Mongrel – Evolution

MONGREL - Evolution - front cover - scaled

Towards the end of last year US punk metallers Mongrel released the single Snakes to provide a very appetising taster for their next EP whilst simultaneously reconfirming themselves as unique and passionate provocateurs of antagonistic punk rock and dirty metal. The band now unleashes that highly anticipated Evolution EP, a release which surely places them on the precipice of a well-deserved intensive world spread spotlight. Sealing a spot on an impending cover mounted CD of the renowned Terrorizer magazine as well, The Boston quartet are poised to make the next big step in recognition. It is an ascent their releases have threatened to spark for the past couple of years but it is easy to feel and expect that Evolution will be the potent fuse that achieves the breakthrough.

Formed in 2003 by guitarist Adam Savage, Mongrel has earned themselves the reputation of one of the hardest working and increasingly acclaimed bands in the underground of metal and punk rock. Each one of their releases has thrust the band on another lofty step though it was the addition of vocalist Jessica Sierra in 2010 where things truly clicked into place and the arguably dormant fire in their already impressive sound and presence erupted. From The New Breed of Old School EP of that year through the following Declamation EP in 2011, there was a new potency and venom on the grooves, hooks, and rhythms which core Mongrels’ invention. Alongside these successes the band live has earned a reputation most bands could only dream of, their sharing of stages with the likes of GWAR, Korn, Otep, Sepultura, Prong, Halestorm, Wednesday13, Fu Manchu, Dizzy Reed, Misfits FEAR, Blitzkid, Trashlight Vision, Michale Graves, Mindset X and hordes more garnering tides of fans and recognition. The Reclamation album of 2012 saw the band ascend to new heights in songwriting and imagination which now Evolution pushes further forward. Recorded with Jim Foster (POD, Nullset, Sully Erna), mixed by Dave Fortman (Slipknot, Evanescence, Godsmack), and mastered by Howie Weinberg, (Metallica, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pantera), the EP is a stirring anthemic brawl which is as contagious and addictive as it is raw and lyrically uncompromising.

Snakes opens things up and as soon as the initial controlled blaze of guitar from Savage hits the ears there is a sense of impending infection which is soon confirmed by the crisp beats of drummer Mike Hogan and even more so by the riveting vocals of Sierra. With the pulsating bass groan from Michael Ariza added to the mix, the song is rapidly into a potent stride heading towards its virulently compelling chorus. The band takes little time in enslaving the imagination, treating it further with a seamless drift into a smouldering sultry passage with emotive guitar rubs and a glow to the voice of Sierra, a lady who seems to own ears, thoughts, and songs whether she is roaring with antagonism or seducing like a temptress. Building up its energy and passions throughout the lighter flight, the song creates a dramatic crescendo of a finale which leaves appetite licking lips and emotions looking at a lustful hunger.

Mongrel have a certain distinct sound which never deceives its source but within that the band with Evolution seems to be exploring their punk side this time around, the first song giving a major hint which the following Oxygen Mask elaborates on within a still heavily insatiable metal toxicity. An acidic groove hits ears first, though rhythms and a great gritty bassline is courting its coaxing. Pulled together by the commanding vocals, the track twists through a predatory intensity and gait, Savage spearing the air with metallic vines of sonic bait. Persistently turning with singular moments for the bass and guitars to flirt with ears, the song recalls essences of Siouxsie and the Banshees, certainly if they had embraced metal. Imposing but respectfully forceful the track backs up the immense start easily even if without matching its heady heights.

That first plateau is equalled by Consumed; a deliciously abrasive enticement of caustic hooks and senses burrowing grooves. Guitars worm under the skin within seconds with rhythms swinging punches soon after, the combination a hungry platform for the dark hearted bass sounds and rich vocals to colour their canvas. Unleashing a swagger to match the almost brutal energy, the song stomps with epidemic irresistibility, those spiteful grooves especially inescapable whilst sonic hues sculpted by Savage in an engrossing solo provide further rigorous colour to the outstanding incitement.

Best Revenge has the hard task to follow the triumph which it does with a rawer hostile punk enticement, the bass finding a carnivorous throat to its presence and the guitar a combative attitude to its riffs and squalling flames. Once again though it is caged by great controlled rhythm work by Hogan and led by the expressive might of Sierra. The track is not as immediate as others on Evolution but emerges as another pinnacle with punk nostrils flaring and metallic muscles challenging.

The release is concluded with another sizeable success with the riotously catchy Over And Over. An addiction forging bassline sparks ears first before riffs and rhythms cascade upon the lure to build a rampant canter of punk rock. Hooks and grooves from both stringed antagonists grip with a constant temptation whilst Sierra swings syllables and intent into their barbed scenery with the expected but never under-appreciated skill and passion she brews. It is an exhilarating conclusion to a tremendous encounter, leaving ears, thoughts, and passions bursting with greed for more.

Guiding their sound to a side step in many ways from that taking Reclamation to such heights, Evolution stands side by side with its predecessor’s undoubted success and quality, though with a heart for well-crafted punk rock if pushed the EP shades it. What is clear for all though is that Mongrel just goes from strength to strength whilst evolving with a constant flair and voraciously appetising enterprise. It really is about time the band was known worldwide and Evolution might just be the trigger.

Evolution is available on iTunes on May 20th and via all major online retailers and streaming services from June 3rd with physical copies available through Mongrel, Unable Records and Amazon.

http://www.MongrelBand.com

http://mongrel.bandcamp.com

9.5/10

RingMaster 16/05/2014

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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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

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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Monte Pittman – The Power of Three

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    It has to be admitted that approaching The Power of Three, the new album from Monte Pittman there was more uncertainty and doubting expectations than intrigue nudging thoughts. Not having heard his previous solo albums but well aware of his work as long time guitarist for Madonna, encroaching fears wrongly but still with strong whispering made their suspicions known. The fact that the release was on Metal Blade Records allayed some of the dubiety but as always the proof is in the pudding and what a towering feast of adventure and heavyweight metal the release emerged to be. Unleashing obviously hearty and instinctive metallic tendencies aligned to a creative passion, the album is a storming blaze of multi-flavoured sinew driven rock, a magnificent triumph which employs the artist’s musical exploits in numerous styles into one enthused and rigorous explosive treat.

     Hailing from Longview, Texas Pittman’s career can be said to have started its upward ascent once he left a local music store was working in after moving to Los Angeles to begin teaching guitar, though the band Myra Mains he was part of before leaving had already seen some success with their shows and two albums. His third student was British filmmaker Guy Ritchie who wanted lessons after receiving a guitar from then girlfriend Madonna. This led to the musician giving lessons to the lady too which was followed by an invitation to join her on stage at the David Letterman Show to promote her album, Music. Since then Pittman has played guitar on all of Madonna’s live tours, the first being the 2001 Drowned World Tour, and her albums as well as sharing writing credits on some of her songs. Adding to that the guitarist has also played with and co-wrote many songs on the Scorpio Rising and Power of the Damager albums from metallers Prong, as well as on their 100% Live release. Additionally working with the likes of Adam Lambert, Melanie C, and Sophie Ellis-Bextor it has to be said that Pittman has had a rather eclectic background leading up to the new album. In that time he also released two solo albums, acoustic solo The Deepest Dark of 2009 and acclaimed rock album Pain, Love & Destiny two years later, a Kickstarter funded release which raised $65,500 making him the top rock musician raising the most money on the crowd-funding platform at that time. Late 2012 saw the appearance of M.P.3: The Power Of Three, Pt. 1, an acoustic EP which marked the first union of a new working relationship with Danish producer Flemming Rasmussen (Master Of Puppets). Last year Pittman with drummer Kane Ritchotte and bassist Max Whipple travelled to Copenhagen to record the new album with Rasmussen producing, a record which now leaves passions lit and imagination ignited.

     As soon as the opening song, A Dark Horse emerges from a strongly coaxing acoustic guitar lure within a crackling ambience, Monte Pittman - The Power of Threeany previous concerns are sent flying. Rampaging riffs and equally rapacious rhythms are soon flying through the ear with adrenaline spewing from every note. Soon settling into a slightly calmer surge the excellent clean vocals of Pittman adds another dimension to the rampant heavy rock offering whilst a grunge air lays over the more restrained elements of the track, an Alice In Chains lilt soaking the melodic rock enterprise which seduces with every twist and sonic turn. Though arguably the track is not setting a ground-breaking endeavour it leaves senses and emotions breathless with a craft and enthralling energy which simply scintillates from start to finish.

     The following Delusions of Grandeur takes intensity and heat up a few notches with a much more predatory and inciting air to its invasive and riveting breath. Bass and drums rap and snarl respectively with a near bestial rabidity but it is tempered by the impressive vocals and sonic seduction going on around their jaws. The band forge a contagious union of the dark and carnivorous tones of the song’s intent with its melodic beauty and creative flaming, the guitar play of Pittman as impressive and mouthwatering as the raptorial enterprise provided by his colleagues.

    The immense start is easily met by firstly the addiction sculpting Everything’s Undone and the following Blood Hungry Thirst. The first of the two is a rock pop gem, a potent anthemic enticement which reaps the best essences of the Foo Fighters and QOTSA into its own fiery wind of invention and majesty. There is still a growl and sturdiness which intimidates and badgers welcomingly within the lighter yet heated master-class though helping to provide rock pop alchemy at its best and setting a new bar for the album which its successor sniffs at and rampages over with a heavier raptorial urgency and weight whilst simultaneously matching the impressive melodic infectiousness and invention of its predecessor.

    Riding a delicious moody bassline, vocals and nagging riffs bring On My Mind to vibrant life, the song another virulently contagious slab of rock ‘n’ roll. In many ways the song and some of the album reminds of nineties UK rock band Skyscraper, both able to lay a web of hooks and melodic allurements which simply grip and linger with pure imagination. The song makes way for Away from Here, a track where returning almost carnal riffs and basslines gnaw away at the senses whilst melodic resourcefulness alongside thrilling toxic grooves and hooks reap even stronger allegiance to their calls.

    After such a towering run maybe it was to be expected that a slight dip would ensue and despite moments of bordering on brutal riffery and corrosive bass snarling Before the Mourning Son with its dominate melodic croon does fail to ignite like the previous songs. It is still a track though which you can only welcome and constantly return to with its exploratory enterprise and stunning craft.  End of the World which follows is the same, a melodically smouldering song which seduces and invites an emotive reflection through its warm embrace and though like the previous one is impressive and wholly persuasive it just had too tall an order to match up to.

After the again AIC sounding and richly satisfying Missing, the album closes with the thirteen minute All Is Fair in Love and War, an extensive and creatively intensive track with seemingly as many styles employed as the number of fingers working in a four man bobsleigh team. The song is an unrelenting landscape of unpredictability and absorbing emprise but a track which arguably offers too much never allowing the senses and imagination to settle in and fully absorb all of its mastery. At times the track is majestic but too often in its debatably over long length the switches and turns of the song do not flow or sit as comfortably alongside each other as you would wish, the guttural stretch of vocals which break lose mid-away an example and definitely a no-no for personal tastes.

      The Power of Three is quite simply an extraordinary storm of imagination and artistic adventure which throws assumptions forcibly back in the face to provide one of the early rock pinnacles of the year.

http://montepittman.com

9/10

Ringmaster 21/01/2014

 Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Mongrel – Snakes

Mongrel

The first release since the outstanding Reclamation album of 2012, US punk metallers Mongrel unleash their new single Snakes and continue to set new standards for themselves and aspiring rock/metal bands. Taking from their upcoming Evolution EP which is slated for an early 2014 release, the new track employs all the renowned and expected inventive and addictive aspects of the band but gives them a new fire to burn explosively within further exploration from the band and their songwriting. As anthemic and contagious as you would expect from the Boston quartet, Snakes reinforces the hunger of their fans for their bruising, riotous sounds whilst laying down plenty of bait to recruit new greedy hearts.

Formed in 2003 by guitarist Adam Savage, Mongrel has over the years evolved into a highly sought after live band and a formidably potent studio encounter with a wealth of releases strikingly marking their steady and continual rise. Since forming the band has laid waste to stages alongside the like of GWAR, Korn, Otep, Sepultura, Prong, Halestorm, Wednesday13, Fu Manchu, Dizzy Reed, and the Misfits numerous times as well as touring with others such as FEAR, Blitzkid, Trashlight Vision, and Michale Graves, all the time continually drawing acclaim. Equally from the start their releases have lit up the passions of fans as well as the independent airwaves, the band a regular on the likes of shows at http://www.Audioburger.com and The Bone Orchard podcast, but it is fair to say that the full potency and heart of the band exploded when they enticed vocalist Jessica Sierra into the fold, her snarling vocal beauty igniting something lying dormant in the band with previous frontmen. Through The New Breed of Old School and Declamation EPs on to Reclamation, Mongrel has grown and evolved into an intensive and magnetic force which Snakes only elevates further.

The single wastes no time in tempting the ears as the guitar of Savage skilfully strokes the extremities with his inviting riffs, its call soon a0370760246_2joined by a pulsating bass call from Michael Ariza and the crisp beats provided by drummer Mike Hogan. Settling into an open temptation, the power and thrust of the song is taken up another level as Sierra punches the lyrical intent forcibly and melodically into the imagination. All the while there is a reserved but persistent groove which wages seduction upon the senses throughout the song, it enticing greater passion and hunger from the listener and it is fair to say that at this point the single has submission already in its hands. This is not enough though it seems as the instigator then shifts seamlessly into an evocative and intimidating yet smouldering flame of sonic endeavour and emotive persuasion which has the band pushing their boundaries and ideas without losing their core energy and intensity. The moment is brief but potent and makes for a building step for the final adrenaline lit finale. There is a certain pop punk element to Snakes which arguably has not appeared before with Mongrel and it is a refreshing move brought with craft and adventure which avoids eroding any of the band’s confrontation and  inciting invention.

It is hard not to be excited and full of impatient anticipation for the Evolution EP thanks to Snakes, but the wait will be relatively short and the single ensuring the time is well fed with its incendiary exploits. A name your own price release at Mongrel’s Bandcamp profile, the single is the perfect invitation for those new to one of metal’s best ‘undiscovered secrets’.

http://www.mongrelband.com/

http://mongrel.bandcamp.com/music

10/10

RingMaster 29/10/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Mothership: Self Titled

Mothership Live

    The bio for the self-titled album from US rock band stated the band Mothership had a sound which ‘satisfies like a steaming hot stew of UFO and Iron Maiden, blended with the southern swagger of Molly Hatchet and ZZ Top’. Now that statement is enough to send an army of classic rock fans across battlefields and sultry deserts to grab an ear full of the promise suggested and in this instance they would not be disappointed upon arrival. The trio from Dallas is a formidable and impressive unit which knows the richest essences of rock n roll and how to brew them into feisty and fiery melodic encounters.

Founded by brothers Kelley (guitar) and Kyle (bass) Juett, the band fuses stirring elements of hard rock, stoner, blues, and classic rock into a thrilling guitar driven sound all of their own. The pair grew up on the seventies record collection of their father John, who they recruited on drums as their rock project emerged in 2010. Creating songs bursting with raucous riffs and melodic flames, the band knowing the contribution of their father was temporary began searching with his help for a permanent replacement who came in the shape of Judge Smith late 2011. The following year saw the band enter the studio to record their debut which was then self-released later in the year. Now given a re-release though Ripple Music, and following a successful end of last year supporting bands such as Prong, Red Fang, Gypsyhawk, Earthen Grave, and Lo-Pan, Mothership is set to ignite 2013 for all heavy rock fans.

The album opens with the mesmeric instrumental Hallucination, a track which emerges from a spacey ambience through firm Ripple Music - RPL2188beats and a sultry guitar glaze upon the ear. Its early presence is a slow smouldering enticement of sonic caresses and sinewy rhythms which equally burn and kiss the ear to capture the imagination, a union which goes into overload once the track instantly shifts up a couple of gears to rock the air out of the passions. It is an enthralling encounter to announce the album and ensure only a riveted focus is at play for the rest of the release.

With barely time to lick the lips of the prospects to come the following Cosmic Rain engages the ear with punchy rhythms and spires of sonic persuasion. Within seconds it has feet and emotions in league with its passionate gait and heated expanse. As the fine vocals of Kelley launch from the musical fire to add to the already anthemic stoner swing, the track rampages as a delicious agreement of blues and rock wrapped in heart driven energy. Mid-way the song takes a step into an aside full of bass beckoning to intrigue and elevate the already submissive senses further before returning to its uncomplicated and fully enthralling revelry.

As the songs City Nights and Angel of Death open up their hard rock hearts with craft and eagerness there is a continued variety under the overall pulsating lick and hook raining skies of the album. Though neither song steps onto the same lofty plateau of their predecessor, both crowd the ear with inciting blues guitar mastery and refreshing winds of instinctive and satisfying rock n roll, with the second of the two especially rife with a seventies brilliancy recalling the likes of Thin Lizzy.

Adding another step into new avenues Win Or Lose is a strolling treat of heavy rhythms and unavoidable intensive energy veined by a niggling sonic insistence and melodic elegance. Within its expressive stance the track moves through levels of pace and creative heat whilst offering moments of simmering beauty, rampant guitar crafted pulses, and heavyweight rumblings all delivered with invention and passion. It is a tremendous track which makes way for the equalling spellbinding and explosive Elenin and the towering closer Eagle Soars.

The final track is a masterful treat of lung bursting energy driven by robust rhythms and scintillating sonic seduction. The song rides the passions with majestic ease and accomplished skill as it immerses the senses in searing sonic bait and wickedly tempting melodic glamour. It is a final triumph which directs one straight back into the arms of the album, the lure of diving right back in to the release too irresistible.

Mothership, band and album, are encounters any fan ranging the likes of Red Fang to Orange Goblin and Black Sabbath to Thin Lizzy will find an ardour for as the band primes itself for a massive year.

http://www.facebook.com/mothershipusa

8/10

RingMaster 12/02/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Interview with Adam Savage of Mongrel

Hard work and fighting spirit, not to mention determination, has been a trade mark alongside their outstanding punk/metal sounds of US band Mongrel, a quartet which has thrilled and ignited passions through their dynamic live shows and equally impactful releases. Shows with major rock names such as Misfits, Korn, Otep, Sepultura, Mindless Self Indulgence, Wednesday13, and Prong to name just a few has brought the band to the fore of attention for masses of fans, as well as their albums and EPs, but there has been plenty of obstacles to overcome at the same time. With the release of their excellent new album Reclamation, a definite contender for album of the year, Mongrel have emerged again as one of the most impressive rock n roll bands around. The band has been a permanent feature of The Reputation radio Show and Bone Orchard podcast for many years so we just had to grab some time of guitarist and band founder Adam Savage to find out about the band, their album, and their new refreshing onslaught on rock music.

Hi Adam and many thanks for taking time out to chat with us.

My pleasure!

It is probably fair to say the last few years has been a battle for the band so how does it feel to finally be unleashing your new album in a stable and powerful situation, band wise and support wise with the label?

I’d be lying if I didn’t say it felt great!! It’s definitely been a struggle the last few years for sure, and fighting to get this album done and released has been a huge amount of time, stress, energy, frustration, etc since the initial start of the process over 3 1/2 years ago. Not to say there wasn’t good stuff going on and lots of fun these last 2 years but finally putting this album out and being able to do so with a great team of people both in and around the band (label, publicist, radio promotion, etc) feels great!! It’s a huge relief and certainly really exciting to see where things will go now.

Before we get in to certain aspects of that time can you give for newcomers to Mongrel some early background to the band, its beginnings and early successes?

Sure, I started the band in 2003 with our original singer after pulling the plug and imploding my prior band. We went through a lot of early transitions of band members and within 6 months I was the only survivor of the original line-up but we found new people and carried on. We eventually found some longer term members, put out our 1st full length album in 2006 which was then picked up by Screaming Ferret Wreckords/ Locomotive Records and re-released in 2008. In 2009 we put out another EP in association with Screaming Ferret. After some revamping of the band (new drummer and now a female singer) we released “The New Breed of Old School” EP in September 2010, “Declamation” EP in May 2011, and now the “Reclamation” album on September 25th 2012 on THC-X.   Some of the early successes were getting to play at CBGB’s before they closed, tours with Blitzkid, Trashlight Vision, and FEAR; getting called “the hardest working band in Boston” in Metal Edge, some really cool sponsorships; playing with bands like the Misfits, Otep, Korn, Prong, etc. Getting played on Sirius/XM and Music Choice; and seeing support from people around the world from us has always been amazing to me.

You have played with many of the major names in rock and metal as you just referred to; did that bring any direct positive impact and openings for the band outside of your home state other than making your Resume look rather special?

Hah hah. Well a good resume doesn’t hurt but yeah, it definitely helped get our name out, and it got us into some places in other markets for sure.

2010 saw the departure of your long time vocalist and drummer, obviously a major setback for any band, but how did it affect you as people and your determination to keep fighting as a band?

It was a setback in the sense that we had actually just finished up a new album (mixed/mastered/etc) at that time which was then promptly scrapped. But in all honesty it was actually the best thing possible for me as a person and for the band. Tensions in the band were horrible and negativity was continually getting worse. It wasn’t at all fun anymore dealing with it.  So as odd as it may sound, I was far less stressed out when it was myself and Rev (our former bassist) left in the band than I had been for a good number of months with a full line-up. I was then even more determined to rebuild, regroup, and re-record the album and to make the band better than ever. It was definitely a blessing in disguise for sure!

After trying a few vocalists I believe as you kept gigging as a band throughout the period and you called on your friend Jessica Sierra to fill in some dates. We know she was a great presence and vocalist back from her days with Affliction and may I say even more impressive now fronting Mongrel, but as initially it was for just a few shows to help out why did you look at a female vocalist for such an initially planned brief moment in the band’s life, or was there a secret plan at work? :)

I wish I could take credit for some super diabolical master plan in that regard but essentially we’d been auditioning male singers, we got a new full time male singer (Scott Campbell, ex-Graveyard BBQ), but due to other issues in his life it didn’t work out and he had to drop out. We had 3 days notice to cover a show we had booked months prior in Boston and the only singer I could think of who’d potentially be ready in 3 days like that was Jessica….she did it, and she did a great job with the situation and continued covering shows… lo-and-behold she sounded great on the tunes, we were having a lot of fun again and she threw her name in the hat to audition for the band (and yes, she insisted on going through the formal audition process despite having done like 6-8 shows with us at that point). It was just too perfect and worked too well for it not to go forward like that.

At what point did you make the decision to make her a permanent member and I assume there was no persuasion needed to convince her?

Shortly after her “audition” we made her official at a show we did in her hometown right around her birthday (early August 2010) actually so it worked out pretty cool like that. Other than promising her that we would eventually get her a pony for the tour bus Dethklok reference> it didn’t take a lot of persuasion.

We know what we feel she offers the band which has brought a new strength to your sound but what for you has she brought which has helped evolve and shape your music now?

Jess brings a whole lot of personality and fun to the band as well as a new sense of melodicism and aggression (she’s gotten even fiercer since she came back from her hiatus!), plus having a female singer brings a different level of meaning to some of the songs (for example, the kind of sultry melodic singing she brought to “Zombies of War” on the new album to me brought a layer of meaning cause of how they try to sell the military as sexy and glamorous in order to recruit people).

Drummer Dave Kazukiewicz joined just before Jessica, and most recently bassist Micah Maltais joined the band as replacement for the departing Rev. How did you come across the guys and can you give a word about the legend which is Rev?

Dave was actually introduced to us by his girlfriend who was a fan of the band and it worked out perfectly at the time (he’s actually just recently been replaced by new drummer Mike Hogan as Dave stepped down in order to focus on his painting and his band Polluted Remains). Micah we knew from shows we played over the last few years with his band Tell It To The Dead. Micah was a big fan of the band and we always had a great time hanging out with him when we’d do shows together so it was really cool cause he had so much enthusiasm about the songs and getting into the band since he was a fan first.  As for Rev, he’s a hell of a bassist and a fun person to have around. Very witty and a very unique character (in a good way). Definitely not a bad word to say about “responsible rockstar #1″ – he’s currently playing in several projects but primarily in a band called The Evil Streaks (female fronted surf-garage-rock-horror punk) and in a Rob Zombie tribute band called American Hellbilly.

Would you say Rev leaving was a bigger jolt than anything before, just for personal feelings?

Yeah, I was personally more bummed about Rev leaving than the others before him cause he is such a good guy to have around and it was a bummer we wouldn’t get to see him/hang out as often but he put a lot into the band over the years and was such a class act (even recording 2 EPs and an album with us knowing he was going to be stepping down so as to make sure we didn’t get sidelined again with this album). He seems really happy with what he’s doing musically these days and will on occasion do a guest spot with us so it’s all good. Thankfully we have a great group of people with us still though and Micah has worked out great for us, not necessarily filling Rev’s shoes but bringing an equally cool pair of his own to the party if you know what I mean.

Let’s come to the main reason we grabbed you, your new album Reclamation. A mighty, rampaging, and thrilling release which dare we say is your best yet by far? There must have been a real buzz brewing as the songs and release came together for you?

Thank you! I definitely agree that this is the best release yet for us. Part of the frustration with the delays and sidelines over the last few years has been that I truly believe in these songs and felt that they had to be recorded and released properly come hell or high water. It’s great to see in the really early reviews we’ve gotten for it (your own included) that other people really are connecting with the songs too. It’s definitely been exciting seeing it all coming together finally and who knows, maybe the timing is finally “right”, the stars aligned, etc and this was the time it was right for it to come out. Who am I to argue that is so, we’re just super excited that it’s all finally happening.

Did the songs find their first breath around the time of the Declamation EP of last year or were recorded later? I ask as the EP feels like a lead in to the album, a teaser of what was to come.

So you did catch that. Well played Ringmaster! Yeah, we actually recorded all 17 tracks at the same time. Our then management consultant (and later label boss, Thom Hazaert) suggested splitting it into an EP and a full album. So we figured out what we thought made for the best full album and what songs worked best as the EP and “Declamation” and “Reclamation” were born. The similar names and artwork were definitely intentional since the EP was meant as both a teaser for the full length album and as a companion piece to it. Originally we expected to release “Reclamation” much sooner after the EP but when we found out that Jessica needed to step down it got put on hold again until her return this past spring.

How long did the album take to record, one senses you are a band which is explosive in all aspects and just gets down to it and to the point in all aspects.

We recorded it (and Declamation simultaneously) over the span of 2 months I believe (we were playing shows and such still as well) and then mixing/mastering/etc was another couple months span or so. We definitely don’t screw around in the studio though. We’re not a band who goes into the studio to write songs while the clock is ticking and we know we’re not there to slack so things definitely do get done pretty quickly when the time comes to hit the studio.

Tell us about the writing process within Mongrel.

Historically I’ve been the main songwriter in the band. Typically I’d have lyrics and the basic outline of the song and bring it in and we’d jam on it then decide if it needs anything else, if it works, etc. With the new line up though, I expect we’ll have some more collaboration on the next album as both Jessica and Micah have been songwriters in their prior bands and will be able to contribute the next time around.

The album is released through THC: X, but I gather there was plenty of hard work and again battles behind the album, in getting it to this point (though not within the band), certainly with labels and things?

When Jessica came back and we were going to start figuring out the release plans for Reclamation, I had approached our on again/off again management consultant about putting it out through his label. After some discussion we worked it out and then it was time to set a release date and get the game plan in order. so definitely work was taking place and since then in the getting the full team together, coordinating, etc but Thom (Hazaert) and I have been talking for years now so that process was actually pretty smooth.

It is so hard to pick out favourite tracks, everyone a blistering slice of essential punk/metal/rock n roll. Twist our arm and maybe we would pump, today, for Pseudocide, C and a Half, Crucifiction and Revisionist. Is there any moment, song, or element of the album which gives you the deepest glow personally inside?

Honestly it’s really hard to say, I’m really happy with all of them personally…. I dig Tarnished Halo and Zombies of War a lot cause I think they kind of branch out style wise a bit, Revisionist like you said cause of the story/message of the song, No Gods No Masters is kind of our anthem… like you said, it probably varies day to day here too.

Mongrel is a band which has never not been flat out gigging, so one assumes there is a feast of dates coming up to support the album?

Yeah, we’ve been doing a run of cd release party shows and we’re playing the Rock & Shock Festival (rockandshock.com) with the Misfits, Shadows Fall, God Forbid, and Vision of Disorder in Worcester MA on October 12th which we’re psyched for, we’ll even be at the convention all that weekend where they’ve got stars like Danny Trejo, the guy who played Dante in Clerks, Bill Mosley, Sid Haig, Peter Criss, Dee Snider, etc all doing meet and greets and such. It’s gonna be amazing!

Where do you get the deepest pleasure as a band, live or in the creating and studio times?

At the core we’re a live band. That’s what we do all of this for is that thrill and energy of getting on stage and connecting with people. Obviously we get excited about creating new music, and while perhaps more tedious at times the studio is exciting too but it’s that time on stage that is truly what it’s all about.

Listening to the album one senses a freedom to the band again, is that how it feels and what is on the horizon for us from the band?

Can’t agree more! It’s fun, it’s exciting for us, having Jess back with the band, and the enthusiasm we have going right now is awesome. We’re hoping to work on writing towards the next EP or album over the winter when the show schedule slows down a bit just cause of the unpredictability weather wise it’s incredibly frustrating getting a show snowed out or something so we’ll prolly keep a lighter show schedule but spend more time writing over the winter months. I’d like to see a second video from the album happen as well so hopefully that will fall into place as well. We’re also working on releasing the album in the UK as well later this fall (physical CDs, not just iTunes since it’s already on there and Amazon, etc)…. a lot will depend on how things take off and play out with the new album though. Fingers are definitely crossed though!

Lastly tell us about the new video for Bored To Death, the first song on the album.

We did the new video with Red13Media, who happen to also be the people we recorded the new album with and who did our photo shoot as well. They really “get” us there and have a good sense of what we’re about and work well with us so it’s very low stress and a lot of fun working with them. The video itself was shot in one day at a couple of locations, and in our traditional “keep it in the family” way of doing things, actually features 2 people who at different times covered some shows on vocals for us (Blu Jess and Scott Campbell) so it was a cool family reunion type thing doing the video. The response on YouTube for the video has been really cool to see with over 2,000 views in just about a week so far. It’s been awesome and we’ve definitely seen the impact at shows where people who don’t have the album yet since it JUST came out, are already singing along with that tune which is the greatest feeling as a performer. If any of the readers haven’t seen it yet, here’s the link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZiczkduf2E&feature=share&list=UU2JwNRa_Sc4-OktF5-CiU-w (or below)

Thanks for talking with us, really appreciate it and good luck with the album…any final words?

My pleasure! Thank you for all the support, the great review of the album on your site, and for really doing your homework on these questions!! You rock!!  If people want to hit us up directly they can reach us at http://www.mongrelband.com  and http://www.facebook.com/mongrelofficial  or http://www.twitter.com and I hope everyone will check out the new album Reclamation on iTunes, Amazon, etc.   Thanks again!!! -

Read the review of Reclamation @ http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2012/09/18/mongrel-reclamation/

RingMaster Review 02/10/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The best and easiest way to get your music on iTunes, Amazon and lots more. Click below for details.

Mongrel: Reclamation

For those aware of US band Mongrel, it is wide knowledge that they are one of the most exciting and accomplished underground rock n roll bands around, and have been since forming in 2003. For those still to discover their addict forming blend of punk rock and metal now is the time to feel their bite as they release new album Reclamation, a collection of songs which will have fans and newcomers reeling from its might and infectious brilliance.

Reclamation emerges from what basically has been four years of turmoil for the band through line-up, studio, and studio disruptions. From early on right through to now the Boston, Massachusetts quartet has established a permanent place in the hearts of growing multitudes from their releases and sharing of stages alongside the likes of Misfits (multiple times), Gwar, Korn, Otep, Sepultura, Mindless Self Indulgence, Prong, Fu Manchu, Psychostick, Wednesday13, Dizzy Reed (Gn’R), and Piggy D (Rob Zombie) to name just a few, alongside their own tours and shows. It was the departure of their long term vocalist and drummer in 2010 which dropped one of the biggest obstacles in the way of and to slow down the rampaging charge of Mongrel. Dave Kazukiewicz was soon enlisted to bang the skins but a vocalist was less easy a solution to find. Another male singer was brought in as they searched long and hard but that was a short lived answer. Still gigging as is the Mongrel way, they called on their friend Jessica Sierra from the band Affliction to cover some shows with eventually the temporary arrangement becoming, to our pleasure, permanent.

Now a powerful and stable unit of band founder Adam Savage, bassist Rev, Sierra and Kazukiewicz, the quartet set about re-recording tracks from the releases which had thrilled in the early days, debut album Fear, Lies & Propaganda of 2006 and the Revenge EP three years later.. These tracks came out upon the excellent The New Breed of Old School EP. To those who had grown with the band it was a surprising but mighty evolution from what came before, the vocals of Sierra bringing a tighter grip and quality to the sound which only impressed. 2010 saw the band enter the studio once more to record a further step forward with the Declamation EP and most impressive of all this the Reclamation album. Of course a battle ensued to get it released as is the life of independent bands (as well as the more recent departure from the band of Rev to be replaced by Micah Maltais) but now the album is here released through THC Music imprint THC: X, and ready to snarl and take chunks out of all lucky enough to ensnare it.

The album slaps the ear around from the start with Bored To Death, a feisty slice of anthemic punk rock. It is easy to digest and irresistible, straight forward rock n roll brought with fiery riffs, thumping beats, and the intimidating tones of Sierra, her voice a beckoning tease and attitude snapping aural harpy. It is a powerful and energetic start soon ramped up by the following Pseudocide and Fuck Off And Die. The first just burns the senses from its first note and leaves one smouldering in glee by its end. Ramones meets The Distillers; the track is a punk explosion which scorches the senses to near orgasmic pleasure. The second song prowls and snarls with a ravenous intensity, its heart and Sierra ready to pounce and rip its victim apart whilst the metal driven riffs scythe their way through the ear with caustic power.  Another song leaving one breathless it adds to a high octane start.

One almost expects things to drop level wise at some point as with most releases but this is not like most albums and with the likes of the prowling Zombies Of War with Sierra giving Brode Dalle a run for her money in a delivery of melodic snarling, The More I Bleed with its corrosive guitar abrasions, and the Otep tinged Tarnished Halo, igniting deeper and fuller pleasures, there is no chance of any lost of levels.

     Reclamation is a masterclass in punk rock/metal from first note to last but some tracks simply exhaust the passions such their towering quality. C and a Half is one such song, a sonic addition of rampaging riffs and riotous chorus assaults with the guys backing up Sierra perfectly, spite dripping from every note and syllable. The groove magnet Crucifiction alongside the delicious melody drenched Revisionist, easily rival in their diverse and imaginative ways to continue the immense satisfaction and clear variety on show within the combative cloak of sound. As with all songs they are openly contagious, rippling with hooks and grooves and outstanding vocal spreads from Sierra to fire up heart and passion.

The blistering tempest which is Stillborn Saviour, the ferocious Wake Up, and a reworking of an old song from their first album in No Gods No Masters, end what is easily one of the best albums this year, not only in punk rock or metal but across all genres. Reclamation is sheer excellence whilst Mongrel are at their strongest t ever and still one of the leading underground rock bands, though now with this album one expects their elevation to the big metal table to be imminent.

http://www.mongrelband.com/

RingMaster 18/09/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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