Biting Elbows: Self Titled

With enthusiasm and thoughts racing faster than fingers can type in praise of the debut self titled album from Russian punk band Biting Elbows, the ending line to it all is that this is a release which quite simply is magnificently sensational. Consisting of twelve diverse and imaginative slices of melodic punk in its varied guises the album alone from first note to last revitalises and instils a fresh breath to punk music, as well as putting the majority of current melodic punk bands to shame.

Formed in 2008, the Moscow based quartet of Ilya Naishuller, Garik Buldenkov, Ilya Kondratiev, and Alexei Zamaraev, has already inspired strong attention with first EP Dope Fiend Massacre and videos of songs from the release. It is fair though to say to most they are still an unknown but with their debut album that must surely change as nothing this good can remain a secret for long. Recorded across five Moscow studios the album without be openly political challenges injustices of personal and global heights with an infectiousness and irrepressible mischievous energy which one can only eagerly jump on board with.

The wonderfully varied and unpredictable album opens with the ska punk flavoured excitement of Toothpick. The lead single and video from the release, it is a pulsating and mesmeric piece of joy. Like a mix of [Spunge], Face To Face and King Prawn, the song ignites inner fires with sharp riffs and a hypnotic bass sound as instinctive and primal as you could wish for, whilst the vocals of Naishuller are wonderfully expressive and direct without corrupting the ear. To be fair discovering a truly original ska tinted punk song is beyond rare but Biting Elbows bring the strongest challenge to be heard in a long time.

As the opener drifts away the thought of wow that was good is quickly over ridden by the excellence of City Of No Palms and its gnarly bass and attention grabbing beats opening. An emotive sunrise of slashing riffs and stirring vocals over an irresistible persistent grumbling bass, the song is spiced with great group harmonies and incendiary reggae strokes as it builds to a crescendo of greedy energy and melodic beauty. The song ignites the territory bands like Living End owned with Biting Elbows easily rivalling their likes.

Angleton is another Living End type song with more than a whisper of Arctic Monkeys to its air, it is also stunningly delicious. The track is a continually rotating piece of brilliance in songwriting and sound, its orbit bringing the finest individual enterprise and imagination whilst its journey seamlessly crosses indie, classic, and pop punk with more added flavouring. Tight and highly charged inventively the band just stands out from the rest with the progress of the album only bringing confirmation time and time again.

The likes of the police violence addressing Rabid Red, the ska(rred) Who Am I To Stand Still with great brass interjections and warm unexpected keys, alongside the raw old school punk fury of Scaffolds On The Babylon with its Stiff Little Fingers like itch, all fully thrill and incite the emotions as well as continue the great diversity through the album. As much as one tries to temper the adoration with suggested flaws of weaknesses within the album there really is nothing to pull it up on.

The departing half of the album keeps the glory coming through the outstanding Dustbus and Kill The Cooks, but it is the twin masterpieces of The Enjoyers and World’s Most Important Something which steal the honours in the second half. The first as much as one tried to avoid the obvious comparison is vintage Green Day like though as everywhere the songs when heard out of context are distinctively and unmistakeably Biting Elbows. The song plays with the heart through witty lyrics and potent melodic teasing whilst the harmonica even in its relatively brief presence is like that extra tasty flake on the top of your ice cream. World’s Most Important Something is a riot of vintage punk with guitars inciting pure addiction and the anthemic hook of the song leading voice and spirit in a total union. Again one has to use the word brilliant, a word which most accurately describes the album.

Released via Misertia Records on July 23rd, the album which ends on the best melodic sunset a release could have in One Night In ’99 is exceptional. From the packaging with its great material lyric sheet through the additional DVD containing the three videos spawn from their debut EP on to the music, it is pure quality and easily one of the best releases this year whilst Biting Elbows has emerged as our new favourite band.

RingMaster 09/07/2012

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Dead City Ruins: Midnight Killer

Offering something insatiably energetic and imaginative as well as eagerly teasing the debut album from Dead City Ruins is one unexpected and impressive pleasure. It jumps all over the ear with a diversity and adventure which is refreshing and leaves one grinning ear to ear with satisfaction. Midnight Killer does not kick down any doors leading to new corridors of invention for rock n roll but it is certainly an album which is as enjoyable and invigorating as any other rock release this year and easily more impressive than most.

Formed in London in 2007, the now Melbourne based band infuse in to their core rock sound flourishing veins of classic metal, punk, and blues brought with a stoner and grunge breath. It is a brew which welcomingly leaves its eager mark long after departure to inflame an enthusiasm to constantly return. Sine their beginning the band took no time in drawing a respectful and consistently growing attention through live shows and their first EP Lost In London. 2010 though saw the band feel the need to search for a fresh and new direction which led them to move to Australia. Soon the line-up of vocalist Jake Wiffen, guitarists Tommy Teabag and Sean Blanchard, bassist Mick Quee, and Drewsy on drums came together and cylinders were firing on full high octane as the quintet ignited the likes of Australia, Dubai, England with their greedy rock n roll. Fifty plus gigs across eleven different countries saw Dead City Ruins share stages with the likes of Veins Of Jenna, Faster Pussycat, and Wraith to increasing acclaim which Midnight Killer and upcoming shows with Wolfmother, Gojira, and Mastodon can only accelerate as the band enslaves many more hearts.

Released 23rd July, the album did not initially ignite the fullest enthusiasm due to artwork which does not do justice to the quality within and an opening song which whilst strong and pleasing did not really unveil the full power and inventive engagement of the band. Opener Where You Gonna Run is fairly formulaic as a rock song but presented with an undeniable skill and energy which does only grabs attention. The track is an eager mix of Buckcherry and Wasted Sinners forged to a classic rock body and whilst it did not exactly light any fires it gives enough to keep one keen especially with some fine guitar work to dazzle the ear.

The following Damn My Eyes raises the temperature with its infectious and driving energy skewered with strong vocals from Tommy and the growling bass of Mick, whose play is the greatest lure from a multitude of irresistible beckonings across the album. With its bluesy air handing onto the scuzzy energy of My Lai Massacre the release is already a notable array of well crafted and blended flavours. Off of a pulsating and tingling electrified presence from guitar and bass the third song on the release is an exploratory handling of catchy invigorating riffs and rhythms punctuated with continually agreeable vocals and air blistering guitar imagination. The track has a smooth organic feel through all the manipulations and conjuring before the ear whilst the lyrics not exactly cutting offer a direct and open view.

The moment the heart was truly captured came as the title track takes its place before the ear, though it will be individual to all. From its opening incendiary guitar exploits the song steps into a hypnotic shadowed side street of glorious prowling basslines and wickedly tinted vocals. The beats keep the pace urgent and eager as the song storms with wonderful rages of stirring riffs and melodic hooks so impressively that even the continual thoughts of Rebel Yell cannot deflate the thrill of the song. The track is the point the band show their willingness to play with and venture into unexpected pastures and spicery to create something unique to them which they successfully do, yes there is probably nothing openly new but no one has combined and twisted it the way Dead City Ruins does so magnificently across the album.

The song is the beginning of a trio of outstanding highlights on the album. The obviously tinted Blues follows with a magnetic slow swagger and mesmeric breath to simply spark the strongest addiction. It is one of those songs which crawls mischievously through every pore to envelope one in a consuming warmth lined with aural entrapment so before you realise you are hooked for life. This glorious piece of songwriting is followed by another gem in Go To War. The song is less involved than the previous two but simply sparks up the senses with raging riffs and explosive guitar ventures. It is just unbridled rock n roll to feast upon with the added bonus of an excellent punk ending vocally Mr Lydon would be proud of.

Completed by the stomping and easy going Highway Girl and the excellent Fallen with the bass leaving us with one more gnarly orgasm of sound, Midnight Killer is just one of the most pleasurable rock albums to excite the ear this year. It is a release which lights up the senses whilst marking Dead City Ruins as possibly being one of the most important bands to emerge for the future of hard rock.

RingMaster 09/07/2012

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Bury The Hatchet: It Was Never Enough EP

The bottom line to the new release from UK metalcore band Bury The Hatchet is frustration. The Chatham quintet has such promise whilst their new It Was Never Enough EP is a release which is so near to being something special but all one is left focused on is the abrasive negative effect of the vocals. Whether it is an accumulative effect of so many emerging bands simply screaming their lyrics so that this release is the straw that broke…etc it is hard to say but after continually listening to the EP we could not tell you lyrically what is going on or really care as to appreciate what is musically at times an impressive release listening was about blocking out that side of the songs. This is not meant as an attack on vocalist Ray Hughes but on the direction so many young new bands are going. For every dissenting voice there will be another basking in the vocal delivery of course but when it has the effect of nails down the blackboard maybe time for some invention?

Aside from that aspect though It Was Never Enough shows some excellent ideas and individual ability to inspire only promise for the band and especially in two songs show what a fine band Bury The Hatchet is, which obviously adds to the personal frustration. Formed in the closing weeks of 2012, the band has built a good name for themselves through sharing stages with bands such as Feed the Rhino, James Clever Quintet, Brotherhood of the Lake, TurboWolf, and Hildamay, and their debut EP For What It’s Worth. They are a name which most UK extreme metal fans are aware of which is a feat in itself for an independent band in a crowded market place. The new EP gives evidence to why with its at times imaginative creativity.

The release opens with the brief and wonderfully emotive instrumental title track. Lone piano within an orchestral breath it leads straight into the rampaging But We Still Keep Moving. Firm rhythms from Tom Davis lead the way whilst the guitars of Rich Norton and David Greenslade brew up a dusty loud of inciteful intrigue. Within a step the song erupts into a storming surge of ferocious riffs and pummelling beats before pulling back the trigger for the rasping clutches of Hughes to permeate the song. With a style to keep throat lozenges in business for decades he scores the sounds with acidic venom which at this point is not a problem, the song nicely spacing its varied aspects with intelligence and skill. Uncompromising and direct the song does not offer anything new to what they and others have before but it is more than palatable.

Protest comes next, a song with disguised progressive tendencies which unleashes a sprawling maelstrom of diverse ideas pulling away from its core but staying well within the frame work of the song to make an unpredictable and engrossing track. The bass of Casper Howes is a prowling presence which one would like to hear more from within the production but is always a formidable plus to the tracks and here he adds a great menacing depth to draw one away from the by now punishing vocals.

Next up 0411 continues the exploratory intent of the band and though it at times feels like its destination is not quite clear to the band it is an inspired and pleasing addition to the release and one of two songs with the closer, which leads one to almost expect the band to evolve into something special. It is more technical than the others and looks into new spheres for spicery which not only works but is welcome.

Broken Soul is easily the best song on It Was Never Enough and like its predecessor is unafraid to unravel sounds to twist them into new blistering invention, the sonic discordance which coats the melodic fires of the song irresistible and the bass pulses alongside the corrupting beats addictive. The track switches through technical metal essences, thrash flavoured surges, and progressive imagination within the fire of aggression to leave one eager for more from the band those not as enthused as one would wish with the continued vocal direction.

Bury The Hatchet are definitely a band to keep an eye on with the EP showing good promise, one just hopes they and many other bands reassess their thoughts on the vocals.

RingMaster 09/07/2012

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