The unification of diversity: exploring the heart of Divided We Stand

divided-we-stand_RingMasterReview

Since forming in 2011, US rockers Divided We Stand has persistently and increasingly grabbed ears and attention with their creative roar and adrenaline fuelled live presence. Quickly making a potent impact locally, they have continued to spread their heavy, rousing sound nationally while sharing stages with the likes of Hoobastank, Pop Evil, All That Remains, SOiL, Mushroomhead, Nonpoint, Papa Roach, and Three Days Grace along the way. As their latest single draws acclaim and appetites globally, we grabbed some of the band’s time to look at the track, the origins of Divided We Stand, what makes them, tick and much more….

Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to its beginnings?

Formed in December 2010, the Knoxville, TN based hard rock band Divided We Stand is a modern heavy rock band that combines haunting melodies, infectious grooves, tightly synched guitar riffs and clean, melodic vocals to create a crowd pleasing experience. Its line-up consists of Mike Russell (Drums), Randy Krouse (Bass), Jake Wilson (Guitars), Phil Zimny (Guitars/Vocals), and Joe Turner (Lead Vocals)

Have you been involved in other bands before? If so has that had any impact on what you are doing now, in maybe inspiring a change of style or direction?

We all have been in past bands with very different sounds. It makes it harder to write because of all the different viewpoints but we have very good songs to show for it. Randy was in a few really heavy metal bands prior to this. Phil and Mike started off playing for their churches and then found other projects later on as their talents grew. Joe started busking while he was in the military and then found some other artists and bands to perform with. Jake has played in various projects as well. We all grew up around music and it’s our life no matter what direction it takes us.

Is there a specific meaning behind the band name?

We have such different views and ideals. While we were in the first phases of our band we had so many different ideas of what direction to go in. Someone said don’t be so divided and it dawned on us “Divided We Stand”.

dws_RingMasterReviewWas there a particular idea behind the forming of the band and also in what you wanted your sound to offer?

It started out with Mike Russell and Phil Zimny, they had written some songs together that had a heavy but melodic sound. After looking for musicians to fill in the roster they added Randy after a random try out. They liked his heavy edge and his unique double slap bass style. Joe Tuner was just hanging out with the band one night and asked to play a song for us. To our surprise he had a golden voice. We had a few rhythm guitar players leave to pursue other ventures.  Jake Wilson had played in some of the bands we had shows with; his stage presence and clean guitar playing caught our attention and we knew he was a perfect fit for the role.

Do the same things still drive the band when it was fresh-faced or have they evolved over time?

We all came into this band with great talent but little knowledge of the music industry. You earn each step with your failures and your successes. It’s hard to go out on the road months on end and come up with five to ten thousand to record, publish, and distribute each year. But we have determination to make a way. Either you do it or you don’t.

Since your early days, how would you say your sound has evolved?

Well Phil and Mike had written a few songs. With the addition of Randy and Joe they quickly morphed into full songs. Some changes happen when you add or subtract a member. We started with second guitar player named Trevor Tucker for our first two EPs Civil Unrest and Deception. When Trevor left the band we added Chris Whitt for our newest single New Era and our sound changed. Some songs sounded better with him and some didn’t work out. Next we added Jake Wilson after Chris left and our sound is changing again. You always need to evolve as a musician.

Have changes been more an organic movement or more the band deliberately trying new things?

For us it was out of necessity. We started out writing, then playing local shows, then touring nationally as well as putting out our EPs and music videos out and it takes up a lot of you time and you have to work a job. Trevor moved on to pursue other ventures because of the hectic schedule. So we got a friend who is really good at guitar to try out. Chris was good and filled the role well and recorded with us and toured but he ended up getting really sick. He wasn’t able to play anymore so we had a few fill in guitar players help us out and went on tour dates for us until we found a replacement. We added Jake Wilson and he has got to play a few shows so far.

Presumably across the band there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music?

We listen to music all day long but when we write we try to focus on where our emotions lead us instead of a specific sound or band. There are a lot of musicians we learn from as we grow as a musician. Some of our favorite bands our Stone Temple Pilots, Avenge Seven Fold, U2, Fear Factory, Dio….this list could go on forever.

Talking of songwriting, is there a particular process to it within the band?

We have tried many approaches to writing material for the band. We put everything under the microscope and only the best ideas pass. Recently we have all been writing and we have tons of ideas so we started recording our ideas and if everyone wants to put a layer on the track they do if not we move on to the next one.

Where do you, more often than not, draw the inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs?

Joe writes most of his own material. If he has trouble we give him our ideas for harmonies, patterns, poetry, or anything really. If he likes it he runs with it, if not he keeps moving forward until he finds something. A lot of times you can start with a basic idea and build on it.

Can you give us some background to your latest release?dws-art_RingMasterReview

We went to Spider Studios in Cleveland, Ohio for our single New Era. Tony Gammalo was our producer for the track. He has worked with artist like Chimera and Machine Gun Kelly. He even did the Freddy vs Jason soundtrack. It took us a few days to record but it takes a while to get the finished product. We shot a music video with Post Retro Productions. Then we released our single and video to I-tunes, Spotify, Fuse and a million other places. We feel the music industry is starting to gravitate towards singles instead of albums. No one buys physical copies anymore. They want the best songs for their playlist digitally so getting on as many sites as possible is key.

Are you a band which goes into the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?

We usually have played our song live a thousand times before we record so it is well rehearsed before we go record. Sometimes your part changes in the studio for certain reasons like the producer wants you to do it a little different or you find a slight mistake.

Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably the favourite aspect of the band?

We have a high energy performance where we jump and throw our guitars around. Joe has such a great presence as a front man. We put our whole selves into the music and don’t hold back. Before and after we play we love to hang out with the crowd and other bands. We love to travel and perform at such different venues with different sounds and random stages.

It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it your neck of the woods? Are there the opportunities to make a mark if the drive is there for new bands?

We live really close to Nashville the music city. There is music everywhere but for metal bands it can be a challenge to find a place to play. Times change and you have to adapt to the sound people want here while keeping your musical integrity. The internet is a big tool for success in the music industry. Getting published and distributed through online service is a must. Social media is another tool to get the word out about all your adventures. Share videos and picture as much as possible. You do have to spend a little money to move forward sometimes. Save up or maybe a loan.

Big thanks for sharing time with us guys; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?

We just wanna thank The Ringmaster Review for giving us and all the unsigned artists a shot. It is publications like this one that keeps music alive by giving young talent a voice.

https://www.facebook.com/OfficialDividedWeStand   http://www.dividedwestand.ninja/   https://twitter.com/DividedWeStand0

Pete RingMaster 21/01/2017

Circle of Dust – Machines of Our Disgrace

As treats go, the re-release last year of all four Circle of Dust albums was rarely rivalled, until the last sigh of 2016 that is and the unveiling of a brand new collection of songs from the 90’s emerging industrial / electronic-rock project. Circle of Dust was the introduction to the craft and stirring talent of artist/producer Klayton, the fore-runner to his acclaimed and inspiring project Celldweller though the differences to the pair of propositions is an open roar no more potent than in the breath-taking Machines of Our Disgrace.

The quartet of Circle of Dust releases in Circle of Dust, Brainchild, Metamorphosis, and Disengage and also the Misguided album from his side project Argyle Park had been ‘lost’ to our ears for over twenty years with the rights to all unavailable to Klayton after the labels they were released through shut down back in the nineties. After two decades chasing, he re-gained ownership of the rights in 2015 and set about re-mastering each of the five full-lengths last year, expanding all with additional demos, unreleased bonus tracks, acoustic/alternate versions of tracks as well as some new remixes.

Whether they were the spark to writing new Circle of Dust songs and creating a brand new episode in its distinct landscape of adventure or a new album was an idea already in motion matters little in the face of an imagination lit and gripping proposal offered by Machines of Our Disgrace. Entangling metal and electronic essences in a virulently infectious industrial incitement, Klayton and album set another bar for others to be inspired by. There is formidable steel to riffs and a backbone of rhythms which invade the senses with a crunch throughout the release while surrounding them a multi-varied and ever present snarl stalks sound and lyrics.

machines_of_our_disgrace_cover_RingMasterReviewOpening with the suggestive air and throbbing ever intensifying lure of brief encounter re_Engage, the album swiftly consumes ears and thoughts with its title track. From behind an initial sample, repeated throughout, Machines of Our Disgrace looms, advancing with rapacious intent before launching its metallic riffs and wiry guitars grooves. Electronic provocation unites with this predacious embrace, senses and imagination infested and pleasured by the predacious tapestry as Klayton’s tones prowl with harmonic enterprise and invasive potency.

It is an exceptional full start sparking body and emotion and backed just as powerfully by next up Contagion. Living up to its name, the track soon surrounds ears with a treacle like melodic tempting, subsequently beginning a relentlessly catchy enticement with just a whiff of Ministry to it, that evolving into a more Dope/Society One like trespass as Klayton’s vocals prowl and question while the song reveals its full repertoire of creative stimulation.

There is no relinquishing of imagination and appetite with Embracing Entropy next. Featuring Celldweller, i.e. the combining of Klayton’s two unique creative sides, the track pulsates with intrusive drama and invasive energy. As across the whole of the release, samples are skilfully and evocatively used whilst sounds feverishly bubble, igniting senses and thoughts in turn. From blisteringly agitated to melodically seductive, the song is a theatre of sound and texture, inescapably persuasive and hungrily addictive.

Just as powerful is the ferocious presence of Humanarchy, the track a ravenous threat of metallic and vocal rabidity locked in allegiance with a just as imposing electronic swing while after the warning of Signal, the following alt_Human uncages a sonic tempest as enjoyably challenging as its lyrical examination of science and morality. Fuelled by rapacious infectiousness, the song easily infests body and imagination with a swift and almost prurient craving.

Hive Mind is a simmering, bordering on predatory croon tempting ears like a blend of synth pop era Ministry, Ghost In The Static, and Nine Inch Nails while straight after Outside In and Neurachem serenade and growl respectively. The first of the pair is an absorbing melodic embrace, almost warm in its touch, whilst its successor is an irritable and fiercely captivating trespass binding ears with metallic and introspective melodic seducing, both adding further pinnacles to the lofty heights of the release.

A sonic kaleidoscope evocatively devours ears next with k_OS, samples narrating its dramatic landscape before Neophyte bubbles and bursts in electronic espionage for another irresistible, contagion loaded adventure for the imagination to lose itself in.

The album closes with Malacandra, a brooding fog of sound and atmospheric suggestion haunting ears and thoughts alike across its instrumental soundscape. It is an edgy and emotionally charged piece of noir lit evocation bringing a superb adventure to a powerful and magnetic close.

Even though Celldweller has forged pleasure and lust in ears and imagination, Circle of Dust has been missed, its distinct industrial presence an absence never filled until now with the exceptional Machines of Our Disgrace where Klayton swiftly suggests he is ready to push genre boundaries once again.

Machines of Our Disgrace is out now via FiXT across most online stores and @ https://circleofdust.bandcamp.com/album/machines-of-our-disgrace-2 or http://fixtstore.com/circleofdust

http://circleofdust.net     https://facebook.com/circleofdustofficial    http://klayton.info

Pete RingMaster 17/01/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Hunter Kill Hunter – II

hkh_RingMasterReview

Building on its well-received predecessor of 2015, the new EP from British alternative rock quintet Hunter Kill Hunter is a striking affair. II is evidence of a band settling into their creative skin if yet to lure out the truly unique aspects of their sound though from start to finish the release captures ear and imagination alike. It is a bold and creatively tenacious affair which leaves a definite appetite for more from this emerging outfit.

Formed in 2015, the London five-piece soon drew attention with their live presence, which has gone on to see the band play with the likes of Jonah Matranga and The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, and find their debut EP Find A Way Home well received. Merging post hardcore roars with infectious alternative rock bred enterprise, Hunter Kill Hunter offer an emotionally charged, tempestuously intense affair which has found a new strength and maturity to fuel its visceral yet openly catchy tempting in the new EP.

Opening with the harmonically coloured enticing of Intro, band and release soon up the ante physically and emotionally with Too Much To Take. Instantly a snarling air grips ears and the textures of the song but equally catchiness is abound as vocalist Justin Jackson, revealing both his raw and melodic side, uncages the song’s heart backed by the similarly potent tones of Stuart May and his and fellow guitarist Kieran Harper’s adventurous enterprise.  It is a trait which infests the whole of the song, its twists and turns often seemingly familiar yet driven by a fresh imagination which ensures there is nothing predictable about the fine encounter.

hunter-kill-hunter-ii-cover_RingMasterReviewSinking From Within swiftly uncages a rhythmic proposal which demands attention next, the growling air of Rhys Kirby’s bass in league with the eagerly swung beats of Joe Lanigan. It is a formidable enticing as inviting as it is predacious and the lead into another potent blend of rapacious intensity and melody honed angst. There is a touch of Billy Talent to the song at times mixing in with further unexpected moments of Hunter Kill Hunter invention as once more expectations are evaded by the excellent track.

The reflection bred embrace of The Hunted is a mellower encounter but too equipped with an instinctive almost tempestuous edge which erupts in sonic crescendos between the plaintive warmth of the vocals. More of a grower against the more quickly impacting prowess of its predecessors, the song grows into another truly engaging affair with a lingering infectiousness before They’ve Traded Us For Gold finds an even calmer landscape for its resourceful proposition. As with the last song, its calm is interrupted with fiery expulsions of sound and energy, each outburst escalating an impressive hug of melodic and harmonic enterprise.

The imposing intensity and volatile climates of earlier tracks is enjoyably exposed again in the outstanding We Are The Blame, its eventful drama stirring ears and spirit in swift time while closing track Neverlasting Light is the darkest, arguably most intense moment within II as heart and sound expose their rawest qualities and honesty in a turbulent and pleasingly imposing tempest.

Another track growing to its full height with subsequent listens, it provides a thickly satisfying end to a highly enjoyable encounter with Hunter Kill Hunter. As suggested earlier, there are many familiar aspects to the EP yet it would not be wrong to say each is twisted or employed in something building towards a character of sound distinct to the band, and something rather easy to want more of.

II is out now @ https://hunterkillhunter.bandcamp.com/album/ii-2

http://www.hunterkillhunter.com/   https://www.facebook.com/hunterkillhunter/   https://twitter.com/hkhband

Pete RingMaster 17/01/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Rogue Network – Binary

binary-ep-cover_RingMasterReview

If like us you were taken by their debut EP of 2015 and the two track single last year which it spawned, you will be pleased to know that The Rogue Network has taken things on their part and our attraction to another level with Binary. The four-track EP is another slice of the band’s blues fuelled rock ‘n’ roll yet revealing a broader canvas of sound as catchy as it is adventurous.

The band, taking inspirations from seventies nurtured blues/soul, has increasingly grown into a compelling proposition since emerging in 2015. Led by vocalist/guitarist Gerallt Williams, The Rogue Network re-energised an already growing interest and support for the band’s sound and live presence with the Milk and Honey/Lowland City single in 2016, a tantalising melody rich affair now eclipsed by the Binary EP.

From the first eager throes of opener Operator, band and release has ears and attention locked in. A tasty groove makes first contact, grumbling pulsating electronics and bassline in close attention as sonic enterprise brews around them. With a controlled easy going gait, the song soon eagerly strolls through ears, harmonies and fiery grooves in turn wrapping the potent tones of Williams. There is feistiness to the track which infests every aspect, giving it a raw tempestuous texture which never erupts but adds weight to the infectious funk clad encounter.

It is a fine, seriously catchy start quickly backed up by the melodically charmed Venodotia. There is a Paul McCartney-esque feel to the song, its pop prowess Wings hinting as picturesque lyrics and suggestive melodies embrace and inspire the imagination while Hammond spiced keys add extra colour. It is easy to get lost in its lure, its infectious chorus and a refreshing canter especially though it is soon overshadowed by the EP’s best track.

Ruby is pure enslavement, a slice of pop ‘n’ roll which chains appetite and lust as soon as its opening drama reveals the salaciously seductive bait of piano and the sinister charm of atmospheric melody. Demanding to be a single, the track dances like a mischievous temptress with body and spirit, its spicy blues flirtation alone irresistible around a chorus which has vocal chords dancing without inhibition.

The EP is concluded by Pam Fi, a Welsh sung proposal with rumbling bass and crisp beats clad in fiery melodies as wiry grooves infest the imagination. It is, as now expected, an inescapably catchy tempting bringing the release to a fine conclusion, quickly defusing the niggle of not knowing what its lyrical heart is sharing.

The Rogue Network have really hit their stride in songwriting and sound, Binary relishing another step in craft and boldness which if it continues suggests even bigger exciting things ahead.

The Binary EP is out now across most online stores.

https://twitter.com/THEROGUENETWORK   https://www.facebook.com/theroguenetwork/

Pete RingMaster 18/01/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Miss Chain and the Broken Heels – Uh Uh/Standing the Night

MC&TBH_RingMasterReview

Breeding some tasty Americana/country-esque flavouring in their garage pop sound, Italian outfit Miss Chain and the Broken Heels recently ended 2016 in fine style with latest double A-sided single Uh Uh/Standing the Night. It was a year seeing the band stepping out from a quiet time after the release of second album The Dawn and extensive touring in 2015 as members pursued solo careers, built a studio, and just simply took a breather. Now they are ready to go again and after some shows earlier this year set about getting body and spirit dancing with their new two-track offering.

br-88-front-cover-1_RingMasterReviewUh Uh instantly bounds in, its initial lively melody carrying an appealing tang as boisterous rhythms flirt and entice. That countrified scent swiftly lines the infectious proposal, its body stirring up an appetite for fifties rockabilly and sixties power pop while entangling it in modern imagination and boldness. Flirtatious and mischievous in energy and sound, the song is web like in its lure, vocalist Astrid Dante charm and enticement before the similarly infectious lure and imagination of her and Disaster Silva’s guitars.

Bringing a calmer, though no more reserved proposal, Standing the Night swings seductive prowess around ears from its first melodic breath. The welcoming rhythms of bassist Franz Barcella and drummer Miracle Johnny alone ensure feet and hips are involved while the beckoning tones of Dante and surrounding harmonies brag ears and imagination as freely. There is a Pauline Murray (Penetration, The Invisible Girls) air to Dante’s voice and with its country spicing the song reminds a little of Fool, The Only Ones track the English vocalist featured on.

Produced by Brown Barcella, Uh Uh/Standing the Night is an irresistible ‘return’ of Miss Chain and the Broken Heels and an enjoyable appetiser ahead of a third album currently in the works.

Uh Uh/Standing the Night is out now via Bachelor @ https://misschainandthebrokenheels.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/misschainandthebrokenheels

Pete RingMaster 17/01/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Replicate – A Selfish Dream

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A riveting mix of progressive and technical death metal, A Selfish Dream is one of those releases which may not have you falling back in love with the genres breeding it but certainly inspires a new appetite to go exploring them and the inspirations to the project such as Death, Cynic, Atheist, and Carcass. The new EP from LA based band The Replicate, it is a brief imagination stroking, ear striking proposal as unpredictable as it is highly enjoyable.

The Replicate is the brainchild of Sandesh Nagaraj whose CV includes being part of nineties Indian death metallers Myndsnare, Extinct Reflections, and Stranglehold. Uniting with a host of friends for his project, guitarist/bassist Nagaraj needs little time to grab the imagination and keen attention with A Selfish Dream, its opening track casting a web of sonic and technical temptation.

thereplicate-artwork_RingMasterReviewChainsaw Of God instantly wraps a spicy groove around ears, a persistent lure soon joined by a canter of robust rhythms and the raw throated rasps of guest vocalist/lyricist Morgan Wells. His irritable yet compelling tones stand astride the driving beats of Ray Rojo and Nagaraj’s nagging riffs. It is a tenaciously magnetic affair especially when grooves with clinging spice entwine the impassioned ire of the track and a solo from William Von Arx which brings an almost sinister cosmic shade to the outstanding track.

The following Eugenicide has its own suggestive drama in sound and presence, grooves again evocatively wrapping the senses with an almost picturesque quality as the predacious gravelly tones of vocalist Jordan Nalley trespass ears with his rich words. Also featuring the dark alluring basslines of Kaitie Sly, the track is an absorbing, haunting assault as different in nature and captivating enterprise to its predecessor as it is similar in compelling invention.

A rawer edge and climate descends through The Saline next, its initial sonic intrusion the spark to another virulent canter twisted into a passage of varying energies and unpredictable imagination. Arun Natrajan takes on vocals and lyrics for the EP’s third song; he also providing a rapacious growl within a controlled yet tempestuous surge of enmity and corrosive yet inviting sound.

Completed by the short instrumental of its title track, a shimmering piece of emotional starkness, A Selfish Dream is as gripping as it is imposingly intrusive. Its briefness of length is the only niggle, each song successfully never pushing its stay but combined providing a mere ten minutes of excellence; a moment in time admittedly very easy to replay and en joy time and time again.

A Selfish Dream is out now @ https://thereplicate.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.facebook.com/thereplicateband

Pete RingMaster 18/01/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

As The Sun Sleeps – As Good As Gold

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The As Good As Gold EP from British pop punksters As The Sun Sleeps might be lacking a couple of ingredients or so to evade being truly spectacular but there is no escaping that the five-track offering is highly enjoyable. The band’s sound is warm and decidedly catchy, in many ways living up to the EP title in its general niceness. It could benefit with real attitude and belligerence to its character for personal tastes but with rousing choruses and bouncy energy there is little to stop an appetite blossoming for the band’s sound and open potential.

Based in Swindon, the seeds to As The Sun Sleeps were sown in 2013 with the creative union of vocalist/bassist Joe Beck and drummer Tom Shrimpton. By the end of the following year the band found its stability with the addition of guitarists James Broadbank and subsequently Tom Rees. The single Nostalgia sparked fresh interest in the quartet which the Never Stars EP at the start of 2016 pushed to greater heights alongside a growing reputation for their energetic live shows which included a tour with Junior. As Good As Gold is the band’s most accomplished and striking release yet, the growth in the band’s sound and writing swiftly evident.

as-the-sun-sleeps-cover-artwork_RingMasterReviewOpener and the band’s new single Beering quickly grabs ears with its cheerful air, guitar and the melodic tones of Beck its initial coaxing quickly joined by the singer’s meaty basslines and Shrimpton’s swinging beats. As the track hits its bouncy stride, riffs and hooks flirt with the imagination as Broadbank’s backing vocals offer strong support to Beck. As most tracks there is something familiar to the encounter, a New Found Glory meets [Spunge] spicing teasing away in this case, but it adds to rather than defuses the inviting and captivating potency of the song.

Florida follows with Shrimpton’s arms a blur as beats eagerly lay down potent bait as riffs and Rees’ melodic leads entangle ears. Again there is no evading the infectiousness of the feel good proposal and particularly its rhythmic tenacity as it takes best song honours before Forever Sick uncages its own lively and firmly catchy enticement. Again Beck’s bassline grabs attention but so too the spidery web of melodic enterprise from Rees amidst enjoyably punchy beats and the strong if growl lacking vocals.

The only thing stopping What Matters Most from making a matching impact is its similarity in melody and air to its predecessors yet still it has feet shuffling and pleasure awake with its emotively honed poppy endeavour while closer Nothing But Net simmers and bubbles as fiery melodies and energy light its croon. The final pair provides the weakest songs on the release but leave satisfaction full with that earlier mentioned potential again boldly apparent.

The As The Sun Sleeps is missing a snarl or two and the band has yet to find its uniqueness but with songs like As Good As Gold offers, it is going to be a fun ride as the band targets that destination.

As Good As Gold is released January 20th.

https://www.facebook.com/asthesunsleeps   https://twitter.com/asthesunsleepss   https://asthesunsleeps.bandcamp.com/

Pete RingMaster 18/01/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright