Tall Ships: Everything Touching


Through their EPs and singles UK alternative band Tall Ships has garnered strong praise and inspired an equally enthused anticipation for their debut album Everything Touching. With the release the trio has matched and exceeded expectations with a  mesmeric piece of inventive songwriting and craft which thrills and excites across its precise and imaginative presence. It has one drooling with discord laced sonic scorching, robust and instinctive rhythms, and enveloping atmospheres, all brought with intrigue and at times slightly unusual but always successful ideas.

The trio from Brighton/Cornwall fuse a tight and infectious weave of alternative, math, and indie rock into even more acutely gripping conjurations to dazzle and incite the senses. Previous EP There Is Nothing But Chemistry Here arguably was the moment the band lit interest in their sounds on a wider level, something which Everything Touching one can only assume, will accelerate dramatically. The album offers songs which are intricate and clever but never with a hint of indulgence or waste to their composition and realisation. They are like a latter day version of early XTC fused with the technical hooky hunger of Baddies and the expressive touch of Letters, a mix which simply lights up the air. The songs in whatever shade of imagination they come in are a heated breath of individuality to immerse within or share emotions with, usually both.

The album starts with the first single from the release, T=O. It is a hypnotic taunt of sonically scything guitar strokes and brooding rhythms which are as persistent as they are a niggling joy. A bruising slice of noise pop brought with a flowing melodic caress the track removes itself from the coarse rub to place a warm elegant kiss from keys and vocals on the ear. It sends shivers down the spine before the re-emerging abrasive pleasure returns to lift the intensity and temperature once again. It is a wholly contagious start as incendiary as it is a smouldering.

The following instrumental Best Ever is equally irresistible, its opening crunching energy and rampant beats alongside dazzling sonic pick pocketing of the senses the illegitimate offspring from parts of the Go 2 album from XTC. Like the opener the hypnotic bulk of its body finds the piece harsh in its touch but delicious in the effect. The sudden repose into solitary guitar strokes is un predicted and time for thought before the return to the almost corrosive flight of the track returns for a sizzling crescendo.

Next up  Phosphorescence and Oscar spark further fires inside, the first a dazzling and almost disorientating wash of melodic freshness and eager passion surrounding another deliciously resonating citrus sonic niggle whilst the second jangles with a flattened hook and grumpy bass sound behind warm and soothingly tender harmonies and melodies. The tang to its flavouring is again XTC like, reminding of the Drums And Wires through to English Settlement era.

The album includes two re-workings of songs released on the earlier EPs in Ode To Ancestors and Books, both with a different face to their body and openly hungrier without losing their former potency. The first of the pair is a lovely brew of emotive whispers leading to choppy golden pokes of sound and soaring harmonies and impossible not to be enamoured with through the breeze of the song and its open heart.

The ending stomp of the song is repeated in a different gait in Gallop, the last single from the album. It is a romping rebel rouser of thoughts and reflective feelings brought with a hint of mischief and contented acceptance. After this point the album feels like it shifts  its intent, the final four songs of the album shimmering and immersive cuts of shining harmonics and teasing melodies without the greedy appetite to  raise a little storm. They also do not quite match the triumph of the earlier songs but all leave one basking in pleasure and gratitude  with the closing Murmurations just aural poetry of evocative sounds  with a slowly rising intensity and towering grandeur.

Everything Touching is an outstanding release and Tall Ships a band to be watched and enjoyed very closely now and in the future, a band to surprise, thrill, and leave you gasping.


RingMaster 14/10/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

A Tale Of Two Cities: New Horizons EP

Afire with passion and rife with emotive atmospheres the new EP from UK alternative rock band A Tale Of Two Cities is a powerful and impressive release which grabs hold from beginning to end. The New Horizons EP is a release which could and should elevate the band to the frontline of British rock and another step in their firm rise.

Formed in 2008, the Bristol quintet has built a formidable fan base not only locally but further afield with the new release set to widen their recognition nationwide. Live they have shared stages with bands such as Deaf Havana, Yashin, Sonic Boom Six, and Attack! Attack!, again to the enhancement of their reputation with the name A Tale Of Two Cities one of the loudest whispers on the lips of the underground scene. Produced by Kevin Peters at Anemic Studios, New Horizons should be the spark to take them further and deeper in to the musical heart of the country, its four tracks attention grabbing and the providers of great satisfaction.

The release opens with the lead single Four Words, a song whose video has already caught the imagination receiving almost 10,000 hits on Blank TV and forthcoming inclusion to Scuzz and Kerrang! TV. The song smacks against the ear in its first seconds with heated guitar play and jabbing rhythms. It is instantly aflame with sonic sparks from guitarists Nicholas Coombes and Joe Marsh which scorch the senses whilst mesmerising them with skilled melodic invention. The vocals of Karl Ficarotta ride and stretch the song to greater emotive heights backed by the harsher tones of Marsh. Ficarotta has a voice which drips heart and expression, his voice painting feelings with the lyrics within the mind of the listener. It is a thumping song which is unafraid to step back into a restraint of impactful elegance, and offers a blend which reminds of Funeral For A Friend and fellow Bristol band Mind Museum, another group on the verge of big things.

From a great start the band raise the temperature and quality with Familiar Traits, a song which wraps itself tightly around the ear and envelops the senses with striking sounds and unbridled passionate energy. The drums of Steve Elvin pound a forceful route for the song and again the guitars sizzle with craft and sonic effect. It is the skilled structure of the song and vocals which really fire up the adoration for its presence and the excellent bass of Paul Taylor-Clinch which seals it as a permanent deal, his outstanding sound surly and hungry, no predatory. The track seizes control of the moment, ensuring nothing else is relevant during its time in the ear such its might and inciteful effect.

Third song Fire Burning Through Our Wings is another exercise in great songwriting and its interpretation through impressive individual skill. The bass and vocals again lead its crusade to the heart and as with the all the songs on the release, offers a big sound with infection flooding its veins. Of the four songs this one is the least striking though only positive things can be laid at its door but it just does not ignite the same fires as elsewhere despite its obvious qualities.

The release closes with Machine, a post hardcore veined track complete with venomous beats and defiant vocals scowls alongside squalls of backing screaming. It has an abrasive texture not as obvious on previous songs and shows the width of invention and sound within the band.  It completes the EP perfectly, leaving a bruising breath but the same depth of emotion as fuels the whole of New Horizons.

A Tale Of Two Cities is a band one can expect to hear big things from and for in the future and on the evidence of their new EP, it will be on the near rather than far horizon.


RingMaster 14/10/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Germ: Loss

If you are looking for something unique and different in your next metal purchase then you could do a lot worse than checking out Loss from Australian black metal project Germ.  To be honest calling it black metal is an incomplete description such the amount going into and within the inventive presence of the release, its eclectic breath and imagination a wide reaching soundscape to intrigue, distress, and captivate the senses. It is a mini album which will bewilder, engage, and ignite the strongest reactions, a release to draw opinions and emotions for an impact many other releases can only dream of.

Loss did take time to come to terms with and to be honest it still evades a full understanding of its imaginative intent but without doubt it is one of the more evocative releases this year and one to immerse within as a regular treat. Germ is the solo project of Tim Yatras (llium, Nazxul, Austere, Woods Of Desolation and Grey Waters) which he created to combine black metal with his love of classical, pop and electronic music alongside an accompanying visual aspect. Beginning the work in 2003 he released a debut EP three years later which drew a good response. It was another three years though before he returned to Germ, working on other projects during this time. More distractions and other projects stalled the work he began towards a debut album until the beginning of 2011 from when he managed over a period of time to complete. The album Wish was released earlier this year through Eisenwald and made a strong impact, predominantly drawing acclaim though some did not find a connection to its unique sounds.  A mere few months later Yatras returns with the six track Loss, an album which has evolved from its predecessor whilst still being as magnetically unsettling and corrosively beautiful.

Again coming via Eisenwald, Loss jumbles up thoughts and emotions more than arguably any release this year. It is an album which needs a fury of listens to enable its grandeur and charm to state its case and even then it still leaves questions. The one thing it does not leave is a void of satisfaction and pleasure, the release a thrilling and delicious piece of imagination which matches the questions with shafts of pure joy.

Opener My Only Hope  begins with voice and piano, pure singer songwriter territory oozing emotion and potent ambience. An electro brush of sounds then steps into the gentle mix, the song taking its reserved time until sweeping into a symphonic grandeur and gothic atmosphere. Soon distant and forceful screams permeate the air, the squalls  of mental bedlam like shards of molten anguish against the strong piano strokes. It is a brief piece, compared to others on the album, which sets one up for a tempest of energies and imagined terror ahead, and in many ways that is what one wonderfully receives.

The following So Lonely, Dead Lonely slowly caresses the ear with  orchestral arrangements and epic essences, the track a brewing black metal wash with a caustic breath and intrusive energy. Almost immediately the screams emerge again sending fiery and tempering spears of emotive venom against the stirring melodic weaves of the keys. With a journey of ten minutes the song takes one through a hellish flight brought by stunning shadowed melodic beauty and thumping rhythms. Reaching its second half the song steps out into a rock driven invitation before thrusting one back into the maelstrom of inciteful malevolence. The strings which make their appearance are glorious adding another floor of depth to the song whilst the finally arriving clean vocals of Yatras have a dulled edge against the emerging eighties electro sunrise. It is a song which makes you wonder what just happened whilst glowing from the pleasure of it all.

The two parter Only When Every Timepiece In The World Is Smashed leads through another nightmare destined tunnel, its black metal malice distilled through further electronic scorching and classic rock fires. The screams are never far removed from the gallop of the song within Part  though primarily the track is a classic rock spiral of guitar mastery and vocal simplicity. The second part is a simple rock guitar and vocal union which is a contrast which is startling against what came before.

Cold Grey Dawn (A New Beginning) and Loss complete the album, the first the best track on the album which reminds of The Mission with a pop hearted eighties glow. It is a song which arguably should not appeal as irresistibly as it does but there cannot be a denial of the sheer contagion which sears and kisses the senses impressively. The closing song is a breathtaking classical piano instrumental, its heart and drama stopping one in their tracks, especially after what the album had already unleashed.

Germ will give you something you have not contemplated or met before with Loss, something you have to discover with an open mind and a strong grip on reality as it will take you to somewhere quite disturbing yet wholly rewarding.


RingMaster 14/10/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Splatters: Fear Of The Park

Fear Of The Park, the debut album from Italian horror rockers Splatters is a release which is a flawed and frustrating but still offers plenty to be enthused about even if some is in promise for the future. It is an album open in its heart and honest in its intent but given no favours by the poor production. Despite that it still has moments which please and excite the punk inside and douses the ear in feisty slabs of rock n roll.

Fear Of The Park is a raw mix of Frankenstein Drag Queens from Planet 13, Balzac, and Motley Crue which does what it says on the label, unleash songs which growl and stomp with the blood of horror movies and simplicity of punk n roll. Consisting of vocalist/guitarist Drow, guitarist Alex Damned, bassist Mr. Sprinkler, and Paul Destroyer on drums, Splatters set the scene with Intro, an obvious but enjoyable Funhouse/Park  threat with ivory teasing a la Halloween. This leads into Killer Clown, an eager stomp of punishing rhythms, fiery guitars, and the gruff tones of Drow. It is as easy going and relatively obvious song which still feeds horror rock demands with ease. As mentioned and can be repeated across the whole album, the production is unfair. The rhythms are at odds within their twin attack and the guitars are given a haze to fight through, whilst there is no real balance to the sound, certain elements at different heights to others so it is credit to band and song that it works as well as it does.

Welcome To Zombieland is a great slice of metal, a riot of twisted melodic guitar and stormy riffs with Drow and backing vocals bringing a good anthemic and catchy presence to romp in with. When things come together like here the album is great rock n roll and rises above the limitations forced upon it. The guitar of Damned is impressive and throughout the release shows a definite skill and invention steeped in old school sounds to enjoy fully.

Tracks like Here Comes The Monsters and Die In A Leather Jacket get the job done to leave one satisfied if not exactly drowning in enthusiasm, though again one knows they would have worked better with a kinder treatment. Fear Of The Park easily compensates though when it really hits the spot as with the trio of songs Hope, Why Do They Always Have To Die In This Way?, and Sinner In Heaven. The first growls along before bursting into a rampant energy speared with great blues spiced guitar whilst the second and best track on the album is a smouldering mix of piano, clean vocals, and guitar scorching solos. Drow shows he has a better clean voice than his abrasive growls and one hopes this is featured more in the songwriting ahead. From the reserved mellow start the song erupts into a predatory stalking of the ear, chewing riffs and blistering sonic spears driving the assault. It is the most inventive song on the album and one which fires up the passions the strongest.

Sinner In Heaven is a classic rock fuelled track with a great punk infused groove. With a strong bass pull and rapier beats, the track easily captivates with the guitars an extra compulsive pleasure to greedily devour.  It is horror punk /rock of a high level and shows what the band can do given the chance and want. The remaining songs fail to live up to these standards though My Lucky 13 is a valiant and pleasing effort.

Closing with Minotaurs and Dark Way, the first a decent muscle of metal and the last a song which was the least effective in giving satisfaction, Fear Of The Park is an appetising release which you can easily meet up with again and again. Sadly though it could have been much better given the right touch and care to its sound. You feel though that the future will receive a real thriller from the band at some point.

RingMaster 14/10/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright