Twingiant – Devil Down

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There is smog like quality to the sound of US band Twingiant which invades every pore and corner of the senses with voracious appetite; within that thick immersion though the band infuses a searing melodic veining and smouldering enterprise to leave the imagination keen and appetite even hungrier. They describe their sound as simply loud and heavy, but as shown by new EP Devil Down, it is also bracingly flavoursome and rigorously compelling.

Devil Down is also uncompromising in its touch and intensity, Twingiant blending fiery stoner and heavy rock with imposing sludge richness for an inflammatory and predatory cauldron of sound. Formed in 2010, the Phoenix, Arizona based quartet drew keen attention with debut album Mass Driver two years later and last year’s Sin Nombre EP. Their success only backed and reinforced the band’s live stature which has seen them persistently impress and inflame audiences whilst sharing stages with the likes of Windhand, Pallbearer, Weedeater, Intronaut, Metal Church, Satan’s Satyrs, Guttermouth, Black Tusk and numerous more. Now with their self-released and produced Devil Down EP, the band look poised to awaken a more momentous spotlight upon themselves. May be it is not a release to ignite a explosive blaze within thunderous rock ‘n’ roll climes but it Devil Down is certainly a fierce proposition to firmly thrust Twingiant upon a broader landscape of attention.

The striking presence of the release begins with the instrumental Old Hag. Starting from a restrained and elegant flame of immediately enthralling enterprise and craft, the track grows within the ears as its melodic acidity and sultry charm creates a spark for the imagination to run with and explore. There is also a sinister edge to the invention and sonic beauty fuelling the track, the guitars of Tony Gallegos and Nikos Mixas providing a highly suggestive soundscape and narrative courted by raw shadows provided by the gripping rhythms of drummer Jeff Ramon and bass predation from Jarrod Le Blanc. It is a transfixing proposition which as it reaches its finale, digs into a new texture of aggressive tenacity and attitude.

The impressive start is followed by Dead To Rights, a track striding forcibly with a combative swagger from its first second. Loaded with just as magnetically swinging grooves it soon adds theDD Front Cover (1) coarse texture of Le Blanc’s vocals to the mix, his tones strong without blowing anyone away but with their generally minimalistic presence in the context of songs, they make the perfect incitement to the blistering tempests of around him. A brawling eruption of skilled endeavour and resourceful voracity, the song makes way for the carnivorously toned Daisy Cutter. From its first breath the bass growl is carnally bestial and soon matched by the thickly gravelled vocals. Heavy metal seeded grooves entwine the intensive weight and prowl of the song, at times taking over with their engaging flames and mouth-watering beauty, though the scuzzy hostility of the bass is a constant prowling intimidation ensuring every twist comes with its share of menace.

Through The Motions is another enslaving instrumental and with no slight on Le Blanc’s vocals, these are the tracks where the listener can really play and immerse into the creative emprise of engagements and release. They are a canvas for the imagination and emotions to dance freely, and this track a virulent persuasion weaving sizzling strands of sonic and melodic temptation with inventively rabid rhythms for a fascinating evocation, a tapestry for thoughts to cast adventures with.

Tiger Lily suffers a little being sandwiched between its predecessor and the next up instrumental, but still provides a feisty and aggressive enterprise of heavy footed riffs and spicy grooves to persistently enjoy. There is something missing though, a spark which evades even the enticing twists and shifting textures within the song, and whilst it is a potent companion it does not linger around as other tracks on the album, and especially like Under A Blood Moon. The third instrumental is the best, a sultry twang to guitars an immediate seduction which only grows as melodies and grooves embrace the flavouring for their own infectious web of wonderfully unpolished and organic temptation. Once more it is a piece which simply ignites ears and imagination into eager life, every diverse flavour and note seemingly a seed to expanding adventures, especially the dark beauty of strings at its conclusion.

Devil Down ends with its title track, a bruising prowl of heavy metal and sludge rapacity aligned to groove and noise rock causticity. It is a predator, an emotionally blackened stalking which lumbers and crawls with the varied creativity of the guitars its light and merciless rhythms its teeth. The song is an immense end to an outstanding release, where even though for personal tastes the instrumentals steal the show, every track is an almost primal incitement to want plenty more from Twingiant, a band whose stock and presence surely from this point will be infesting the world’s full awareness.

The self-released Devil Down is available on vinyl from 2 December @ http://twingiant.bandcamp.com/album/devil-down

A cassette version of Devil Down will be released via Medusa Crush Records on February 7th.

http://twingiant.com/

RingMaster 02/12/2104

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American Heritage – Prolapse

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With the departure of vocalist/guitarist Adam Norden following its recording, Prolapse from American Heritage might be the last thing heard from the Chicago band, but if this is so what a way to go out. It is a beast of a proposition, a tsunami of controlling grooves, belligerently aggressive rhythms, and a primal force of voice and breath. It is bullying mass of provocation and passion, a lingering statement from what will be a sorely missed band if there is to be no more.

Consisting of six new tracks and three covers brought in the fusion of thick sludge metal, imagination binding mathcore, and abrasing noise rock/hardcore ferocity the quartet is renowned for, the successor to acclaimed 2011 album Sedentary, uncages a caustic savaging which rivals anything they have unleashed before. Recorded with Sanford Parker and released through Solar Flare Records, sixth album Prolapse quite simply brings the band’s presence since 1996 to an incendiary and exhilarating end.

From the first sonic blast of opener Eastward Cast the Entrails, band and album has ears and attention severely grasped, the punishing initial touch leading into a bruising maelstrom of ferocious rhythms, corrosive riffs, and brawling vocals. Within the tempest though grooves raucously flirt and technical prowess seduces, the track increasingly expanding and flourishing in the imagination and emotions. Equally as it grows contagiousness coats the tenacity and enterprise of the guitars and rhythmic antagonism, the provocation becoming as seductive as it is hostile ensuring an insatiable and explosive start to the album swiftly matched by its successor.

Anxious Bedwetter roars and assaults with the entwined charm of Corrosion of Conformity, Mastodon, and Agnostic Front, it swiftly buffeting and igniting emotions with a torrential american_heritage_prolapseonslaught of raw riffery and rhythmic violence cast by drummer Mike Duffy. Again though there is a virulent temptation from scorching melodies and spicy grooves at work, all as uncompromising as the heart of the encounter but spreading irresistible magnetic toxicity. Vocally Norden leaves no syllable and emotion untainted by venom and anger whilst his and fellow guitarist Scott Shellhamer’s sonic temptation is simply bracing.

The pair of Obliviocrity and Constant and Consuming Fear of Death and Dying make no compromises on the senses, the first from another debilitating sonic squall and with nostrils flared, rampaging through ears on a breath-taking sonic turbulence and rhythmic inhospitality. To the destructiveness though again grooves are enflamed with a melodically brewed acidity and creative spice which invigorates and sears the senses. Its quick hellacious ravishment is contrasted by the prowling presence of the second of the pair. Reaped from the predatory essences of doom and sludge, the song crawls provocatively over the listener, imposing and oppressing in its air whilst exploring a brighter terrain of engaging melodies and radiant invention. There is still a menace to its raw beauty though, the band finding the same kind of dark allurement which has blessed the music of Killing Joke over the decades, bassist Erik Bocek, a constant primal enticement across the whole release, bringing forceful heavy seduction to the body of the song.

The hardcore severity always lurking within American Heritage is given full rein in the outstanding Mask of Lies next, the track a furnace of spite and rage with flesh flailing rhythms and riffery to match. It is a savaging you can only embrace and invite back time and time again, much as the next up Blackbird, it a hellacious forging of hardcore, punk, and noise rock rancor with psyche twisting invention. The track is a glorious predator and the pinnacle of the album, a relentless creative scourge which just has you drooling for more and ears and emotions exhausted.

The departure of the triumph is the start of the trio of covers on the album, starting with the outstanding take of the Descendents track Hürtin’ Crüe. It is an erosive swamp of sonic and vocal intensity, a merciless blaze with the charm of a public flogging and quite irresistible. It is followed by the Black Flag track Thirsty and Miserable, American Heritage treating it to their own kind of barbarous enterprise and stormily inventive bad blood before moving on to Bulletproof Cupid, the Girls Against Boys encounter. Openly salacious from its first vocal caress and fiercely imposing as soon as its first note preys on ears, the song is a delicious sinister seduction and dare one say even more potent than the original.

The track brings another unmissable offering from American Heritage to a fine close. What will be missed is the band’s presence, that realisation reinforced by Prolapse as it scars the senses whilst sparking a big tinge of sadness. Things move on and you just feel further raw adventures will be ahead in some guise from the members of the band, something very easy to breed an excited anticipation for, especially after this grand finale.

Prolapse is available now digitally and as CD and vinyl versions via Solar Flare Records @ http://music.solarflarerds.com/album/prolapse or http://americanheritage.bandcamp.com

https://www.facebook.com/americanheritageband

RingMaster26/11/2014

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Hombre Malo – Persistent Murmur of Words of Wrath

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Pic: catty stone

 

Full of uncompromising fury and unbridled belligerence, Persistent Murmur of Words of Wrath the new album from Norwegian band Hombre Malo, is an incendiary device to ignite the imagination and passions. Its explosive nature and severe hostility is not for the faint hearted but sandwiched between opening and closing tracks which made potent and sizeable impressions there lays a cauldron of blistering enterprise and virulent hostility to take the breath away. Creating a tempestuous fusion of hardcore and noise rock with stoner and sludge metal, Hombre Malo has unleashed a beast of an album which is sure to make a relatively unknown band a talking point in a broader expanse of mouths.

Hailing from Oslo, Hombre Malo was formed in 2008 by ex-members of Sons of Saturn and Ictus and features current members of MOE and Okkultokrati. The quartet since starting has splits with bands like Jack and the Bearded Fishermen, Desert Icons, and Sofy Major under their belt as well as their 2009 debut album The Ecstasy Of Devastation. All have bred acclaim and eager attention though it is easy to feel that Persistent Murmur of Words of Wrath will be making the strongest impression for the band so far. Recorded with Ruben Willem and mastered by Brad Boatright (High On Fire, Ringworm, Nails), the band’s second album is a provocation from a band which you just feel relishes the turbulence they are going to create in the ears, thoughts, and emotions of their listeners.

Opener L’Etranger instantly casts stoner-esque grooves around ears as the album begins its conquest, their spicy coaxing matched by punchy beats designed again to grab attention. It is an inflammatory start for the imagination which loses a little of its potency when relaxing into a heavy and intensive stroll, though that small relinquishing of intrigue is compensated by the caustic tones of The Muerto, his throat spilling venom and spite with every forced syllable. With rises of rhythmic endeavour and the still virulently enticing grooves, the track has a firm hold as it continues to merge hardcore and punk with its sludgy tsunami of noise.

As mentioned earlier it is a strong start flooded with potential, as the band, but not able to inflames senses and passions as its successors begin to do from hereon in, starting with Crosses And hombre_maloMarching Feet. Striding from the news sample bulging link connecting the first two tracks, the song bawls and then brawls with ears as a crescendo of agitated beats and riffs fling themselves at the senses, all guided by again corrosive vocal squalls. Like a furnace sculpted by Melvins, Kunz, and Unsane, the track is all out assault of sonic voracity and creative mayhem honed into a deranged and addictive maelstrom.

Its success though is just a taster for the album’s pinnacle, the sensational Golden Calf. Again the song evolves from its predecessor, a great tendency of the release, and is soon crawling over the psyche with its corruptive rhythms and sonic unpredictability. Just as swiftly as the violent temptation takes hold, a swagger comes to grooves and beats, a swinging lure complimenting the equally infectious eruptions of bruising mass vocals. The further into its body it takes ears the more gripping the blaze of punk rock bred antagonism and predation aligned to psych rock ingenuity. Like a mix of Poison Idea and fellow Oslo band Shevils, the track is a vicious contagion which with a cleaner vocal delivery and unrelenting splinters of sonic taunting and teasing, simply ignites ears.

A darker sludge spawned turn to the album comes next through Vladislav, a track inspired by the homophobic murder of 23-year-old Russian Vladislav Tornovoi. The song prowls the senses from the start, riffs and grooves weighty and predacious intimidation stalking the listener. It is a constant pressure and oppressive enticing offered by the seven minute track, from its first breath to last a senses smothering provocation equipped with a carnivorous bass tone and raw vocal expression to match similar toxicity cast by the guitars. It too finds a catchy character within itself so that by its end it is stomping with a virulent suasion before making way for the punkish roar of Reaching The Shore. With the sonic voracity of a Coilguns to its hardcore truculence, the song scowls and boils with spiteful enterprise and abrasing intensity before it too has to part for its outstanding successor.

Elena, from a melancholic and abrasive melodic start which is portentous and seductive simultaneously, detonates a ravenous and sonically disorientating expulsion which soon settles into a no less uncompromising but more ordered creative shuffle. It is another song where it explores a contagiousness to grip feet and imagination whilst gnawing upon and spilling toxicity over senses and emotions. It is a glorious and hellacious ravishment which reveals even more of the incredible potential and already accomplished devilry in the band’s songwriting and sound.

The album finishes on the epic Deathbed Conversation, a track which flies from the traps with thrilling caustic ferocity. It is an engrossing storm, though when it slips into a provocative and darkly emotive exploration of its central character’s narrative amidst a haunting ambience and ethereal melodies, it lacks the inescapable grip of its predecessors if not the intriguing and impressing invention. Nevertheless it is a fine and potent end to an excellent incitement, a release suggesting that there is still much more to come from the depths of Hombre Malo, whilst establishing the band as one tremendous onslaught right now.

Persistent Murmur Of Words Of Wrath is available now via Disiplin Media @ https://disiplinmedia.bandcamp.com/album/persistent-murmur-of-words-and-wrath

https://www.facebook.com/hombremalo666

RingMaster 14/11/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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No Way – Sing Praises

Pic  Tony Stanley

Pic Tony Stanley

From sound and presence to voracity and appeal, there is nothing lightweight about the debut release From US band No Way. The four-track Sing Praises EP is a brute of an introduction to the Brooklyn quartet, a compelling and enslaving tempest of noise and invention fusing thick essences of noise and punk rock with those of sludge and heavy melodic rock. Some bands seem to instinctively tune in to the listener’s wants and primal needs, and it is fair to say that No Way certainly fed and intensively satisfied ours.

No Way was formed in 2012, swiftly making their mark on the New York punk scene. Drawing comparisons to the likes of Helmet and Unsane, the band were soon sculpting their own distinct presence and sound, unafraid to infuse varied styles and raw spices into the mix of sound mentioned earlier. Their live reputation has also grown from those early potent days with the foursome sharing stages with bands such as Whores., Fight Amp, Black Tusk, Inter Arma, American Sharks, Cancer Bats, Naam and White Hills. That attention will only be broadened and strengthened by the release of Sing Praises, the Andrew Schneider (Unsane, Pelican, Shrinebuilder) recorded and Carl Saff (Young Widows, Helms Alee, OFF!, Kowloon Walled City, Big Business) mastered proposition an imposing slab of prime sonic and rhythmic beef flavoured with an imagination and a creative intrigue to get the taste buds singing.

The release looms up on ears with opener The Cutting and within a breath is walling them in with bulging riffs and debilitating rhythms. It is an imposing start but only the teaser to greater things as warped sonic scythes from guitars coveradd to the brewing mayhem. Vocalist Chuck Berrett is as a formidable a presence as the song itself, his raw and growling tones an instant lure complimenting and inciting further the rugged turbulence around him. At its heart there is the inventiveness of a Melvins to the song and the caustic beauty of a Cancer Bats whilst the core swagger to grooves is Coal Chamber bred, their swing reminding of the song Sway. It is a merciless seduction gnawing and flirting with thoughts and emotions, an immediate pinnacle matched straight away by Shake the Meat.

The second track makes a less intensive but just as gripping entrance, the guitar of Jordan Melkin coaxing ears and imagination with potent hooks as ripe and pungent beats from drummer Chris Enriquez provide an intimidating cage. Further enhanced and coloured by the throaty bass bait of Dave Maffei alongside the varied and fierce vocals, the track is an unpredictable and insatiable predator threatening and teasing with impassioned aggression and shadow bred, bordering on deranged enterprise. The riveting blaze is followed by the exceptional prowl and creative stalking of War Dance. It is a hypnotic proposition, a lone riff accompanied by this time more restrained tones from Berrett the initial drama; bait subsequently joined by merciless slaps from Enriquez and eventually stoner-esque hues within explosive roars. The song hunts the senses and psyche from start to finish, even its intermittent immersive and invasive sonic squalls a menace which increases the theatre induced by the engrossing single minded slim stalking either side of them

The track is scintillating and leaves the appetite greedier than ever so thankfully closing track Pastures / Abuelas is more than able to feed the hunger. Over eight minutes of imaginative tension, it is a rigorously captivating pursuit of the senses loading with vicious bass growls, savage riffs, and a sprawling thick sonic smog, all punctuated with a rhythmic resourcefulness which leaves ears bruised and emotions raw. There is also a psychedelic smearing to the atmosphere and inventive colour of the track but it is the hellacious and brutal ingenuity of the track, as well as the stoner bred grooves further into its adventure, which lingers longest and the deepest in the psyche. Dark and ravenous with greater menace in its restraint than a full-out assault could achieve, the track is a delicious immersion and challenge as well as another open side to No Way’s sound.

Sing Praises is an exceptional debut from a band with all the potential to be a potent and inspiring force ahead on the evidence of this stunning entrance. No Way seem to know what ears and instincts want in heavy, brutal, and incendiary exploratory sounds, and of course this is only the beginning….

The Sing Praises EP is available now digitally and on cassette @ http://www.nowayny.com

https://www.facebook.com/nowayny

RingMaster 07/11/2014

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Spider Kitten – Behold Mountain. Hail Sea. Venerate Sky. Bow Before

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Claimed as an album which was never supposed to exist, Behold Mountain. Hail Sea. Venerate Sky. Bow Before definitely belies the spontaneous and undetermined emergence that the statement suggests. The three track release from UK doomsters Spider Kitten, in their words “was always meant as a filler for themselves and the ‘fans’ before the next full album.” What they have created is a masterful captivation of sound and invention which pushes their horizons and suggests that ultimately its birth was not as laid back as assumed, though equally it holds a freedom and flow to it which is organically spontaneous. It is a gripping and unpredictable slab of stoner flamed doom exploration, something which the Welsh band excels in, which for newcomers and fans alike reinforces the stature of Spider Kitten and more.

Formed in 2001, the Newport band is centred round vocalist/guitarist Chi Lameo and bassist/vocalist Alex White. Emerging as a duo, the band as years and releases came and went, has been a full septet and as now, an imagination sparking quartet featuring drummer/vocalist Chris West and guitarist Rob Davies alongside the founding pair. The band has numerous impressive releases under their belt but strangely and almost inexplicably Spider Kitten is still a treat within the shadows when it comes to breaching the fullest spotlight within British rock. Maybe the new encounter will be the catalyst to broader attention and recognition, time will tell but it is certainly a striking and exciting incitement from the band which is sure to whip up a storm of acclaim somewhere.SKDigiPromoCover

Lyrically and musically inspired by Norse Sagas and Eddas, the release also features guests in the shape of guitarist Stuart ‘O.F.D.’ O’Hara (Acrimony, Iron Monkey, Blackeyeriot, Sigiriya) on opener Lindisfarena, and Charlotte Nichols (ex – Crippled Black Phoenix) who provides the heavy provocation of cello gracing final song Gore Swan. The first track launches on a gripping parade of predatory rhythms swiftly smothered in sonic causticity as guitars spray their endeavour. It is a tribal call to arms which instantly enslaves ears and imagination before suddenly relaxing into a just as tempestuous terrain of thick stoner enterprise and doom loaded predation. Vocals add their raw persuasion and colour next as the track spreads with almost toxic infectiousness across the senses, Lindisfarena insatiably swallowing thoughts and emotions with its riveting expanse of bass intimidation and sonic tenacity. Slow and lumbering but nimble on its feet in certain aggressive and inventive moments, the track is seven minutes plus of enthralling, bordering on visceral exploration.

The following Bearded Axe consumes ears with lowly slung grooves and stalking rhythms as vocal harmonies converge on the song’s corrosive ambience. It is a mesmeric assault, the track a ponderous beauty of bestial intensity and weight aligned to perversely radiant colour and temptation. For three minutes or so the track prowls and intimidates to fine effect but it is once sonic scythes split the body of the track, to be matched by carnivorous beats, that it grips an even greater plateau. Thick Kyuss like essences seduce in its maelstrom before a gentle caress of folkish charm leads the track towards the closing epic of Gore Swan. It is a transfixing bruising enticement which is surpassed by the journey, musically and lyrically, coming in the three parts of the last track. With ‘chapters’ Of the Land, Of the Sea, and Of the Sky uniting, the song is an evolving landscape of melodic scenery, ferocious confrontation, and imposing intensity. It never rests too long in one particular climate, each movement no matter its length a restless and fascinating tapestry of textures and sonically fuelled imagination. There is something of KingBathmat to the encounter, especially in its weave of evocative sounds and almost devilish ingenuity. The cello of Nichols is gorgeous as it crafts melancholic and bewitching shadowed tones as backdrop to hostile and calmer twists in the tale.

The track alone makes the album a must investigation, and locked in union with its companions helps provide another sensational proposition from Spider Kitten, a band which surely will eventually stand to the fore of doom bred, progressive caressed, sludge rich adventure.

Behold Mountain. Hail Sea. Venerate Sky. Bow Before is available now via Undergroove Records

http://www.spiderkitten.co.uk

RingMaster 28/10/2014

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Sloths – Twenty Years

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Voracious, sludgy, uncompromising, and corrosive, all adjectives befitting the sound of US band Sloths and certainly their new EP Twenty Years. They present a thick slab of noise and intensity but also to their diversely flavoured assault and suffocation of the senses, the band explores raw melodic beauty within is just as startling in its emotive scenery. As evidenced by their new release they offer a punishingly heavy and exhausting creative offensive which at times challenges enjoyment, yet persistently it seduces with a predacious elegance to forge the most welcome physical and mental violation. It is a release which may not become your favourite release of this year but one which will spark a long term hunger for more.

Coming out of Portland, Oregon, the 2010 formed Sloths swiftly bred a sound which is as much post hardcore as it is sludge, as much noise rock and hardcore as it is any flavour you can imagine. Their sound is cauldron of noise and intensity aligned to intrusive invention, a recipe which has soaked a demo and a couple of EPs since forming, with Knives of last year a trigger to stronger attention upon the band. Now they unleash Twenty Years and it is easy to expect an even more potent response and reception to the EP’s severe ferocity. Recorded with Fester at Haywire Studios and mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege (Baptists, Sleep, Oathbreaker, Tragedy), Twenty Years uncages a trio of songs connected musically and thematically in a demanding and intimidating exploration looking at “what it means to die young, a theme influenced by the recent death of a friend and the perspective gained by seeing the aftermath of such a tragedy.” The release is immersive smog of energy and sound, a suffocation of shadows and dark emotions veined with a melodic and impassioned light which ensures the release ignites imagination and emotions as powerfully as it does ears.

The EP opens with Elegy, an immediate blaze of aggression and abrasion driven by thunderous rolling rhythms from drummer Nate Sonenfeld and a sonic cacophony cast by guitarist Kyle Bates. It is a fierce examination of the senses TwentyYearsCoverdriven by viciously raw vocals but tempered by the equally dark and imposing, but more composed assault of Alec van Staveren’s bass. The initial impact relaxes as acidic melodies begin exploring the tempest, their unpolished radiance a glimmer of respite within the still boiling climate of emotional turmoil. With grooves adding their heavy spice and imposing hooks a barbarous lure, the track is a dramatic and powerful start to the release.

The song flows into the following Void and it’s less forceful but no less intensive landscape. It is a caustic reflection musically and lyrically, sculpted by evocative melodies and those still thick set and energetic rhythms. The track is initially glazed in a reserved and ruggedly pensive climate but builds up its passion and anger to expel a range of carnivorous riffs and crippling rhythms, all the time working towards a hellacious crescendo and finale. All the time though melodies offer brief escapes and tempering to the fury uncaged and urged on by the voracity of the vocals.

Passing brings the release and emotional turbulence to a close, its initial almost blackened rage expelling torrents of angst and antagonism. The individual skills and energies of the band members converge on the senses with sonic and malicious flames throughout for a destructive satisfaction, yet there is an evolving breath and presence to the song which sees it eventually leaving on a more peaceful acceptance and grace.

Twenty Years is not an easy listen but it is a compelling and emotionally invigorating one which leaves ears and emotions more fulfilled and energised by its close whilst suggesting Sloths is a band due very close attention.

The Twenty Years EP is available through The Ghost is Clear Records, Don’t Live Like Me Records, and Illuminasity Records digitally now @ http://sloths.bandcamp.com/album/twenty-years with a Ltd Ed clear vinyl out from October 2014 and a cassette version via Death Culture Tapes soon after.

https://www.facebook.com/slothsportland

RingMaster 15/10/2014

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Long riffs and binding grooves: an interview with Valfader Interview

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With the ability to sculpt riffs that almost need a certain bravery to stand before and a skill in casting melodic designs stretched with rigorusly seducing grooves which take on a predacious quality when locked together, UK band Valfader has emerged as one of the most imposingly creative and thrilling adventurous propositions to come out of British heavy rock/metal in recent years. Hailing from Bath the trio of guitarist/vocalist Dean Gaylard, bassist Matt Jones, and drummer Gareth Jones first drew acclaimed blood with their Whispers of Chaos last year with even greater attention and praise coming through the epic single Opening earlier this year. Long overdue a chat we stole time from the band to talk about the birth of Valfader, their organic songwriting, and depriving sound engineers of half day holidays as well as plenty more…

Hi guys and thanks for taking time to talk with us.

First up can we find out about the beginnings of Valfader, how you all met and started the band as well as personal histories before the event?

It all started about 9 years ago, yep 9 years ago. Me (Gaz) and Dean were in a rock / prog band playing local bars in Bath – Bristol area from 2005 till 2009 and along the way we met a lot of awesome musicians which we still know today. We had a nice little run supporting some awesome bands but we were nothing serious. Sure in our booze fuelled minds we were going to take over the world, but it didn’t matter how much we put into the band we were going nowhere slowly. We split in the winter of 2009 and we both stopped playing music all together, and went our separate ways but still remained good friends. After 7, or maybe 8 months we ran into each other at a venue in Bath and we started talking about the good old days, music and whose round it was next ha-ha. Anyway, we talked about having a little jam at a local rehearsal rooms and that was it! We realized after the first jam that the passion was still there, ok a little rusty, but planned a second rehearsal a week later to pick up where we left off. A few months into it we started to look for a bassist. We asked a few mates but none of them could commit, but that didn’t stop us, so we posted an advert on the Web and after a few weeks, maybe 4, Matt rolled up and as they say, the rest is history and here we are now

Did you start out with a specific intent or direction for the band?

Not really – we really aren’t that organised! We never really plan stuff or think long term. In the beginning we never sat down and said “let’s be a stoner rock band” or “let’s be like this band”. We just knew what music we liked and enjoyed jamming together. After that, our “sound” came together so we put it out there to see what happened.

Your sound merges the rich essences of stoner and heavy rick with sludge and doom bred emotive tenacity, not forgetting the voracious riffs. It is a distinctive and increasingly unique sound daring people to try and label it. How would you describe your music to newcomers?

Ha – we have no idea man! It’s not something we have really worried about or tried to do! We have read lots of different descriptions about ourselves that have used the terms doom, stoner, psychedelic, rock, progressive, metal and ambient so take your pick I guess!!

How do you see it has evolved since starting out in 2010 and the recent release of Opening?valfader opening

In the beginning our songs were much shorter, more uniform in the sense of verse / chorus etc. and more one dimensional. However as we all played together more and brought our ideas to the table, the songs grew longer in duration and more diverse in different sounds, which is where we are now!

Is Opening a single or EP, I have seen it described both because of its length, often in the same piece ha-ha.

We put Opening out there as a single. As you may have noticed we tend to write long songs so this was just one track for us… however, if people want to consider it as an EP then that’s cool.

Last year saw the release of your debut EP Whispers of Chaos, which was where we discovered you. It has seemed to have whipped up a storm of attention and eagerness for the band. How has it been on the inside since its release?

On a day to day basis, not much has changed for us really. We all still work full time jobs, look after family, meet up for jams and try to get gigs! However we now have this global online presence which is lovely. It’s been very humbling and gratifying to see how far our music has travelled and how well it has been received. The attention for the band seems to come in waves, which can be a bit of an emotional roller coaster!

Did its success surprise you even with your obvious confidence in your own music?

It totally blew us away – completely. We still remember talking in the van the night before we were going to put it out there on Bandcamp, we really had no idea how it would be received as we don’t sound like other bands out there – we were so tense!! The amount of positive reviews and comments we received were far in excess of anything we could have hoped for, so a big thanks to everyone involved again!!

Was there any extra pressure on you because of its success emotionally for your next unveiling?

It’s hard to say – I guess so though. We were all really clear that we really wanted Opening to be another step forward from the EP, which we feel we achieved.valfader4

Did you learn anything from the EP which made you approach Opening any differently?

(Gaz) – I was a lot more relaxed this time around and I believe you can hear that in my drumming. Recording Whispers I was nervous as hell and only had a day to record four tracks, so was holding back trying not to fuck up. On Opening I was more relaxed and enjoyed every minute, plus the producer and a good friend of the band who came to film us are fellow drummers, so I was talking shop all day with them which made a nice change.

Opening consists of a single epic fourteen minute or so track; so with your songs generally on the side of epic in length how difficult was it to write a track of such a long presence to ensure it enthrals ears and imagination constantly, which it surely does?

In all honesty there was no real intention of making it so long, the song evolved out of the initial clean riff and just kept growing. I think we have a pretty relaxed approach to song writing, we rarely set out to do something deliberately, it’s usually just a case of letting the mood of the music take us somewhere and not getting too analytical about it.

So it a track which evolved organically in sound and length, or one you planned more precisely before strings were plucked and riffs spawned?

Generally our songs do evolve quite organically, though this one was more or less written as a whole prior to playing it together. This is quite unusual as I think we benefit greatly from each other’s contributions when song writing.

How long did the song take to record, I heard it was done in a day?

Yep – all done in a day!! I think the sound engineer thought he was in for an early finish when we told him we only wanted to record one song – then he found out it was 14 mins long!!

Opening presented a different facet to the music found on the EP; is this a swing in direction for future releases to explore or just another character in your overall sound?

A bit of both really. Again – when we write songs we never try to make them sound a particular way or force them into a genre. They evolve naturally which means all our songs are quite diverse. We are currently writing quite a lot of new material, some of which is more like Opening in style, others more like tracks from the EP.

VALFADER  Cover ArtworkThere is also an intimacy to the song maybe not as open on Whispers of Chaos, something you feel too?

Yeah definitely, it’s quite an emotional song, and I (Dean) felt pretty damn nervous about recording so many clean vocal lines. I think there’s quite a vulnerability to the song, but hopefully that’s a good thing, there’s no pretence, just an honest expression of something both painful and beautiful.

Riveting riff driven rock whether stoner/sludge/or simply of heavy metal descent seems to be on a very healthy and powerful ascent across the UK right now with emerging bands, such as Morass Of Molasses, Desert Storm, XII Boar, Caravan of Whores being four examples coming to mind alongside yourselves. Are you finding the appetite and hunger is there from fans too not only for releases but live shows?

Honestly? Not really! It does seem to us that people don’t seem to be prepared to go out to local shows and bands to support music scenes anymore. People will spend hundreds of pounds to go to some large venue to watch a band that’s been around for 20-30 years but don’t seem willing to walk down the road and spend £5 to see 4 or 5 bands that they haven’t heard. We have played some gigs where there is a good local scene and support for new music, but feel these are all too rare. We have also played on bills with some amazingly talented musicians to pretty empty rooms!

How about from promoters and venues putting on gigs, same attitude?

We are lucky to work with Cowbell promotions in Bath. These guys are REAL music enthusiasts who put on shows simply because they love the music. They have been amazingly supportive of us and helped get us out there, so a huge thanks needs to go to them. The music industry desperately NEEDS more people like this. Unfortunately all too often promoters and venues don’t really give a shit who you are or what you sound like, they just want you to guarantee ticket sales and make money. We understand that of course they are businesses and have costs etc. to cover, but there seems to be little to no interest in music, or working with and supporting bands

What comes next for Valfader and for the rest of 2014 from you?

We are having a little break over the summer after a run of gigs and then hoping to get back into the studio to record a new full length album towards the end of the year. This thing is shaping up to be massive. Over an hour in length and more riffs that you can point a very pointy thing at!

Finances are tight if absent for most emerging bands so many are turning to crowd funding sites to try and finance releases etc. Something you feel you might look at ahead or do you feel it is an option still only for bands with an established active fanbase right now?

It’s something we have considered and talked about, but not something we are completely comfortable with I thinkvalfader3

Once again a big thanks for chatting with us; any last words or thoughts you would like to leave us pondering?

Thank you! We really appreciate websites such as yourself and the work you do to help bands. Huge thanks to everyone who has bought our music, come to see us, sent us nice messages or supported us in anyway. It really makes a difference and is so appreciated by us all. And support local music – new bands need your help!! Don’t worry – Dave Grohl and Trent Reznor are ok for money!!

And lastly give us an idea of the most inspirational records which went some way to sparking the need in you to make music.

GAZ – It’s all about Sabbath and Zeppelin. Just hearing any tracks of theirs inspires me to play the drums whether I’m behind the kit or not.

DEAN – Well the bands which got me going originally were Metallica, Pearl Jam, Pantera and probably a load of dodgy Nu metal bands when I was 16, ha-ha. Now I’m always searching for music which doesn’t sit too comfortably within one genre, I really love Opeth, Elder, Baroness, and Maeth to name but a few!

MATT – oh so many!! I suppose early on bands like Slayer, Nirvana and Pearl Jam gave me the idea of picking up an instrument and playing it. Deftones, Glassjaw and Isis made me want to express something emotive and beautiful, and the guys from a band called Jim Fear first made me believe I could do it!!

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Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 26/08/2014

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