Julie Hawk: Self Titled EP

   Julie Hawk

    Enchanting, haunting, and dynamic the voice of Irish singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Julie Hawk is quite sensational, a deliciously unique and compelling persuasion. Perpetually expressive and bewitching Hawk has a vocal style which lights up the air with imagination and inventive enterprise to leave one magnetised and often sighing with enjoyment. Hawk is also an accomplished musician which as shown by her self-titled EP, makes for a combination as fresh as any summer sunrise and as golden as the most potent seductive sunset.

Consisting of six songs, the release is a sensational breath of smouldering elegance and riveting songwriting from an artist who is sparking ardour driven acclaim across the London unsigned scene. At five years old the West of Ireland singer took up the piano moving onto the fiddle and later the guitar whilst developing her own special style by singing in as many styles as she could mimic. She is also an artist who is obviously unafraid to investigate, draw upon, and use the ripest essences of a vast array of influences sought and come across, such as 21st century choral composer Eric Whitacre who is known for his ‘mystifying chords’. This diversity gained and evolved soaks her innovative sounds vocally and musically at every turn and is openly apparent on her new release.

Since emerging after ‘one cloistered winter’ in 2011 where she honed her distinct ability and style, Hawk has captured the imagination of a growing passionate fan base, her tremendous innovative sound like a pied piper for a great and growing many. Recent months has seen her supporting singer-songwriter, Benjamin Francis Leftwich and Michele Stodart of The Magic Numbers as well as making her festival debut at Hop Farm. It will one suspects, be her EP which will send her into the hearts of the widest acclaim and recognition and with its thrilling contents a result  wholly deserved.

The release opens with the sultry folk pop caress of The Value Of Gold the lead track from the EP. Accompanied on the song and across the release by Matthew Harris (bass, guitar, piano, and percussion), the track is an immediate kiss upon the ear from within an elevated heart borne energy. The guitar teases of Hawk gentle coax the emotions as they tenderly wrap around the ear whilst the more shadowed bass and emotive breath completes a fully rounded companionship for the senses. Lyrically as throughout the EP, Hawk finds seeds in contrasts/contradictions like life/decay and light/ dark bringing them impressively to bear on the listener but it is her irresistible vocals which ensure they leave the deepest touch.

It is a richly engaging start equalled by the magnificent Maps, a song which dances on the ear with grace and warmth whilst offering a riveting emotive puissance. There is a slight familiarity to the song, though for no apparent reason, which adds to the enthrallment whilst again the soaring voice of Hawk leaves one basking in glorious originality and aural temptation. Comparisons to artists such as Kate Bush and Joanna Newsom are often laid upon the singer and both are valid as are many others which spring to mind whilst the treats keep coming on the EP, yet they are all whispers in the uniqueness which is all Hawk.

Age In Years dances with the heart next to open up further avenues of infatuation for its infectious swagger and pop grooved heart. It is a wonderful piece of writing and realisation which becomes the deepest love affair between passion and release. The lush amour for the ear enhanced by its teasing guitar lures is continued as the release moves into the slower enveloping fascinations of The West and Cinders. Both are delightful instigators of heated tingles through their showers of aural raindrops and tantalising gaits, the first an entrancing weave of melodic mastery, wistful harmonies, and vocal wonder and the second a slowly winding emotive inducement for thought and heart.

Closing with an engaging cover of This Charming Man, the EP is a stunning pleasure which it is almost impossible to tear away from. The Smiths song is a well done extra sweet to devour though it does not quite live up to the triumphs elsewhere on the release. Julie Hawk maybe the big breeze inside London right now but with this EP one confidently predicts the country will soon also be under her spell.

http://juliehawkmusic.com

8/10

RingMaster 11/02/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Waking Theo: Reborn EP

Waking Theo Promo Shot

    Sparkling with strong enterprise as it accosts the ear, the Reborn EP from UK metallers Waking Theo is a thoroughly satisfying and impressive release primed to spark a national recognition to the powerful quartet. As melodically compelling as it is unrelentingly aggressive, the three track release marks the band with ease as one of skill and thought in their songwriting and sounds alongside a passion which expands their creative intensity.

The Yorkshire foursome formed in 2006 and took no time in exciting the underground metal scene locally before spreading beyond with their fusion of varied influences including thrash, metal, melodic death, and metalcore into their own instinctive ideas. Since that initial entrance the band has shared stages alongside bands such as Malefice, Mendeed, Trigger the Bloodshed, and Biomechanical and released two well received EPs, the second Ghost in the Machine in 2011 setting the band up as ones to watch for a great many. The beginning of the following year saw the departure of vocalist Mikey Slatcher, one of four essential cogs in the evolution of the band to that point. A band driven by determination as much as anything, Waking Theo recruited Craig Gordon to its ranks and began working on new material which was showcased at Bloodstock the same year, an event they were handpicked for. Now with the release of Reborn and its formidable sounds it is not fantasy to imagine the EP being the trigger to nationwide awareness.

The release is an instant lure as opener To the Lions grabs the ear with a firm sinewy grip and sonic enticement. Immediately the Waking Theo Cover Artworkrhythms of drummer Chris Vinter snap with control and energy whilst bassist Chris Giles prowls the song waiting to pounce on the unsuspecting listener with thrilling intensity. The track into its stride is a perfectly abrasive endeavour veined by the masterful melodic flames of guitarists Ben Wright and Chris Town. It is constantly magnetic and provocative especially with the vocals of Gordon, his delivery a brawl with the senses which adds excellent muscular confrontation to the bewitching acidic charms of the music.

Second song Downcast evolves the ear with a fine melodic caress before the again sturdy riffs and rhythms state their declaration. Once satisfied it has your attention the track explodes into an unrelenting barrage of thrash drenched riffing and sonic teasing from which only pleasure is borne. Arguably the song fails to match the heights of its predecessor but with the ravenous energy and stalking of the riffs side by side with malice soaked beats, the track is a thrilling and uncompromising encounter for which you can only add further praise to the release. To slightly contradict the previous comment the song leading into its climax also offers a passage of sonic elegance and fiery seduction which is possibly the best individual moment across the release and quite mesmeric.

Ending on the title track, Reborn is without doubt a release all metal fans need to look at. The final song is a furnace of invention and passion which consumes and energises the listener whilst chewing them up and stomping on their spat out carcasses. It is a monster unleashed but with that melodic craft and imagination which persuades fully and helps set the band apart from and ahead of many others. With an album scheduled for later in the year, 2013 is looking to be a very big year for Waking Theo.

www.facebook.com/wakingtheoband

7.5/10

RingMaster 11/02/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Trillion Red: Echo Road EP

ECHO ROAD PROMO COVER

    If Trillion Red impacted on you with the impressive album Metaphere and its evocative expanses of dark progressive sound and intense atmospheres, then new EP Echo Road will bring you extra riveting pleasure. The four track release comprises of what multi-instrumentalist and creator of the one man project Patrick Brown calls “4 Dark Asymmetries” which did not quite fit on the album stylistically or time-wise. The new release is despite its contents failure to secure a spot within the album as creative and inspiring as those tracks which make it and sets up another compelling experience for thought, emotions, and senses.

The critically acclaimed 2012 album was a haunting and powerful release with brooding and consuming avant-garde doomscapes which were as heavy as they were enthralling and imaginative. The new EP is no different and such its stature and intensity one suspects they must have been within a thick wash of challenging ambience of being included originally. In press statements it is said that Patrick wanted to release the tracks making up Echo Road so that he could truly start fresh in the writing process for a second full-length LP, for that we can only say thanks  as their dark beauty wraps its oppressive yet majestic breath around the senses for another thrilling encounter from Trillion Red.

The Badgod Music release steps forward through opener Metasphere and as its lumbering punchy rhythms, grilling riffs, and snarling breath takes over the ear thoughts and pleasures gained from the album rush back to re-take their place. The emerging persistent sonic grind and rhythmic insistence is a constant pleasing gnaw which ignites primal juices and emotive shadows for a thoroughly compelling encounter, though within this unrelenting persuasion the track slips into a harsh biting yet distant ambience which is chilling and dangerous. The sonic wash eventually drifts away with its vehemence in tow to allow the towering prowl of the song to return and recapture the passions. It is an immense and incendiary start to the release and its highest pinnacle though challenged closely throughout.

Trillivm Black spills its bludgeoning intensity and corrosive energy next, unleashing further demanding rhythms and shimmering acidic sonics which singe the senses with skill and destructive imagination. Like the first it brings a soundscape which is equally mesmeric and insidious whilst reaching into deep dark shadows to produce a grip and eroding breath upon the emotions which is rife with seductive malice and irresistible craft.

From its departure emerges the distressed sonic voice of Domptre le Monstre, a longing yet distrustful slow voice of sound and expression which could enhance any Asian horror movie or place of desolation whether physical or mental. It is a powerful piece of composing where less is more and overpoweringly merciless.

The closing Memoirs of the Future continues the emotive intensity in another diverse yet connected black souled realm. Opening with a singular acoustic embrace the song gently wraps its melodic arms around the body before the brewing wind of blistering ambience which marked the previous track returns to cloud the skies once more. Into the measure of its stride the track releases its full doom presence to crawl over and invade the listener whilst seducing them with falls of gold covered sonics and melodic teasing. The track also for the first time sees Brown add a vocal element on the release which pushes shadows deeper in to thoughts with a fine heavy predatory delivery. The track is as bleak and darkly elegant as the band has ever been and by its corrosive end has corrupted, calmed, provoked, and ignited both thoughts and emotions.

Echo Road EP maybe unfinished business as Brown suggests for him, but it is undoubtedly an outstanding piece of imagination and craft to compliment and succeed Metasphere and leave us all impatient for where he goes next with Trillion Red.

http://www.trillionred.com

8.5/10

RingMaster 11/02/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright