Wolves: Cycles EP

If you were fortunate to have been assaulted by previous EP Alpha Beta Omega from UK band Wolves, then steel yourself or run for cover as they unleash the destruction that is new EP Cycles. Whereas before they tested and brought down the senses with an aggression borne of their namesakes this times Wolves go on to gnaw and corrupt the carcass with even greater and imaginative violent eagerness.

The quartet from North Wales are no strangers to acclaim, their appearances during their still relatively short life alongside the likes of The Blackout, William Control, Fei Comodo, Shadows Chasing Ghosts, Polar, Evita and Blitz Kids let alone their previous release bringing strong and positive responses their way. Wolves are a band you do not forget in a hurry or want to. They do not make it an easy experience at times to share their company but always it is a fully intriguing and ultimately rewarding one. Releasing the Alpha Beta Omega EP in February the band took no time in writing and working on its successor Cycles. With four songs in the words of drummer Tom Williams which are ‘…based on the concept of human issues and struggles’, the band entered Orange Sound Studios in Penmaenmawr at the end of May to record in just two days the EP in its entirety. That drive is openly found on not only this release but the previous one too, the band determined yet controlled in forging their intent whether in ideas, sound, or its realisation for us.

The track Divide opens up the fury and is instantly a wonderful collision of crushing riffs, antagonistic rhythms, and vocals steeped in an even deeper well of venom, spite, and angst than seen before from the band. The song has a sheer hardcore punk attack which offers something different straight away from the band, the song rampaging like an aural rioter fuelled by rage and despair upon the senses. The track in mid torrent suddenly moves into a crawl of thick emotive energy which not quite doom or sludge sounds offers some of their tendencies before once more returning a storm of intensity through the ear. Ad Robinson is as uncompromising as ever but with the added diversity to his vocal attack through the unexpected aside brings something as agreeable and inventive as the coarse assault around him.

As second song Courage Breaker draws up on an excellent heavy steeled bassline from Ben Peers one is drawn like a magnet headlong into the following gale of corrupting riffs and electrified gashes of sound from guitarist Dan Hallows. It is glorious and leaves one breathless within moments allowing the song to permeate every atom with its rape of withering sonic manipulations and relentlessly jabbing beats. By this point one realises the band has sent the melodic side of their sound to its room like a naughty school boy. It is there toning the atmosphere of the songs but in a more inspiring than direct way, the tracks almost bruising the still defined emotive and evocative side of their music into realisation. It is an outstanding new approach and shows that whether their sound works for you or not, Wolves is extremely adept in their songwriting and for a band so young that only inspires greater anticipation for where they can evolve to.

Third song has the very apt title of Linger, its crawling venom and intense black breath remaining within past the song departure. Opening on a pulsating bassline accompanied at times by drums coming to the boil it is a haunting and ominous beginning. As the near desperate vocals of Robinson scour the ears with unbridled passion in a corruptive and clean delivery, the song winds its way through the ear igniting thoughts and feelings before its emotional collapse and heart given nightmare. A song to challenge deeper than ever and one to reawaken shadows within each and every individual it is a masterful violation and malignant intrusion which rewards more and more with each play.

Cycles ends on the equally senses staggering Dead Weight, its initial serpentine stalking a scarring and dehabilitating pleasure which explodes into another punk outrage of violence given birth from the blackest resentment and energy. The evolving air to the song is again like Linger, fully immersive, venomous and just as irresistibly dangerous to sanity.

As much as the last EP left only acclaim on the breath Cycles almost makes it look lightweight in quality and power, it is that good. Wolves are still a secret to most but surely now the country will awake to their monstrous quality.

Cycles is released July 9th and will be available for free on http://wolvesuk.bandcamp.com

http://www.facebook.com/wolvesuk

RingMaster 06/07/2012

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Fly This For Me: Making Shadows EP

Bringing a much needed muscular invention to the genre of pop punk /melodic punk, UK band Fly This For Me unleash their debut Making Shadows EP to excite and enthuse the ear. Well crafted the four track release is brought with a punk hunger driven by an expansive rock energy and intelligence to incite not only an immediate strong impression but also formidable promise for the future.

Guildford based, Fly This For Me officially formed in the closing blinks of 2011, with members which have their seeds across the UK. Already with a sound on the evidence of the EP which is fresh and evolved beyond just infectious easy to swallow hooks and unbridled keen riffs, the quintet has persistently lit up stages shared with the likes of Blitz Kids, Feed the Rhino, Lost Boys, Marines, Eager Teeth, fiN, and POLAR. It has been a constant garnering of positive responses which with the national release of the EP on July 16th can only accelerate to greater heights and recognition. The release has already been preceded by the video/single Making Shadows taken from the EP released in April, the sparks of acclaim it inspired ready to burst into full flame with the unleashing of these four impressive songs.

The release leaps into view with the sparkling She Said, its entrance more subdued than rushed to make a warm invitation which is lined with stirring riffs and provocative melodic beckoning. Vocalist Tim Cowen instantly marks himself as an expressive and powerful aspect of the sound, his emotive lyrical delivery as appealing as the magnetic sounds around him. The guitars of Sean Kelly and George Rockett light the air with skill and invention to bring a full mesmeric body and incendiary atmosphere to the track. Standing somewhere between the likes of Alexisonfire, Mind Museum and a Foo Fighters/Hundred Reasons like combination, the song is a strong trigger to set the senses up for what emerges as even more satisfying pieces of songwriting.

We All Fall Down takes no time in winding the ear around its hard rock veins of power, the drums of Joe Balchin taking charge from the off whilst the bass of Hannah Greenwood ripples with an intensity which though not always as clearly heard as one would wish adds the depth to make the songs impactful and rounded. The song teases and badgers, twisting with further melodic manipulations from the guitars to fire up the emotions whilst the vocals are as earnest as their delivered content.

Title track comes next and amongst the other unmistakably great songs stands as the best. With a discovered urgency to its breath Making Shadows is a controlled riot with the raw and anthemic edge the best punk inspired songs always have. Fully contagious though again without offering the easy infection of simple hooks and easy to consume melodic candy, the track is a feast of energy, invention, and unreserved heart pleasing rock.

The closing Rock Bottom is equally striking with the band returning to a fuller rock body beneath the hungry air of the song. The track evolves within its wall to be as unpredictable as it is siren like, that infectiousness previously mentioned in full reign here though one more without resorting to the easy pick up lines of other less able bands and songs.

Making Shadows EP is a real pleasure which from its initial impressive introduction grows into a real gem the more one engages their time with it. The release also marks Fly This For Me as a band offering not only a bright and promising future for themselves but for UK rock music too.

www.facebook.com/FlyThisForMeUK

RingMaster 06/07/2012

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Native Roses: Colours EP

Instantly enamoured by and in love with the single Out of the Water from UK band Native Roses which was released a mere few days ago as a teaser for this their forthcoming EP, there was no holding back when the chance to fall within the arms of said release came immediately after. Released July 16th the Colours EP is a glorious continuation on the passion and emotion seeded by the single. Containing four songs which light up thoughts and senses like a burning sunset, the release leaves one immersed in a caress of melodies and harmonies brought by uplifting sounds borne of touching and incisive songwriting.

The Brighton based folk rock band, to find some kind of tag, formed out of the band Modern Fighting Vehicles. Initially Native Roses alongside James Knaggs, Jacob Stevens, Moses Bogarde, and Jessica Illsley, also contained Jasmine Bogarde the sister of Moses, now better known and successful as Birdy. As her career took off she left the band whilst as the new release shows Native Roses grew into something rather special themselves.

Released on Creek Records, the EP was created alongside former Roxy Music member Guy Fletcher and multi-platinum songwriter and Dire Straits founding member, John Illsley. More importantly it sets Native Roses as one of the most inspiring and imaginative bands to emerge recently, their charm and emotively striking sounds destined to captivate and mesmerise all hearts whatever their genre preferences.

The title track opens up the release with an ear stroking blend of lone guitar and male vocals which makes for an instantly absorbing start especially when female vocals paced by a velvet bass notes joins the affair. As the song spreads its embrace the band draws senses, emotions and heart into a vibrant blazing sun of inspiring melodies and harmonies fused with striking and perfectly textured sounds. As the track departs the urge to fall into its arms immediately again rather than delighting in the other songs is almost overwhelming, though by its end that is repeated on every one of the treasures with Colours.

As much as the other tracks are excellent the aforementioned single Out Of The Water still leaves the deepest pleasure and its presence within the EP only raises the already heated temperature to a dizzying height. In the single review we did of the song we compared it to a heated hybrid of Chris Isaak, Dennis Hopper Choppers, Mariachi El Bronx, and Arcade Fire and in hindsight that is still the most apt description. Like a walk through a Summers day in the West under a hypnotic eager sun the song is a weave of beauty in sound and voice. The dual male and female vocals leave one swooning in their majesty whilst the contagion of sultry and sublime sounds is nothing short of magnificence. By its end you easily find yourself wiping the beads of sun drawn perspiration from the brow having been pulled fully in to its world.

Jungle Moon Ballad brings a change in energy as well as showing the strong variety to the Native Roses sound and songwriting ability. It moves carefully through the senses in reflection and reserved passion reminding of the heart driven sixties epics from the likes of the Walker Brothers and Roy Orbison. Whether you call it folk, country, or Americana the song has a persistent pull upon the heart as its dawning emotion and resourceful caress leaves warm lingering fingerprints upon the senses.

The EP closes with Reconciler’s Hymn another deeply emotive song which is in no hurry to come to the boil, its initial air a brooding piece of creative grace. As it emerges from its shell the song without entering a riot throws over the ear an anthemic eagerness and irresistible urgency.  As before vocally and musically the band are nothing less than stunning and skilled.

Native Roses is a mighty creature which it is impossible not to find deep affection for. Whether they will consume the hearts of all musical creeds time will tell but the Colours EP is one impressive way to start trying.

http://nativeroses.com/

RingMaster 067/07/2012

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From Ashes Rise: Rejoice/The End Rage Of Sanity 7”

Just the news alone after a nine year wait of new material from US band From Ashes Rise was sure to have the juices of all hardcore punks flowing with unbridled anticipation. Once they finally hear the unmistakably impressive and powerful duo of songs making up their new single, fans will be in a fully satisfied meltdown. Following on from the Nightmares album of 2003, if nine years can be called a follow-up, the release shows the band just as mighty and destructive as ever. The often acclaimed pioneers of modern crust punk have quite simply returned to show they still are one of the bands to inspire and help lead forward the genre and extreme punk of all aspects.

Formed in Nashville during the mid nineties before relocating to Portland, Oregon, the band has through a trio of albums and numerous EPs and split releases not to mention their rushing live shows, helped shape the hulk and presence of hardcore punk alongside bands like Tragedy and His Hero Is Gone. Their absence in past years has been felt certainly by punk fans and their return with what is undeniably one of the best releases of the genre in a long time an impatient wait for a great many.

Released July 16th via Southern Lord the twin track single shows the decision to pack it in as From Ashes Rise in 2005 and try new ventures has ultimately energised and inspired their work as individuals and a band. Evidence was given towards that by their acclaimed bullying of stages with their aggressive compulsive sounds when returning in2009, the single proves it. Sometimes these things have to happen for a band and artists to inspire or re-energise their hearts and power, certainly for guitarists/vocalists John Wilkerson and Brad Boatright, bassist Derek Willman, and drummer Dave Atchison, it has lit sparks going by the two tracks here to ignite even greater fires within.

Rejoice The End broods with menace and brewing intensity from its start, the guitars stirring up the air around the ear with deliberate aggressive intent whilst the rhythms of Atchison thump across the senses with a predatory energy. As the track spreads into every pore with its corruptive and challenging breath it bristles with a caustic and rasping energy whilst the vocals send the senses safety reeling into provocative thought and the fullest satisfaction. The song takes a mid way break or respite on the coarse assault to intrigue at first, its presence a preparation for the returning tempered storm of riffs and bludgeoning rhythms. The track is openly infectious and arguably more melodic and definitely if one dare use the word lighter than expected from the band but no less impressive and powerful.

Other track Rage Of Sanity unleashes its punk heart from the very first note, a riotous explosion of pissed off riffs, barracking vocals, and beats to take knees to the floor. Far more greedy than its partner though no less hungry, the song goes for the jugular throughout. Punk at its best it brews up a storm of sounds across the spectrum reminding of the likes of Discharge, Exploited, Minor Threat and Motorhead but all very much From The Ashes. With a surer intent than Rejoice The End to annihilate the safety net within and leave one grasping for support from its mere two and a half minute assault, the track is a violation of glorious punk rock, deceptively simple and skilfully crafted.

The return of From Ashes Rise may be over due but they have made the wait worth ever second with their Rejoice The End/Rage Of Sanity 7”. All that is left to say is bring on an album.

https://www.facebook.com/fromashesrise

RingMaster 06/07/2012

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