Guilty As Charged – Leap of Faith

BAND guilty as charged

On the evidence of their debut album Leap of Faith, Belgian metallers Guilty As Charged create a brew of thrash fuelled heavy metal which without stretching originality too far provides a rather tasty and invigorating proposition. The band’s new album is a fiery and creatively gripping encounter which surges and rampages with all the right moves to ignite ears and passions as its ferocious enterprise works away on the imagination. A game changer it is not but for riotous pleasure and honest satisfaction not many albums have surpassed Leap of Faith so far this year.

Formed in 2008, Guilty As Charged soon made a good impression with their live shows and the following year through the demo Boxed In. That was followed by the quartet sharing stages with the likes of Pro-Pain, UDO, and Stormrider as well as festival appearances at events such as the Alcatraz Metal Festival in 2011 with Helloween and Death Angel, and Masters @ Rock 2012 with Soulfly & Channel Zero. Recorded last year, Leap of Faith is poised to push the foursome of vocalist/ rhythm guitar Jan De Vuyssere, lead guitarist Dempsey Derous, bassist Hannes De Caluwe, and drummer Matthew Vandenberghe into a wider and more intensive spotlight, one certainly deserved by the storming presence and exciting escapades within the release.

Opening track Preach to the Masses instantly seizes ears and attention with its swipe of melodic coaxing which is soon over run with thumping rhythms alongside keen and feisty riffs. It is an easy bait to find an appetite for, one growing Albumcover Leap Of Faithinto a magnetic stroll of roving beats and a senses entwining sonic enticement. The raw and grizzled vocal roar of De Vuyssere only accentuates the impressive and incendiary start, sparking off an even richer strain of guitar endeavour to snake across the song’s climate. In full muscular flight, the track badgers and intimidates with resourceful enterprise and a great rapacious groove which flirts perfectly with the throaty basslines and the melodic scorching of heavy metal incitement. It is a riveting entrance by the album, not one to leave jaws slack in awe but one to fire up body and emotions for a greedy anticipation for the subsequent tracks.

Those expectations are soon fed a tasty morsel with Last Chance, a track which does not quite match the opening plateau but still sets its own thrilling level with predatory riffs and similarly gaited rhythms and vocals. There is an underlying hostility to the song but it is tempered by the blaze of melodic enticement and skilled sonic suggestiveness. The vocals like the music mix up their textures and attacks to add their own depth and intrigue to the rampant confrontation. Its triumph is soon rivalled by the outstanding title track which from its funky lead in expels waves of sonic intrigue to which the ever impressing vocals add their expressive narrative. The dark hearted tones of the bass and ridges of riffs only add to the rigorously contagious encounter whilst Derous lays a web of ingenious bait which is as insatiable as it is addictive. There is also a punk edge to the track which offers hints of Suicidal Tendencies and Biohazard to the flavoursome and impressing mix.

Both the Metallica like I’ll Never and the enthralling Lonewolf bring diversity and potency to the release, the first prowling and gnawing on ears with sinister expression and predatory invention which sparks the imagination into new adventures. Its successor again has that fierce attitude and breath with an air of the likes of Megadeth and Testament to it yet with its exploratory sonic designs equally provides something individual to the band. Both tracks incite the listener to join their potently anthemic calls before the melodic caress of Elysium wraps its elegance around ears. With rising sultry flames of guitar and emotive hues, the instrumental makes for an evocative engagement before making way for the bruising presence of Lack Of Control. With a caustic scent to its rapacious intensity and attitude, the track boils and bellows with passion and antagonistic purpose whilst veining its roar with acidic shards of sonic invention and colour which as much as the song intimidates equally seduces.

The album is closed by Down, maybe the least eventful and striking track on the release but a song bringing Leap Of Faith to a mighty close with its Pantera-esque swinging groove and simply ravenous intensity. As suggested Guilty As Charged do not change the face of heavy and thrash metal with their first album but certainly they have given it a thrilling and explosively enterprising new proposition and who cannot be up for that?

The self-released Leap of Faith is available now.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Guilty-As-Charged/73401643876

8.5/10

RingMaster 05/08/2014

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Overpower – Greatness Within

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Casting a groove infested thrash bred temptation of modern metal Greatness Within makes a potent and intriguing introduction to Croatian metallers Overpower. The band’s debut album does not offer ground-breaking rages or startlingly unique tempests but grips attention with accomplished and enterprising twists on a fusion of sound which instinctively sparks a keen appetite for its recipe. It is a roaring and bruising onslaught of rapacious riffs with matching antagonistic rhythms all bound in a web of grooves and melodic acidity which easily ignites the imagination. Primarily it is an entrance which casts Overpower as a formidable protagonist of flavoursome hostile metal.

The band began in 2006, formed by guitarist Daniel Badanjak, bassist David Vukusic, and drummer Frane Velcic. Playing mainly covers from the likes of Iron Maiden, Metallica, and Judas Priest, the band searched for their own direction with original songs over the next couple of years. A few frontmen were tried whilst Velcic left the band, his departure seeing the joining of drummer Hrvoje Dizdar. After the leaving of another vocalist, the band contacted Velcic to come in as frontman for a gig they were playing. Such its success he decided to remain in the band as vocalist before the Zagreb quartet set about recording Greatness Within. With an open vein of inspiration from the likes of Metallica, Iron Maiden, Pantera, Slayer, and Down to the band and sound, the album boils up a skilled and magnetic storm of voracious metal which may not startle but definitely excites

As soon as the opening steely dark throated tones of bass opens up Paid Trip to Nightmare, attention and swiftly after appetite are caught and ready to embrace the opening song. A heavy swipe of guitar brings drama to the sinister air before casting a captivating web of slightly portentous but enthralling colour to the breath of the song. The kick into a thrash fuelled charge is quick and seamless, the track suddenly a savage rage of destructive rhythms and hungry riffs ridden by the raw and rasping growls of Velcic. Exhaustive and thunderously impacting, the track is an explosive start; a searing solo and anthemic tenacity all adding to the compelling bait.

The following Final Laughter makes a purposeful if reined start, riffs and rhythms again hitting hard with an even paced intent whilst the excellent bass suasion of Vukusic is grizzled in bestial voice and presence. More expectations feeding than its predecessor, the imposing brute of an encounter still draws an eager hunger with its muscular rhythmic punches, stalking riffs, and the excellent coarse tones of the frontman. It keeps the album on a richly satisfying course before being put in the shadows by the outstanding Conqueror. Instantly wrapping ears in a melodic enticement, the track has thoughts engrossed, especially when stretching its sinews with predacious riffs and again controlled yet intimidating rhythms. It is a commanding persuasion which steals greater glories with its step into a groove spiced melody inflamed passage of resourceful design led by the excellent switch into clean vocals. It is a masterful and riveting turn which works perfectly with the entwining voracity of sound and intent around it; the song easily the best thing on the release.

Both Life in a Lie and the title track give it a run for its money though, the first emerging from a haunting atmosphere with a Pantera like swagger to its stroll and savage tone to the bass. Soon aided by bewitching grooves and the continuing to impress vocals, the song lurches like a predator of carnal persuasion across thoughts and imagination, setting a danger bred canvas lit by searing flames of guitar enterprise. As most songs there is a familiarity to its body and heart but nothing to defuse its impact and absorbing call. In a different guise its successor is much the same, brewing up a less than strikingly new proposition but gripping attention with resourceful and imposingly attentive sounds to which the return of clean vocals alongside the dirtier delivery only increases the pleasure.

The grievous bass sound of Roulette again ignites a swift licking of lips to which the furious torrent of crippling rhythms and riff sculpted severity thrust forward by the raucous spit of dual vocals brings a wider grin. The track is a thoroughly agreeable rampage across ears and emotions. Anthemic and hard hitting, as all the songs, the onslaught of predation leaves passions full but ready for much more which Monster soon provides in uncompromising style. With a gentle guitar and vocal croon the song transfixes senses and imagination, its opening tale the fuse to exploratory thoughts which are given another dose of incitement by the heavy crawling bestial weight and intensity straight after. It comes with a net of sonic intrigue and vindictive rabidity, courtesy of the bass, a weave ridiculously gripping and deliciously infecting.

The song is a mighty end to an impressive release though there is the Outro to actually bring the album to a close but it is a decent but nothing piece of music which just sits showing its creative muscles. Greatness Within is a powerful debut which without drenching itself in originality marks out Overpower as a potential clad strikingly enjoyable prospect, with already the skills and sound to make large and potent statements.

Greatness Within is available now via Geenger Records and @ http://overpowerzg.bandcamp.com/album/greatness-within

https://www.facebook.com/overpowerband/

8.5/10

RingMaster 09/07/2014

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The Delta Rhythm – Break The Surface EP

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It seems blues rock is alive and blushingly well in Birmingham, and that is down to UK band The Delta Rhythm. The proof comes with their new three-track EP Break The Surface, a release which provides a satisfaction and captivation which is as lingering as it is refreshing. Combining the rich essences of Americana, blues, indie, and hard rock into a sound which is not dramatically unique but still able to stand distinctly tall within any emerging crowd of bands, The Delta Rhythm is a proposition drenched in potential and skilled craft which it is hard not to anticipate even greater things from.

Formed in the first weeks of 2012 and taking inspirations from the likes of Canned Heat, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Oasis, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, The Sword, and Clutch, the band was soon supporting bands like Pint Shot Riot at Birmingham’s 02 Academy 3 and subsequently lighting up festivals like the Lightwoods Park May Day Festival in Birmingham which saw the band perform before a 10,000 strong crowd. Now consisting of vocalist/pianist Sami Cornick, guitarist Gregg Freeman, bassist Ben Adams, and drummer Martyn Todd, The Delta Rhythm’s new EP follows the well-received Rebels Redemption and The Rain Will Take Us All EPs, pushing the band to a new level which you would suspect leads to nationwide attention.

The release opens with Ticking Bomb, the song in turn starting with a singular gentle scrub of guitar before being joined by crisp Break The Surface EP Coverrhythms and soon after the throaty bass of Adams and the fine vocals of Cornick, her voice an instant draw. The song strolls keenly once established, guitars and rhythms an easy accessible bait upon which blues/country rock melodies and enterprise colours ears and imagination. The production has Cornick to the fore which depletes some of the potency of the music around her but such her obvious power and vocal talent it is hard to raise any real complaints. Across its body, the song continues to sway and twist with appealing guitar designs and excellent vocal harmonies, never erupting to the heights expected but worming deeper into the psyche and emotions to be just as potently effective.

The following Singing The Blues opens with a strum of guitar chords which is vintage rock ‘n’ roll, a moment which could fit any song from Eddie Cochran to Johnny Cash or Free to Jack White and sets the track off in fine style. There is a swing and swagger to the song which recruits feet and passions right away, an enslavement only strengthened by the undemanding melodies and anthemic rhythms. Once again though it is the vocals of Cornick which seal the deal and you sense she still has plenty in reserve if required. Her keys also bring a flavoursome hue and expression to the excellent song before it makes way for the similarly impressive Better Things, another easy blaze of blues rock but with a stoner caress and hard rock vivacity. As its predecessors, the song is pure infectiousness, not a song to inspire a riot but an encounter with plenty of seduction to get its way.

It is a strong and appealing conclusion to a similarly impressing release. Certainly the production is good but it does prioritise Cornick and inspires a slight niggle about the subservience of the music. You at times just wish it would catch fire, find a spark to give it more of a snarl. It is almost as if the music is laying a base for the excellent vocals rather than embracing them on mutual terms but this is a band in progress and you can easily feel this will all come good eventually. Even if not, when a proposition is this enjoyable it is impossible to be dissatisfied in any real size or form. Watch out for The Delta Rhythm, they have the wares and skills to make a big name for themselves.

The Break The Surface EP is available now from www.facebook.com/deltarhythm

www.twitter.com/thedeltarhythm

8/10

RingMaster 13/06/2014

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Hidden Intent – Walking Through Hell

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Never short of an appetite for well-crafted and ferociously passionate thrash metal it is fair to say that it was easy to find an eager taste for Walking Through Hell, the debut album from Hidden Intent. Eleven tracks which embroil the senses, the release is a pungently addictive and contagious encounter. It is an encounter where arguably dramatic originality has taken a break and the tracks at times hold too much similarity amongst themselves to stand out as potently as they should, but nothing defuses the thrilling and rabid presence of the album and its unbridled persuasion on thoughts and passions.

Hailing from Adelaide, South Australia, Hidden Intent began early 2011, formed by bassist/vocalist Chris McEwen (Abyzmal, Troops of Doom, Obsidian Aspect) and lead guitarist Phil Bennett (Desert Eagle, Metallica Black Album Tribute, Iron Maiden Tribute). After the loss of their original drummer and an intensive search, Jay Rahaley (Blood Mason, Treachery) was recruited to the ranks of the band, a stability which has maybe not by chance seen the band emerge as a stronger proposition outside of their locality and homeland. Inspired by the likes of Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Iron Maiden, and Sepultura, it is maybe no surprise that their sound is steeped in old school thrash metal, heavily seeded but still with enough invention and imagination to bypass predictability and provide a compelling encounter. Last November saw the band release Walking Through Hell but it is now with its wider release through Punishment 18 Records that the band could and should find a ravenous new market.

Starting with Confession, basically a sample from the film American Psycho, the album takes a proper grip on attention and thoughts HiddenIntentCoverwith the following title track. Stabbing air with crisp strikes of drums and riffs it is a potent start but it is the rumbling throaty crawl of the bass which first excites. Its dark menacing tone persist its stalking across the subsequent even paced tempest of riffs and drum antagonism which surrounds the ears. The vocals of McEwen are enjoyable and eager, if at times unpredictable, but it is his bass offering which steals the passions early on, though that is soon challenged by the excellent flume of grooves which writhe within the predacious crawl and charge of riffs which switch persistently across the song. With a great guitar solo flaming as a greater rabidity spills its hunger, the track is an enthralling and thrilling introduction.

Through Your Eyes swiftly picks up the baton, taking a measured approach before launching into another surging torrent of voracious riffs, punishing rhythms, and richly barbed hooks. Little additives like resonance, sonic seducing, and combative increases of energy ignite the tracks uniqueness but for the main the body of the song is similar to its predecessor and gratefully consumed before Betrayed stalks ears and imagination. It opens with a steady intimidating gait but is soon chugging along as the vocals unveil their feisty narrative. Though it is not the most memorable track on the album, in its company it is impossible for neck muscles and body to resist its sinewed temptation and infectious if volatile charm. What is memorable is the additional sinister and atmospheric bass led piece of intrigue springing straight after the song, an unnamed instrumental between tracks which offers a delicious respite which is needed to give the imagination a different exploration and body time to take a breath.

Both Die Inside and Good Friday Thrash push riveting guises around the recognisable core thrash sound, the first bringing swiping vocal calls and greater incendiary grooves into the gallops of riffery and rhythmic entrapment whilst its successor almost preys as it skirts of the senses initially, though the urge to release the handbrake and bring an urgency to its predation is eventually too much to hold back. The pair enthrals and impresses with a mouthwatering array of bass and guitar imagination, those elements we mentioned which make the band stand out without breaking into new pastures finding their most irresistible bait, certainly within Die Inside.

By this part of the album songs merge a little though enjoyment is just as high, and you occasionally find yourself simply looking for differences rather than enjoying the moment. Get What You Can Get thoughbrings tight and ridiculously addictive grooves to its thrash armoury whilst Face Your Demon and Creature of Habit unleash a disputatious confrontation and roving grooves respectively all adding to the enticement of the constant hunger confronting the release.

Closing on the exciting temptation of Black Hole, the track a strike of gripping invention and urgency and probably the most original song on the album, Walking Through Hell is a masterful riot of thrash metal. Yes it lacks true originality and some songs work better away from the body of the album rather in the wash of familiarity which coats the release but it has to be said it is one of the most enjoyable and exciting thrash albums this year and probably last, and those bass and guitar moments alone just feed the strongest desires.

It is easy to expect Hidden Intent to make a big break-through in the near future, and more of the same would do very nicely.

Walking Through Hell is available now through Punishment 18 Records and @ http://hiddenintent.bandcamp.com/album/walking-through-hell

https://www.facebook.com/hiddenintent

8.5/10

RingMaster 28/04/2014

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Reverted – Sputter the Worms

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Though you come out of it feeling there is plenty left for its creators to discover and find to develop a wholly unique voice, it is hard not to be impressed and eagerly captivated by Sputter the Worms the debut album from UK band Reverted. With the release of the band’s new single Die My Saint, taken from the album, a look at the full-length seemed in order. Consisting of thirteen tracks which roar at ears with a ferocious multi-flavoured brew of sound and aggression, the release is a fiery brawl merging thrash, hard rock, and varied essences of metal. The album rampages with imagination and voracity, crawling rigorously over the senses and passions with raw adventure. There is much within it which is arguably familiar but plenty which is vigorously individual as the album riots with thrilling effect.

Reverted began in 2010 and it is fair to say they have made a more than attention grabbing impression. They have backed up the promise showed by live performances with Sputter the Worms, a release which pulls feet and emotions into active submission early on and refuses to let them relax until it has finished its creative charge. The title track thrusts its muscular weight and body through ears first, though its entrance is relatively reserved with thick riffs and pumped beats making a less than forceful coaxing. It is a magnetic start all the same which increases its bait with a great whining acidic flame of guitar which triggers a hungry rampancy in the gait of the track. The bass of Luis L Valle and guitar of Daniel Ruiz stomp with a prowling menace and rasping riffery respectively with the song in full stride whilst the drums of Ozzy Preciado thump with intimidating skill. It is a richly engaging proposition completed by the excellent vocal tones of Tony Vega, his gruff but clean tones ably backed by those of Preciado. Like a mix of Metallica and Fuckshovel, thrash and punk pleasing additives to the heavyweight rocking going on, the song is a masterful opening persuasion.

The potent start is soon backed up by the similarly impressive Magledonia (Harvest of Sin), another brew brought on a thrash bred Sputter The Worms Artworkappetite. The track swaggers and ripples with antagonistic confidence and sonic bait, guitars and drums enslaving attention so the bass can stalk the senses as vocals sprawl with their menacing narrative. With a vein of classic and hard rock virulence to its encounter, the song romps with a straightforward but appetite sparking success before making way for Don´t Try to Steal Me from the Inside. Valle instantly steals early control of thoughts and song with his throaty lines before the rhythms of Preciado explode in highly agitated invention and the track crowds the ears with a predatory intensity. Groove and thrash metal collide perfectly within the song but also scorching flames of melodic and alternative rock add their spice to the exciting mix, with the vocals as the sound unafraid to vary and play with their delivery.

Both the outstanding Dispose of Heartaches and the new single Die My Saint ignite imagination and pleasure further, the first bursting with a devilish intent forging punk and thrash into a psyche rock and nu-metal mesh. The track exhausts and exhilarates the passions, stealing early best song honours though it is soon rivalled by its successor, an urgent aggressor with absorbing twists of sonic endeavour amidst another richly packed flavoursome design. Psyche and nu-metal colours the sinew driven encounter whilst the rhythmic frame is an unrelenting insistence with anthemic persuasion. The pair provides the first major pinnacle of the album, probably the highest peak though plenty of tracks like the following Pulse stand tall alongside their might. A growl erupts in the vocals and sound of the song, intensity driving forward with bestial rabidity to match the barbarous rhythms and the ever predacious bass provocation. There is a grunge flame to the cleaner stretches of the song though proving again the diverse ground and textures the band explores across the album. Admittedly there are familiar sounds at work too, that Metallica feel never far away, but Reverted mix and come up with an overall sound which holds its own in freshness.

The acidic entrance of Tolerance makes a dramatic lure before a mix of progressive rock and groove metal merges to enthral thoughts, the track littering its pleasing bulk with punchy energy, rising crescendos, and abrasive expulsions. It is another potent enticement which as its predecessors welcomingly lingers. It also in many ways closes the most immediate part of the album with the following Stained Soul andonwards, the album places its most adventurous and involved songs though it certainly does not relinquish its grip on appetite and passions. Stained Soul holds a slower gait than previous tracks but with intensity still high fills the vacancy with a focused melodic rock craft, though that is still courted by the rapacious intent the band revels in which ensures the song is no less a threat and aggressor than others.

The gentle caress of Insanity takes longer to persuade than most but with its emotive strings, warm melodic rock centre, and passionate grumble the track easily secures a greedy appreciation whilst the more power ballad like Forsaken with a definite Hetfield and co feel pleases firmly without lighting fires, the same which can be said about Stairs of Guilt. Neither song grips as tightly as others but shows the expansive power of the band in sound and songwriting which certainly excites.

   Sputter the Worms closes with firstly Time, a track which glides through a weave of styles and. As the previous two it fails to spark a full ardour but furthers the impressive skills and imaginative adventure of the band which are to enthuse over and anticipate creating greater triumphs ahead. Final song Bummer is a muscle driven slab of heavy rock with metal roots, a very easy to devour and enjoy straightforward protagonist.

Reverted is a band on a sure and striking rise in presence and creativity, with the potential to be something very special. They have a drama to their songs and an invention which defuses the recognisable elements also carried; the result one thoroughly thrilling ride.

The self-released Sputter the Worms is available now!

http://www.reverted.co.uk

8/10

RingMaster 17/04/2014

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Canaya – Sealed Within The Walls

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    Like being caught between the eyes with a sledgehammer and then brought back to consciousness with a voraciously brutal seduction, the Sealed Within The Walls EP from British metallers Canaya is a real beast of a proposition. It is a merciless and compelling slab of ferocious confrontation infused with a riveting and absorbing wealth of inspiring riffs and potent grooves, a towering heavy weighted triumph from one of the UK’s most impressive if still ‘undiscovered’ metal bands.

     Featuring ex-members of Tangaroa, Executive Distraction Tasks, Hot Prophecy and Nerve Engine, Canaya was formed in 2010 and soon drew acclaim and eager attention with debut EP Alignment Of Dying Planets that same year. Live the Leeds quartet of vocalist Simon Wright, guitarist/vocalist Owen Wilson, bassist/vocalist Chris Wilson, and drummer Andy Richards have also wasted audiences, performances amongst a great many including Damnation Festival, Brew Records, Big Spaceship, Brainwash, and British Wildlife and with bands such as Narrows, Keelhaul, Knut, Coliseum, Humanfly, Melt Banana, Hawk Eyes, Brontide, and Lavotchkin, all increasing and reinforcing the powerful emergence of the band. The video of the single Dios Muerto found heavy viewing and support on YouTube, leading to the attention of Ginger from The Wildhearts who invited Wright to provide guest vocals on his album Mutation. The Hyde & Seek released Sealed Within The Walls is the next thunderous incitement from Canaya and possibly the trigger to the widest recognition, it is hard to imagine any other outcome.

     Opening track Levitating Casket, the new single from the release, instantly storms the ears and senses with a concentrated 1797464_581774275248163_604048507_nand intensive barrage of punches from the drums and broad sonic swipes of guitar. Each has a fearsome weight and intent in their power which the bass only empowers with its imposing predacious intensity. It is a striking start which spreads into a sonic causticity with animosity drenched vocal squalls from Wright supported by the two Wilsons. Continually twisting its attack with grooves and hooks flailing the senses amidst the infernal rampage of riffs and energy, the track is a tempestuous and mouthwatering onslaught, and as contagious as it is disturbingly venomous, the song soon has attention and imagination sealed within its corrosive embrace, both eager to fall deeper into the roaring invention and malevolence.

     The unpredictability and imagination of the first song is replicated by next up Award Winning Bastard, a distinct character with more sonic voracity than its predecessor but equally as captivating and incendiary upon the senses. You almost feel synapses and emotions withering within the tracks scorching sonic persuasion and rhythmic pummelling, but with another irresistible distraction from the band’s adventure and ingenuity only instinctive hunger prevails under the avalanche of sound. For something so vicious and brutal it is hard to believe the contagion of the songs is so virulent but it is and just as impressively repeated in the following Monarch Of Sin. Standing tall and muscular from its first seconds of rhythmic provocation and corruptive riffery, the song takes a less forceful approach in comparison to previous tracks but is just as dramatic in its enticement. A smouldering melodically fuelled acidic casting is aligned to a cleaner vocal delivery, the union almost Killing Joke like at times, and sandwiched between a heavily weighted predatory stalking brought by the bruising intensity and ravenous metal ferocity. The song is a savage and ruinous yet bewitching encounter, a temptation elevated by the Converge like fury of group vocals at the song’s finale; it and track a glorious tempest.

    Committed rages next and features John Sutcliffe from Humanfly within its scintillating exploits. From the first rapacious swagger and torrent of guitar invention the track secures greedy attention which it’s subsequent rampant riffing and transfixing rhythmic antagonism, not forgetting brawling vocal combination. The song swings and lurches from one explosive and thrilling point to another, infection and toxic animosity unrelentingly igniting it’s too brief but outstanding presence. The best track on the release, amongst only major triumphs, the song gives a big test for the closing Audio Porn to live up to. Raw and abrasive within an evocative melodic crafted enterprise, the song easily rises to the challenge providing release and listener with another individually startling expanse of inventive vehemence and exhausting adventure. It is a mighty intrusive end to a severe and masterful incitement for ears and passions. Influences for the band are cited as bands such as Black Sabbath, Metallica, Pantera, Mastodon, and Gojira , a list you suspect the name Canaya will eventually be added to as an inspiration for others. They and Sealed Within The Walls are right now collisions you simply need to stand in front of to bend and bask within.

www.facebook.com/canayauk

www.canaya.bandcamp.com

9/10

Ringmaster 15/02/2014

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From a rock and a hard place: an interview with Monte Pittman

Pic Jack Lue

Pic Jack Lue

The year may be young but it has already seen one of the most thrilling and inventively riveting heavy rock/metal albums likely to bless the year released. The Power of Three from Monte Pittman is a towering feast of adventure and multi-flavoured sinew driven rock fused to heavyweight metal. Renowned and acclaimed for his work with Madonna and the likes of Adam Lambert, Melanie C, and Sophie Ellis-Bextor, the Texan with the Metal Blade Records released album unleashes his always eager creative and passionate metallic tendencies. Given the pleasure and opportunity to find out more about the magnificent triumph, we talk with Monte Pittman and find out about his early days and inspirations as a budding musician, songwriting, Prong and much more…

Hello Monte and many thanks for taking time out to chat with us.

Before we get into the meat of your excellent new album The Power of Three, can we get some insight into the background of Monte Pittman before the musician and what was the first spark or moment when music drew you to its bosom?

I grew up in Longview, Texas. I’ve wanted to play music since I can remember. I was always fascinated by it. I was very lucky to be a little kid and have bands like Kiss to bands like Pantera as influences. I was one of those kids who would stand on the bed with the door closed pretending I was Ace Frehley to my sisters Kiss records. My cousin, Jimmy, had a few different bands in Dallas and I would see him rehearse as a kid. That’s what started it all.

What have been the major inspirations on you musically and especially in regard to your guitar craft?

That’s something that always changes. The first song I ever learned how to play on the guitar was “One” by Metallica. “…And Justice For All” had just come out. That was an exciting time to get your first guitar! My guitar influences now are Jeff Beck and Freddie King. I’m also heavily influenced by John Coltrane and Thelonius Monk, but they’re not guitar players. As far as bands, a lot of fellow Metal Blade bands…Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, and Amon Amarth…also Holy Grail. Great guitar players! Great songs! Great bands!

Aged 24 you moved from Longview to LA; why, was it purely for music reasons?

My cousin, Natalie, lived there and I went to go visit her. As soon as I got there, it felt like home. When I went back to Texas I immediately started making plans to move there as soon as I could knowing the longer I took, the better the chance of talking myself out of it. I moved to LA to work as a professional musician one way or another.

You were already in the relatively successful, certainly locally, band Myra Mains at the time, what were the opportunities you felt could be lying in wait in LA which encouraged you to leave band and family etc. behind?Monte Pittman 1

It was hard leaving but I knew I could always go back if it didn’t work out. I didn’t know what to expect.

Jumping forward a bit and you became guitarist for Madonna; we covered it in our review of your album but can you fill in further for the readers how this came about?

I worked at Guitar Center in Hollywood. I quit and started teaching guitar lessons. One of my first students was Guy Ritchie. He was dating Madonna. Then I started giving her guitar lessons. From there, she asked me to play guitar for her.

You obviously are a heavy weight rocker at heart and creatively so were there any doubts about linking up with the Queen of Pop or was it a no-brainer decision?

No because we already knew each other and she was cool. I love all kinds of music and in her shows we play several styles of music.

As well as all the positives  from working, playing, and writing with the lady has there been any, not exactly negatives but may be doubts from people towards your solo work  before actually hearing it because of that creative union, their expectations making assumptions about your sound maybe?

I’m sure there would be some people who would be on the fence with just that information but hopefully the music speaks for itself.

As we mentioned earlier you have just released The Power of Three, a contagious rock ‘n’ roll beast of a record, what were your feelings about it and its possible reception compared to your previous solo releases?

I wanted to make an ultimate metal album with all the things I loved. I reached a point with my song writing where everything came together…the old with the new. People like different things. Hopefully that leaves something for everybody down the line. The new material has had the best response for sure.

The album is a multi-flavoured and genre varied inventive temptation which draws plenty of essences from your eclectic work and numerous collaborations over the past years; do you feel that yourself and was it intentional or just an organic evolution?

Most of it was an organic evolution. Sometimes you have to just forget everything and start over

I read somewhere that the album was originally going to be a three part release with acoustic, blues, and metal tracks? If so what changed in your thinking taking it into being an all-out metal and muscular rock adventure?

Monte Pittman bandI had written acoustic songs. I had written heavy songs. I had written blues songs. I made an acoustic EP with Flemming Rasmussen. We made plans to record the heavy songs and the heavy songs kept coming. The flood gates were open. I played what we recorded for Brian Slagel and he signed me to Metal Blade.

You also linked up with Danish producer Flemming Rasmussen for the album, a repeat from your earlier acoustic EP as you just mentioned; how did you first meet and what sparked your creative union?

I met Flemming on a day off when I was on tour in Copenhagen. We stayed in contact and eventually made plans to work together. We did the acoustic EP on another day off when I was back in Copenhagen again.

What is it in particular about the man that helps him connect so potently with your ideas and music to help guide it to the right final place?

He knows when to push you. He knows when to be invisible. He puts you in the right frame of mind for what he’s trying to get out of you. He becomes that next band member that’s there recording you.

Is there a general process you go through when writing your songs and music?

I’ll come up with some guitar riffs and then a melody will stick in my head. Then I find words to fit the melody. I can change one word and it changes the meaning of the song so it’s like you are writing a story.

How would you say your music has evolved over the years and specifically between last album Pain, Love & Destiny and The Power of Three?

I looked at what I needed for my live show. I needed faster and harder songs. That was in the back of my mind for everything I was writing at the time. It all started out with me playing solo acoustic shows on my own and that’s grown to what it is now.

Is there a particular moment or essence within the album which gives you an extra tingle?

Somewhere around “Away From Here”, you can really hear us get comfortable. The album was recorded in the order you hear it. The first song was the first thing we recorded. We all recorded at the same time in the same room. You can feel the excitement throughout the album.

Are you an artist who goes into the studio with finished songs or prefers them to either be born in that situation or certainly evolve into the finished article there?

There should be a little of both. I made a general demo of the whole album but we left room to do whatever we felt like doing right there and then in the studio.

Listening to certain tracks on The Power of Three you get the feeling there is a more carnivorous and heavier sound waiting Monte Pittman 3patiently to break out. Do you feel that yourself and is it a future exploration maybe?

This definitely paves the way to get heavier.

Will this upcoming year be a concentrated time supporting the album live and writing or are there already collaborations and varied projects lined up too?

Getting the word out about this album will take up all my time. (hopefully!) We’re playing the Whisky-A-Go-Go in LA February 22 and we’re about to start adding more.

One of our all-time favourite bands here is Prong who you have played, toured, and written with extensively these past years. How did you link up with the guys and is this an on-going thing including their upcoming tour?

When I first moved to LA, Ivan DePrume introduced me and Tommy Victor. From then on, I would wind up going back and forth between Madonna and Prong. Prong has a killer line up right now and Tommy is working on a new album. They are one of my favorite bands too. I’m happy I got to work with them and I’m always there to help if needed.

A big thank you Monte for taking time out to talk with us, any last thoughts you would like to leave us with?

Thanks for talking with me! Great questions! We did a video for “Before The Mourning Son”. Check that out if you haven’t seen it yet. There are some videos of some of our NAMM performances on YouTube at MontePittmanMusic. Keep checking in at www.montepittman.com

Lastly what are the five most important albums in your inspiration over the years?

- “Master Of Puppets” – Metallica

- “Vulgar Display Of Power” – Pantera

- “Pet Sounds” – The Beach Boys

- “Pink Moon” – Nick Drake

- “Shout At The Devil” – Motley Crue

Read the Power Of Three review @ http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/01/21/monte-pittman-the-power-of-three/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 05/02/2014

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