Akb’al – …Of Darkness and Light

Akbal Online promo shot

    …Of Darkness and Light is one of those encounters which makes a striking initial impression but over time and subsequent journeys unveils and expands into a constantly rewarding and riveting adventure. The creation of Welsh progressive metallers Akb’al, the seven track album soon shows it is much more than that tag suggests, the band exploring and employing resources across a multitude of styles to produce one thoroughly absorbing and provocative experience. The release is not without minor issues, and they are minor but with craft and hunger to seduce and savage across its formidable presence, the band’s debut is an impressive adventure to grow from.

     The seeds of the band began back in 2006 with Michael Young-Temple (vocals, bass, tablas, djembe, didgeridoo and the kaossilator!) who coming to the end of travelling around the world began fusing his experiences and world percussion instrumentation into a more stoner/prog rock and metal bred songwriting. Linking up with Thoby Davis (vocals, guitar, violins) and Rob Miles (guitar, backing vocals, synths), the trio began evolving and expanding Young-Temple’s early ideas. The band was eventually completed with drummer Michael Hourihan, also of Onslaught, and from 2010 set about building a live presence. The Cardiff quartet took little time in making a mark locally and with shows alongside bands such as Ten Cent Toy, Thorun, Chaos Trigger, and Fell on Black Days was soon an established and eagerly followed proposition around their region. Next came a venture into the studio to set about working on…Of Darkness and Light; the result a tempest of imagination and invention and one of the more exciting and compelling entrances so far this year.

     The band bring influences from the likes of Tool, The Doors, and Porcupine Tree through to Kyuss, NIN, Alice in Chains, and Akbal Cover ArtworkCoheed And Cambria into their sound though again certainly they are spices heard but only a slight flavour of what …Of Darkness and Light feeds the senses within. The title track opens up an imaginative and intimidating flight, the track a venture through the dark side of the release’s theme, an exploration of the darkness and light in human reality and state of the mind. Opening female torment within a cloud of pestilential breath coaxes in a shadow drenched bass and guitar incitement, the former heavy and respectfully imposing and the latter a melodic tender heat wrapped in spoken whispers. It is an intriguing and imagination probing invitation which flows into an aggressive and tempestuous oppression of noise and intensity. Merging mellower caresses with menacing sonic rapaciousness the song weaves and entrances the senses with a blend of progressive, nu, and psyche metal for a potent and riveting start.

     The Ride takes over with the same fluidity and mix of dark and light evocations, voracious and magnetic textures easily lying in each other’s arms as the song develops a melodic metal temptation. Again nothing settles into a singular persuasion or attack, bursts of primal agitation vocally and rhythmically punctuating the transfixing melodic wash of the song and great clean vocals. Sonically the track equally ebbs and flows with intimidation and temptation, both fuel to the open invention and craft consuming the ears.

    From the very strong start the album switches up another creative and impacting gear with Totally Recalled and the following Equilibrium.  A muscular rock essence which at times flirts with a Metallica like tempting guides the heavyweight stoner persuasion of the first song, an exhaustive metallic predation united with an infection clad groove just as irresistible and virulent in its ignition of the passions. As with many of the tracks there is a slight familiarity to certain moments but never anything to deter thoughts and emotions from falling greedily into the scintillating feast of sound and enterprise on offer. The track’s successor and new video single from the band is pure magnetism, simply nine minutes of smouldering wanton seduction from its opening melodic notes. Thumping rhythms and a bass snarl is soon stalking the senses whilst another strong and impressive swarm of clean vocal harmonies soak the ears with the equally pleasing lyrical narrative. The song is an unbridled addiction, unveiling a mouthwatering range of grooves and hooks within a flowing evocative soundscape which never relinquishes its hold and immense stature across its epic expanse. Like a mix of KingBathmat and Tricore with a healthy touch of Mishkin to its ingenuity at times, the song is a masterful triumph and the obvious doorway into Akb’al.

     Restless And Waiting is bred from the same bloom of ideas and inventive sculpting as it predecessor but returning the ears to the scavenging causticity of coarse vocals and sonic predation within the melody rich adventure. The song provides a subtler though no less captivating addictiveness with its squalling charms. It imposingly completes a trio of major peaks in the range of lofty highs with the sultry suasion of Pacha Mama stepping up next to take its share of the imagination. A gentler and progressively crafted soar through melody enriched and expression cast sky, the song is a mesmeric and evocative exploration bringing diversity and further acclaim upon the release.

    …Of Darkness and Light closes on the extensive instrumental Light, a lingering invention driven travelogue of emotional reflection and expressive scenery taking in twelve minutes of tantalising continent travelling endeavour. Admittedly like a couple of songs it is a little too long to keep attention as enraptured as it deserves but as mentioned earlier the issue is a minor quibble against the pleasure and enthrallment surrounding the senses. It completes an outstanding encounter from a band in Akb’al, who you can be sure we will hear much more of and in even greater circumstances ahead.

http://www.akbalband.com/

www.facebook.com/Akbalband

9/10

RingMaster 10/02/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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The new AKB’AL album,’…Of Darkness and Light’, uncaged on 10th February

Akbal Online promo shot
PROGRESSIVE NOISE CHIEFS AKBAL RELEASE EXCITING ALBUM!
With an extensive cluster of intriguing influences spanning from Tool, The Doors and Porcupine tree, to Kyuss, NIN, Alice in Chains and Coheed And Cambria, Akb’al have served up a genuinely exhilarating piece of progressive rock that tips its hat to experimental metal in passing. Akb’al release “…Of Darkness And Light…” on Monday 10th February 2014 through all national outlets.
Akb’al began as a concept back in 2006 when Michael Young-Temple (Vocals, Bass, Tablas, Djembe, Didgeridoo and the Kaossilator!) was coming to the end of a long spell travelling around the world. Initially, his songwriting focussed on the key elements of stoner/prog rock and metal; however due to his experiences from his extensive exploration, he soon introduced world percussion instrumentation into the equation. Michael took these songs to his musical contemporaries, Thoby Davis (Vocals, Guitar, Violins) and Rob Miles (Guitar, Backing Vocals, Synths), and together the trio further sculptured and elaborated on Michael’s early ideas. The band soon recruited long-time friend and current Onslaught tub-thumper Michael Hourihan to play drums, who added extra power and depth to the band’s already established sound.
After further tweaking their sound Akb’al hit the stage in 2010, and since then, the wide-reaching four-piece have extensively played throughout Wales, racking up shows with Ten Cent Toy, Thorun, Chaos Trigger and Fell on Black Days along the way. After firmly establishing themselves regionally, the band headed into the studio to work on their debut album “…Of Darkness and Light…”. The quartet came out of the studio armed with a killer album. Packing seven stunning cuts, the record showcases experimental ambient texturing and engaging soundscapes underpinned by cutting hard rock and thoughtful metal undertones, all bonded together to take you on a progressive journey that will truly inspire and ignite. The album is set loose this February; look for the new video single ‘Equilibrium’ out soon. Also, head on over to the band’s Facebook page for show updates.
- AKB’AL RELEASE ‘OF DARKNESS AND LIGHT’ ON MONDAY 10th FEBRUARY 2014 –
Akbal Cover Artwork

The February Coma – Light It Up EP

The February Coma

Hailing from Flint, Michigan and consisting of vocalist/guitarist Jim Miller and drummer Jason Rood, alternative rock duo The February Coma is a bit of a mystery other than that, Their bio, apart from listing the likes of Alkaline Trio, Billy Talent, The Black Keys, QOTSA, NIN, Silverchair, and Jack White as artists the pair have a liking for, gives little away outside of the basics. Their new EP Light It Up is another matter, the three track release revealing a band which is soaked in potential and imagination. The EP like the band’s sound is definitely work in progress and comes with a few limitations but the promise and satisfaction produced by the accomplished release only goes to awaken a certain appetite for the band.

Released via Honyock Records, the Light It Up EP opens with its title track and instantly through the gritty riffs and punchy rhythms steals attention its way. There is a riveting groove to the song which wraps keenly around the ear whilst a heavy bass tone unleashes a deeper coaxing. It is a strong start which is tested slightly by the vocals of Miller, his punkish tones not always holding notes and fluency as tightly as you would wish or as engagingly as the song needs. Nevertheless the track rumbles along with 67401potent musical lures and heavy rock tempting which though it holds no major surprises provides plenty of bait to get the imagination into and emotions stoked by.

The following Red also opens with a strongly appealing beckoning of guitar, it’s almost grinding riffery an immediate captivation complimented by the tempered rhythms of Rood and a better balance of vocals. As the first song it does not quite explode into action as expected but does leave another healthy enticement of sonic endeavour and melodic enterprise, offering plenty to suspect a robust future for the band as they and their sound evolves into a more individual presence. The strongest track on the EP, it captivates from start to finish with a blues kissed guitar craft and infectious riffery which impresses throughout.

The closing Shed A Tear slips into a slower gait though punctuates its roaming with bursts of sonic flame and emotive energy. Again there is seemingly a spark missing which prevents it greedily rampaging in the passions but equally with excellent guitar play from Miller it grips a level of attention and satisfaction which sculpts a big impression in thoughts.

As stated earlier band and sound is definitely still emerging as a presence and identity with arguably a fair way yet to go but Light It Up shows that the band is undoubtedly on the right course and armed with all that is needed to provide a wealth of greater encounters in the future. With attention to the vocals needed, whether from Miller or with all respect to the musician by the addition of a third member in that department, The February Coma with their latest release sets themselves up as a proposition well worth keeping a keen eye on; definitely expect to hear more good things from them ahead.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-February-Coma/574401329245156

6.5/10

RingMaster 30/12/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Vajra: Pleroma

Having already been captured by Vajra through their track Inside The Flame which was featured on The Bone Orchard Radio Show, there was a lot of biting at the bit hoping to have the chance to hear and review their debut album Pleroma. From that song alone our anticipation and expectations were probably unjustly high not that it was a problem as the album simply blew everything imagined away. It is aural majesty, a beautifully crafted and emotively driven piece of wonder. Admittedly the list for album of the year candidates is longer than the waiting list at an NHS hospital but Vajra are there at the fore with their stunning introduction to the world.

The seeds of Vajra began with its founder composer, singer and multi-instrumentalist, Annamaria Pinna during her self-imposed exile in India. The daughter of a former monk and school teacher, Annamaria was encouraged to look at, learn about, and question assumptions about the world including her own, her creativity and music borne from and continuing that premise. She also has a neurological condition called synesthesia, which results in one sensory stimulation opening a secondary involuntary experience, in the case of Annamaria she attaches colour and shapes to sound.  How it impacts on her songwriting one cannot imagine but certainly her music is nothing less than enlightened imagination and melodic mastery.

With sell out gigs including shows at The Bowery Ballroom, The Mercury Lounge and The Bowery Electric in NYC, licensing deals with The Discovery Network, MTV, Showtime and Bravo, and their music being played across 200 radio stations nationwide in the US and of course across the internet, Vajra is on an unrelenting rise. Alongside Annamaria bringing her vision and music to realisation upon Pleroma, there are the skills and talent of drummer Blake Fleming (ex-The Mars Volta), bassist Doug Wright (The Dirty Pearls), and guitarist Will Dahl (ex-Harley’s War), together the quartet exploring and expanding the passions of progressive rock and welcoming hearts.

The theme of Pleroma is an exploration in paradoxes (east vs. west, soft vs. pummelling, female vs. male), with songs which are enveloping and inciteful suns of melodic rock woven with Eastern Indian themes and sounds. Grammy-award winner, Sylvia Massy (Tool, System of A Down, Prince, Johnny Cash) co-produced and mixed the tracks whilst mastering was handled by Tom Baker (NIN, Foo Fighters, Ministry, Prince), the resulting understanding and clarity as important as the invention within.

The album opens with the wonderful Inside The Flame, a song which wraps its tender arms around the senses with melodic beauty whilst squeezing throughout with anthemic intensity to increase the wanton pleasure. It opens on a brewing atmosphere, slightly haunting but soon with shadows lit by bobbing bass tones, fiery guitar play, and the stunning voice of Annamaria. Her voice is that of an angel and devil combined, her tones warm caresses or heated squalls forged with feisty and forceful power. The song itself rises and ebbs throughout, always with a sirenesque call no matter if consuming the heart with subtle whispers or blood surging sonic anthem. The bass of Wright is glorious, a moody and prowling presence whilst the rhythms of Fleming ignite all primal and instinctive urges and passions.

As mentioned the song was a deeply rooted fever before the album so a fall was a possibility from then on in but no chance. The following Almost One slowly treads its way through the ear with shimmering keys behind the provoking bass and precise guitar touches. Once more the vocals lead to drifting thoughts and imagination as the lyrical content is unveiled with heart and expertise. Though not as dramatic as the first track the song is an absorbing melodic summer which heats and thrills evenly across the senses.

The darkly ambient instrumental India makes way for the immense Blind, a song which prowls with layers of rippling muscle and explosive sonic heat. It is a towering piece of vision and creativity, its heart a pulsating living passion driven with brooding rhythms, evolving flaming guitar juice from Dahl, and showers of golden vocal harmonies and feeling. It is irresistible, a sunspot of aural wonder veined with spires of intensity.

Pleroma just moves from one slice of majesty to another, every track a perfect combination of ingenuity, sounds, thought, and heart. The likes of the evocative Intuition with its hypnotic heartbeat, the smouldering 3.14, and See Through, a song which sways and glistens with crystalline delight within its firm breath, lead one down further diverse roads of sound and thought to the same result, total joy.

Closing on the magnetic lure of The Apple, a shifting storm of building emotion and energy, Pleroma is quite glorious. Its soundscape is a perpetual emotion generating journey of expression, reflection, and investigation. At times it is a shadowed meditation and in others a towering fire of spiritual might which flames with burning passion. It is extraordinary and wholly delicious. The last line of their bio states ‘Vajra’s music will leave you spellbound’. Hell Yeah!

http://www.thevajratemple.com/

RingMaster 17/09/2012

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Interview with Johnny Virum of Virus Cycle

Though our introduction to Boston electro/industrial metallers Virus Cycle started with the remix album Return to Zombieland and moved backwards to their debut Alice In Zombieland it was immediate that the band was one which was bold in its exploration and pushing of the ever evolving boundaries within what we will loosely call industrial music and equally imaginative. Drawing post-apocalyptic soundscapes ruled by the soulless carcasses of the living dead Virus Cycle create inventive and intrusive experiences to ignite and consume the senses. Needing to find out more about the band and their sounds we had the pleasure to fire questions at band founder and multi instrumentalist/vocalist Johnny Virum.

Hello and welcome to The Ringmaster Review

How are things in the world of Johnny Virum?

In one word: BUSY!  We have so much going on in the world of Virus Cycle.  We’re working on the post-production of our new album, playing dates on our …The Dead Are Among Us! Tour 2012, and working on bringing Bluntface Records to the forefront of the industrial music scene.

Tell us about you the man.

Not much to tell really, just a guy who loves horror movies and writes music about it.  My music runs the gamut from industrial all the way to classical music. I also like to think of myself as a history buff – I like it so much I got a bachelors degree in it (which has absolutely nothing to do with the music business, lol).

What are the origins of the band?

Virus Cycle started in 2011 after the dissolution of my previous project back in 2009.

What was the inspiration or stimulus which brought Virus Cycle into reality?

I had been out of the music scene for around two years and wanted to start a project that was pure in its originality, but at the same time, something that would be able to stand toe-to-toe with the sound that has evolved into what is now the norm of the industrial scene today.  I created what could be considered a branch off that sound: Post-Apocalyptic Industrial Zombie Tech. It falls somewhere between industrial, aggrotech and metal.

You have been creating music long before Virus Cycle, has it always been in the same general genre as now?

Virus Cycle is much more experimental and more industrial than my past projects.  Before Virus Cycle, my projects had a lot of programming but were more towards the genre of goth-metal.  I feel I can take more chances in this new project and not be as worried about something not “fitting” into the genre norm.

What are the major influences which have had an influence on your music and invention?

There are many influences when it comes to Virus Cycle’s sound.  When it comes to guitar, it’s very similar to bands like Orgy, The Birthday Massacre and White Zombie.  I use a nasty fuzz pedal with a ring modulator in it from the 90’s.  I love the sound of the ring modulation.  When it comes to vocals, I have many influences but I try to make it my own as much as I can because today everyone sounds the same when it comes to industrial music.  On the new album Skinny Puppy, The Smashing Pumpkins and Cradle of Filth were influences.  When it comes to programming synths and drums, I go for my own sound all the way around. However a big influence for programming is John Ruszin from Carfax Abbey, Collinwood 13 and Sys2matik 0vrl0ad.  In every project he does he is consistent to his own sound.  I love that.

The band name comes from the movie 28 Days Later and you use many samples and film influences to shape and flavour your songs and overall themes. Does one come before the other when creating a song, i.e. do you bring the film imagery and sounds into already composed music?

Yes, that’s what we do. I write all the music first and when I’m done with that, then it’s time to relax for a week or two and watch horror movies while picking out sound clips and writing lyrics.

What is your way of working when writing music?

First I start with the programming.  It usually goes drums, synths, guitar, vocals, then sound clips.  After that, I usually go back and forth changing and tweaking things until it works for me.

Last year saw the release of firstly Alice in Zombieland and in the latter part of 2011 Return to Zombieland. Tell us first about Alice in Zombieland and its overall premise.

The premise of the album revolves around Alice, who is lost in a post-apocalyptic land overrun with flesh-eaters.  The album is really a journey of human survival in a world of the undead.

How long was the album in the making?

The album was in the making for about a year, which was great because I could go back and nitpick as much as I wanted.

We felt the songs within it had some eighties to early nineties flavouring, would you agree with that?

Alice in Zombieland was sort of an experimental album.  For many years I have been a fan of old industrial bands like Skinny Puppy, KMFDM, White Zombie, Throbbing Gristle and old NIN so I felt compelled to record an album that sounded like it was done in 1990.  I wanted to get a realistic feel so I recorded it on a four-track Tascam tape recorder and didn’t over-master it.

Return to Zombieland was a collection of re-mixes from notable artists as well as two new Virus Cycle tracks. Let us first talk about that pair of songs Bring You Down (Forever) and City Of The Dead which with no disrespect to the other people and tracks involved were the highlight of the album. Are the songs representatives of what we will find on the new album you are currently working on?

Yes and no.  The recording of those two songs was a learning experience for me and Otto Kinzel.  This was the first time we worked together in a studio setting, so we got to know how the other worked as well as what worked for us both in the collaboration process.   We came up with many cool tricks in those sessions that will become Virus Cycle staples such as the guitar texture and layering process. The drum programming is going to be totally different on the new album. Instead of just using a simple 4-4 type drum machine sound, I am using both electronic and acoustic drum kits and more “technically complicated patterns” (as Otto describes them) that are going to be nice and layered.

How would you say the songs have evolved from those on your first album?

The songs are a lot more organized, the sound quality is much better, and I feel that it’s a much more cohesive product.

As many of your tracks they both create a thick and enveloping atmosphere, is that aspect carefully crafted or something which organically evolves as your bring your songs to life?

The songs for the most part evolve into a shape all their own.  I like to layer and incorporate many different sounds that contrast one another.  Before the song is ready, it’s pulled apart and changed so many times before the final product is complete.

The rest of the album as mentioned is cover versions of songs from your debut. What inspired the album in the first place?

I have met a lot of awesome musicians while doing this new project, and I really love their sounds.  I thought that if I could do a remix album, I could introduce some of these bands that I have grown to love to my fan base and show them how much more these artists could contribute to my work. In many cases, some of the remixes on Return to Zombieland I enjoyed just as much as the originals.

Did you go to people or they come to you about re-mixing your music?

It was a combination of both, actually.

Our favourites were a couple from Lykquydyzer, friends of the site Ghost In The Static, and Otto Kinzel, who as you mentioned has since become a full contributor to Virus Cycle. We know him from his great work with Chemical Distance, how did you two meet and what led to the full creative union?

Otto had played in many bands throughout the New England area for many years. I never actually met him, but I knew of him from being in the same scene and having mutual acquaintances. I was working on the remix album and he ended up doing a remix of White Zombie that blew me away.  So when I recorded the two new songs for Return to Zombieland, I asked him if he wanted to produce them.  He did and ended up adding some programming and played bass as well.  On the new album, he is producing and playing bass.  He has been working just as hard on this new album as I have. He is a pro and it works out so well because it’s such a relaxed atmosphere between the both of us since we both understand what needs to be done and we don’t get too hung up on timeframes so we can get the best product we can, which takes time.

The band has also joined Bluntface Records, what difference if any has that made to the new album you are working on?

I am so ecstatic to be a member of Bluntface Records. The label works very hard to promote their musicians and projects all over the world.  It’s truly an international label with some artists not even based in the US.  The main difference with working with a label versus being independent is that before, you only had yourself to rely on; now it’s more of a team effort which is a lot of help because it expands your reach. It’s also cool to be able to believe in the label that you are on. So the easy answer is musically it didn’t change the album but it is going to change how it is marketed.

Could you give as any idea about the new album and is it a continuation of your Post-Apocalyptic /Zombie theme?

It definitely is. There are a few songs that deal with topics such as human emotion and witchcraft, which is a little different from the past two albums.  However, the new album lyrically as a whole is what you would come to expect from a Virus Cycle album: a very catchy chorus and verses that tell a story.

Do you have a date in mind for its release?

The new album will probably be released this fall on Bluntface Records (shameless label plug). Right now, the album doesn’t have a title as of yet.

The past months have also seen the band sharing stages with The Ludovico Technique and Mindless Self Indulgence. Both must have been great opportunities to spread ‘the virus’, haha sorry couldn’t resist.

It was haha. I was so happy to share the stage with both bands. The Ludovico Technique is a very hard-working band.  One of their major attributes is that they have a very unique sound and don’t try to conform to every other aggrotech schtick out there. And what can I say about MSI – they are legends!  We were so ecstatic to get the news that we would be sharing the main stage with them.  They have one of the most devoted fan bases in music today. There was about 400- 600 people at that show!

How does the live aspect differ to the studio for you in creating your atmospheric soundscapes?

Whenever I start writing, I make at a major point to only create stuff that will transfer over well in a live environment.  I hate to say it, but sometimes the more simpler something is, the better it sounds live.

We both have a mutual love of zombies themes and zombie movies I feel, so before we go what is your feeling about the TV show The Walking Dead, is it dark enough for you?

I have only seen the first season of the show, but it’s really cool so far. It reminds me a lot of Romero’s movies.

Thank you for sparing time to talk with us, very much appreciated.

Would you like to leave with some final words and maybe your favourite movie or line from a movie, or even one of your songs?

I’m not going to tell you what movie it’s from since everyone should know. I have seen this move a million times since the age of 5, and I still get chills when Ken Foree says, “When there is no more room in hell the dead will walk the earth.”

Read the Return to Zombieland review http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2012/06/16/virus-cycle-return-to-zombieland/

The Ringmaster Review 26/06/2012

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Defeat: Outbursts!

Having treated us already this year to the impressive releases from the like of Ghost In The Static and MiXE1, Static Distortion Records now introduce us to electro/industrial duo Defeat through their deeply striking Outbursts! EP. The release offers a quartet of electro/harsh EBM/industrial shaded songs with infectious melodic pop pulsations throughout. The EP mixes all elements into a sometimes crawling, often insatiable, and consistently a welcomingly lingering contagion which leaves its mark long after departure for the fullest satisfaction.

Defeat is Hertfordshire based Anthony Matthews (Voice) and Gary Walker (Synthetics), a pair of school friends who came together to create in the description upon their bio music which is ‘Atmosphere, Angst and Rhythm’ in the mould of Nitzer Ebb, 242, FLA, Depeche Mode, Gary Numan and NIN.’ That pretty much sums it up though it only gives some of the full flavour the duo has creates on Outbursts!

Opener and lead song for the release, with a video for it due soon, is Parasite, a track which instinctively accelerates an addiction with electronic hooks which have a beckoning lure and effect like silver to a magpie. The track slowly exhales its musical breath initially with a metallic call before winding up its electro heartbeat with surging pulses of sonic light. Once the almost dour low key vocals of Matthews come in within an almost restrained energy the song immediately reminds of Fad Gadget, Matthews and the shadowed atmosphere created especially reminding of the inspirational work of Frank Tovey. The song gets more excitable with eager energy and catchy electro hooks whilst the enthused surge teasing as it progresses only adds to reinforce the Fad Gadget comparison and ignite a deeper delight, the mesmeric mix of dark and lit shadows irresistible.

The title track makes its presence known next with opening thumping beats and a belligerent bass toned electro spine taunting the ear. Crescendos of frenetic melodic eruptions erupt throughout and fuel the chorus, sparking against the darkened intensity brewing from the core of the song. The track beings a flavouring of Joy Division, NIN, and Depeche Mode to stalk the sound excellently and though not as openly inviting as the opener is equally as irresistible and impressive.

How Pathetic and Bored complete the line-up of what is quite simply an impressively crafted and outstandingly thrilling EP. The first of the pair is a track spilling attitude and contempt from every note, beat, and syllable. Its agitated melodic core energy is niggly and caustically explosive at times especially when speared by the bulging and throbbing intermittent dark surge of sound. Spiteful and twisting gleefully in its own venom the track is anthemic and uncontrollably contagious. The closing track is a more soothing and warm song, well that is the initial impression it gives and though it still retains a discordant beauty and darkened harmonious presence throughout it is just as shadowed and emotionally scarred as those before it. The track soars to great heights of light and heated sonics at times but always there is the distressed undercurrent to bring a hypnotic balance.

Outbursts! is an instant and undeniable proof that electro and industrial music in The UK is on a definite rise with bands like Defeat and others brought by Static Distortion Records as examples, leading the way with quality and inventive imagination. Defeat will become a major player in their genre, Outbursts! the evidence.

http://www.defeatmusic.com

http://staticdistortionrecords.co.uk/album/outbursts

RingMaster 15/06/2012

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MiXE1: Module 02

When the debut EP from UK electro rock band MiXE1 was unveiled in 2010 there was more than mere interest set in motion for any future releases. Module 01 was a haunting and vibrant collection of tracks offering much promise ahead whilst at the time lighting up thoughts and emotions with its warm enveloping sounds. A free single last year in A Spark In The Air only strengthened the eagerness for more with word of a follow up EP set for 2012 the trigger for even more enthused and impatient waiting. Module 02 does not disappoint, a four song release it brings an evolution in sound and invention with all the essences and imagination that first captivated still on board.

     MiXE1 is the solo project of Hatfield based songwriter Mike Evans. Having played in an alternative metal band he reached a point where he wanted to express himself in a different way and turned to electronic music, a genre that had already engaged his tastes. The project which became MiXE1 allowed him to find a more positive energy and area to express himself within, bringing a contrast to the darker sounds and lyrics which were borne from his previous band. It was a move as by the evidence of his releases which has openly inspired his creativity, the new release being no exception but a further step forward in his vision, songwriting and its realisation.

The EP immediately lights up the senses with opener This Is Not Goodbye, synths and dazzling swarms of sound wrapping around the ear with a tender embrace. With an emerging throbbing pulse the song spreads deeper into the head as the vocals of Evans, smooth and mesmeric soak the music in dazzling harmonies and care. Swaying within its warmth one is then thrust into a frenzy of aggressive guitars, vocals, and blistering intensity.  It creates the perfect union of extremes and continually unpredictable glories, offering a NIN/ Celldweller like feel with bursts of Sonic Syndicate. That is simplifying it as it has a uniqueness and freshness that is MiXE1 alone. It is the best track on Module 2, a sure and persistent companion to share time with though the other three songs that stir within the EP are just as compulsive.

Your Heart Is The Beat starts with the unlocking of the song, its grace and flow emerging from shadows into the limelight of the ear with a heated grace and hypnotic energy. Emotive and seemingly personal through passion and heart the song is a wave of summer warmth splintered with flashes of harshness which ignites even deeper veined satisfaction. Electro pop with a Visage like breath the track is a wonderful excuse to visit inner thoughts and emotions with an understanding soundtrack.

Do You Know continues the feeling with more eighties electro flavouring though it reminds more of John Foxx led Ultravox with its underlying rock edge. Another song with euphoric depth to it the irresistible pleasure lifts the lowest spirit and any darkly shadowed emotion with caring imagination and evocative thought coated in infectious harmonies and soaring melodies.

The release is completed by the impassioned Never Been Gone, a far reaching atmospheric mist of emotion spotted with falling sonic glittering and the tenderness of electronic enveloping. Once more Evans brings textures to the music which makes each dip into its sea of sounds fresh and deeply rewarding. The song invites one to lie back and let it take them through their own journey of memories, thoughts, and feelings, the wonderful sounds an understanding companion.

Released June 16th on Static Distortion Records, Module 02 is a stunning result of an artist who has found a full well of imagination and craft within music he is relatively speaking still fresh to and it harbours even greater promise for a planned debut album ahead. Just to be picky one would say more guitar and more of the metallic abrasion on that please, but if it is as good as this EP, we will take anything MiXE1 brings with relish.

RingMaster 196/05/2012

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