Dope Body: Natural History

Baltimore band Dope Body is predominantly tagged as noise rock but they should just be under the category eclectically unique. They are likely to be alone in the list which is as it should be as despite the band drawing on a flourishing feast of influences and suggestions no one truly sounds like or comes near to Dope Body. With the release of their new album Natural History they have widened further that divide between themselves and the rest. There are plenty of exciting and discord driven noise rock artists out there but none use the tools with an imagination and skill to create songs which are maybe raw and jagged in their surface but have a rounded balance, an instinctive and rich life, and are near abhorrently senses disassembling.

Natural History is the second album from the band and named after the The Museum of Natural History in their home town where they played their first and meant to be one off show. Formed in 2008 the band felt and knew from the destructively chaotic sounds they were creating and success of the night this all felt right so they continued gigging and creating. Released via Drag City, Natural History is pure sanity bending air fragmenting sonic poetry and possibly the best aural treat since the big bang. It is a release and sound which will work for you or not but if it does its genius in its simplicity and complicated inventiveness.

How to describe the band? Well it is impossible as you will see when we mention some of the tracks but imagine a primal mix of At The Drive In, Hot Hot Heat, Morkobot, The Three Johns, World Domination Enterprise, and most definitely early Wire. Oh you can add a slither of your favourite sludge, stoner, and grunge band too for good measure…and still not really come close. It is an individual sound to the band which will bring different references from each individual who hears it, something one wishes all bands would give the problem of.

Dope Body makes initial contact through the disorientating Shook. At first it drops falling essences of sonics through the air before a bass pulse begins its bruise of the atmosphere and the vocals of Andrew Laumann score the ear with caustic and disentangled melodies. Air ripping and blistering the song is a sludge/doom driven intensity littered with inquisitive and ultimately challenging pokes and disturbances, a mighty corruptive start to check if one is up for the fun ahead.

The following Road Dog is quite simply wonderful and the first of an unrelenting feast of brilliance to leave one breathless and with the biggest smile possible. Stirring up the ear with prickly guitar strokes and near smooth melodies alongside perfect infectious hooks, the song explores the senses with acidic enterprise around the prowling bass of John Jones and the eager vocals of Laumann. It has that primal early Gang Of Four rhythmic core with a Clash/Rocket From The Crypt punk sound especially with the additional mid reggae additive. The garage feel of the song is strong too and all in all is simply magnificent.

Beat and Twice The Life manipulate and ignite the passions further. The first is a striding beast of discord, its bulk rippling and pulsating with sonic guitar from Zach Utz and ear splicing melodics which spear the air with predatory menace and venomous intent. The track circles like a ravenous wolf its sounds gnawing on bone and synapses to leave one floundering in pure bliss. The second takes a lighter approach with the unpredictable rhythms of David Jacober puncturing its distressed yet mesmeric warm breath, again that reggae/punk air lights up the senses. Of course the song is wonderfully as disturbed as ever.

Arguably the best track on the album Powder is pure infection and just as dangerous as any illicit contagion. Insatiably eager and disturbingly joyful, the track with a grin as sinister as the hook is impossibly irresistible, easily and willingly draws one into the riot of senses fragmenting ingenuity.

Every song is immense; the snarling caged manic Out Of My Mind and the twisted rock n roller Weird Mirror just two delicious slices of further brilliance. That is the most apt word for the whole of Natural History and when a release ends on a bonus track like Alpha Punk, a near one minute pure Wire homage with the song sounding like the bastard cousin of Mr Suit or 1.2.X.U., you know it has been something special.

Dope Body is without doubt one of the most exciting bands in music right now if not the most and Natural History quite possibly album of the year, it will take something truly outstanding to match it.

Ringmaster 13/07/2012

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Ricky Ferranti & The Rusty Miles: Rusty Miles

Mixing a fine blend of blues and rock the latest album from Italian artist Ricky Ferranti is an easy to enjoy release which without ripping up the songbook lays some interesting and lively sounds upon the ear. The album Rusty Miles is the first under the rock project Ricky Ferranti & The Rusty Miles , a varied and strong release which is sure to find a welcome home in the ears of rock fans. To be neither honest blues nor hard rock is to our taste generally at the RR but the album still offered more than a moment of enjoyment  to leave satisfaction so for lovers of the elements Ferranti skilfully uses it should be a platter of pleasure.

From Piacenza, Ferranti from learning to play keyboards then the guitar has evolved into a skilled musician which is openly evident on Rusty Miles. His history since beginning in and learning about varied aspects of music and sound has seen the release of the Ferranti produced album Feel The Blues from Psycho Train in 2001 followed the next year by his joining with Animali Rari and the subsequent releasing of the albums Stagioni and Sottosopra plus a live full length. Since then he has played with the likes of Fiordaliso, Smaila, Faletti, Grignani and Paolo Meneguzzi, but it was his love of the blues which seeded the formation of Ricky Ferranti & The Rusty Miles in 2010, a rock blues project based on covers and original songs. Rusty Miles itself is an all original collection of songs and music showing the band as a promising proposition.

The first notable thing is how American the album and Ferranti vocally is but in a good way, neither appear to be trying to sound authentic American but just instinctively sounding as the theme and song writing intended, especially in the more country flavoured songs. Rusty Miles is themed by a journey marked by love, the light and view of an angel and a child upon the landscape, and the emotions which walk separation and the great road ahead.

The title track opens up the map of the album with eager and warm melodic directions from the guitar leading into the expressive and reflective song. There is a familiar yet indefinable hook to the song which is infectious and with the keys  having a slight sixties pop air to the keen pace of the song the track is openly pleasing. Alongside Ferranti on each track within the album the impressive bassist J.J. Gianni Grecchi and Maxx Zaccheroni drummer build the framework to the canvas which Ferranti lays his undeniable skills upon. Though some songs work much better than others for us this aspect is persistently impressive.

From a strong start the album moves into the melodic hard rock swagger of Don’t Stop. Though it lit no fires in personal taste here it is another infectious undemanding track which refuses to leave toes alone. It also is the first of a continual ripple of diversity which flows through the album, the following Keep On offering is a country tinged piece of heated imagination featuring an excellent solo from guest guitarist Mario Percudani whilst its successor I Feel So Bad is a bristling classic rock track featuring the vocals of Sam Ranieri.

Together the songs make a more than decent beginning but from here on the album truly excites. First up there is the magnificent Let Me know featuring the wonderful vocals of Sherrita Duran. It is a mesmeric dusty atmosphere brewing song with restrained energy and teasing melodic caresses. It is when Duran enters though that hearts melt and the sun smiles in adoration, her voice glorious and alongside the excellence of the music makes it the best song on the album by far.

The other highlights come through the brilliant music to have southern stills a jumping rockabilly soaked instrumental Country Junkie and the hypnotic ballad My Eyes On You featuring the haunting cello of Andrea Anzalone. The album ends on You’re My Cat, a track whose title made one decide it was a non starter but actually emerged as a fun rock n roller with Ferranti doing a tongue in cheek Presley/Vincent impression with a delicious double bass and violin accompaniment.

Rusty Miles is an album whose only intent is to have and give enjoyment and on that premise is a fine release to spend a random hour with once in a while.

Ringmaster 13/07/2012

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As Silence Breaks: The Architecture of Truth

The Architecture Of Truth, the second album from Australian metalers As Silence Breaks is a formidable and feisty beast of a release, an album with the surest intent to incite a riot within the senses with explosive yet carefully composed imagination. The album arguably does not offer anything strikingly new or ground breaking but uses and transforms the best of what already has emerged within melodic and extreme metal in a way not many others have imagined to date. This makes for a refreshing and absorbing release of muscle and destructive beauty.

The Sydney quintet of vocalist Sam Rilatt, guitarists Dan O’Brien and Ben Irwin, bassist Kiel Stanger, and Reece Kirby on drums, have become one of the emerging forces in Australian metal since forming over six years ago. Acclaimed and respected live with the band sharing stages with the likes of Darkest Hour, Carnifex, For The Fallen Dreams, Whitechapel, Periphery, TesseracT, Sybreed and The Red Shore, they have garnered a similar response with previous releases since signing with independent label New Justice Records in 2010. The new album can only accelerate their standing in world metal with its challenging and thrilling mix of metalcore, thrash, heavy metal, and melodic death metal. It is a thunder storm in the brain, intimidating, oppressive, and within the tempest elegantly stunning.

The release fries synapses from the off with Litany Of Fear. Its first breath is a solo guitar strumming a welcome with a brewing presence in the distance. Soon the track reaches its full height with an enveloping intense atmosphere giving way to a surging confrontation of picky guitars and rampant rhythms, bass and drums staking their claim on the senses as the guitars mesmerise with air scorching melodic invention. The vocals of Rilatt sear flesh with their coarse tone ably baked by an as abrasive assistance from Irwin. It all combines for an impressive opening fully and easily backed up by the following tracks.

Decimate continues the charge with more crushing riffs and demanding intensity to follow in a similar vein to its predecessor leaving the first full signs of variety to Freedom. The album is a nicely diverse animal and this song instantly ignites the appetite with its greedy tight grooves and electrifying melodic flames. Vocally clean additions expand the chorus and make a good contrast to the growling menace which is relatively standard through all songs.  Less intensive and aggressive than the first pair it incites a purer addictive connection and shows the band as skilled and inventive as they are uncompromising.

Across its length the album has a high consistency with certain peaks coming with songs such as Purpose, Transcendence, and The Warning. These three are the heart of the album and the tracks which spark the strongest fires within. The first is a hungry insatiable brute of a song, its sinews continually shifting and offering unpredicted enterprise. At times it is a raging torrent in the ear and at others a caressing hulk of intense yet understanding power. Woven together the song is a towering inferno of violent invention and stakes a claim for best on album though that is snatched away by Transcendence.

The track bruises just as deeply as it mesmerises, its venom and violence corrupting every pore whilst lighting them with the keenest melodic pleasure. As it reaches its climax it adds some excellent hardcore anthemic touches to complete a riot of undeniable malevolence and satisfaction. The last of the trio The Warning simply rampages with unbridled destructive energy for the fullest pleasure. Within its demanding and merciless assault the band conjures melodies and grooves of excellence especially with some classic metal seeded guitar work, but the main attraction is in the pulsating hunger of the intensity.

From this point the album takes a slight dip but it is more to do with how great the songs leading up to the likes of Fire Borne Chaos and Redeemer are as these later tracks still have plenty to give and enjoy in sound and composition. The Architecture of Truth is a great album for anyone with a liking of As I Lay Dying, In Flames, and Unearth. It might not have enough to make As Silence Breaks yet distinct enough to stand apart from those bands but easily offers plenty to rival them.

RingMaster 13/07/2012

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