Centre Excuse – Generation Z EP

Having missed their previous singles and well received EP All Systems Go, but aware of the growing acclaim around the band, it was with strong anticipation we went into the new release from Centre Excuse, the Generation Z EP.  The earlier single from the six track release Don’t Let Go certainly fired up the keenness to hear more and the EP definitely does not disappoint, its vibrant and well crafted electro rock sounds only reinforcing and building on the promise the song offered.

Formed in 2010, the Rutland (in the sleepy rural village of Empingham) based trio of brothers Jamie (backing vocals / lead & bass guitar) and Alex (drums) Rush alongside Teddy Lewis (lead vocals / keyboards / guitar and programming), have earned a rapidly growing fan base and respect for their impressive blend of eighties electronic pop and modern pop rock. Their music is a fusion which is far more expansive than that simple description but at the end of the day it is indie pop of the highest and most enthralling nature. With massive views on Youtube, the video to their debut single Last 3 Days alone last year receiving over 30,000 YouTube plays in its first month, and exciting energetic shows the band is a loud whisper on a growing wave of lips which the new EP should bring to a crescendo. With strongly successful performances at the likes of the Riverside Festival and support slots to Texan band A Sky Jet Black and I am Giant from New Zealand in recent weeks to add to their own dynamic shows, Centre Excuse are at the point of mass recognition, the EP possibly sending things over the edge.

Once the Generation Z EP gets its claws into you it is impossible not to be captivated and that contagion is immediate with Don’t Let Go, a song of crystalline melodies and pulsating heart. Like a meeting of Depeche Mode and the poppier side of Enter Shikari, the song resonates with a warm and energetic presence. Its melodic caress and mellow atmosphere is cored by a steely intent from the drums and guitars to add further depth to the already expressive vocals and breath of the song. It is easy to see why the song has been the doorway into the band for a great many though arguably there are more infectious and compelling songs on the release.

Stop Drop & Roll and Where Do We Go are two examples of an even greater irresistibility to the ear. The first opens with an ambience sizzling electronic touch slowly building to another eighties electro kiss. Into its stride with again a feistier gait alongside the Daniel Miller like sonic skill and Fad Gadget sounding shadows, the song can only ignite the senses. Do not mistake this for retro sounding though, the song and release very much of the now with elements of bands such as Swound! and the Bravery to what is overall something original. Whereas the first is an openly anthemic song the second is a brooding encounter with the same impactful results. It is an expansive song with the keys wrapping their heated arms around the senses whilst sonic spotlights sweep across its soundscape. The infection is a slow consumption but by its end the song is swirling around the head, the strong vocals and beguiling keys a remaining companion and memory.

MTV Generation is a plaintive rock song, its flight a muscular provocation even in its reflective moments. Again an anthemic joy but it comes through its intensity and inciteful voice, the track a mighty thrust of passion. The guitars flame up the skies of the song with sharp and precise sonic expulsions whilst the dramatic punk breath of the song brings The Psychedelic Furs to mind. If not the best song on the EP it is easily the favourite.

The remaining songs on the release, It’s Okay and Live It All Up, bring another flavour to the table, the first a pop punk riot reminding of bands like Stay Okay! and the other a New Order/Fall Out Boy like mesh, both continuing the high quality pleasure as easily as what came before.

Generation Z is an excellent release which feels like the trigger to shoot in Centre Excuse, a truly exciting band with still plenty of promise to be realised, around the world.

http://www.centre-excuse.com/

RingMaster 29/09/2012

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Bastard Of The Skies – Tarnation

Challenging for nastiness album of the year Tarnation from British metalers Bastard Of The Skies is a thick corruption for the senses, a mugging of emotions through massive towering riffs, even heavier intensity, and a sludge driven enveloping noise of the highest order. Though the album arguably does not trigger the fiercest passions as some other similarly gaited releases it is impossible not to be impressed and in awe of the power and craft behind and fuelling the intrusive colossus.

From Blackburn, Bastard of the Skies has left immensely destructive and provocative sounds since forming in 2006. Across two albums, an EP, and a split release with Catatomic earlier this year, the quartet has cultivated and evolved their impactful sound and invention to, in the album Tarnation, create a monstrous and fully welcome violation. Released via Future Noise Recordings, Tarnation churns the insides into a swamp of primal energy to match the malevolent sounds within the release. It is corruptive, destructive, and the instigator of animal pleasure and eagerness to take part in the fully impactful corruption. The band has destroyed audiences with their towering sound, sharing stages with the likes of Orange Goblin, Harvey Milk, Kylesa, Baroness, Today Is The Day, Black Sun, Lazarus Blackstar, Volition, Conan, The Sontaran Experiment, and Undersmile for the fullest respect and acclaim, the album simply shows the band is just as powerful in the studio, the sound driving the album a raw and living brutal entity.

Drug Monarch is the first blow to the ear, its lurching discord driven melodies and dehabilitating riffs a barbed introduction. The tight hypnotic groove which pervades throughout the Sepultura like grind is magnetic and fires the consuming intensity to deeper depths within. The corrosive start is then elevated to another venomous height by the brilliant A Punch In The Fucking Lungs, the track a ferocious undulating furnace of abrasive energy and numbing riffs. The rhythms vibrate through bone with the only respite coming in the brooding oppressive slower moments when the song is even more predatory, its heavy whispers intimidating and startling.

The guitars of Matt Richardson and Rob Beesley are scathing and scraping bestial elements throughout though their use of sonic razors and disruptive melodic trespass is just as impressive and sapping.  The likes of (Roasted In The Depths Of The) Sloar and the slowly crawling malevolence that is Repugnance find the guitarists scything through the senses with acidic precision within an avalanche of brute force energy, whether a rabidly paced or insidious lumbering envelopment their might and craft is merciless and erosive on thoughts and emotions.  Add the pit borne unsympathetic growls of Richardson alongside the crushing basslines of Claire Horrocks and restraining beats of Matt Aldred and the result is a tsunami of aural and impassioned lyrical hate, anger, and loathing.

From the more rampant early tracks the album switches after the apocalyptic emotion of the startling instrumental title track into a more expansive tar thick devouring prowl of doom and sludge sounds. The songs Bookatee Willalee and Locklear are overbearing and forceful masses to submerge within, their intent to drive away air and light with towering waves of intensity and sonic violation.

The album ends with the too brief but riotous strike of Snapmare, its bruising breath as punishing as its astringent splattering of wrung out melodic squeals, and the tension pushing What Are You Looking At Dicknose which takes its time to arrive fully in the ear but makes up for its tardy yet unsettling slow entrance with a tempest of nasty, pervading, and claustrophobic maliciousness. The closer is a seething body of poison to hungrily consume and be assaulted by, and to end what is a highly satisfying release. Arguably its earlier presence is better than its latter company but there is never anything less than compelling if violent sounds and thrilling invention to be eagerly accepted. At times Tarnation is a testing listen but one which is immensely rewarding and makes Bastard Of The Skies a band welcome anytime to crush, burn, and challenge the senses.

https://www.facebook.com/bastardoftheskies

RingMaster 29/09/2012

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Virus Cycle prepare for the release of their new album.

In just over two weeks the eagerly awaited new album from Post Apocalyptic Industrial Zombie Tech band Virus Cycle is unleashed to infect and thrill our ears. Already preceded by the impressive and acclaimed first single from the release, Why Don’t You Love Me?, the album Zombichrist released on Bluntface Records, is set to expand on and evolve the band’s previous releases, themes, and sounds.

An official statement about the album from Virus Cycle said:

“In March 2012, it was announced that the band would be releasing their new studio album Zombichrist through Bluntface Records on October 13th. The title of the album Zombichrist references the protagonist in every zombie movie to date. The one character that everyone puts their faith into in the hopes that the “chosen one” will deliver the rest into safety and salvation, away from the pending zombie apocalypse. On August 7th, the first single from the album called “Why Don’t You Love Me?” was released through Bluntface Records with accompanying remixes from artists from around the world. The single has seen national as well as international airplay. Virus Cycle plans on closing out 2012 by playing shows in support of Zombichrist.”

Zombichrist  promises to be one of the most compelling and startling releases of the year, a release to bring a zombie apocalypse into stark aural vision . For breaking information on the release of Zombichrist, exclusive steams, interviews and reviews check out The Ringmaster Review and official websites for Virus Cycle and Bluntface Records.

http://www.viruscycle.com/

www.bluntfacerecords.com

Virus Cycle is a Post-Apocalyptic Industrial Zombie Tech band from Boston, MA that combines haunting lyrics, pulsating beats, and grinding buzzsaw-like guitars that takes listeners on a journey into a devastatingly bleak future of death and decay, plaqued by the flesh-eating undead. Johnny Virum, the mastermind behind the project, is a veteran of the Boston music scene. Before working on Virus Cycle, he released a number of albums and toured, while having the pleasure of opening for The Misfits on their 30th Anniversary Tour, Gothminister (Danse Macabre Records), Carfax Abbey and Thou Shalt Not.

In 2011, Virus Cycle self-released their debut full-length album Alice In Zombieland in February along with their remix album Return to Zombieland in November. Both albums were very successful as they both saw a lot of radio play as well as reviews in blogs and magazines around the world. Virus Cycle had the chance to tour during 2011 and 2012 while supporting both albums, playing different venues and events such as QXT’s in New Jersey, Incantation in NYC, The Webster Theatre in Connecticut, McGann’s in Boston and The Level Room in Philadelphia. While touring, they had the great privilege to open for The Ludovico Technique (Metropolis Records), Nolongerhuman (COP International ), Morningwood (VH1 Records) and Mindless Self Indulgence (The End Records).

Kabul Golf Club – Le Bal Du Rat Mort

Disorientating and mesmeric, scarring and insatiably infectious, the Le Bal Du Rat Mort EP from Belgium sonic conjurors Kabul Golf Club is pure manic genius. It is a release to boil the senses and scatter synapses to the four winds, though it has probably turned them to steam anyway through its sheer incendiary imagination and sizzling expulsions. A snarling and abrasive explosion of corrosive invention it is hard to categorise the sounds within its pulsating walls. Post punk, noise rock, post hardcore, psyche punk…it is all in there and more. Imagine a mix of Dope Body, Retox, The Blood Brothers, The Mae Shi, and Stump and you have a slight grasp of the beautiful discordant monstrosity that is Le Bal Du Rat Mort.

The opening flaring chords on first track Bits Of Freedom eagerly scrape the ear without giving full notice of what is to come, though it is not long before the full force of the song is waging acidic romance upon the senses. Vocals scorch the atmosphere with passionate squalls of lyrics and sound whilst the drum beats provoke primal responses, it all within a ferocious burning maelstrom of blistering guitar mischief and abrasive energy. The bass is a growling salt within the midst its presence highlighted in the less forceful flurries but ever rubbing away at the defences throughout. The song is masterful and the first of the five epic and most welcome intrusions.

Minus 45 to offer a sonic joke raises the temperature even further, the band wringing the wildest squeals from notes and melodies whilst the bass finds an even stronger belligerence to its gait. With discord fuelling every second of the song for the fullest rapture, it is an acerbic assault, its hunger carnal and rewards aurally orgasmic. There is a live feel to the song and release as a whole which suggests its recording was in that manner, everything organically barbed and inciteful.

The waspish starting swing of Fast Moving Consumer Goods is a mellower scour upon the senses yet still riles the edges of emotions and flesh perfectly. A less punishing breath is soon ignited in sonic spasms by malevolent satanic melodies, again all brought with the utmost of insistent discordance and visceral energy. For many its brief stature will be a mercy, for us it is a disappointment, the exquisite corruption far too swift to take its leave.

5 Minutes 2 Midnight brings a similar presence to the previous track but soon notches up the levels and heat through warped  melodies and venomously twisted hooks. As with all the songs they are near perfect pop songs…ok for the insane but if they make that unbreakable connection they all emerge as a flurry of imaginative melodies, irresistible hooks, and anthemic rhythms, just from a darker and less savoury dimension is all. With a vein of eighties post punk band Fire Engines about it the song is a wanton demon borne bruising of the psyche, and absolutely brilliant.

The closing track Demon Days is an exhausting finale which encapsulates all that came before in one furious sonic sawmill of aggression. Its sounds scythe through the ear leaving resonating energy long after departure and the mind a broken recipient greedy and begging for it all over again.

Le Bal Du Rat Mort is an unhinged giant of a release, a beautiful frenetic and psychotic masterpiece which is maybe the most exciting thing to appear this year. Kabul Golf Club is a band we will all hear a lot more of, let us hope our minds can stand up to their triumphantly dangerous imagination and sound.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kabul-Golf-Club/157594060945110

RingMaster 28/09/2012

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Mortdelamer – Words Within The Wires EP

In a recent review we commented that many of the emerging female fronted alternative rock bands as impressive as many of them are have a similarity and familiarity which locks them together. Occasionally there are exceptions and one band which certainly stands out from the crowd is UK rock trio Mortdelamer. It is a band which sizzles with invention and imagination as proven by their outstanding new EP Words Within The Wires. The release marks them as one of the most exciting bands to have arrived on the scene in recent years, its five delicious melodic yet feisty tracks a thrilling and inspiring pleasure.

From Swindon, Wiltshire and formed in 2008, the combined talent and invention of childhood friends Joe Bishop (Bass Guitar), Sean Ivens (Drums), and Claire Sutton (Guitar, Vocals, and Keyboards) has earned a strong respect and following. The band has toured relentlessly since beginning, their dynamic live shows alongside previous releases, The Man With Two Heads in 2010 and the Leech EP of last year, pulling in a continually growing eager attention. The band has shared the stages with the likes of with InMe and Supergrass already with recent months seeing them take their impressive sounds into Europe. With the release of the Jonny Renshaw (DevilSoldHisSoul, Evita, Deaf Havana) produced new EP on October 1st the last piece of ammunition to trigger wide recognition is surely in place, the release set to fully ignite the passions of melodic rock fans nationwide and further afield.

Mortdelamer top and tail the release with their two weak songs…though when we say weak we mean powerful, dramatic, and senses spoiling. It is just the towering presence and invention of what explodes out in between which leaves them a little in the shade, though they still leave most other tracks to be unleashed elsewhere this year floundering in awe.

The opener Pieces And Reasons steps out from behind a soundbite to stand tall with feisty bulging riffs and demanding rhythms. It is a restrained assault with the vocals of Sutton mesmerising whilst the glorious harmonies which frame her voice leave one smouldering in contentment. As it opens up to its full height the song offers blistering sonics to dazzle the senses and an intensity to weaken knees, all this though through a still controlled and even paced energy. The song is a great start if arguably unadventurous; though that realisation comes in hindsight after the following songs captivate ear, senses and thoughts into an addiction.

The following I’ve Got My Backbone lifts one to the feet within seconds, its vibrant breath and beckoning hooks a hypnotic tease to light plenty of fires within. The riffs and melodic strikes of Sutton have a weight and intimidation which is rare in the genre these days but never challenge in the harshest way to leave the wonderfully melodic presence fighting for survival or effect. The bass of Bishop is a muscular companion whilst Ivens raps the ear with skilled precision and not to be denied intent. The track is excellent, a keen riot to fall in league with.

Things step up yet another level with the stunning song Fade. The track is sheer contagion, its quizzical hook simply magnetic whilst Sutton oozes emotive class with her vocals within the evolving evocative sounds. The fluid change of breath is impressive and only adds further depth to the ingenuity in place, without doubt the best song on the release.

The Hide though makes a strong challenge for that claim with its haunting aural whispers around the enveloping shadows and brooding energy. There is a strong Deftones lilt to the song, its slightly progressive nature an intrusive pleasure and provocative taunt. The snarling bass is an excellent contrast to more golden vocal harmonies whilst the beats keep one caged within the expressive dark caresses of the song. It is magnificent and again shows the diversity of Mortdelamer and why they are so exciting.

The closing Searching For Safety returns to a more standard rock structure and sound though it still offers plenty to intrigue and entice nothing but respect its way, even if it pales against the previous three towering creations.

Mortdelamer is a band all should pay close attention to and Words Within The Wires one of the most thrilling releases this year. This band will make great strides in 2013, the sparks start here.

www.facebook.com/mortdelamer

RingMaster 28/09/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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The Duel – Soundtrack To The End Of The World (The Zak Splash Story)

Last year London punk band The Duel set the pulse rate racing with their impressive feast of nostalgic yet completely fresh sounds on the album All Aboard The Crazy Train. Now they return with an adventurous and intriguing release Soundtrack To The End Of The World (The Zak Splash Story), an album no less impressive or captivating. Admittedly it does not have the more instant engagement which marked the previous release, its songs like old friends with a modern outlook, but the new album is arguably a deeper and more expansive creature. It takes its time to seduce and charm the senses, its sounds at times surprising and ideas refreshingly inventive, but the end result is the same, the captivation of the heart with the fullest pleasure given along the way.

Since its beginning in 2001 when vocalist Tara Rez and keyboardist / bassist Andy Theirum linked up, The Duel has gone from strength to strength. From its debut gig supporting the Dead Kennedys, through the supporting of the likes of Buzzcocks, The Vibrators, Vice Squad, Peter Hook, UK Subs, The Slits, Sham 69, and Angelic Upstarts, festival appearances and across its albums Let’s Finish What We Started and Childish Behavior, 2007 and 2009 respectively,plus of course All Aboard The Crazy Train, the band has reaped and incited enthused acclaim and a growing loyal fan base. The new release arguably will have many stepping back a little as its sounds sink in fully but it is imaginable that many will not be fully enamoured by it.

The track simply called Intro immediately lights up the senses, a fiery instrumental with a sharp melodic enterprise and steely attitude which is a delicious treat for the ear. Sounding like a cross between the instrumentals Rondo (The Midgets Revenge) by The Dickies and the Buzzcocks track Late For The Train, the piece is an absorbing and infectious companion and sets one up eagerly for the following song Invincible.

With guitars flashing their sonic sparks and a heavy bass swaying in between, the song lifts off with the vocals of Rez, her tones as pleasing and compelling as ever. The production means the strokes of guitarist Thanos Oscar Pap dominate the sound of the track though not to any real detriment. The vocals and bass of Chris McDougall, as well as the keys of Thierum and drums of Pumpy, are meshed together to create a grazing intensity yet still hold their clarity. It takes a second play to understand how it works but it does, the slightly bruising energy of the song leading the ultimately electric charge.

Less Everyday is the first song to venture away from expectations in sound, whereas its predecessor was a punk cored gem this song has a more teasing new wave caress to its still bristling breath. There is a resonance which appears throughout the album to the vocal sound of Rez offering a warm and mesmeric flavouring. To be honest one did not expect to say this but there is a definite Altered Images feel to this song and other moments later on in the album. It is a great aspect to the sound though, the glowing pop charms aligning easily and skillfully with the bristling attitude driven heart of the band.

The magnetic Fake Like You has the same gait to its swagger whilst sitting between the two, You Can Do It is a rock n roll stroll which flares with tight melodies and belligerence. As these and subsequent songs light up the senses, and the slight surprise at the evolution of sound from the band ebbs away, the pleasure only goes deeper. Songs like the excellent Love Me Do, bringing a brew of Penetration and Animal Alpha to its midst, and the slightly abrasive and raw Splash On You featuring Max Splodge (Splodgenessabounds), ensure the treats keep coming, whilst the closing gem of When The Fire Goes Out is sonic radiance. It burns but soothes the wounds with crafted rays of melodic warmth musically and vocally. Infectious and vibrant with coaxing whispers upon the ear, the track is a delicious smile of post punk invention and pop punk grace.

Going back to the beginning of the album and it is not the track Intro; it opens with Zak Splash Story. A forty minute tale of the fictitious Zak Splash narrated by Max Splodge, the track merges all the songs on the album into the narrative proving the songs work as part of dare one say a ‘punk opera’ or individually, though one suspects the latter is how the majority of eager listens will be made.

Soundtrack To The End Of The World is a credible piece of imagination with its tracks nothing less than satisfying and enthralling. The Duel has been to the fore of UK punk for the past few years and shows no signs of leaving their position to anyone else as the album proves.

https://www.facebook.com/thedueluk

RingMaster 28/09/2012

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Abraham – The Serpent, The Prophet & The Whore

Bringing probably the most caustic and violent experience you are likely to be exposed to this year, the second album from Swiss metalers Abraham is malevolent beauty. Abrasive, corrosive, and at times verging on physically unbearable for sure, but at the same time it is destructively beautiful and one of the best senses stripping pleasures to be unleashed and willingly endured in a long while.

The Serpent, The Prophet & The Whore leaves one numb yet smouldering on the inside from the sheer might and force, let alone craft, at work within the violation. The band is tagged as post-hardcore/post-metal but as their second album shows there is much more at play. At times there is a sludge/doom smothering to entrap the listener, the thick oppressive weight of tracks a trap to sink into whilst the snarling and demanding rhythms donkey punch the senses and the flaming melodic sonic invention sears right through to the marrow, its acid presence fusing and extinguishing synapses. It is pure bliss with Abraham now one of the giants of extreme sounds as evidenced by the release.

From Lausanne, the band began working on short circuiting its victims from 2007. Hard work and the honing of their weaponry led to the eventual release of their debut album An Eye on the Universe in 2011, through Pelagic Records (who also release the new album), the label of Ocean guitarist Robin Staps. Critically acclaimed the band soon had Europe on its knees playing alongside bands such as Red Fang, Intronaut, Khoma, EF, Celan, Birds In Row, Mumakil, and Kruger. The Prophet, The Serpent and The Whore, an album inspired by a novel by J.G. Rawls, is the staggering successor and. The release is a tempest of emotions; despair, anger, hopelessness to merely scratch the surface, seeping from the eight songs and the lyrics freely adapted from  the story of an unnamed man falling from the sky to crawl through the lowest spheres of the world. Themes of falling from grace, primal fear, physical pain, loneliness and mystical visions stalk the release, Abraham exploring and bringing them forward to make a vivid presence and touch. Musically the sounds are as tortured and destructive as the lyrical content and intent, the combination upon this Magnus Lindberg (Cult Of Luna) mixed album, creating stark, bleak, and sonically pungent soundscapes.

First track Start With A Heartbeat immediately rips the air apart with astringent sonics and merciless beats. It is a slow salt rub upon the senses which elevates its energy to twist and crawl deep within the psyche. The vocals of Olivier Hähnel expel venom of varied shades watched over by the predator growl from the bass of Valentin Jallut. As the guitars of Jacques Viredaz and Mathieu Jallut blister flesh whilst simultaneously manipulating notes, their tight hold wringing every essence and passion from them, the song creates an abusive rapture which can only be welcomed hungrily.

Man The Serpent and The Great Dismemberment suck the light from the soul, their far reaching dark emotions and malicious sounds leaving the deepest scars and equal pleasure. The rhythms of drummer David Haldimann alone resonate through bone and when contributing to the cartilage shearing sonics and melodic thrashing elsewhere makes for the sweetest abuse. Both songs fire the imagination with their constricting breaths and scathing presences, the second of the two a cacophonous scalding which blisters the atmosphere let alone the senses. At times there is a Killing Joke flavour breaking through, predominantly in the vocals with Hähnel having a Jaz Coleman scowl, with this, the leaden bleed of This Is Not A Dead Man, Yet and the closer Dawn having the richest whisper.

The outstanding New King, Dark Prophet and the epic corruption that is Carcasses leave one grasping for a steadying surface whilst gasping for breath under their dehabilitating tempests. As mentioned the release is a challenge to thought and body but there are moments where one is taken to their limits. All the time though the musicianship and wonderful inventive craft is a raging burn to relish and draw rapture from.

The Serpent, The Prophet & The Whore is pure mordant majesty, a brutal beast which rewards time and time again giving new emerging treats with every confrontation. Abraham has taken their already impressive presence and creativity to further stunning inventive and violent heights for one of the albums of the year.

https://www.facebook.com/abrahamtheband

RingMaster 28/09/2012

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