.damaged Interview

Like everyone we are always looking out for something new to light up the internal fires and bring something different to the ear. German band .damaged is one band this year which has certainly managed to do that with their excellent Road Trip EP. Without particularly breaking down new doors the band creates the kind of rock music which ears and hearts were evolved for. We had the opportunity to find out more about the young band and their music as they sat down to our questions and inquisitiveness.

Hi and welcome to The Ringmaster Review.

Hello and thanks for having us!

Tell us about the beginning of the band and its members.

We founded .damaged in 2008 with Flo, Alex and Sven. It was easy to get the connection to Christian because he played several projects with Alex and Sven before. Phil was the lead singer of a band we knew from our rehearsal room. The band broke up and so Phil decided to join .damaged!

Initially you were without a lead vocalist and second guitarist was it evident early on you needed to expand he line-up?

Yes, it was important for us to find a second guitarist and a vocalist as soon as possible because otherwise our music wouldn’t have worked! So with Phil and Christian we completed the band.

How long did it take to find the right people?

It didn’t take long to find the right people. We only had one change with Pascal who played at least one show with us and then decided to go into another music genre.

Once the band was settled original songs quickly followed?

They followed quickly but first we started out with punk rock. It took us almost two years to finally figure out in which direction we wanted to head with the band. Or in other words: To reach the ROAD TRIP.

And that the settled line-up led to live shows quickly too one can assume?

We watched out for gigs all the time, especially for band contest cause they give you the opportunity to play in big venues and more than one show if you convince the crowd and win the voting.

In 2010 we made the 4th place at the Emergenza contest in the local final, that brought us to Amsterdam! We also had the chance to play a support gig for David Reece and two shows on Ibiza in a Bar called “Hogans Rock Bar”.

With Sven on drums there was obviously that link to his father Udo Dirkschneider but one guesses there was the intention to do it alone as a band. Were you able to draw on his experiences though for advice?

We would lie by saying that we’re not glad to have that connection but the most of the things we’ve done came up from our minds. Anyway the experience of Udo and the rest of the band U.D.O., particularly the recordings of the EP in the studio with Stefan Kaufmann, is something that you can’t buy!

Tell us about those early songs and their subsequent recording.

In the beginning we were influenced by a lot of punk bands from America and our songs were similar to them. Because Flo has worked in an event engineering company we could borrow the stuff we needed to record the songs in our rehearsal room.  We recorded the songs twice but we weren’t satisfied with the results anyway.

As you said those songs were more punk driven songs compared to your later ones, what inspired the shift in direction?

By getting a bit older we expanded our interests in different rock styles. And that is how it came that we began to create a concept, which combined elements of the classic rock and metal styles with a modern attitude.

Around this point in the band timeline you were gigging heavily and occasionally beyond your homeland?

Yes it’s true we were gigging fucking heavily and that was a whole new experience for us. Above all the gigs in Spain and the Czech Republic showed us a new professional level back in these days.

I read that the band locked themselves in a rehearsal room to create the new collection of songs with the new direction in style, was it like that in reality?

This is a totally true story.

The new songs which emerged from the band felt as if the true .damaged had emerged or was just part of the bands continuing evolution?

It was a break in the story of our band because we didn’t continuously work to that point but it came from one day to another.

You recorded your latest EP Road Trip as you said with U.D.O. guitarist and producer Stefan Kaufmann. Was it a simple case of asking for his contribution?

We have to disappoint you but it was not just a case of asking. Fortunately the guys of U.D.O. were already interested in what we did, so logically we showed them the new stuff as well. By hearing this Stefan decided to help us to record our first professional EP!

Tell us about the recording of the EP.

Of course it was a big experience for us to record the EP with Stefan. And we learned a lot in the studio. It’s really great when you have your first professional recording and the guy behind the mixer knows what he is doing!

When we reviewed the release we said it comes without frills and plays like a buddy that you know well and without trying have a strong affection for. Does that sound fair?

It sounds fair so far because we’re really happy with the result of the EP. But after writing new songs, which are not always as straight as the first ones we will try to work more with effects and stuff to let the album kick your ass even more!!

How did the shows with U.D.O. last November come about?

After we were done with the recordings we gave the songs to U.D.O. and in the late summer when we were on our holidays on Ibiza Udo told us that we can support them on three shows.

Are there new recordings in the pipeline?

As we said we wrote enough songs for a whole album now we just need to get the material into the studio.

How have the songs you are now writing changed from not only those early days but Road Trip?

In our opinion with every song we write we think there is still a progress going on.

What is next for .damaged?

We have a few gigs coming up in July! One is the opening slot on the “Out Loud Festival” at the arena in Trier, Germany.  In August we’ll have a little break, but after that we’re still on the hunt for more gigs until the end of the year!

Any chance the UK will get to see you guys live in the foreseeable future?

We hope so!! We will try anything to get to the UK as soon as possible!!!

Many thanks for chatting with us, have you any final words for sure to be future fans of the band?

Many thanks for the invitation to the interview.

And to all you rockers out there: visit us on our homepage or on our Facebook page; listen to our songs on Youtube!!! Hope to see you somewhere on stage!!!  Rock on!!!

Find out more about .damagedhttps://www.facebook.com/damagedmusic



Read the Road Trip EP review @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2012/04/24/damaged-road-trip-ep/

The Ringmaster Review 03/07/2012

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Fist Full Of Lies: If It Wasn’t For This,I’d Still Have Everything

Explosively stunning the debut EP from post hardcore band Fist Full Of Lies is a startling arrival of a new and real force in UK rock music. Armed with all the essential punk tendencies and attitude you could wish for the Norwich quartet take the post hardcore genre into new exciting storms of sounds and quality. Fresh and eager the band is a breath of new inspiring air and the If It Wasn’t For This, I’d Still Have Everything EP the mightiest of introductions.

Formed in 2010, the foursome of vocalist/guitarist Ben Taylor, guitarist Sam Taylor, bassist Rikki Assuncao, and drummer Ash Griffiths took no time in gaining a responsive attention with a free download track in the same year and subsequent sharing of stages with the likes of Atlas & I, Mishkin, Evarose, Everything Burns, Mallory Knox, and Depth. Taking influences and inspiration from such bands as Alexisonfire, At The Drive-In, Deaf Havana, Avenged Sevenfold, Gallows, and The Bronx, Fist Full Of Lies have forged their own sound and distinct identity which not only sets them apart but fires up the expectations that the band will be a major player in defining future UK rock music.

From the start the EP slaps the senses to attention with the hungry Curses. From a prodding of guitars the song erupts into an agitated brew of plaintive vocals, their delivery as expressive and open as the feisty sounds surrounding them. The beats of Griffiths are like steel jabs, clean yet dominant whilst the bass of Assuncao prowls with a menacing presence amongst the crashing riffs and evocative melodic enterprise. The song courts the ear with heated suggestion and enthused energy to make for a striking and excellent start to the release.

The great start though is shown to be just the beginning as the following I’m Jack’s Lingering Regret stands beating its chest with even greater invention and irresistibility. Thumping rhythms take charge first as the guitars and bass crowd the ear with expansive and beefy sounds. Soon joined by a hypnotic melodic hook to drool over, the song stalks the senses with a punk confrontation to the emerging emotive air. Vocally Ben Taylor is impressive and already marks himself as one of the best new voices to be unleashed this year, his delivery and control a perfect compliment and foil to the sounds and lyrical intent.

Waiting steps up next to keep things just as tight and explosive as those songs leading to its entrance. The track is an unpredictable riot of thought and expression from all departments and with a dual vocal attack at times it ruffles the ear with a rawness which ignites an even deeper enthusiasm for the band. The song alone shows why the band stands out from the crowd, its imagination and desire to venture down initially disguised avenues and enflame the passions as it goes with an anthemic intent is sheer quality.

If It Wasn’t For This, I’d Still Have Everything finishes with Bitterness Got The Better Of Me, a dramatic and dynamic closure to the release with as much ferocity in its bristling walls as arguably on the other songs combined. The track leaves the senses ringing and desperate to feel the force of Fist Full Of Lies immediately again, impassioned and unforgettable its departure the instant trigger for another thrilling engagement.

Fist Full Of Lies has surprised, their sudden and impressive presence from out of nowhere for most of us an unexpected gift and the reassuring declaration that British rock music is not only in safe hands but inspired ones.


RingMaster 03/07/2012

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Forefather: Last Of The Line


There is nothing like an epic slab of pagan metal to get the blood pumping around the veins and juices flowing, something the new album from UK metalers Forefather does with ease. A fully rampant and magnetic release, Last Of The Line is the sixth album from the band and sees them return with broader inventive melodic strokes within even fuller stirring and insatiable atmospheres than ever before. An album to draw out the warrior within and trigger tribal urges, Last Of The Line leads one through soundscapes borne of battlefields and uncomplicated yet dangerous times. It is a glorious release which satisfies on every level.

Formed in 1997 Forefather is the creative union of brothers Athelstan and Wulfstan, the Surrey pair taking their source and inspiration from the Anglo-Saxon roots of their homeland. Musically the band creates an irresistible weave of folk and pagan metal veined with gothic signatures and ancient anthemic energies which finds them crossing genres through the crusading and historic marches masquerading as mere songs. 1997 saw their self released debut album Deep Into Time followed three years later by The Fighting Man. With each release the band has earned a deserved reputation and acclaim especially within folk and pagan metal spheres, something which third album Engla Tocyme only reinforced. In 2003 Forefather signed with Karmageddon Media for the release of fourth album Ours is the Kingdom a year later as well as the re-release of their first three full lengths. Highly regarded the band went from strength to strength through varied compilation appearances and after a delay their fifth album Steadfast emerged in 2008, again a self released on their new label Seven Kingdoms.

Last Of The Line again released on Seven Kingdoms at the end of last year, is now given a digital release through Metalhit.com and again reminds the Scandinavians and pagan metal bands everywhere that the UK has one of the best within its shores. The album opens up the ears and heart with Cometh The King, a short intro/instrumental heralding the impending majesty and epic tale of the album ready to surge through the countryside of the senses. It leads straight into the title track and instantly one is immersed within the expansive ancient atmosphere and heart driven epic intensity. The song gallops the fields of pleasure like a messenger at full pelt on his muscular steed, its grace and compulsive breath impossibly infectious and incendiary upon the emotions.

From arguably the best song on the album next tracks in the equally eager Chorus Of Steel and By They Deeds light up the air. The first is an insatiable feast of hypnotic riffs and heart thumping rhythms blistered with acidic melodic guitar play and testing atmosphere. Vocally the delivery is primarily harsh which personally does not quite live up to the tracks where the band brings their fully impressive clean vocals through. This has always been the case and always will for these ears, their anthemic sky reaching melodic harmonies far more effective than the aggressive guttural venom. That said the band as proven in the brilliant By Thy Deeds generally find the perfect mix. Another song to challenge for top honours it is aural contagion from the mesmeric atmosphere, triumphant vocals, and the imaginative guitar manipulation.

As the album tours its landscape and emotive tales, songs like Up High with its mesmeric beauty, the raging juggernaut Wolves Of Prayer, and the continually evolving Doomsday Dawns, exhilarate and engage in their individual armour and faces. They are eclipsed though by the excellent Shadows Of The Dead, a song one can only describe as Billy Idol meets Ensiferum on the set of fifties TV show Robin Hood. The track opens with a melodic infection which reminds of the main hook in the song White Wedding before digging into its shadows and aggressive depths to rile up the senses. As the song takes a breath between the intense and malevolent passages it comes straight for the heart with a melodic infection as irresistible and surging as the theme music to the aforementioned show.

As a whole Last Of The Line is outstanding, every song adding its weight towards the ignition of the passions for a reward which pagan/folk metal fans will fall for.


RingMaster 03/07/2012

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Primate: Draw Back A Stump

A brawling and bruising riot of hardcore and grindcore, Draw Back A Stump from Atlanta punks Primate is a no holds barred storm of satisfaction. It does not exactly rip up trees of originality but just flattens the whole forest with insatiable energy, formidable aggression, and an irresistible dirty infection.

Originally self released as an extremely limited edition the album has been remixed and remastered by Relapse Records and set up with extra bonus tracks. As much as limited releases have that added appeal, if you manage to grab one anyway, it would have been criminal for an album like Draw Back A Stump to have remained out of the reach of genre fans at large.

Primate is the unleashing of the combined talent of Brutal Truth vocalist Kevin Sharp, Mastodon and  ex-Lethargy guitarist Bill Kelliher , bassist Dave Whitworth (Timebomb77, The Despised and Otophobia), guitarist Mike Brennan (The Despised, Otophobia and currently Javelina), and drummer Shayne Huff (The Despised, Bloody Sods and Virulent Strain). The band is an all muscular cast of musicians steeped in extreme punk creativity and outstanding musical brutality leading to no real surprise as to how good Draw Back A Stump is. The album is not simply a harsh obliteration of the senses with the deepest attitude but a release which pulls in eager tendencies from stoner and sludge metal as well as some simple in your face punk. It is a feast of sounds which do exactly what they say on the tin, leave one grinning in an eagerly offered up pool of willingly given blood and sweat.

The title track ignites the riot with an immediate inciting bass riff and hypnotic beats whilst guitars stroke the ear with a caustic grin. It soon emerges as a mischievous stomp, its energy tempered as if sizing up and picking spots with its riled riffs and hungry intensity. Though a mere one and a half minutes it is an opener to light the touch paper for an inferno of passion every time, those fires further fanned by the following blistering Global Division. The music sets one up for the contempt and aggressive breath of the song, Sharp wonderfully forcing it through the ear with his unmistakeable scathing growls. As the song feasts upon the senses the band reminds of old UK punks Angelic Upstarts, Sharp delivering a similar attack and delivery to vocalist Thomas (Mensi) Mensforth.

The song leads immediately into Hellbound with the great rhythms of Huff directing proceedings and inviting the rest of the band to lay down a contagion of grooves and incendiary riffs for a direct pleasuring of the heart. As those before and all to follow the song is fully anthemic and in control of emotions and limbs from first note to last. With guitars scorching the atmosphere with blazing chords and sonic fallout the track is glorious something you have to tag the whole album as.

Tracks like Silence Of Violence with its distressed stoner rasp and the out and out rock roll dirt bowl that is Drinking And Driving continue the outstanding quality and variety to the songs, both a mesh of greed and antagonistic teasing from riffs and rhythms let alone the fine guitar enterprise of Kelliher.

There really are not enough words to say how enjoyable and gratifying Draw Back A Stump is. Ok it does not break through to build new boundaries for hardcore and punk but it hardly matters when the band do something much better than most other similar veined bands and openly different to what the members are recognised for.

Closing with more brawls called songs like Wasted Youth, Pride, and Reform?, the album leaves one desperately hoping there will be more from Primate which is the indication otherwise that would be another crime in the making.


RingMaster 03/07/2012

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