If you are looking for an album of pure, irresistible, and thrilling heavy metal than the self-titled debut album from Freedoms Reign is a must. Certainly the release is not going to send you into new undiscovered adventures but for insatiable and uncompromising rock n roll, it is a riot to devour with greed.
Formed by original Fates Warning guitarist Victor Arduini in 2011, Freedoms Reign is his return to metal since leaving former band in 1985 after the release of The Spectre Within. Alongside the vocalist/guitarist the band consists of guitarist Tommy Vumback, bassist Michael Jones, and Chris Judge on drums. It is a formidable unit with a sound to match, the Connecticut quartet fusing old school metal with an energy and breath borne of the now. Released via Cruz Del Sur, the Nick Belmore (Toxic Holocost/Hatebreed) produced album is a brawl of energetic intensity and hungry passion sounding like the incendiary offspring of Sabbath, Kyuss, and QOTSA with a loud whisper of Fates Warming to it too. It is a scintillating ride of compelling rhythms, greedy rapacious riffs, and pure adrenaline honed into one tempest of contagious might.
From the moment Ritual flies at the ear with thumping drums, leering basslines, and flesh chewing riffs the sense of something beyond pleasing is rife. It may only be a few seconds in but there is a feel and strength to the opening invitational assault which inspires immediate attention complete with a hope soaked grin. The track gets to work upon the passions with driving rhythms and sonic spirals of invention within the course of infectious riffing and alongside the drawing vocals of Arduini. It is expressive rock n roll with a mischief to its invention and adventure to its imagination. There is arguably nothing new on show but equally there are few rivals to its almost exhausting passion and high intensity realisation of existing aural weaponry.
From the extremely impressive start both Shadows Of A Doubt and Brother confirm the instant emotion about the album. The first of the two enslaves the senses with a rampant onslaught of intensive riffs with rhythms just as merciless whilst the vocals seal the deal with their persuasive earnestness. In many ways the track reminds of early Therapy? in the way its relentlessness comes with a hook laden intrigue and contagious forcefulness yet is enriched with flourishing melodic enterprise to temper and reinforce the temptation at large. The second of the two is a less imposing but equally as dramatic encounter with the lyrical narrative and thrilling solo leading the track into deeper ardour. Again with a greed which drives it on with no respect for allowing a breather for the listener, the song is an infectious enticement into what at this point already is a more than pleasing companion.
The outstanding Believe asserts its authority next with both Judge and Jones taking command of the senses with demanding beats and a throaty beast of a heavy riff respectively whilst around them the guitars scour the ear with caustic persistence. It is a rampaging storm of excellence ridden by the again impressive vocals. Bone splitting slaps posing as breaks herald the start of a great guitar solo whilst the bestial tones of the bass prowl and resonate through the ear drum, their impact as rich and compelling as the furnace of energy which thrusts the song forward from first note to last. Easily one of the biggest highlights on the album the track is the perfect way to leap into the release for newcomers, though any song can fit the role to be fair.
The likes of Up From Down with its doom laded presence and weighty intensity, the openly seductive To Be with its wanton harmonies and crunchy textures not forgetting corrosive sonic veining which ignites all the passions, and Long Way with its emotive shadows and impossibly absorbing sounds, all enslave the senses and emotions in very individual but equally virulent ways whilst in amongst them No Excuses unleashes another pinnacle upon the album. A ferocious blend of aggressive inventive rhythms and snarling riffs seduce the appetite into a rabid devouring of the offering whilst the broody grizzled bass tones make the prefect ally and temper to the warm expressive vocals, whilst the guitars especially in their solos, just ignite a sweltering enthrallment.
Looking Around completes the release with an opening almost chilling embrace, the guitars carving emotive lines in its air whilst the bass and vocals sculpt their own unique voices within the emerging narrative. As mesmeric as it is potently haunting, with muscular crescendos to intimidate, the track builds up an atmosphere of inevitability yet stands in its way by erupting into an explosive landscape of sinew framed intensity with a sizzling flesh burning solo surrounded by impressive vocals harmonies centre stage. It is a deliciously imaginative and skilfully painted experience which sums up the whole of the album in its majestic way. Arduini may have been away for a long while but with equally accomplished colleagues he has returned with what will be one of the best albums this year.
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From Worcester in the UK, This Wicked Tongue is one of those bands which once heard or is that bitten they stay around with a lustful lingering. Brewing up storms of rock n roll pulsating with essences of progressive rock, grunge, and alternative rock, the band creates a thrilling fiery sound which is rife with a deviously seductive persuasion and mischief. Their Provinces EP which came out in the latter part of last year is a release which fully deserves a belated look whilst their new single Mick Hucknall’s Hair, due for release in May, is a song which defies any patience in sharing its stunning quality.
Formed in 2011 and taking influences such as Queens of the Stone Age, Nirvana, Audioslave, and Soundgarden into their creative design, the quartet of Tina V (vocalist/guitarist/ keyboards), Haydn (vocalist/guitarist), Rob (bass, and Ben (drums) has emerged with a sound which equally offers the passion of Skunk Anansie and the melodic lures of Throwing Muses. This Wicked Tongue on the evidence of these two releases and their previous self-titled EP, openly do not lack invention or imagination with the band able to craft stirring infectious and tempting songs which are veined by sculpted hooks, explosive energy, and instinctive passion.
The Provinces EP is made up of six tracks which capture the imagination with ease, their varied and compelling sounds a lingering and hungry presence in the ear. Opening song House first places a blistered sonic hand on the listener before unveiling a rich flame of stoner groove and a passion baiting funk bassline. Turning into an eager to please stroll with bass and guitar making their individual lures of invention, the vocals of Tina stroke the ear with restraint within the reserved gait of the song. Soon though the song ignites a feisty feast of impressive energy and open emotions to leave an ever tastier flavour which gains additional potency as the track writhes and twists with further craft and enterprise before it departs to lift the satisfaction levels up greater levels.
The following If This is Me teases with a heavier impacting energy and once again a blaze of sonic colour from the guitars, their bluesy swagger bold and confident without indulging in any over blown grandeur. Though the song lacks the addictive hold of its predecessor it is a heated slice of accomplished songwriting and even greater impacting realisation. With its heart bleeding emotion in every note and a delicious harmonic tease in its final few breathes, the track sets up the senses for the equally emotive and inviting Cape Pelorem. It is a vibrant rain of sizzling melodies and elegant hooks all coated with heated rock tenacity, an intenseness which compliments rather than smothers the mellower light of the track. It is a song which triggers an inflammation of the passions before passing on the next step to their rapture to next up Discontent.
The track is stunning, a riveting encounter of taunting hooks and hearty bass sounds wrapped in vocal harmonies boisterously expanding the walls of the song. Loud whispers which can be seeded in the likes of Alice In Chains and Jane’s Addiction hold irresistible sway over the passions throughout though the song and band never settles for leaving things unstirred, a melodic aside with near siren properties sending thoughts escalating in to greater ardour. With a parting sonic scorching the song is the highest pinnacle of the release.
The EP is completed by the riotous energy of Your Hands, swiftly followed by a brief piano reprise of the same song. The main track sees both Tina and Haydn vocally guiding the powerful sounds to expose further evidence that the band can issue sinews of metal and rock with the same ease, power, and invention as they can their melodic flames and entrancing sonic shards. The song is another outstanding inferno of imaginative conception and leaves a lasting burn upon the heart.
As mentioned Mick Hucknall’s Hair has its physical release in May but we cannot wait to share its towering sound and invention. Immediately the song gnaws at the ear with ravenous riffs from guitar and bass whilst the drums bring an extra bite to their swiping punches than seen on the previous EP. The song offers strong indications that the band has evolved their sound and direction many steps on since the Provinces, the track having a richer growl and harder intensity to its rigid prowl. The band has not left their melodic beauty in the past though, the song weaving in virulent progressive radiance for the deepest fascination and invention from the band yet. Everything about the song is a marked evolution from the already impressive EP and it is hard to see the band not finding a far reaching recognition and stature in the years ahead.
Provinces EP 8/10 + Mick Hucknall’s Hair 9/10
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From just the initial listens of A Favour For A Stranger, the new EP from alternative rockers Circle Of Reason you can feel this is a band with all the promise and ingredients to be a big force certainly in the UK rock scene ahead. The three track release is a compulsive slice of well-crafted melodic rock and boisterous energy honed with a fine progressive intent. The band has been compared to the likes of Smashing Pumpkins, Silverchair, Muse, and Queens of The Stone Age, in varying ways to which you can easily add Biffy Clyro and Inme. Circle Of Reason have their own template of sound though which sets them apart from the majority of similarly gaited bands and leaves a sense of excitement for their future whilst giving plenty of pleasure in the now.
The Southampton band was formed in 2009 and has made a steady progress building a strong presence in the South West of England also reaching further afield. Renowned for their live shows which has seen them alongside bands such as Girlschool, Fighting with Wire, Freeze the Atlantic, Landscapes, Idiom, Rumer, and The Smoking Hearts across the UK, the quartet of vocalist/guitarist Simon Osman, guitarist Gary Slade, bassist Sam Cogher, and drummer Andy Milwain, have now set down a marker with the new release which has to be the platform for them to go forth and seize major recognition. It is an impressive aural base camp to venture forward with further invention from, exploration of headier heights in their own evolving creative hands.
The release consists of two previous video singles, which have garnered good play and attention from the likes of Kerrang! TV, Scuzz, and Lava TV, and a third track which is their new video single released to coincide with the EP. Chasing the Sun starts things off with big riffs and dazzling guitar play, a major feature of all three songs. Into its stride the song relaxes into a slightly reserved air as vocalist Osman joins the already intriguing song. He is a strong vocalist who especially excels when raising his vocal energies, though less striking when keeping it low key. He was also the cause of ignoring the majority of the song and release during the first couple of plays, as concentration could only be focused on who he sounded like. It is one of those frustrations which have to be alleviated with an answer before moving on, and thankfully, eventually it revealed itself. I have read him compared to Kurt Cobain (?) but actually he is a dead ringer for Paul Marsh from eighties band The Mighty Lemon Drops; of course that will mean nothing to most but just had to bring relief and closure to the ‘problem’. The song fires up throughout into strong melodic flames musically and in mass harmonies which leave the senses smouldering with contentment and glowing from the outstanding and precise guitar invention. Arguably still the weakness track on the release the excellent song is a deeply engaging piece of enterprise.
Sea Of Voices is a feistier proposition, striking sinewy riffs grabbing eager attention whilst Osman sweeps through the song vocally nicely backed up by the rest of the band with group harmonies. The song is a thumping stomp with the rhythms of Milwain forming a formidable frame for the basslines of Cogher to badger and guitars of Osman and Slade to incite and dazzle. The progressive intent of the band is at its creative fullness on the track with a wonderful though brief magnetically whispering aside of peaceful melodic grandeur stepping forward before the fiery climax. Everything is in perfect proportion in the songs, the riotous riffs, impacting rhythms, and emotive melodic beauty finding a seamless place in the overall impressive energetic contagion without bleeding into or overwhelming their companions, this song the thrilling example.
The release is completed by the latest single Silver Scene, a track which alone shows why the band is being talked so highly of. Again blending the sturdiest rock and metal riffs with a bruising intensity and infectious melodic invention all brought with unmistakable skill, the song is an irresistible weave of imagination and thoughtful songwriting. From first note to last it is an inventive lure for the passions and inciter of emotions, a mischievous conveyor of barbed hooks and impossible to refuse rock n roll. Other than an opening few seconds where the levels feel smothered compared to the rest of the song, it is a near perfect treat and like the other songs the basis for great anticipation of big things ahead for the band.
A Favour For A Stranger is an excellent EP which just gets better and better with every listen whilst raising hopes that Circle Of Reason has an album in the works for the near future. This is a band you should treat yourselves too very soon.
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Dark Stares is one of those great bands which draw multiple comparisons to a wide array of bands but really do not sound like any of them. They may at times come up with a sound or riff which echoes another band but they are mere colourful strokes within a storm of individual creativity. The quartet from St Albans in the UK, has had the likes of The Killers, Muse, Manic Street Preachers and even The Mars Volta to name a few, offered as references in varying degrees to their music. To that you could just as easily add others like Faith No More and Green Day at certain moments of individual songs, but though still a band evolving their sound and distinctiveness, Dark Stares have a sound which has its own flavour.
Tell Your Friends is the debut EP from the band and what a stunner it is a release which unleashes rock n roll at its best, energetic, towering, and with a spine of powerful riffs alongside veins of irresistible grooves. Formed in 2011, the band consists of three brothers, Miles Kristian, Brett Harland and Taylor Howell (vocals and guitar, bass, and drums respectively) alongside guitarist Harry Collins. As their first year neared its end the band found themselves with high profiles gigs under their belt including supports slots for Enter Shikari and The Darkness. 2012 has seen the band go from strength to strength and with the release of Tell Your Friends on September 10th announce their full arrival in fine style.
Dark Stares open up with the stirring Whisky which immediately has feet and senses in league with its stomping rhythms and melodically guided riffs. Its energy is raw and slightly abrasive to ignite the fullest attention which the addictive grooves and heated hooks feed with relish. Not quite a storm, the track is a powerful stomp through the ear which with its multi faceted flavouring, lights multiple fires with. The guitar play is striking and fills the skies with delicious sonic sinders whilst the melodic craft around it comes from hard rock at its best.
It is an impressive start soon surpassed by the mighty Long Live The King. The song takes no time in giving suggestions as to why bands like Muse, Manics and Queens Of The Stone Age have been mentioned in the same breath as their sounds, its presence again a flurry of elements combined for an inferno of excellence. As all the songs show, Dark Stares gets the job done without over blown theatrics, the drums and bass unleashing instinctive hard and dangerous edges whilst the guitars and fine vocals explore and light up all their shadows. It is the perfect union for an outstanding and deeply satisfying result. On this song they simply leave other rock bands in their dust, the infectiousness and addition it offers taken to illegal levels.
Third track We Are The Kings Tonight wraps around the ear with a less intense eagerness though with equal strength and skill. It offers a mid pace drive which paves the way for sharp and inciteful play amidst melodic caresses which draw sighs, manly ones of course. The vocals of MK Howell are exceptional and across the whole release he shows he is a versatile and controlled power to match and ignite the music and songs, as they do his emotive delivery.
Invaders ends the EP on another rampage of contagion, its grooves and riffs instantly your best friend and its heart a boisterous yet passionate embrace. Anthemic and with a mischievous swagger at times the song is an immense end to the release and completes one of those rare times where every song ends up as the favourite.
Dark Stares will be like their EP, immense. They still have much to discover within their creativity and music which with the strength of Tell Your Friends makes for one exciting thought.
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Finding even a hint of uniqueness in music and bands is at times like waiting for snow on Christmas Day but it does happen and has with the self titled debut EP from UK rockers The Dropper’s Neck. The four songs which make up its pulsating and bristling shape do pull in thoughts and essences from other bands but there is a distinct colouring to their sound and attitude which is solely the Essex band and it is very appetizing to hear.
The quintet only formed late 2011 but took no time in drawing a loyal and growing following through their vibrant live shows and sound. Released a few weeks ago their EP looks set to build on that start with its compulsive and energetic fusion of multi-flavouring, the strains of garage and alternative rock in a blistering brew with elements of punk rock and psychedelic schizophrenic tendencies. Produced and engineered by Toby Campen, it makes for a quartet of engaging tracks with ruffle the ear as much as they openly infect, and give hints of even greater things ahead from the band.
The release opens with the scorching heat of Poor Excuse, a track which attaches itself to the senses with a mutated Queens Of The Stone Age like groove. The guitars of Chris Blake and George Barrows twist and surge with enterprise and caustic melodic invention whilst the rhythms of bassist Martin Huggett and drummer Danny Keene drive a formidable pace and intensity behind. It makes for an irresistible tease before the ear with the incessant taunting from the riffs one of those orgasmic pleasures and the craft of Blake sending delicious shards of heated melodies through to the heart. Like all the tracks, though there is an immediate connection the song grows and emerges with a stronger and more contagious hold through multiple meets. The vocals of Lloyd Mathews are another excellent stand out aspect of the sound, his at times almost dour yet hypnotic delivery having the same garage punk expressiveness which marked Lux Interior of The Cramps, though with no disrespect to Mathews he has some way to go to emulate the great man. He seemingly borders on disinterest at times tone wise and makes for a great contrast and seamless companion to the sharper burnt sounds.
The following Sick again has that desert rock groove which flares up at intermittent times to great effect whilst the track itself bruises with forceful riffs and combative rhythms. Within what are four outstanding tracks it is arguably the best but that does depend on the time and day, all having an equality to be commended. From its feistier climes the EP moves into the tight harmonic scarring of The Divorcee, a track as lustful and edgy as its subject. The song offers a slight psychobilly crawl reminding of The Orson Family from the eighties within its raw presence giving evidence of the diversity within the sound and songwriting of the band. It is hypnotic with its simple hooks and acidic melodic stirring of the senses and again is a track which takes top spot when in the ear, though one can say that about all to be fair.
The release ends with I Could and the band venturing into more direct punk n roll intent. The track swaggers with a boastful energy and finds Mathews almost unleashing the inner rocker within, his delivery livelier and with more enthused gusto as he explodes into air splitting howls. The track continues the showing of range to the sound of the band and adds to the already high anticipation for what comes in the future from the band.
The Dropper’s Neck has announced themselves with a release which it is hard to pick any real flaws from. If one was being really pedantic there is a similarity to how some of the songs begin their individual escapades but they soon evolve into their own unique guises to make it a mere quibble and of no value. This is a band which offers something different, arguably it does not happen often so make sure you do not miss out.
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Anticipation for the debut album from UK rock band Damn Vandals was on a real high after their widely acclaimed Beautiful Mind EP earlier in the year. Could the band match or even improve on what was a remarkable release? Quite simply the band has not only stepped on from the release but to our mind they have with Done For Desire blown it out of the water. The release is a certain front runner for album of the year and is destined for classic status once its might and sheer excellence dawns on the music world.
The London based quartet of vocalist Jack Kansas, guitarist Frank Pick, bassist Adam Kilemore Gardens, and Chris Christianson on drums, has pulled in comparisons which range from Echo and the Bunnymen, Buzzcocks, Pavement, and he band has been suggested as the English version of Queens of The Stone Age. As Done For Desire sent surges of euphoria through the heart with each and every song though the main thought for us was that surely Damn Vandals are the reincarnation of the Fatima Mansions. With the same sharp and imaginative craft lyrically and musically as the outstanding Irish band Damn Vandals add to the carefully shaped caustic and ingenious breath the irresistible addictive hooks of a Teardrop Explodes and the earnest incisive passion found in the previously mentioned Echo and the Bunnymen. This makes for stunning songs and sounds which trigger the fullest thrills and evoke the deepest pleasure whilst vocally Kansas, his voice a glorious hybrid of Cathal Coughlan, Pete Wylie, and Ian McCulloch, adds emotive tones drawn from deep within his heart to wonderfully ignite the already impressive lyrical invention.
Produced by Julian Simmons (Midlake, The Phenomenal Handclap Band, Ed Sheeran, Guillemots, and Goldheart Assembly), Done For Desire immediately leaves one breathless with excitement through opener Revolution / Rehearsal. The lead single from the album leaps upon the ear with slashes of guitar and a bass which prowls the tune like a wolf licking its lips. As Kansas asks questions and provokes with razor sharp lyrics through his impassioned vocals the track boils the air with high voltage energy and scorched melodic strokes to trigger aural addiction, something the album eagerly and persistently builds upon.
The following As Seen On TV bristles with electrified rock intensity whilst again the bass of Kilemore Gardens invites tingles with its dark and burly tones. There is a slight Max Raptor feel to the song and alongside its predecessor the song soon unveils a thrilling diversity within the music of Damn Vandals.
As the likes of the provocative Kids Want Guns and the darkly wanton Sex It Narcissus tease and throb within the ear there is nothing but compliance before the mesmeric presence of the band. The second of the pair takes one on an edge of the seat journey through shadows and a hugely charged musical imagination as potent as it is impassioned.
Though every track is a masterpiece the brilliance of This Amazing and The Revenge Of Spider Toothy hold the heart with an orgasmic power. The first swerves and sways with deliberate mischief within its pulsating energy and the perfectly gathered siren driven hooks and melodies. The track ignites the atmosphere with such fiery enterprise and rhythmic hypnotism brought with immense skill it is hard to see why the song as a single a while ago did not see the band instantly elevated to essential listening.
The second of the pair is a brilliant blend of garage punk and psychobilly. Sounding like the secret offspring from a union of The Cramps, The Horrors in their formative years and Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers, The Revenge Of Spider Toothy stomps over the senses with sheer majesty. The guitar of Pick always outstanding throughout the album leaves trails of flames with his magnificent play on this song whilst the drums of Christianson stalk the ear like a caged animal.
Closing track Beautiful Mind taken from the previous acclaimed EP makes an end as irresistible as the beginning of the album. It swirls around and through the ear like a stunning sunset of sound, its heated magnetism leaving one bursting to the seams with adoration for it and the release as a whole. As much as one looked there is not a single element which the band can be pulled up on within Done For Desire, it is as near to perfection as one can get. If this does not make Damn Vandals one of the biggest presences in UK music then something is seriously wrong with the judgement of people.
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A real treat came our way when the debut album from UK rockers Zodiac N Black was sent over for a listen. Without teasing or challenging boundaries The Aftermyth is quite simply a refreshing and thrilling blast of honest rock n roll. The band plays it straight down the line with their vibrant and exciting sounds creating songs which are creatively eager and thoroughly enjoyable at every turn and an album which is nothing but pure pleasure.
The quartet from London send the senses into overload with a hungry mix of rock stemmed from the likes of Led Zeppelin, Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age, and Soundgarden. Each and every note is infused with a passion and urgency to please whilst being intelligent and superbly crafted. The music is undemanding but stays well clear of the obvious cheap hooks and easy lures for the ear. This ensures an album which is a new acquaintance but immediately a long term companion for the ear and heart.
For an album which does wear its inspirations on its sleeve The Aftermyth has the quality to ensure one is not thinking of those influences throughout the album, the band taking those flavours and lining them up to their own creative ideas. They are always there and in sight but not a distraction as with many releases which use such inspiration to lead their music not spice it.
The album opens up with an irrepressible blast of rock n roll in Bastinado. Driven with one insatiable and purely infectious groove the song is an immediate hit with the ear from its first chords. To be honest the song did take a short warming up to though that groove never allowed attention to drift or the desire to move on arise. The vocals of Jad which are excellent on the album seemed slightly off at first but by mid way the song had a full grip and was dishing out a full and hungry satisfaction especially with the scorched melodic strokes in the latter part of the song, their addictive swipes across the ear irresistible.
The guitar and bass of Jim and Hank respectively wrap the senses around their every note and riff upon the album with ease and skill whilst the rhythms of drummer Luca bring out a feisty and boisterous side to every song. Inventive and imaginative all treat a song as their creative plaything for their formidable skills without scattering the unity and overall power of the track. Such is the case with second song A Necessary Evil. The track is a mesmeric weave of sonic guitar invention and explosive rhythms, whilst the bass is a wanton pulse throughout but it pulls it all in to be a deeply impressive and ingenious slice of real rock n roll.
Track after track Zodiac N Black leaves the heart wanting more. The likes of southern toned The Joke Is On Us with an almost mystical ambience to its initial breath, the uncomplicated energised rocker Better Off Dead, and the riotous brew of ravenous riffs that is Bad Pills with its funk manipulations, all pass one onto their successor with a bigger and wider hungry grin. Some maybe would argue about the overall originality of the music and album but with songs as impressive and irresistible as these who cares. To be fair there is a strong array of sounds and invention across all songs, once you look past the storming surface party first.
The best song on the album is Seems Like Better Times and as great as the rest are this track leaves them in its wake. With incisive riffs and a magnetic bass presence the track is a delicious flurry of rock n roll with a tank fuelled by grunge rock. Gritty and with a confident swagger which can only ensure another addiction the only gripe is the song barely makes three minutes. That is taking leaving them wanting more to the extreme surely.
Zodiac N Black seems to be still a bit of a secret in the UK but with The Aftermyth that surely will change. There have been a few outstanding rock bands emerging lately but Zodiac N Black has just raised the bar to easily lead the pack.
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The debut self titled album from UK stoner/rock band Tricorn is quite simply a cauldron of sweaty low slung throbbing riffs and beefy rhythms drenched in a scuzzed veined blanket of intense stripped to the bone essential rock. It is also rather tasty and a compulsive slab of adrenaline fuelled rock n roll to lose oneself within with great satisfaction.
Formed in 2008, the Portsmouth quartet of vocalist and rhythm guitarist Paxo Dyne, lead guitarist Constantine Droutsas, bassist Rob J., and drummer Simon Lopez according to their bio take influences from the likes of Black Sabbath, Motorhead, Alice In Chains and Queens Of The Stone Age. To that you can add flavours that come from similar gene pools as bands like Black Tusk, contemporaries Desert Storm and even Orange Goblin. Their music is not particularly demanding but consistently fully absorbing and a sound thick in intent and honest invention. At times the album suggests the band has yet to find their true voice but with a release that is so mighty and pleasing it is impossible to be anything but complimentary.
Released June 11th through their own imprint Need Sleep Records, the album immediately marks the senses with opener Step Outside. With a music box intro the track slaps down some muscular riffs to wake up the dead whilst throwing down simple but very pleasing torched melodies and gruff vocals. The track has a live essence devoid of unnecessary frills or wastefulness which is maybe not surprising considering the album was recorded in a mere six days but makes for a release that is loud, almost bullying, and real.
As good as the first track was the following Give Me Some More hits the mark even more accurately and deeply. The song raises heat and dust with a dirty insatiable groove and glorious overweight riffs to rile up the senses even more than the opener. Bruising and insistent the song is a mighty infection and the highest peak in a series of highlights which marks the album.
An intimidating strength and intense breath marks The Therapist whilst the rampant Where Did It Go crowds the ear with alcohol soaked melodic surges and chunky forceful riffs, both songs continuing the impressive sounds and power of the release with sure and skilled craft. The songs and album do not try to mesmerise with fiery shows of artistry or over played style but simply fires up attention and satisfaction through uncomplicated but irresistible southern rock n roll majesty.
The excellent Life Again inflames the passions with an enveloping sinister presence which leans on the ear with a menacing darkened groove and badgering riffs, its bulky energy more laid back than previous tracks in a confidence that it will capture its recipients fully. The grooved crush of Crawl and the slight Danzig toned Girl Lets Ride further lead the senses down avenues of feisty raw riffs and low tuned guitar pleasure to make the album an event to savour.
Closing on the beautifully oppressive and irrepressibly grooved Momentum, the album leaves one full to bursting with angry distorted riffs and tumultuous dark energy. It carries no pretence or thought other than to rummage through the heart with the heaviest and most fulfilling sounds. Tricorn have produced a must have release for a sure to have enjoyment.
So far 2012 has delivered some little unexpected gems and to that growing list you can firmly add the forthcoming release from UK rock band Static Plan. A promo copy of their forthcoming self titled EP, to be released April 14th, came our way and to be honest we cannot remember how, where, or from whom (so forgive us if it was you and remind us please), but the important thing is that it did and that it gives us the pleasure of reporting how impressive it is.
Static Plan is a Guildford based quartet consisting of vocalist Kyle Mackenzie, guitarist Jonno Lloyd, bassist Ben Martin, and Greg Webber on drums. They create a sound that rifles and entrances the senses with a fusion of alternative rock, industrial, and grunge. That is a simplistic description as the songs within the EP offer a sound that has much more and merges those spices into something strikingly unique yet wholly familiar. It is a skilled craft they possess and they seem to know how to use it to the full. Influenced openly by the likes of Nine Inch Nails, A Perfect Circle, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Deftones and Queens Of The Stone Age, they enforce these flavours with a metallic edge and determined intensity that is constantly intriguing and never predictable.
Opening song Will has a little of everything within its bulky mass, a rippling beast that flexes muscles and melodic charm to equal effect. With an AIC vein running through it and vocalist Mackenzie finding an expressive Chino Moreno delivery the song has a perfect rock base. Add the grumbling riffs of Martin and the belligerent guitars of Lloyd who backs up vocally too and you have a more than formidable creature ravaging the ear. Once the excellent drum skills and imagination of Webber pushes everything through further and deeper you are talking something special. At times the song is unsure which way it wants to go, to full rock or something much heavier and intense and this works perfectly, the shuffling between the two a continually surprising teasing of the ear.
Your Type kills Me begins on an electro/industrial questioning before erupting into a full blooded atmospheric groove, all the while the electronic sounds are either niggling behind the guitars or openly dazzling with spotlight like radiance. A heady flavour of QOTSA pulsates throughout the song with a Stone Temple Pilot like thunderous energy and contempt wrapping itself around the core. Again unexpected in every aspect the song excites and ignites the need for more.
The starker Blockhead takes on the task with similar satisfying results, its NIN dark electronic growling preying on the senses as the band flow into more melodic and emotional areas than on the first two. With Martin added his darkened riffs to the harsher shadowed keys the song combines and restrains its more aggressive tendencies with an engaging melodic rock ease and confidence. Not quite on the par with the previous two the song still hits the spot and shows the diversity the band has in their invention and songwriting.
Coil closes up the release by swaggering in on another electronic beckoning. The song takes a more subdued path to the senses, its pulsating melodies and consuming flow preferring to manipulate rather than go straight for the neck, though there is always the darkened heart of the band lurking behind just waiting for an opportunity to size hold.
Being a promo the production on the tracks we received is not the best and it is proof of how great the songs are that they deliver all they do so impressively and effectively. The fully mastered release for sure will stop you dead in your tracks with excitement and awe; the sounds that good and Static Plan a band that has a very promising future ahead of them.
Static Plan – Will