Tricore – Follow EP

The two years since the debut album from UK metal band Tricore has been a tortuous long wait for their legion of loyal fans, Less Than Man... More Than Rabbit making an indelible mark upon the metal hearts of so many including The RingMaster Review. Their unique creations of heavy riffs and energetic sounds fused with instinctive melodies and diverse engaging hooks feed and inspire any metal loving heart with immense satisfaction.

Though there has been apparent quiet on the Tricore front until now the quartet have been working on their melodic rock project An Entire Legion, but great as this sister band is there is nothing quite like the hard striking metal of Woking’s Tricore in full flow so the anticipation of more music from the band has been eager, strong, and impatient. The Follow EP ends the suffering showing that the wait was more than worthwhile with four stunning tracks plus an equally impressive free song as a free extra.

From the very first listen to Tricore the noticeable thing other than their immense skill in songwriting and playing is a sound that is theirs alone, it stands in its very own private corner with a distinct and exclusive identity and any bands one mentions in comparison just give mere hints to the band’s music and not a true description.

The EP hits hard from the first note of opener ‘When We Were Kings’, the riffs heavy and urgent feasting on emotions as the ear immediately sucks in the big bursting sounds. The driving guitars and bass riffs of Rich Wood and Mark Carstairs are soaring and direct into the ear. The track has everything, big sounds, delicious hooks, forceful beats from Chris Kerley on drums, and an excellent vocal delivery from him, his smooth powerful tones a perfect link between the melodic elements of the song and its pounding assault.

Mary Sockins’ picks up the baton next and keeps up the high quality, though that also applies to every track on the EP. The band may have taken their time before releasing another assault of songs since their album but they have not lost any of their might and potency in song writing and performance. The crushing riffs tempered by the controlled voice of Kerley and the humour laced lyrics makes perfect companions to please the hardest metal heart, adding the at times delicate atmospheric sounds of Luke Sedman with his synth and sample skills this and each song is extremely well balanced and impressive.

Small World’ has a firmer touch from Sedman, the song carrying a Fear Factory/Static X sensibility as the band once more strikes hard and fast. The break to a slow melodramatic part is seamless and builds to a closing crescendo that gets the pulse racing. ‘This Is Love’ hits like a sledge hammer, the machine gun drums drilling and scarring as guitars play alongside majestically. The track is belligerent, angry and metal at its very best, there are no bands that fly like a missile in the ear with ultimate destruction whilst delivering the best inspired melodies and hooks to intrigue and grab attention with originality.

The bonus song shows the band and their humour in full flow. Inspired by the Star Wars universe ‘Chew We Love’ is an emotional, heartfelt tear jerker……………ok truth is it is simply damn funny and yet another slice of Tricore musical brilliance that completes one of if not the best releases of metal this year so far.

Since the recording of Follow guitarist Rich Wood has left the band and though one would imagine he will be sorely missed the future for Tricore is surely one of impending mass recognition. Their album stirred the fires now Follow should send large sparks out to light up many more lives make yours one of them.

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Prince Edward Island – This Day Is A Good Enough Day

In the same vein and truth of things that permeates right through the songwriting and lyrics of Prince Edward Island let us make a declaration about the band’s debut album This Day Is A Good Enough Day. The simple truth is that This Day Is A Good Enough Day just might be one of the best albums that will be heard this year and certainly will grace the top ten lists of all those that enjoy well written songs, emotional and heart sourced words, and music that wraps loving arms around the listener whilst the vocals reveal the reality and truth of life. The album relays to the listener portraits of isolated lives, giving us insight into and excerpts of knowing situations and acceptance of the thought that ‘life is not all it is cracked up to be but it will be ok you’ll see, just go along with it’. The album is a sunshine laced bundle of relationship truths and reality wrapped up in compulsive, engaging, and completely addictive songs.

London based Prince Edward Island who formed in 2005 upon realisation that music to them was much more than sharing each other’s Chemikal Underground Records, state in their bio that “We hail from the nation’s darkest fringes such as Fife and Ashington. We write about what we know of; trawler-trash town love affairs, of being trapped in failing relationships and of youth squandered. We have been described as sounding like ‘a band playing with boxing gloves on’”. From the moment the first track on the album ‘I Nearly Don’t Love You, But Not Quite’ lays down its brief but effective melancholic statement the truth of their words are evident.  It must be noted though that This Day Is A Good Enough Day is not a depressing or a mood darkening release, the incisive wit, immense harmonies and simply wonderful creativity has the ears and heart singing in unison throughout.  

Each song is a musical picture book revealing and inspiring images and thoughts that probably most will have felt or have seen themselves in relationships that outstay their welcome and lives that just accept what they have no matter the clouds it brings. There are no pipe dreams any more just a too easy an acceptance of the reality of lives living an expectation and lacking a fight to go for more.  Tracks like ‘Are Your Mother-In-Law and Your Mother In Love?’, ‘Sex In The Morning (I’m Coughing, You’re Yawning)’, and ‘It’s All Over Bar The Shouting’ all imaginatively and brilliantly portray these lives, even with the inspired humour and clever use of words the emotive power of tracks are always strongly evident. In many ways Prince Edward Island are the musical equivalent of some of the classic Scottish comedy shows like Still Game, behind the humour is a bare truth and life for so many.

Prince Edward Island have a sound that in some ways recalls the early Postcard Records days as well as being part of a new surge of emotive and melancholic feeling bands lyrically and musically, joining the likes of Letters and Ideals though  Prince Edward Island do bring something more which is not easy to define but certainly very satisfying. At times the band that comes to mind whilst listening is 80’s Scottish band Josef K, partly because of vocalist and guitarist Darren Bruce’s great accent that adds to the feeling of every track and also the incisive and at times quite aggressive guitars of Bruce, Phil Pearce and Nick Elleray.

The band is completed by Faye Davies who enhances every track with her vocal backing and harmonies plus flowing and stylish keyboard sounds as well as lots of extra touches such as the stylophone and glockenspiel, and drummer Jon  Hodges who at times though understated behind the great array of sounds he supports, gives a wonderful touch and feel to the songs.

Three tracks especially stand out amongst  eleven gems, the impressive and pulsating ‘Let’s Stay In and Go To Town’, ‘ The Keith Disaster Fund’ which almost verges on a punk feel in many ways, and the best track and single from the album ‘You Look Like I Need A Drink’. This song gives you all you need to know about Prince Edward Island, enjoy its deep charms and you will drool over an album that though perfection can never be achieved has a damn fine stab at it.

Prince Edward Island is the band everyone should make their mission of the day to explore, then adoption of  their single and soon to be released album This Day Is A Good Enough Day as their life’s soundtrack in consolation or inspiration is sure to follow. It is a reward all should have in their ears

This Day Is A Good Enough Day is released via Crocfingers Record on Monday the 29th August.

The single ‘You Look Like I Need A Drink’ can be heard below

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Beau and the Arrows – Levy

Ahead of their highly anticipated impending album Future Kicks South London quartet Beau and the Arrows release their new single ‘Levy’. Previous singles have already whipped up mass enthusiasm for the bands highly charged and elegant harmony soaked sounds especially with previous single ‘’ and with the new release showcasing a different aspect to the music of Beau and the Arrows they surely stand on the precipice of mass exposure.

Levyis released on 29th August through Happy Release Records bringing again the shining dual vocals of Beau Carter and Jasmine Foley. Originally a solo project for Carter in 2008 the soon after meeting in a college photography class with Foley was the seed for an eventual band completed in 2009 by the addition of Layla Dudley (guitar, synth) and Jaimin Allen (drums). Intense and strong support from the likes of BBC Radio DJ Steve Lamacq followed the release of their Bright Lights, Big City EP in 2009 and debut single ‘Fix’, something that should increase even farther afield with Levy.

The track is a vibrant melodic 80‘s post punk party of sound. It carries glimpses of familiarity from the likes of The Passage, The Cocteau Twins, and the Pixies but these are mere glancing thoughts as the track swirls its way around the ear. The song is like a long lost friend whom you cannot remember; it carries a tip of the tongue recognition alongside a modern tone and bright touch. The drums are conservative but strong, the synths lively and warm, whilst the guitars and bass perfectly frame the wonderful dual vocals with a discordant tinge to their play. If Joy Division had been a pop band they would have sounded in many ways probably like Beau and the Arrows.

The single is fresh, eventful, and a joy which the ear eagerly consumes. The creativity and uniqueness is delightful as well as inventive and makes the anticipation for the album even more intense. For the moment though Levysatisfies the need perfectly and Beau and the Arrows show they will be one of the major forces and inspirations for the future.

Beau and The Arrows will launch ’Levy’ with a free entry gig at Dalston’s Shacklewell Arms on the 23rd August. ‘Levy’ will be available to download from iTunes and all good digital retailers on 29th August 2011.
Forthcoming live dates:

 Tuesday 19th July – The Monarch, Camden

Thursday 28th July – Discovery @ AAA, High St. Kensington

Wednesday 3rd August – Death Disco @ The Notting Hill Arts Club

Tuesday 9th August – The Barfly, Camden

Tuesday 23rd August – The Shacklewell Arms, Dalston

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Slam Cartel – Handful Of Dreams

Distinctive hard rock albums are at a premium these days, there are plenty of fine releases but there is generally a similar feel across them that though enjoyable fails to inspire any enthusiasm for yet another collection of hard rock songs. Thankfully London band Slam Cartel steps out from that sea of similitude with an album of the highest order and quality proving hard rock can be as exciting as any other genre and as varied and unique. Handful Of Dreams lays down a nourishing course of songs bulging with monster guitar riffs, thumping bass lines, giant drum beats, and stunning vocals that drip off the palate.

Already the six piece have grabbed the attention from the likes of Billy Morrison and Russell Brand amongst a multitude of growing fans and with Handful Of Dreams it is hard to see anything other than a bigger explosion of popularity for Slam Cartel. The song writing skills and presentation on the album shows a band not only in full control of their sound but one that aspires to take the genre to new and down adventurous avenues of sound.  

Slam Cartel formed around three years ago, vocalist Giles Van Lane, Tommy Hendriksen and Terence Warville both guitarists, Marc Neudeck bass, drummer Steve Campkin, and Adam Lee keyboards, guitars have become a tight and creative unit that from the convincing evidence upon their debut will be and are a force to be reckoned with. Like the irresistible melodic hooks in their songs once the band’s sound reels you in escape is impossible and any desire to resist absent.

From the opening striding guitars and rampaging drums of ‘Wishing Eye’ the expectancy of immense gratification grows and by the last notes of closing track ‘Walk A Mile’ is realised perfectly. ‘Wishing Eye’ drives and grooves with stirring riffs, flowing melodies and an emotive vocal delivery from Van Lane that makes the track a classic in the making.

This excellent start is matched and supported throughout the album and with impressive variety. Their sound is hard rock but it employs and ventures into different directions track to track. ‘Handful Of Dreams’ with its rock flavouring that would compliment any Foo Fighters or Saliva set, the southern slower paced rock of ‘Breathe’, and the nu-metal urgency and edge of ‘Shine’ bringing a mix of Primer 55 and The Kennedy Soundtrack, all show the bands skill and diverse influences plus a  desire to create something unique.

The album also touches and reveals the softer side of Slam Cartel with the ballad paced tracks of ‘Maybe Sometimes’ with an intro and guitar sound right out of a Wings songbook giving a smooth harmonious 80’s rock feel and the closing track ‘ Walk A Mile’. The first flows wonderfully with a chorus that rises with emotion, the keyboard backing bringing a full and passion tinged swell whilst the guitar solo is searching and visionary. The last song is an emotive piano led composition that show cases Van Lane’s vocals wonderfully as the tracks epic feel and lyrics tugs emotions, the versatility of the band and individual members readily shown. It may not have the more instant accessibility of other songs but certainly is as rewarding.

Though the album’s opener is arguably the releases best track it is seriously rivalled by most songs and especially the glorious rock glory of ‘Sundown’. The track immediately strolls confidently with beckoning riffs leading into a full out stomp chorus, the vocals, rhythms and melodies satisfyingly fulfilling as the song rocks in the ear.

There is not a real weakness on the album every area and corner in song writing to performance is refined to the smallest detail with the intention of and success in making real rock ‘n’ roll. Slam Cartel even includes a brilliant cover of the Talking Heads gem ‘Once in A Lifetime’ and a stunning version they do too turning it into a distinct song to rival the original. Handful Of Dreams is an album to discover, enjoy, and delve into constantly, Slam Cartel a band that will bring joy for years to come.

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