Sister – Hated

Since their beginnings in 2006 Stockholm glam metal punks Sister have gained much notoriety for their impressive live shows, and with the added release of demos have fuelled a growing anticipation for a full length album. The release of Hated on Metal Blade Records will satisfy those eager ears as well as gaining more attention from new comers to their sleaze punk sound.

Hated is bursting with dirty aggression, the tracks standing proud and loud in the faces of all who dip into their filthy punk sound. Their music is and gives nothing particularly new, frequenting the same cemeteries that Frankenstein Drag Queens From Planet 13 or Murderdolls call their home, but the irresistible riffs and hooks their songs are bursting with makes that nothing more than a welcome signpost for what to expect from the quartet.  

The album starts with a meaningless forgettable intro but with a length of just 20 seconds the release really starts with the impressive ‘Body Blow’.  It is grimy, dark, and very satisfying, the guitar of Lestat driving and joyful alongside the compelling rhythms from Rikki and Carl on bass and drums respectively. Vocalist Jamie brings his Wednesday 13 delivery, whether intentional or it is just his natural sound, there is a close similarity which many other bands also share, though admittedly Wednesday 13 is probably in most of them. Most of all, the track is great fun, undemanding and delivering exactly what it says ‘on the tin’.

The album contains a firm and strong consistency throughout, the tracks of the punk thrasher ‘Bullshit & Backstabbing’ and the Motley Crüe like ‘Hated’, fine examples of what the band does best, which is to entertain without bringing any pretensions.

Two tracks stand out head and shoulders over the strong line-up, the infectious ‘Mother Fuckers (Like You)’ and a dirty rock ‘n’ roll classic in ‘The Unlucky Minority’. Both ride upon stomping riffs and pulsing basslines, grabbing the listener giving no hope of escape until the last note has dropped. There is also a third track that grabs more attention than most, the piano led ballad ‘Would You Love A Creature’.  Vocally the whole band get involved and the song flows with an ease and confidence that shows the band can bring surprising ideas and directions to their sound if they so wish, mainly though they just want to entertain.

Hated is a simple satisfying chunk of extremely enjoyable sleaze punk rock ‘n’ roll. Sister do not try to or pretend to be anything more than what they are, a very agreeable and entertaining band that guarantees nothing more than great rock music and total fun.

Pete RingMaster 05/07/2011 Registered & Protected

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Between the Buried and Me – The Parallax Hypersleep Dialogues EP


   The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues is an EP of just three tracks, but a trio of tracks that in length, substance and quality are immense and powerfully rewarding. The sound within the release invades and consumes, leaving one an empty but fully satisfied shell as the last note slips inside and away.

The EP is the first release from North Carolina metalcore band Between the Buried and Me since their 2009 album The Great Misdirect, the band returning with a release bulging, within its trio of songs, with ingenuity, complexities and impressively creative ideas. The acclaim and response to their previous release has made the spotlight on this new EP even more intense but it is a challenge the band more than live up to. The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues is also the first release on Metal Blade Records, the label and band seems a perfect fit for each other, and it should be an enormously fruitful union.

   The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues serves as the first instalment of a two-part story involving two human characters who live in different planes of existence, separated by millions of light years, each confronted with similar personal issues that they need to deal with leading to both having to face decisions that will change their lives, and perhaps the course of the universe, forever.

Spectacular Reflection’ opens the release, a track engaging many variants of noise, aggression and impressive melodies to ensure 11 minutes of joyful innovation. The track is intense, the invasive guitars of Paul Waggoner and Dusty Waring are vibrant and harsh, striking alongside the war like bass of Dan Briggs and the explosive destruction dropped by Blake Richardson’s drums. Within the song the fluid transitions from the aggressive tones into smooth vocals from Thomas Giles Rogers Jr are impressive, matching the switch to melodic harmonies and chords musically. This repeated switch back and forth and the turn towards a vibrant bass led piece all adds together to make a track that is mesmeric and pleasing.

Augment Of Rebirth’ comes next, its absorbing black metal darkness and vocal harmonies working gloriously with the integration of a warped distorted folk metal vibe with a polka piece, is neatly surprising and enjoyable. Between the Buried and Me as they can do like no others, flow seamlessly through aggression and relative calm with perfect ease. The track ripples with intuitive and inventive musical ideas, merging dark crushing metal with eccentric melodic sounds and sections that bands such as Dog Fashion Disco or Circus Of Dead Squirrels employ, though neither do so with the organic uniqueness and flow that Between the Buried and Me achieve.

Final track on the EP ‘Lunar Wilderness’ is a powerful steely progressive rock track, the drums of Richardson hitting like missiles behind the visceral powerful  vocals of Rogers, the track immense and completely impressive.

Production on The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues comes from Grammy award–winning David Bottrill (Tool, Muse, King Crimson, Dream Theater, etc.) and together with the band has translated and brought to the surface with clarity and complete understanding all the ideas and skills they brought forth to the recording. Every track is a rewarding experience, a journey through little worlds of sound giving a stunning exploration of the light and the dark.

Pete RingMaster 05/07/2011 Registered & Protected

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Intensus – Self Titled

Reviewing an album like the self-titled one from Intensus is certainly not easy if even possible. There is no good or bad about it and there really is neither a like or dislike option with it, it is simply a release that either reaches inside and connects or it does not, and even if that connection is found it may only for certain moments and not over the albums whole length. It also is not an easy listen, the visceral intensity and experience threatens the senses and reaches deep into the skull gripping the aural receptors tightly and with sonic aggression, at times it is painful but the investigation has to continue to the end.

    Intensus is a recording project from multi-instrumentalist Eli Litwin, the drummer for Knife the Glitter, Burden, and Normal Love amongst many. His aim with Intensus was to bring together the worlds of metal and the avant-garde/improvised music scene to create a freely improvised extreme metal album. Extreme is certainly a word that can be used in regard to the result, alongside brutal, abusive, and most of all intense. Taking around a year to complete from the first recording session where Litwin improvised drum tracks for the entire album, start to finish, in one take, he repeated the process with the guitars and then the bass, keeping everything as spontaneous as possible.  

Once the music was finished he recruited an array of vocalists to add the final element to his music, a collection of guests bringing something different to each track they lent their immense styles to. The likes of Chris Alfano (East of the Wall / Postman Syndrome), Travis Weinand (Burden / Tetsuo), Evan Moore (Gypsy Wig / Birth Screams), and Jerry Jones (Trophy Scars), all bring their power and growls effectively to the project, as also did guitarists Alex Nagle (Satanized / ex-Normal Love) and Jason Herrmann (Burden / Tetsuo) with their colossal shredding skills.

The biggest successes in the tracks personally, came in those graced by Tommy Rogers (Between the Buried and Me), Robert Meadows (A Life Once Lost), and Jesse Korman (The Number Twelve Looks Like You). ‘Outlast Robin sum’ and ‘I Am A Wisdom’ featuring Rogers, ‘Man Crusher’ and ‘I Gave up’ with Meadows, and ‘New York, Yeah Scranton’ and the immense ‘Man Crusher’ loaded with vocals from Korman, all hit the mark with increasing power and venom.

Are they good? That is hard to tell but certainly they are the most effective and hit the sweet spot compared to the other creations on Intensus. It is all relative, and even more dependent on each individual who takes the challenge to plunge into the album, which all certainly should. Intensus brings everything into its improvised maelstrom of boundary breaking sound; grindcore, doom, death metal, jazz, mathcore, you name it there will be those sounds in the multi layers of random, loose and controlled textures in some way.

With Intensus released on Metal Blade Records right now, it is not a matter of being good or bad but  is all about a adventurous experimental project that has attempted and succeeded in creating something new and provoking mentally and physically. Many others will be inspired and will try to walk through the doorway Intensus has opened and most will fail to cross the threshold that Eli Litwin has created.
Pete RingMaster 05/07/2011 Registered & Protected

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