the black frame spectacle: Grady Sessions II

Take two men, a guitar and drum kit, and a passion to turn big thumping beats and energetic rampaging sounds into something as essential as breathing, and you have the black frame spectacle. Fusing the feisty essences of rockabilly, punk, and psychobilly with expressive lyrical might and powerful inspiring vocals, the duo from Canada create music which could soundtrack a riot whilst persuading a thousand more eager hearts to join its passion. Their latest album Grady Sessions II is a breath taking storm of thrilling nostalgic sounds and modern heart spawn urgency and craft, a lo-fi adrenaline soaked surf through incendiary invention and captivating unpredictable imagination. It is outstanding, a record which lies somewhere between bruising the senses and sending them into orgasmic rapture, though in the end the result is the same as from both extremes.

The Ontario band consists of guitarist and vocalist Ian Sullivan and drummer Adam McNeill, two men who met as work colleagues in 2003 and came together as musicians in 2009. Their striking sounds soon found them with a constantly growing and strong fan base around the Dorchester and London area which with the release of their debut album Grady Sessions spread further afield. The new album takes all the impressive essences of the first album and explores them with greater depth for a distinctive and imaginative triumph. The release plays like a heady brew of bands like The Peacocks, Batmobile, and Living End distilled through the breath of Max Raptor and System Of A Down, it is a unique beast with at times familiar sounding sinews within devastatingly inventive and fresh creative muscle.

As soon as opener Patient Zero scurries through the ear with rasping riffs and disorientating rhythms, a tingle shoots through the heart. There is an immediate sense of something special raging alongside the driving vocals and shadowed gait of the teasing slightly abrasive maelstrom of ingenuity. The track stomps with electric tension and gnawing urgency aligned to unpredictable enterprise, a punk rock tempest spiced with a raw Gene Vincent swagger.

The following Bust Out The Boogie continues the mighty start, its rockabilly swing and challenging bite simply irresistible. The song makes it impossible for limbs and voice not to enter its affray, the energy and heart of the track a wild infection whilst the knowing romp of the vocals is an instigator anyone would follow whatever its intent.

As the album progresses the growing adoration towards the inciting sounds becomes an unbridled lust, tracks like Class Of Lonely Dreams and Use Your Claws, sensations to lose inhibitions to. The first is a caustic call to arms to match anything on the Roll On album from Living End, its instigation as contagious as the rough surfaced sounds, whilst the second with its waspish lilt to the guitars is a seductive tease to lose oneself within with ease. Their stunning might is followed up with the just as provocative and storming sounds within Up, Back, Or Off, an track to ignite the primal needs and greed with expertise.

Though at times the surface sound has an admittedly very agreeable but similar initial assault it does not take much effort to discover the inspired versatility and diversity to the ideas and sounds at play. Bored Of The Lie for example at first seems like a continuation of the previous track but soon lays an undulating passage which is continually mesmeric and constantly challenging. It is also quite brilliant as are all the songs and album as a whole.

Further highlights come with the likes of An Ode To Dogs Bollocks which starts as something Buddy Holly might have imagined and evolves through a snapping spicery of Calabrese and Reverend Horton Heat, the military surge of Marching Orders, and the emotive twisting glory of Oscar Mike. The last of the trio is immense, the vocals of Sullivan pushing the already striking range and depth of his ability to greater heights whilst the rhythms of McNeill frame the sensational track with a persuasive and invigorating magnificence.

Closing with the dazzling The Mob Awaits, a quite delicious track with a tin pot alley swagger and sweltering unrivalled passion, Grady Sessions II is simply brilliant. With ease it is one of the best albums to appear this year whilst taking the heart on the most genuine and inspirational journeys in a long time. If punk n roll is your favourite tease thanthe black frame spectacle will leave you drooling from every pore.

RingMaster 14/11/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

October Rage: Outrage

A sturdy and fiery merger of riotous rock n roll and sizzling melodic rock, Outrage from Australian band October Rage is an album which either when rampaging with eager energy or is enveloping the ear with fine melodic craft, makes for a thoroughly enjoyable and invigorating experience. The band and release sits easily amongst the likes of Saliva, Shinedown, Hinder, and Nonpoint. It may not stand out as anything ground breaking but has a freshness and spark arguably lacking in the recent releases of those other bands. If you are looking for an adrenaline driven yet thoughtful and warmly enterprising time than Outrage is a rewarding treat to party with.

From New South Wales, October Rage began in 2008 with brothers Nick (vocals/guitar) and William Roberts (bass). After a long search which took them to looking as far as America, the band was completed with the addition of Rory Bratby (drums) and Tim Ciantar (guitar), two musicians they had been to school with though in different years. Now complete the quartet built a strong local fan base which their debut single of the following year, Silver Line, took to a wider recognition. Recorded with world renowned producer Adrian Hannan, the release marked the beginning of a definite rise for the band. They soon followed this with a performance in front of a 50,000 strong audience in Sydney supporting Bon Jovi, an opportunity brought from winning a radio station contest. The latter part of 2011 saw the band entering the studio with again Hannan, to record Outrage. Since its completion the foursome has toured the US supporting both Steel Panther and Sevendust as well as undergoing a line-up change with guitarist Josh Gilbert and drummer Alan Toka replacing the departed Ciantar and Bratby. As the album stretches around the globe the band is pulling in more and more devoted followers, which with the infectious and strong sounds it offers is no real surprise.

From a relatively unadventurous opening intro instrumental in Lords Of Wyrd, the album sets to work on the passions with the rampant Set You Free. Within seconds it has ears pricked and senses open to charged riffs and thumping rhythms. With strong vocals from Nick and an anthemic gait to its chorus, the track is a familiar but enterprising encounter to fire up keen enthusiasm. As mentioned earlier about the whole release, there is nothing strikingly new going on but as limbs and the sparked unbridled eagerness to get involved with the song shows, there are plenty of energised reactions to its strident sounds spawn.

Moving into the equally robust and energetic Wayside, the release has a full captivation ensured. Like its predecessor the track is a thumping engagement which just leaves one breathless and invigorated, the great guitar craft and raging intensity tempered with scorching melodic invention, a fuse to deeper pleasure. It is from this point that Outrage unveils its varied and impressive strengths. Songs like the next up Silver Line with its mellower pace and less urgent caresses and its successor Rain, expand the scope of songwriting across the release. The second of these two is a simmering heat with sonic explosive outpourings of tremendous vocals and equally dynamic guitar invention. With a snapping bass and jabbing drum smacks to add steel to the song, it is a contagious companion to rile up the heart.

From the more than decent radio friendly sounds of Home and the seductive tones of Supernova, its rock inspiration seemingly drifting in from the expressive rock of bands like Nickleback, the album moves from a gentler yet potent breath to a more sinewy attack with songs like the bluesy Eastern Road and the snarling Metallica like Two-Sided Blade. Whilst neither song finds the riot of the earlier songs on the album, they offer a bite and muscular intensity for another shift in the diversity of the release.

With two passion soaked slow songs, Into the Night and Under The Wind, sandwiching a grungy tinder box of a slow burner in Reign of Fire for a closing trio of strong emotive ballads, the album leaves thoughts and emotions on a high if calm plateau. It is a fine end to what is an impressive album. With more careering slabs of rock n roll like Wayside, Outrage would have challenged personal end of year lists but without doubt October Rage has delivered one of the more gratifying and energising releases these past months. Make a note of the name as the Australians will be making big waves ahead in rock music ahead.

RingMaster 14/11/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Munruthel: CREEDamage


CREEDamage, the new album from Ukrainian ambient/folk pagan metal band Munruthel, is a striking aural portrait of atmospheric and startling worlds and times rife with passion and shadows. It is also a release which is as richly compelling as it is eagerly challenging, an engagement which thrills and inspires with immense creativity and imagination. It is arguably at times not the most open of folk metal releases due to its intent to transports ear, senses, and mind of the listener to a primal and rabid land/history, but without doubt it is one of the most pleasing and rewarding genre albums this year.

Munruthel is the solo project of Vladislav Redkin, an artist who is highly regarded in Ukrainian metal through his work over the years. Starting as the band Silentium, who’s 1995 demo, The Ancients’ Wisdom drew great acclaim, the group name was changed to Munruthel for the following release Yav, Nav i Prav two years later. Following albums such as Oriana Tales and Epoch of Aquarius, the band continued to brew greater success as the project became the sole enterprise of Redkin. His work with numerous other bands such as Nokturnal Mortum, Astrofaes, Lucifugum, Thunderkraft, Amber Solstice, and Neverland to name a few has elevated his stature though it is with Munruthel for many where he has earned the greatest plaudits. With from 2010 the re-release of the earlier albums and the 2011 album The Dark Saga – Original Soundtrack, Munruthel has become a name gaining strong awareness around the metal world which CREEDamage with its impressive soundscapes and invention, will only accelerate.

Out on Svarga Music, the new album is the result of seven years of work by Redkin and unveils an expansive realm of sympho pagan metal through enlightening and consuming emotive soundscapes. With the addition of the mighty tones of guest vocalist Maria “Masha Scream” Arkhipova of Arkona, as well as Forfather vocalist Wulfstan, the album links back to previous releases in topic, like love for Mother Nature through beliefs, and sound but explores much more new adventure with craft and vision. The shifts and merger of ambient majesty and atmospheric washes to charged and energetic sinews is impeccable and seamless as well as at times unexpected, which only goes to make the release refreshing and imaginative.

The sense of something special is seeded immediately with the opening instrumental Ardent Dance of War’s God. The piece is wholly inspiring, its dramatic and rising emotive atmosphere a leviathan of titanic energy, expression, and imagery. In many ways the album does not live up to its entrance, in the same way that the first time you see a colossal sight or beauty it takes your breath away and the following still overwhelming magnificence has a slight familiarity and anti-climax from there on in. CREEDamage is a mighty journey though, the following Rolls of Thunder from Fiery Skies with its mesmeric warm wraps of keys and rasping vocals a two prong corruption to light thoughts and passion. With the as always striking voice of Masha adding its wonder to the insidious shadows within the heated climes, the track is an impactful confrontation to greedily devour.

The evolving breath of the title track tells as much as the storms of emotion and intensity elsewhere. From a spoken narrative to the pumped yet respectful gait smouldering scenery and the pulsating yet intimidating ambience, the song captures the imagination. The vocals may be in native tongue but their texture within the wall of expressive sounds tells you all you need to know to trigger unique journeys and imagery. As with many of the tracks its cinematic breath is an evocative power to rival the impressive sounds to energise the senses.

In an album which is perpetually sparking pleasure and evocative reactions, further highlights come with firstly The Age of Heroes, a track transporting one into a place of solitude and desolate feelings as reflective whispers and chilled grace caress with barren warmth. Its great depth and effect is matched by Carpathian’s Shield, the song a continually shifting and provoking dedication to Mikhail Nechay, a martyred white magician and faith healer, and the three part epic instrumental Krada, its trio of elements a full path of discovery alone on the album.

CREEDamage has been long awaited by a great many and with ease satisfies and feeds all expectations with the best work from Munruthel yet.

RingMaster 14/11/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright