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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