From eager seeds to mighty sounds: the rise of Savage Henry


The musical journey for Colorado band Savage Henry and its members has been long and undoubtedly exhausting for a group whose seeds began with a group of teenagers who started out on a musical quest in 1994 as the band On Second Thought. The musical exploration and venture of the Denver band is still an expanding and growing experience with already plenty of highlights but as 2013 opens its welcoming arms the feeling that Savage Henry is standing on the precipice of a deserved wider reaching recognition is a strong warm wind in their creative skies.

From that summer the original members of the band from the those first days and those who joined as Savage Henry emerged in 2004,  earned their musical spurs through releases and hard work leading up to the band’s introduction through the album All In the following year. With a line-up of vocalist Damon Guerrasio, guitarist Stu Miller, bassist Ryan Morrow, drummer Mike Rice, and keyboardist Jeremy Lawton, the band found the impressive record strongly received record upon its debut in July 2005 at the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheater (part of the Film on the Rocks series) and showed the creative prowess and imagination of the songwriting was back to its creative best with extra instinctive flourish and rock passion to the new songs, though less of the previous ska and reggae teasing, though it still whispered loudly at times. Constantly rippling with great tracks like the wonderfully engaging Daisy, the tantalising Alive & Kickin’ where the band switches feet and styles with consummate ease and skill, and the feisty Monkey, the biggest highlight of the album, the release incorporated many essences and flavours into its pulsating passage The last of the three mentioned offered a potent Squeeze like warm rock pop beauty, just one compelling example of the thoughtful diversity within the release. It is a record which re-ignited the emotions the first album of OST sparked and more, its varied and riveting array of ideas and sounds going a long way to helping the band find themselves with again plenty of radio attention which included performances at Denver rock stations 93.3 KTCL and 99.5 KQMT amongst a full on charge of gigs and shows, over 175 including sharing stages with the likes of Cowboy Mouth and Better than Ezra to name a couple.

Changes in personnel occurred in 2007 with bassist Morrow joining fellow Denver band, Black Blood Orchestra and drummer Rice turning to solo projects. Replaced by John Jeffers and Mike Boyd respectively and with the additional joining of second guitarist 2009 Savage HenryGlen Esparza, the band sculpted another striking evolution to their sound for next album Step Lively which was unveiled in 2009. Again the even stronger rock voice of the band ignited the passions whilst the pop and ska breezes added extra relish to their increasingly potent music. From its very start with the magnetic Shot In The Dark and the immense Broken, the album is a wonderful storm of sinewy riffs and thumping rhythms entwined with a heated melodic majesty as well as a seamlessly fused intelligent caress of emotive and golden elegance in songs like Melody and Call On Me. The release also found a rich vein of pop punk to ignite certain songs as in the excitable and brilliant Unrequited and the equally scintillating Vice. Without doubt the album is the band’s finest moment to date and the strongest of many reasons why you feel the band is standing on the verge of breaking into that worldwide recognition.

Since the album the band has continued to make an impression on the radio and live, as well as having their song 300 Miles which SH_1was inspired by a terrible bus accident with a Fed Ex truck during a tour of the mid-west, licensed by Eddie Bauer and First Ascent ski clothing company to use in a video to advertise their clothing around the world from 2010-2011.The past year was noted for a video produced by the band’s passionate P.R. Manager Hal Jester, for the track Hero which was written to honour fallen soldiers and those that have made the greatest sacrifice for us, as well as generally a growing intensity in the media through blogs and radio play with the likes of Their increasing presence thanks to the online drive of Jester has put the band in a prime position to make 2013 a major landmark in the eighteen year history of the band whilst news of new songs in the works has already raised the appetite and anticipation of all those to have discovered the band and their great sounds so far.

Savage Henry is a band everyone should get acquainted with and surely will over the coming months.

Pete RingMaster 02/02/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Popular Giants: Self Titled

Pop Giants

    Whilst arguably not offering anything new in the grand scheme of things the self-titled album from Californian rockers Popular Giants is a quite irresistible riot of rock n roll. Fusing the best varied flavours of punk rock with garage rock and other distinctive flavours, the Los Angeles quartet burst out of the speakers with an energy and hunger which is impossible not to be persuaded and enamoured by. Consisting of thirteen raucous treats of rock music at its dirtiest best the album unleashes a vigorous fun in its boisterous company which you just cannot deny.

The band was formed in 2011 by guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Christopher Peacock with the intent of getting back to playing the old school punk he grew up upon. With the addition of guitarist/vocalist John Fortin, bassist Francis Cyan, and drummer Mike Criddell to the ranks, the sound of the band found its own natural evolution to the bruising, insatiable, and varied sounds which light up this impressive album from start to finish. The four members found an instant and shared vision on how songs and their music should find their most powerful and dynamic stature as well as on how they would sound to escape the ‘sterile’ digital prevalence of today. The band recorded their album using a Stevens two –inch analog tape machine from the seventies to produce the ‘fat steamroller sound of Popular Giants live’, and in fact the machine was the exact same one Pink Floyd used on The Wall.

As soon as the immediate contagion of Pretty Life sets in to start the album off, there is a sense of something exciting in the winds, 309054_505764392782988_2063941150_nthe release soon proving that right with ease with every one of its infectious seconds. The opener lights up the ear with bulging rhythms and coaxing riffs whilst the vocals of Peacock top the riot with expression and passion. With essences of Foo Fighters and Living End to its irresistible anthem, the song flicks all the switches of satisfaction and full pleasure to begin one thrilling cruise down their sonic highway.

So Happy sends the infection up another level with its delicious teasing beckoning within a stormy energy, the song a punk/rock incitement recalling spices of Nirvana and Offspring in a new tasty recipe all Popular Giants. The following On The Road is just the same though for the Seattle trio loud whispers swap an Everclear loud hint for the ear from within another bounty of compelling riffs, teasing hooks, and ear rapping beats.

Song by song the passion and balls of the band fire up their imaginative party, the likes of We Want Your Soul with a Buzzcocks scented hook and pop punk harmonies, the garage rock/grunge coated Devil I Ain’t Done, and the barging old school punk bite It’s Not Your Fault, leaving a warm glow on the heart and a ripe greedy demand for much more. The third of the these songs barely musters 30 seconds in length but in its snapping snarl leaves a giant rapture, a song in all ways seventies punk bands would be proud of.

Amongst nothing but real highs across the whole release the loftiest pinnacles come in the second half of the album starting with the excellent Trepidation. With Fortin taking the lead vocally, the track bristles with the agitation and contagion of Bad Religion across its drive of provocative riffs and jabbing rhythms. It is an addiction forming song backed up with equal potency by the stunning I’m Not The One. With a heavier muscular intensity and force to its predatory stance, the track melds a rich mix of garage rock and punk with a Heartbreakers breath to its fiery voice. It is an instinctive squall for the passions to latch on to and be inspired by, a song which calls to the heart.

The cover of the Turbonegro track Get It On is a very decent encounter with a great punk rawness to its roar whilst its successor Antibody is a delicious attitude spitting poke with a New York Dolls swagger and Richard Hell snarl. It also has a ‘nasty’ Pistols groove which lights the deepest fires and a barrage of riffing that demands and receives willing attention.

With plenty more great tracks including another cover, this time of Unsatisfied by The Godfathers, this is an album which feeds all the wants of a punk rock album with accomplished excellence. Ok it is not going to break down new walls for you to play behind but it is hard to remember too many punk releases recently offering this much energy and fun to unite with.


Ringmaster 02/02/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

0 X í S T : Nil

0 X í S T

Standing alone within an oppressive intensity soaked with a sonic provocation to threaten and rip open thoughts and emotions the intimidation of the ravenous beast loomed over its willing victim.

This is not the opening line to a new suspense novel or the first scene in a horror movie but the scenic description to the effect and power Nil, the debut album from Finnish metallers  0 X í S T, wields with its startling and impressive inventive sounds. Combining the atmospheres and deep breaths of gothic, death, and doom metal into something quite unique and over powering announced as dark metal, the Riihimäki band is a formidable and striking encounter which leaves a lingering mark on the senses with their imaginative and intrusive sound. The new album from start to finish erodes away layers of safety to expose the raw nerves and unwanted shadows of the senses and emotions to equally invigorate and threaten.

Formed in 2008, 0 X í S T (represented for and spoken as zero exist) made their first notable corrosive presence known with their first EP Unveiling the Shadow World which was released in April 2010 by Ostra Records. The four track release woke up many ears to an awareness of the band which built further with their first live shows soon after the release of the CD in southern Finland and Estonia. In August and September of the same year the band recorded a two track demo with songs which would appear on the new album. It came out in 2011 as an extremely limited edition CDr demo in preparation for the full-length album release. The seven track album was recorded in 2011 with its arrival through again Ostra Records in union with Cold Void Emmanations in December of last year.

The album is as dramatic and it is darkly stunning but not in a rising epic sense but in a cavernous and mentally carnivorous stature 2994311728-1which unleashes much deeper and further reaching encounters upon the listener and their psyche. The release opens with Old World Vanished and immediately stands against the ear with a weighty and intense breath. The slowly prowling gait of the track lumbers across the senses leaving residues of emotive heft with every black note from guitarist Jani Koskela and challenging rhythms from drummer Mikael Ahlstén. The bass of Ossi Leino, who has since left the band to be replaced by Sameli Köykkä, adds its own predatory and sinister grip fuelling further malevolence to the already overwhelming power of the track. The scarred growls of Koskela are as venomous and intensive as the sounds soaking the air and heart, and combined makes the song an unforgiving yet rewarding confrontation with its acidic melodic prowess and flare.

The title track takes over next with a more energetic hunger yet still unloading a rich but destructive mass upon the emotions to trigger new depths of despair, reflection, and exhaustion. It is a teasing piece of music at times with spoken vocals ringing within the ear in its ‘quieter’ moments of energy before the squalls of malicious enterprise and power assume control of the passions. The track moves into a slow and heavy stalking as in the first but entwines it with a feisty beacon of sonic flames throughout wonderfully.

The likes of the chilling and disturbing Cold Dark Matter and the outstanding Anemone Patens MCCXLIX ignite the passions as mightily as they do the thick emotive cloud which consumes the mind and senses. The second of the two is a sensational piece of invention with little sonic sparks which rub deliciously on the ear as the insistent mass of the track explores every other part of the body. It is a flowing wash of inventive and shifting sonic structures all firing up a dark rapture amongst a wave of different and often opposing feelings. Throughout the album essences of bands like Triptykon/Celtic Frost, and Bethlehem, whisper but in this song for some reason early Killing Joke spoke out though it is not clear as to why exactly.

Closing with the mercilessly crushing Of Wood, Stone And Bone and the melodically persuasive yet annihilatory Shrivel, the album is superb. Everything about it from the impressive sleeve art of French artist YhN, the impeccable production, to the musicianship and sound of the release itself is of the highest accomplishment. Nil is a testing and provocative treat which is as damaging as it is deeply stimulating and 0 X í S T a band taking extreme metal into fresh imposing places.


RingMaster 02/02/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright