One week to devastation…

Just one week to go before the release of their new album Zombichrist from Virus Cycle on Bluntface Recordsanticipation is brewing to new infected heights for the next Post Apocalyptic Industrial Zombie Tech assault from band mastermind Johnny Virum.

   With the cover for Zombichrist just unveiled and the first single from the release in Why Don’t You Love Me? gathering strong acclaim the album is set to make the end of 2012 a wasteland of corrupted husks and fully satisfied bodies.

    To celebrate the release of the album, the same week sees Virus Cycle and Bluntface Records offering the opportunity of winning free downloads of the entire album and tracks from Zombichrist featured on The Bone Orchard from The Reputation Radio Show.

  More details for both will be unveiled during the week via The Bone Orchard and The Ringmaster Review.


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.”

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, plagued by the flesh-eating undead.

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 has opened for The Ludovico Technique, Nolongerhuman, Morningwood, and Mindless Self Indulgence.

Seasons Collide – Horizons

Seasons Collide is a melodic metalcore band…not another I hear you cry…but there is something different about this quintet from the UK to easily set them apart from other emerging similarly fuelled groups. There undoubtedly have been some great examples of the genre introducing themselves this year but it is hard to remember any as accomplished, rounded, and sure of imagination than Seasons Collide. Their debut EP Horizons is a monster of a release which only impresses on every level. For sure it still indicates further promise within the band to be explored and still areas to move forward, but for a first release it is something quite special and thrilling.

The band formed in early 2011 when guitarists/vocalists Adam Clarke and Josh Gernon, bassist Dan Lawley and drummer Nathan Engel, all ex-Fooled By Chance members, began working with former State of the Enemy frontman Joshua Buckland. As they began working on songs there was a chemistry which grew and flourished and turned into great songs which went on to become the Horizons EP. During recording Buckland left ‘to focus on other things in his life’ and was swiftly replaced by Liam “Leemo” Carmichael, formerly of Faint Young Sun and BiPoLaR Disposition. What has emerged from it all is a release which hits aggressively and forcibly but with fine craft and inspired imagination to perpetually intrigue and satisfy. The band has been called the UK answer to the likes of Killswitch Engage and Periphery, whether that is fair yet is arguable but certainly those influences vein the blend of metal the band creates from genres such as metalcore, hardcore, and djent. It is a stirring and impressive sound brought with skill, style, and plenty of invention.

The Essex band opens up the release with the title track and instantly engages the ear with coarse vocals and striking riffs. Into its pace with the rhythms bustling the senses, twin clean vocals duet with the squalling growls to great effect. The whole release shows the band have this aspect spot on. Many metalcore bands either offer clean vocals too sappy for the intensity or harsh deliveries which unbalance the whole thing but Seasons Collide have it perfect, the union seamless and organic. To be honest the opener is the least successful, but still impressive, in that area and overall on the EP but still easily marks the band out from the rest. Musically the song is a well designed and fluid stroll through firm beats, surging guitar play, and a very agreeable breakdown. It is a strong start but less dramatic and impactful than the rest of the release.

The following Tides Of Change initially immerses the ear in acidic sonic enterprise before rifling them through them with djent triggered riffs and rhythms. It is not long before the track is challenging the senses with sharp crystalline melodies and abrasive energies to light up the passions. In its four minutes or so there is so much going on but never to the point of burdening the ear, everything greedily and gleefully devoured. Again the vocals leave one breathless whilst the sounds around them ignite thoughts and riled energy.

The Long Road Home is the highlight of the release, its tempest of classic metal tones, bruising hardcore intensity, and melodic grandeur irresistible. The clean vocals are imperious within the ever shifting sounds and ideas whilst the caustic delivery riles up the rhythms and explosive riffs like a venom driven general. The track shows all its influences in an inspired and wonderfully crafted piece of metal rioting. Alone it shows the quality and vision of the band have already in their songwriting and sound, an ever evolving song which is so natural you never see anything coming.

The release ends with Run For Your Life and Saviour, both tracks a thunderous expanse of combative beauty on the senses. The first conjurors a mix of multi styles and flavours as one inciting and tremendous storm with a melodic eye which is glorious whilst the second is a song dripping in passion and emotive fire, its more even pace and intensity the base for barbed assaults and startling harmonies a within fiery melodic invention. The most experimental of the songs it shows so much more is within the band to be explored.

Horizons is an exciting and mighty beginning for the band. It is fair to say they have yet to find their full identity but already Seasons Collide have stepped to the fore of the brewing mass of metalcore fired bands which are stirring up British metal.

RingMaster 07/10/2012

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James Cook – Arts & Sciences

Arts & Sciences, the debut album from singer/songwriter/producer/video artist James Cook, is nothing short of marvellous. Imaginative and enchantingly intriguing the release immerses thoughts and senses into vibrant and emotive sonic weaves of baroque electro pop which are never less than compulsive and always warmly engaging. It is a glorious result of imagination and thought brought into impassioned union and whether a rampant slice of pop or a hazy stretch of emotional elegance leaves one gliding upon beautifully crafted and irresistible flights of aural warmth.

The album is said to be the creative rebirth of Cook who previously fronted and was the songwriter for cult Indie electro group Nemo, who released three acclaimed albums between 2004 and 2008 and won the Montreaux Jazz Festival award for best new band in 2007. He also appeared in and wrote songs for numerous Mighty Boosh episodes around the same time and collaborated with Imogen Heap as both her support act and backing band. The end of this period though saw Cook relocate to Berlin and disband Nemo. Whilst 2009 brought the release of the baroque pop curio The Dollhouse with violinist/string arranger Anne Marie Kirby, who also handles the string arrangements on the new album. Across that winter and into the following year Cook locked himself away in the snow clad Turmwerk studios of friend Chris Corner (IAMX). There Arts & Sciences evolved and across the year he worked on and recorded the release interspersed with European tours with IAMX, solo tours and more across Europe, finishing it in his own home before returning to Turmwerk for final mixing, mastering etc.

With many singles leading into the album anticipation for the full length has been eager and no one will be disappointed in this stunning and delicious piece of passion, vision, and pop. Musically the album has a nostalgic breath brought through modern ideas and creativity. As the songs caress and thrill it is impossible not to be reminded of the electro pop warmth of Thomas Dolby, the quirkily entangled pop of The Cure, the acidic lyricism of Julian Cope and the melodic beauty of Black. To that you have the drama and emotive quality of Fatima Mansions drenching each song, the total combination unique and deeply thrilling.

The Self Machine opens things up with a slice of agitated electro pop, its simmering electricity grazing the sonic spotlights of sound and infectious heart of the song. It is an immediate joy, its charms pushing all the right buttons for voice and limbs participation and the trigger to full engagement. There are plenty of sneaky little abrasions going on to bring depth to the song whilst firing up further rapture for its burning appeal.

The following Government Kid shimmers in the air before teasing the ear with flames of pulsing synth kisses and keenly stroking guitars. The chorus is as catchy as a fever with the song itself an equal at leaving a smouldering heat within the senses through its mesmeric weaves and acidic energies. Within two songs the album feels like something special, the rest of the release only confirming that promise.

As the next in line songs Wrong Empire and End Of Summer captivate thought and soul completely submission of the heart is confirmed. The first is a stunning piece of dramatic pop with the breathtaking strings of The Dollhouse Strings pure beauty, the arrangement of Kirby perfection in capturing and translating the heart and passion of the song. There is a Scott Walker feel to the track and such the mesmerism conjured the song feels like it is over before it begins. The other song is a slowly brewing piece of aural melodrama, its dramatic breath and imposing shadows leaving lungs and heart gasping for air.

The delightful Selling Ideas with its critical whispers seeming like the natural offspring from the songwriting of Andy Partridge sets one up perfectly for the pulse beat of the title track. Sheer Dolby in essence the song actually feels, with this not meant as a flaw, as if it was a swiftly borne song, its energy and triumphant electronic swagger organic and uncomplicated, a sonic roll off the tongue of imagination.

The album continues to soar through the skies of quality and invention through songs like the darkly covered Black Market Futures and the ELO like string guided Face To Face, which like the closer Circus Of Our Lives are the only songs not entirely written by Cook, with Kirby sharing the impressive creativity.

Arts & Sciences is immense, a truly magical release which only improves and enriches the ardour with consequent meetings. If any of the references mentions raise a spark in your passions then James Cook and his album will be your next deepest pleasure.

RingMaster 07/10/2012

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Dylan Mondegreen – Self Titled

Photo: Julie Pike

Thoroughly enchanting the new album from Dylan Mondegreen is a mesmeric gem of a release, a warm breeze over the senses and a sensuous piece of emotive elegance. The self titled release offers a collection of songs which are as reflective as they are wonderfully tender and atmospherically hazy. Like a summers dawn or evening sunset the album is a gently caressing treat to bask within.

Dylan Mondegreen (Mondegreen meaning misheard lyrics and Dylan referring to the legend himself) is the pseudonym of Norwegian singer songwriter Børge Sildnes, who has been creating his indie pop sounds since the mid-2000s. The new album is his third but the first to be released in the UK and continues his impressive releases of expertly crafted folk and rock/pop. It follows his debut While I Walk You Home of 2007 and The World Spins On two years later. Co-produced with Ian Catt (Saint Etienne, The Field Mice) the new release is an open yet subtle blend of aural whispers and heart borne beauty brought with sophisticated breath and organic textures.

Castaway wraps itself around the ear first with emotive strings and balmy ambience as the mellow tones of Sildnes stroke with soft and expressive emotion. The song is an instant draw which soaks the senses like compassionate waves to captivate from first note to last. It is an enveloping pleasure to start the album off though subsequent songs prove to be even more impressive.

The album is certainly a personal release with songs like Life As A Father shining in craft and passion. It is impossible not to be touched by the track or induced into a personal piece of reflective thinking. Not for the first time on the release the wonderfully sensual vocals of Maria Due add graceful flourishes to a song to light more simmering fires within.

As songs like The Heart Is A Muscle, the superb It Takes Two with its summery presence and steel drum incitement, and the irresistible You Make It Easy with its infectious heart and jangly pop energy, jump all over the ear with keen intent but a soothing touch it is impossible not to drift into a world of sunshine coaxed solitude of thought and feelings.

Different emotions touch the senses across the album with a delicate embracing across the songs through intelligent and expressive lyrics, their delivery, and the accomplished sounds which hold them. It is so easy to sink into the enveloping moods brought by the release, especially the sounds of the string ensemble, with the melancholic and dreamy sounds they conjure a grand beauty and a perfect companion to the dream pop flavours alongside, the combined union making for a rich orchestral landscape to explore and immerse within.

Dylan Mondegreen the album, is a delicious pleasure of bewitching passion pop to take one into serene realms and sparkling emotional experiences dark and light which all have experienced, whilst the artist himself is the one who holds the musical keys to make it all happen.

RingMaster 07/10/2012

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The Procession – You Are Now Leaving The Future

Though it took some continued persuasion in some parts, the debut album from UK alternative rock band The Procession emerged as a very agreeable and rewarding piece of imaginative rock n roll. Enjoyably varied and inventively driven, the release leaves one deep in pleasure and eager to see how the band evolves in the future.

You Are Now Leaving The Future is an album which challenges and leaves a bright spark in the day, it might not contest a plethora of best of year lists but it certainly will light up plenty of welcoming and grateful hearts. The release is experimental in its eclectic array of sounds and directions, the band surely soaked in diverse inspirations and influences and sucking the best elements of each to spice their own creativity. The vast array of sounds arguably does make the album a little harder to come to terms with as you spend initial listens wondering where they are going but taking songs individually there is no question of the accomplished craft and ability of the Midlands trio.

Formed in 2007 by James Best (vocals /guitar), Martin Byrne (vocals/guitar/keys), Paul Richardson (bass), and Rob Gill (drums), The Procession soon started making big impressions in the Midlands music scene which accumulated in them becoming the inaugural winners of the BandForTheDay competition, seeing off 2,000 entries. The is was a big break for the band which led them into playing local festivals, strong support opportunities, radio appearances, and plenty of media attention. Signing to Circular Records in 2011, the band released to strong acclaim their debut EP Sometimes and set about recording their album. spending a large part of the past year working on and recording it at the secret studio complex of Kasabian in Leicestershire. The album is set to follow previous single Sun Comes Around in firing up an enthused hunger for more of their heart borne sounds and explosive guitar triggered hooks and melodies.

The album starts off with a bang with the excellent opener Hot Off The Press. From atmospheric weaves of voice and keys the song plunges through the ear with roguish vocals and striking flashes of guitars against choppy riffs. It is an instantly pleasing burn upon the senses, the effect coated vocals searing the air of the song whilst the rhythms challenge a response out of the listener. Into its stride the song is a fiery sonic brawl which invites and eagerly receives adulation. Caustic and antagonistic the track is a gem, an inciting roar of impulsive beats and acidic melodies which surge throughout the abrasive energies.

The following A+E and Sun Comes Around shuffle things up right away. The first is a powerful rock fury with heavy whispers of bands like Pearl Jam and Soundgarden to its resourceful presence. Like the rhythms the song is a towering slab of attitude and passion which leaves only deep satisfaction in its wake. The second is a gentle slice of indie guitar pop which wraps its warm and tender charms around the ear whilst emotive shadows keeps the compelling ambience from dozing. Charged guitar play spears the song to ensure the song does not drift off in a shimmering haze but keeps thoughts and feelings on edge.

It is a great start which the likes of Improv1 and Call You continue in their own individual and equally impactful way.  There is an eighties/nineties feel to the first of the pair, recalling guitar bands like The Mighty Lemondrops, Third Eye Blind and Smashing Pumpkins, whilst the latter is an emotive smouldering embrace with the guest vocals of Emma Redhead simply dazzling.

Some songs like Lookout and Indifference found it harder to find a place as elevated as those before achieved, but eventually they did forge a connection which invites many returns to their diverse and teasing charms. Cease & Desist had no such problem, the song a bruising and impassioned joy. The new lead single from the album it is an anthemic aural riot which ruffles up the senses and carries a little contempt within its breath. With a great bassline to further the satisfaction it is a great entry point to the band.

You Are Now Leaving The Future and The Procession both deserve attention from all as though the type of relationship with the heart will vary with each individual they offer plenty for all to be energised and captivated by.

RingMaster 07/10/2012

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