ICOSA – The Skies Are Ours EP

ICOSA

It is hard to know how long the members of ICOSA have been playing, nurturing their skills and invention but it is fair to say that band, and debut EP The Skies Are Ours leaves the majority of releases and certainly first encounters this year in the shade. The four track release is a fascinating and exhilarating slab of mature invention and startling imagination brought with a technical craft and instinctive adventure which leaves you grinning and basking greedily. It maybe just one release but it is impossible not to suggest that this is the awakening of one potentially important force for British and dare we say world music. Casting a web of progressive metal and heavy rock, a description which still only gives half the picture, the London trio has made a big statement with their first release and set the benchmark very high for them and UK progressive metal.

Formed in 2011, ICOSA consists of vocalist and 8 string guitarist Tom Tattersall, 7 string guitarist Stacey Douglas, and drummer Jack Ashley. Drawing on the inspirations of bands such as Tool, Meshuggah, and SiKth, the band has been stirring up a bit of a buzz around them and now having been seduced by their EP it is very easy to see why. Their sound sits somewhere amidst Between The Buried And Me/ TesseracT and KingBathmat/ King Crimson whilst infusing a wider diversity in its body for an openly distinct presence. It is a riveting weave which seduces and rages, commands and demands within The Skies Are Ours to inescapably bind ears and imagination.

ICOSA open up the release with Ermangulatr. Its initial shimmering touch is gentle, almost spatial in breath as it slowly entangles thoughts and senses. Guitars soon add additional intrigue before expelling a heavier intensive climate coverwith sonic veining which mesmerises as it scorches aligned to a Meshuggah like predation. It is a powerful lure which only increases as it welcomes the excellent vocals of Tattershall, his tones another tempering flame against the brewing ferocity of intent and invention. As it expands and explores, the track continues to twist and turn with inescapable hooks, fluid grooves, and simply a web of compelling ideation and craft. Reminders of The Ocean, Opeth, and The Mars Volta flirt with thoughts across the song but with its striking creative emprise, the track and ultimately release is impossible to truly pin down.

The two part title track is next, Part 1 instantly teasing senses with coarse but ridiculously enticing melodies within agitated rhythms and an equally frenetic narrative of riffs and invention. There is rapacious rabidity to the track and its dramatic landscape but just as potently a fury of seduction which drives every warped twist and idea as well as every melodic spearing and ingenious coaxing. At times listening to the track you feel like you are on a roller coaster ride through a vast ever shifting landscape of unpredictable dangers and beauty whilst in other moments you get the feeling of a dogfight in the air between dark and light protagonists, each spinning their individual traps as they tussle gleefully. The closing sun of melodic elegance glides the listener imperiously into Part 2 and its almost celebratory beginning where rhythms and guitars romp with ideas and endeavour whilst the vocals find an additional snarl to enrich the elevated revelry. The track simply enslaves and intrigues; its merger of metal and rock into a distinctly individual and transfixing voracious blaze of invention and imagination, ridiculously impressive and thrilling. It is all so seamless and fluid that you just get lost in the sheer beauty of the persistently shifting mystery and adventure so that at times the real world is just not there.

The EP is completed by Trepidation, a welcome trespass into the passions with bulky jagged riffs, cascading sultry melodies, and bordering on psychotic invention honed into a contagious stride of devilish imagination and just as sinisterly attractive and skilled ingenuity in songwriting and presentation. It is an outrageously brilliant end to a similarly potent and masterful release. ICOSA is already a major player in metal, it is just that we and the metal world did not realise until now through their debut. As The Skies Are Ours lets its last notes tease and thrill there is room for one more thought, something this good and genius just has to have the Devil’s backing.

The Skies Are Ours EP is available digitally as a name your price download and on CD now @ http://icosa.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.facebook.com/icosa/

10/10

RingMaster 25/07/2014

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Idols of Apathy – Unheard Words

IOA Promo

Unleashing a sonic cyclone of unwavering hostility and technical victimisation, Unheard Words the debut EP from UK metallers Idols of Apathy is one formidable and gripping slab of creative savagery. As striking as it is vicious, the release explains with ease why there is a healthily buzz brewing around the band. It is not without aspects which prevents it making an even more major impact but with a raging potential and openly impressive craft to its sound and textures, it is easy to raise excited anticipation of big things for the band ahead.

Hailing from Essex and uncaged in 2013, Idols Of Apathy probably could not have made a more attention grabbing assault on the senses to start off their consumption of the country’s senses than with Unheard Words. Five tracks across a fifteen minutes furnace of sound and aggression, the release is a short bludgeoning shock to the system but one which does leaving a lingering impression and hunger in thoughts and appetite. It certainly takes work to explore and reveal the intricacies and superb skilled invention at play, its thick surface similarity to an arguably formula attack of songs already having fallen short in the opinion of some others, but dive into the eye of the storm and that is where songs and Idols of Apathy excel and surprise.

The EP starts off with brief instrumental Rebirth, a piece which enthrals from its first seconds with a melancholic ambience and melodic wistfulness, soon graced further by a harmonic haunting. It seduces senses and imagination before Artworkthe staggered djent charm and tenacity of the guitars within viciously stabbing rhythms ravage the air. That initial mesmeric beauty still persists though as it settles seamlessly into the portentous tempest stirring ruggedly around it. That intimidating suggestion is swiftly realised with Death Row. The corrosive vocal roar of Jack Paul Dervish explodes in ears first, matched by the ferocious backing tones of Dean Chignell whose guitar, alongside those of Tom Johnson and Joe Gregory, collide in an ear splitting maelstrom of intensive and technical voracity. As much as the track seemingly is intent on annihilation of the senses, there is a swagger and a budding nest of grooves poised and hinting in the belly of the fury. It swiftly makes for an intriguing and riveting encounter, to which the returning melodic call from the instrumental adds a rich emotive hue . It is a stunning track which continues to reveal new corners and depths within its bestial rage; every breath and twist a punch and treat for ears but within a frame of less than three and a half minutes there is no time for excess and showing off, not that you ever feel the band has the urge to go into that kind of indulgence.

The dramatic and impressive encounter is backed up by the just as imposing The Devil’s Clock Tower. That earlier comment about similar touches of songs is evident here as the rhythmic and guitar enterprise bleeds into what came before without close attention, even with the evocative sonic coaxing in their midst. As it grows and digs deeper into its intensive heart though, the guitars sculpt an individual web of temptation whilst the bass of Elliot Black in league with the ear drum puncturing beats of drummer George, brutalise and seduce in equal measure as the vocals again provide a caustic challenge to sink teeth into. As all songs, it is not just about the maliciousness though, the atmospheric fire and melodic colour drenching the track being as provocative and imaginative as its inhospitable drive and passion.

The release is concluded by firstly Ventriloquist, a track which filters its predatory animosity through a maze of scything riffs and mouth-watering ideation. The rhythms refuse to have a veil of course, their crippling designs and hard fisted rabidity resourcefully vengeful and as irresistible as the sonic binding and aggravated riffery working away on the passions. It is a fine torturous confrontation which is matched by the closing Deceiver, which as the previous song comes from distant scenery but this time simply takes the senses in its teeth and musically and vocally flails and tears their security to shreds. It is a devastating onslaught with strangely a touch of Mudvayne to it initially before the track unleashes another creative blend of metalcore and technical metal to engross and violate ears. It is a powerful and viciously engaging protagonist bringing the EP to a potent end.

Unheard Words is a commanding and impressive debut which leaves thoughts in no doubt to the promise and quality of Idols of Apathy. For sure it has that to be honest minor issue of tracks sharing certain aspects of their identities and it is fair to say that their sound just now fails to really stand out against the best similarly styled, aggression clad bands pushing the genre. Idols of Apathy though easily stand in the company of most of that crop with all the potential to find their lone voice in the future with you imagine even more impressive endeavours.

The Unheard Words EP is available now as a free download @ http://idolsofapathy.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/IdolsOfApathy

8.5/10

RingMaster 25/07/2014

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Liquid Meat – In Meat We Trust

LM

Want a slab of rock ‘n’ roll just to lose yourself in and let inhibitions slip away with, then try out In Meat We Trust the new album from German rockers Liquid Meat. The thirteen track riot is from start to finish an honest and mischievous fusion of heavy rock, metal, and punk rock with extras, which simply leads passions astray and body into an unbridled stomp of instinctive devilry.

The creation of German born Rocker Freddie Mack, Liquid Meat was formed in Los Angeles in 2004 and was soon playing a horde of gigs around Hollywood. Two albums followed before in 2011, Mack returned to his hometown of Munich which meant a new line-up was needed. This led to the recruiting of drummer Manu Holmer and bassist Max Horch, and unsurprisingly soon after the trio was back into the swing of playing shows, drawing attention, acclaim, and notoriety musically all over again. Earlier this year the band began recording the Indiegogo crowd funded In Meat We Trust with legendary producer Reinhold Mack (Queen, ELO, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, etc.), the result one mouth-watering rock ‘n’ roll party which enjoyably wears its warts and influences like a badge.

The album opens with Liquid Meat Anthem, an uncomplicated bruising of choice riffs and crisp rhythms aligned to a great bass sound which probably grabs attention most of all on the track. The growling vocals of Mack instantly reveal the grin in his delivery and the song, whilst the backing calls of the rest of the band lays swift anthemic bait. It is hard to ignore the Motorhead like causticity and charm of the track as it provides one strong and inviting entrance into the album.

The following song right away shows the unpredictable and diverse flavouring to come across the release. They Lied sways in front of the ears with a sultry blues haze to its sonic enticement before prowling around the imagination with a IMWT Cover_1funk bred swagger which has the markings of Infectious Grooves. Equally there is a punk air to the blend which only increases the persuasion, especially when provides urgency through the chorus which brings another tasty spice, this time a Rage Against The Machine colour. It is an infectiously flavoursome track with twists of drama and an increasingly addictive groove. Its triumph is immediately matched by the outstanding Punch The Clock. Its opening intimidation of bass and predatory rhythms makes for an intense affair though that is soon lost to a big smile as the track starts flirting with what can be best described as Macho Man does Pantera. Mack does his best wrestler vocal impression as a groove certainly related to the one in Walk binds attention and appetite. It is insatiable in its luring and delicious in its devilment with Holmer providing her most magnetic rhythms yet alongside the throaty bounce of Horch’s bass.

The best song on the album is followed by the smouldering blues revelry of Double Standard Blues and then the punk joy of Black Out. The first also has a swagger which grips imagination as well as ears, whilst as with most songs lyrically it brings a devilish tone to climb on board with. Though not at the same heights of the first songs, it still provides a pleasing proposition which its successor soon over runs. Teasing and exciting ears with a riff stolen from The Ramones songbook, so much so that you just are waiting for the “Hey Ho! Let’s Go!” chant, the song is punk ‘n’ roll at its most contagious; hooks and beats as potent and greedily devoured as the driving riffs and bursts of caustic intensity. The track is another which makes claims on that best track title.

Both There Is No God and Guilty As Charged keep things strolling along nicely, the first with a dark blues whisper to its almost psychobilly kissed blues breath, which reminds of Joecephus and the George Jonestown Massacre, whilst the second puts a lighter shade of the first to a raw and incendiary classic metal canvas. Each song leaves a dose of keen pleasure behind whilst the next up Rock N Roll Will Never Die from a reserved but alluring opening melodic flame, breaks into a virulently catchy stomp of old school rock toxicity with a fevered rhythmic energy. There are no surprises with the song but a flood of hooks and inescapable trappings which leaves ears and emotions on a high as lofty as that forged by the groupie salaciousness of Up Against The Wall, never has rock ‘n’ roll romance been so aurally addictive.

The decent enough fiery rock sounds of classic/blues rocker Road House comes next before another pinnacle of the album arrives in the shape of Fuck That. The track is a return to a more punk led rampage, its jabbing rhythms and scything riffs again offering a slight rockabilly flirtation whilst the bass roams around like an adulterous predator. Revealing a parade of impossible addictive hooks and grooves blessed with a Dead Kennedys temperament, it is another glorious encounter which leaves the remaining pair of songs a task to match and leave the album on a high. That they do with consummate ease though, Smoke ‘Em a grizzled protest and confrontation of bruising raw rock ‘n’ roll and final song, The Devils Music is a noir cloaked stroll with sinister intent and psychobilly/blues intrigue. As all songs the tongue in cheek honesty is as infectious as the great sounds and adventure it rides in upon.

It is fair to say that In Meat We Trust is not going to be the greatest album you are going to hear but it will be one of the most fun and irresistible.

In Meat We Trust is available now @ www.liquidmeatlocker.com

8.5/10

RingMaster 25/07/2014

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The Old-timers – Be Reconciled

THe Old Timers cover

Hailing from South Africa, punk band The Old-timers has forged themselves a quite potent spotlight not only in Christian punk but the punk underground as a whole with their releases. Now the trio return with their finest moment yet, the Be Reconciled EP. With a broader sound and inventive nature, the release catches the imagination with infectious slices of raw and organic punk rock and a premise which asks questions of thoughts. The band’s fourth release, the EP is simply another open step forward in the presence and sound of The Old-timers.

The band was formed in 2011 by Cape Town vocalist Dave Emerson and Port Elizabeth guitarist/bassist Donovan de Necker, its seeds first sown when they met whilst the latter visited the home town of the former whilst on holiday. From the pair’s unplanned meeting they found plenty to connect over, punk rock being one big love for both. Writing and sharing songs over the vast distances between them through technology, the band emerged with a demo Punk’s Not Dead! Nor Are We!, which brought them to the attention of Christian Punk label Thumper Punk Records. Soon after its release the duo recruited Californian drummer Matt Lagusis whilst Thumper Records released the band’s following impressive releases, the 2012 album Soli Deo Gloria and the Spiritus Sanctus at the end of last year. Both releases showed the continuing growth in sound and songwriting, an evolution pushed again by Be Reconciled.

The new EP is a concept release, its premise following the story of a life finding the light from a dark destructive place, “from sinner to repentance to reconciliation through Jesus.” That journey can be translated into a search we all embrace at some point in our lives within or outside of religion, and in its infusing of keys, a capella harmonies, and spoken poetry within old school fuelled punk rampages, Be Reconciled is a masterfully riveting encounter which works on ears and emotions. It starts with Hole in My Heart, a track which instantly lights ears with its rising persistence of riffs and stomping rhythms. The song, as the vocals, roars with a rapacious intensity and air as the guitar of de Necker expels caustic riffs and enticing hooks whilst his bass prowls the song with a devilish intent. It is an outstanding start to the release, the song’s NOFX like raucousness and Exploited like intensity bound in grooves and hooks which simply infests the imagination, whilst the inventive pounding from Lagusis and vocal demand of Emerson round off the potent lure of the song.

The spoken poetry of Blessings Out of Buffetings is next, voice and haunting keys the protagonist accompanied by percussive taunting. It is a track which alone you would say is for those of faith but within the narrative of the EP and linking the opener and the following Hope for the Rejected, it works well in the context of the story and unimposingly. The third track flies at ears with a raw scrub of riffs and bass driven by rabid beats. With group vocals which works a treat the track at times reminds of early Shelter, its grazing breath veined by a contagious groove which simply entices the appetite further and without reserve. Another highlight of the release, the track provokes, incites, and thrills in equal urgency and strength.

The bruising sounds of Father God I Wonder excites and challenges senses next, the track recruiting the incendiary essences which grabbed attention within previous releases and loading them with a richer infectious bait and instinctive ferocity. It is one minute of prime punk rock which thrusts its sound and narrative irresistibly through ears into thoughts and emotions. Its triumph is matched by the riveting The Joy of Reconciliation. The song starts with that a capella offering mentioned before, a striking union of the band’s voices which works so well you almost throw a sigh of disappointment when the song erupts into its punk rapacity. It soon has those thoughts forgotten though as it squalls and stomps aggressively across the senses for another hunger feeding slab of punk passion.

The closing Ambassadors as the second track is a spoken word within a keys embrace, a conclusion to the narrative which also like the earlier song links in well when taken as part of the journey but for those without a feeling for the religious side of things you sense it may not get the chance too often to make its suasion in being the final track. It has to be reinforced though that as all their releases, The Old-timers presents an encounter which is for all punk fans, just this time it is the band at its most adventurous and dynamic sounding to date which is reason enough to spend plenty of time with Be Reconciled.

The Be Reconciled EP is available now through Thumper Punk Records and Veritas Vinyl as well as @ http://theold-timers.bandcamp.com/album/be-reconciled

https://www.facebook.com/theoldtimers

8.5/10

RingMaster 24/07/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Triton – First Orbit

triton

Rising from the ashes of rock band Damsel Down, one of the best US underground secrets, North Carolina quartet Triton has subsequently been faced with strong expectations but on the evidence of debut release First Orbit, have simply taken it all in their impressive stride. The seven-track EP provides a potent and rigorously engaging proposition of melodic rock with a hint of Americana as well as a whisper of more muscular elements. It is an encounter to feed ears and emotions rewardingly and spark the imagination with open potential and quality; maybe not a release to open new avenues for rock but certainly one to give it a very healthy colour.

The demise of Damsel Down last year with the departure of vocalist Dave Burke left many intrigued as to what would happen next. With bassist Darrin Craft unwilling to commit to a brand new project after it was clear the band would not be able to continue, remaining members in drummer Jim Clardy and guitarist Kyle Spidel set about starting afresh. First to join them was long-time friend and bassist Andy Allen who subsequently brought along vocalist Chris Rich. Originally meant to be a stop-gap link-up until a permanent vocalist could be found, Rich stepped into those shoes impressively to grab that full-time position. The Concord band was now ready to emerge which it did with attention grabbing songs and now through First Orbit. Recorded last year it is a striking debut to not exactly set the world on fire but sure to make Triton a name to keep a close eye and ear on.

The release opens with the outstanding One, a track which from its first tantalising bass and guitar notes is crawling into the imagination to light instant attention and appetite. The song is almost teasing senses with its intrigue before 1238890_435546393229170_1824389728_nbroadening its expanse and reach with a blaze of melodic enterprise and rhythmic enticement. Holding a sturdy and commanding stride, the track partly intimidates and partly seduces in sound and intent, its metal seeded groove and the impressive voice of Rich bringing extra captivation to bear on keen emotions rising to embrace the song. With hints of bands like Seether and Poets Of The Fall to its body, the track dominates with confidence and creative flair.

The following Every Way similarly has a potent gait and presence, punchy rhythms and a throaty bassline instant lures to take hold of. Though less dramatic as its predecessor, riffs cast an appealing web whilst the growl bred in the music and Rich’s voice offers another rich hue to the sound and songwriting of the band. Though subtler than with some bands, there is infectiousness to the song which crawls under the skin and lingers. The track is an imposingly enticing encounter which has thoughts and emotions bound in its sinew built charm with ease before making way for Live Free or Die. Opening with sounds of war, the track bears down with a swing to its gait and contagion to its rhythmic bait. Like the last song there is an instinctive snarl which caresses every aspect of the song, its caustic riffs and fiery enterprise right through to the anthemic beats of Clardy and those again impressing vocals. It is a blaze of thrilling rock ‘n’ roll, as suggested not the most ground-breaking but a track which leaves a real hunger for more.

Real Bottom comes next to change the air of the release slightly, it’s slower yet no less imposing presence an emotive and passion fuelled reflection which enthrals thoughts and ears. Excellent group harmonies add extra potent spice, though the dark toned voice which seems to enter most tracks does not work as it does say on the first trio of songs and should have been forgotten as it distracts too much from what is a great song. Nevertheless the track shows the strength of the band as does Broken Souls, a power ballad which just grows and grows over time. As the last song it misses the heights of the first few tracks, but engages relentlessly as its smouldering presence blossoms with a slow burning surety over each play.

Warrior Stare has no problems making a powerful first impression; it’s almost predacious challenging of ears with forceful rhythms and antagonistic riffs as irresistible as it is intimidating. Again the lone heavy throated voice frustrates but cannot defuse what is an insatiably gripping song with a great flame of enterprise from Spidel, the ever enslaving beats of Clardy, and the masterful vocals and bass temptation of Rich and Allen. The track lights up body and imagination riotously before leaving for the evocative caress of closing ballad If They Only Said, to bring the encounter to an enjoyable close. It is not the strongest song on the EP but easy to constantly devour as Triton show the depth of their creativity and again the enthralling voice of Rich.

     First Orbit is a masterful introduction drawing on the experiences and already honed skills of its members for a strikingly accomplished and magnetically riveting, not forgetting thrilling adventure. Listening to the EP it is hard not to feel that Triton will outshine and find a much larger spotlight than some of its member’s previous endeavour.

First Orbit is available now @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/first-orbit/id844636540

https://www.facebook.com/Tritonrock

8.5/10

RingMaster 24/07/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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The essence of greatness: an interview with Franky De Smet Van Damme of Channel Zero

CZ Franky

The recent release of Kill All Kings, the new album from Channel Zero, comes after one of the most tragic and devastating times a band or anyone can experience. The death of drummer Phil Baheux left not only the Brussels band but metal itself distraught. After time to recover the band decided to continue and to record the album Phil was set to record with them. What emerged is an encounter which makes for a thoroughly enterprising engagement and makes a fitting tribute to their friend. We had the pleasure to talk with vocalist Franky De Smet Van Damme who kindly shared memories of Phil, as well as telling us about the impact of his sad passing, the new album, approaches to recording and much more…

Hello Franky and thanks so much for sharing your time with us.

You have just released your new album, the irresistibly enjoyable Kill All Kings; it must be an exciting yet also a sad moment for the bad with the album the first release since the loss of colleague and friend Phil Baheux. What are the feelings as the album makes its first steps into the world?

Well it’s a hard step … when you see how much pos vibes we have for that new album … Phil should have been here with us … sometimes it’s hard to get what life brings you … happiness and sadness can be so close together …

 

Phil

Phil

Can we briefly talk about Phil before concentrating on the album. He was a well-loved and rigorously respected musician and man by fans and the metal world, and of course a brother to you guys. Could you give us some insight into the man and his craft?

Well first of all he was a tall man …6 foot …a giant with a heart of gold … when he had it for you… he would have died for you … he had that comic thing in him … he was an 24/7 entertainer … when he was around us we were always hearing him goof around with everybody … it’s so quiet now in studio and on shows … we really miss him so much as a friend, there was no way you missed him when he was there … it’s still hard to get …

It must have been touch and go whether the band continued after his passing. What gave you the strength to continue and push the band on again, which we all know is what he would have wanted?

Well at first it was a hard time, we were so much in shock because he was really in such good shape … and then the next moment you can hardly believe what’s going on … his son of 5 years was always there with us … so much drama. I was out of options … we were about to record the new album 2 days later and as most of you know … that always starts with drums … so we were devastated. One month later we still didn’t know what now … we were still in that hanging phase where we didn’t really knew what, when or where … meanwhile we had had a message through a Belgian fan that met Lars Ulrich who made his condolences to us … and he also said … what happened was so tragic but please move on … Phil would have never want you to stop here … and pretty soon after that we also got that reaching hand from Roy Mayorga (Mikey’s good friend from in Soulfly ) who said if you want to make the album in memory of Phil I want to help you guys out, I’d be happy to do this for you …so we decided to make the album and see from there on, since there was no intention at all that Roy would play drums in Channel Zero. That’s how we got back on the rails.

As mentioned you have just released Kill All Kings, a fiery contagion of thrash and groove infested melodic metal. For us the album sits somewhere between modern thrash and its origins whilst adding its own individual twists. How would you describe its potency?

I think it’s got that look back and respect for the metal machine build-up of riffs and power and at the same time I’m always the guy that looks forward … that combination of Mikey and my pulling forward in ideas works well. It’s the second album now and we start to make things really work together … the music match is also very strong between Mikey and me, so it’s all about vibe and hard work.

I’m always concerned about … what is now … what should be the vibe now … 2014/2015 … I’m not the kind of person who looks back to much …

It is a fair old time since the band’s formation in 1990 of course, a time which included a decade or so long break, so how would you say your sound has most powerfully evolved since those early times and Kill All Kings? Channel Zero - Kill All Kings

That new impact comes from Mikey … he was highly needed in pos vibe and power to make this happen … so I found a music soul mate and a brother at the same time, destiny I think … sometimes things happen without a reason … this had to happen … I call it Channel Zero 2.0 ;-)

Did you have reservations going into the album’s writing let alone recording because there was no Phil to drive the rhythmic provocation?

Well this album was already there before Phil passed away so the songs were created with Phil’s impact … in demo writing we use drum computers to write since we don’t have budgets to record whole demos in studio. What happens is that when songs come together, Phil always kinda followed the drum tracks so we were sure it was something he could go for … it would have been crazy to try to program things that we could not play later on live. So here we were totally there, all songs were chosen to record with Phil …

There was a deeper personal element to songs, lyrically and musically, than ever before on a release this time for you?

Well the impact of Heart Stopped, the song that was kinda of rewritten in „ Angel „ acoustic, was a hard one … Brothers Keeper too … these songs now refer so hard to what happened so that’s really emotional … on the other side I have always written lyrics that have a deep impact or feeling to me …

I have that thing where I want to wake up people’s conscious … always been my intention in writing lyrics.

The recording must have been very hard especially but it sounds on songs that emotion rife in the studio went into a stirring and anthemic passion which soaks the release. Do you feel that too?

Well we want to make songs that kind of stick to the brain … we wrote about 40 of them and when you write more songs you always have more good ones in the end … that’s a thing that probably made all the ones on the album have a certain strength … which they should have.

Impact and dedication … lyric wise and song wise …

Tell us about the songs on the album, Phil’s involvement if at all, and the inspiration for the majority of their themes.

All songs are written by Mikey musically and then I come into the game with feelings … vocal lines … and that is where it moves on … sometimes it falls really fast together, sometimes it goes slow in writing. When things start to pop up at the surface it means it sticks to the brain … so we learned to take time …

We must admit we expected to feel or hear something missing in the rhythmic part of the album, no disrespect to Roy Mayorga who joined you in the studio, but the man nailed it in a different way to Phil but as potently…

I think that’s normal … Roy really listened hard to the demos and he wanted to put his heart and soul into it but off course Phil and Roy have both different playing styles We tried to find that sweet spot with Roy in the studio … to make it work in such a way that Phil would have loved it … we really worked hard in that vibe or direction and it was not easy for Roy to step into someone else’s shoes but he really did such amazing job and impact … all in the memory of Phil … we can’t thank him enough for that …

Having been one of the most notable driving forces of European thrash in the nineties have you felt the need to twist your sound to bring it ‘up to date’ with modern sounds within the genre or has it organically simply evolved for the new album and its predecessor Feed ‘Em with a Brick?

The change was obvious … we had a new guitarist and automatically we moved on to something different but the impact we wanted to give was still a metal impact and sound so Mikey was a dream scenario, even if we didn’t have many things in mind when he joined. The new album has evolved to better songs and also we thought about it way more that F W A Brick … I think that’s an evolution you owe to your fans and yourself also…

There seems to be two camps in regard to modern thrash and its varied flavoursome design, old school fans who hate it and those who devour it eagerly. How have you found responses with a sound which embraces both aspects?

Well as I said before, Mikey embraces that old school metal vibe which he understands really well as a metal guitarist … and on the other side I’m always open for new things …and the mix was important too, I made some decisions that had to be done and I think we made a move that kinda made it work … I mean by work it gets accepted really well so I hope we can surprise people with our 2014 album ….

Channel Zero - Band Photo 2014 #3 - Photo Credit Tim TronckoeWith plenty of albums under your belt, have expectations over the way you approach recording new records changed over time?

Yes it has … bands have less and less budget and ways to record without making any comments on the downloading thing …

With no income anymore for most bands out of the fact their music gets copied … it gets more and more complicated to bring it on.

I always say … if you have 3 months time or 3 weeks time to build a house … which house will be the most finished? Working on music still brings in the fact it will probably be stronger as a song …

I still believe that producers make a big difference also, their knowledge is inevitable but who can still pay a decent producer and pre-producer so all these things matter. The band has to have a certain strength but on the other side the people that work on your music also have their talents and qualities so I still believe in the strength of working together … not in making an album in your living room and selling it on your own. A couple of exceptions out of the world-wide market maybe make it work like that but 98% of the majority of the bands they only work like that …

Do you still get the same buzz?

Well if you write good songs you hopefully get good reviews etc. … if the music talks the rest walks, I still believe in that…

You released Electronic Cocaine as the first single from the album, strong bait to the album for sure; tell us about its background and creation.

Its lyrical content is about the addiction we all have on the social media and internet … it’s a American term for people being hooked on internet and the fact that our brain needs the dopamine of getting tickled, when we receive less messages our brain is disappointed … it’s a typical human reaction but we can’t live anymore without the net and that’s where that lyric goes all about, about the fact we all are hooked without realizing it anymore. For me the song has that strong verse pre-chorus chorus impact … I really love that song personally, it is a favorite for me …

Roy Mayorga was only involved in the recording of the album, so what is ahead in the rhythm department for the band?

We are not going to replace Phil … we will play with drummers that will take his seat; we are not ready to have a fixed drummer on Phil’s seat. It’s too emotional ….same for band pictures with someone new … it’s a bit more complicated than you should think

And for the band as a whole, live shows?

Well in the meantime … Seven Antonopoulos plays drums live and he is making a great job helping us out. He is a great drummer and awesome person, we are so grateful he is there for the moment. We hope we can get on tour any time soon with Kill All Kings; we get really great reviews everywhere so when we are getting the possibility to tour … we will get on that bus…

Thanks again so much for chatting with us, any last thought you would like to add?

Thank you for checking us out and thank you for taking a spin on our new album … and if we convince you, come to a show to see Channel Zero live … and thank you for all your messages of respect for Phil .

Looking back at the writing and making of Kill All Kings, is there one overriding aspect or emotion which marks its moment in time for you?

Phil’s passing should not have been there … life is precious … keep that in mind, live your life to the fullest because it can be over before your realize. Happily Phil lived his life at 200 M/Hour … I’m happy he did, he was a great person and awesome brother.

Read the review of Kill All Kings @ http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/06/25/channel-zero-kill-all-kings/

www.channel-zero.be

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 23/07/2014

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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King of Asgard – Karg

King of Asgard 2014

With their new album our introduction to King of Asgard, expectations of Karg were bred from the influence and suggestion of others. The band’s third album follows the widely acclaimed debut Fi’mbulvintr of 2010 and the similarly well-received …to North two years later. The former especially is mentioned in lustful voices so hopes and anticipation for the bands new full-length was keenly high. What emerged is a release which initially did not completely convince. Certainly the band’s raw blackened death metal impressed in weight, craft, and malevolence yet it lay relatively dormant in the passions. As with all releases though the first couple of ventures were mere suggestions and subsequent listens began revealing a much broader and inventive proposition. It would be wrong to say that the album has managed to light a fire in our imagination and passions yet but it has become one tenaciously compelling protagonist over time. How it sits against the previous King of Asgard albums we will have to let others say for now but Karg is definitely an album worth a decent perusal.

The Swedish band was formed in 2008 by vocalist/guitarist Karl Beckman alongside drummer Karsten Larsson, the pair having played together in Viking metallers Mithotyn. Drawing on Norse heritage lyrically, the band released the demo Prince of Märings in 2009 before being joined that same year by bassist Jonas Albrektsson, once of Thy Primordial. The demo drew strong attention from labels and by the December of the same year King of Asgard has signed with Metal Blade Records. Fi’mbulvintr caused a big stir in the metal scene with its release the following year. Recorded with Andy LaRocque, as both the subsequent albums, it strongly thrust the band onto the folk/extreme metal map. Second guitarist Lars Tängmark was then recruited as the band hit the live side of things across 2010/11 before the band settled down to work on and create sophomore album …to North.

The dark and harshly lit soundscape of Karg is the next confrontation for ears and emotions from the band, its title meaning barren in English which is a perfect description of the stark atmosphere it carries, and to be honest of that first initial persuasion. As with all things closer inspection reveals creative nooks and crannies though; the unpredictable elements which breathe and tempt below the surface, and it is undeniable that Karg has a wealth of those lures.

The distant portentous storm of what feels like a brewing battle front makes way for the wonderfully nagging riffery of The Runes of Hel, the guitars calling invitingly from within the still rumbling scenery. Swiftly rampant rhythms are King of Asgard - Kargin league with the inciting guitars, as are soon after the gravelly growls of Beckman. There is virulence to the eventual charge of the track which has attention and appetite recruited keenly, more so as it expands its creative and lyrical narrative. Persistently guided by that niggle of a toxic groove which set it in motion, the track continues to enthral and impress with its at times subtle twists and caustic melodies within the overall intimidation of the song, making for an open attraction to greedily devour.

It is a mighty start which has hopes licking their lips for what is to follow. The Trickster comes next, striding in on imposing riffs to which shards of sonic enticement blazes. It is a magnetic entrance, especially with the group vocal calls, but despite prowling energetically loses its impetus. The grooving lures and crisp rhythms make a forcible draw whilst riffs and vocals roar pleasingly but the track feeds more than defies expectations, missing the inventive colouring of its predecessor. There are engaging twists within it to keep interest and satisfaction high though and make it an encounter you want to explore more, just like its successor Highland Rebellion. Aggression and antagonism is high from its first breath, the call to arms rhythmically and in atmosphere a potent coaxing within and around the menacing textures and attitude of the track. Again though, it lacks the spark to ignite the passions which disappoints, even if ears and imagination are admittedly quite content.

Remnant of the Past marks a shift in the strength of the album, the track returning its appeal to the levels of the first track with adventure and raw enterprise. Its coarse wind of riffs and punchy rhythms makes an intriguing beckoning but it is when the storm drops and the bass takes centre stage with its sinister tone as Beckman’s equally noir lilted vocals snarl out the lyrical bait, that there is a new potency to track and release. The song continues to stalk ears with roaming riffs and concussive rhythms but reined in by that threatening air. The song persistently surprises to incite a new hunger for the release, its winding melodic tempting and group vocals adding extra taste to the richly appetising proposition. It is soon left in the shade of the outstanding Omma though. From an elegant piano crafted caress the track builds a brooding dusty squall of sonic and rhythmic intimidation. It is not hostile but certainly warlike which is accentuated by the great vocal drone which comes in, its primal chant like a meditative tribal coming together in preparation for battle. That intensity erupts with warring rhythms and vocal causticity but bound again by delicious melodic straps of enterprise and emotively atmospheric textures. Ultimately barbarous in its intent there is also a seduction to the song which leaves thoughts and passions basking.

Both The Heritage Throne and Huldran keep things at a heightened level, the first especially contagious in its creative suasion. The track strolls in with rhythmic muscles poised and confident swaggering riffs. The bass finds a gutsier growl too which only adds to the captivating and bruising rapacity of the song. It is another track unafraid to explore different avenues, arguably too few of the songs doing so upon Karg. With slow moves into clean harmonies over melodic respites and equally restrained crawls of heavy weight predation veined by majestic sonic hues, the song is an enthralling offering. Its successor is pure vitriol in sound and presence, a furious rabidity but veined by irresistible grooves and intrigue clad ideation. Many of the songs on the album are slow burners in persuasion, this more than most but it evolves into one of the most eagerly digested incitements over time.

The album is concluded by firstly Rising, a brutally imposing and exciting encounter which also takes time to permeate thoughts and feelings but does so with a tenacity and tempest of sound and imagination which leads to a stealing of full praise, and lastly a brilliant cover of Bathory’s Total Destruction. I know this will upset a great many but with its punk/thrash fuel and urgency, and outright inhospitable infectiousness, the track takes the original to another level and along with Omma is the pinnacle of the album.

Karg has still not lit a fire in the belly but with each and every listen just grows and brings a stronger persuading and is easy to whole heartedly recommend.

Karg is available via Metal Blade Records now @ http://www.metalblade.com/kingofasgard/

http://www.kingofasgard.com/

8/10

RingMaster 23/07/2014

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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That Massive Bereavement – Sugar for the Masses

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The last time we heard from That Massive Bereavement it was with their raw and dirty Eat The Rich EP, a release which grated upon and pleasured ears in equal fashion. It was caustic and uncompromising but suggested a healthy future for the UK band which has been more than reinforced by its successor, the outstanding Sugar for the Masses. The new seven track release finds the band strapping on a maturity and creative mischief which was merely hinted at on the previous encounter. It is a brawling proposition which again fuses grunge, punk rock, garage rock and plenty of other filthy essences, but the band and release has become a whole new proposition now. The EP not only realises their early promise but has nurtured it into a thoroughly captivating and incendiary riot of thankfully still unpolished but feverishly riveting rock ‘n’ roll.

Hailing from the Medway, That Massive Bereavement draw on inspirations which include the likes of The Fall, Therapy?, The Replacements, Wire, The Pixies, Sonic Youth, Pavement, Swell Maps, and Joy Division. Plenty of those are often open spices in songs but only as colouring to their striking abrasive sound and enterprise. Eat The Rich was a release which you could see rubbing as many people up the wrong way as it recruited ardour clad fans such its uncompromising and in comparison to Sugar for the Masses, naïve presence. Sugar for the Masses though is an incitement you can only see recruiting eager attention and hunger for the band, the quartet of vocalist/guitarist Aidan Hehir, lead guitarist James Feist, bassist Peter Bevan, and Colin Antilife Jervis on drums breeding all the qualities of their debut into a broader contagious and skilfully delivered bait.

The release sets off after the passions with Colin Farmer (Will Have His Revenge On Lancashire), a grisly bass riff bringing the opener instant attention. Its lure is soon added to by a feisty rhythmic provocation and a sonic wash of a1016014884_2acidic enticement. The track already has senses and appetite in its fiery hands, its emerging rapacious stroll antagonistic rock ‘n’ roll with a flush of The Stooges, Rocket from the Crypt, and even a touch of Lemmy. Hooks litter the thrilling confrontation as well as jagged riffs and lust searching grooves, it all combining for an insatiable tempest of attitude with persistent spills of sonic secretions and punk irreverence.

The outstanding start is followed by the brief endeavour of Jellied Eels. A track which reminds straight away of the seventies and bands like Swell Maps and Television Personalities, it strides with a big grin on its chords and rhythms whilst the lyrical tempting is loose in its seriousness but just as magnetic as the roar of an explosive intensity and aggression which also spears the excellent slice of revelry.

The imposingly impressive start to the EP is kept up with Bullet, its body a stalking prowl of caustic submission and seemingly defeatist passion. It is only a suggestive shade to a track which is unrelentingly defiant in sound and confrontational in its aggressive provocation. Guitars spill venom and rhythms swing unchecked punches to explode in the ears, but it is the raw reflection of the vocals and a sonic enterprise which sears the senses that loads the song with a vibrancy its premise defies. It is a compelling slab of incitement which is weighty in sound and presence and a total contrast to the punk devilment of Rupert Murdoch’s Death Wank. The track strides with adrenaline fuelled ferocious riffs and stabbing rhythms led by the individually brawling tones of Aiden, but interrupts that charge with staccato sculpted breaks in its gait and sonically swirling guitar imagination. It is two minutes of garage punk addictiveness to lay further enthused emotions upon.

Nine Toed Woman again has a broad smile and lustful appetite given in return for its hook laden punk temptation and lyrical ‘insight’. Thoughts of early Damned and The Adicts spring to mind but again it is a song with a presence which carries familiar traits without definition ensuring it is a fresh and ridiculously infectious slavery for ears and passions. There is no doubting that That Massive Bereavement has also honed their ability to sculpt hooks and lures which instinctively find a home in the listener and probably on Sugar For The Masses in no more potent way than right here, though the following title track might differ. One minute of sheer hostile punk rock with another hook which lends to addictive behaviour whilst merely two lines lyrically help cast an irresistible anthemic bait, the track is punk/roll in raw and gripping form.

The release closes with the post punk brilliance of Desolate, a track unmistakeably bred from a Joy Division influence but bound in a rich melodic ribboning which seduces the imagination. It is merely one aspect of the almost seven minute treat though as within its repetitive minimalistic coaxing it explodes with the rawest grunge infused explosions of sound. Coldly and hauntingly seductive in one breath and bordering on corrosive in another, the track is a fascinating and enthralling proposition which makes powerful suggestions about the direction the band is heading.

High hopes for Sugar for the Masses were left looking lightweight by the end of its incitement of ears, the release nothing but evidence showing That Massive Bereavement has grown from a promising band into a dramatically impressive protagonist with still plenty of potential to be realised you feel.

Sugar For The Masses is available now @ http://thatmassive-bereavement.bandcamp.com/album/sugar-for-the-masses

https://www.facebook.com/MassiveBereavement

9/10

RingMaster 23/07/2014

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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SECOND RATE ANGELS get ‘Dragged Out’‏

Second Rate Angels Online Promo picture

RISING METAL COMBO SECOND RATE ANGELS RELEASE NEW VIDEO!

UK metallers ‘Second Rate Angels’ have just unleashed their cracking new video single ‘Dragged out’, taken from their critically acclaimed debut EP ‘The Lost Days’. Watch the video for ‘Dragged Out’ here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DU1Lkyk0zhg .

 

Drawing from traditional heavy metal, as well as taking inspiration from Bullet For My Valentine, Avenged Sevenfold, and Trivium, Second Rate Angels serve up a fresh take on the metal genre. Look out as the ascending quartet hit the road this Autumn in support for their new single ‘Dragged Out’ and current EP ‘The Lost Days’.

 

Second Rate Angels were born at the end of 2011 and soon began to wow audiences with their high octane live shows. Coming at you from Hemel Hempstead and featuring Chris Lewis (Guitars and Backing Vocals), Matt Clark (Guitars and Backing Vocals), Dave Gobran (Vocals and Bass) and Andy Doran (Drums), the foursome nailed performances at Bloodstock Open Air Festival, and went on to play a string of highly successful shows throughout London and the South, landing supports with the likes of Breed 77, Beholder and Zico Chain along the way.

 

The lively quartet have just released their debut EP ‘The Lost Days’ and the record picked up wide praise from national press, radio and key online publications. The band were also featured on the cover CD of Metal Hammer, as well as notching glowing reviews from Big Cheese Magazine and Powerplay. Second Rate Angels now push on with their new video single ‘Dragged Out’ which delivers a serious blow to your senses with its alluring dynamics, stout intensity and soaring refrain. Look out for tour dates and shows soon to be announced via the band’s social sites.

 

 VIEW THE NEW SECOND RATE ANGELS VIDEO, ‘DRAGGED OUT’  HERE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DU1Lkyk0zhg  -

 Check out our review of The Lost Days EP @ http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/06/01/second-rate-angels-the-lost-days-ep/

www.facebook.com/SecondRateAngels

Ancient Altar – Self Titled EP

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There is a brutal tempest coming from Los Angeles and it is shaped in the rather tasty form of the self –titled EP from Ancient Altar. The four track debut from the band is a voracious beast of an encounter unleashing a fusion of corrosive doom and suffocating sludge causticity. The release preys upon and slowly smothers the senses in an inhospitable hunger and intensity but within that ruinous intent there is a rich vein of seductive bait which twists the psyche into an even more submissive victim. It is a heavily striking introduction to a band already gaining acclaim and a potent reputation at home, a release with a wealth of imposing potential to suggest Ancient Altar has a massive future.

With the band formed in the latter weeks of 2013, the quartet of vocalist/bassist Scott Carlson, vocalist/guitarist Barry Kavener, guitarist Jesse Boldt, and drummer Tom Oz recorded their first release with Etay Levy (Lana Dagales, Gallows of Sedition, …Of the Dead). Mixed by Gary Griffth (Morgion) and mastered by James Plotkin (O.L.D., Khanate, Jodis), the EP has emerged as a real predator of an encounter, one taking little time to intrigue ears as opener Tidal squirts electronic lures to awaken attention. A sonic embrace accompanies the entrance, guitars stirring up their venomous breath and rhythms roaming through a few sinew swung beats and rolling leads. It is a relatively restrained start, that is until the toxic growls and spite of Kavener and Carlson leave their respective throats and squall vindictively across the senses. It is a riveting entrance which increases its bait as the song begins to crawl eagerly, riffs and rhythms building a stalking proposition to which the vocals continue to sweat causticity. Magnetic grooves and melodic acidity brings colour and richer temptation to the canvas of hostility, their lures equipped with a swagger and enterprise to ignite the imagination further. It is a stunning first encounter with the band, the track continuing to roam almost salaciously around the senses with its wares as flirtatious as they are barbarous for an enthralling and powerfully gripping predation.

Things just get bigger and better with the exceptional Ek Balam. The track is almost nine minutes of sheer sonic and intrusive temptation, working on ears and passions from its opening seconds of evocatively enticing guitar. The slow aa_digimelodic stroking is as intriguing as it is coaxing, it’s hinting of things to come undefined but potently inviting. The darker tones of bass add another texture to the irresistible lure before guitars and rhythms descend with an abrasive punkish vivacity on ears and already greedy appetite. Riffs build a compelling and insatiably baiting web of repetition and seduction, a persistent and unrelenting instinctive tempting which bewitches and engrosses with lean but intensely expressively sonic and melodic ingenuity. Mid-way in the mystique of the track takes on an even heavier and more intimidating purpose, laying down a landscape for the painfully raw, tonsil scarring vocal roars to spill their animosity over. It only adds to the drama and addictive nature of the track though, riffs and barbed grooves continuing to bind and infest the psyche and emotions whilst rhythms jab and punch with formidable intent to punctuate every twist and lurch of the outstanding track.

Its major triumph, alone a reason to recommend and drool over the band, does leave the final two tracks struggling to impress as dramatically. Feed comes first and immediately finds a fiery groove to wrap around ears within a great agitated web of rhythms. It makes for a strong start with rich essences of seventies psychedelic metal and citric stoner-esque hues but with the vocals more a loose scowl than a commanding presence and the song itself a constantly shifting stomp of admittedly pleasing endeavour, the track feels more like a jam than a acutely honed incitement. Nevertheless it still has emotions and ears greedily satisfied before making way for closer Pulled Out. Another long proposition, the track is a simmering journey with a sonic sultriness to its atmosphere to which the vocals scrape away mercilessly. Again as raw as it is brutal, the song is a thoroughly absorbing and very often punishing experience, one which equally spellbinds and ferociously intimidates, though it misses reaching the same levels of the scintillating first pair of songs on the EP.

Ancient Altar is a prospect very easy to get excited about and expect big things from on the evidence of their debut alone. The pressure is on the band but you just do not feel they will disappoint.

The Ancient Altar EP is available now via Midnite Collective digitally @ http://midniteclv.bandcamp.com/album/ancient-altar and on extremely Ltd Ed cassette @ http://midniteclv.storenvy.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ancientaltar

8.5/10

RingMaster 22/07/2014

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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