Destroy The Evidence – Phantasm

Writing about and reviewing different releases and bands offers up many treats but it is always special when something unexpected and startlingly different comes into view. Such is the case with Phantasm from Destroy The Evidence, a release that offers something new, slightly unexpected and is just wonderfully different from the bulk of things that grace and at times accost the ear.

Destroy the Evidence is the solo project of US experimental electronic gothic rock band Dimension Zero frontman Monty Singleton. The band found success and acclaim with singles ‘Live In Excess (Excess Is Best)’ and ‘RePLiCa’, their 2007 album Scythe, plus remixes of artists such as Public Enemy and Nine Inch Nails. Singleton started up Destroy The Evidence as a project to focus on writing music for film, TV, and video games or as the official website states music that is “Industrial rock dressed in tuxedos attending the symphony while the world is being invaded by Martians. Somewhere between Nine Inch Nails, Hans Zimmer, Danny Elfman, and mid-1900s SciFi.” That just about sums it up; it just forgets to say how vibrant and refreshing it is.

Phantasm is the follow up to Genesis from 2009 and is a dazzling array of striking sounds. Whether staying around for mere seconds or multiple minutes each track leaves a mark and inspires images and emotions which is one of the impressive things about the album. Opening track ‘Elite’ strikes for eighteen seconds whilst its successor ‘Wildcat’ a scant seven  but both grab attention to announce the album’s intent, to trigger a sense of drama, and lead into the brilliant hustling theatre of ‘Renegade’. Like a rampant beast rampaging along scorched paths it is a predatory impending force that even with its moments of quiet beauty has full control and intimidating strength. To bring in a film reference it bristles with the independent thought and determination of a Mad Max or Logan’s Run

The pieces are clear and definite compositions that would work cinematically or within games but also as distinct tracks as the album shows. They are wonderfully varied, well crafted and without exception the inspiration for emotions and provoked visual thoughts. Many instrumental albums weave soundscapes and aural worlds from their creations but Singleton’s compositions work with emotions and feelings, touching upon and provoking responses and ideas individual to the listener but within his intended theme.

The dazzling and unsteadying ‘ACiD’ with crystalline melodies and sinister menace, the edgy and intense fusion of beauty and dark energy of ‘Oblivion2’, plus the complexities and senses stretching provocative flow of ‘Vision-X’, and the cold and over bearing walled stark mystery of ‘Citadel’, all impress deeply and engage the senses long after they depart the ear. It is the stunning ‘USSR’ that takes top acclaim though on the album. It’s incessant repetition of keys, bass, rhythms and vox is a completely hypnotic and irresistible manipulation and pleasuring of the listener. The song offers siren like melodies and an insistent charge that is fuelled by a combative and militant might.

Phantasm is an excellent release that offers siren like sounds, delicious ideas and inspiring imagery that makes frequent returns a different experience each time, though always a thoroughly pleasurable one. Whether Destroy The Evidence’s creations will find their way onto soundtracks time will tell but as an addition to anyone’s personal soundtrack they are a definite success and joy.

Grab your free copy of the album @ http://www.destroytheevidence.com/

RingMaster 03/02/2012

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The Evil Dead – Pronounced The Evil Dead

If some good old style rock ’n’ roll blended with some thrash metal aggression and skilful classic rock guitar play is a flavour that has you licking your lips then make a swift line towards Argentinean metalers The Evil Dead and their new album Pronounced The Evil Dead. The release is a kick ass rumble of insatiable rock and harsh metallic power that will intrigue and fire up the urge to raise horns very high. The band claims their music is “to drink with the dead, and toast with the living” and that does just about sum it up. With songs about death, horror and drinking that emerges as a nonstop celebration with rampant riffs, irresistible grooves and straight forward aggressive intent it is hard not to be swept up in its surprising and often confusing flow but thorough great fun.

First notable thing about the release is that there is so much going on within songs and the band’s music. Imagine Motorhead, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Municipal Waste, Alestorm mixed up with tinges of Murderdolls and a black metal vocal throughout and you are nearing the surprising sound of The Evil Dead. To be honest it takes a little getting used to especially the rasping black tones of vocalist Alejandro Regueiro which seem at odds to the vibrant and creative sounds beneath him but it works, given time and a few concentrated listens. Musically the band is impressive, their ability and creativity easily commendable and you cannot accuse The Evil Dead of being predictable either. The triple guitar attack of Federico Franco, Michel Regueiro, and Ian Regueiro who also adds further vocals to the band, brings a high quality, varied and engaging meld of sounds whether in straight forward pulse racing riffs, incessant and mesmeric melodies or unexpected diversions that makes each track a satisfying spending of time.

Released via Rising Records February 6th Pronounced The Evil Dead entertains unapologetically from the opening riff fest of ‘Graverobbin’’. The track charges like a runaway train throwing explosive melodies and wanton riffs at the ear from first note to the last. The bass of Lucía Velarde and drums from Santiago Botalla rattle the senses with contagious rhythms allowing the guitars to weave and treat the ear with diversity and eager melodies. The music is so absorbing the songs would work just as well as instrumentals, the energetic and well written sounds stirring and very pleasing.

Backing up the impressive opener the album gives the excellent songs ‘Perfect Day (In Planet Hell)’ another mesmeric track that unleashes wonderful hooks, melodies and teasing riffs to fire up the pulse rate, the bone rattling ‘Electric Evil Revival’ that is so hypnotic it could raise the dead, and the album’s best track the brilliant ‘Bootleggers’ to feast upon. All three continue offering up guitar play and instinctive sounds to make the heart race, at every twist and turn there is something different happening and always of the most appealing effect. ‘Bootleggers’ swaggers in with a southern rock type lilt and at first runs like a straight forward rock song. Strong sounds and harsh vocals strolling at an undemanding pace. Soon the song cannot hold back the distinct red hot guitars and burning riffs though, or the vein of black humour that lurks throughout the album. The track offers unexpected elements, turns, and more riffs that would grace any theme tune to a super hero cartoon or show. As always there is so much going on and it would need a page to tell of all the wonderful avenues and diversions the song offers up. It is worth a listen to Pronounced The Evil Dead for ‘Bootleggers’ alone.

      The Evil Dead has made an entrance with an album that is very worthy of your time. For many the vocals will be a struggle as even after numerous plays they still at times do not fit perfectly to the sounds alongside them. Regueiro is a great vocalist but one feels needs to temper the gut wrenching style. His approach is bold and adventurous against the defined and intricate creative melodies made musically but they distract too often as they are and will put as many off as those who connect.

The album for all that is great fun and truly worth a listen, it is of great quality and will leave riffs and melodies with you long after it departs they are that impressive. Try it and see.

RingMaster 03/02/2012

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The Menzingers – On The Impossible Past

As much as the likes of Bad Religion and Brand New continue to create essential punk sounds and offer insightful thoughts and incisive with their releases there seems to be a reached pinnacle. Their new material always engages and pleases but the element of surprise or boundary stretching has diminished, they are not predictable but you know pretty much what you are going to get. With Philadelphia-based punk rock band The Menzingers, though they bring a blend and attitude that incorporates elements of both bands they infuse it into their own heart spawn sensibility and fresh energy to give a variable and distinct engagement to light up the senses, something their influences used to do but now seem less able to.

The Philadelphia based quartet of Tom May, Joe Godino, Eric Keen, and Greg Barnett release their third album and their debut on Epitaph Records, in the expressive shape of On The Impossible Past on February 20th. Their previous two albums, released via small indie labels, gathered strong acclaim as did their dynamic lives shows and supports for the likes of Anti Flag and Against Me! All this led them to the attention of Epitaph founder and President Brett Gurewitz who has commented about The Menzingers that “These guys play the kind of pure punk rock that I grew up with. They are seriously talented songwriters and I’m happy to welcome them to the Epitaph family. “He is not far wrong about the band being talented songwriters as the songs that bristle and grab attention within On The Impossible Past are insightful, emotive and easily register on a formidable personal level.

The album does not attach itself with easy to digest hooks and obvious simple melodies but eases its way deeper through personal, reflective and emotive understanding that one can relate to instantly. The album saunters in on the opening subdued mix of guitar and voice at the beginning of  ‘Good Things’ before bursting into a strident clash of guitar and raised emotive vocal delivery from May. As the whole album proves to be, the song hits home without thrills and spills, a direct and compact piece of good punk rock that lets its energy and attitude give all the impressive enjoyment. It carries a combined Bad Religion and Stiff Little Fingers mix that is far more satisfying than the pop influenced flavours that come as part and parcel of most contemporary punk sounds.

This is not to say The Menzingers neglect or ignore melodies and pop accessibility as tracks like the inspiring ‘Burn After Writing’ and the brilliant ‘Gates ‘show. These songs swing upon the ear with ease and instantaneous appeal but are well crafted with defined skill and creativity a strong feature of the band’s music. The latter of the two is a wonderfully written and crafted song, a track that relates on many layers and lingers emotionally and aurally after its departure, helped not only by the emotive melodies and lyrical intent but also the vocals from Barnett. It is a song that epitomizes the bands passion and ability to touch the listener far deeper than the ear.

It is impossible to point out a weak song upon the album, and whether their music or release works for you or not there is no denying the skilful and cultured song writing on show. The album is also one of those rarities that is not only has an immediate attraction and lure but evolves into a stronger and more inspired release the more one shares  time with it. For all its high consistency though some tracks really stand out. ‘The Obituaries’ is a raucous anthemic track with scorched melodies, driven riffs, and an emotion that all can relate to. It is one of those tracks that you cannot resist joining in with no matter how much you try but the difference here it is not just a chant song, its passion to the fore throughout making it a special treat.

Songs like the stunning ‘Sun Hotel’ that carries a Midnight Oil feel at their bitter best and the irresistible ‘I Can’t Seem To Tell’ are of equal quality and take the album into essential listening territory all on their own. The second of these two is an amazing concoction of discordant acidic riffs and melodies, eager rhythms, and a moody bassline to drool over, a classic.

On The Impossible Past is one of the best punk albums heard in a long time and a refreshing and satisfying alternative to the easy and at times heartless pop punk that fills the genre currently. That is what The Menzingers have to their music, heart and that makes for a release that should have your attention.

Ringmaster 03/02/2012

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