Of Us Giants – Nova Scotia

Of Us Giants Photo by Kitten Cabada Photography

Of Us Giants Photo by Kitten Cabada Photography

    You know when you get so excited you drool a little well Nova Scotia is one of those albums which figuratively achieves the same result. The prize offering from California alternative rock band Of Us Giants, the eleven track release is an energy driven vivacious stroll of melodic and expressive rock brought by a band you can only expect to hear much more of in the future. Impressive and infectiously enjoyable from song to potent song, the album strikingly builds on the band’s acclaimed debut release the Stitch EP, a record which has drawn comparisons to the likes of Balance and Composure, Manchester Orchestra, and Brand New to the Of Us Giants sound.

   Formed in 2012, the Turlock hailing trio of vocalist/guitarist Dustin Andrews, bassist/vocalist Jonathan Jennings, and drummer Sam Battista has found a healthy buzz around themselves, in no small part because of the aforementioned EP. Anticipation for their debut full-length has been eager to say the least and now with its digital and vinyl release via numerous labels and exclusively here in the UK by Close To Home Records, feeds and transcends all expectations.

     Opener Liar takes a mere second to entrap attention and an instantly brewed appetite, its rhythmic enticement a potent ofusgiants_novascotiabeckoning soon enhanced by rich guitar bred hooks and bass spawned throaty temptation. Once the excellent expressive tones of Andrews add their presence the song makes a strong suasion which only increases its power and heights with an anthemic spiral of dual vocals and fiery melodics at its heart. It is a song which you just do not realise how much it has infected the imagination and memory until it has passed by, it an irresistible weave of sinews, rhythmic and emotionally, with evocative melodies and soaring sonics.

     The immense start is not quite equalled by the next up Sycamore Tomb, certainly initially but again it is a devious little treat which just grips and lingers longer in the psyche the more you initially embrace it. Whereas its predecessor had a touch of Placebo to it, the second song with choppy scythes of guitar and intensive bass prompting shows where those Brand New references emerge from. Agreeably anthemic in all the right places, no note of breath wasted without a full dose of temptation, it is succeeded by Iron Boat. The first of two songs featuring the vocals of Lindsey Pavao, a semi-finalist in the US version of The Voice apparently, the song saunters with a swing to its rhythmic hips and fire to its sonic invention. It is a relatively straight forward slice of melodic rock without any startling element or dramatic hook to its gait to be honest but still offers a vocally varied and pleasing piece of refreshment before the album raises its game again with Take It Home. Sultry melodic guitar coaxing first leads thoughts into its emotive hug with the dual vocals of Andrews and Jennings impressing. Soon though passionate arms lyrically and musically open up to release flames of resourceful melodic rock with a rawer muscular trait which makes the band a potential attraction across all of the general genre’s sub sections.

     The smouldering persuasion of Dying and the mesmeric enchantment of All of My Daughters brings another absorbing variation to Nova Scotia, the first a passion fuelled slowly building tower of intensity which plays like a blend of Three Days Grace and Sick Puppies whilst its successor with a ridiculously addictive hook to its first few seconds against another dark bassline, casts a spellbinding shadow wrapped irresistible beauty over ears and heart. There is a familiarity to the song which equally niggles and excites, as it is hard to exactly define its source, but it cannot derail the potency and quality of the encounter, it and the previous song virulently infectious pleasures.

  Around the Furline is sculpted with the same kind of irrepressible incitement and bait without losing any individuality against the other songs around it, a Skids like riffing and sonic bait a major toxicity within that trap, whilst the following A Beam Offshore whilst stalking a similar groove to its foregoer flirts further with the passions through strong vocals and eloquent melodic endeavour.

     The more restrained and arguably richer in emotional intrigue presence of Stone Hands is the first moment where the album struggles to raise the same strength in hunger and attention, though it is impossible to deny it is a superbly crafted and musically exposed presence. Its successor Machine Heart also takes time to convince; that is until it expels a punk infused rampancy and bruising to its pop laden adventure where it moves into being another strong proposition.

    The title track completes Nova Scotia and invites Lindsey Pavao for the second time into its midst. An acoustically honed country touched stretch explodes into a fire borne furnace of emotion and intensive sonic design in a song which catches the imagination though again maybe not the passions as forcibly as elsewhere. It does provide a richly satisfying end to an openly outstanding release all the same, an album which declares Of Us Giants as one rather exciting and impressive rock proposal destined to bright horizons.

 

http://ofusgiants.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ofusgiants

9/10

RingMaster 27/01/2104

 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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Black Tie Vendetta‏ – Length Of An Ocean

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    Length Of An Ocean is an album which is as intriguing as it is pleasing, a release which without breaking down new musical doors still plays with and denies expectations with a collection of songs oozing diversity and imagination. Unleashed by Dallas rock band Black Tie Vendetta, the album shifts continually from heavy and thunderous to melodic and seductive, often combining the two for engaging and riotous experiences, and though it does not completely maintain the fiercest fire of a response to its offerings the flames do burn brightly with each magnetic track.

Consisting of vocalist Brandon Callies, guitarists Dustin Morrison and Dustin Baugh, bassist Joe Bandy, and Johnny Sillers on drums, Black Tie Vendetta has over the years forged a strong name and presence across their local scene and further afield. Latest release Length of an Ocean has energised that stature with its invigorating enterprise and sounds, and though it has still not quite found a place in the widest array of ears yet, listening to its deeply satisfying songs you can only feel the promise of the band is close to the fullest awareness, if not for this album for future creativity.

The album explodes into view with the bulging rhythms and rampaging energy of Armed And Ready. Immediately the song is 73239_151504728227422_8131457_ncarving up the senses with carnivorous riffs and firmly punching drums whilst the vocals of Callies ride the track with expression and potency. With the infectiousness of a Foo Fighters and the sinews of a Hell Yeah, the track ignites the passions with ease and sets the adrenaline firing for the rest of the album, its uncompromising yet familiar stance a virulent persuasion for release and band.

From the heavy rock charge of the opener the band switch to an alternative rock voice for the following Carries Me Away, though again the bass snarls and rhythms cage with the same intensity and power. The immense force of beats from Sillers and the growling resonance of Bandy’s bass offer intimidation and predatory hunger whilst the heavy duty riffs add their own formidable menace for a stirring and impacting encounter but alongside them the melodic coaxing of the vocals and guitar imagination tempers the onslaught with inviting and inventive caresses. The song continues the impressive start with ease, but things stall slightly with next up Under The Same Sky. The potently crafted song is a melodic ballad with the vocals of Callies emotive and passionate to warm the ear alongside equally impassioned sounds and there is no doubting the quality and appeal of the song, but it does break the charge of the album and feel a little out of place despite its fine voice.

Things are back in swing with the likes of Through A Whisper and In The Eyes, the first another melodic rock song with a core of heavy duty temptation and an aggressive prowl within the resourceful and melodic textures of the song. The additional female vocals bring a sirenesque charm to the warm atmosphere of its quietest moment to further stretch the vision and magnetic lure of the track. The second of the pair again fuses the rugged side of the band with its mesmeric melodic entrapment for a fury of a song with accomplished restraint and barbed hooks as loud as the contemptuous aural tones, the excellent result akin to a cross between Green Day and Sick Puppies.

Alongside the first track another two of the album’s greatest pinnacles come with the hypnotic The Burning Sea and the riotous Caught In A Crowd. The first is another emotive piece of ingenuity, the flaming ambience with a slightly destructive whisper a sweltering embrace to wrap the outstanding vocal display from not only Callies but the re-appearance of the female vocals. Whereas the earlier ballad felt lost amidst the other songs as does in some ways the following Keeps Me There, this stands tall, potent and vibrant, its addition an instinctive instigator to the evolving sound and flavour of the album. It is an excellent and lingering treat which along with many other songs gives rise to anticipation as to how great this band could be. Caught In A Crowd is a punk infused storm of caustic guitar strokes, greedy rhythms, and ferocious energy all led by the again impressive vocals alongside flames of melodic venom and vindictive insistence from the might guitars of Bough and Morrison. An anthem for the passions as well as the voice, the track is another thrilling slab of variety from album and band.

The release closes on the acoustic ballad The Raging Storm, another which is well devised and presented but for personal tastes an anti-climax after what came before. Length Of An Ocean is a very appetising and exciting album overall though and Black Tie Vendetta a band sure to enthral a great many given the chance.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Black-Tie-Vendetta/151500488227846

8/10

RingMaster 13/04/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Farley: A Good Problem To Have

Farley

Sometimes a real juicy pleasure comes out of the blue and such is the case with A Good Problem To Have the debut EP from Pennsylvanian alternative rock band Farley. Arguably it should not have been an unexpected joy as the band is the creation of singer/songwriter Tim Farley who was a member of the acclaimed hard rock band Pan.a.ce.a, but this is a completely different beast and sound to his former band. Farley combines rock and pop teased sounds to create songs which simply light up the ear and excite the heart with creative and intelligent and irresistible craft.

Tim Farley began writing songs for a solo album last year whilst Pan.a.ce.a was still seemingly going strong with plans ahead. It was a shock to him when the band disbanded but it spurred him on to dive into recording his first solo release. For the release which was written and produced by Bret Alexander and Tim Farley, guitarists Pat Flynn (Underground Saints) and Dustin Drevitch (Lemongelli), drummer Zhach Kelsch (Dive, Ajar), bassist Matt Jaffin (Pan.a.ce.a), and keyboardist Adam Tarin (Royal Benson), were brought in for the recording of the Kickstarter funded project. The result is a release in A Good Problem To Have, which just hits the sweet spot.

The rock pop contagion Hindsight starts things off and takes the heart and senses immediately into a soak of satisfying energetic FARLEYenthusiasm. It is impossibly catchy which just gets more infectious the further into its heart you get so that by its end you have nothing less than addiction for its melodic caresses and boisterous enterprise. It is an undemanding but fully giving song littered with hooks and sonic guitar kisses which leave excited rapture in its wake, especially with its anthemic climax.

The EP shows variety and distinct flavours across its songs with the following Today the first example. Moving from the danceable enthusiasm of the first track the band turns to mellow textures and warm whispers for the second song. It is a gentle yet feisty sun which wraps tender hot arms around the senses whilst offering passionate caresses and hearty energies to ignite the pulse rate. Like the first it is not an over complicated song but one which meshes layers of emotion and sound with consummate skill. It does not quite reach the heights of its predecessor but such the quality of the opener it was on a losing wicket and easily leaves a real joy behind nevertheless.

Unforgettable pulls greater emotive powers out of its heart to be one of the biggest highlights on the superb release. Sounding like a hybrid of 3 Days Grace, Kingsize, and Sick Puppies, the song is a masterful fusion of sizzling melodies, addictive hooks, and delicious grace. The vocals of Tim Farley continue to shine and draw one deeper in to the songs and it is fair to say the EP shows him at his best and is his finest moment to date.

The best track on the EP comes with Fuel The Fire, a stomping rock n roll beast with a snarl to the vocals and intensity as well as an incendiary breath to the impressive guitar work and solo. With essences of Starving for Gravity and Volbeat with a splash of Calabrese, the track grabs the passions by the hand and takes them on a captivating cruise down heated rock roads lined with flaming melodic scenery. It is a song which you feel you know right away but only offers fresh and new magnetic pleasures to enjoy.

The release is completed by the country rock flavoured Waiting On Me, and the delightful Tiger Lily. The last is a sensational ballad which bewitches from first note to last musically and vocally and echoes the early songwriting triumphs of Elvis Costello. It is a brilliant end to an equally immense EP.

We may have lost Pan.a.ce.a, but the world has gained Farley, a completely different and on the evidence of A Good Problem To Have, greater proposition now and for the future. The band is working on their debut album and it just cannot come soon enough.

www.facebook.com/farleyband

RingMaster 13/12/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

 

Feud: The Singles

Since having the pleasure of reviewing their first album Waterdog, rock band Feud has held a captivation for us ensuring a constant    engagement with their fine release and earlier EP, Out From The Inside. So there was great anticipation and excitement when the band approached with a release of three new singles to check out. Released together mere days ago, the songs retain all the essences and qualities which make the band one of the more thrilling in the UK right now but elevates them into a stronger punching storm of muscular and infectious sounds. If you thought Feud could capture the imagination and heart with the best of them before they have returned to show previous outings were mere teasings and that now they have the ammunition to succumb any rock n roll heart.

Originally founded by South African brothers Greg (vocals/guitar) and Guy (drums/vocals) Combrinck, the band truly became a forceful entity with the relocation of the men to the UK and the joining up with Ian Harper (guitars/vocals) and Tom Syrett (bass/vocals). As well as the aforementioned acclaim releases the High Wycombe based quarter has matched the likes of Cancer Bats, Young Guns, Jettblack and Days In December whilst sharing stages with them, getting stronger and more inventive with every moment of their four years of existence. The band has always brewed a feisty mix of rock with heavy grunge essences and the new songs are no different though all explore new and even more incendiary aspects of their sound and songwriting making for three original and stirring slabs of essential music.

Floater opens with a crystalline tangle of sharply noted guitar coaxing, the lure an immediate tingle which takes one back initially to the likes of Mighty Lemon Drops and House Of Love. The track though as expected was not going to tenderly stroke the ear for long and soon brings in thumping rhythms and a delicious velvety deep bass sound. There is still a controlled restraint to the track even with its elevated pace and intensity but eventually it cannot stop fiery crescendos of sound and chorus from breaking out. It is a staggering track which plays like an emotive riot within the heart and raging fire in the ear brought from a union of Nirvana, Foo Fighters, and Sick Puppies. From the pulsating bass and incisive drums through to the enthralling melodic flames of guitars and vocals, the track is immense and declares alone that Feud is back, bigger and, better than ever.

With instantly infectious drums laying a hypnotic cage for an unleashing of its adrenaline soaked energy, Medicine stomps through the ear for a meaty thrill of punk n roll. With rampant intent and a Green Day like soaking of the ear, the track chews and romps with classy sonic enterprise and bruising urgency for an irresistible punk rock classic. Though the American trio is unmistakable as a spice to the song, there are elements which would grace any Stone Sour or Gruntruck track but distinct only to Feud and impossible not to devour with greed. Again every member of the band brings a contagious breath to their skilled and imaginative contributions, which only goes to make for a song which leaves the heart raging in ardour.

The final single is the less intense Miles Away, though that is in its attack and not passion, the heart of the song as insatiable and unrelenting as the other pair of triumphs. From another strolling start of rhythms and guitar behind the expressive vocals, the song hits its stride to create a furnace of scorching sonic riffing and barbed hungry hooks. With its arguably less tenacious assault the song offers a diversity of sound to the other two which touches on the likes of Seether, Stone Temple Pilots, and Bush. It is another tasty bite which enflames the appetite for much more from the band which will evolve into no doubt impatience the longer the wait for more new impressive tempests of excellence is.

If this foursome has yet to spark up your passion than any if not all of these wonderful singles will leave you a breathless and exhilarated bundle of fully satisfied energy. Feud creates high energy quality rock music and as Floater, Medicine, and Miles away show, this is a band which just get better and better.

Get the singles @ http://www.feudmusic.com

RingMaster 19/11/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Cyanide Later: Always Read The Label (pt 1)

‘After 2 years of writing and refining material, Cyanide Later officially formed in late 2011’, is the opening line from the bio of the British rock band, listening to their debut EP it has to be said that the time spent honing, defining, and evolving their creative ideas and sound has only elevated their obvious strengths. Always Read The Label (pt1) is an outstanding first introduction to the world, a release which leaves thoughts, emotions, and senses already impatient for part 2, whilst basking in some of the freshest exciting rock sounds to emerge this year.

The five songs which make up the release are multi faceted slabs of rock n roll, each rippling with metal and rock influences whilst standing distinctly alone in sound and presence. It is a rare skill to create songs which immediately sound like friends, ‘acquaintances’ who you seemingly know so much about but at the same time are discovering only new things from. Cyanide Later have done that with Always Read The Label, brought songs which feel at ease with the fullest of welcomes in the ear but simultaneously unveil only undiscovered treats.

The band consists of Mike McGreal (vocals/guitar), James Barratt (backing vocals/guitar), Tom Smith (drums), and Pete Hurst (bass/backing vocals). The EP though has two stand-in bassists involved with Hurst joining after its recording. For the release Mike Bridge (Seasons End/Acid Empire) and Dave Guiney (Redlight) brought their skills to the songs, both apparently completing 2.5 songs each. Entirely self recorded, mixed and mastered by the Stratford Upon Avon band, Always Read The Label is nothing less than impressive, the overall sound and breath with a raw but defined air upon the strong songwriting and skilled play.

It has to be said reading that the influences of Cyanide Later included Reuben only raised the anticipation further notches, the band a heartfelt adoration here, and arguably it gave opener Monster In Me an extra challenge of expectation to rise to. The track proved it or they are no Reuben in sound or style but without doubt Cyanide Later has the entire armoury to match the accomplishments of the Hampshire trio. The track swaggers in from a distance and when in place sways and mesmerises with weaving riffs and mischievous hooks. The vocals are outstanding, McGreal showing a great range from clean to passionate growls whilst the band backs him perfectly for anthemic lures throughout. The song grooves like a sultry mistress, its weaving seduction leaving nothing to the imagination but making its recipient wait until it is ready, than unleashing all with passion and craft.

      RifT enters with shadowed vocals and teasing riffs before opening its muscular arms and unleashing an impressive mesh of metal and rock. With attitude dripping from every note and syllable, the track is a fiery swell of evolving pace and bristling intensity. Whereas the opening song could be said to have a feel of Puddle Of Mudd about it this track has a sterner core within its again vibrant melodies to remind of bands like Sick Puppies and early Karnivool, and yes Reuben a little.

Already convinced by release and band, the excellent A Thousand Faces only fans the primed acclaim towards them, the song a lighter yet just as energetic feast of intelligent melodies and infectious enterprise, simply a thoroughly captivating piece of pop rock. Whether the band are creating new waters of sound is debatable but they without doubt are creating waves within existing pools to leave one energised and inspired.

The slow emotive caresses of Breathe You and the eager chunky riffs and blazing passions of Escapees complete the release, both not quite reaching the heights of the previous trio of songs but still rich in lush melodic touches and in the case of the last, agitated intimidating slightly concussive rhythms and erosive guitar aggression, not to mention great post hardcore vocals from the continually impressive McGreal.

Always Read The Label (pt 1) has something to impress all rock and metal fans, whilst Cyanide Later unleashes such promise that you can only see them gaining great heights of recognition ahead.

Check out the EP at http://Cyanidelater.bandcamp.com

RingMaster 21/10/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Noyz?: 12 Jinxes

It has been a long while since we have heard anything from Serbian rock band Noyz? but the wait is over as the band return with their new single 12 Jinxes and what a mighty comeback it is. The single is outstanding, a thrilling brew of alternative metal, rock and grunge wrapped in a heated attitude drenched energy.

Noyz? was formed in 2004 by vocalist/guitarist Stevan ‘Sharkey’ Radoičić and found good success and acclaim for its infectious and well crafted sound, though arguably it was outside of Serbia where people were really connecting with the band, their homeland unable or unwilling to support and give real and full attention to metal and rock, a statement many muscular genre bands from the country make. The band worked hard, constantly gigging around their country and participating in festivals Around Europe to again great if not sustained responses. Around Europe though their music was lighting ears and the band through songs like the outstanding Happy- Hour In A Junkyard, Dreams, and The Sky Is Falling found a strong welcome and prolonged radio play, their music appearing regularly on shows like The Reputation Radio Show.

It is fair to say though disillusion with the scene back home won out and the band split in 2011. Sharkey is never one to stop making music though and finding a determination and resolve not to let the apathy back home win out, he has returned with the excellent 12 Jinxes taken from a forthcoming debut album. With bassist Ana “Anki” Joševski (ex-Synapse, Alhemia, Svartgren, Fandango) alongside him, the songwriter shows his sounds and writing craft is better than ever, the single the first step in the new fighting presence of the band in rock music and a truly impressive tease for the album ahead.

The song immediately shows its muscles with sturdy riffs and heavy probing bass lines. In to its stride the track is soon barging through the ear with a punk metal like presence bringing a mix of the urgency of an NOFX or Mindset X with the aggression of an Anthrax or Bloodsimple, though as ever Noyz?just sound like themselves. As the track explodes with sharp and mischievous lyrics and an irresistible wider fusion of sounds, it stirs up a grungier breath to its charge. The song fuels deeper infection through this further spicery recalling bands like Sick Puppies and Jane’s Addiction, and leaves one with no option but to press play again and again upon each ending note.

The song is a pure enthused pleasure and will ensure the wait for the new album will be impatient and very eager. 12 Jinxes is like the band has never been away and with the luck all bands need it will finally be the spark to trigger deserved wider recognition at home and abroad for the band.

To get your free copy of the track go to http://nocturnemagazine.net/vest/1546/noyz-preuzmite-numeru-12-jinxes and listen out6  and listen out for more sounds from Noyz? on The Bone Orchard podcast from The Reputation Radio Show.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/NoYz/23126157757

RingMaster 18/09/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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The Suicide Denial: We’ll Go Down Fighting

We’ll Go Down Fighting from US rock band The Suicide Denial is a slightly mixed bag of infectious hooks and engaging striking melodies rolled off the back of stirring riffs and eager energy. It is a boisterous album that teases and excites with easily accessible sounds and agreeable intent but it also carries what seems like obvious and open flavours and influences within its songs. The result is a release that is not soaked in particular originality but bursts through the ear with familiar and easy to absorb recognisable aural pleasure. The outcome being a strong and excitable album that gets limbs, voice and pulse a playing from start to end.

The Suicide Denial began when Chad Gerbers previous band Korben came to an end. 2007 saw Gerber and Korben relocate to Montana from California as they went for the Midwest with a vengeance with plans for extensive touring. Needing a drummer for the venture the number of Chad “AKA 2012″ McKinsey a college student, was passed on to the band. Recruited, McKinsey toured with the band until it broke up a while after upon which time Gerber approached McKinsey about the “Suicide Denial Project” he had been working on and the two decided to collaborate on this endeavour and what they called was its “Ghetto Sample Rock”. Using a small college studio at night the duo began work on songs and what would become their debut album I’m Sorry LA. Within a few months they signed to Divulge Records and the album was finished and produced, receiving a strong and eagerly positive response and acclaim across national and internet media, radio, and the public alike.

The band has thrived and steadily increased a fervent fan base across the US and into Europe, Australia and China. Something their latest album We’ll Go Down Fighting and its determined to please attitude will surely inspire even further. With a successful series of shows on the 2011 Vans Warped Tour the album came out to immediately register highly with existing and new fans with its thirteen slightly mischievous engaging songs. With the undeniable friendliness of the tunes and a sense of intimacy with some of the flavours it carries, the album which though at times is unstressed by originality leaps upon and pleases the senses far more than most other similarly fuelled releases.

The tracks rifle through the ear solidly, from the opening rock explosion of Mindless And Dumb and its Sick Puppies styled discontent and backing Aha spiced synth play through to the closing melodic joy of Your Hell and the great vocal blends within, the album makes  a case for and wins with its defence of the mission to excite and satisfy. As soon as second and best track We Go Down Fighting hits the air submission to the albums charms is a given. The track again with a Sick Puppies toned attack reminding of their track Gasoline is a raucous defiant triumph of self strength and intractability.

The album is diverse within its rock intent, from the slow emotive Radiohead spiced I’m Ok which is strong without being spectacular, the fine melancholic and dark Souls with a glorious bassline out of A Forest era Cure songbook, to the bluesy/grunge Nirvana tinged Robot, the release offers variety and gratifying flavours for the ear and deeper. It has to be said though that when the band raises the temperature as in the punk veined bursts of Shot Again and the Mucky Pup like Medicate plus obviously the previously mentioned We Go Down Fighting, they are at their height and truly expose what a great rock band they are.

Though a guitar driven band, the use of keyboards is a strong and impressive part to many of the tracks most notably in Insane. Though the track borrows a synth melody from Visages Fade To Grey the song is a delightful electro pop sway upon the ear that sweeps one up in its caresses.

Yes as mentioned We’ll Go Down Fighting maybe not the most groundbreaking or original album to pleasure the ear but the fact it does please and with such great satisfaction makes it and The Suicide Denial worth a huge amount of anyones time.

http://www.thesuicidedenial.com/news.html

RingMaster 06/01/2012

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Take The Seven – Lots of Trouble, Usually Serious

From their debut mini-album alone one can tell that UK alternative rock band Take The Seven have all the ingredients to make more than a big impression on rock music. From robust rhythms and riffs, scorching melodies, and smooth harmonies that engage and induce full attention the Chesterfield quintet eagerly show on Lots of Trouble, Usually Serious why they have garnered a strong and enthused support though only being a band for twelve months.

There has been an impressive array of great debut releases and bands appearing this past year, the months blessed with some inspiring and exciting sounds but there has not been many as rounded and virtually complete as Take The Seven. In their few months together the band has toured the UK extensively and played shows with the likes of Senses Fail, Glamour Of The Kill, Failsafe, and My Passion to great acclaim and success. Their sound is big, expansive, and refreshingly contagious, even in their quieter moments and an easy fit within the ear. The songs invite and entertain like old friends, their creativity and melodies a warm and stirring caress, which leads to the only criticism one can place upon the band. They bring songs that sound close to other bands of the same intent only these five accomplished musicians do it better. Criticism is maybe too strong a word as it is more a case of the band yet to find their own truly unique and distinct sound but with an album that is this enjoyable and music that is mesmeric and exciting even if familiar, Take The Seven are not only ones to watch but to put a wager on to find big success. 

From opener track ‘Welcome to My Town’ and its deliberate thumping riff over an inviting melodic guitar hook you know you are in for something powerful even with the subtle intro. The firmly guiding drums of Gaz Oldale frame a blaze of galloping guitar riffs from Si Redfern and James Hall that offer glowing meandering almost classic rock like asides. The bass of Joe Kitson prowls with an almost menacing surety and uniting all is the excellent clean vocals of Dan Molloy. This guy can sing, not once here or on the rest of the album is there a hint of him straining or struggling to make the emotive tones and clear melodic notes he produces, and backed by Hall and Kitson the harmonies are spot on. This is just the start and more and better is to come.

Through The Crossfire’ is a gem and arguably the best track, its slower pace and incisive melodies keeping heavier tendencies in check though they are always seemingly there waiting to break free. As with all the songs you find yourselves singing along quite early even upon the first listen, that familiarity again but to be honest it makes each track more of an event and an instant connection. ‘Duchess’ drops the pace even further though still its heartfelt emotion comes with a good vitality and ability to get the senses involved and Molloy gives more keen evidence of his talent to touch more than a few hearts ones suspects.

Throughout Lots of Trouble, Usually Serious everyone is on their game from the creative and infectious melodies and inventiveness of the guitars to the pulsating basslines and powerful and controlled drums. ‘Ships And Sails’ is semi anthemic and you can visualise live the crowd moving as one to this and ‘Burnout’ another slower paced but emotionally powerful song, both adding quality to a thrilling release. Completed by the epic sounding ‘History Is Written By The Victors’ and the acoustic ‘The Artist’ the album is immense and for a debut gives a flowing anticipation for what is ahead for Take The Seven, watch out 2012.

If you are looking for quality melodic rock to start your New Year than Lots of Trouble, Usually Serious is a must upon its release on January 9th. It carries touches of the likes of We Are the Ocean, Funeral For A Friend, Sick Puppies and Three Days Grace even a little Lost Prophets and it is a gem. Pass Take The Seven by and it is your loss, this is a wonderful album and any band that cites Reuben as a like has to be checked out, it the law.

http://www.taketheseven.com/

RingMaster 14/12/2011

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Nemesea – The Quiet Resistance

The Quiet Resistance from Dutch rock band Nemesea is a bit of a conundrum, on one hand it is a vibrant well written and realised collection of electro pop/symphonic rock tunes but on the other leaves the distinct thought that the band could have found and given even more to place the album as a must have contender. There is almost a sense of being short changed on the release and though that is being maybe over critical the feeling is there, The Quiet Resistance being a good strong release but a certain lost opportunity to create something really special.

Formed in 2002 by vocalist Manda Ophuis and guitarist Hendrik Jan de Jong later joined by bassist Sonny Onderwater and Frank van der Star on drums, the quartet from Groningen found eager attention with their 2004 debut album Mana and from successful extensive tours. Second album In Control appeared in 2007 after the band signed up at sellaband.com to become one of the sites notable successes. This year saw the band sign with Napalm Records and the imminent release of The Quiet Resistance. 

Drawing on the best elements of their previous releases The Quiet Resistance exudes a stronger and more aggressive sound whilst still retaining the immense melodic pop and rock sound. Nemesea is certainly not going to numb senses and break down walls with their intensity but there is a certain shift to firmer and more imposing riffs and energy alongside the harmonics and graceful sounds. There is also a deliberate move into more electro pop flavours which though varied in depth from song to song make the release even more accessible to a wider array of ears. Ophuis is as ever impressive with her voice and delivery and the focal point on most tracks with the music playing for her at times rather than with her. This is not exactly a criticism as it works well and the band creating their sound from an Evanescence/ Within Temptation type mix… not exactly though it does feel like it restricts the bands hinted real identity to fully shine.

Before continuing it should be noted that despite what is written here the album was fully enjoyed and will happily be listened too again and again, thus the puzzle and feelings of a missed chance to create something truly unique as glimpsed constantly within the album’s walls by some fine moments. It is no coincidence that the truly inspired and strongest tracks are the ones where the band step away from the pop/rock Evanescence flavoured songs which the band have mastered wonderfully with songs like the glorious ‘Afterlife’, the simple and effective grace of ballad ‘I Live’, and ‘Say’ with its deep dark bass twang and striking guitars recalling a Linkin Park/Evanescence link up. Good enjoyable songs that play with ease just without enflaming or inspiring the senses.

It is the tracks where the band take big steps into newer climes that they show there is much more within them waiting to be unleashed. The two industrial powered songs in opener/intro ‘The Quiet’ and the dark apocalyptic soundscape of ‘2012’ are stunning, emotive and expressive in sound and intent. Though both are without proper vocals, basically instrumentals they show the band do have distinct power and ideas, and know how to deliver them. Alongside these we have the excellence of ‘It’s Over’ and ‘Allein’. The first going down the Sick Puppies rock road features Markus Klavan and Matt Litwin of American band Bulletproof Messenger and drives for the ear with eager metal intent. Within the opening chords and first line the song has the ear alert and pulse excited, the vocal blend of male and female vocals a perfect mix as is the synth waves of sound alongside the driven guitars.

Allein’ is easily the albums best track and one hopes a direction they will look at more in tandem with their melodic rock sounds. Another industrial inspired slice the song features vocals from Heli Reissenweber of Rammstein cover band Stahlzeit, and it is no surprise there is a distinct Rammstein flavour. The track excels with the again great vocals from Ophuis alongside Reissenweber, its power and diversity the cause of eager anticipation of more in this vein from the band.

The Quiet Resistance is a great album, well created and delivered and at every point makes listening to it a pleasure. It just could have been a classic if the band had been more adventurous throughout and experimented more, but as the enjoyment is still strong all should go take a listen and decide for themselves.

http://www.nemesea.com/

RingMaster 15/11/2011

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Xerosun – Absence Of Light

With a sense of recognition alongside fresh vibrant riffs and melodic insurgency comes the debut album from Irish rock/metal band Xerosun. The quartet from Dublin though founded in 2003 are still relatively unknown to many but with Absence Of Light released via Rising Records one suspects that will surely change as its thrusting and impressive sounds find more eager ears to satisfy.

Consisting of vocalist and bassist Ivan O’Sullivan, guitarists Fiachra Kelly and Gareth Jeffs, and drummer Darrin Bell, Xerosun have unleashed ten tracks that though they admittedly do not break down many doors into unknown musical territories but do eagerly and cleverly utilise influences and touches to enhance their own flavoursome sounds and ideas. The songs are varied and play with a slight Foo Fighters /Sick Puppies taste fused with some Metallica intensity and grunge rock spices, each seemingly playing like an old friend with a glimpse of familiarity and all with a striking and infectious energy.

Since their formation the band has gigged extensively across Ireland and the UK and released two well received EP’s and additional videos to coincide with their appearance. Along the way they have also grabbed the attention and support of the likes of Paradise Lost guitarist Gregor Mackintosh when Xerosun covered his band’s classic track ‘True Belief‘. With a TV appearance in Ireland reaching 500,000 also under their belt things are moving upward for the band something Absence Of Light can only accelerate.  

The album opens on a high with ‘Cut Me Down’, the song is an instant pleasure for the senses with the pumping riffs and Hetfield like vocal attack from O’Sullivan an obvious and engaging invitation. The sing-a-long chorus adds to the eager attack and the song is a friend long before it lays down its last note. Though not the most aggressive track on the album it is no less pleasing as can be said about its successor ‘In My Mind’ which though different carries the same rock set up and result.

One of the especially pleasing aspects of songs is the deep basslines and tone again of O’Sullivan. His throbbing and emotive bass a wonderful contrast and compliment to the incisive and robust guitar play from Kelly and Jeffs. ‘Broken’ is an impassioned song rising up off of a dark bass riff toned with a part gothic part grunge almost Pearl Jam like feel. It stands as one of the three stand out songs though all tracks on the album are very agreeable.

Long Way Down’ starts on the best gutsy bass sound heard in a long time under pinning the more melodic direction of the song. The song as with all is well written and thought out, having every aspect a good rock song should in abundance except a sting of originality maybe but when it sounds this good it is hard to level that as a major flaw. The album’s best track ‘Silent All’ is the same, not breathing uniqueness but conjuring and delivering aggression and excitement that the majority of releases fail to find.

If you are looking for solid and exciting rock/metal sounds that attach themselves to the ear with eagerness and extremely well presented thrilling hooks, riffs, and melodies look no further than Xerosun. They may still be yet to find their own distinct sound but they still leave most other rock bands standing in their wake.

http://www.xerosun.com

RingMaster 04/11/2011

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