Smiling Assassin – Plight Of The Millennial

As the issues and injustices of society and politics seem no closer to be squashed and resolved, UK punks Smiling Assassin bring a new holler to highlight and attack such corruption, suppression, and iniquity. The Yorkshire band also presents punk rock with an openly fresh breath, a trespass of punk and hardcore with a ska tinge that we for one are greedily devouring.

Hailing from Hull, Smiling Assassin formed in early 2019, its name “inspired by the collective’s experiences and frustrations around, and with the current economic and socio-political climate.” The past nine months or so has seen the band a rousing live presence breeding a potent and loyal fan base and, as their album reveals, a sound and message which demands attention.

Plight Of The Millennial opens with Prologue, where within an atmospheric uprising a vocal warning of a time of change baits the world; a call to arms for those to change it before the album’s title track unleashes ten seconds of sonic and vocal challenge.

From there Psycho-Apathy taunts the senses, riffs an immediate enticing bait as rhythms barbarously leap across the invitation. Uniting in an intensive surge, it subsequently springs a hook swinging stroll led by the potent tones of vocalist George Garnett. The tenacious beats of drummer Robbie Johnson continue to violently pound but manipulation echoed in the groove of Casey Stead’s bass and the wiry web cast by guitarist Josh Rogerson. The track is superb, an invasive yet virulently catchy and ferocious punk incitement with much more to its almost devious exploits.

Divide And Conquer quickly follows, its intrusive attack again as infectious as it is vicious. Relentless in its blitz, vocals singular and united driving the uprising, the track is a clamorous summons for action wrapped in just as an instinctively provoking sound while next up Coping, emerging from the sonic wash of its predecessor, is an equally enjoyable nagging fuelled by word and esurient rhythmic tenacity. Rogerson’s riffs and grooves escalate the temptation and drama, an intimacy entwining their enterprise echoed in the vocal holler of Garnett equally reflecting the pressures we have all dealt with in current isolation.

There was no escaping physically emulating the bounce of the ska coated News Corp. Monopoly, the track as virulent as anything around right now whilst devouring news media before National Pride unleashes its feral jaws and voracious sounds on race discrimination for another seriously rousing inducement.

Both tracks epitomise the individuality of the Smiling Assassin sound and it’s sometimes understated but always open imagination with plenty to hook ears and attention to the motivation within, With All Due Respect similarly striking and stirring. From its Vincent Price sample to the splintering beats of Johnson and the spiral of grooves and riffs to the belligerent throb of Stead’s bass as well as Garnett’s ever goading vocal strikes, the track is a cauldron of enterprise and provocation.

Completed by the panic and violent mayhem of The Aftermath, reaction to the previous incitement, Plight Of The Millennial proved one of the most thrilling and impressive things heard so far this year; Smiling Assassin a band easy to feel is destined to major attention if they demand it and with their first album they are doing just that.

Plight Of The Millennial is out now via Warren Records; available @ https://smilingassassin.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.smilingassassin.co.uk    https://www.facebook.com/smilingassassinofficial   https://www.twitter.com/smilingassass1n

Pete RingMaster 02/06/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview

Desert Storm – Omens

This May saw the release of the fifth album from UK metallers Desert Storm, a band which has continuously forged new aspects to their thunderous sound but reaped the most dramatic essences of their imagination yet for the compelling Omens.

Formed in late 2017, the Oxford hailing band has had us, like so many, persistently licking our lips at their releases. From debut album, Forked Tongue, through the seriously acclaimed Horizontal Life and Omniscient, and the just as welcomed Sentinels of 2018, Desert Storm has persistently breached new plateaus of enterprise and reputation which Omens stretches once again. The quintet’s sludge metal bred sound has nurtured a progressive adventure along the way which was especially fertile within the band’s previous full-length and now makes its successor one fascinating proposal and creative trespass.

Even with its immediate persuasion and striking presence, Omens only reveals greater rewards the longer spent within its perpetually evolving adventure. It challenges and seduces in equal measure; the band’s trademark ravenous riffs and colossal rhythms still a chest crushing trespass and melodic enterprise a searing web of craft and dexterity. Yet their progressive metal imagination is the source of pure captivation, every track an unpredictable and fertile exploration which enthrals as it ravages and where maybe the last album missed out, leaving a lingering imprint on ears and appetite.

Omens opens up with its title track, a spoken word introduction cast by vocalist Matt Ryan within dark atmospheric intimation. It is a portentous poetic lure, an embrace come accusation of darkness which erupts within the following Black Bile. Immediately a patient horde of riffs surround the senses, the cutting swings of drummer Elliot Cole splitting the air as the guitars of Ryan Cole and Chris White spread their esurient web of sound. Ryan’s familiar gruff tones command the air in between their sonic wires as the tenebrific grumble of Christian Benoist’s bass only adds further dark fuel to the temptation. There is also a mercurial breath to the track’s landscape, one which echoes the album’s body as a whole and only fascinates as the sounds it inspires.

It is a great and rousing full start to the release which Vengeful Gods adds to with its feral touch and anthemic stroll. It is a song which is sonically bitter and rhythmically antagonistic, riffs a rabid crawl over the senses yet its vocal union springs a chorus as inviting and rousing as any moment within the release. Again Ryan shares a new depth of diversity and imagination in his presence, a storyteller and protagonist of the sonic spite which erupts in equal measure.

Pain, Grief & Suffering is a beast of venom and grievance but also one glorious groove which immediately wound around the passions between the untamed expulsions of breath and sound, the track recalling the exploits within the band’s early albums but as richly fertile in the progressive and melodic imagination which has increasingly set them apart from the crowd. With the piano caresses of White adding to the tantalising drama, the song is an escalation of temptation while The Path of Most Resistance taking a less invasive journey provided a similarly riveting proposal. Truth be known, it too is a forceful trespasser at times but within a melody crafted landscape with almost shamanic tendencies at certain moments; the song forging itself as our favourite track.

Through the creative contrivance of yet almost bestial presence of The Machine, the band set another keenly devoured mark, riffs and grooves colluding in ravenous intent as bold adventure again steers the imagination in its unpredictable landscape with next up Lockjaw springing its own venomous grooved steeled and riff laded trap upon the senses to match the temptation of its predecessors; Cole and Benoist just as merciless yet manipulative in their invention.

The album concludes with Rebirth, a magnetic folk tinged ballad which took thought and attention away with its words and melodic charm to bring the adventure to a fine close. From start to finish, Omens had ears greedily attentive but certainly the last quartet of tracks had us drooling and alone declares Desert Storm’s latest encounter one no one should simply pass by.

Omens is out now via APF Records; available @ https://desertstorm.bandcamp.com/

http://www.desertstormband.com/   https://www.facebook.com/desertstormuk   https://twitter.com/desertstormuk

Pete RingMaster 02/06/2020

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Old Bones – Sleepwalker

They call it ”powerslop deathrock”, we call it rapaciously virulent rock ‘n’ roll but however you wish to tag the sound of Old Bones, it makes for one very satisfying and rousing time within their debut EP, Sleepwalker.

Hailing from Long Island, New York, Old Bones is a trio consisting of guitarists/vocalists Anthony Dallolio and Johnny Dadabo, and bassist/vocalist Dan Walsh. Emerging from two decades plus of friendship and finding the last incentive to finally be serious about the project after watching a Mastodon/Opeth show, the band has spent the past two and a half years “writing, rewriting, revising, scrapping, starting over and writing songs until our fingers bled and our throats were shot. These five songs represent our literal blood, sweat, and tears to tell stories ranging from extra-terrestrials to loneliness and grief, and every note is a piece of our soul screaming to be heard.” It is a suggestion that nothing was left at the table by the time the EP was borne and listening to its stomping quintet of tracks that physical intensity alone is unmistakable.

Fusing various metal and heavy rock essences with a mischievous imagination, Old Bones spring a sound which demands attention. Familiarity aligns with individuality throughout, the latter the freshest and most captivating aspect of a sound which is as contagious a trespass as you would wish for. There are at times moments which feel like they organically burst free even catching the band unawares but only add to the great unpredictability and enterprise striking ears.

Enlisting drummer Griffin McCarthy (Letter of Marque) for its recording at Vudu Studios, with Walsh a later addition to the mix, Sleepwalker immediately set about the senses with opener Elegy. Its thick melodic opener carries temptation and threat, its amble through ears as menacing as it is inviting. Raw throated vocals ride the grooved lines soon sparking a keen appetite while the following clean vocals make for an equally potent aspect, the mix of feral and warmly catchy swiftly captivating and addictive. There is plenty more going on though; virulent hooks and skilled melodic trails rising up as keenly as predacious riffs and punchy rhythms.

The impressive start continues with INVADERS which straightaway has ears in the palms of its hands as grunge and punk essences infest alternative rock bred agility. Again the untamed instincts of the band are bold and gripping, the song unapologetically infectious and just as pungently aggressive while taking favourite track honours before the EP’s title track muscularly ambles in. McCarthy’s rhythms gripped ears and appetite from its first breath, equally carnal riffs a welcome treat before melody rich imagination weaves another enterprising tapestry of temptation and surprise while extreme and progressive metal traits only add to the drama and incitement.

Colossus and Sights & Sounds / Electric Frankenstein bring even greater flavour and variety to the release; the first wild and ferocious rock ‘n’ roll at its core engaging with a host of just as voracious flavours and skilfully nurtured sonic flirtation. It too emerged a major favourite moment within Sleepwalker while close behind, the latter of the pair strolls the heaviest landscapes of rock and grooviest plateaus of metal to spring a Black Tusk meets Mastodon meets Tool like incitement.

Both provide ears, as the EP overall, with a tide of aspects to greedily dine on and as great a bundle of reasons to eagerly recommend Old Bones and their Sleepwalker.

Sleepwalker is out now; available @ https://oldbonesny.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.facebook.com/OldBonesNY

Pete RingMaster 19/05/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview

Tiny Fighter – Going Home

photo by Marcos Engman (aka Mecno)

From a chance meeting to deliberate collaboration and a moment of pure captivation; that is the emergence of Tiny Fighter and their debut album, Going Home. To be fair it is another bewitching affair with the band with a previous EP already enslaving a great many but definitely the most enthralling adventure with them yet.

Stockholm based, Tiny Fighter grew out of an unintentional meeting between Therese Karlsson (a truck driver from Kalmar, Sweden) and Tim Spelman (a doctor from Melbourne, Australia) in 2017. Soon the pair were creatively united, a link up which bore the acclaimed Tell Me EP two years later, recorded with legendary multi-Grammy, Gold & Platinum Award producer Thomas ‘Plec’ Johansson, and the following Reworks remix EP. Well-received singles and The Loft Sessions (Live in New York) encounter have marked the past couple of years as well as their magnetic live presence which has seen tours across the likes of Ireland, Latvia, Serbia and Scandinavia. Going Home has emerged from over 12 months of recording and sees the band expand their indie pop bred songwriting into a richer and fuller embrace of sound. So often across their first album, it is as haunting a proposal as a hungrily catchy affair, compelling shadows and dark dwelling emotions colluding with the lively imagination and instinctive infectiousness of their creativity.

Going Home opens up with its title track, a shimmer of keys drawing ears into the radiance of Karlsson’s harmonic tones and the growing reflection and beauty of the song. In no time that virulent catchiness in their music is working its temptation but equally that fresh emotive and textural evolvement of their sound is hugging the imagination. Drama soaks every note and syllable, dexterity just as ripe in the enterprise of Karlsson and Spelman.

The striking start only continues through Strangest Thing, a recent single which calls on attention and imagination like a fusion of The Primitives, The Cranberries, and Sheryl Crow. There is eagerness to its persuasion which gets under the skin with increasing tenacity as the song rises from its gentle start to offer an irresistible swing so easy for the body to match.

Similarly Devotion is an insatiable slice of persuasion, its controlled but temptation loaded throes as addictive as the subsequent infection soaked eruptions that break, the track teasing with essences of early Pretenders and Metric across its unique body, while Happier casts a web of indie catchiness and atmospheric drama to just as potently seduce ears and an already greedy appetite for the release. So individual in character, both unite in sublimely captivating the imagination before Perfect Game simply seduced with its piano cast melancholy and vocal intimacy. It is an open heart which mesmerised and haunted beyond its presence.

The intensity of emotion which shapes the track is just as pungent within Rollercoaster, covering its contagion bearing walls and creative theatre of sound while Echo is a warm stroll wrapped in nineties indie catchiness but again a song that shapes the imagination with its emotive breath and dextrous touch. As all tracks, each revel in the vocal prowess of Karlsson and the musical invention of Spelman, the songwriting a reflection of their bold imaginations.

Emotion lines every aspect of the band’s album, Maybe an alignment of emotional sensitivity and rhythmic boldness wrapped in melodic intrigue. It is a track which just increased in potency and temptation by the listen, success similarly shared by the fascinating Stars and its addictive exploits. Again rhythms simply manipulate attention before sharing it with vocals and keys, each tapping into the song and listener’s heart, the track another major highlight of the album.

The album is completed by firstly the poignant almost harrowing Vessels and finally Hold On, a track just as moving within its energetic catchiness. Together they provide a fine end to an album we can only eagerly recommend. As Tiny Fighter grow and evolve their sound so the temptation escalates, Going Home the proof.

Going Home is out now via Bay Terrace Records; available @ https://tinyfighterz.bandcamp.com/album/going-home

https://www.facebook.com/tinyfighterz   https://twitter.com/TinyFighterz

Pete RingMaster 02/06/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview

Hallows – Subtle

photo by Daniel Kastner

Subtle is the debut EP from Seattle based Hallows; a collection of tracks which resonated in ears and the imagination with increasing effect listen by listen and encounters that are sure to fascinate any appetite for darkwave and post punk exploration.

Consisting of Dom R. (vocals, guitar, synth, drum programming) and Vanee D. (vocals, synth, bass), Hallows emerged in 2018 in Minneapolis / St. Pau before relocating. As their first EP reveals, the duo create songs and soundscapes as atmospherically revealing as they are post punk bred and dark wave mysterious. Each of the five tracks within Subtle make for captivating encounters which got under the skin in varying degrees but all deeply fascinated from first to last tenebrific breath.

Even in the individual character of their sound, Hallows reflect inspirations from modern peers like Soft Kill and Ritual Howls but equally there are certain aspects which bear essences of eighties bred bands. EP opener Out Of Sync is a lure of dark shadows and electronic suggestion, its web portentous in a way yet melodic radiant before the following title track consumed attention. Around the temptation of Vanee’s warm tones, its rhythmic touch carries intimation of early March Violets, almost concussive small explosions on the senses drawing that echo which is only enhanced by the dark throes of bass and Dom’s equally inky tones. This is turn brings thoughts to the likes of Skeletal Family and Children on Stun yet firmly Hallows set their own identity down, the track a striking persuasion.

In a Sleeping World is next up, rhythmic bait tapping air within a sonic shimmer initially before the song breaks into a lively dawdling gait lit by electronic phosphorescence. Again there is an old school breath to the track colluding with a fresh intense sigh carrying a touch of Dark Register to it, but once more the duo breed their own unique presence and a moment which only entangled ears and imagination before The Call // Ravenous dug even deeper into the psyche. Mystery and darkness soak every second of its dramatic presence, it’s almost claustrophobic air lit by electronic beacons of sound and seduction as again the union of vocals unite imposing shadows and streetlight like safety. Effortlessly compelling, the song is superb and with the title track stealing top honours.

The EP ends with Far Too Gone, a muggy bordering on suffocating hug of sound and atmospheric gravity which subsequently evolves into a just as thick and ravenous mist of ephemeral beauty and synth borne temptation if still shrouded by heavy invasive clouds of matching intimation. It is a spellbinding and gripping conclusion to a similarly hypnotic encounter, one announcing Hallows as one great reward in embracing darkness.

The Subtle EP is out now via Phage Tapes; available @ https://hallows.bandcamp.com/album/subtle

https://www.facebook.com/hallows.seattle

Pete RingMaster 02/06/2020

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Combos – Steelo

Norwegian punk has not been slow in coming forward and grabbing our eager attention over recent years and the release of Steelo introduces another band we have made room in our hungry appetite for. It is the debut album of Trondheim-based punk/noise rock quintet Combos, a band which springs a voracious roar as animated and lively as it is defiantly antagonistic.

Emerging at the tail end of 2018, Combos was founded by guitarist/song writer Thomas Antonsen, vocalist Axel Møller Olsen, and drummer Andreas Kjøl Berg. Forging a rapaciously catchy sound from a fusion of punk and noise rock, the trio soon hooked praise and attention at home. Now with bassist Jørgen Wassvik and guitarist Terje Bjørndahl in their ranks, the quintet is setting their sights on bigger borders to arouse; a mission the Loyal Blood Records released Steelo openly shows the creative armoury to achieve.

Combos’ sound has something of a Shelter meets Swound! accosted by Bokassa to it. It is immediately infectious, just as swiftly aggressive and invasive, and an incitement of manipulation we could find few defences to. EP opener Boom Shakalaka tells you all you need to know about the holler and addictive nature of their creative stomping. Instantly rhythms are forcibly jabbing at the senses as riffs nag on punk instincts, their united incitement enough to have limbs punching even before the highly virulent encouragement of vocals and swinging rhythms. As shown across previous tracks, the band cast choruses which feed on one’s inner yell, easy to leap upon and share moments one’s own riotous body and roaring tones with. All the same, if not as bold as elsewhere upon the EP, twists and turns bring imagination and stirring enterprise, every second of the song listener orchestration.

Kjøl Berg’s dexterous beats are a potent essence within Steelo and an immediately compelling introduction to next up Meme Supreme. His rhythms demand attention, continuing to direct proceedings as guitars and vocals jump on his creative animation. Eventually the track bursts into a noisy clamour retaining a catchiness increasingly escalated by the drummer’s gripping rhythmic athletics which only continues within Mad Beef and its niggling irritability amidst physical tenacity. The delicious growl of Wassvik’s bass had us quickly hooked as too the sonic web cast by the guitars before it all descends into a smog like trespass, this only bringing greater focus on factors behind it when clearing.

Nerdz is a spiral of grooves and rhythmic fingering from its first breath, a song sharing a broader flavouring of sound as post punk and hardcore essences collude with its noise bred instincts while Make Money Take Money is a pandemonium of styles and temptation which is chained by melodic restraint until bursting upon ears in another commotion of a chorus. That post punk hue again enjoyably tainted the raucous spirit of the trespass and again both tracks left us greedy for more which All About The Wex heartily fed. A slice of feral rock ‘n’ roll, it teases with its initial distant baiting before leaping upon ears with noise bound audacity and physical dexterity; it all coated in a garage bed rascality.

The EP is completed by Bro In Pain and its title track; the first also laying down its addiction through ravenous beats before reaping its subservient rewards through vocal and melodic shenanigans. There is a touch of Shevils to the song in certain moments but as throughout the release belongs distinctly to Combos as too the second of the pair, the magnificent Steelo again entangling noise and post punk lures to viral contagion and inescapable manipulation.

The word was that Combos is one of the most promising up-and coming Norwegian bands; well they are here face to face with the world with Steelo, both refusing to be ignored and more than living up to that suggestion.

Steelo is out now through Loyal Blood Records.

https://www.facebook.com/combosofficial

Pete RingMaster 19/05/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview

Nived – Self Titled EP

Sharing a quartet of emotionally bred, atmospherically captivating proposals, the self-titled debut EP from US singer/songwriter Nived is described as ‘sensory seductive’ and we have to say we cannot think of a better way to describe the captivating encounter.

Hailing from a city with instinctive assumptions made to music coming from within, Nashville based Nived quickly pushes aside expectations with his blend of emo/alternative rock and dark pop, one further laced with industrial like texturing. Even that does not quite reveal all of the hues making up the character of the songs within his first EP, a release which swiftly lured attention but has only further captivated thereon in.

See is the first track and immediately wraps an enticing melodic strand around ears. Electronic intimation soon joins its suggestion as too Nived’s similarly magnetic tones; it all a seductive and emotionally bred hug on the senses. Shadows float across its darkened pop landscape, those emo hues as keenly emotive in its catchy reflection and calmly lively amble.

The following Shame is just as inventively crafted; darkness and light colluding in a tapestry of emotion and electronic radiance as vocals and words portray the crepuscular hue of its heart. Rock and indie spices only add further depth and colour to its short but potent presence before Cry reveals its heavier rock heart and industrially dusted touch. Our favourite track, it almost taunts with its singular declaration before becoming a flood of seduction within electronic reassurance; a ballad which continues to haunt the imagination.

The release is concluded by Shadow, a song arising within the darkest shadows upon the EP to bare its melancholic elegance and understated but openly tempestuous heart; one welcoming the darkest thoughts and compulsions.

It is a fine end to a release which has only grown from firmly enjoyable to thickly compelling by the listen; its relatable darkness and dreamy light proving keen company in a time of the kind of isolation that can breed its own dark intimacy.

The Nived EP is out now.

https://thisisnived.com/  https://www.facebook.com/thisisnived   https://twitter.com/thisisnived

Pete RingMaster 19/05/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview