they additionally rip open your torso with great scything riffs and gnaw your insides with rhythms carrying more voracity than a rabid predator. The three track onslaught is much more than mere aggression though, lethal melodies and impossibly captivating sonic imagination just as greedily at work as the release provides an early major statement for 2014. Blood Maker is a dramatic entrance from a band destiny will have a lot of time for you suspect on the evidence of their impressive tempest.

     Though the debut release from Wild Throne, the band have since 2009 already been crafting and honing their striking blend of progressive rock and melodic metal under original name Dog Shredder. With a couple vinyl EPs and numerous tours and shows with the likes of Dysrhythmia, Melt Banana, Kylesa, Marnie Stern, Helmet, and Black Cobra under their belt, the trio of Josh Holland (guitar/vocals), Noah Burns (drums) and Jeff Johnson (bass) have evolved into Wild Throne and announced this new chapter in riveting style. Recorded with producer Ross Robinson (At The Drive In, Machine Head, The Cure) after the band completed a US tour with Red Fang and Helms Alee, the EP declares the Bellingham, WA trio as not only a proposition to watch very closely but one to devour hungrily right now.

    The Brutal Panda Records released EP smuggles all of its ready to erupt creative armoury into the imagination through the BloodMaker_1600opening rhythmic intrigue of The Wrecking Ball Unchained, the coaxing dramatic beats of Burns, soon aided by the expressive potent vocals of Holland, hypnotically distracting the senses. It is a transfixing start which belies the lying in wait tempest which soon has its moment and bursts through the ears in a torrential storm of invention and passion. Riffs and rhythms stalk and incite with determination and skill whilst the bass of Johnson adds a throatiness which only further seduces but it is the fiery inventive sonic flames and twists Holland also unleashes alongside his stirring vocals which cement the captivation. It is a powerful almost tempestuous engagement with plenty to justify the comparisons to bands such as The Mars Volta, Helms Alee, and These Arms Are Snakes, Wild Throne has drawn, but also in many ways we would add Manic Street Preachers in their early days, Black Tusk, and Muse for various aspects and essences which expel their bait throughout the tremendous track.

     Ebbing and flowing like a tidal wave of energy and emotion, the opening majesty is soon equalled in presence and depth by Shadow Deserts, a track with an acidic call from its first breath aligned to another pulsating bass growl and rhythmic agitation. Like its predecessor, the song’s start is the perfect set up and doorway into the immediately following tsunami of passion and intensity. The celestial, bordering ethereal, ambience and vocals add another avenue to explore within the rage whilst the earnest vocal squalls and compelling punk fury of the track skirted by further melodic imagination and classic metal exploration, simply enslaves an already feistily hungry appetite for band and EP.

    From the exhausting and searing heat of the second song, the title track takes over and instantly opens a fiercer acrid vat of sonic exploration and senses searing enterprise. More At The Drive In than Mars Volta with a toxin of psychedelic vitriol to the expansive and unbridled fire of guitar and vocals, the track is a breath-taking plunge into rapacious creative rabidity and exhaustive passion. The song smothers and permeates every synapse and cell with an irresistible contagion and alone brings an intense spotlight upon the band, which the other songs of course only inflame.

    Blood Maker will not be the first time that Wild Throne leaves people opened mouthed you can be quite sure of that, but it makes a very important and exhilarating base to explode further from.

http://www.wildthrone.com/

10/10

RingMaster 06/03/2014

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Kodiak Jack – Alhambra

Kodiak Jack sky

Though UK rockers Kodiak Jack has not exactly been a secret it is fair to say that they have yet to ignite the widest attention across the country, something they will surely address as new album Alhambra starts its rampage. Built on eleven irrepressible inventive slabs of prime rock ‘n’ roll , the album is an incendiary fuse for the imagination and passions, undiluted heavy rock which thrusts the band to the fore of not only British but European rock music. With raging sonic endeavour around infection clad hooks and intensive riffs, all strapped to a rhythmic enticement which refuses to take no for an answer, the beast of a release is the kind of feast you can never stopping licking your lips to.

    Hailing from Portsmouth, the quintet first drew keen attention with debt album Your Death: My Glory in 2011, the release becoming no stranger to acclaim from fans and media alike. Strong radio play followed as well as the record having tracks featured on the cover mounted CD of an international edition of Metal Hammer, used on the closing credits of Eurosport’s British Superbikes coverage, and part of the States released Rumble Rides: Muscle Drag DVD . Their live reputation equally has earned the band a big reputation, shows with the likes of Kobra & The Lotus, Paul Gilbert (Mr. Big and Racer X), Everything Everything, Elvis Jackson and many more only confirming the emerging might and presence of Kodiak Jack. Recorded last year in Sacramento, California with Tesla bassist Brian Wheat who became a fan when the band sent him their debut back in 2011, Alhambra takes it all to the next level; actually up a  good few levels such its tremendous power and enterprise.

     Released via Angry Badger Records, and featuring three reworked tracks from their debut alongside seven voracious new Alhambraexploits, Alhambra takes no time in firing up the appetite with opener Get Out Alive, guitars dangling an initial temptation before thumping rhythms splinter their bait aside the vocals of frontman Bryn Roberts aided by those of guitarist Jon Karp. Into its stride the track brews up a rousing contagion which it accelerates further with storming riffs against melodic flames from Karp and Jeff Arnold, whilst the bass of Kev Farren stomps alongside the equally hungry beats of Keiran Bellinger. It is a roaring blaze of hard rock setting the release off in fine anthemic style, sparking an immediate greedy appetite.

     The first single from the album Brother steps up next, again no second wasted on lightweight beckoning as heavy riffs and crisp rhythms immediately set to work on the ears. A grunge feel emerges as the song expands its sonic narrative, a winding groove seducing the senses as the vocals of Roberts again impress with a Glenn Danzig essence coating some of his delivery. A strong acidic solo also spears the song towards its end to raise extra temptation before a dramatic finale makes way for the equally riveting and impressive Wasted Youth. Roving beats join scrapes of riffs alongside the opening narrative of Roberts as the song sets its irresistible toxicity in motion first, before hitting a similarly enthralling and magnetic passage of melodic passions pulling virulence. There is a blues flame to the guitars which only accentuates the swagger and addictiveness of the song too, it an early pinnacle in already a heady range of peaks.

     Both More Than This and Crossfire keep album and reactions sizzling, the first once again employing the greediest rhythms within an expansive wash of sonic causticity and expressive vocals whilst its successor has a broader rock wash to its earnest declaration. The pair stroll a level below what came before but with undeniable craft and the passion to inspire, neither leave anything but thrilled satisfaction behind before the outstanding THEM takes over. It almost nags at the ears from its first breath, riffs and beats a persistently probing trap beneath the wider rock delivery of Roberts, again perfectly assisted by Karp. A tinge of glam rock mischievously grins in their and the music’s incitement to tease just a little more and like so many of the tracks it secures a swift tempting for feet and voice which only the deaf and dead could resist.

     No Surrender is just as epidemically riotous and catchy, Karp and Arnold sculpting a sonic playground for the vocals and the more intimidating rhythmic section to prey and incite within, whilst the brilliant Waves with its heavier almost carnivorous presence stalks the senses with a predation which is dangerous and drenched in irresistibility. The compelling quality keeps coming on strong as firstly the masterful Live To Fight unveils a drama driven melodic rock pyre of emotive balladry and La Rue follows it up with a muscular impact of passion stirring energy and bordering on antagonistic craft, melodies and harmonies unafraid to seduce with every note and syllable.

     Completed by debatably the weakest song on the album, Coming Home, though that is down to the quality of the rest of the release than real short comings it may have, Alhambra is a rock album setting Kodiak Jack as one of Britain’s strongest and masterful rock bands but also declaring them as a new big noise in hard rock full stop. For those with a taste for Velvet Revolver and Guns N Roses, through Stone Temple Pilots and Alice In Chains, to Blackstone Cherry and Thousand Foot Krutch, and everything in between and around them, this album is your new best friend.

http://www.kodiakjackofficial.com/

9/10

RingMaster 24/02/2014

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Monstre – Self Titled LP

 

Monstre @ Fête de la musique 2012

    With more flavours than a Cornish ice cream parlour and twists than a snow boarder on an Olympic half pipe, the debut album from French rock band Monstre is a startling and scintillating beast of a release. The self-titled ten track encounter challenges and treats the senses from the first second, a constantly evolving mix of metal and rock in numerous guises all colluding to infest the imagination and passions. With a suggested depth of potential that is still to be fully untapped by the band as their album thoroughly captivates and thrills from start to finish, Monstre is one of the most exciting propositions to tantalise the ears in recent years.

     The creation of Toulouse duo King Pilo (vocals/guitar/bass) and Seb (drums/backing vocals); the album was recorded in November of 2013 at the Meskine Records Studio with its release at the start of this year. List your favourite metal and rock styles and most likely Monstre will be employing their essences in the multi-faceted and voraciously inventive release. More unpredictable than an orgy in the dark and just as rabidly enterprising, the album works on the primal and creative wants of all with a rhythmic alchemy which leaves you exhausted and drooling alongside a sonic kaleidoscope of ingenuity which simply dazzles and enthrals.

    The album opens with Obey, the jaws of bass an instant intimidation on thoughts as the guitar lays a slow glaze of causticity coverover the senses. With vocal harmonies grazing air as expressively as the stalking sounds, the track subsequently expels a sludge toned weight and intensity on its recipient. Whilst circling and probing emotions with its lumbering and incisive predation, the track’s lyrical incitement as across most songs is a minimal but equally imposing and effective lure helping create a towering entrance for the release.

    The following Green Fish not only builds on its predecessor’s presence but thrusts the album to new heights with its fusion of noise and psyche rock aligned to menacing alternative metal. As in the first the bass has an irresistible savagery which immediately sets the passions beaming, but it is just part of the wonderfully toxic bait building a web of virulence. There is an early Killing Joke potency to the song but also slithers of invention which suggest bands like Melvins and Faith No More has added spice to the band’s artistically informative years. The track is a glorious slice of intrigue and adventure for the imagination, a tantalising and chilled enticement soon matched by the instrumental Mother. Revisiting a sludgy textured prowl with that metallic snarl of the bass and equally ravenous riffery amidst a sonic voracity, the track is an epidemic of rhythmic seduction and inventive endeavour.

    Both Prick and Less taunt and light up the ears, the first coating everything from rhythms and riffs to vocals and sonic weaves in a rapacious breath. The guitars scythe and sculpt a riveting maze of provocative ideas and textures whilst the bass scowls and leans heavily on the senses as the drums pummel their tender flesh. It is an absorbing and incendiary mix offering a Gang Of Four compulsion and Fugazi liking attitude and combativeness. Its successor provides eight minutes of cantering sonic hostility and rampant incessant rhythmic incitement, the track’s first half an instrumental taking of the imagination and its latter stretch providing a great vocal enticement and grunge bred expression to the relentlessly anthemic charge of rhythms. Both songs are formidably imposing and irrepressibly magnetic upon thoughts and emotions continuing the impressive stance of the album.

     Drunk blends a grunge and stoner persuasion into its hungry design, a Nirvana kiss smooching in some of the song’s punkier moments whilst the following What U Say takes that same punk essence and immerses it in a more hard rock brawl with again a Gang of Four post punk tempting. Without strolling along the same plateaus as set by previous songs, both tracks providing a healthy feeding for a greedy appetite before Song One thrusts its muscular and sonic grunge/rock swagger through the ear for another contagious trap for the passions.

    The album is brought to a close by firstly the niggling pressure and charm of Nothing, a track with a provoking adventure and inventive voracity which reminds of Wire at their most transfixing, and lastly by the persistently shifting Welcome, a song which between a top and tailing Middle Eastern seduction which is very similar to that of The Cure’s Killing An Arab, immerses the ears in every essence of sound it can conjure for a fluid and inspiring soundscape of incisive metal and heavily boned rock ‘n’ roll. The pair of tracks impressively concludes a tremendous album and introduction to Monstre, a band with all the imagination and flare to rise into the strongest spotlight. The anticipation of that is full and sure whilst pleasure now is fat and bloated on the excellence of Monstre.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/MONSTRE/285147271524380

https://monstremusic.bandcamp.com/

9/10

RingMaster 19/02/2014

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77 – Maximum Rock ‘n’ Roll

    77pic

    Band name and album title does not hint at but immediately tells you exactly what you are getting into once you climb on board with the new stomp from Spanish rockers 77. Their album Maximum Rock ‘n’ Roll is bred, sculpted, and delivered in seventies hard rock revelry but one which offers a fresh take on the nostalgia pushing adventure whilst wearing its inspirational heart on its muscular sleeves. The ten track release is not the fuse to heated blazes in the passions but it certainly romps along with confidence and accomplished mischief to make an encounter which lingering friendship with is a given.

Formed by brothers Armand (vocals and guitar) and LG Valeta (lead guitar), 77 has earned a fine and eagerly offered reputation for their easy to access sounds. With Dolphin (drums) and Raw (bass) completing the line-up, the band release their third album on the back of the acclaimed High Decibels. The new album continues the passion driven creatively instinctive bruisings the band has come renowned for whilst slipping in some new spicery and exploration, though ultimately the Listenable Records released offering feeds expectations rather than avoids them. It is not an album to leave you opened mouthed in awe and surprise but definitely it teases and takes ears on a feisty fun ride, which is always welcomed.

     Produced by Fred Estby and Nicke Andersson, Maximum Rock ‘n’ Roll lets rip with its title track, the song instantly loadingnoname up on the ear with honest unfussy rock riffs and a tempting if familiar hook. The vocals of Armand ‘croon’ in   a pleasing if expected style whilst the group clad anthemic chorus soon has the voice joining the already engaged feet in the simple yet infectious opener. It is a song you know before you have heard it but still makes for a satisfying introduction which sets down the template for the upcoming party.

Both the following Don’t You Scream and Down and Dirty continue the eager start, the first with a taunting groove and additional blues kissed teasing from LG around another irresistibly contagious chorus whilst the second gets down on the liquor soaked blues floor and slowly, in comparison to its predecessors, singes the senses with continually to impress guitar enterprise, though each expulsion of its invention seems to be over before it and the listener has time to draw breath.  The pair hit the spot without dodging assumptions of what is coming but such the craft and passion in their veins it is hard not to enlist in their persuasion.

Highway Rebel passes by next without igniting any real flicker of energy in the passions for an admittedly strongly designed if uneventful presence before handing ears over to the album’s pinnacle. Jazz It Up is a delicious stroll, a track from its first note courting a swagger which has song and band swinging their wares with a wantonness that is pure addiction. The insatiable grooves have hips in their naughty hands throughout whilst the melodic blues toxicity conjured by LG is icing on a very tasty resourceful cake.

The swamp air of Stay Away From Water makes an excellent start to its arrival, a deltas blues essence washing over the ear which leads to a slight disappointment when the song clears its climate to present another clean rock ’n’ roll offering. Into its stride though the track proves itself to be another contagious, tempered charge through happy to accept ears whilst its successors You Bore Me and Take Me or Leave Me create their own equally appealing blues filtered temptations, the first of the two featuring LG on lead vocals. Neither provides anything truly new to get the imagination around but both enslave a healthy appetite and depth of passion for their smouldering suasion. They might not, like the album, have emotions raging but they definitely have strong appreciation swerving with eagerness to the grooves and enterprise offered.

Virtually Good and 16 Year-Old King complete the album, the pair the weakest songs on show yet still able to engage a more than happy to return appetite from thoughts and feelings. Maximum Rock ‘n’ Roll gives exactly what it says on the tin and a sound rich for the attention of fans of bands such as AC/DC, Rose Tattoo, and Status Quo. 77 is a rock ‘n’ roll band and that is the tall and short of it, an intent which only gives satisfaction.

http://www.77rocks.com/

7/10

RingMaster 12/12/2013

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James Stevenson – Everything’s Getting Closer To Being Over

JS

With a long list of notable and successful musical exploits on his CV, guitarist James Stevenson finally uncages his debut solo album, Everything’s Getting Closer To Being Over and a richly pleasing sultry slice of blues bred rock it proves to be. Hailing from London, the man has enhanced and fired up more bands, tours, and records than runs made by English batsmen this winter, but it is surprising in many ways that it is only now that his first full-length has emerged to make a persuasion, something it does with skilful ease.

Stevenson first made his mark when joining UK punks Chelsea in 1977, his addition to the band not the last time he would be called and thrust into the deep end when joining outfits over the years. Picking out some highlights on his long resume, Stevenson from playing on the band’s first two albums, numerous singles, and undertaking many tours around the UK and Europe, moved to featuring on Charlie Harper of the UK Subs first solo single Barmy London Army before joining Generation X. This was a short lived time as Idol a few months after quit the band to start his own solo career in the US. Stevenson then played in the emerging Kim Wilde’s backing band and formed Hot Club with ex-Pistol/Rich Kid Glen Matlock and ex Deaf School / Original Mirrors singer Steve Allen. Already we are missing out plenty of other projects and artists the guitarist was involved with to this point and will continue to as further choice moments in his career saw him after the band’s split joining Gene Loves Jezebel in 1985 to replace the band’s guitarist who had a nervous breakdown as their first US tour was underway. Filling in at the eleventh hour, Stevenson joined the band permanently at the end of the tour playing and helping write subsequent albums such as Discover, The House Of Dolls which contained The Motion Of Love, the band’s biggest UK hit, and Kiss Of Life which was released after the twins Jay and Michael Aston fell out and the latter departed the band. With the world of GLJ rumbling on with releases and messy disputes between the twins to simplify things, Stevenson also played with The Cult on their 1994 world tour, The Alarm on shows and recordings, on Gene October’s solo album which he also produced, and was part of the reforming of Chelsea.  This is just the surface of all the work Stevenson has been involved in over the years leading up to and around Everything’s Getting Closer To Being Over, shows and tours with The Cult, GLJ and The International Swingers which also features vocalist Gary Twinn (Supernaut), bassist Glen Matlock, and drummer Clem Burke (Blondie, Slinky Vagabond, Magic Christian), on-going adventures.

Stevenson’s album confirms and builds on the promise of the The Shape Of Things To Come EP which came out earlier this year, opening track Suzi’s Problem an immediate heat of tempting melodic flames and sizzling persuasion. The gentle blues rock swagger which drives its breath is a compelling enticement soon flourishing to greater effect with smouldering vocals and harmonies alongside shimmering expressive keys. The potent guitar style of Stevenson shines within the evocative textures woven to add to the impressive and riveting start, an introduction which is gently anthemic and magnetically absorbing.

The following Go Mister! takes things up another plateau, the initial guitar bred bait and coaxing vocals harmonies provided as across the whole album by The Sexpistilettos, a shadowy radiance. There is a definite gothic rock air to the song, a blend of Sisters Of Mercy/March Violets seduction with a punkier intent fused into a stirring melodic rock allurement. The song is a masterful and irresistible encounter which lingers and almost alone provides the album with a potential heady stature amongst the year’s wealth of rock albums.

Both the blues rich Twilight Riders with its great heavy nagging riffs and melodic passion, and the slowly burning Come On People stroke the imagination, the second finding a funk bred lilt to its tempting which is accentuated in Give It Up, a track which shuffles and dances with the emotions through agitated rhythms and exotic melodic enterprise from keys and guitar, not forgetting the ever mesmeric harmonies. Though the songs along with the emotive Why Am I Still Waiting For You and the equally evocative Been A Long Time Now, fail to find the heights of the opening few songs they leave a healthy appetite eager to feast on the album time and time again.

Another major highlight comes in the sinewed shape of Naturally Wired, a track sculpted with a deliciously growling bass and fiery sonic endeavour cast into a thrilling dark and absorbing stretch of intensive rock ‘n’ roll. There is also an air of hard and glam rock wrapping the grooves and glowing keys which only ignites the passions further as the heat of the track sizzles the air.

Completed by the gentle temptations of the title track and the acoustic led Been A Long Time Now, two songs which again give imagination and hunger enough to find strong satisfaction within, Everything’s Getting Closer To Being Over is a thoroughly enjoyable presence for ears and thoughts. To be fussy the vocals of Stevenson do not always manage to rival the sounds and there is a bigger leap between the pinnacles of the album and the other still magnetic tracks than one would wish, but the enjoyment it offers is full and long term. It may have taken time to get there but James Stevenson has made his debut album one to enthuse over and recommend wholeheartedly.

http://www.jamesstevenson.info/

8/10

RingMaster 10/12/2013

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The Creepshow – Life After Death

Press_Photo_2013

With a shakeup in the band line-up having marked the past year or so, Canadian rockers The Creepshow unleash their new album to easily answer any questions, or doubts which may have risen over the period concerning the change. Life After Death is a thumping treat of a riot, a bruising and seductive blaze of multi-flavoured rock ‘n’ roll which feeds all the constant hunger for the band’s distinctive sound within fans whilst expand their sound to its fullest adventure yet. The eleven track stomp sees the Toronto quintet sculpting songs from a fiery mix of rockabilly, psychobilly, punk, and hard rock, a rangy blend which stretches the imagination and energy of the band arguably to its greatest potency to date. It is a storming encounter which ignites the senses and passions as only The Creepshow can.

Formed in 2005, the band has built a formidable place within psychobilly bred adventure through their impressive albums and dramatically riveting and raucous live shows which has seen the band alongside the likes of Rancid, Tiger Army, TheUnseen, Agnostic Front, Mad Sin, Demented Are Go to name just a few and ignite numerous festivals such as like Ink’n’Iron, Festival Of Fear, Mighty Sounds, and Rebellion over the years. Their releases from debut album Sell Your Soul of 2006, the exceptional Run for Your Life two years later, and the equally incendiary They All Fall Down in 2010, have helped thrust the band to the frontline of rock ‘n’ roll bred voraciousness but certainly the departure of vocalist Sarah “Sin” Blackwood to focus on her involvement with Walk Off The Earth last year raised some questions about the band’s future sound. The truth, as shown by the new release, is that the change has only drawn a fresh breath into and energy from the band, a new appetite which has honed Life After Death into an exceptionally vibrant and compelling confrontation.

Stepping into the gap left by Blackwood is Kendalyn “Kenda” Legaspi, her vocal fire and guitar craft a stylish hungry presence which takes the snarl of the band into a fresh rapaciousness and devilry to match the movement of the band’s sound. Life After Death also sees new drummer Sandro Sanchioni and guitarist Daniel Flamm (Ski’ s Country Trash) alongside Legaspi, bassist Sean “Sickboy” McNab, and Kristian “The Reverend McGinty” Rowles on keys, a fresh union which finds The Creepshow arguably at their most powerful and gripping.

Opener See You In Hell storms through the ear with a greedy charge of badgering rhythms and adrenaline coaxed riffs, the track a Press_Cover_03psychobilly contagion which without creating new realms for the style provides a predatory thrill which ticks all the right boxes for the passions. The vocals of Legaspi on this song have initially a voice close to that of Blackwood but as the album expands she shows her distinct and unique presence potently alongside the musical adventures. With the upright bass craft of McNab as delicious and inciting as expected with the band’s invention, the track is a stonking start to the album which is soon backed by The Devil’s Son. The song from its opening second has a sultry lure and heated breath to its rockabilly prowl, keys a smouldering glaze over the rhythmic caging of the imagination and the seductive Wanda Jackson hinting vocals. Insistently infectious the song merges a fifties swagger with a sixties keys narrative which with the excellent vocal harmonies just captivates and mesmerises the imagination.

The first single from the release Sinners & Saints bounds into view next, the song a feisty energetic dance of juggling rhythms and bass provocation beneath a melodic flame of easily accessible and inventive temptation. For personal tastes it is not the strongest or preferred song to tempt people into the album but it is still a pleasing and enticing encounter which sets up an even greater appetite for the following gems of Born To Lose and Settle The Score. The first is a song which maybe should not work but does magnificently. Like a merger of Jerry Lee Lewis and Meatloaf, the fusion of classic rock ‘n’ roll and seventies hard rock with glam tendencies leaves the senses breathless and intrigued. A track which walks the fine line between being crazy and sparking total adoration, it is ultimately a riveting slice of invention which challenges and explores the imagination for the strongest satisfaction. Its successor like the first song of the album, is less adventurous rather sticking to a straightforward rockabilly stance but at the same time has no lack of punch and virulent bait to continue the impressive body of the album.

Failing Grade makes a grab for the passions next, its brawling intensity and confronting energy caged within a rhythmic irresistibility sheer magnetism. There is a punk rabidity to the song which urges it on whilst vocally, Legaspi backed again by great band confirmation steals prime attention. Like a mix of Spinnerette and Tiger Army it is a major joy with the keys of Rowles casting an absorbing evocative weave over the heart of the song with his imagination. One of many highlights upon the release it is not standing alone for long as immediately both Second Chance and Last Call state their claims for top spot on the release, the first an elegant stomp soaked in sixties inspired keys and veined with rockabilly punctuation whilst its successor is a glorious fire of punk and blues rock ‘n’ roll. Like a blend of Flogging Molly and Bill Haley with King Kurt the Ringleader, it is a terrific unpredictable gem with McNab leading the vocals across a scintillating brass flame of inventive temptation.

Just as right across its length the album closes by unloading another mass brawl of mighty allurements, Take It Away first igniting the ears with its anthemic rockabilly antagonism before making way for the outstanding punk ‘n’ roll predation of Can’t Wait To See You Fall. The song with another psychobilly and punk explosiveness within a sweltering melodic sky leaves the hunger rabid for more, with the sensational vocals of Legaspi a sirenesque temptress which she repeats upon the closing title track. An exceptional conclusion to an equally immense album, the song ensures that Life After Death is a lingering battling enticement of pleasure.

The Creepshow just go from strength to strength and have not let a little matter of changing front ladies diffuse their invention, imagination, and might. Punk ‘n’ roll album of the year…it just might be.

http://www.thecreepshow.org

9/10

RingMaster 22/10/2013

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Red Fang – Whales And Leeches

Red Fang "Whales and Leeches" press photos 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://redfang.net/

8.5/10

RingMaster 17/10/2013

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Emperor Chung – Self Titled

Emperor Chung Online Promo Shot

If their self-titled debut album is a sign of things to come, UK rock band Emperor Chung is going to be one impressive and incendiary proposition for British rock music. The eleven track release is a riveting introduction to a band which has been causing quite a stir with their fresh and diverse sound. It is an album which does miss the opportunity to be an instant classic but as a reservoir of promise and the seed of expectations of big things to come, it is a striking and potent triumph.

Coming from Ilkeston in Derbyshire and formed in late 2011, Emperor Chung has taken little time in making their mark locally and further afield with a sound which has drawn comparisons to those such as Queen, Thin Lizzy, Coheed & Cambria, and Alter Bridge in various ways. Consisting of vocalist Martin Jackson, guitarists Danny Beardsley (formerly of Isolysis) and Richard Shaw (also of NG26), bassist Dan Hayes, and drummer Eddie Hodgkinson (formerly Eight Idle Hands), all bringing strong experience from their previous exploits, Emperor Chung has been on a rapid and impressive rise which their album is sure to accelerate. Their performance at Download earlier this year set the country’s rock scene on full alert, which the album creatively reinforces and with appearances at the YNOT festival with The Darkness, Macmillanfest with Tesseract, and numerous other shows taking the year into the next you can only feel their ascent is picking up speed.

The wintery scene to the start of I Vow This Day brings in instant drama and menace which has thoughts licking their lips, especially whenEmperor Chung Cover Artwork a tight inviting groove from the guitar beckons. The impressive vocals of Jackson soon make their appealing mark also and when the chorus with Beardsley adding his strong tones moves over for an even greater lure to that original groove, the track has full eager attention. From there it does not exactly hold its grip but with good sonic displays and feisty rhythms perpetually nagging the ear, it is a pleasing if not striking start to the album.

The following To Bring Justice and Downpour soon raise levels as the band and release begins to stretch their creativity and adventure. The first is a smouldering heat of strong vocals and melodic imagination which from its stirring opening flexing of sinews and emotive intensity evolves into a tantalising weave of progressive rock and evocative colour crafted by the guitars and veined by the throaty call of the bass and the snarling riffs. It is the first pinnacle of the album and does makes its predecessor look a little pale. The classic rock sculpted build of its successor provides a muscular and equally warm sonic blaze. The track creates a contagious web around the ears but as a few times on the album just does not take that final step or bite to secure a lingering slavery of the passion; nevertheless the song as the album is a richly appetising encounter which leaves satisfaction full.

The album is themed by a story of an Emperor Penguin, Chico Chung who is hunting down the members of the Chinese zodiac who murdered his father. It sounds a little Kung Fu Panda like taken out of context but the wrap of the bands enterprise, which starts with the outstanding artwork around the album to the lyrical fun and craft not forgetting gripping sounds, brings the premise successfully within the potent persuasion of tracks, like the next up My Next Foe and Pyramid. Both tracks in their individual landscapes paint an evocative progressive/melodic narrative which explores the imagination, and though neither grips the plateaus of some of the other songs they leave a brewing hunger in their wake for more, which the likes of No Mercy and the band’s first single The Bloodline supply with accomplished craft and inventive temptation. The first of these two has a familiarity to it and often reminds of Coheed & Cambria whilst the second offers a slowly building melodic caress from guitars and vocals which takes little time to seduce attention and thoughts. It is an obvious lead into the album for newcomers if not the best track on the release.

That honour belongs to Our Weaknesses, a scintillating track which from its intriguing guitar mystique at the start soon expels a technically teasing and invigorating fire of intensity and invention which reminds of Tesseract though across the enthralling song and not for the first time on the album, there is also a strong breeze of Manic Street Preachers coating its irresistible flames. It is the best thing on the album by far, which considering the strength of all songs gives an idea of its majesty, guitars carving out an addictive entrapment which the great rhythmic predation and snarling vocals stalk and ignite further.

The impressive Victory’s Calling and the mouth-watering Apex bring the album towards an intensely enjoyable close leaving Free At Least and its melodic yet rapacious suasion to conclude a thoroughly thrilling and impressive release. As impressive as it is you do feel there is an element of a lost opportunity with not enough songs fulfilling their open potential but with all drenched in unmistakable and infectious promise it is only a matter of time before Emperor Chung do create a ‘classic’ you feel. For now their debut is a wholly enterprising and hunger sufficing treat from a band destined to major things.

http://emperorchung.com/

https://www.facebook.com/TheEmperorChung

8.5/10

RingMaster 14/10/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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