Kingsize: All These Machines

The multi flavoured debut album from LA rock band Kingsize is a mischievous and intriguing little creature. Consisting of ten vibrant and thoroughly engaging tunes, All These Machines made this review one of the longest written time wise. The lengthy time was taken up spending ages trying to work out what and whom parts of the diverse songs sounded like. Surely the same with 99% of the releases I hear you say and agreed but with Kingsize they do not really sound like anybody, their compositions and sounds unique and distinct but like a seductive perfumes on other beautiful women fragrances of other artists would impose themselves before swiftly passing in a breath. This admittedly added to a deeply enjoyable and satisfying date with a long awaited and thrilling album.

L.A. based Kingsize first came to notice with their 2008 EP’s The Good Fight and The Bad Night. Between them they brought twelve captivating tracks which instantly made one stand up and take notice with a smile on the inside. Before then the band almost did not come to be as guitarist Cary Beare was planning to leave town disillusioned with things in search of his musical dream. Right before he was to leave old friend drummer Jason Thomas Gordon called him up to see if he wanted to jam. Thankfully this led to the duo impressed with what they created, to talk about forming a band. Agreement was reached but only on the promise that Thomas Gordon provided the band with the lead vocals, Beare loving what the drummer brought to their music and knowing no one else would do. Eventual agreement was the beginning of Kingsize, an initial duo added to when they heard bassist Matt DelVecchio in another band and told them “We’re stealing your bass player.”

Since their two EP’s the band has evolved into an important force on the Southern California music scene, as well as having three songs in popular videogame Rockband 3, writing the theme song for the CBS sitcom Gary Unmarried, and having a trio of songs included on the soundtrack of Philip G. Flores’ award-winning film The Wheeler Boys, not to forget their track Sweetheart, I’m Only Stopping to Start being placed the new Robert DeNiro movie Freelancers co-starring Forest Whitaker and 50 Cent. Now with finally the release of their excellent debut album, 2012 looks like being the year Kingsize steps out boldly into the wider world.

All These Machines opens with the high tempo enthused rock of Switch, an invigorating follow up to earlier songs like Miss America and Elevator, all insatiable rock music fused with the energy and thrust of garage punk and dirty rock n roll. The band has always been strong songwriters with an instinctive grasp on how to captivate their audience but within the first song there is already an apparent maturity and tighter feel to their music something the remaining tracks more then back up. With guitars that seek and rile up the heart and rhythms from bass and drums to get the pulse racing the song is rock at its easy best.

Following track Dead Broke continues in the same vein with air punching riffs and eagerly stomping rhythms. The garage feel continues to permeate and the flitting thoughts of other bands are in full swing. Essences of the likes of MC5 and Eddie and The Hot Rods come though then tastes of The Cars and Television, eclectic and quickly dissipating the spices are all there.

The variety of the album spreads from this point, with the pop orientated hypnotic Overdone, the soulful grace of The Technocratic, as well as the emotive ballads of the title track and the closing We’re All alcohol with its wonderful choir parts, all leading one by the hand down bright and distinctly different avenues.

The opening duo of songs excites deeply but the highlight of the release is Heart Surgery a song that brings Tom Petty, Tom Verlaine and We Are Scientists into an infectious twisting of the senses. With guitar melodies that burst like sunspots and a murmuring bass behind the great emotive vocals of Thomas Gordon, the song is a gem and glows brighter still with the classic rock fuelled solo Beare unveils. It is given a run for its money though by the Bowiesque Ambien with its Jean Genie driven stomp through the ear to make a quartet of songs the album is a must have for alone.

All These Machines is a party for the senses brought with thoughtful and well crafted sounds and invention. Kingsize are here and waiting your attention, it would be rude to make them wait surely. http://thisiskingsize.com

RingMaster 30/03/2012

 Kingsize are also involved with the wonderful Music Gives to St. Jude Kids campaign, a project created by Jason Thomas Gordon with the sole purpose of raising money and awareness for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (which Jason’s grandfather Danny Thomas, founded in 1962) through music-based initiatives.

Music Gives to St. Jude Kids has already forged partnerships with artists like Sheryl Crow, Kings of Leon, and Stone Temple Pilots and has garnered the sponsorship of both Live Nation and Ticketmaster to name a few.

For more information on this great project go to stjude.org/musicgives, thank you.

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General Surgery: A Collection of Depravation

If you are a goregrind fan and definitely a blood soaked follower of General Surgery than the release of A Collection of Depravation is a must investigate invitation. Having re-signed with Relapse Records recently the band has brought their rarer slices of bloodied mayhem from across their twenty odd years into a charnel house of pleasure in the shape of this compilation album. The thirty track medically ruptured colossus includes tracks from out of print singles, some vinyl only EP releases, unheard demos, songs that blistered compilations and also a few covers. With the release digitally remastered by Scott Hull of Pig Destroyer the result is an intense and malicious blood fest that if it is your kind of car crash tipple will please intensely, a gore hound metal treat.

General Surgery are often called Carcass clones which though it is easy to understand with the sounds the band violate with taking a definite lead from that band it has always been a harsh and uninspired comment to throw against them. Admittedly here at RR neither band has previously been high on our listening list or featured on our table of knowledge but the General Surgery sounds we have come across has always had that individual something to easily stand tall and distinct in their own right, the new release the proof.

A Collection of Depravation features almost every General Surgery line-up in their time, the members across the years having also featured in the likes of Dismember, Afflicted, Crematory, Nasum, Repugnant, Regurgitate to name a few. The release is a major slab of band and goregrind history which with its quality tracks and the considered attention given to its contents and release stands high amongst a flurry of rediscovered/re-released materials from bands in recent months.

The majority of songs on the album barely learn to count past two minutes, many much shorter but they still leave one breathless and eager for more of their intrusive festered sounds. Though their chosen structure the excellent Convival Corpose Disposal Methodology and its six minute carnage shows the band has the ability to turn their violations into an epic brutal assault just as easily and skilfully.

Personal standout tracks on A Collection of Depravation include the brilliant pair of Fulguration and Idle Teratoma Core, both offering a groove and hypnotic grind that leads one eagerly into the less welcomingly putrid blood baths elsewhere. The duo easily take top honours on the release but the likes of Mortuary Wars, Restrained Remains, Unruly Dissection Marathon, and Scalpel Infestation all are very impressive slabs of meat too as well as the excellent Xysma and Carcass covers of Foetal Mush and Empathological Necroticism respectively. There is no weak track anywhere to be fair, the proof of maybe how underrated the band have been.

A Collection of Depravation in many ways is mainly for goregrind and Swedish death metal lovers though there is plenty for other extreme metalers to get their kicks from within the release. As mentioned General Surgery has not previously been a band followed closely here but after this fine compilation a look into their other releases is certainly the next order of the day.

Ringmaster 30/03/2012

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Massive Assault – Death Strike

Death Strike the new album from Dutch death metal band Massive Assault is a bulging belligerent brute which does what it says on the tin, well as the band name suggests for sure. Through ten cantankerous bruisings called tracks the release thunders and bludgeons to great and eager effect. The admittedly album does not explore brand new avenues but instead draws a deep  energy and colossal sized sounds from the well of old school Swedish death metal linking it to veins of thrash, hardcore and seeping drops of punk. As a result Death Strike is a tanker of formidable fully charged metal that gets the job done to a fruitful and pleasing satisfaction.

Since their formation in the early part of the last decade Massive Assault has left lingering marks through early demos, their debut EP Conflict , their first album Dystopian Prophecies, and the Slayer EP of last year. They are a band that leaves one breathless even if unsurprised with each release, their sounds driven by a familiar flavour and direction but with a feel and energy that leaves many other similar spiced bands choking in their dust. Their second album released through FDA Rekotz, a label that impresses with each release they share to the world, sees the quartet again assault the senses with their expected and thrilling sound though with a possibly leaner and tighter craft to their compulsive creations. If the likes of Dismember and Entombed rile up your juices than Death Strike is an album for you, a release deeply footed in the pits of Swedish death metal but with more than enough freshly cultivated additives to offer not necessarily something markedly new but music that churns up your senses and hikes up the pleasure.

Opening track Drive towards Death sets out the intent of the album from the first note. Destructive riffs flying from every angle whilst a teasing groove from guitarist Fredde Kaddeth spears through the ear with mesmeric appeal so that within moments the song an essential treat. Alongside these delicious infectious manipulations the bass of Jozze lays darkened ominous muscular tones whilst the rhythms and beats of drummer Gideon strike with the precision of the keenest artillery.  It brings nothing remarkably original forward but the track is a wonderful irresistible partner in crime, a metal song that hits all the right spots.

The consistency across the album is high though some of that is down to the songwriting not worrying too much about being openly varied from song to song. That is not a big issue as the core sound and creativity is distinctly and strongly enjoyable and Massive Assault do add noticeable flavours to songs to stop them being simply reorganised clones, the likes of Plead Not Guilty full of punk infused energy and the excellent Pride adding a heavy metallic coating to its intensity.

Throughout vocalist Carl Christ spews out the lyrics with a delivery as caustic and venomous as the war born themes of the song, his unvaried delivery a vibrant stinging compliment to the combative sounds around him. Often lack of variety in vocals across a release is a negative but here it works perfectly, his inflections and the pacing of his grizzled assault controlled and intelligent.

As Death Strike sends its tracks relentlessly onward some songs leave a deeper enjoyable scar. Finished Sympathy tramples through the ear with a steady and even pace, its heavy weight consumption impressive as it crushes bone and sinew under foot. With rhythms using the senses like a punch ball the track leaves a gasping husk in its wake, an open victim for the following chug fest of Turning Tides. The slow stalk opening of the song prowls and glares, the muscles of the song flexing through swarming oppressive riffs and drums sure of their dominance. Eventually erupting into a gallop of thumping solid guitars and rhythms the track stomps all in sight whilst a brief but enlightened solo alleviates the pressure for a brief yet inspired moment.

Death Strike has no pretensions to be what it is not, the release simply a powerful and completely enjoyable unrestrained companion to share mayhem with. Massive Assault does not open new doors but they certainly make the room they command a very thrilling place to be in.

www.facebook.com/massiveassault

RingMaster 30/03/2012

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