Spookshow Inc. – Visions of the blinded world (pt.1)

 

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A furiously agitated entrapment of industrial, metal, and electro rock, Visions of the blinded world (pt.1) is a fiery embrace to colour the way to an impending apocalypse. Its contagion is bred from the darkest corners of arcane themes taking in elements such as ‘time travel, dreams, out of body experiences and death’, but also there is a rich expression of human failings and frailties, all sculpted with striking imagination and clad in virulently varied sounds cast by Norwegian band Spookshow Inc. Imagine the world cast in imposing ravenous shadows feeding on the psyche and emotional turmoil to a soundtrack bred from a merger of Nine Inch Nails, Apollo 440, The Prodigy, and Skinny Puppy, though this is still a slim-line representation of the adventure abounding the release, and you have the rigorously compelling Visions of the blinded world (pt.1).

Just as enthrallingly veined with middle-eastern sounds too, the album is the result of a journey taking around seven years. The origins of Spookshow Inc. though go back to 2003 when Lucky Spook (guitar, programming, songwriting, producer) and Soltex (vocals) united and began honing a sound described as a mixture of Pink Floyd, Prodigy and Paradise Lost and increasingly influenced by bands such as Rob Zombie, KMFDM, Die Krupps, Skinny Puppy, NIN, Chemical Brothers, and those middle east sounds. Initially a duo hiring in additional musicians for their live shows, the band garnered strong praise as they played numerous festivals and supported The Legendary Pink Dots in 2005 on a leg of their European tour. The pair began working on Visions Of The Blinded World (pt.1) in 2006, being joined by instrumentalist Sharaz on bass and synth for the last songs recorded. Released on the bands own label Thunder Of The Distant World, the album makes a riveting introduction with a gripping invention and originality which is simply an inescapable temptation. Having grown in size with the inclusion of Seba to the line-up, Spookshow Inc. is poised to make a striking mark on electro/industrial rock; that is if anyone is brave enough to share their aural dystopian visions.

A simple resonating clang of twanging guitar is the potent coaxing bringing the imagination and album together, opener Games Of Delusion (art and religion) setting the exploration in motion. Its tone is soon swallowed by portentous caresses of haunting synths and percussive stalking, everything under a heavy air and slowly invasive atmosphere. This in turn is permeated with vocal samples and a warm and patiently waiting blaze of techno revelry. Its fire is given further freedom though still with a rein on its energy as jazz sparks flirt with ears and raw dance rapacity entwines the sturdy spine and enticingly rumbling belly of the song. It is a potent and gripping start, not one which ever explodes as it constantly hints it might but a track setting up a hungry appetite for more, a greed soon fed by New World Crash.

The second song instantly has a darker and more aggressive countenance, sinews driving beats whilst Soltex’s vocals carry a menacing snarl to his melodic persuasion. The sounds conjured by Lucky equally growl and sizzle with hostile coverpredation and electro static, yet as the first track they never quite escape their binds to go for the jugular. It is a hold which works a treat, especially with the Trent Reznor like exploration which searches the darkest corners and elegance of the track. Provocative Middle Eastern spicery adds to the drama and invention of the outstanding proposition before it makes way for the even greater temptation of Scary Dream. Like a collision between KMFDM, Ghost In the Static, and The Prodigy, yet discovering its own identity ultimately, the track is an exhausting and ravenous tempest of energy and imagination, its electro rock tenacity and enslaving infectiousness the making of addictions.

Female hailing whispers and harmonious wails within another Eastern flavoured breeze opens up Falling Down pt.2, darker tones from Soltex swiftly adding encroaching shadows to the mesmeric tempting. It is not long before he turns them into passionate roars to compliment the increasingly evolving and portentous yet radiant landscape of the song. It is a fascinating track, one which has you fully involved and immersed in its spicy energy and adventure but then drifts away to make you feel there is unfinished business. Again it is a twist which actually elevates the song rather than defuses its potency, it seemingly revelling in the adage of ‘leave them wanting more’.

Things taking a chilling turn with Requiem For a Vision, where sinister air colludes with menacing vocal variety for another creative twist to the album. A progressively fuelled slice of intrigue and sonic unpredictability, the song is a slow burning prowl, a thick and sultry seduction which takes longer to get a grip on than other songs but emerges as a web of imagination and sonic trespass before the muscular stomp of Dead Shot Baby unveils its rugged charm and intensive rock ‘n’ roll. As much industrial as it is funky, equally as electronically powered as it is ferociously antagonistic, the track is a swift grudge of a treat before the psychedelically seeded beauty of My Secret Plan. Featuring Matangi Shakti, the song is a feisty shuffle of melodic elegance, Middle Eastern magnetism, and shadowed noir kissed enterprise. It is an imagination firing adventure where drama and bracing emotional espionage flirts relentlessly from every second of the album’s best moment.

The similarly thought exploring Cyberage keeps the creative theatre and engrossing bait of the album at its most incendiary, the song a caustically abrasing and infectiously binding suasion, whilst the next up Map Of The World glides through dank caverns and stark climates in its provocative crawl across the senses. The track is a croon from the darkest nightmares, reminding strongly of Fad Gadget with the gothic predation of Paradise Lost.

The album closes with the evocatively and sonically picturesque Other Side Of Time (Vision Of The Blinded World), flavours and sounds from a global tapestry merging for a tantalising sinister waltz. It is a menacing and thrilling conclusion to an album which gets better and reveals more with every listen. Visions of the blinded world (pt.1) is a labour of love from the band and an increasingly rewarding adventure for the listener, whilst Spookshow Inc. is a potential clad protagonist ready to help see out the end of the world with the embrace of their inimitable invention, an apocalypse sure to get only more colourful with the band’s second instalment of their journey due next year.

Visions of the blinded world (pt.1) is available now digitally and as a Limited edition cd digipak via http://www.spookshowinc.com/music and http://spookshowinc.bandcamp.com/releases

http://www.spookshowinc.com/

RingMaster 07/11/2014

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Tactical Module – Into Exile

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Having been seduced by previous album World Through My Sight from UK industrial band Tactical Module, there was a definite anticipation and expectation upon its successor Into Exile. The new release’s predecessor was a slow burner of a persuasion but one which made the securest potent convert of the passions for its aggressive symphony of electro enterprise, punk attitude, and industrial intensity. Into Exile is no different except that it makes a more immediate impact and its core ingredients and invention comes with a greater intensive snarl and uncompromising confrontation. It is an enthralling and challenging release which has reaped the impressive seeds of earlier releases and sounds to hungrily explore their sonic blossoming with greater craft and imagination.

Hailing from Poole, Tactical Module is the solo project of Michael Davis, a musician who since creating the band to unleash his creative imagination within has earned and garnered strong constantly deepening praise and acclaim through his releases. Using inspirations from the likes of Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, KMFDM, Godflesh, Gary Numan, Skinny Puppy, Killing Joke, and Depeche Mode in his invention, Davis after numerous EPs and remixes made his first strong wide mark with the Dead Zone EP of 2012. The release triggered greater awareness and appetite for his sounds which were soon feasting greedily upon the single Where Angels Rise and earlier this year the impressive expanse of World Through My Sight and the Resurrection EP. Receiving its first CD release with Into Exile, Tactical Module has sculpted an album which is more diverse and adventurous than the previous releases, and they were no slouches in experimentation, and an encounter which employs decades of industrial/electronic whispers into one invigorating magnetic incitement.

Released via Juggernaut Media, Into Exile takes little time in bringing attention and imagination to bear on opener Awaken, its emergence through a sizzling sonic haze chilling yet thoroughly tempting. Brewing up a greater menace to its climate, the song has complete control of thoughts and senses, especially when the predacious guitar tone unveils its metal spawned restrained yet voracious causticity, matched by the confronting vocals of Davis. A definite Gary Numan spice glazes the invention whilst organic beats cage the fired up passions further, herding them into the fierce electro embrace. It is an excellent gripping start not quite matched by the following title track. The song is certainly alluring; its ebm breath stalked by a great electro twang which spears the evocative ambience but there is a spark missing compared to the first which debatably might be down to the track evading the metal bred antagonism. Nevertheless it is a pleasing continuation of the strong start and evidence of the variety of ideas and sound upon the release.

Outer City Limits soon picks up the earlier baton of strength with its instrumentally stalking flight of coarse textures and electro beauty, both combining for a voracious journey through dramatic and suggestive climes. From providing the imagination with a sinew clad impacting plaything, Into Exile then reveals more of its emotive heart with Breathless. The song is a fizzing electro plaintive with angst drawn vocals cursing agony over the acidic sounds. Like the second song it takes a firm hand on ear and thoughts without challenging other tracks on the album for the passions but all the time deceptively it is working away and though face to face impact is less startling it is a moment which returns at will even away from the release.

Both Cypher 2.0 and Downpour urge limbs and emotions to take part in their electro waltz, the first with a pulsating veining of jabbing rhythms. A real plus for the song and album is the use of live drums which brings an organic pulse and frame to the album setting it apart from most others instantly, and with the crystalline fire spawned electronic pulses and stabs from around the ever satisfying and shifting vocal delivery here an irresistible instigator. Its companion is a rhythmic raptor, beats prowling and stomping with ever switching rabidity whilst the electronic teases and kisses come with their own sense of menace and salaciousness. There is a punk essence too which is a mere hint, as on other songs, but there waiting and probing vocally and musically alongside a Pitchshifter like primal suasion. The thrilling duo are backed up by the more than decent Hellfire, a cantankerous fire which merges moments of slightly underwhelming electronic bait with addictively thrilling aggressive almost corrosive metal and guitar voracity. That punk element is back here, a Spizzenergi nag pleasing thoughts whilst, and not for the first time, the electro calls bring Fad Gadget into the mind, and in even greater potency upon Unbreakable. With a post punk/metal esurience and attitude to its presence, the song is another pinnacle upon what ultimately is one exciting and inventive release.

    Into Exile comes in digital and CD format, both with unique remixes. The former format finds the Back to Hell, Back to Reality Mix of the title track by D.E.P, which gives the track the flame arguably missing in the original, the Destructed mix of Downpour by Detuned Destruction, and Corroded Master’s Harlot Mix of Breathless, both inventive takes without matching the originals. The CD offers the G-Mix look at the title track which certainly takes it into a new adventure, the Knife Fight remix of Breathless, and another by Defeat, with both formats seeing the Ruinizer Remix of Awaken, the track becoming a nastier predation and antagonist to the album version.

     Into Exile is an exciting and richly rewarding provocateur, a release showing the ever evolving and increasing strength of Davis’ songwriting and its striking realisation through Tactical Module.

https://www.facebook.com/TacticalModule

8.5/10

RingMaster 05/10/2013

 

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Biomechanimal – Renegade 2.0

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The creative project of Matt L. Simpson, Biomechanimal and its debut EP Renegade 2.0, is a seriously dangerous infection for feet and passions. Consisting of five tracks which steal away contact with the ground from the feet to send them into an eager dance of urgency whilst simultaneously igniting thoughts and emotions through sonic passion and lyrical narrative, the EP is a potent confirmation of all the strong responses and impressions flying around the band since its conception.

A classically trained musician, Simpson not wishing to become one of and lost in the crowd turned to creating his own distinctive style of industrial rapaciousness, merging strains of hard dance, hardcore, and EBM into his incendiary ideas and conjurations. Taking inspirations from the likes of The Prodigy, KMFDM, Skinny Puppy, Uberbyte, The Sisters of Mercy, The Cruxshadows, Dope Stars Inc., Eisenfunk, Grendel,  Menschdefekt and many more into his insatiable musical hunger, Simpson immediately drew attention and acclaim to his emerging creations. Live too with Danny Panic and Liam Peel alongside, Biomechanimal has drawn successful appearances at festivals this year to further enhance the growing stature of the band, whilst at its appearance at Resistanz the band almost sold out of its debut EP less than a week after release, down purely from a couple of promo tracks.

As the title track emerges from a building pulse, a melodic tease rising alongside the breath of the track, intrigue is instantly engaged andBiomec-R2cover fed by the thumping rhythmic persuasion and bass heavy throb of the song’s core. With the confronting rasping vocals of Simpson adding their serpentine call to the now contagious electro boogie, shadows merge with sizzling radiance wrapping a near riotous hug around the ear and senses. There is a metallic taste to the track which suggests influences also step from the world of metal though ultimately the track is a riveting industrial stomp of electronic flames and melodic temptation.

The following Broken Wings also steps out from within a distant and pending ambience but once in full control of its recipient there is an unveiling of a darker sturdier presence and intent, the bone shaking beats and persistent sonic rub an unmoveable niggle and provocation laying out a compelling canvas for the caustic vocals and acidic melodic weaves to explore and design their calls upon. There is a feel of Pittersplatter and Project Rotten feel to the insidious air bred and the reserved but anthemic bait offered but it only help brings a fresh and unique raw invention to the fore which sets band and release apart.

    The Stars Are Wrong is undoubtedly the best track on the EP, a full on electro waltz to worry the dance floor into a fevered passion littered with cascades of virulently addictive grooves, toxic hooks, and a primal bass led stalking that only elevates the ridiculously easy and merciless predacious suasion. Within the hands of the song it is like being trapped in a sinew clad cage, predatory shadows nipping and clawing at the psyche whilst their beauteous counterparts divert attention from the deepening thrilling wounds. It is a scintillating song and alongside its companions only increases greed towards the project.

Completed by two remixes of the title track, the first by Italian cyberpunk duo Wormz whose take on the song leads it into slower and darker climates whilst opening an almost folk metal like vein alongside the towering rhythmic skeleton being exposed, and the Trashed by Telemark remix an encounter which rips greater metal essences out of the original version to bring a new face and antagonism to the song. They both enjoyably conclude a great debut which easily places Biomechanimal on the UK industrial map with a muscular swipe. This is only the beginning of big and exciting things one suspects as the Renegade 2.0 takes the ear on another rampant venture.

https://www.facebook.com/BiomechanimalMain

8/10

RingMaster 14/08/2013

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Coursing struggles: an interview with Mike Haggerty of Krebs

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    Industrial/ebm is about to feel a new fresh breath of imaginative and caustic creativity with the debut release from Philadelphia band Krebs. The Cellophane EP is a potent and evocative treat with a metal apocalyptic breath riding the captivating industrial and electro snarls. The solo project of Mike Haggerty, Krebs is set to make an instant mark with its first release via Bluntface Records so we took the opportunity to find out more about the release, band, and Mike himself.

Hi Mike and welcome to The Ringmaster Review, thanks for taking time to talk with us.

First thing we have to ask you is to tell us about Mike Haggerty, as well as your background and musical history before Krebs.

Thanks for having me! Well I’d say I’m just an average guy who loves music, videogames and junk food. Music is really my passion, it relates to everything I do. Genres like punk and metal really captured my attention at an early age and got me into making music myself. I was in a band before Krebs with a few friends, we played grunge inspired hard rock. Then I discovered industrial/electronic music and that all brought me to where I am now.

Was there a specific intent when creating the project Krebs?

My intent was really just to try my best to make something fresh and hopefully capture the attention of old school and modern industrial fans alike and maybe even draw some new fans into the genre.

What are the inspirations which have most impacted on your ideas and sound?

To start, I always loved Front Line Assembly and the unique sound they have, so they are a big influence on my sound. Skinny Puppy’s ability to experiment and still sound like themselves is another thing that had an impact on me. Videogames and books also influence my ideas and song writing strangely enough. I love apocalyptic themes as well as futuristic themes that are explored, and if the two are brought together then I’m in heaven!

You are about to release your debut EP Cellophane, a release which captures the imagination with its varied and inventive mix of flavours. You can only assume your personal tastes incorporate a wide expanse of genres and styles.

I always try to find ways to make each song really stand out on its own and separate itself from the others. I always say that each Krebs song is its own animal and I do my best to give them all their own identity, if that makes sense.

Tell us about the EP, its creation and the songs within.krebs-cover-600 (1)

The EP was formed simply because I happened to have five songs that I considered finished and at that point Otto (Kinzel) mastered them for me. They were the product of several weeks’ worth of writing and recording. The songs themselves are mostly the product of what emotions I had at the time I wrote them. Other times I would have ideas that I thought were interesting, so I literally started writing thoughts down in my notebook and lyrics formed out of that. It’s basically poetry set to music. The album art was the last piece of the EP that was needed. My friend Jake Skalish created it at my request and I think it came out very well.

Everything comes from your ideas and craft on the release, but did you bring anyone else in for any aspect of the release or is it truly the complete solo release?

For this release I wrote and recorded everything myself, so it is a complete solo release; I did get insight from my friends Chris Pasquarelli and Chris Bollinger from Varicella. They really encouraged me and continue to help me get Krebs out there and I can’t thank them enough.

How do you write your songs and expand your ideas musically?

I usually have a melody or a rhythm in my head that I record right away, and then I figure out the structure. That’s when I create an atmosphere and layer more sounds. I compare it to starting with framework for a house, then gradually adding on to it, then decorating it and adding the finishing touches. Lyrically, as I’ve said, it’s usually the result of a strong emotion that I feel at the time or anything that I’ve read about that catches my attention.

Musically, I try to incorporate various sounds and instrumentation to expand the sound further. Things may sound strange upon the first listen, but strange is what I do!

Listening to the EP there is the sense that songs have an organic and continual growth to them. Do your songs evolve right up to the final mastering?

My songs do tend to go through multiple changes; it feels like my work is never done. The songs have all undergone change from the time I made the first synth line to right before I had them mastered. It varies between how drastically they change. I like to layer sounds and create hidden parts that people can catch. I also hope to invoke introspection in the listeners with each song.

Is there a theme or intent behind the songs on Cellophane and their lyrical paintings?

A theme that carries through most of Cellophane is the idea that people are always suppressed and restricted in some way or another, be it by government or by their own conscience. The themes oscillate between external and internal struggles and the goal of songs with internal struggles is to make something that people can relate to. It’s almost like letting the listener get to know who I am as a person.

As mentioned the EP is your debut release, is there any part, moment , or aspect of it which gives you the strongest thrill or tingle?

What really excites me is the fact that my songs will be out there and open to a broader audience, maybe not huge but it is something I always wanted. Just having an official release is something I always dreamed about and the fact that it’s actually happening gives me a euphoric feeling, it’s crazy!

krebs-2And any elements you wish you could have explored further or since have developed the appetite to investigate in future songs?

There are aspects of ambient music I hope to delve into for future releases. I also hope to bring in more elements of punk, like the speed and raw feelings associated with it. I feel it will be a very interesting mix.

Cellophane is released through Bluntface Records. How has linking up with Otto Kinzel and his label helped the realisation of the EP apart from the obvious of course.

Otto really helped this take off. He helped me realize that there is nothing wrong with self-promotion and that really helps gain confidence (and fans haha). As a side note I also started to realize that people have a different view of a band or artist when they see that they are on a label. Sadly, it’s almost like a lot of people have a bias towards bands on labels.

You have Chris Mattioni join you for live shows, how did you meet and is there a chance the band could expand further for your live performances in the future?

Chris and I have been buds for a few years. He expressed interest in doing vocals with me a while ago and he eventually decided to come on stage with me and do backup.  I do hope to get more friends to contribute to live shows in the future, a drummer hopefully *cough* Ryan Skalish *cough*.

How about in the studio ahead?

I have songs in the works already for a full length album. This one will be a concept album inspired by a certain game, but I won’t reveal anything else. I’d like to keep it a surprise. ;)

You are also releasing Peace Injection as the single from Cellophane. Can you tell us about the track and the single package it will come in?

Peace Injection is a song that was sparked by my thoughts on America. The fact that our country feels the need to intervene in affairs in the name of “Peace” and “democracy” is something that has bothered me and this song is a response to that. The single contains the original version from the EP and three remixes, by Virus Cycle, Otto Kinzel, and Varicella. They are all talented guys and it was really awesome to hear their takes on my song. It’s also free and is available for download now.

What is next for Krebs once the EP is out there?

Krebs will hopefully get to perform some live shows in the near future and work on the concept album for a not too distant release date! Stay tuned.

Once more thank you for chatting with us, anything you would like to add?

First, thank you so much for having me and for the review. I’d just like to thank Otto for arranging everything as well. It was a pleasure and I hope to talk to you again soon!

Cellophane is A FREE download available in the Bluntface Records online store at midnight, June 29th!

www.bluntfacerecords.com

Read the review of Cellophane @ http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/05/27/krebs-cellophane/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 31/05/2013

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Tactical Module: World Through My Sight

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    Tactical Module is a band which holds no fears in challenging and imposing its confrontation upon the listener musically and the world lyrically, but rewards its sonic intrusion with an aggressive symphony of electro enterprise, punk attitude, and industrial intensity. New album World Through My Sight is a brawl of ideas and sounds which with magnetic and compelling abrasion leaves no doubt that there is a formidable force dawning within UK dark electro/ rock.

Founded in the summer of 2010, Tactical Module is the solo project of Poole college student Michael Davis, the venture seeded by his need to find a vehicle and freedom for his creative imagination. Fusing industrial metal, EBM, digital hardcore and harsh electro, Davis has built a steadily growing reputation with his uncompromising and startling sounds. Using influences such as Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, KMFDM, Godflesh, Gary Numan, Skinny Puppy, Killing Joke, and Depeche Mode to name a few, to sculpt his invention Davis has released numerous EPs and remixes as well as being involved with some impressive collaborations each marking his territory of provocative sounds. It was with the 2012 release of the Dead Zone EP though, which featured the intimidating vocals of Osmar Diaz from Mexican industrial act Acrophilic Project that a new fire of attention turned his way and strong anticipation brewed for this release. The latter part of the year also saw Davis sign with US dark electro/industrial label Engraved Ritual and release the track Where Angels Rise from his impending album, a song which lit up the ears and appetite of new and old fans alike.

The brief awakening of sound in opener The Lining of Sights is really an intro to the feast of sound and intent ahead but in its brief presence is the irresistible first step into album and its startling title track. An immediate resonating probe upon the senses, the track opens up its stance with great punk rap vocals from Davis heading a controlled charge of intimidating rhythms and intensive sonic rubs. Melodic warmth is grown and employed in the following infectious chorus and the ever present caressing ambience, though even that has a threat which is not to be ignored. At times the track reminds of a mesh of Killing Joke around the time of their Turn To Red EP and also Conformist with a certain punk simplicity at its heart.

The strong opening is continued through Where Angels Rise, the song a blistered acidic kiss upon the senses with scarring vocals and treacherous whispers as well as an equally caustic caress to the predatory pulse and hunger of the stark melodic breath. The song is pop at its darkest and most malicious, a seductive scourge with the darkest siren shadows matched in blackness by Dead Zone featuring the insidious rabid tones of Acrophilic Project. The track is a nasty devour of the emotions, its bestial ravage coated in bewitching sonics and melodic lime which mesmerises whilst corroding the senses.

After the stunning instrumental Skyline, its soundscape an irresistible merger of flaming melodics and ravenous guitar conjured energy combined to forge an encounter which seduces and gnaws away at the listener with impressive craft and invention, the album gradually evolves into a harsher and darker proposition. As Erase the Defect soon shows, the warmth which penetrated the earlier intrusive confrontations begins its slow dissipation song by song, this track an excellent defiance with unreserved aggression. Melodically the tracks still offer a balance and melodic whisper but it is a colder and less giving embrace which changes and enhances the album further.

Fragility is a low point on the release due to the clean vocals Davis brings to its compelling sounds and striking stature. Initially the song with its Spizz Energi reminding sonic tease and soon joining predatory bass sounds, hits the passions with unerring accuracy but once Davis sings it is all lost. As the song goes on to show he can growl, snarl and rap with impressive style and strength but sing sadly not, the song title ironically apt unless that is inspiring the display, and for personal tastes it ruins a deeply promising track. It is a passing issue though as further songs like the incendiary and evocative Cypher and the invidious Zeroed whip the fervour back to its earlier heights.

The album also includes remixes of album tracks from the likes of Project Rotten and Nahtaivel, with the two by Cease2Xist and Enfermo 666 especially dramatically impressive. World Through My Sight is an excellent album which arguably is not one of the more immediately engaging releases but certainly one of the most rewarding within its genre.

https://www.facebook.com/TacticalModule

8/10

RingMaster 06/03/2013

 

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Dark corners and caustic intent: an interview with Varicella

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A maelstrom of ravenous intensity and demonic caustic caresses, the debut EP from US industrial band Varicella has brought an uncompromising destructive start to the year. Released through the impressive emerging underground label Bluntface Records, We Belong Dead was a predator of old school eighties style industrial which experimented with and pushed brawling sonic boundaries. Taking the opportunity to find out more about the project through founder Chris Bollinger and guitarist Chris Pasquarelli, we looked at the release, the origins of the band and horror movies…

Welcome to The RingMaster Review and thanks for talking with us.

Varicella – Thank you! And thanks for giving us the chance to talk with you! We appreciate the opportunity.

For the uninitiated, tell us about Varicella, its beginnings, and the inspiration for the project.

Chris Bollinger – Well this is going to be a “really” long story, and I will try to shorten it as best I can, LOL. Varicella is at the moment, a two person industrial/metal/electronic dance music/experimental band. And when I say at the moment, I mean, that we did have a bassist who also did some synth work. He was responsible for a decent amount of what the band sounds like now. But sadly, we had to let him go from the band, and that’s all I’m going to say about that. We do hope to add a live bassist and drummer at some point, but it is hard finding the right people who fit and so forth.

As for the beginnings of the band, well as it states in our BIO on Facebook or Reverbnation, I started the project back in 2008. I’ve always wanted to do an industrial type of band, even when I was in high school back in 2000/2001. I just never found anyone that was on the same page as me or liked what I liked. But anyway, I started this in 2008 and did a few things wrote a few songs, some are on our We Belong Dead EP actually. We just updated them. Then I had to put it on hold because of to many people coming and going. I mean, I think I went through 4 or 5 guitarists until I found Chris Pasquarelli. I posted several ads online and for about 2 years, I never got an answer or I did but their style didn’t fit my style, or they wanted to do the more aggrotech / terror EBM style of industrial and I don’t want to do that. So it was a super long time between people. And during that our old bassist answered one of my ads. We talked and began to work together over the internet with a site called Soundcloud. At the time he was working a job that was 3rd shift overnight and I work a standard 9 to 5 type of job. So our schedules were completely opposite. But I’m determined to do this so things got done! LOL. Then as I mentioned above I found Chris Pasquarelli, through Facebook no less, LOL. We both were clicking like on each other’s posts or comments, and then somehow he saw I did music and said we should jam. I was really impressed with him. That was last April and he’s been in the band ever since that first jam. Yes, he’s that good!

As for the inspiration, I’d have to say just my love of the old 80’s and early 90s industrial, bands such as Ministry, KMFDM, Skinny Puppy, and Frontline Assembly. And then on top of that I love White Zombie and Nine Inch Nails, and thrash metal type of bands like Slayer, Testament, Megadeth, Pantera and other hard rock or punk bands like Alice in Chains, Danzig, Tool, Filter, Misfits and The Ramones. So, I just wanted to do something that was in the vein of those bands/artists but not a direct rip off. I wanted to make heavy dance music. Songs that have a heavy dance beat that’ll make the girls shake their asses to it, but at the same time it has a thrash metal guitar part or groove to the guitars that’ll make the dudes head bang to it. Hopefully that makes sense to anyone out there. LOL.

What was it about music which you felt was missing and leaving you cold as a listener as well as a musician, when starting Varicella?

Chris B. – Pretty much as I said above, everyone was making the all synth based aggrotech / terror EBM type of industrial, and I didn’t want to do that. I have nothing against it and I like most of it. I listen to Combichrist, Psyclon Nine, Imperative Reaction, Wumpscut and other various bands that have that sound. It’s just not the type of music that I wanted to do personally. And I think that made it harder to find a guitarist too, because that style is really popular right now. The style we do is not popular. Which does make things harder but at the same time, we can transcend a few genres of music and play with different types of bands. Which I find pretty cool! LOL.

Chris Pasquarelli – When I joined Varicella last April I liked the music, but I wanted to make it heavier and more edgy. Most of the songs had basic plug-in computer guitars which the typical computer programs use and I liked it but I didn’t like how noticeable it was that it was not recorded by real guitars as opposed to computer guitars. Within the last 9 months I’ve been in the band I can say that I am really happy with the overall sound our music has with my added guitar and bass tracks.

Was this music in general or more the industrial/electro genre you did not find a connection with?IMG_0014

Chris B. – I’d say yes, mostly in the industrial/electronic genre, but I’ve been a little bored with the rock and metal genre too. Not much is catching my attention in the rock and metal genre. There are a few “really” good bands in the all of those genres, but you have to weed through thousands of copies or clone bands to find the 4 or 5 good ones. It’s tough.

How do you feel about the scene and music now we stand in 2013?

Chris B. – Pretty much the same. Some things have gotten better. Like, it’s easier to spot the better bands versus what I call the “bedroom” bands. These are people that just sit in their homes, make and release music, but never play a live show. Ever! There were a massive amount of them back in 2007 to 2009. Maybe even before that. I’m not 100% sure. But now, it’s about 99% easier to weed through and see those types of bands. And I’m not knocking those people. Some make very good music. I probably own some, LOL. But it’s just not what I want to do. I want to actually see the fans and talk to them and so forth, not sit in my bedroom and stare at a computer monitor.

What are the biggest influences which inspires your sound?

Chris B. – Ministry, mostly the early stuff, Twitch, The Land of Rape and Honey, The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste and Psalm 69. Those 4 albums blew my mind and still amaze me. I can’t believe Al and Paul did what they did at that time. It’s amazing! KMFDM, almost anything they do is great! Same goes for Skinny Puppy. Got to love Ohgr too! And then White Zombie, La Sex and Astro Creep are two great albums that shaped my teenage years!

Chris P. -  Behemoth, Deicide, At The Gates, Cannibal Corpse, Cradle Of Filth, Children Of Bodom, Burzum, Darkthrone, Death, The Black Dahlia Murder, Cryptopsy, Anorexia Nervosa, Nine Inch Nails, Orgy, Deadsy, Psyclon Nine, Dimmu Borgir, Marilyn Manson, Static x, Old Mans Child, SOAD and many more!  As far as my sound goes I’m influenced by many bands, I just try to make the heaviest guitar and bass lines too fit our songs.

The early days were unsettled for the band I believe, through line-up problems? Was this the reason for Varicella going on hiatus or actually at the time was it the end of the band? 

Chris B. – They were. And I think I quit about 4 or 5 times. Gave up and stopped all together type of quitting. I was just really frustrated, and things were going nowhere. As I said, it was about 2 years before I found Chris Pasquarelli on guitar

Varicella reformed/re-emerged in 2011, what was the spark that made that the time to bring the project back to active life?

Chris B. – Skinny Puppy. Skinny Puppy came out with a new album called “HanDover” back in late 2011. Also Ohgr released another one of his solo albums early in 2011, called “undeveloped”. And I just said, fuck it, these are super good, I need to get my shit together, and get this project going! Especially “HanDover”! It’s over a year later and that album is still constantly on my iPod.

Chris P. – I was still in high school when I joined and I was in several other projects at the time when I joined Varicella. I’ve been serious about music for most of my life And I felt frustrated with a lot of the people I jammed with at the time because no one else was as into the band thing as I was until I joined Varicella, so I was really excited to be a part of a band which was serious about their music.

 Back to influences/inspirations, which predominantly spark and shape your songs and lyrics, the areas which ignite your ideas?

Chris B. – Movies, mostly horror and sci-fi movies. TV shows, comics and/or graphic novels. You wouldn’t think it, but Doctor Who is another spark that started two songs lyric wise. And one song music and lyrics, called “The Sound of Four”. And then there are some ideas that come from real life experiences. Like the song “Obsessed with flesh”.  The lyrics in that song can be applied to anything where a person feels they are being used and/or abused. But the major theme of that song comes from a person I wanted to date, but she didn’t want a steady boyfriend or a relationship. So we were just friends with benefits. After a few months of that she all the sudden stops talking to me. I can’t get a hold of her. She doesn’t want to hang out let alone do other stuff. Then a few weeks go by, and I find out she’s in a relationship and that’s why she just dropped me. I was fairly pissed off, and felt a little used. Same goes for the song “All Hail”, that’s sort of my views on brutal honesty with a little jab a religion. I’m a brutally honest person and a straight shooter. I just think we all spend too much time putting up a front or wearing a mask for certain people. It’s ridiculous.

Chris P. – As far as our music goes guitar and bass wise, I kind of do a Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, Static X guitar and bass meets extreme metal vibe. For example in our song Mind Fucked I wrote a melodic guitar rhythm that a stripper could dance to, and metal heads could throw down too and fuck each other up in the mosh pits too as well. This has been a huge influence in writing for me, and I’m not exaggerating at all. Every time I right new material For Varicella I always keep Strippers and mosh pits in mind.

TrayCard_OutsideYou have just released your We Belong Dead EP via Bluntface Records; does this contain all new tracks or material with seeds and feet from the earlier presence of the band as well?

Chris B. – A little bit of both actually. The songs Obsessed with Flesh, All Hail were written back around 2008. Of course they were updated to match the other songs that were new, specifically the song Obsessed with Flesh. There’s this sort of machine type sound going on with the guitars. That’s from the way Chris Pasquarelli plays the song. He bends the strings a certain way at a certain time to get that specific sound. That’s all him! So if we had a different guitarist that didn’t play it that way, it wouldn’t sound that way.

How long did the EP take to create and how far did it or songs evolve from the initial ideas?

Chris B. – It didn’t take too long actually. Most of the blue print was laid out in 2008. We just updated some things here and there as I said. We started working on these songs in late 2011 and finished in the fall of 2012. Obsessed and All Hail didn’t change much. Chris Pasquarelli just added his own style to them. The Sound of Four came together very quickly! Music and the lyrics. I think it was done in only a few months. We Belong Dead went through a few changes. LOL. The original idea came from our old bassist Tim. I just sort of took the synth sound, and remixed it adding in other elements. I went through about 4 versions of that song until we hit on a verse / chorus / verse pattern. But it didn’t become what it is now until Chris Pasquarelli joined, and added the guitar riff that grooves over top the synth part in the verses.

There is a cinematic feels to your tracks on We Belong Dead, a visual ambience beyond the lovely corruption of sound and breath. Obviously it has seeds in the influences to songs you mentioned earlier but has it been a natural result of your personal interests or something you have crafted intentionally?

Chris B. – Thank you very much. I would say this is not intentional, at least on a conscious level. I mean, I try to create songs that have multiple meanings on multiple levels to them. This is why I like to add in certain Movie or TV show samples. They help me to tell the story of the song better. Or they reference things in my lyrics.

What are your hopes for the EP in relation to opening up future opportunities for the band and is there a particular moment or track on the release which is Varicella at its purest, where its heart is most open?

Chris B. – Well first and foremost this EP is a stepping stone to our full length release that’ll be out something later this year, probably fall or winter of 2013. We also hope this EP will help us get any attention to tour or play more shows. We’d love to do a tour! Even if it is just a small 2 or 4 week local tour. Of course a bigger 2 month or more tour would be great too!

Varicella at its purest? Not sure. Obsessed with flesh is pretty personal. As I mention above, that one involves a bad relationship with a girl. The Sound of Four is about feeling like you don’t exist in this world, so maybe those two songs. They might not sound like it, but most of my lyrics are real and from the heart.

Chris P. – I’m hoping this EP will open more doors for Varicella by getting us more fans and shows etc. I agree with Chris I think Obsessed with flesh is pretty out there in terms of being us at our purest.

How did you and Bluntface link up and what have been the benefits already from their support and presence?

Chris B. – Johnny from Virus Cycle had an open call for bands on his compilation last summer. From there, I saw that Otto was doing another compilation through the Bluntface site. Otto remembered our song and dug our sound, and a few months ago he sent me an email. He said the label was expanding, and asked if we wanted to join up with him. It seemed like a really good offer that we didn’t want to pass up. So we agreed.

There have been a huge amount of benefits! We’ve had internet radio air play. The review of our EP from you guys, and a few other interviews, and we did a “live” on air interview on 13SRadio.com. We also have another one that we’re doing at the end of this month. Everything Otto said he would do for us, he’s doing! So we’re extremely happy.

How are you managing to promote the EP and are there live shows happening or planned?

Chris B. – We’ve been promoting it on the various social media networks, Reverbnation, Facebook, Twitter, and a few other sites. We’ve been playing shows since last October when we opened for My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult, Left Spine Down, and Panzer Division. Left Spine Down said we were loud and they liked our cover of Ministry’s Burning Inside. Since then, we’ve had a show every month, except for December, we played two that month. We’re taking February off to write and record some songs for the full length album. And we’re playing a show on March 23rd in Philadelphia at Motel Hell. Details are on our Facebook page

There are plenty of opinions from artists within industrial and its plethora of varied corners which say there is a current curse of IMG_0023_1backbiting and disrespect within the genre between musicians and those involved, how have you found the situation personally?

Chris B. – There are a few bands and people, not exclusively in the industrial/electronic music genre, that have been disrespectful to us. It does bother me at times, because it’s usually from bands/artists that think they’re bigger than they are, but they’re not. They have this ego trip and they act like you’re beneath them. It’s sad actually. And we try to not be like that. If you’re cool with me, then I’m cool with you, simple as that. But that’s just how it is, and it’s the same with the movie business. Everyone’s two faced. It doesn’t matter if you’re a local band or a huge touring band. You will run into a few that are like that.

Is there anything, band or releases, which have captured your imaginations recently and added extra flavour to your thoughts and ideas for your next compositions?

Chris B. – Wow, good question. Not too many “newer” bands. There are some bands that have been around for a little bit that are releasing newer albums. Dawn of Ashes, KMFDM, Skinny Puppy, Alice in Chains, Megadeth and Filter. I’m a pretty big Filter fan. Their last album “The Trouble with Angels” was really great! Still listening to that. Testament just released a very good album. Frontline Assembly and Tweaker also just put out newer albums. Even though FLA is more of a soundtrack, it’s still very good. Been listening to the “Tron Legacy” score by Daft Punk off and on for a few weeks. All of those keep my imagination going. Especially the “Tron Legacy” score. That CD just amazes me! It’s really good!

What is next creatively for Varicella?

Chris B. – We are currently working on our full length album. It will be all the songs from the EP plus about 5 or 7 more originals and maybe 2 or 3 remix songs.

Many thanks for sparing time to chat with us, any last thoughts you would like to share?

Chris B. – Thank you for giving us this opportunity. We appreciate it very much! Last thoughts…just check us out on Facebook or Reverbnation. Go to the Bluntface Records site and check out all the great bands there! If you haven’t already, please download our “We Belong Dead” EP. And thanks to everyone who’s helped and supported us along the way!

Finally, you said horror movies are big elements in your personal loves, so give us three films which are engrained in your passions to the extent you know lines off by heart.

Chris B. – 1) The Evil Dead films and Army of Darkness. Classics in my book and Army of Darkness just has so many great quotable line! 2) Almost all of the John Carpenter films, even the movies that are not horror movies. The Thing, Halloween, Prince of Darkness, Escape from NY, Big Trouble in Little China, In the Mouth of Madness, and Christine are some of my favourites of his. 3) Hellraiser 1 and 2. Those movies together feel like one really long awesome movie.

Chris P. – I’m right on board with Chris Bollinger’s horror movie tastes especially with the Hellraiser and Evil Dead Series. Some of my favourite horror movie quotes are Evil Dead 2’s “groovy” right after Bruce Campbell put a chainsaw where his possessed hand used to be, The priest’s quote “I kick ass for the lord” right before he fights zombies in the grave yard with his bare hands in Dead Alive and Lastly Chop tops “Oww my plate! My brain is burning nom flashback NOM FLASHBACK!!!!!!” from Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.

Read the review of We Belong Dead EP @ http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/01/07/varicella-we-belong-dead/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Varicella/310239362321042?fref=ts

http://www.bluntfacerecords.com

The RingMaster Review 26/02/2013

RingMaster 26/02/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

PREHUMANITY- Death Wave

Prehumanity 2

A crawling intensive examination of the senses and psyche is the best way to describe Death Wave, the second album from industrial/electronic/rock band PREHUMANITY, or as it is also tagged death wave. It is a striking and deeply pleasing encounter which is as impressive as it is abrasively uncomfortable, and thoroughly compelling.

The band is the project of Alexander K. Harris, an artist who before PREHUMANITY fronted numerous punk and metal bands, flavours which also add their harsh essences to the album. Starting up the project in 2008, Seattle based Alexander primarily took influences from electronic and death rock bands and released three EPs though they were only available at live shows and online which grabbed the attention of a great many. Continually assessing and writing material whilst performing live with additional musicians, the debut album Not So Becoming was released in 2011 to strong responses. Moving to LA the following year, Alexander wrote and recorded 70% of the follow up as well as recruiting percussionist Seage to the mix for live shows in the city. Completed after additional refining and re-recording of some vocals once he had moved again, this time to Raleigh in N Carolina, Death Wave had its release at the tail of the year. The album has a horror tainted heart and sound which is soaked in the new wave and gothic spices of the eighties and a modern harsh electro/industrial imagination. It is a feisty and bruising confrontation with constant rewards from its intensive violations.

Better Broken opens up the encounter with pulsating beats and a prowling intimidating synth pressuring the ear. Soon into its Prehumanitydefined step the track then brings in a melodic hook which immediately reminds of eighties band Visage and as the track spreads its sonic touch and melodic caresses it takes one back to those vibrant times three decades ago with one foot still firmly entrenched in the powerful wells of today’s sinewy sounds. The track is best described as Specimen and Alien Sex Fiend, a band the album often harkens to, caught in an uncompromising position with Landscape whilst Cease2xist is looking on adding its own intrusive thoughts. A compelling and infectious assault the track is an excellent start to the release soon matched by its successor.

As soon as the stomping strokes of Pills breaks the brief silence between tracks the senses are under an electronic barracking from within a thick cloud of energy. As with the opener the vocals of Alexander are a caustic lashing upon the ear. Expressive and impassioned they are an uncompromising grazing which opens the gateway to darker shadows to join those already lit by the again contagious sounds. Taking a more Skinny Puppy/Ministry gait with a hungry blackened intent the song alongside its predecessor makes one greedy for more and more from the release which of course the album happily and spitefully provides.

The doom encrusted Calling with its brew of Sex Gang Children and Nine Inch Nails like erosive melodic squalls and the thick predatory consumption provided by the metallic Bad Things ignite further intrigue and passion for their inventive contention sparking carriages but it is the track which splits them which almost all alone ensures PREHUMANITY and the album has a permanent stature in our personal playlist. Blood Soaked Suits disorientates with dazzling sonic expulsions before unleashing a rampage of insatiable intensity and invigorating energy, though it erodes as equally as it sparks the body and emotions into unreserved life. With towering rhythms, further caustic vocals, and a wonderful unsettling discord wash to the melodic imagination to the track, the song is a memorable and irresistible bruising with only its briefness a niggle for the hunger it incites.

The excellent Single File with its cavernous depths and ravenous breath not to mention viral sonic teasing is a weave of thunderous energies and heavyweight textures which leaves one exhausted and glowing under its blistering heat. It is only the appetizer though as the equally oppressive and intense Vote With Your Dollars brings further aggressive rage to the canvas of the album. The closing track though offers a warmer melodic coaxing to its rampant storm of stomping dynamics and destructive layers. Like early Young Gods if it also contained Marilyn Mansion, Gary Numan, and John Foxx is a way of describing the expansive sound of the track and it makes for a riotous and challenging end to an outstanding release.

PREHUMANITY wears its influences openly yet turns them into something new and refreshing. Death Wave is an album which all from electronic through industrial to metal fans will find plenty of pleasure from, it is just immense.

http://www.prehumanity.com/

http://facebook.com/Prehumanity

RingMaster 11/01/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright