Embrace The Tide: Distances

An album which needs possibly more attention than most to fully discover and appreciate its qualities, Distances from UK melodic hardcore/metalcore band Embrace The Tide is one formidable and forceful release. With eleven songs ready to bitch slap the senses with a force created from brutality and inventive melodic elegance, the album is a demanding and testing release with deep rewards for perseverance.

Initial impressions and thoughts were of an album which was strong yet relatively generic. Through many confrontations with its destructive energy what emerged was a release which was rife with imagination and intelligent craft to set the band apart from the norm in metalcore. It is probably fair to say the band do not noticeably push boundaries but at the same time they instigate a promise and sure thought that there is something special brewing within them just waiting to take UK metal world by storm.

Formed in 2009, the quintet from Milton Keynes has built a strong and ever growing fan base and reputation for their sound and explosive live shows which have seen them rub shoulders with the likes of Sylosis, Exit Ten, Odessa, Heart of a Coward, It Prevails, Tesseract, and Bury Tomorrow. The self released album Distances is the next step in the band taking their honed and skilfully powerful sound across the country and beyond, and it is hard to imagine anything than acceleration of their stock from its unleashing.

Heartless is a smack between the eyes to start things off, its brewing menace littered with confrontational sounds before erupting into a rage of vocals and riff anger with a droning melodic whisper pervading all. It is brief and unremarkable yet wholly effective as the lead into The Deep End, a song which offers all you need to know about the band. Riffs and intensity storm within the ear with little respect for mercy but are soon tempered by outstanding melodic enterprise from the guitars of Freddie Goli and Elliot Prudence whilst atmospheric synth sounds swell and sweep within any air not yet consumed by the assault. The song is at times almost painful such the ferocity of the attack and immense power generated by the band, but the melodic class and flair keeps one within boundaries of safety. As the album also ultimately emerges to be, it is a song which takes time to fully immerse in but it is well worth the struggle.

Another Time, Another Place takes things to new heights and stakes its claim as best track. From its first breath the song splits atoms and synapses with sonic twisting and ravenous energy. The guitars corrupt the senses with artillery like precision whilst the rhythms of Ollie Bennett alongside bassist Andrew Hickman, have a vindictive belligerence to their imposing presence. As the beats whip the ear to numbness a contemptuous groove teases and taunts alongside the great melodic beckoning and vocal power. Chris Weaver again like the album took time to get on terms with. His clean vocals are instantly exceptional, with a delivery and range which stands out over most vocalists to have emerged in the past couple of years but his guttural shouts offer such a contrast it is wrong footing and initially off putting to be honest. Again though with plenty of interaction between band and ear it all slips into place and becomes a non issue, the extremes overall working well, though preference would still like his smoother  style to reign.

I, The Dreamer offers further diversity with an atmosphere heating symphonic caressing from behind the disrupting energy. Again there is a fully impressive spectrum of vocals from Weaver, one is only more and more impressed song by song by him, and the band as whole it must be added. The emotive class and expanse of the song is open and spreads through to the likes of A Case Of Wait And See and the thrilling (Un)Forgiven just as impressively. Further highlights come with Reflections which features Richard Lardner from Odessa and the brilliant A Path to Follow. Both punch and churn up the guts with unstoppable intensity and malevolence but wrap their passionate and warm arms around the senses with such melodic craft and imagination it is an honour to be assaulted.

     Distance is an impressive and striking release which just needs a little more work than expected before it shares its riches. Embrace The Tide stand at the foot of the ladder to mass recognition, this album the first mighty step onto the first rung.


RingMaster 15/08/2012

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History Of The Trade: One Arm’s Length

Photo: Matt Jennings

Serving as an introduction to, taster of, and inducement to find out more about the creators of its vibrant sounds, the new single from  UK indie rock band History Of The Trade is a real treat. Taken from their recently released Silver Screens EP, One Arm’s Length is a song to capture the imagination and passions with its infectious and enticing melodic rock sounds. Even if it does not instil the urge to go search out more from the band, the song is a mesmeric shimmering to while those warm summer nights to.

Formed in 2010, the London and Kent based History Of The Trade has logged an impressive list of moments on their musical CV, the sharing of stages with the likes of Feeder, Florence And The Machine, Tellison, and Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly, as well as strong radio airplay, and critical media acclaim just some of the things to fill up its lines. Their debut release drew good attention whilst its successor Silver Screens has taken things to another level of awareness and response. One senses the band is poised to make a breakthrough and with songs like One Arm’s Length it feels a done deal.

The song is an intricate and intelligent weave of melodic pop grandeur and emotive expression brought with vibrancy and a breath which is expansive and intimate. From the moment the song graces the ear there is so much to lean towards and enjoy. The guitars of Sam Furness and Oli Cameron open up with crystalline melodic play which instantly captivates and are soon joined by the energetic yet restrained beats of drummer Laurence Parsons and the emotive bass lines of Christian Baverstock. Already one is hooked but it is the mesmeric vocals and harmonies they deliver which takes the song to deeper and higher places. Furness leads the way but it is a group contribution which enhances the song and gives it an almost  sirenesque pull in the passions.

The song has an eighties lilt which reminds of band such as Orange Juice and The Bluebells, their skill with melodies and warm sounds united in impressive craft with that of History Of The Trade. At times the song feels like it wants to explode into a storm of energy yet remains overall restrained allowing its heated crescendos and their climatic builds to fire up the senses and desire to go hear more.

If One Arm’s Length does it for you than the Silver Screens EP will only add to the pleasure. Both can be found at the History Of The Trade profile http://historyofthetrade.bandcamp.com/ with the single a free download and the EP a name your own price offer, it really is a no brainer.


RingMaster 15/08/2012

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Dreamstealer: Girls Are Fun Again

Girls Are Fun Again the new single from funky blues  musician Dreamstealer is one of those quirky and simple pop songs which almost enters the area of guilty pleasure. To be fair it is not close to being cheesy enough to make that fall but there is a small wondering, from one where the harder, louder and more technical something is the better, whether the enjoyment in its company should be as full as it is.

The song is a  piece of blues soaked pop borne from the unique funky blues style of Dreamstealer which the artist developed during his informative music years. Dreamstealer is the one man project of Arno Guveau, a man has been a regular busker on the London Underground in his past. Life to date has seen Guveau tour as a drummer with blues legends Little Tony and Greyhound Levi, playing with the likes of Champion Jack Dupree, Luther Johnston, Louisiana Red and Arthur Conley, and as a producer and mixer working with artists like Manfred Mann, Bob Weston (ex Fleetwood Mac), Stevie Ann, and Louise Latham to name a few. His songwriting also saw him active with bands like Into Seven, Chill Out and The Dreamstealers, every experience going into and evolving his own compositions and style.

The single is the forerunner to his debut solo album Son of the Big Smoke which is released in 2012 and across its tracks the single gives a nice teaser and taster of what to expect. First song Girls Are Fun Again instantly pricks up the ears with its brass swagger and gentle blues guitar whispering. As mentioned the song in all aspects is uncomplicated and uncluttered and makes for an easy and openly infectious pleasure. The chorus is as catchy as the simple hooks to ensure a joining of voices by the second chorus and toes within the first few chords and rhythmic enticements. It is a song where nothing truly stands out but all combines for a simmering vibrancy and warm fun.

The single is a three track release with the second song being the album version of the first track but with a mere ten or so seconds difference in length and nothing tangible in sound to set them apart one wonders if the ear missed something or it is just a filler.

Again from the forthcoming album, the final song is its title track Son of the Big Smoke. The song is another blues flavoured track with a more traditional air to its distinct body. The song and Guveau offer a mix which holds essences of Neil Young and in some ways Paul Simon for a sound which though it is not normally the sugar for our tea, more than left a pleasant flavour within the ear.

Girls Are Fun Again like its subject matter is fun and leaves one with a smile whilst offering intrigue towards what the first album from Dreamstealer will bring to the smoky blues party.


RingMaster 15/08/2012

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The Old-timers: Soli Deo Gloria

South African based punk band The Old-timers list in their influences the likes of GBH, The Subhumans, Headnoise, and Minor Threat, inspirations their music proudly builds upon. As their debut album Soli Deo Gloria shows the trio do not hold back in either sound, energy or passion, their lyrical theme and music created to glorify God whilst have one riot of fun in the process. Released jointly through Thumper Punk Records, Caustic Fallout, and Veritas Vinyl, the album is fourteen unashamed storms of emotion and aggressive energy which leaves one thoughtful, provoked and satisfied.

The Old-timers is a band thanks to modern technology which creates music at distance. Vocalist Dave Emerson and guitarist/bassist Don live in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth respectively and twelve hours apart, whilst drummer Matt Lagusis is based in California. With the mixing of the album being done in Idaho and the mixing in North Carolina, it is a release which has chalked up some cyber miles in its making.

The seeds of the band came when Dave whilst on holiday in the home town of Don, met him through a mutual friend in 2011. Their joint love of punk and the JCHC (Jesus Christ Hardcore) movement helped a strong friendship emerge and the eventual sending over of tunes from Don which Dave leapt upon with love and vocals. The tracks became the Punk’s Not Dead! Nor Are We! demo which led the band to the attention of the previously mentioned labels and the planning of an album. At this point Matt who was playing drums for another Thumper Punk Records band, False Idle, joined the band, and now Soli Deo Gloria, one feels it is time for The Old-timers to take their place on the punk map.

From the first track The Old-Timers Intro one knows they are in for a blast of old school punk rock brought with just the right amount of discord, aggression, and irresistible hooked riffs. From the brief declaration the album soon explodes into the boiled atmosphere of Adonai’s Agape and its ‘ode’ to the Son of God. It is an in your face surge of passion and energy which easily whips up the senses into an agitated pleasure. The melodic hooks of Don are as infectious as the coarse shouts of Dave are hungry in sharing their intent. Vocally there is rare deviation throughout the album to the hardcore delivery shown here but it never did Henry Rollins any harm right?

The first single from the album, This City is another tasty slice of senses ruffling and emotion baiting, its power and rough handling of the ear pleasing and greedily welcomed. As the track plays, thoughts of the likes of UK band Crisis, Angelic Upstarts and Shelter come to mind, the sound a feisty mix of all and dripping Old-timers distinctness.

Songs like Posi Isn’t Enough, the Suicidal Tendencies like eruption On Hope, and the contagious Prescribed Rebellion with its irresistible addictive melodies and shifting muscles, leave one tenderised and smiling in satisfaction but it is with the title track that the band deliver the biggest triumph. Soli Deo Gloria from its opening riffs and bruising rhythms slaps the senses into adoration within moments. The song excites and incites with every note and syllable, the music driving with a wicked grooved mission to infest and the vocals offering their only real moment of variety on the release, the expected shouts stepping aside at times for actual singing and group shouts and it works a treat. One wonders if this would have made a better first single but it will get its day for sure.

Soli Deo Gloria is a great album with for many will have a big but. For many like us who do not share the same beliefs and passions as the band, we welcome their heart and thoughts but just like bands that use other personal passions and themes to fuel their creativity and energy, when it borders or leaps into preaching, the barriers come up. At times the album comes over that way, track after track slamming home the uncomplicated and direct lyrical content within. The passion driving through makes the release powerful admittedly, but the lack of subtlety and repetition becomes a demand and order rather than a guiding message or heartfelt view to leave one with some negativity towards what is one punk album which still is able to fire up any punk heart. The Old-timers join the growing brigade of great bands showing real punk has not had its day.

RingMaster 15/08/2012

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Negativa: Self Titled EP

Arguably like a blob fish, an ugly baby, or Shane MacGowan, the beauty within the self titled EP from technical death metalers Negativa, is one which only a mother can see and love. Well her and those of us who find discord and chaotic imagination the only truly fresh thing in music today. The release really is a thing of beauty, a corrupted and disfigured beauty for sure, but still something starkly beautiful and intrusively stirring.

The three track EP first came out in 2006 as a limited release of 1000 copies, making physical copies highly sought after and near impossible to find. Now re-released through PRC Music, the release shows the band not only ahead of their time but probably still streets ahead of what mass consumption is ready for.

The Canadian band was formed by guitarist/ vocalist Steeve Hurdle (Gorguts ,Purulence)and guitarist/ vocalist Luc Lemay(Gorguts). The EP also sees drummer  Etienne Gallo (Augury, Neuraxis, Aborted) and bassist Miguel Valade (Ion Dissonnance) bringing their distinct imagination and skills to the canvas that was Negativa. The music the quartet spawn is staggering and in just a trio of tracks leaves most other bands struggling to match ideas let alone their realisation. The band since the original release of the EP has seen line-up changes with Lemay one to leave, but all things found true perspective with the passing away of Steeve Hurdle in May of this year aged 41. The release is an impactful and impressive aural monument to Hurdle and the band which leaves a saddened pleasure to its colossal magnificence.

Opener Chaos In Motion preys on the senses immediately with crippling scythes of guitar dishing out blistering destructive discordance. With rhythms from Gallo expelling the breath from the body through its vicious and disorientating attack and vocals as abrasive as high grade sand paper upon the ear, the track is an immoral and delicious sonic cluster bomb of intent and originality. Though a completely different genre the track takes one back to bands like The Fire Engines and Diagram Brothers from the eighties, two more who use discord as a full ingredient , exploring its textures and properties. Negativa go much further igniting its life and shadows with a madness of creativity which envelopes and challenges every synapse and a power which is equally demented and far reaching .

The following epic Thedium Vitae is a monster of a track. It crawls and prowls all over the body disrupting all senses, thoughts, and emotions. The track throws a spanner into rational thought and emotional safety to confound and cripple sanity during its venomous mesmeric assault. From its consuming energy the track intensifies into a brawling clash of rhythms, riffs, and indecipherable but wholly contagious scarred notes. The track is ever evolving, a seemingly maniacal improvisation, but all is perfectly and ingeniously structured to singe and scorch deeply with intense thought and imaginative creative malice the conjurors. The sounds and release as a whole, is a nightmare in sonic form giving no escape and perpetually incessant in its intent, and most of all simply blackened annihilatory beauty.

Closing with the slightly jazzy Rebellion, if that term can be applied to sounds which almost defy description, the release is incredible. This song treads and ultimately stomps over the debris already left in the wake of its conspirators to unleash its own dazzling and dehabilitating majesty. The EP is confrontational and inspiring, ruinous and so refreshing, and without doubt one of the most impressive things heard in a long time. Thank goodness there has been another and for some of us a first chance, to enjoy its towering brilliance.

Negativa is tagged as progressive death metal primarily but this goes far beyond that to have its own unique stature and world. As stated earlier the kind of references and comparisons which come to mind are far from being death metal bands, those earlier unique sounds added to by at a push the likes of Kunz, Coilguns and Dope Body, maybe even Morkobot to try and give some idea of the genius at play on the EP, but it is something distinctly different and special. If you want something to bring back the thrill, danger, and menace which has been generally lost in music, then go and let Negativa do their glorious worst.

RingMaster 15/08/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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