Letters:The Halfway House

Having already treated us to the exceptional sounds of the singles Pipe Dreams, Grand National, and Flash! Lights, Edinburgh dark cello pop band Letters return with new track The Halfway House as they build towards their forthcoming debut EP Older Motion Pictures due on the 19th of May. Once more the band ignites the senses with an expressive and emotive song that leads one in to their distinct world of creativity and beckoning shadows.

Letters have just touched a year as a band and with each release seem to grow and mature into an even stronger emotive force. Though only a few songs into their existence you feel each time they are already at their height, the singles so impressive but each subsequent track takes another distinct step forward, the band finding more and more within them and their creative well. This makes the anticipation for the EP even more acute and impatient.

Recorded and mixed with Stephen Watkins of TAPE Studios, The Halfway House is a stunning song bringing bulging dark rhythms and throbbing riffs into an even tighter mesh with glorious harmonies and impactful emotions.  Unavoidably the centre to the song is initially the wonderful vocals of guitarist Mikey Ferguson and the delicious moody cello ingenuity of Georgie Williamson, whose own vocals make the perfect contrast and companion to those of Ferguson. As the song plays and plays upon the ear though it is not long before the energy and artistry of the whole band reveals itself as the heart to their poignant and impressive sound. Fellow guitarist Ed Ellis lays intricate guitar sounds to exploit in the best way the senses whilst the bass of Dougie Fuller yet again sets the darkest deepest tone to the song with a greedy passion. With the rhythms of drummer Kerr Donaldson framing and guiding, the song takes the heart on an anthemic journey that leaves one mesmerised and glowing.

The Halfway House builds to an infectious crescendo that leaves one breathless, though they have you hooked and gasping within the opening seconds of the song to be honest. The band takes you on an honest stark trip with their every song, The Halfway House the most visual and effective yet. Lyrically the band weave images and emotions just as they do sound, and are proving to be one of the most complete bands that grace the ear right now and it feels only a few steps away that the strongest recognition awaits.

Letters offer the soundtrack to your emotions, heart, and shadows; they make exceptional music and perfect songs as The Halfway House proves. The only problem with them is whatever they give is never enough. One blissful single and one is longing for more, for the EP and for sure once that feeds our greed the longing will be for an immediate album. Letters are not just good; they are an essential breath within music.


RingMaster 19/03/2012

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Letters head out on a Scottish tour with ‘Where We Lay Our Heads’ in March to celebrate the single release.


21st – Glasgow – Captain’s Rest

22nd – Inverness – Hootanannys

23rd – Thurso – Newmarket Bar

24th – Skye – Saucy Mary’s

25th – Edinburgh – Wee Red Bar


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Furyon: Gravitas

You can hear great things about a band as the promotion wagon behind starts its mighty trail enticing the eyes of the world but until you finally get your ears upon the sounds of said band do you obviously find the depth to the truth. With UK rock band Furyon the words written certainly do justice to the band and an album that is deeply impressive and thoroughly uplifting.  Gravitas strikes up the heart with an engaging bounty of rock sounds sourced from their hearts and the world around bringing influences and flavours from across multiple genres. The release is a mighty slab of songs infused with heavy metal, prog, and classic rock as well as some tasty metal touches, all flavours the band from Brighton cut their musical tastes upon.

Having evolved and grown over a few years Furyon entered a studio in Atlanta in 2009 with Platinum selling US Producer Rick Beato (Shinedown, Fozzy and Vince Neil), the result from this vibrant link-up and creative meeting being Gravitas. A limited run of 2000 copies of the album took them to the attention of the likes of Metal Hammer and Classic Rock magazine, each featuring tracks on their over mounted CDs. Two videos followed, one for the subsequent single Disappear Again, each again grabbing more and more eager acclaim and attention, and all the time the band reinforced this tide of recognition with blistering live shows and appearances at the likes of Bloodstock, Hard Rock Hell, Hammerfest, and High Voltage. Now following a management deal with Germany’s Rock N Growl and a link up with Frontiers Records Gravitas gets its full debut and rock music is set to feel a new breath of freshness following through its veins.

Consisting of vocalist Matt Mitchell, guitarists Chris Green and Pat Heath, bass guitarist Alex Bowen and drummer Lee Farmery, Furyon grab the ear from the opening guitar invitations of opener Disappear Again and never releases until it is ready to depart when it chooses. The song epitomises the whole album, infectious, intelligent and unafraid to court the ear with addictive melodies, heavily loaded riffs, and a catchiness which is hard to deny submission to. The song has a sound seemingly melded from the likes of Adrenaline Mob, Alice In Chains and Soundgarden with extra classic rock essences, a mesh that ensures nothing but keen attention going its way.

Following track Stand Like Stone immediately shows the diversity to the band and sound, its heavy tumbling rhythms and formidable metallic riffs thunderous as they burst through the ear. With a groove that beckons like a loose woman the song fills every pore with well crafted melodies and the impressive vocals of Mitchell. In two songs he sets the quality of his tones and delivery high something that never drops throughout the album. The guitars and melodies are quite wanton, eager to excite and thrill, which they do with incredible songwriting skill and realisation.

Songs like the excellent Souvenirs with its lovely deep crusty bass lines, New Way Of Living offering a glorious hard rock/grunge majesty, and the mesmeric Wasted On You, come and go with wonderful quality and the ability to light up the senses. Gravitas is an album despite or rather due to its open diversity and adventure that has a consistency which is refreshing, not once does any of their ideas or surprising avenues fail to connect fully. There is one track that eclipses all though and that is the magnificent Desert Suicide, a song not as obvious as others maybe but one which marks the band already as a mighty addition to rock and gives evidence of what they will yet evolve into. The song meanders in with a mystical and a subdued atmosphere, the guitars slow to reveal themselves fully and the vocals reserved. Soon it evolves into a mighty beast of sound, slowly pacing around the ear before its muscular legs start to run with the senses though it never explodes outright. The song is truly stunning, addictive and unpredictable; the height of invention without indulgence, a stirring animal that remains inside long after the album departs.

Gravitas is an essential investigation for all rock fans; an album that only raises one question. If they sound this great with songs at least two years old how impressive must their new material be? Furyon will be massive, no question so join the ride from the start by grabbing yourself some Gravitas.

RingMaster 19/03/2012

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Cannibal Corpse: Torture

An increased maturity in songwriting skills and musicianship does not always mean greater and more impressive results from a band. Often there is the loss of the raw essences that made the band the mighty agents of sounds that captured legions of hearts at the beginning. This accusation has been thrown towards Cannibal Corpse over recent years by a great many, the albums within the latter of their twenty four years for some lacking the breath that put and kept them at the forefront of death metal. Others will be swift to stand up and disagree but whatever your view go into the  new and twelfth album from the band with open expectations for the quintet have just released a mighty benchmark for the genre in 2012. Torture is immense, an easy equal to the likes of Tomb Of The Mutilated, The Bleeding or Butchered At Birth.  Many will hold their hands up at that too and shout in disagreement but listen properly and you will see a freshness and intensity within Torture that is pure Cannibal Corpse, the band that defines death metal.

There is nothing vastly different to the sound within Torture, there is no major direction shift or delving into shocking variations, this is Cannibal Corpse doing what they do best but even better and as is almost expected from the band something which  very few can rival let alone beat. There is a fuller muscle to the biceps of their sound and more definition than before to create a release that is as brutal and intense as ever but with a more concise, tighter and leaner destructive craft. Here the previously mentioned maturity has meant a greater impressive creation and one to prove the band still lead the way in extreme metal. Those who had declared that the band has dipped recently will be raving at this staggering and essential release and those who argued the case for the later works of the band will just be nodding told you so.

From the opening merciless assault of Demented Aggression the album is unrelenting, a crushing obliteration of the senses as one expects and hopes. The track swarms all over the ear with vein puncturing guitars and riffs from Pat O’Brien and Rob Barrett, whilst the bass of Alex Webster growls and swipes with the blackest malice fuelled riffs possible. George Fisher spews treacle thick venom with every growled word, harsher and eviler than any demonic conjuration with the rhythms of Paul Mazurkiewicz leaving a pool of what were once feelings dripping from the ear, stunning stuff that is repeated track by track. This incessant attack and structure though comes with a diversity that had yet to be seen within previous releases from the band, each song easily identifiable and a standalone moment of high quality and ingenuity.

The likes of the prowling vindictive Scourge Of Iron and the manipulative Encased In Concrete demand submission in varied but equally irresistible ways. The first stands over the senses like the blackest beast, the amassed riffs and rhythms a weighty bulk to suffocate whilst a groove grinds its way through each and every nerve of the body with imagination and surety. The latter of the two sends acidic guitars in first before a winding groove twists and squeezes the nervous system tighter and tighter as riffs swarm around like a disturbed nest of poisonous wasps. Both are yet more delicious proof that Cannibal Corpse is one of the most vital bands for death and metal itself.

Torture is a release that defies any criticism; it really is that good and one that even the less frequent genre listeners will drool over. Each song a masterpiece topped by the two best songs, well for today as it is hard to stick with a choice, the album that impressive. The duo that take honours for now are Caged… Contorted and Crucifier Avenged, both songs Cannibal Corpse at their height with raw maliciousness combined with technical precision and imaginative creativity in sound and craft. To be honest though every song is a marker for how great the album is and whichever your entry point, it will sweep you up in its frenzied attack.

We are always looking for new and emerging bands but they will have to be special to come close to the might of Cannibal Corpse, they maybe veterans but they still rule the roost and drive death metal forward as Torture proves.

RingMaster 19/03/2012

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Since Monroe: Lost Generation

One year since their formation UK indie rock band Since Monroe mark the event with the release of their stunning debut EP Lost Generation. In the short time of being a band the Birmingham quartet has firmly grabbed attention and acclaim with their energetic punchy songs and live shows that leave a breathless crowd gasping for more. Lost Generation though will make those early months seem like a breeze upon their talents once it gets its four irresistible claws of sound into the ears of the masses and much larger waves of furore comes their way.

The EP rumbles, taunts and lights up the senses with irrepressible melodies, barbed hooks, and an infection which no cure can alleviate, though once it gets its eager sonic grip around the ear there is only welcome submission to the incredible sounds on offer. With a blend of indie rock, punk, and garage rock each and every one of the four songs the EP consists of takes the heart on a vibrant and tumultuous ride, battering and serenading to equal effect. Released on Younitee their own label, Lost Generation is a deep feast of constant pleasure.

The release opens with all systems blazing and intensity notched to full. DJ swaggers in with hefty dirty riffs and a broad powerful sound. The bass of Matt Tregortha growls from first note to last, a beast awakened whilst the guitars of Trig and Andy Clifford rile up the senses with sounds pulled from the hottest garage pit. It is delicious; the intense building wall of dark grumbling sounds veined with impressive melodic vocals and all caged by the firm rhythms of drummer James Bradley is like a caged prize-fighter, tight, lean, and muscular. It is a mighty and impressive beginning.

Jack Kahuna Laguna takes over with the same intent to consume and exhilarate which it does to great satisfaction. The blues tinged guitars make contact first before the return of the weighty formidable riffs the band offer with the ability of seasoned veterans. As with the opener and the remaining two songs, the track is welcomed like a heartfelt friend, it has a kind of familiarity which enables one to jump into and join in with the catchy choruses and vein bursting energy. The riffs hold one down firmly to allow the other elements of the song to manipulate and pleasure.

Another strongly agreeable bass riff veins the title track. Like an unrelenting siren the fingers of Tregortha prowl and pounce upon the ear as they bring a deep addictive to the senses, his strings confident and sure of total submission to their dark charms. Lost Generation mixes up the pace and intensity to great and well written effect, allowing the ears to take a swift breath before once more thrusting enthused punk fuelled rock through them. The song builds to and ends with a climax that a media image would have one smoking a cigarette after, if you get my drift.

Three amazing songs down with Satellites left to try and complete the impressive release. The song is a lighter though no less lustful a track. Whilst the first three songs brought a sound which one could compare to a mesh of bands like Foo Fighters, The Libertines, and the Buzzcocks plus also The Psychedelic Furs which for no obvious reason kept coming into the head as the songs swaggered over the ear, Satellites has a definite Weezer influenced sound. With a coarse pop tone and caustic melodies the song shows a different edge to the band, a variety which engages just as firmly. The song does not have quite the power and grip of the previous trio but it still sets the band ahead of the majority of other bands around, many who have been trying to sound this good for years.

Lost Generation is a thoroughly impressive EP, and the mighty introduction to the UK of possibly the most exciting band to emerge in at least the past year.  Since Monroe with the EP has opened their door to a world of deeply satisfying and invitingly dirty senses teasing pleasure. You just need to walk right on through with Lost Generation.


Ringmaster 19/03/2012

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