Virus Cycle – Zombichrist

Last year saw the impressive decay of Alice In Zombieland from Post-Apocalyptic Industrial Zombie Tech band Virus Cycle consume the senses, the release a formidable and startling debut album from the one man project of Johnny Virum. It was a raw and uncompromising release which impressively reflected its stark and corrosive narrative in sound and energy. As strong and compulsive as it was, it now pales against its follow-up Zombichrist, an album even more destructive but with a marked evolution and maturity in composition and structure.  Not an album for the weak hearted or those flimsy in spirit, Zombichrist churns up senses and blisters synapses with acidic sonics, festering intensity, and the breath of reanimated death. It depletes and inspires energies, evoking cinematic soundscapes and numbing erosion of hope and light. It is a remarkable release which needs to be allowed to envelop and consume numerous times to reap the full rewards of its imagination and power.

Pre Virus Cycle, Jonny Virum was involved in projects which saw him releasing numerous albums and supporting the likes of The Misfits on their 30th Anniversary Tour, Gothminister, Carfax Abbey and Thou Shalt Not, the artist already a respected veteran of the Boston music scene. Since releasing Alice In Zombieland, Virus Cycle has opened for bands such as The Ludovico Technique, Nolongerhuman, Morningwood and Mindless Self Indulgence, as well as seeing a remix album of their debut called Return to Zombieland which featured reinvented tracks from numerous talents including Otto Kinzel, who co-produced the new album with Virum and is the owner of Bluntface Records, the label it is released through.

The union of the pair on the production side has certainly brought a more rounded and darker intrusion to the album, their understanding spawning a deeper energy sucking presence and interpretation of the death driven annihilatory sounds and atmospheres.  The release explores further depths and shadows within the disturbing undead driven world from which it is borne, its touch a disturbing and malevolent cinematic experience drenched in the shadows of horror and zombie movies, specifically of the Italian maestros like Lucio Fulchi, whose Zombi is said to have inspired the album.

Opening track The Dead Hate The Living sets the tone, its film sample bringing in an insidious and crawling death soaked atmosphere. Groaning ambience throws heavy whispers across the senses before slowly blistering guitars leave their abrasive caresses across the ear. The vocals of Virum again resonate with a decomposed breath, something newcomers to the band may have to warm to but are an integral part of the textured soundscapes. The track persists in its dragging intensity, a sprawling caustic engagement intent on corruption.

The first single from the album Why Don’t You Love Me follows sending a wash of electro warmth over the already open wounds, its coarse eighties pop elegance smouldering within the astringent guitar weaves and pulsating rhythms. The track is like an industrial update of something by Fad Gadget, the shadows deeper and more abrasive but cored by an infectious pop spine of melodic light. It is a welcoming pull into the album, arguably the least venomous and violent creature on the release but still a thoroughly sinister and intimidating companion.

Love Me To Death continues the sonic burning, its exquisite ebbs and flows of scorching energy mesmeric whilst From Dusk Till Dawn is a sprawling vehemence which sucks away any resistance before it even raises its temperature and energy such the malevolence within. Both leave one lost in the world created, thoughts wrapped in a deathly landscape which makes Silent Hill feel like a trip to the beach.

The remaining tracks further  and complete the hellacious consumption, Kir Der Nacht a heavy crunching rub defusing the senses and Memento Mori a track which bounces in on a hopeful vibe before being smothered by the towering intensity and oppressive sounds. It is a great blend of electronic strokes and dehabilitating metallic muscle. The title track is a rotting attrition for the senses, its friction scarring and almost unbearable but ultimately a sweet exhaustive undermining of life.

Closing with the excellent instrumental House On Haunted Hill with only samples to bring a narrative to the intensive sonic manipulation of the senses, Zombichrist is an impressive industrial violation to immerse within, a tremendous release which drags you into a world of ravenous dead bodies and life extinguishing atmospheres whilst leaving  a glow of total satisfaction.

On October 13th, the release day of Zombichrist, Virus Cycle will be celebrating its unleashing by holding an open forum web chat at http://www.stickam.com/viruscycle. You may ask them questions during the web chat or you may send them to viruscycle@gmail.com. There will also be 3 signed copies of Zombichrist to give away, with everyone who sends in a question entered in to a draw to win one of the albums at the end of the web chat.
Zombichrist is released on October 13th 2012 and is available through www.viruscycle.com or through Bluntface Records on www.bluntfacerecords.com

Zombichrist will also be available for FREE download @ www.viruscycle.com and www.bluntfacerecords.com from October 13th, with physical copies of the album available for $6.00.

RingMaster 10/10/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Driven – A Breakdown Of Character

A Breakdown Of Character, the debut of UK rock band Driven is a beast of a release, an animal with constantly rippling muscles and howling energy to the fore but sculpted with melodic definition from a skilled touch. The EP is immense, one of the most impressive and thrilling introductions to appear this year. It is a heady fusion of metal and rock, a hard and vibrant brew of sounds and intensity which leaves one breathless and enamoured with songs which are still ringing around the head long after their dust has settled.

Hailing from Harrow, Driven has been building a strong and dedicated following since forming in the early part of 2011. Ever hardworking their live performances have brought strong and growing acclaim with the band exciting audiences alongside bands such as Knuckledust, Painted Smiles (ex Sikth), Mortad, Daken, Skreamer, Sanguine, and Sedulus. Earlier this year they turned to concentrating on recording their first release, going into the studio alongside Phil Kinman to create five irresistible and formidable slabs of rock n roll which have more aggression than a footballer with a Twitter account.

The very first beat and guitar rub of opener The Fool has attention looking in only one direction. It is easily sparks up the juices and as it rattles on the spot before breaking into an eager stomp an immediate grin is in place just knowing something special is in the air. The song is a bruising joy of rampaging riffs, jabbing rhythms, and vocals which are outstanding either clean and firing with expression or as a grizzled growl snapping at the ear. The sound is an incendiary mix of bands such as Pantera, Metallica, and Hell Yeah with a predominant dose of Bloodsimple to its presence. It is a blend which wonderfully burns up the senses and further enflames the wounds with scorches of melodic fire and excellently imagined diversity. There are many sizzling flavours which drip from the sound, all spicing the overall pleasure with impact and invention.

The following track leaps for the throat from the first note but once taking hold intersperses its charge with smouldering enterprise in harmonies and melodies through a wash of irresistible restraint. Like the first track, The Silver Lining writhes through variations and invention to ignite the imagination and primal energies. The vocals of Adam Leader again just impress with their ease of variation and passion whilst the guitars of David Mena Ferrer and Rory Kay leave the senses drooling from either their onslaught of precisely targeted riffing or sonic mesmerism.

Showing further invention in thought and songwriting, Ghosts opens with a gentle and magnetic weave of guitar manipulations and vocals with the bass of Fazz Couri bringing the shadows. As the striking drums of Hov Yardim build up the intensity the song constantly threatens to explode but instead returns to the heated yet reserved croon. Of course with high octane fuel in their veins Driven cannot hold back their instinct for long and eventually the song erupts into a white hot furnace of blistering sonics and intimidating rhythms. It is a beautiful riot which offers a lava like blend of Bloodsimple and old UK band I-Def-I through its spearing veins.

Vacant Thrones brings a southern twang within its fuel, the band adding a Down like abrasion to their music. It is another magnificent track to confirm the release as impressive in its consistency in every aspect of its incendiary body as the sound itself. The song swaggers with confidence and provocation without needing to turn to destructive tendencies to make its mark, guitars and bass strolling with purposeful riffs and delicious melodic strikes whilst the drums persistently barrack the senses giving no rest for the fired up enthused reactions.

Uproar closes the release just as dynamically as it all began the song a surging storm of swerving energies and fluid invention, the song igniting a furnace of joy to leave ears singed and the heart bursting. Leader for the final time just shines throughout the song, immediately placing himself as one of the best emerging vocalists around to match a band which is simply outstanding.

Good things about the band were bandied around before A Breakdown Of Character came into view but they gave no real justice to the truth. Driven is a new and mighty force which will set metal and rock alight, the EP is only the impressive start.

www.facebook.com/drivenuk

RingMaster 10/10/2012

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In Search Of Fire – Serotonin Storm

In a year of strong debuts UK rock band In Search Of Fire announce themselves to the world with another in the shape of the excellent Serotonin Storm EP. The six track release is an impressive introduction of fiery guitar driven songs and impassioned heart which captures the imagination and fires up the senses. The release is a tightly crafted and openly thoughtful collection of songs which either explode with adrenaline fuelled energy upon the ear or seduce with emotively charged sonic caresses, either way the band accomplished and impactful.

The promo for the release said for fans of Muse, Arctic Monkeys, Oasis, and Led Zeppelin, a list which did it no favours here to be honest. Some of those essences can be heard within Serotonin Storm as strong whispers, but for the main it offers something clearly different for a fresh invigorating new presence in UK rock.

Since forming, The Chatham quartet of vocalist and lead guitarist Andy Malet, rhythm guitarist Anthony Vandongen, bassist Connor O’Connell, and Rob Dowsett on drums have lit up stages across the southeast and breaking into London more than once or twice, with supports for The Wombats and Missing Andy under their belts. Recorded alongside Arthur Walwin, Serotonin Storm is their first big step to wider recognition and an attention receiving leap it will surely be.

Blood is pumping right from the off, opener Indie Rock n Roller storming through the ear with driving rhythms and a twisted groove to light the fires. Returning to comparisons one band did come to mind as the riot of a song blistered the air and grazed the senses wonderfully, Psychedelic Furs, well if they had evolved into a dirty punk n roll band. There is a similarity to the emotive breath created but again a whisper. The hook which permeates the song is as acute and delicious as any spawn by the Buzzcocks and the track itself is a bruising piece of punk rock brought with flair and invention. The slip into a piano touched respite is glorious and unexpected, just the first of many times the band impress similarly, before shifting back to the rampant charge of the song for its eager climax.

It is a brilliant start giving a tall order to follow for the following When In Rome and No Shit Sherlock. Though both arguably miss the target set it is by a mere hairs breath, the pair igniting further passions and enthusiasm for their creative and energy stoking sounds. The first explores the ear with caustic guitar flurries over rumbling drums from Dowsett, both Malet and Vandongen sending shards of flaming melodies and tight riffs across the ceiling of the song. It is an intensive piece of songwriting which has a stadium rock type energy, thus the Muse comparisons though it has to be said of any other band they are the ones which share the closest flavour at times. Ending with a slow reggae spiced climax which works well even if it feels like an added idea at the end, the track passes over to the fierce intent of No Shit Sherlock. Attitude soaks every word and note bringing spite to the song, further evidence of the inventive diversity within band and sound. As the track evolves you can only be in awe of the subtle way the band fit so much into their songs without disturbing their balance and natural flow, this song alone an evolving feast of imagination and melodic flare.

The potent Memory Loss lyrically and musically sends another charge of electrifying pleasure through the ear; its blues classic guitar sounds the spine for the bristling coarse kiss upon the ear whilst Dead Men’s Eyes just leaves one gasping within its scouring energy and burning might. The vocals of Malet, as everywhere just wring every passion and emotion out of the words to bring extra intensity to the tracks and none more so effectively as in the closing slow burner Moving On. A power ballad of sorts, the track initially did not find a connection, the opening razor like guitar jangles clashing with the vocals but given time the song spreads into another smart and well crafted piece of composing. It could not ignite the levels achieved elsewhere but it easily won over any doubts.

Serotonin Storm is an outstanding debut from a band which has all the credentials and talent to go a long way, watch this space.

www.facebook.com/insearchoffire

RingMaster 10/10/2012

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White Clouds & Gunfire – Zero to Hero EP

Zero to Hero EP the debut EP from UK pop punksters White Clouds & Gunfire warms the ear and emotions like a summer sun, its melodic radiance and infectious rays hard to resist dipping into. It is one of those releases which you can only find good things to say about, its songs accomplished and vibrant their sound refreshing and flying on heart borne enthusiasm. Unfortunately it also suffers like the majority of releases from melodic rock/pop punk female fronted bands; it sounds like many many others. The band do nothing wrong, the tracks within the release easily accessible and deeply contagious but it still spawns a likeness of sound to that section of the genre. This year alone has seen the emergence of bands such as Me & The Mountain, Hitchcock Blonde, Held By Horses and Leopards, all like White Clouds & Gunfire impressive and all seemingly borne from an overall similarity.

That is the negative out of the way with only enthused emotions inspired for every other aspect of band and release. Formed in 2008, White Clouds & Gunfire have taken time to get into their stride due to line-up instability but 2011 saw a turning point with everything coming into focus and evolving. The Peterborough quintet have drawn strong acclaim across the written press and lit up stages alongside bands such as Army Of Freshmen, Sonic Boom Six, OPM, MC Lars, The Hype Theory, and As We Climb as their enthusiastic work ethic and exciting sounds drives them to greater heights. The Zero To Hero EP is the next step, their national introduction and charge further afield with shows and presence.

You Think You Know Me opens up the release and immediately noticeable is the great growling bass of Rob Woods and the teasing vocals of Eveline Verdegaal. Both have a startling presence which only sparks full attention, though the rest of the band are no less impressive. The opening of the song is restrained in energy and invention but still forms a strong base for the vocals to flourish within. The guitars of Jake Matthews and newest member Ben Scarr (current guitarist with As We Climb) surge and rub against the ear with skill and intelligent melodic touches. The song is constantly intriguing with its additives and slight asides to keep a captivation well within it grasp.

The following Satellite takes the levels higher, its acidic sonics sharp and precise whilst the bass again grumbles magnificently, its tone the perfect temper and compliment to the golden tones of Verdegaal, the sparkling harmonies, and warm melodic flourishes. The track bounces along with unbridled energy but it is a careful mix of smart ideas and finely shaped play which with focus shines brightly. It is all driven by the thumping beats of Lewis Fountain, his powerful rhythmic frames the key to pulling it all into a tight explosion of sizzling enjoyment.

The remaining pair of songs continue to firmly engage, both Stand And Be The Hero and Turn Out The Lights burning a soft spot in the heart. It really is impossible not to have a real attraction for the band, their enchanting fiery breath and sculptured imaginative ideas an insatiable melodic kiss. The first of the pair brings a heavier intensity to its gait, the forceful beats and riffs forging a stirring spine to further fine melodic enterprise. The closing song is simply a greedy riot of catchy and hungry hooks and melodies. Though his vocals have backed up well on other songs, Scarr brings a fuller presence alongside Verdegaal to the song, maybe something to explore deeper and further ahead to set them apart from others, especially when it works this well. The song has a familiarity to it which makes it easy to accept its invitation to join in and ends the release off on a real high.

Zero to Hero is a great feel good slab of melodic rock which deserves much attention. Like other similarly fuelled releases this EP may struggle to make its distinct mark within the field but if there is a band with the talent to find that unique voice ahead it is White Clouds & Gunfire.

www.facebook.com/wcagf

RingMaster 10/10/2012

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