The Ourz: Dirty Tracks

When it comes to high grade dirty rock n roll certainly in underground scenes, one band has in the past few years always been to the fore and stood apart with their own brew of raw and insatiable rock. Irish band The Ourz since forming in 2008 has infected and captured the imagination of all who have come across their sounds or live performances. Influenced by multi flavours and bands across rock, blues, and metal, the Balbriggan quartet simply offer honest and passionate music, sounds from the heart for the heart.

Our first introduction to the band came through The Reputation Radio Show who have unleashed and championed the music of the band to their audience for the past two years. When news broke of the forthcoming release of their debut album anticipation accelerated like rumours in the world of Charlie Sheen. The Reputation Radio Show recently with thanks and gratitude to the band, unveiled the world exclusive debut of songs from Dirty Tracks, the impending first album from the band. With our association to the show and The Ourz we grabbed the chance to feast upon the forthcoming release and what a surprising and magnificent little gem it emerged to be. Planned for release before the end of the year, Dirty Tracks leaves one excited, wonderfully agitated, and ready to party hard.

As mentioned it was a surprising release. The band has always produced great songs and music to leave only pleasure in their wake but on the album the band has exploded and found an even stronger depth and heart to their creativity. There are songs which fans already know from the past years but they have evolved into something as fresh and powerful as the new material. They may be familiar but they have never sounded so good nor the band. Musically the band bring a brew with the likes of Tom Petty, Thin Lizzy, and Bad Company spicing up their original flavours.

Formed by vocalist Gerard Smith and guitarist Shane Kinsella, the band was completed with its current line-up by drummer Brandon Edwards in 2009 and the following year bassist Gary Healy. Their debut EP in 2010 alongside their electric high energy live shows soon made them one of the most acclaimed and followed bands across Dublin and beyond, the charms of the release stretching beyond their hometown into media and radio attention worldwide through the subsequent years. The Ourz create and write without compromise what makes them excited inside, the result something to trigger the fullest pleasure.

The thirteen track feast is opened by the excellent Couldn’t Believe It, a song which immediately tries to make off with best on album honours. From magnetic guitar play and a hypnotic bassline, the track swaggers with confidence and the intent to ignite the strongest reaction. The song sees the band arguably tighter and darker than ever before whilst scorching the air with melodic enterprise and inciteful rhythms. It is pure rock brought through heart borne energy. The restrained but keen groove of the song persists throughout to hook the senses allowing the inventive guitars and the expressive vocals of Smith to light up the air further.

The well worn and loved Midnight Friend steps forward next to continue the immense start and show its new refreshed and still mesmeric charms. With the pulsating velvety basslines of Healy veining the song it is a piece of blues hard rock at its best. The song has captured multitudes in its past and with its re-energised breath is sure to multiply its victims tenfold. The album took two years to complete, the work and attention given easily apparent on this song alone.

Tracks like Your Time Will Come with its deep blues stroll, the emotive You Not Me, and the slowly burning Virtue, show the expansive sound of the band but it is fair to say every song within Dirty Tracks has its own distinct and compelling aspect. The album has a strength and craft across its length which is impressive and whether the tracks are uncomplicated or more intricate, all leave a richly pleasing taste.

Individual highlights which ignite the most enthused personal fires come alongside the opening pair, with the trio of tracks Summer Rain, Attack, and Nasty Conscience. The first is a melodic caress which drips emotion fuelled by incendiary guitar weaves and infectious bass grooves. With multiple crescendos to its refined hard rock energy the song brings the senses to the boil skilfully. Attack is as its titles suggests a riotous assault on the ear, an eager storm of sharp melodic manipulations and crashing rhythms to swarm and taunt behind more great attitude oozing vocals.  Infectious to the core and inciteful to voice and foot the track leaves one excited and looking for the next breath. The last of the trio is the best track on the album and one already adopted by the mass audience of the previously mentioned Reputation Radio Show. From its opening beats and bass growl through to the fine vocals and surging guitar flourishes the track is addiction on the loose. The song takes the dirty rock n roll The Ourz proudly creates into a filthier feisty bar room for the deepest rewards.

Dirty Tracks is an explosive and thoroughly enjoyable release which shows honesty and heart goes a long way to making the best rock music, something The Ourz do with accomplished ease.

RingMaster 21/08/2012

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Semitt Falls: Monkey See, Monkey Do Doo

An album which exiles predictability and narrow directions, Monkey See, Monkey Do Doo the debut album from UK band Semitt Falls, is a mightily impressive and intriguing gem. Ever twisting and evolving the release makes expectations redundant and guessing what is ahead pointless such is diverse and potent invention. For those who need to label bands and tag their sound Semitt Falls will be a nightmare, they are a band which makes music which hits their own sweet spot however it is inspired and ends up sounding. This is proven by the album, a collection of songs which follow no pattern or set course but are linked through immense quality soaked in the deepest contagion. If you need an initial description of the band, their bio says ambient/meta/drum and bass, but as the songs show that merely scratches the surface.

The Manchester band formed earlier this year, when following the demise of post-hardcore outfit Halt Under Heavy Fire, Paul Kendrick (guitar, vocals and programming) from the band linked up with ex-Fortune Favours Nothing member Danny Houghton (drums). The pair brought in another previous member of Halt Under Heavy Fire in Jay Kane (vocals and synths) alongside ex- Son of Shinobi Craig Gilroy (vocals and bass). Combined the quartet has created an album which not only marks the band as one of the brightest and inventive in British rock music right now but one bursting even greater things ahead.

The album descends upon the senses with the stirring and riotous opener The Warrior. Muscular and stormy it is a feisty dazzle which ignites the passions and energies most releases leave untouched. The drums of Houghton bring one to their knees with power and tight control whilst the keys explore and immerse one in a scorched and blistering weave of melodic majesty. With the muscle of Silent Descent and the acidic tones of Enter Shikari to it, the song is a tremendous and attention grabbing start.

Still trying to catch a breath after the initial introduction the next song whips it away again before it can be consumed whilst offering the first example of the perpetual diversity which wonderfully fuels the sound of the band. Late For Drum And Bass Reasons is the best track on the album by far which considering the quality elsewhere is a mark of how good it is. The band ruptures drum and bass sounds whilst filling the fissures with incisive melodic rock and ragga tinged beats. Twisting and winding around the ear like a sonic python the track leaves one lost in a sizzling groove of manipulative imagination amidst a corruptive maze of wickedness. Illegally addictive the song leaves the atmosphere sizzling and senses smouldering with its electronic force and corrupting power. Think Pendulum, Hadouken, and Shrikes in an unbridled mosh with Skindred and Collisions and you get a whiff of the goodness inciting every pore.

The melodic De.Fi.Ant with its heated melodic ambience confronts the ear next It is a track which is again pleasingly muscular at times yet enchantingly peaceful in others, a seamless blend skilfully created and brought throughout the track. The lead vocals of Kane as with the previous tracks show a range and ability to play with multiple deliveries which is outstanding and like the music keeps things on a consistently shifting edge. Though over three minutes long the song feels so brief, a sign of the perpetual enjoyment it offers.

Tracks like We Hid The Sun with its more post hardcore tones and Displacement, a song of mesmeric beauty wrapped in raw shadows, continue to leave one full of admiration, surprise, and satisfaction. Normally with a band which brings so many distinctly different sounds and ideas you thing a group unsure of their direction and intent. This never occurs with Semitt Fall, everything so instinctively right and perfectly fitting you know it is a band simply conjuring music which fires up their unique creative inferno with skill and incisive invention.

Ending with the pulsating The Loneliest Spaceman, a song which has a rock air reminding of a Thrice or Hundred Reasons wrapped up in surging electro energies, the album is one of the most startling and enterprising releases in a long time. It is a towering beginning giving Semitt Falls a lot to live up to in the future though it is hard to imagine they are not up to it.

RingMaster 21/08/2012

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The Amenta: Chokehold

With their new album into its final stages of recording and with an early 2013 release date in the planning, Australian extreme noise metalers The Amenta have made the wait more bearable with the unleashing of the Chokehold EP. A five track release consisting of a brand new song, a cover, two live tracks and a remix, it is a muscular intrusion to devour eagerly. For those new to the band it is a great introduction and for existing fans a collection of songs which feel more than a mere stop gap until the arrival of Flesh Is Heir next year.

Chokehold follows the 2011 release VO1D which saw the first recordings with of at the time new vocalist Cain Cressall. The new EP is similar in its construction of content to its predecessor but hard to tell how reflective it will be of the forthcoming album. One gets the feeling it is giving mere hints though going by history and this new EP one can always expect something of immense quality senses startling.

In the sheet accompanying Chokehold, Tim Pope (samples, keyboards) from the band says the new album “Flesh is Heir is a refinement, progression and deconstruction of The Amenta’s sound. A very guitar-centric album, as a reaction to the deliberately abstract nature of n0n.” The title track gives a definite aural picture to his words and though the trademark maelstrom of discordant and unbalanced melodies, destructive noises, and intrusive electronics are still there, the music carries a surer caustic bruising and scarring through the guitars than on the mentioned 2008 album of ambient electronic destruction.

    Chokehold the song crashes the ear immediately with a gnarly corruptive grinding on bone and cartilage. Instantly oppressive and openly abrasive the track ferments and blisters within the senses breaking down resistance whilst brewing an increasing addiction to its overwhelming violating sounds. The guitar of Erik Miehs is a sadistic venomous Zorro, swiping through the air with sharp acid dripping strokes whilst bassist Dan Quinlan prowls and stalks sanity with a ravenous yet patient heavy pulsating presence. With beats and rhythms from drummer Robin Stone igniting and disorientating synapses, the track consumes and infests with a suffocating majesty spread further by the corrosive tones of Cressall. The song envelops with a tempest of sound which brings essences of the likes of Fear Factory, Young Gods, Ministry, Society 1, and Godflesh, whose track the band cover next up, into an abusive compelling destruction. It is a stunning track which whether it gives strong indication of what is to come on the new album or not heightens anticipation.

      Christ Bait Rising like the opener is said to have been ‘recorded and produced with a modern take on Godflesh’s influential ‘Street Cleaner’ album’s sound and aesthetic.’ What it does do is ignite and further rub raw the wounded senses and emotions caused by the first track. It is another sprawling and sonic scathing of all things safe, bringing a fresh breath and energy let alone intent into an already great track. Not as impressive as Chokehold it still leaves one gasping and reeling under the disruptive onslaught of noise and shows The Amenta a band inspired by and respectful to one of the instigators of noise.

The two live tracks are in many ways more impressive than what came before. Seken and Vermin in their raw state showing the band as one of the most powerful on stage around and able to realise their imaginative and defined elements just as strongly as they produce live crippling intensity and sounds. They also force a definite decision to catch the band live if and when they touch and spoil Europe and the UK.

A remix of Void from VO1D closes the release, its atmospheric ambience and serpentine electronic manipulations a sonic paint stripper upon the ear and beyond. Compulsive and ruining the track like the rest only leaves deep satisfaction in its wake.

Released via Listenable Records, Chokehold is a great snack before the main meal of Flesh is Heir though it also leaves an impatient hunger behind, one only The Amenta can satisfy.

RingMaster 21/08/2012

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