Canvas Wall: Thinking Out Loud

After the first listen to the debut album from UK alternative rock band Canvas Wall came to a close the first reaction was WOW! Subsequent plays and attention to Thinking Out Loud only enforced that reaction to louder and greater heights as the album showed itself to be one of the more inspiring releases this year. Every song no matter its delivery, whether reserved and expressive or charging and dramatic, is a big hearted anthemic infection which is irresistible to resist. The album has a familiar gait brought through unfamiliar sounds and songs to make for a strong and frequent companion long into the future.

The band formed in 2008 from the seeds of the combined of talents of Simon Dounis (vocals, guitar)and Craig Rogerson (drums),who were already playing together in Malta. Relocating to the UK, the pair was joined by Alvin Ho (guitar) and Nathan Bryans (bass) as the band found a full and powerful line-up. The next couple of years saw the quartet working on new material as well as touring, with their live debut coming at the 100 Club in London. Their debut single Sooner or Later and the quickly following by Close to the Edge, both found strong responses and good acclaim in 2010 from media and fans alike. With a video for the second song the following year made by the world famous visual effects company, The Mill, building and increasing the momentum of the band, new album Thinking Out Loud has all the armoury and stunning sounds to throw Canvas Wall right into the deserved headlights of mass exposure.

Financed through Pledgemusic, the album is an instant glamour for the senses with opener City Lights, its charms and melodic infection as dazzling as the subjects in its title. With stomping beats and charged riffs the song paces the senses with eager intent, and once joined by the impressive vocals of Dounis who instantly marks himself as a fine and impressive voice, it draws an even deeper connection from its guest. With big melodies to accompany the bulging anthemic feel it offers, the track is a magnetic lure from which there is no willing return, a stirring and impactful beginning from which any album could learn a thing or two.

The following Make it Count takes a step back on the energy though is no less dramatic in its presence. Already by this he second song that earlier mentioned familiarity is a strong caress upon the ear though no one comes to mind as an obvious comparison. With the big boned rhythms and burning melodic power there are pop essences of a Lloyd Cole and The Commotions and the rock textures of a Soundgarden or Pearl Jam but it is all uniquely and thrillingly Canvas Wall.

The excellent Stand On A Mountain and new single The Road To Bliss continue the stunning quality, the first another part stadium rock like powder keg of infection and the second, an eighties whispering electro touching slice of imaginative and towering triumph which ignites tingles where tingle fear to tread.

As the likes of the swaggering I Wish You Well, the riveting Take It All with its twisting dynamics and a title which epitomises the whole attitude of the album, and the brilliant Close To The Edge ignite the heart, the release is verging on places only loved ones can access. The latter of the three is an orgasmic aural slice of magnificence which will forever play in the head every time the band name is mentioned. With power chords as incendiary as any storm and a passion which is impossible to resist the song is a colossus of rock pop majesty.

From beginning to end Thinking Out Loud is a stunning romp from which the deepest satisfaction is spawn, the further likes of Don’t Look Down, What Have I Done, and Not In My Hands to name just three more, continuing the constant rapture. Canvas Wall are a big band with even larger sounds and the time ahead just the gateway for them to explode to the greatest heights.

http://www.canvas-wall.com/

RingMaster 10/09/2012

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Oslo Ess: Verden På Nakken, Venner I Ryggen

Though really there should be no grounds for it there was still a real surprise when approaching the new album from Norwegian band Oslo Ess. The reason for that was the unexpected pleasure of hearing the band playing high grade punk rock. In hindsight it seems silly but a Norwegian punk band just felt strange and at first a bit of a novelty. Once the sounds burst out from Verden På Nakken, Venner I Ryggen though, one is soon shown there is no gimmick involved and that the album is one thrilling and stirring slab quality punk rock in varied shades. With the exception of the new Biting Saints album, the second album from Oslo Ess is arguably one of the best punk releases this year.

Though formed in 2007 by four friends, the band did not truly become active until 2010 where upon their introduction to the world it has to be said their rise these past two years has been a storming ascent. After their second ever gig the same year, the band was booked to play the Øya Festival as an unknown and unsigned act. Twelve months later in 2011 they returned to the Fest as headliners whilst squeezing around 80 other shows in between. Last year also ended with a goal of playing Rockefeller achieved by the Oslo quintet with a sold out show. During this time there was also the small matter of their debut album which appeared in 2010. Since its release Uleste Bøker og Utgåtte Sko has been showered with acclaim and exposure, award nominations, and airplay of its tracks, all adding to their swiftly growing popularity. Already the first single Caroline from the new album has been a constant on Norwegian national radio over the past six months and as the world wakes up to the band, their stock is sure to only ascend higher and higher.

Produced by Oslo Ess and Bjarte Lund Rolland and released via Indie Recordings, Uleste Bøker og Utgåtte SkoVerden På Nakken, Venner I Ryggen instantly fires up the senses with opener Kakerlakkene (Cockroaches), a riotous ball of energy and infectious heart. Far too brief for the pleasure it brings, the track bounces with an enthusiasm and hunger to excite and rifle the ear with pure insatiable punk passion. Does it offer anything particularly new…not really but if you want to know whether it ignites the heart…it is a massive and resounding yes.

The album is delivered in the native tongue of Åsmund Lande (vocals, guitar), Peter Larsson (guitar), Knut-Oscar Nymo (bass), Einar Stenseng (Keyboards), and Mads Golden (drums), but that simply adds to the texture of the energy and strength of the songs, though it is a little frustrating trying to join in on what are predominantly irresistible strikes of catchy anthemic contagion.

God Morgen (Good Morning) backs up the impressive start with its melodic punk prowess, its guitars scything sonic trails across the expressive keys and vocal harmonies. The rhythms of drums and bass too leave nothing but mighty and inventive impressions especially in tracks like Bislett Stadion, a rock n roll brew of incisive guitar play and explosive heart.

The ska punk driven Fritt Fram (Free-Up) emerges as one big favourite, its care free swagger a heated tease upon the ear which surely no one could turn away from. Another song where once you finally have your tongue around part of the infectious chorus the song has moved on two tracks… have the band no compassion for us untalented linguists?

The likes of the aforementioned single Caroline and Gaselle i Tigerstaden (Gazelle In Tiger Town) bring a blues and soulful breath to their well lit presences to further the captivating diversity across the album, whilst songs like Ut av det Blå (Out Of The Blue) and Är du som Jag? (Are You Like Jag) respectively add a rock and power pop tone to the release.

Ending on the intense punk intensity of a NOFX with Tøffe Gutter (Tough Guys) and the Celtic punk spiced Over Stokk, Over Stein (Over sticks and stones), the album is one glorious feast of punk music at its best. If the likes of Flogging Molly, Bad Religion, The Transplants, and Capdown tweak your pleasures than Oslo Ess and Verden På Nakken, Venner I Ryggen are simply must not be ignored treats.

https://www.facebook.com/OsloEss

RingMaster 10/09/2012

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Unchained: Oncoming Chaos

Fusing a well cultured blend of melodic death metal with numerous other strains of urgent and extreme metals, the debut album from French metalers Unchained is an unexpected pleasure which without breaking into startlingly new areas explores and lights up existing boundaries. Oncoming Chaos is a storm of eleven tracks which excite and satisfy fully and though they do not have a defined uniqueness to leave jaws dropping open in awe, they certainly have passions and enthusiasm fired up through their accomplished and highly energised inventive presence.

     Unchained was formed in 2010 by guitarist Jonathan Rabache and drummer Olivier Gavelle (ex- Kragens, Ace, Dirty Side). Soon after bassist and former Gorgon member Joel Forneris joined the band to be followed by guitarist Thibaud Vuille and eventually vocalist Pierre Jourdan Gassin, who had played alongside Vuille in Scornforger and Dividead. Early last year the band released the five-track demo, Russia and spent the year playing numerous shows all leading to strong responses before working on their first album. Oncoming Chaos released via M&O Music, is sure to explode the existing interest in the band into something much more formidable and enthused with its stirring and imaginative sounds.

The album opens on a metallic and sinister atmosphere leading into Infernal Death Machine, its industrial introduction an intimidating build into the heart of the track. Once in full rampage riffs storm the ear whilst the harsh growls of Gassin spring with venom from every note and word. Persistent and incessant the track shows no mercy though it merges its aggression with flames of melodic enterprise, the ear catching combination immediately showing the height of all the musicianship driving the band. The first song sets the template for the album, a fusion of extreme metal and sheer sonic melodic majesty which never is less than impressive and fluid.

The following songs like No Scapegoat To Blame and Russia raise the temperature even higher, the first of these a mix of chugging intrusive riffs, infectious grooves, and incendiary guitar solos which leaves trails of sparking air in their wake. From the excellent vocals through the guitars on to the towering rhythms of Forneris and Gavelle, the song, and those which follow, captures the imagination with ease. As the second of this pair shows, the band is not the most intense or violent the senses will be assaulted by but certainly is one of the more impactful. Russia is a track which reaches deep into the passions and psyche with its steely cold breathe veined by crippling rhythms and destructive menacing riffs whilst also furthering the good variation across the album.

Splitting these two songs is Freedom Through Fire, the only song to find a negative welcome, though that was down to personal taste only. The vocals start with the great guttural bestial growls which are a constant everywhere else to make the beginning of the song as appetising as anywhere in the album. For these ears sadly they soon switch into a screaming clean classic metal delivery to make toes curl in a bad way. Ok so the vocals are admittedly very strong if you like this style but if not than the track does not lead to eager returns.

The album is instantly igniting the demon within again through the likes of the outstanding and challenging temperament of Your Funeral with its combative prowl, the malevolent Stare In The Abyss with its dark ambience, and arguably best track on the album Costa Nostra. This last song has a snarl to it which drips venom and attitude whilst lining itself with an insatiable melodic groove and gnarly bass sound to infect ears and beyond.

Oncoming Chaos is an impressive debut which marks Unchained as an emerging force to jump on board with right now as well as a band with a big future in their inventive and skilful hands.

www.facebook.com/metalunchained

RingMaster 10/09/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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