II II II : A Conundrum On My Coffee Table


Something wicked this way comes, an exceptional experiment of sonics, sounds and adventurous sensibilities to engineer the deepest ardour. Plenty of releases excite and thrill the senses but just a few ignite a fire of passion and deeply rooted rapture for the sounds they offer. One such rarity has just been unleashed into the world by II II II. The project from former Mishkin vocalist Ben Davy is sensational and its debut release without doubt one of the most enthralling and intoxicating pleasures of 2012. The A Conundrum On My Coffee Table EP captures the imagination in every aspect, its innovative weaves and inventive teasing an invigorating breath of fresh air which like the band name inspires thought, intrigue, and a hungry anticipation which is quenched with staggering ease.

Being a massive fan of the now deceased Leeds band Mishkin, the excitement of hearing from Davy with the EP was immense and

Ben Davy

Ben Davy

arguably placed higher expectations on the impending release than any other new record might have to prove itself against. It was child’s play for the release though, its six tracks leaving hopes as just inadequate musings when placed before their creative triumphs and exhilarating sounds. Fusing  blend of mathcore, metal, jazz, and rock, the release is an experimental tempest which offers essences of Faith No More, Mishkin, 6:33, Mike Patton, Dog Fashion Disco and much more, all honed into a unique and compelling encounter. The tracks are slight sonic swipes, colourful aural blades which barely worry a third minute but are rigidly magnetic in the time they take to transform the emotions into a compliant subservient.

Dog’s Lost His Bone swaggers in with sultry melodies and bruising basslines over firm rhythmic slaps to immediately pull all focus in its direction. A tempest of delicious enterprise and aggressive sinews the track is a storm of scattergun like energies and sounds honed into deliberate patterns and senses manipulating structures. It is glorious, an evolving beast of sound which ignites every corner of mind and heart. The track reminds of Guano Padano at times especially their recent collaboration with Mike Patton, whilst offering the ever shifting weaves which marked Mishkin and the technical mesmerism of a Karnivool.

From there things just venture into arguably further elevated areas of psyched investigation and musical excellence. Firstly the psychotic HITPTYGWYDIYL exposes the nerve endings with its wanton melodic caresses and scything rhythmic malevolence, the track a piece of aural sculpture which teeters on insanity. It like the first song is just irresistible, a brief unpredictable expanse of taunting and challenges bringing the richest of rewards. If the likes of Polkadot Cadaver give you a buzz, this track as the release will have you feeling like a teenager on your first sexual quest.

No Condition and Memories follow with their own individual ingenuity, the first a tirade of white hot sonics and argumentative riffs with a smouldering seductive centre and expressive challenging gest, and the second a flash of thought exploiting invention which leaves nothing less than heightened pleasure in its wake. In addition to the previous mentioned references the release inspires there is a sense of the maniacal mischief of 12 Stone Toddler to this pair of songs bringing yet another refreshing and inspirational flavour to the whole experience.

The release is completed by the ravenous craft of The Key To Denial and the serpentine Shingles. The former is a sizzling encounter, a face to face with the devil in aural form, its sonic tongue licking over the senses with insidious sexual greed to leave you tingling whilst grinning in sheer pleasure. Like all the songs it caresses and investigates the body like an insatiable lover whilst all the time stretching and twisting their prey with their venomous desires.  The latter is even more dangerous behind its jazz lined melodic brilliance, the passage of almost corruptive challenges and dazzling invention just breath-taking and magically intrusive.

A Conundrum On My Coffee Table is pure excellence, a release coming in the closing days of December which sets the highest standard for 2013. The EP is an essential investigation and a must get with its name your own price offer on the II II II Bandcamp Page… so go on off you go.



RingMaster 30/12/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Rogue Anthem: What to Believe


The tail end of 2012 has seen a record which epitomises true and honest punk rock in sound and heart. What to Believe is a blistering release of ten classic punk riots from a band in Rogue Anthem which is a battle cry for the underdog. Formed by vocalist, songwriter and rhythm guitarist Myke Augustat, the US band through their passions and music is a powerful anthemic cry standing against all that is wrong with society and the world. It is raw and abrasive, a release which lights the touch paper to a fight for change and one thumping bruise of impressive punk rock.

A few months before its release Augustat sadly passed away leaving behind a wife and three children and one impressive band. What to Believe was released at a benefit show in November to honour the man with all proceeds from it and those generated by the album

Michael Augustat.

Michael Augustat.

going to the family. The remaining members of the band, Neill B (lead guitar), Carter B (guitar), Tanner P (drums), Billy B (bassist now ‘proudly singing the Anthems’), and Vulcho (bass), came together with the punk rock community, friends, and family, to celebrate the life and music of Augustat with bands like JFA, Fiction Reform, El Nada, and Soto Street joining Rogue Anthem in playing the event. It was a fine send off for a man who had touched so many people and brought to reality one of the great arguably unsung underground punk bands.

Released through Thumper Punk Records, What to Believe enrols the passions and senses into a storm of attitude and incendiary sounds with an irresistible lure of grazing riffs, destructive rhythms, and in your face truth lyrically and musically. There is no room for niceties or refinements within the songs just pure honesty and unbridled energy.  The band was started by Augustat to carry a message to the forgotten and the underdog, the previously mentioned battle cry for all fighting against the system politically, socially, and personally, for those going up against the consuming traits of ‘materialism, false pride, greed, gluttony, apathy, selfishness, addiction, and vanity’.  Each track is an inciting bruising which fires up the imagination for not only the intent of the songs lyrically but just their individual storms of eager and contagious punk sounds. Musically the band is an antagonistic force bringing forth a compulsive blend of Rancid, NOFX, CIV, and Angelic Upstarts. It is uncomplicated, direct and aggressive, and quite delicious.

Starting with the infection brewing 1984, a song which has you joining in within seconds of its opening chorus entrance, the album just moves from one defiant party to another. With ear slapping rhythms, coarse vocals, and driving riffs, the track sets up the album perfectly and has the senses greedy for plenty more. Like the majority of the songs it plays like an old friend yet to be met, its sounds nothing openly new but making for only the richest invigorating company.

The great start is matched by the following God Save Me, the raw and unpolished production upon the release adding an extra layer of satisfying caustic breath to this song like all the others. From its furious presence the album barges through and lashes the ear with further fiery confrontations from the likes of One Voice, the stomping title track, and the excellent Needle Down, a song which brings in melodic flames of harmonica and flashes of keys and female vocals to bring a full and intriguing breath to its great punk n roll feast.

The biggest highlights come in the latter part of the album through the irrepressible tempest that is Life of Agony and the best song on the release, the rhythmic magnet Kick Down the Doors, and the closing Underdog Army, a track which sums it all up, band, sound, and heart of the whole thing. Each song on the album is simply an immense pleasure and What to Believe an album all punk fans should investigate. How Rogue Anthem will evolve without their founder time will tell but it is hard to imagine anything but further enjoyable and provocative ventures from the band.



RingMaster 30/12/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright