The Horror Vacui – Scissor Crystal Eyes

Established in their home state of Tennessee, alternative rock band The Horror Vacui seem ready to take the next step into a wider recognition and spotlight. That is certainly the impression one gets from their new EP Scissor Crystal Eyes. Following up their well received debut album, the new release is an impressive and expressive collection of songs which shows a band accomplished in sound and songwriting.

The Nashville quartet of Kyle Kelly (vocals, guitars, synth, percussion), Ted Fox (guitars, piano, percussion), Rico Whitfield (bass, synth, vocals), and Jonathan Parrish (drums), from the EP alone seem a quartet with firm sights and intent on their direction musically and as a band. The impression one gets from the four songs on show here is that the band is still evolving into their own distinct sound but possess already craft and invention to create striking and fully enjoyable songs.

Formed in 2010 with their first album coming the same year, the band immediately after the release of their debut won the Ditto Music Live Battle of the Bands, a prestigious event which saw them beat 42 other established acts in Nashville. A flow of live shows and first single Melete Thanatou followed, all gathering more and more acclaim which with the release of Scissor Crystal Eyes which was recorded with Lloyd Aur Norman and Jonathan Paul Parrish at Villain Place, should only grow and grow.

The Horror Vacui, pronounced vac-u-eye, open up the release with the best song Futile Arrangements. With an immediate hypnotic hook and pulsating bass the track brings an instant heated presence before the ear. The vocals of Kelly have an expressive emotive tone and combined with the electrified atmosphere brought by the synths and guitars there is a Placebo/At The Drive In feel to the track as well as flavouring which reminds of the likes of Post Adolescence and Mind Museum. The song has an almost bristling intensity throughout which ruffles the senses whilst exposing them to excellent melodic caresses and sonic invention. As it makes its journey the song opens its slightly discordant charms to even greater effect and emerges as certainly one of the most infectious but fully rounded songs this year.

The following Million Gunshots enters on a more restrained though no less passionate swagger. Another great riff and sound from the bass fuels the song alongside incisive guitar play and firm and punchy rhythms. It has a more fluid flow than the opener though maybe lacks the jabbing intensity, but is an equally impressive piece of songwriting and realisation. It almost stalks the ear with an intimidating energy whilst distracting it with excellent melodic and sparking invention, and continues the excellent start to the release.

All In My Mind and Time To Die show a variation in the release and sound of the band. The first is an emotive ballad which coaxes the ear with crystalline melodies and crooning guitar designs. From personal preference it lacks the power and thrill of the previous song but there is no denying the beauty and passion which lights up the air within the song. The second is a similar heart borne track which tugs on the emotions with a needy plea and outstanding grace. It is rare for a ballad to have an anthemic feel but the song certainly gathers up ones thoughts and emotions to bring them into play through its ambient and feistier moments. It is a glorious song which grows and grows on the heart through each visit and finds a definite place in ones affections.

The EP closes with Ink Spills, a song which with its almost grouchy bass sounds adds further variety to the release. It has a strong and full atmosphere with again a heart spawn passion and instinctive energy. The heaviest and most intense of the songs power wise it is an excellent slice of rock which only lacks a lingering presence after its departure to truly ignite fires.

Scissor Crystal Eyes will be an introduction for a great many people to The Horror Vacui and it could not be a finer welcome to their natural and striking sounds. The band are well on the way to finding and exploring the markets further afield they seek with this excellent EP, now it is up to you to welcome them.

Ringmaster 30/07/2012

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Torpedo – Black Chronicles Vol.3

Having been previously impressed by the first two releases in the series the anticipation for Black Chronicles Vol.3 from Torpedo was keen upon news of its release. Once more bringing the dramatic instrumental sounds of Torpedo Beatz into a union with the rhyming and MC skills of varied rappers the release continues the impressive levels and inventive sounds as found on the first pair of instalments.

Serbian musician and composer Torpedo Beatz has a distinct almost cinematic style to his composing, his pieces bringing an often haunting and always enthralling feel and emotion to the songs. The new collection of tracks is no different, his music bursting with tension and magnetic melodic invention to compliment and explore the hard hitting expression of  emerging lyrical and rapping talents from around the world.

Some of the highlights of previous volumes of Black Chronicles has come with the pairing of the composer with the excellent and always powerful American rapper Wrath. The new album sees the track Requiem For A Sell Out repeat the team up and success with the featured addition of Maniak. Off of a slowly dawning opening with the words as belligerent and combative as you could wish, the duel vocal attack punches forth intent and strong views whilst the music wraps around them with a glowing and tight grip. With a slight Twizted feel to the piece Wrath and Torpedo still leave most in the shade when they combine.

Another impressive artist who is introduced on the album for the first time is Dark Guerrilla Chato and his Dark Guerrilla Chat crew. From Orange County, Southern California, they bring four powerful standout songs to the album. The first Wicked Violenze with a Halloween tinted horror sound pulsating behind the aggressive and angry attack is a strong first meet without lighting any flames of passion but it does not take the following Revenge, Dark Melody, and Barbarious long to hit the deepest spot. The first of the three immediately offers a growing menacing atmosphere from the music to encompass the malice spitting rapping and intimidation within every syllable. It like the first song from the crew is a notable entry without leaving deep scars but the remaining duo fix that aspect with sure intent. Dark Melody the best track on the whole album, bitch slaps the senses with concise and malicious rapping whilst the music scythes through the ear with dramatic breath and sonic borne melodies whilst Barbarious bruises with further hardcore lyrical directness and almost niggling melodic enterprise from Torpedo. Like the team up with Wrath this is a union one hopes to hear a lot more from in the future.

The three tracks with Lemmy MC, a crew from Rottenburg am Neckar in Germany, are a lighter affair than those with Dark Guerrilla Chat, though still with an abrasive attitude to leave a good antagonistic taste in the ear. Musically the songs Hard 2 Da Core, Horrorcrunk, and Battle Continue are shaped to the distinct rapping and vocal attack bringing a blackened carnival like feel, its air and energy dangerous and caustic. The tracks though not quite finding the strength of those already mentioned, leave one eager to hear more and fully satisfied.

The release is completed by Pali Andjeo with Serbian crew 2B4 Time who also featured on the previous volume of the series, and instrumental pieces from Torpedo which as always seem to light up parts of the senses and thoughts which most bands and artists fail to discover.  The 2B4 Time track is a slowly enveloping brew of distressed ambience veined with good vocals skills and imaginative sounds whilst the solo compositions could grace and soundtrack any dark hearted cinema treat or intensity driven emotion.

Continuing the established quality of previous releases, Black Chronicles Vol.3 is an excellent album which shows some of the best of the underground rap talent around the world alongside the inventive imagination of composer Torpedo. If you are looking for some fresh and different from rap and hip hop flavoured music than this album is an essential investigation.

Free download of Black Chronicles Vol. 3 @

RingMaster 30/07/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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The Apples – Fly On It

The best apple is always a crisp and juicy one which is exactly how you can describe the new album from a band with the same name. Israeli post-funk nine-piece instrumental band The Apples simply light up the senses with latest album Fly On It, which is unleashed on August 6th. It is a collection of instrumental based tracks which twist and turn with relish whilst carrying a wicked glint in their eye to y thrill consistently.

The band and album brings sounds which are a hybrid fusion of jazz and funk with an enormous squeeze of multi flavoured essences veined with Middle Eastern influences. To be honest we do not have a great knowledge of this area of music but at times The Apples takes our thoughts and ears back to bands like Pigbag and Rip Rig and Panic whilst also bringing tints of the likes of De Staat, Les Negresses Vertes, and Mano Negra into view. The release is perpetually intriguing and exhilarating throughout to leave a permanent grin in the heart.

Released through Audio Montage, Fly On It was originally commissioned by Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios for Bowers & Wilkins’ Society of Sound and was recorded over two days in Wiltshire at legendary studios Big Room. The setting and resulting tracks saw The Apples able to bring their explosive live sound and feel into the recordings bringing an irresistible energy to the album. Since forming in 2002 the band has gathered increasing acclaim with their albums Attention! (2006), Buzzin’ About (2008), and Kings (2010), not to mention their singles, EP, and a critically acclaimed version of the Rage Against the Machine track Killing In The Name. The new release is set to draw an even greater response one feels, its invention and vibrant creativity it is hard to imagine many not falling for.

The album opens with the stomping funk sounds of Preserve. Tribal with feisty rhythms and mischievous horns, the track teases and excites the ear with flickering melodies and beckoning near wantonness. Excitable and intent on exploding in every corner of the senses the song ignites a heated infection to set the release off to a great start.

The following title track ruffles the air with a sinister flicking of its tongue seemingly inspired by the trade mark Rage Against The Machine sound before opening up into an enveloping melodic atmosphere. All the time though the track winds up the senses taking them through darkened features and offshoots within the overall breath of the track which glows like a full sunset. It is another stunning irrepressible piece of music which leads into the vast soundscape of Sixth Stream.

This track is a musical world of its own bringing a slow prowl lit by Eastern promise and glowing fires of melodic imagination. Its journey is a fully contained episode to inspire evolving imagery and thoughts, a cinematic experience with an eccentricity which warms every pore. Nothing is expected or predicted on the album but this song especially is a wonderful mystery which reveals its heart note by note yet still able to offer more with each visit to its mesmeric terrain.

The brooding and pulsating funk soaked Thang and the fractious Rhinocerize keep things fully absorbing whilst the provocatively attitude dripping Looking For Trouble with its carefree belligerence, sets the heart racing with even more enthusiasm. It is the closing duo of Powder and Do The Car Horn which add extra heightened highlights to the release. The first is a swaggering weave of soulful beauty, the bass and keys prompting full engagement whilst the horns once more help build an atmosphere to fire up the passions.  The second of the two is the clear favourite from the album here, the busy, frantic, and at times niggling drive of the song overwhelmingly contagious. As the title suggests it is an industrious brew of heated mayhem and unrelenting energy brought with a wonderful cartoon/psychotic ambience to leave the most lingering pleasure on the album.

Fly On It is just wonderful and without doubt The Apples has created one of the great soundtracks for the summer if not the year.

Ringmaster 30/07/2012

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Dew-Scented – Icarus

In the 20-year anniversary of its formation, German thrash metal band Dew-Scented return with a new line-up and their ninth studio album Icarus. One of the established European heavyweights of the genre, the new release shows the band has lost none of its hunger or ability to create thunderous and impressive sounds.  The album does not see the band smashing through walls of originality but still easily and satisfyingly defends their position as one of the most accomplished and influential thrash bands this side of the big pond.

Following on from previous album Invocation of 2010, Dew-Scented continued their renowned work ethic with numerous European tours alongside the likes of Nile, Melechesh, Heaven Shall Burn, As I Lay Dying and Suicide Silence, Bolt Thrower and Rotting Christ, as well as their own headlining shows again all over Europe and appearances at festivals such as Hellfest, Wacken, Neurotic Deathfest, and Brutal Assault to name just a few of many. This period also saw the entire back-catalog of the band reissued as limited-edition Digipaks by Metal Mind Productions leading to further intense focus and intensive work for the band. This proved too much for some members and late 2011 saw a drastic line-up change in the band. Remaining founder vocalist Leif Jensen teamed up once again with guitarist Marvin Vriesde (Severe Torture, Blo.Torch) who had previously stepped in as a replacement live guitarist for tours in 1996, 2002 and 2005, as well as featuring as a guest on the Issue VI album. Vriesde was given the landscape to assume full songwriting duties and assemble the rest of the band which was brought with the addition of drummer Koen Herfst, bassist Joost van der Graaf (ex- Creepmime and Sinister), and after the album was recorded second guitarist Rory Hansen ( ex- Blo.Torch), all three also performing together in I Chaos. This immediate and already established tight understanding is easily apparent on Icarus, the band a thrusting and tumultuous force with a power and control only able to be brought by a unit fully integrated and as one.

From the opening full track Sworn To Obey the album makes blood vessels bulge and the pulse rate fly. It is a thumping mix of raucous vocals, destructive rhythms and riffs which whip the air and ear like leather straps, their effect continual immense slaps on the senses. The song is a persistent and forceful slab of metal with the growls of Jensen filled with vehemence as deep as ever whilst the guitar of Vriesde lights up the senses with some fine acute melodic play within the driving ear rupturing riffs of he and van der Graaf.

From that excellent start the following Thrown To The Lions with its busy grinding riffs and the outstanding Storm Within raise the game even higher. The first of the pair finds grooves and melodic enterprise to explode the already incendiary intensity the track brings whilst the second with its insistent niggle of an opening flexes heavyweight muscles to deliver a stomp of belligerent riffs and punchy rhythms. It too has a groove to lick ones lips at whilst its bruising energy leaves nothing but full satisfaction.

Only halfway in and the album is a winner but following songs like Gleaming Like Silver, the stunning Reawakening with its slowly tenderising assault, and the chugging feast which is A Final Procession let alone arguably the best song on the album The Fall Of Man, only enforce and enhance what went before for the greatest enjoyment.

To be picky at times there is a similarity across some of the songs and ideas but as it is so good anyway it is easily forgivable and not really an issue. Produced by Jörg Uken at Soundlodge Studios (God Dethroned, Suicidal Angels, Sinister) and featuring guest appearances from Dan Swanö (Edge Of Sanity, Bloodbath) on Reawakening and Sacrifice vocalist Rob Urbinati on Gleaming Like Silver, as well as guitarist Dennis Schneider (Retaliation, Final Breath), Icarus is an excellent return which even with the disruption the band went though shows Dew-Scented still head the fore of European thrash with skill and determination.

RingMaster 30/07/2012

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Seven Deadly – The Allegiance EP

Many a heart became heavy when the tail end of 2011 saw the demise of UK metalers Panic Cell, a band which shared and ignited stages alongside the likes of Metallica, Disturbed, Anthrax, Slayer, Alice In Chains, Papa Roach, and Megadeth, as well as hitting the thousands in cd and digital download sales and topping video charts. Those shadows though can now be driven away though there will always be a part of the band inside, with the arrival of the mighty Seven Deadly. Formed by former members of Panic Cell, the band has released their debut EP The Allegiance and has immediately declared themselves as not a replacement but a massive and impressive new beast to fill the void. They are so good that one almost whispers Panic who?

     Seven Deadly consists of former Panic Cell members bassist Bobby Town, drummer Rob Hicks, and guitarist Harj Virdee, who are joined by vocalist Archie Wilson and guitarist Dave Irving (ex-Denounce). Released a few weeks ago and following their very well received single From This Darkness and its video, The Allegiance is a stunning slab of power and invention, its bruising blend of thrash, groove, and melodic metal an insatiable imaginative assault.

The release opens with the scorching high octane rampage of Allegiance, a track which blisters flesh and senses from its first note. Riffs and rhythms surge and cluster around the ear like storm clouds, setting emotions on edge with their electrifying intensity, whilst the melodic enterprise of the guitars send shards of acidic pleasure through to the heart. Vocally Wilson is outstanding and backed up perfectly by Irving their combination is as strong and satisfying as heard anywhere. The same can be said about all aspects of the song though and its towering might and craft suggests the release already one of the most important ones to come out this year soon proved by the following pleasures.

Blood On Your Hands barges and barracks the senses next, its muscular and feisty purpose impossible to refuse. Thumping rhythms from Hicks incite the heart to pump its fuel harder whilst the unpredictable guitars of Virdee and Town explore corners and unexpected avenues within the formidable and driving frame of the song. Though the band is not the most brutal you will meet by a long way, the track has a weight and aggression not to be ignored. With an additional metalcore thrust to the song it shows an expansive depth to the sound of the band which one assumes will become even stronger and obvious ahead.

Next up End Of All opens up an even fuller melodic well in the band without losing the intensity and near violent impact brought before it. A song which maybe does not have the more instantaneous impact of the first two it thumps its chest and cruises down explosive roads and melodic soundscapes to excite and light up the ear and emotions. The skill and impact of the individual members and their invention was never going to be in doubt but they combine it to a level which arguably one would not expect at this early stage and it is immensely impressive.

Previously mentioned single From This Darkness completes the EP with further excellence and a combative bustling of the senses. The band once more find the perfect flowing blend between their inventive melodic poise and a knee buckling near destructive magnificence to leave one basking in their triumph. It is not often one gets real tingles whilst listening to music but it has to be said The Allegiance is a definite exception.

One gets the feeling that the strikingly impressive release is just a marker for Seven Deadly and there is so much more brewing inside them which is scary and very exciting.
Ringmaster 30/07/2012

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