Of Allies – Tempers EP

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It might not set heartbeats racing and get thoughts animatingly blazing, but UK alternative rockers Of Allies provide a potent introduction with their Tempers EP. The debut release from a band still in its infancy after only forming last year, makes a strong and potential drenched statement, gripping attention with a quintet of richly satisfying tracks. With a sound which merges alternative and indie rock with strains of melodic metal, EP and band show plenty to excite the senses whilst raising a keen appetite for their future explorations.

Emerging from the depths of Yorkshire, the Hull based quartet of vocalist/guitarist Rich Nichols, guitarist/vocalist Tom Hewson, bassist Nick Tyldsley, and drummer Danny Barrick has already been drawing keen attention since their emergence a few short months ago. First single and video, Ghosts caught the eye and ears of BBC Introducing whilst their live performances has only recruited more and more eager followers. The Matt Elliss produced Tempers EP is the band’s nationwide entrance and it is hard not to expect seeing Of Allies coming under a much stronger spotlight because of it.

From its first expressive caress of vocals over a lone melody, opener Ghosts intrigues and holds the imagination tight. It is a gentle start which is swiftly enhanced by a rumbling of rhythms and an emerging web of guitar crafted melodic rsz_temperscover2enticement. The potent entrance is soon aflame with sturdier intensity and a sonic blaze whilst a somewhat familiar glaze washes over the brewing drama. Comparisons to the likes of Deaf Havana and Twin Atlantic have been cast over the band but across this outstanding starter, thoughts of Three Days Grace and more so Sick Puppies definitely comes to mind. The song grows in stature within its virulent call and across subsequent listens, its weighty persuasion and the band’s creative tenacity increasingly irresistible bait.

The following Our Decay is less immediate in its entrance, though the early sonic groove and throaty bassline sparks another smacking of lips in an already awoken appetite for the release. Rhythms again ooze sinew built temptation to steer thoughts and emotions skilfully into the emotive heart of the song, a core with a passionate roar and musical ferocity. Across its body the track continues to swarm engagingly over ears with melodic elegance aligned to evocative textures, gliding into those climactic and incendiary crescendos time and time again. Another big highlight of the release, the excellent encounter is followed by In Screens, a track offering scythes of sonic coaxing across a moody almost predatory bass sound at its start. Its subsequent emotively driven presence does not have the strength and potency of its predecessors but still takes ears and thoughts on a stirring ride of passion soaked melodies within a dramatic cloud of restrained crisp rhythms and inviting sonic squalls. It is a pleasing and easy to digest venture providing further evidence of the band’s impressive songwriting and craft, both reinforced by the mellower and sultrily aired In Stasis. Again it is a proposition which does not light fires but immerses the listener in a rich and captivating wash of emotion and creative intensity to leave a flavoursome mark.

The closing Play Dead hugs ears with a beauty clad vocal and guitar elegance, kissing the senses before forging a net of sonic insistence and rhythmic drama to which melodies and fiery guitars expel a strikingly passionate and contagious wind of suasion. It is an outstanding end to the release, a song which out of them all most openly shows the depth and richness of the potential within Of Allies.

The excellent The Tempers EP is not going to set volcanic ripples within British rock but has all the armoury and quality to earn a strong spotlight on its impressive entrance and leave a keen smouldering intrigue for the band’s next move.

The self-released Tempers EP is available now!

http://ofallies.com/

8/10

RingMaster 08/07/2014

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Across The Swarm – Self Titled

ATS photo by Gianvito Greco

Hailing from Bologna, Italian extreme metallers Across The Swarm are an emerging force destined to great and major things if their self-titled debut EP is anything to go by. Consisting of five fascinatingly inventive and irresistibly brutal tracks entwining everything from groove and nu-metal, hard core and drum and bass into their persistently evolving and violating landscapes of sound, the release is a towering and gripping onslaught of intrigue drenched ferocity. It is a startling entrance by the band, one clad in an invigorating unpredictability and exhaustive experimental attitude which is seemingly rare to absent in a great many new bands.

Formed in 2013 out of Lacerater, which released a series of demos itself, Across The Swarm set about working on their first release last December. Recording it at Sliver Studios, the quartet of vocalist Francesco A. Flagiello, guitarists Luca Sammartino and Marco Lambertini, and drummer Riccardo Grechi brought in NK and Sygo from Hallucinator for the DnB samples as well as Simone Bertozzi (The Modern Age Slavery, Mnemic) to provide bass for the recordings. The result is the exhilarating torrent of ideation and voracious sound found on their self-titled introduction, a proposition inflaming ears and imagination right through to hungry passions.

     Hang Out is the first pestilential treat, a grievous rhythmic assault and similarly bred riffs flying at the senses within the first second. It is already more than a straight forward confrontation as varied vicious vocal squalls alongside across-the-swarm-300x300vitriolic grooves wreak havoc with toxic intent and craft, whilst the unpredictable drumming of Grechi disorientates as it impresses. The track is from start to finish incendiary to the imagination, torrentially blasting and irrepressibly seducing with mouth-watering enterprise and striking ingenuity as in its successor Just Bodies. Once again first touch is as barbarous as it is heavy, beats and riffs churning up the senses for bass and guitars to offload a venomous bait which itself twists with a breath-taking ideation. Swinging temptation of drum n bass bred invention soon adds its weight to the suasion, though its brief entrance is soon lost under an avalanche of rhythmic hostility and rigorously intensive grooving. Raw and uncompromising yet precise and deliberately structured in its creative fury, the track consumes an already keen appetite for the release with its staggering endeavour, the smile on the face at its departure the sure sign of something special.

That grin is never far away from the EP to be fair, reprising its joy with Cynical Eyes and beaming even more loudly with the outstanding Formless Wreck. The first of the two is sonic and rhythmic savagery driven by vocal and creative predation. The track starts in a rage and boils up into a carnivorous rabidity yet from its first caustic touch it unleashes waves and veins of acidic grooves and invention sculpted twists which enslave the imagination. It is a contagious tempest of malevolent beauty matched and exceeded by the second of the two, bass and guitars coaxing and licking ears with invention beneath a scourging wind of sound before that previously only glancing bait of drum n bass makes a more thrilling and provocative presence on the release. At any point on the EP it is hard to find true comparisons to suggest and here especially difficult, yet essences of The Browning, Bloodsimple, and Dark Tranquillity is some kind of clue.

The release closes with the virulently compelling Like Water, a hellacious inventively twisted slab of extreme maliciousness cast with technical rapaciousness and imagination bred toxicity. It is a colossal closing to an immense and enthralling incitement. Across The Swarm has uncaged one of the best metal debuts certainly this year and last whilst suggesting a potential which if it comes to bear, and you dare not doubt it, could see the Italians setting new levels and templates for extreme storms ahead.

Across The Swarm is available now @ http://acrosstheswarm.bandcamp.com/album/across-the-swarm

https://www.facebook.com/acrosstheswarm

9/10

RingMaster 04/07/2014

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Deathwhite – Ethereal

Deathwhite band 2014

Looking for something intriguing with a fresh breath but still holding that raw edge which suggests that impressive early days have the potential to lead to major encounters? Then try checking out the Ethereal EP from US dark melodic metallers Deathwhite, a striking blaze of inventive and superbly crafted songs which rigorously capture the imagination and ignite the senses. The debut release from the band is an honest and striking introduction to the band, one unafraid to show its honed and less polished edges. It is also an encounter impossible not to get excited about as dramatic landscapes pull the listener into immersive and provocative explorations which leave senses and emotions as keen as a swiftly established appetite for the band’s sound.

Deathwhite was formed in 2012, its secretive line-up already well-established in extreme metal bands. The project is a vehicle for its members to explore new avenues, taking inspirations from the likes of Katatonia, mid-90′s Paradise Lost, Alcest, In the Woods, Green Carnation, Antimatter, and early Anathema into their emerging invention. Despite a semi-aborted EP which the band began last year, Ethereal is the unveiling of the band. Recorded at Pittsburgh’s Very Tight Studios with producer/engineer Matt Very earlier this year (with its closing song recorded in the fall of 2013 at a different studio), the six-track proposition takes little time in making a rich impression and placing Deathwhite deeply into the gaze of attentions radar.

The release opens with its title track, a brief instrumental crafted by expressive guitar with emotive melodic hues. It is a thoroughly Deathwhite Ethereal coverengaging entrance to the EP which hints at things to come without revealing too much, similar to the band’s presence online. What does swiftly come next is a glorious rhythmic incitement as the following When I (Wasn’t) You bursts into life. Roaming beats of drums make a punchy bait without being demanding, continuing their impressive coaxing as guitars gently and then with a fiery breath swarm around them. It is a dramatic mix which sets up an instant appetite for the song; one soon fed by the roving emotive prowess of the guitars and deep throated shadows from the bass, whilst strong if also at times unpolished vocals unfurl the narrative. As contagious as it is melancholically imposing, the track almost stalks the imagination as it virulently infects the passions. Individual skills are openly appealing as is the united tempest of their creativity and though the production is also raw in its touch it tempers its less forgiving side by empowering a greater growl to the riffs and sonic endeavour to further feed ears.

The strong start to the release continues with the equally impacting Give Up the Ghost. Another caustic wash of sound brings its heart into view, making way for a flowing melodic breeze around charged vocals. It brings essences of Tool and in some ways Karnivool to the mix, though they are mere whispers of spice within the expansive roar and intensive almost portentous air of the track. Though it fails to match the heights of its predecessor, the song adds further colour and variation to the songwriting and potent sound of the band, a new avenue to their growing scenery of invention and skilled designs within the release.

The following Silenced prowls around ears with a sinister yet seductive lure, its keen gait a spark to the brooding vocal and lyrical wrap which draws greater hunger towards the fluidly shifting ground of sound. It is possible to suggest favours of styles within Deathwhite songs as here, but impossible to pin it down into a description which truly represents the creative emprise the band offers. It is a refreshing and intrigue fuelled potency which adds to the promise and already sturdy stature of their sound, as evidenced again in the next up Feeding the Illusion. Erupting with a sturdy rhythmic weight and flame encrusted sonic heat the track is soon enveloping the vocal croon with a blistering torrent of incendiary melodies and driving riffs, all caustic to the touch and rigorously gripping. As the previous song, it suddenly slips into unpredictable asides, progressive and post metal additives colouring the adventure as one terrain seamlessly turns into another. The track from its strong initial engagement persistently grows in the passions, becoming one of the lingering exploits of the release.

Closing with the rugged and slightly corrosive A Burden to Carry, another heavily enticing and thrilling track which needs a better productive to thrive in; Ethereal is an immense base camp for Deathwhite as they start a certain ascent. As mentioned the release has its issues, the similarity of some passages of riffs between songs defusing their individual potency at times another, but like any other ‘niggle’ it will evolve and work itself out in time. This is a band with the armoury and invention to make waves; we wait with interest whilst basking in their impressive debut.

The self-released Ethereal is available now @ http://deathwhite.bandcamp.com/

8.5/10

RingMaster 01/07/2014

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Falconer – Black Moon Rising

Falconer - Gruppbild 2014 I

Sure to please long-time fans of the band, Swedish folk power metallers Falconer return with their eight album and an embracing of the sound which bred their earliest presence. It is not as clear cut as it sounds though because the quintet also craft a compelling web of modern metal tenacity and at times hostility to create a varied, often unpredictable, and constantly rewarding proposition. Falconer has always been a band which either clicked with or missed our preferences up to this point but despite still elements which fall on our stony ground, Black Moon Rising surpasses all that came before and has little trouble leaving rich satisfaction in its wake to temper our difficult demands.

Formed in 1999 as a solo project by guitarist Stefan Weinerhall (ex-Mithotyn) with Mathias Blad stepping in as session vocalist, Falconer soon become a full band with the addition of drummer Karsten Larsson. From their self-titled debut album in 2001, the band had attention and passions falling over themselves as well as a wealth of acclaim. Its successor Chapters From A Vale Forlorn a year later marked another step forward for the band, though the year also saw Blad leave the band. With Kristoffer Göbel enlisted as the new singer, third album Sceptre of Deception in 2003 was unveiled to again strong reception whilst a year later another line-up change saw guitarist Jimmy Hedlund and bassist Magnus Linhardt joining Weinerhall, Larsson, and Göbel. A twist in style accompanied the next album before a more recognisable, and arguably wanted by fans, flavour returned as the next trio of albums lit up an ever increasing fanbase starting with Grime vs. Grandeur which marked the return of Blad. Recorded with Andy LaRocque at Sonic Train Studios, Black Moon Rising follows the entirely sung in Swedish Armod of 2011, taking those earlier ventures and sounds of the band on a brand new and rigorously captivating emprise.

Riffs and attention seeking rhythms open up first track Locust Swarm, which in turn awakens attention and an early appetite through Falconer - Black Moon Risingthe following energetic rabidity and deeply rooting hooks across a blazing sonic canvas. Soon settling into steady stroll as the narrative and Blad unveil their expressive tales, the song is swarming around and within the imagination whilst rhythms buffet ears. The song is a mix bag, the ravenous and predatory aspects of the track exhilarating and the mellower passages around the vocals slightly underwhelming in comparison. Nevertheless with the individual skills and combined enterprise, the track is a more than solid entrance into the emerging power metal landscape, setting up the listener nicely for the following Halls and Chambers. The haunting whispers within a cavernous hall is a great portentous introduction but not exploited fully as the song goes on a similar charge as in its predecessor. What emerges to take it another step forward though is an indefinable but open familiarity to the chorus and melodic tempting which flows as courageously as the breath and anthemic riffery through the track. Again it is not a song to lose full ardour to but with the delicious sculpting of guitar and a nagging persuasion it is an encounter to immerse in often, especially its great hard rock/folk metal finale, the beauty of melodies and vocals hand in hand with the beast of the bass.

The album truly erupts with the title track next, the song a muscular warrior of rapacious rhythms and eagerly roving grooves carrying the colours of infectious melodies and riveting imagination. By the first round of its anthemic chorus the track easily outweighs and outstrips its predecessors, enslaving thoughts and passions with a continually shifting aural scenery but never straying from the potent core which stole the plaudits within its opening breaths. Larsson impresses from first swiping jab to the last whilst the guitar ingenuity of Weinerhall perfectly assisted by Hedlund, bewitch and ignite a greater greedy appetite for the album.

The enchanting coaxing of folk stroll Scoundrel and the Squire has the misfortune of following such an epic but from its gentle initial caress builds a persistently expanding and tempting landscape of unpredictable beats and fiery guitar wrapped in poetic and melodic hues. Like its music its success and appeal grows and enriches ears the further it explores its premise before making way for the scintillating Wasteland, a track which attacks ears with a scourge mentality from the off before, and without losing its agile intimidation, grabbing its sonic steeds and galloping magnetically across the senses with rhythmic nostrils flaring and antagonistic riffs baring teeth. It is another major pinnacle within the album, feet and neck muscles as soon devoted to its suasion as ears and emotions.

Both In Ruins and At the Jester’s Ball keep things boiling nicely, even if they miss the lip of the previous plateau cast. The first borders on rock pop even within a tirade of blasting beats and exhaustive riffing, the song forging a great and enthralling mix of vivacious invention and raucous intensity, whilst its successor is a satisfying romp suiting the artistic revelry imagined by its title. Neither leaves thoughts awe struck but undeniably both add to the pleasure and fun being devoured by this point of the album before being shown the way by There’s a Crow on the Barrow, another insatiable gallop with melodic flanks over thunderous hoofs of rhythmic intent and heavily enticing riffs.

Dawning of a Sombre Age despite is open invention and masterful presentation leaves established heights alone though sculpting its own definitely pleasing level before the album concludes with the voracious and fascinating Age of Runes and the jubilant dance of The Priory. Each song brings the album to an impressive end, the first an absorbing proposition which never leaves expectations anything to truly feast upon whilst the last is just Falconer and their distinctive sound at their creative best.

Black Moon Rising has moments of brilliance and others where it merely pleases without much more but makes for an exciting and enthralling encounter overall proving Falconer have plenty left in their fire keep on setting power and folk metal new adventures to eagerly anticipate.

Black Moon Rising is available via Metal Blade Records now!

http://www.falconermusic.com/

7.5/10

RingMaster 11/02/201

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Darkest Era – Severance

DarkestEra2014-500x334

Taking the inventive promise and striking quality of their acclaimed debut album to another creative level, Northern Ireland band Darkest Era unveil their sophomore release Severance. It is a weighty and potently persuasive encounter sure to replicate and intensify the reception and success of its predecessor, eight tracks which spark the imagination with persistently captivating and distinctive Celtic infused heavy metal. Musically the album has a slightly lighter climate than before but still the emotive fire and melodic passion of the band comes in a fusion with raw textures and imposing intensity. It is a compelling mix which never leaves a minute of sound lacking in punch and inventive voracity.

The seeds of Darkest Era began in 2005 with when teenage school friends, guitarists Ade Mulgrew and Sarah Wieghell. Starting to write together, the pair linked up with vocalist Krum as their songs, taking inspiration from the historical and mythological tales from ancient Ireland, emerged with a Celtic essence. The following year a demo appeared under the name of Nemesis which soon held the attention of the European metal underground. 2007 saw Darkest Era step forward, a change made in relation to the darker presence and voice of their evolving music. Across the next three years, the band released a couple of EPs and played plenty of shows including festivals appearances in Germany, Greece, the UK, and Italy. Debut album The Last Caress Of Light was released in 2011 via Metal Blade Records to strong and eager responses from fans and media alike. The years between releases has seen Darkest Era undertake European and UK tours with bands such as Alestorm, Arkona, and Gloryhammer alongside their own shows and the creation of Severance.

With a line-up completed by bassist Daniel O’Toole and drummer Cameron Åhslund-Glass, the Belfast based quintet recorded their new DarkestEra_coverCruz Del Sur Music released album with producer Chris Fielding. It is a proposition which makes an instant impact as opening track Sorrow’s Boundless Realm seduces ears and senses from its opening caress of guitar as throaty bass bred shadows lurk in the background. It is an intrigue lit coaxing which soon unveils rhythmic sinews and richer sonic colour which only reinforces the initial lure of the song. A rampant urgency is careering through ears from there as the outstanding voice of Krum parades the narrative of the song. Fully expanded, the song is a fiery and caressing mix of energy and enterprise veined by gripping bass and drum intimidation and a sonic weave of seduction from the guitars. It is not a song which startles and has jaws dropping but with every twist and turn of sound and ideation, the track as the album captivates and lights thoughts along with emotions.

There is also an enveloping emotion and drama to every aspect of the song which is swiftly emulated by the following Songs Of Gods And Men. Its entrance also makes a gentle touch but takes less time to open the cage to ravenous riffing and rhythmic stalking. Krum is again masterful as he rides the sonic flames pushing the walls of the song, his voice backed as potently by the rest of the band within the anthemic stride and expressive premise of the encounter. There is a melancholic air to the song, an essence permeating each track in varying degrees, which graces the melodic elegance and grandeur of the song and casts an enthralling hue for the vocals and lyrics to colour their emotions with. It is a vibrant captivation which in its distinct way The Serpent And The Shadow repeats but with a darker and more rapacious presence. There is a deeper snarl to the bass and stronger rigorousness to the riffs setting a coarse and hungry tone to the heart of the song, a predation which intimidates but is a perfect foil and instigator for the dynamic fire of sonic flames and vocal adventure which burn and roar respectively across the song.

The following Beyond The Grey Veil is an evocative ballad with its own specific dark shadows and intimate emotional reflection, a song which croons with vocal majesty and melodic seducing whilst still managing to bring a predacious intent to certainly the breath-taking latter part of its enthralling body. It is fair to say that many of the songs are slow burners in finding their fullest persuasion, this definitely one but it is a song emerging as one of the most impressive and impacting. Its successor Trapped In The Hourglass is another to need more examinations than others and though it fails to live up to the previous track again makes a convincing and enjoyable proposition.

The Scavenger has little difficulty in grabbing attention and appetite, its early grooves leading to an intensive gallop of rhythmic tenacity upon which hooks and melodic enticement catch ears and thoughts at every flexing of the song’s spine and inventive ideation. A blaze of creative fertility and contagious power metal like vivacity, it is a tremendous exploit straight away matched by the equally powerful emprise of A Thousand Screaming Souls. As the song before, the listener feels like a warrior riding on a nostril flaring steed as a spellbinding landscape opens up and engulfs the imagination. The two songs encapsulate everything potent and riveting about Darkest Era and their music, emotionally epic and inventively broad but a companion which is intimate within the larger tales it spawns.

The album closes with the towering and melodically pungent Blood, Sand And Stone, an intensely evocative croon within climactic tempestuous scenery. It is a great conclusion to an impressive and skilfully presented album, a release which reinforces Darkest Era as one of the increasingly potent melodic metal bands in Europe. There is very little if anything to hold up against the undeniably fine album but personally it is honest to say that Severance did not leave passions as excited as hoped and expected. Individually there are songs which ignite a real hunger and as a whole the album is an engrossing and strongly pleasing experience, but somewhere we missed that fuse to the strongest reactions. Most will not have that issue though we suspect so it is very easy to recommend Severance to all.

Severance is available in digital, CD, and Vinyl options via Cruz Del Sur Music now in the US and from June 13th in Europe.

http://www.darkestera.net

8/10

RingMaster 04/06/2014

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Second Rate Angels – The Lost Days EP

Second Rate Angels Online Promo Shot

It is fair to say that UK metallers Second Rate Angels have bred a rather decent reputation for themselves through their highly flavoursome sound and explosive live performances since forming in late 2011. Now the Hemel Hempstead quartet looks to emulate their success and presence on a nationwide level with debut EP The Lost Days. Consisting of four skilfully contagious and vivaciously inventive tracks which capture the imagination with ease, the release is a striking and potent introduction to a band drenched in rigorous promise and open quality. Their sound on the evidence of the EP is not one to stretch boundaries within melodic metal and heavy rock but certainly it is a fresh and riveting new strain to an established design.

Since forming Second Rate Angels has sculpted an impressive presence on stage, playing with the likes of Breed 77, Beholder, and Zico Chain to name just three along the way. Their appearances at Bloodstock Open Air Festival equally brought a new wealth of attention and support the way of the band and their Avenged Sevenfold, Bullet For My Valentine, and Trivium inspired muscular ideation. The Lost Days EP is the next step of their ascent and you cannot avoid thinking set to be very successful in its intent.

Give It A Name opens up ears and attention with heavyweight rhythms across expansive sways of sonic rapaciousness, its entrance

EP Artwork By Sam Kelm

EP Artwork By Sam Kelm

deliberately predatory yet insatiably compelling, especially with the scythes of guitar sculpted temptation. Once seducing the senses and anticipation fully, the track shifts into a fiery charge of heavy metal riffs punctured by sinew built rhythms, it all driven by the excellent tones of vocalist and bassist Dave Gobran. With a sandy rasp to his impressive voice, Gobran is an immediate lure around which the guitars of Chris Lewis and Matt Clark just as dynamically and impressively entwine their creative exploits. The song itself is a stirring encounter which is unafraid to venture into emotive melodic climates where gait and energy make a gentle canvas for the intensive expression of vocals and sonic hues.

The excellent start is soon reinforced by the following Dragged Out, the new single from the band. A lone guitar coaxes ears first before the pungent beats of drummer Andy Doran strikingly frame and spear the enticement as Gobran again colours the scenery with his voice. Once established the song explores an Avenged Sevenfold like melodic pattern of colour and imagination aligned to heavy rock rapaciousness which is as familiar and inviting as it is individually inventive. It is a less demanding and commanding song than its predecessor but potently catchy alongside being creatively absorbing.

The release is at its strongest over the final two songs, the title track an outstanding suasion which hints at a depth of potential still to be discovered by the band whilst providing an incendiary drama and skilled enterprise which sets them out as a thrilling proposition now and ahead. With great variation to the vocals and the predatory breath of the song, it is a riveting adventure which at times has an essence of John Bush era Anthrax to its hunger and endeavour around thought provoking hooks. The guitars and drums as already expected by this point make for an impressive and expressive incitement whilst the vocals of Gobran flame in passion and expression, and his bass craft is pretty formidable too.

Black Ice is more seeded in classic metal, though again eager to explore and colour itself with varied spices and tenacity of various metallic styles. It is a contagion drenched song which seduces with a chorus that refuses to be ignored or forgotten whilst around the anthemic bait band and song cast a scintillating weave which is as unpredictable and intriguing as it is virulently enslaving. It is an outstanding end to an excellent release which easily suggests that we just might have a new powerful force in British melodic metal in the making. If the thought of The Wildhearts meets Bullet For My Valentine appeals then checking out Second Rate Angels is a must.

The Lost Days EP is available from Monday June 2nd through all digital stores.

http://www.secondrateangels.com/

8.5/10

RingMaster 01/06/2014

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Surviving The Charade – We’re Never Coming Home

Surviving The Charade Online Promo Shot

First impressions of We’re Never Coming Home, the debut album from Swedish melodic metallers Surviving The Charade, went from being slightly underwhelmed to inexcusably captivated as it revealed more about the qualities and imagination of the band with each and every track. Given numerous excursions through the ears, the ten track encounter has become a rigorously impressive and exciting proposition for imagination and emotions. Certainly it still has thoughts questioning and succumbing to occasional reservations, but with the voracious inventiveness and surging potential which soaks the band both Surviving The Charade and We’re Never Coming Home have emerged as incitements to get increasingly excited about.

Formed in 2008, the Stockholm sextet took little time in awakening a potent fanbase and attention with first EP Your Breath Smells Like Ben & Jerry’s. Its strong presence was more than matched by the band’s live performances which continued to draw eager followers towards their striking emergence. The following We Refuse To Stand In EP continued their rising success as did the band’s appearances at prominent festivals and supporting metalcore greats Adept. 2013 saw Surviving The Charade drop in on England to record We’re Never Coming Home with producer John Mitchell at Outhouse Studios (Architects, Enter Shikari, You Me At Six, etc.). Infusing inspirations from the likes of Asking Alexandria and Architects into their sound, Surviving The Charade provide an intriguing weave of textures and flavours within their first album, a web which as mentioned impresses and at times has you wondering but persistently leaves ears and attention captivated.

The title track starts things off and this is where that initial felling of being underwhelmed initiated. Certainly the opening of crystalline DVDAXXX2XX.pdfkey cast melodies set before vocals squalls from a distant ledge is an enticing lead into the accomplished and skilfully crafted song but subsequently it is a formulaic encounter which barely hints at the real adventure to come. Nevertheless with punchy rhythms from drummer Sebastian Brydniak framing the evocative narrative impressively led by the clean vocals of Simon Brantklev, the track is an imposing introduction which with its brief length is the right way to look at it even though it kind of gives the wrong impression of the album ahead.

Classically bred keys grasp the ears first as Shout, Walls, Shout! erupts, a startling unexpected grab of the imagination which soars over the hostile raw squalls of the band’s other vocalist Daniel Rotstam. It is a pungently dramatic and creative entrance to the song though some of that potency is lost as it then relaxes into a more straight forward melodic metal stride. To temper that though the bass of Fredric Fji Johansson gnaws at the senses whilst the guitars of Fredrik Brollin and Viktor Lundberg grind, whine, and croon with acute devilry. It is a formidable suasion which leaves its predecessor quite pale in comparison, though as skilled and commanding as the music is, it is the vocals which steal the show, the clean tones of Brantklev a transfixing caress and the roars in great variety from Rotstam carnivorously appealing if not always fully successful.

The following Above The Skyline stomps and seduces with a blend of classically bred elegance and ferocious antagonism vocally and musically, hooks and melodies in as much abundance and strength as heavily swiping rhythms and savage riffs. It is a riveting encounter which lurches at and romps with the senses in an evolving gait but lacks the spark which lit up its predecessor. It does give another flavoursome taste to an already established appetite for the release though which is soon enriched by the outstanding Shotgun Wedding Bride. From its first breath the song is ripping at the jugular with sinewed sculpted riffs and rhythms courted by caustic vocals whilst a haunting melody teases above the ravenous persuasion. The body of the track has a post hardcore hostility to its rabidity which takes on another depth of angst and ferociousness behind the clean seducing of Brantklev which in also seems to inspire a creative rapaciousness from the stabs of Brydniak and the varied snarls from Rotstam. It is a tremendous brawl which reveals the rich promise of the band ahead and their quality now.

The initial voracious intensity and Meshuggah like blaze The Diary Of Frosty Jack keeps ears and passions feverish with its truculent sonic and rhythmic intent, though the cleaner passages whilst adding further poetic toxicity defuse the breath-taking intimidation a tad. It is another immensely satisfying onslaught though, which as across the album, for every moment where things lack certain potency or success in their twists there is a horde of highly inventive, captivating sounds and ideation to enthral thoughts and emotions.

The vivaciously anthemic Here We Stand where emotive melodies and fiery harmonies stake their lingering claim on the imagination within a maelstrom of predacious intensity leaves imagination and attention exhausted next. Of. It is a tremendous fire enticing creative thought with a dramatic presence which leaves the next up Broken Glass a real test to emulate, which it almost does with its robust and blistering contagion within a continually shifting storm of emotive melodic grace and adversarial spite.

The predatory metalcore spawned sound of Dance For Messiah brings another inventive tempest to explore though it fails to enslave the passions with either the lingering vitriol or infectiousness of other songs. It is full of great and skilfully executed twists and turns but feels too familiar in its overall body of sound ultimately, thus feeding expectations somewhat. It also suffers lying between the previous pair of songs and Like Animals. Virulently infectious and strikingly inventive, the track is a relentlessly evolving dervish of argumentative seduction and amicable ingenuity, a song which if human would be classed as schizophrenic for many thrilling reasons. It is an outstanding slab of captivation, everything about it sensational and the best thing on the album.

The closing The Night We All Forgot is a song which may be should not work but does. Its opening chorus of vocals and throaty basslines is so obvious that you feel the band is just going for an easy exit, but then things turn into a threatening stretch of savagery vocally and musically that you swiftly reassess. The song continues to change and bewilder, its melodic almost pop infused moments an unsure success and its vicious inhospitable pillaging irresistible, whilst combined they ebb and flow in persuasion. It is whole though the song is a fixture in mind and emotions long after its departure so that like the album no matter any doubts it is an undeniable triumph.

It is hard not to get excited about the future of Surviving The Charade and to cast a keen anticipation for their next releases on the back of We’re Never Coming Home, a reaction we expect a great many to find through this gripping encounter.

We’re Never Coming Home is available from Monday 2nd June through all digital stores.

http://survivingthecharade.com/

8.5/10

RingMaster 01/06/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

http://www.audioburger.com

Svartna – Long Time Lost EP

   SVARTNA_longtimelost_1400x1400

Crafting an experience which is just as potent on the ears and emotions as it is visually on the imagination, the Long Time Lost EP from Finnish rock band Svartna is one of those propositions you just immerse within without reservation. It is a mesmeric fascination of sound and feeling which envelops and consumes attention and thoughts, a rich emotive flight unafraid to court its shadows as deeply as its beauty whilst providing an absorbing canvas for the bewitching voice of project founder Janica Lönn, who has previously worked with Black Sun Aeon.

Svartna emerged to the end of 2012 within the thoughts of Lönn, its intent as an audio-visual creation already and to some extent secretively laying seeds within the artist across almost a decade of musical invention and realisation up to that point. Concentrating solely on the new adventure and fusing her love of photography and crafting new ventures into its music, Lönn has conjured a debut which invests the invigorating essences of rock and metal with a pop infectiousness, the result a trio of songs which merges numerous styles and flavours into startling and gripping melodic landscapes coloured by rich sonic textures and heavy emotional breath.

Evocative melancholic keys open up first song No Signs of Life. Already the heart of the track and its narrative are caressing ears before the elegant smouldering tones of Lönn and an orchestral ambience glide into the emerging picture. It is a symphonic seeded suasion which to its seductive coaxing brings a shadowed clad drama and to its expanding scenery slightly sinister whispers. Bass and guitars offer a subdued but clear snarl to the emotive beauty washing the senses too whilst the increasingly sirenesque vocals and poetic melodies ignite the imagination, the full incitement of the song coming with a broad and climatic wind which drives the compelling expulsions at the heart of the song. The track is a masterful musical canvas for the lyrical and vocal melodrama, a picture which evolves with every chord and flume of sonic endeavour. It is quite glorious and never falls into the over blown realms so many bands and artists find when emotions and passions align with orchestrated invention and epic tempestuous structures; at times it is almost earthy and certainly surprisingly intimate in the throes of its fullest impacting voice.

From the outstanding start Cornered by Death takes up the reins of the release’s persuasion next, again keys sculpting the initial premise as rhythms play within their graceful countenance. The song glides into view in comparison to its predecessor, keys and vocals the warm initial sun upon ears and thoughts before a stormier yet still relatively unthreatening swell of heavy intensity, rapacious riffs, and prowling rhythms cloud the simmering emotional flight below. Once more it is offers a powerfully evocative aural sight though it is with the subsequent enthralling crafting of the guitars that the song truly comes alive; their lyrical designs virulently tempting even in their brief shaft of light before the full body of the song comes over senses and emotions once again. Though not matching the opening triumph, the track is a transfixing and exhilarating creative soundscape.

The EP closes with Worlds Apart, its entrance emulating the previous pair in being shaped by keys and vocals alone. To be honest there is a little disappointment that it does not bring a completely different first touch to the ears compared to elsewhere but a thought soon forgotten as the breath-taking voice of Lönn and a sinew built range of rhythms roam the expressive radiance flaming over the senses through the provocative keys, blazing guitars, and always the persistently striking voice of Lönn. It is an ambrosial conclusion to a fascinating and sublime release from an artist and band which are surely destined to seduce ears and acclaim for a long time on this evidence.

Long Time Lost EP is available through Violent Journey Records now!

www.svartna.com

9/10

RingMaster 30/05/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

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Metaprism – Self Titled EP

Metaprism cover

There are plenty of metal bands offering a dual vocal attack of melodically flighted female and aggressively bearing male vocals but it seems predominantly they veer towards one or the other in songs rather than truly merging them. For us it feels like a great many miss out on their potential by keeping them distinctly apart and that view has only been reinforced by British progressive/melodic metallers Metaprism. The sextet from Bournemouth are certainly unafraid to push a ‘beauty and the beast’ styled attack into one tempest of adventure and expression and it has resulted in a quite impressive and riveting debut. Their three track EP is a seducing brawl which is so much more than just the vocals, though they do steal plenty of the attention; it a roaring fire of endeavour and imagination which suggests that though still exploring its potential, Metaprism is a proposition set for big things over near horizons.

The band was formed in 2012 by guitarist Ollie Roberts who linking up with vocalist Theresa Smith began writing songs immediately aiming for their first release. The addiction of vocalist Jut Tabor, bassist Mike West, drummer Jonny Wilmott, and live guitarist Jimmy Alford has thrust the band forward on all fronts, Metaprism already in its short time sharing stages with the likes of Sacred Mother Tongue, I Am I, and Evil Scarecrow whilst the EP is brewing up a keen appetite for the band with fans and underground media alike. With an album planned before the end of the year, the band makes a striking entrance with a release and sound which is mature and invigoratingly shapely, a dramatic hint of things to come you can only surmise.

Opening track Even the Lights rises from a gloriously captivating intro, sonic intrigue and vocal mists expanding to cup an expulsion of stirring riffs, crisp beats, and immediately a web of guitar sculpted melodic toxicity which winds seductively around ears and attention. It is a potent design which has thoughts and appetite wide awake; not an over dramatic entrance but one which has everything focused on its impending narrative. The song next steps into a commanding stride as riffs and drums find a carnivorous breath to their bait, the excellent raw roars of Jut standing voraciously in the midst of the torrent to be soon followed by the melodic beauty of Smith’s tones and his return with clean and just as strong tones. Within a few seconds the song vocally has captured the imagination, both protagonists tempering and contrasting each other and themselves magnificently. It is a treat to hear, our earlier mentioned thoughts fed whilst musically the band and track equally sparks an overwhelmingly satisfied reaction with further predatory and sonically crafted invention. As proven by the song, the band is also skilled at merging styles and voracious ideation into their exploits, stern rugged breakdowns and metalcore rapaciousness as at home in the premise as progressive flights and melodically brewed colours.

The following Lost in the Dark takes little time in continuing the inspiring incitement of invention and passion, guitars with great ragged scything riffs and rhythms as a vindictive assailant forging a corruptive provocation as Smith and Tabor embrace and stalk the emerging magnetic canvas of the song respectively and simultaneously. It is a masterful piece of songwriting and voracious realisation, like a fusion of Delain meets Suicide Silence but different again. Cantankerous predation and smouldering elegance make a mutual bed within the song as potently and successfully as the band vocally mixes varying attacks and varied energies which ebb and flow within an overall rapacious urgency. It is mouthwatering skill and adventure the band impressively seek and craft which things like the breath-taking guitar enterprise of Roberts and unrelenting rhythmic persuasion of West and Wilmott only paint and push to greater success.

The release is completed by Against All, a song which initially is not as striking as the previous pair but soon recruits full attentive appetite with its flowing melodies and vociferous muscular incitement, and of course the continuing to impress vocals and guitar weaves. The song never quite reaches the heights set but still continues to reveal more of the scope and creativity within the sound and invention of Metaprism, groaning short grooves and sharp sonic sculpting a transfixing hue within the at times rabid rhythmic quality and vocal richness of the song.

Expect to hear a great deal more of Metaprism. Their EP feels like it is just an appetiser for bigger and grander exploits, something it is hard not to anticipate their debut album being the provider.

The Metaprism EP is available now @ http://metaprism.bandcamp.com/album/metaprism-ep

https://www.facebook.com/Metaprism

9/10

RingMaster 25/05/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

http://www.audioburger.com

 

 

Secrets and exposures: an interview with Tricore/An Entire Legion

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Tricore

More a secret than they should and deserve to be, UK metallers Tricore has been one of the most inventive and exhilarating bands within the British metal underground scene for close to a decade. With its member’s sister project An Entire Legion, the band has continued to intrigue, surprise, and thrill with an unpredictable and persistently adventurous intent in sound and ideation. Recently both bands released strikingly re-mixed and re-mastered versions of the albums Less than man…More than rabbit and Flame Wizard, from Tricore and An Entire Legion respectively. This gave The RingMaster Review a nudge to delve deeper into the bands which we had the pleasure of doing with vocalist/drummer Chris ‘Kerl’ Kerley, guitarist Mark Carstairs, and bassist Chris Allan who also kindly offered the opportunity to win a digital copy of both albums.

Hi Guys, welcome to the site and thanks for sharing your time with us.

Kerl: No worries man. It’s a pleasure. Thank you for being such a proponent of our music.

You have just released remixed and re-mastered versions of your Tricore debut album Less than man…More than rabbit and the Flame Wizard full-length as An Entire Legion. Before we take a closer look at the releases and yourselves can you clear up the situation with the projects as I know some people have been a little confused; are Tricore and An Entire Legion working as separate projects still, as I know there was talk of merging under just one name at one point?

Kerl: Haha, yea it can get a bit confusing. For us as well. The musicians are much the same in both projects but musically they generally differ. Tricore tracks are generally straight up heavier, riff driven, longer tracks, slightly more technical in parts. Legion tracks vary in tone more; the melodies take more of a front seat, tighter structures and catchier choruses.

Chris A: Though the lines have been blurred with the Flame Wizard release.

Kerl: Yea. It’s possible that future releases will be under legion because it’s the preferred name. Either that or we’ll make up another new name to piss more people off!

 

Tricore

Tricore

As it was the early days of Tricore where we first discovered your sounds, tell us about the beginning of the band and your musical histories up to that point.

Kerl: Tricore was formed in 2006.

Mark: I joined the band a month after it was formed and we did our first gig as Tricore only a couple of weeks after that!

Kerl: Yea you did well to get the shit down man. Before 2006 we were called Unbound. We named our debut EP after the old band. A few of the ideas on the Less than man…more than rabbit album came from the Unbound days. I’ve been in bands since I was like 13-14 playing drums. First band I was in was called Undercurrent. I only started getting heavily into song writing when I started Unbound in my late teens.

Mark: I also started playing in my teens back in Scotland. I was in a local band before moving down south.

Chris A: Same for me… Been in bands since my teens and all through my twenties. All of us come from similar musical backgrounds. All of us are self-taught.

The band’s sound is unique and distinct, wonderfully difficult to pin down. What have been the major inspirations to your ideas and music?

Kerl: Variety! Spice of life and all that. Same applies to music. Learning about and respecting different genres of music can only aid you when it comes to song writing. I grew up on a diet of mostly rock & metal in the nineties and always preferred the bands I felt “stood out”. Bands who had their own thing going on a la Korn, System of a down, Slipknot, Sikth, Incubus, Paradise Lost, before that Pantera, Nirvana, RATM and many more. As time went on my tasted broadened and I started listening to all sorts, from orchestral to indie to electronic, new and old. Like the bands above we always try to stand out with our music, whichever project we’re working on.

Mark: I’ve been influenced by pretty much the A to Z of heavy metal!

Kerl: Yea man, Marks got one of the largest cd collections I’ve ever seen. Its nuts!

Your first EP Unbound in 2007 made the first mark, increased dramatically by the Follow EP four years later but it is the Less than Front cover, less than remasteredman…More than rabbit album which still rings the most potently with fans. Is that what you have found and why you have re-visited it for the new release?

Kerl: It was more about making the older releases sound as phat as possible. Less than man always felt a little too tinny to our ears which was a mix issue rather than a mastering one. Sean Magee did a great job at Abbey Road studios first time round. But we felt a re-mix and re-master would bring the music up into line.

How did you look at the album in regard to re-mastering and remixing it, where did you feel you could enhance its strengths and colour further?

Kerl: Everything needed at least a little tweaking. The vocals needed to be eq’d and brought forward, the guitars were given more thickness. The hi-end needed to be reduced universally. We met a great dude who mastered the new releases for us giving them the final polish they needed. And all for the right price! Which is always a factor when you’re producing yourself.

Was it the same reasons for re-working the Flame Wizard album under An Entire Legion too?

Kerl: Yes. Though those tracks were recorded more recently and had fared better. I think both releases are now really solid, production wise. I can’t see there’ll be a need to revisit them again. We’re not going to do a “George Lucas”.

When did An Entire Legion become a valid proposition alongside Tricore for your ideas and what inspired you to make the distinct separation?

Kerl: An Entire Legion was created in late 2009/10 primarily to go down a slightly more melodic route with our music.

Mark: Initially it was also a step we took in an attempt to find a drummer who could replace Chris, freeing him up to do vocals.

Kerl: Yea. The idea was that I’d remain on drums in Tricore and sing for Legion. Unfortunately we had no luck finding a suitable replacement on either drums or vocals.

Mark: Despite caining the auditions!

Kerl: I still remain doing both. After a while Legion became a place we could put those songs we felt didn’t quite fit under Tricore. Now it’s pretty much an anything goes, which is why both projects have blurred.

An entire legion

An entire legion

Did having the two projects on the go simultaneously make the songwriting a more interesting adventure and maybe more difficult. Deciding where melodies or, rhythmic twists as examples, would best fit?

Kerl: Luckily the writing for both releases was completed at separate times. Most of the music on Less than man was written in 2008. The tracks on Flame Wizard during 2011/12 so there were no difficulties due to overlapping. Though we have several projects we usually just focus on one at a time.

Have you a preference (not favourite) or find a greater ease in regard to the two bands when it comes to creating songs?

Kerl: Honestly no. I love creating music. I live for it. There’s no preference when it comes to band music for me, I just try and keep things interesting and distinctive.

Mark: Playing wise, I prefer the heavier tracks from any of our projects. But listening wise it’s great that we don’t limit ourselves and feel free enough to head down different routes when the itch arises.

Chris A: Yea I also appreciate the variety. As a player it keeps things interesting, challenging.

It seems like in the current climate of metal and rock; bands with something truly unique about them and their sound get passed over and often disappear far too soon. How have you guys managed to keep your passion and drive for two projects, three when we include Rind Skank, all this time criminally without the nationwide and beyond recognition we feel your music deserves?

Kerl: Cheers Pete man, awesome of you to say. It’s really easy to keep creating music because we love it but yea, things are tough out there right now. Zero exposure by mainstream media has kept some of the country’s best musicians and songwriters in relative obscurity.

Chris A: Piracy…

Kerl: Yep. Piracy has wrecked music sales, which used to be a vital revenue stream for bands. Heavier types of music are acutely affected by the loss of music sales because there are fewer ways to make up for the losses. Obtaining ad or film placements for heavy music, which can be a great source of income for songwriters in other genres, is rare. Touring is expensive and is not feasible for a lot bands without financial backing. Merch sales are directly linked to touring. Indie labels mostly sign what they know and what they feel safe taking on, so most of their rosters end up filled with bands that appear to be imitating one another. They can then group these guys up and send them out on hard-graft tours, which are rarely particularly lucrative. As for major labels, well they barely touch heavier acts. Why would they, there’s no longer any money in it. For us, like many bands, it’s difficult. We’ve lost key members in the past because they could no longer see a future in playing heavy music. Reality gets in the way of the ideal.

So my advice to anyone who wants to see the genre grow is to purchase the music of the bands whose music you enjoy. Purchase directly from them if possible. Keeping the industry financially healthy isn’t only about providing opportunities for current bands it’s for all the future ones as well.

Concerning how we personally keep driving forward. Pretty much by ignoring the above and crossing our fingers ;)

Briefly tell us about Rind Skank.

Kerl: Rind Skank is a rock/metal/dance fusion band we started in 2012. It was a chance to play around with things in another direction, which is always great fun.

Mark: We took out the need for a drummer by playing over synth beats, which gives us a project that we can play live as a three piece.

Chris A: Recently though we’ve been attempting to introduce acoustic drums into the mix, so we’ll see how that goes.

I believe there are a couple of previously unreleased tracks also within the new re-mastered releases. Tell us about them, they are brand new AEL flame wizsongs written recently?

Chris A: Yea, we released the tracks Richest Eyes and Twist the gimp on the Flame Wizard album. Both those songs were recorded in 2012 and were originally created for a different project, currently shelved. We dig the tracks and thought they’d fit well on the album. Both use more electronics than our other songs usually do. They’re also the only tracks I’m on because I only joined the band in 2012!

How does the songwriting work within the bands, is it the same method for both?

Kerl: I write the music for all the projects give or take some parts here and there and some of the solos (the better ones were written by Rich Wood). The process is usually – I write at home and then bring the songs down to practice where we can all pour over them.

What can new and especially existing fans specifically find different within the new outings for Flame Wizard and Less than man…More than rabbit from the originals to get their juices flowing again?

Kerl: Aside from the couple of new tracks on Flame Wizard it’s all about the production quality. We’ve just raised it up to a higher level than it was before. Considering our releases are self-produced with no fancy top end studio involved, I think we did a pretty good job.

What is the future for both Tricore and An Entire Legion, do you have specific plans or intent for 2014 and beyond with each?

Kerl: Nothing’s set in stone at the moment, though plenty of ideas. That’s the positive thing about being unsigned, no deadlines! Unfortunately there are some negatives. As the primary songwriter, these days, what I would like to do musically and what I have to do in order to make a living frequently conflict. Every time we record a significant amount of material, and I produce, it pretty much wipes out 3-4 months. That’s time we don’t get paid for up front. The main way to recoup is via sales of music and merch, which doesn’t cover it. The money we get from shows, when we’re able to play, is negligible.

Mark: Normally ends up costing us.

Any new songs and release on the horizons too?

Chris A: We have hopes to release a Rind Skank album at some point later this year, or maybe 2015. We may start a crowd-funding project to see if we can raise enough to make that feasible, which is something we’ve never done before

How about live, can we expect any venture on that side?

Kerl: Playing live has always been a rollercoaster for us. Constant line-up issues over the years have kept us grounded for a lot of the time. And I don’t mean that to sound like we’re a revolving door band with new members every week. Quite the opposite, our problems are finding the right people in the first place…People with the musical chops and a good working ethos. We’re looking forward to getting a more stable line-up and playing live more frequently.

Where is the best place for people to keep up with all things Tricore and An Entire Legion?

Kerl: Any of these sites,

Our bandcamp page for releases – http://tricore.bandcamp.com/

Our MySpace or Facebook for updates – https://myspace.com/thetricore

https://www.facebook.com/anentirelegion

https://www.facebook.com/tricoreuk

Or our hub site – http://tricor1.wix.com/underdogelite

Thanks once more for talking with us, any last thoughts you would like to share?

Kerl: It was an absolute pleasure man. Keep up the great work!

Mark: Cheers!

Chris A: Great talk dude.

Tricore pic 1

To win a digital copy of Less than man…More than rabbit or Flame Wizard, simply check out the last Bone Orchard podcast @ www.audioburger.com and tell us which Tricore track was featured in the comment box below. Closing date for entries is Sunday June 8th

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 22/05/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

http://www.audioburger.com