Metal Scent: Homemade

Listening to the new album from Israeli metal band Metal Scent one question kept offering itself up to be answered and that was why had we not heard of this fine band before. On the evidence of Homemade they are a band which is just a few steps away from worldwide recognition, something the album will surely accelerate. The release is accomplished and bursting with songs fuelled by classic rock and metal but veined with varied and flavoursome ideas and craft. Homemade engages and excites from the first to last note of its fifteen song length and offers absorbing and impressive sounds for all rock and metal fans.

Metal  Scent  formed in 2005, are  well known in their homeland, the band going through changes in directions and line-ups over the years but consistently strengthening their reputation and following. Homemade is the third album from the band and the first all original Metal Scent release. Their debut album of 2005 consisted of Middle Eastern hit songs, rearranged and recomposed into Metal versions, whilst the follow up did the same to American hit songs from the sixties.  This second release also carried five original tracks at the insistence of Crash Music who released it. Presumably this and its success inspired the band to produce a wholly original album, and an inspired move it has turned out to be. The album is deeply impressive and though now knowing how its predecessors were made up one can understand their limited recognition outside Israel to this point there seems no other destination than wider acknowledgement after Homemade strolls through the world.

So many things strike the ear as soon as opening song Never Too Late confidently pounces. Firstly there is the driving and well formed guitar play of Dror Yakar and Yaniv Aboudy which spins around the senses masterfully either dazzling them with bright and eager melodies or is strongly insistent on attention through stirring riffs and heavyweight intensity. The rhythms of Ronen Ziony give a firm spanking with formidable but restrained force whilst the bass of Shahar Cohen prowls and stares from behind the energy with a darker delicious intent. Completing the great sound is the excellent vocals of Rami Salmon. The man has some epic tubes that can deliver a diverse and full sound for whatever each song needs, and with a style that is never indulgent and has a restraint that is admirable he offers plenty of magnificent moments within the release.

The opening song is strong and a great invite to the album but is rather traditional  which is shown up by the following glories starting with Hold On and Men Of War. The first is infectiously catchy , quite familiar whilst the second is a thunderous assault with combative riffs and a darkened muscular sound. As everywhere the harmonies and melodies are never kept tethered, their flowing warmth sauntering around the throbbing energy taking the song deep beyond the ear.

As it progresses the album simply gets better and better. Through songs like the excellent Silks Of White and the amazing emotive Inner Light, the senses are treated to an ascent that is deeply satisfying. Both tracks, though distinctly different  sound like they have had a dose of Manic Street Preachers  added to their mix and it is wonderful. It gets better though when the best song on show appears to dazzle and exhilarate. Desires is one of the best songs heard in a while, and once its passion grabs firmly and takes the listener to its pulsating breast there is no option but to fall in to its anthemic charms.

The other songs on Homemade are equally as invigorating and enjoyable, the band rifling the spices from varied rock and metal sources  to Middle Eastern influences to bring them together with their own creativity to produce a release that leaves one grinning inside and out. Metal Scent maybe not be well known yet but it is just a matter of time. Save time yourselves and make the first move by checking out one of the best rock albums in recent months.

Ringmaster 15/03/2012

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Jay Parmar: Circle Of Fire

With an artistry and drive that is never less than absorbing the new album from talented guitarist Jay Parmar gives a pleasure as immense and deep as the sounds and ability which pours from it. Circle Of Fire brings a fresh and eager breath to classic metal and hard rock without the need for indulgences and spurious tricks and charms. The album is honest, well crafted and a feast for any rock favoured ear. From every corner of its expressive might the release fires up the heart with instinctive creativity and mouth watering melodies. If a guitar gets you all riled up then the impressive invention of Parmar will have you drooling like a sex starved teenager.

To be honest generally the genre of music which Parmar confidently walks has a hard time gaining favour with these ears but then most releases are not as gloriously captivating and dazzling yet restrained as Circle Of Fire. Whereas many bring every trick they have out to window dress and show off their songs, here the music is simply veracious rock n roll created with thought and a surety which needs no over blown musical theatrics. It is a release that exudes charm and explosive sounds to throw any music fan into a frenzy.

Having been playing the guitar for over twenty years Parmar shows a flare and understanding of limits and owns a control that is refreshing and smart. Inspired by the likes of Iron Maiden, Joe Satriani, Jimi Hendrix, and Steve Vai, whose label Digital Nations Circle Of Fire is released upon, Parmar has infused these distinct influences into his own unique style to become a musician who is rounded and imaginative. Circle Of Fire follows his previous releases Will Play For Lynch– A George Lynch Tribute (2003) and solo instrumental album Strange Day (2005)as well as his work with Eden’s Curse live and in the studio, and is in his own words “… a change of direction and sounds awesome!”, something it is impossible to argue with. From the skill and ingenuity of Parmar alone the album would be an essential listen but with the added flavoursome skills of an array of excellent artists Circle Of Fire is all your Birthdays rolled into one.

The album includes the likes of Pete Newdeck (Eden’s Curse/Tainted Nations) who not only played drums but stepped into the vocalist spot on some songs, guest vocals from Carsten Schultz (Evidence One), Andreas Novak (House of Shakira/Mind’s Eye), and Tim Wallace, and solos from Mike Rotella plus the extra treat on the CD version of George Lynch (Lynch Mob/Souls of We/Dokken). Lynch was a major love and influence for Parmar and one can only imagine the buzz his contribution to the song When Angels Cry gave. The song is pure quality and worthy of being more than a bonus track, its Motherjane sound oozing class and mesmeric grace.

From start to finish the album is highly consistent, throwing out compulsive riffs and dazzling melodic play like confetti but with a certainly, thought, and perfection that makes randomness a non starter and as mentioned the craft involved is beyond question and inspiring. If there can be highlights on an album this good, personally they are songs like Walking In Circles and Lost In You. Both flow and explore the senses upon a pulsating riff which are unrelenting in their desire to stir up their recipients. The first of the two has a metal riff that is harsh and intimidating contrasting the great surrounding harmonies and incisive melodies whilst the latter offers a riff that grinds and niggles away at the ear with a persistence which will not be denied.

Adding the majestic power of Now You’re Gone where Newdeck shows we need to hear more of his emotive and great vocals, and the expressive beauty of Test Of Time, the album has everything a true rock fan could wish for. There is not one song that does not offer something different and is as equally vital and glorious as those mentioned, all combining to form an album that takes the heart into its own.

      Circle Of Fire is a beacon in what generally feels like a wealth of over played and self centred similar styled albums. With Jay Parmar you only get honesty and organic heartfelt music, oh and wonderful sounds that light up each and every day.

RingMaster 15/03/2012

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The Commander-In-Chief Interview

Right now there is an artist who is stirring up a multitude of emotions and hearts within the metal/rock world with her immensely explosive and exciting debut EP. The lady in question is The Commander-In-Chief, one of the most impressive emerging talents to hit rock in a long time.  The singer, songwriter and a masterful mesmeric exponent of the7 string guitar, has just released the Evolution EP, produced by the legendary Sterling Winfield, to ever growing waves of acclaim and feverish demand for her time. The Ringmaster Review had the pleasure and honour of being able to find out more about this extraordinary talent and we are reliably informed learnt more about The Commander than anyone had previously before.

Hello and welcome to The Ringmaster Review. Many thanks for taking time to talk with us here.

Firstly and quite simply would you introduce yourself, The Commander and the band The Commander –In-Chief?

I am a 22 year old female Norwegian singer/songwriter/7 string guitarist/shredder.

I’m a solo-artist.

Could you give some history to your life so far?

I did visual arts for years. I always had ideas for songs, but never pursued music since I had some horrible experiences with music teachers who hated me, as a kid. Music teachers, just like art teachers in school, have a tendency to HATE creative students who do not fit into their definition of greatness. I actually failed music in school and I was denied to be part of the music program in High School. They actually put me in the IB program without any artistic classes. I hated that so much I decided to drop out and stayed home for a week. That was when my mom told them they were killing my creative spirit and I got transferred to the art program. Having said so, I had some truly important art teachers after that who did their best to convince me to pursue that road. I would say I had 4 great art teachers, one truly important guitar mentor and my irreplaceable vocal coach.

At what age did you know music was your future and when did you first pick up a guitar?

Music was always part of my life as far as I can remember. I did not pick up a guitar until 2005.

I knew what I wanted to do, and there was no way I was gonna let anything get in my way. I got lot of static in the beginning, but I just brushed that aside. 3 years down the road, people starting realising I was very serious.

Considering your impressive skill and young age how long did it take you to master the instrument to this level and how much dedication and work did you put into it?

Musicians often think they are Gods unrivalled gift to music, I have never thought of myself that way.

I always focused on all the things I could not do rather than what I could do, and never realised I was any good at all, until after some years. When I look back now I think I did always did pretty well. My greatest passion has always been and will always be creating, so I spent all my time on that. Funny enough, my greatest development happened when I kicked visual arts out of my life and decided to focus all my time on music.

I wanted to be a good guitarist and songwriter more than anything. If you think about it, It’s a pretty modest goal. If you set your mind to learn something and/or create something, it really just depends on your will power and where this will take you.

You play a seven string guitar, did you graduate to this through the more normal six stringer, and why this as your eventual choice?

First 6 strings, just tried a 7 just for the heck of it, then I fell in love.

It allows me to transcribe my music in a way I find intriguing. I can play with dynamics, going from heavy to HEAVY. Counterbalance my vocals nicely. At the end of the day, I like it, which is the most important reason.

What are your musical influences leading you into making music and on the guitarist side?

Deep Purple, Slayer, James Brown, Windir, Jefferson Airplane, Randy Rhoades….etc….etc…..

Have you always been a metal hearted girl?

Yes, only difference being that I became more interested in extreme metal acts and more up-to-date on current trends in the genre, once I started playing. I saw the genre from the perspective as a guitarist always looking for a challenge, instead of perceiving the genre as a music listener.

What came first, writing songs or being able to play?

Writing songs, that was my main motivation, and the song always comes first. I still consider myself a songwriter, above all.

Being able to play, means playing boring exercises and having an even more boring practise diary…accompanied by the unmatched beauty of a metronome…….you can make it interesting by writing your own exercises, that is how I learned tapping.

You have just released your impressive debut EP Evolution; you must be pleased with the response to it, an element of surprise too how fast it is catching the attention of people?

Makes me very happy! I think the greatest shock to me was the Paranoid release actually, as I had never had a feature or even been mentioned by any big blogs or magazines until all of a sudden that cover was all over the place. It makes me happy to see that my music fan base is growing and pleased to see that people are buying my music in an age when nobody really does.

The release has a distinct commentary on certain aspects of man, whether the abuse of science, the world of fake celebrity importance etc, does this show you are not a love song kind of writer haha?

Hahaha, you have a lot of songwriters who can fill in that gap, not that there is any, anyway lol

I am a good observer, and good art or funny lyrics will always come out of that.

I also took an early interest in social issues and was one of those annoying Amnesty International kids in high school, talking about issues nobody cared about then, and few still care about now. On one of my longer stays in Norway, when I was 17, I wrote some opinions/letters about Norwegian society (under another pseudonym), two of them were published. One of them resulting in a main article/almost full page in a nationwide newspaper. That was when I started writing lyrics and the first lyrics were the ones for THOU.

The variety of songs also indicates inspiration can hit you from any direction or with any theme, is that how it is?

Yepp, it’s cool, but it can be annoying if I do not have something to write on and with. Then I just have to rely on remembering the idea, which I usually do. My notebooks are a total mess and sometimes not even I can decipher my handwriting. My ideas can be found on toilet paper rolls, napkins, bus tickets, receipts, guitar string packages … lol … My worst nightmare was when I threw out something I thought was garbage and it was the full lyrics for a song. I could never recover that one and it still bugs me today.

Let It Go is a personal song I believe, I am right in thinking it was inspired by your younger brother? Would you elaborate on that and its wider dedication?

It is about trying to reach out to someone you care about who suffers, but do not want to talk about it. You know something is not right, but you don’t know what …You do not really know what to say either, so you try your best at being encouraging, without truly knowing what the source of the problem is.

You recorded Evolution with Sterling Winfield doing the production duties. Legendary for his work with Pantera and Hatebreed to name just two, how did your link up with him come about?

I heard him on a speaker phone with my manager, talking about how awesome he thought my songwriting was. He had obviously heard my demo as he was referring to those tracks. I thought he had contacted us first, but apparently my manager sent him a link, and then he called us, which was the phone conversation I walked into.

First he was meant to re-mix the demo, first songs being Paranoid and an unreleased original track. We decided not to remix anymore after those two, but rather focus our attention on recording songs from scratch.

We got a chance to do this in December, when we recorded 5 tracks, 4 of those resulting in the Evolution EP.

I am assuming you have a definite direction you see your songs going in as you write them how much did that alter if at all by working with Sterling?

Haha, his main job was to say NO!. I wanted to have dive-bombs on top of the tapping intro of Evolution, I had an idea for a congas in Famous and several background vocal arrangements for Thou and Evolution and a steel guitar intro for Let it go, all of which were totally rejected, lol .. luckily.

He is a funny guy to work with. Great producer and I think the combination of his extensive experience and my overly creative brain, makes a good combination, hahaha!

You are a songwriter open to suggestions and advice?

Hmmm … I will let you make an ass of yourself, trying to convince me ….. It’s dangerous to be a dictator… I will try things out, don’t expect me to like it or embrace it….

How long did the EP take to record? I ask as I hear you are unrelenting at times in your energy haha.

I did what I had to do in 11 days, well actually 10,one of those days was dedicated to bass … I recorded all vocals and came up with new ideas and variations as I recorded. Sterling wanted to try out how will this sound like with head voice, how will this sound like with chest voice, how will this sound like with head doubled with a chest voice 

I recorded rhythm and lead as well, and improvised some of the lead stuff, like the solo in Thou and some licks in Famous, I recorded 3 tracks of rhythms and wrote new arrangements as we worked our way thru the songs. To do all that in so few days, I think I almost drove everybody crazy with my energy. The short day in studio we worked 12 hours…lol

This is really an unfair question but what the heck hehe. Is there in hindsight anything on the EP which you would change or tweak?

No, I am done with these songs.

Conversely is there any moment that you are especially proud of?

Yes, I loved recording the vocals for Evolution as this is my favourite vocal line of all the vocal lines I have written. I was proud of all the solos, my favourite being the un-released one, funny enough. I guess it is hard to see yourself from the outside, so I surprised myself just as much as a surprised Sterling and my manager, haha. I was very happy when I was done recording rhythms for Thou – that was my proudest guitar moment – and the only time I had a little drink to celebrate, lol.

Are you a constantly active live band?

I bring in musicians when I need them … I will be doing more gigs from now on, as my main focus with all these demo recordings etc has been to develop my sound etc. I think I’ve done more than enough of that, I’m ready to go out and kick some f%$#@&*^  ass!

Is it just the trio onstage or do you add additional guitarists to bring your sound forth?

No other guitarist wanted.

Are you hard on them when they cannot match your own skill and creativity haha?

I have come to accept that you have two kinds of musicians, those who write and those who just wanna play. You cannot be an ass just because people are different, so as long as nobody is greedy and start making all kinds of outrageous demands, I’m okay.

Any shows lined up to promote the release?

Yes, In the UK, gonna play Bloodstock in August as well

What is next for The Commander-In-Chief?

I obviously need to be touring ,that is what people wanna see and that’s how you get a career in this industry. Personally: I wanna get a huge full length album out, I got lots of songs and I also want to re-record songs from demos etc …. my main goal as a creative person is to record as much as possible, I know what kind of videos I want, and usually have illustration ideas for my lyrics. On a different note I also design my own outfits, so I would be very happy to see all these ideas come to life, once and for all.

A great thank you for sparing time to talk with us, and good luck with Evolution not that you will need it.

Hmmm…you always need luck and someone, eventually many, who believes in you

Just like the Evolution EP does, would you like to leave with some words to fire up the readers?

Please check me out and buy my EP, and a t-shirt!! Tell your friends

Read the Evolution EP review @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2012/03/12/the-commander-in-chief-evolution-ep/

The RingMaster Review 15/03/2012

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