Shouting Signals: Stand Your Ground EP

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    The Stand Your Ground EP from British post-hardcore band Shouting Signals is one of the more accomplished and fresh sounding releases to come out of the genre in recent times The debut five track feast is a blaze of fiery melodics, sturdy rhythms, and passionate vocals brought with honed craft and thoughtful enterprise, with only the fact it has not quite a distinct enough voice yet to rip the band wide apart from other genre related contenders as the only slight dent in its impressive armour.

The Essex quintet of vocalist Bertie Scott, guitarists Rikk Malice and Scott Baker, bassist Tom Clare, and Jay Wilding on drums, has been on a steady rise since forming in 2011. Constantly working on their sound, unrelentingly honing it and their craft, the band has inspired a growing loyal fanbase through their energetic live performances which has seen them gigging with a hunger around the south east and London. The band has been compared to the likes of You Me at Six, Architects, and 30 Seconds To Mars, and their first release certainly does nothing to dispel those potent references. Stand Your Ground is their first strike in to the larger national awareness, a release which easily reflects the time and effort which the band put into it to make sure every surface, note, and emotion it offers was of their finest imagination and skill.

Opener Never Run Away tells you all you need to know about the band, rich melodic guitars sounds with a sonic fire and Shouting Signals - Stand Your Ground EP Coverthumping rhythms taking mere seconds to persuade and entertain the ear with an urgent energy and feisty passion. Carrying a jangle to their touch and acute textures to their voice the guitars of Malice and Baker flame and snake around the senses with inventive imagination to secure strong attention, whilst the bass and rhythmic enticements of Clare and Wilding respectively cage and drive it with not exactly unbridled aggression but with a firm intent. The vocals of Scott though stand with their own rich stance, his tones and delivery openly impressive and a big factor which along with their instinctive ability to create invigorating sounds to see the band in a clear spotlight of their own in the future.

The following Breathe In, Breathe Out and One Forty continue the strong and engaging start, the first unveiling brazen melodic enticement and again, what is to be a constant across the release, fire to its passionate appetite to excite and provoke the listener in their emotions. The guitars and vocals dominate with quality and power with the rhythm section pulling it all together with excellent ability but production wise it would have been nice to have the bass especially finding a stronger clarity and presence in the mix. The second of the pair opens with its sinews rippling within bulging riffs and crisp punchy drum beats alongside more shards of guitar sonics, which niggle and agitate the ear enjoyably, and the now expected great vocals of Scott. Though neither song matches up to the strength of their predecessor, both further the brewing magnetised hunger for their creative encounters.

All My Answers is an excellent slice of acidic and inciting melodic rock with a strong whisper of Lost Prophets to its impacting presence, the choppy riffs and suggestive bass groan showing the depth of the invention within songwriting and how to wring every idea of its purest essences. The best track on the EP, it hustles and bustles the ear with a raucous breath and seemingly untamed energy all keenly sculpted by the skilled talents of the band.

Closing song The Penitence is another major highlight of the release, a song which shifts its stance constantly with a fluid and strikingly impressive mastery. With the bass finding its deepest growl and allowed to share it with more openness and great vocal harmonies employed alongside the rich expression of Scott, the track is a powerful and thrilling end to an equally enjoyable release.

Shouting Signals is a band to watch very closely and, as the Stand Your Ground EP proves, enjoy along every inch of their certain rise.

http://www.shoutingsignals.com

8/10

RingMaster 30/03/2013

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Get Off My Shoes: Lets Not Rush Out And Tell The World EP

Get Off My Shoes Online Promo Picture

    With their name having already triggered a chuckling interest alone, there was keen eagerness to see if Belgium alternative rock band Get Off My Shoes could follow up with equally impacting sounds upon their debut EP Lets Not Rush Out And Tell The World. The answer emerged as yes though not without the sense that the band has much more within them and the really impressive elements within the release suggesting that this was also a missed opportunity to really thrust their name forward with startling impact despite its strong and pleasing showing. There is nothing not to like about the band, their creative sound, and the very enjoyable EP, but though it does not always quite leap out of the speakers the potential of the band is undeniable.

Hailing from Antwerp, Get Off My Shoes was founded in 2010 by chief songwriter and singer Jonas Meukens. Joined by guitarist Stijn Debontridder, bassist Glenn Van Criekingen, drummer Ziggy Van Wallendael, and Jasper Willemen on synths, the quintet from initially spending time honing their sound and songs soon made a strong presence for themselves on the live circuit with over a hundred European shows in the past couple of years, gigs which included supporting the likes of The Subways, The Get Up Kids, Joyce Manor, and Apologies I Have None, to name a few. With influences such as Bloc Party, Tokyo Police Club, Weezer, Two Door Cinema Club, and Foals impacting on their similarly flavoured melodic enterprise, the band and their Thanks But No Thanks Records first strike into the world are certainly drenched in a promise and captivating invention which only suggests a bright future for the band.

The opening title track is a short expressive instrumental which colours the imagination with aural suggestion to invite further GET OFF MY SHOES EP COVERinvestigation whilst only hinting of the musical exploits to come. The following Dead Of Night instantly engages with jangly guitars and crisp rhythms soon joined by an electro breath which sizzles upon the surface of the energetic yet restrained blaze of sound. As the song slips fully into its stride its command of feet and attention is complete as the guitars further tempt the senses and the vocals of Meukens bring their plain expression but accomplished texture to proceedings. It is a strong if in hindsight an unremarkable start in the lie of the EP but one which easily ensures a hunger to hear more.

The simple electro start of I Was Told A Lie Once with emotive vocals in tow does not exactly ignite excitement but again comes with a lure into the heart of the song which is hard to refuse. As it expands with guitar and energy the song comes alive with thrilling power, the vocals finding a rich passion to match the intermittent fury of melodic and energetic urgency. It is a big highlight of the release matched by next up Ghosts & Villains. Highly infectious and anthemic in its stance, the song is a magnetic stroll of incendiary guitar coaxing and inflammatory melodies which is just plain irresistible and one of the primes reasons why you sense a strong horizon for the band.

We’re Going Down But We Don’t Care and Autumn complete the EP, the first an enthralling track with plenty of ideas going on within its well-crafted body of inviting rhythms and further heated melodic temptation. As the EP moves through its contents the vocals seem to get more expressive and impressive to add real feeling to this particular song though on the other side there is a feeling the band could have made more of the synth and its emotive presence, something sure to evolve as the band also move forward one suspects. It is a strong song but fails to light the same fires bred by previous tracks but another which leaves good thoughts about the five-piece. The final song is another triumph though, its gentile ambience and compassionate melodic caresses scripted with finesses and emotion to translate just as potently within feelings and thoughts of the listener. Easily as impressive as Ghosts & Villains in its very individual way, it is not hard to see why the band has earned such a strong following and why we are joining them.

As mentioned in many ways Lets Not Rush Out And Tell The World does not find the depth of riches it suggests enough times to really fire up a constant passion but easily does more than enough to excite and leave a strong satisfaction as well as inspiring the hunger to hear a lot more form the band.

https://www.facebook.com/GetOffMyShoesband

7.5/10

RingMaster 30/03/2013

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Mother Susurrus:Maahaavaa

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Maahaavaa is an album which either seduces or wears you down, depending from which angle you look at it, but it also is a release which captivates from start to finish evoking flames of emotion and thoughts with skill and stirring enterprise. Infusing meditative drone and sludge metal with psychedelic fire to simplify things it is a mesmeric, almost hallucinatory treat for the senses.

The album comes from Finnish quintet Mother Susurrus, a band which formed in 2008 and stirred the curiosity with plenty of acclaim attached with their self-titled EP in 2010. Hailing from Tampere, the five-piece has equally impressed with their live performances, their heavy and enveloping sonic web of sound picking up recruits to its powerful endeavour with constant ease. Released via Ektro Records, Maahaavaa is a hypnotic torrent of blistering atmospheres and weighty rhythms all honed into an at times dirge like state with beauty and inciting grandeur soaking its persistent presence. Recorded and mixed using analog equipment, the album is a sensual and equally intrusive tempest of passion, colour, and synapse eroding might.

The first feast of sound comes with Superposition, a track which introduces itself with restraint though a brewing ambience is constantly nudging the singular guitar tease and gently coaxing percussion. Licks of melodic fire break out from time to time but it is a slow temptation notched up a gear with the excellent vocals. As the bass adds its throaty resonance and the grinding riffs reveal their menacing side, the track threatens to explode but manages to hold itself in check. It is an insidious trick though as all the time its deceptive drone and mesmeric heat is working below the surface to negate any resistance to its almost corrosive breath and merciless seduction. A blistered expression appears in the vocals and intensity so that by midway the air has a sinister and riling caress to its erosion which exhausts and thrills the senses by the conclusion of the ten minute piece.

The following Scopolamine steps on from the impressive start, its initial engagement with the ear like its predecessor, slow and pacific with a middle-eastern whisper to its smouldering inciting voice. Talking of vocals, again those of LK shine and grace the heart of the track with infectious charm and powerful harmonic resonance to match the rising sonic intensity. Think The Doors meets Joy Division and you get an idea of the sensational embrace and riled touch the song offers with glorious craft and feeling. Again the track is a journey in time and experience which like the first and the closing piece maybe stretches its presence slightly too far though that is as much about just finding something to raise a niggle over as something truly negative.

Third track Anagnorisis, which features virtuoso jouhikko (a traditional Finnish 2 or 3 stringed bowed lyre) player Pekko Käppi, has a shamanic breath to its sultry and compelling company which muses upon thoughts to inspire further personal ones within the listener whilst opening up the spirits of emotions to swirl around and join the cogitative dance of the song. Its tempest of energy and edging on bedlamic creativity passes over to the best track of the album, Ylösnousemus. With a haunting and continually pressing droning niggle, the song twists and manipulates the senses with a cacophony of understated yet commanding noise which chatters with a constant hunger at the ear and emotions. It is a deliciously testing and invigorating exploration which brings dark beauty and greedy discord into a cantankerous but inspiring maelstrom of demanding and equalling respectful sonic dialogue.

Completed by the fifteen minute sonic scowl Uniemä, a track which has aural spite and venom in abundance, Maahaavaa is a wonderful piece of dark progressive alchemy, an album where cosmic suns and abyss borne malevolence find a mutual home for a psychedelic feast of experimental and doom tainted magnificence. Mother Susurrus is the work of the devil and their album the first step in turning us their lustful playthings.

https://www.facebook.com/mothersusurrus

8.5/10

RingMaster 30/03/2013

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Gloryhammer: Tales from the Kingdom of Fife

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    Leaving the high seas for the medieval and mystical realm of an alternative Scotland, Alestorm vocalist and keyboardist Christopher Bowes stands resplendent in his power metal clothed kilt within new project Gloryhammer. Bowes exploits all the rich essences of the genre not ignoring the cheesiest elements too, to bring a debut album in Tales from the Kingdom of Fife which is set to ignite the passions of all power metal fans. The album is a slab of epic adventure complete with as you would expect, triumphant riffs, passionate energy, and a heart which pumps as loudly as the rhythms which mark the battlefield I victory and defeat.

The Napalm Records released Tales from the Kingdom of Fife is a concept album which narrates the story of an alternate -history medieval Scotland where dragons, wizards, and dark sorcery fuel and rule the air. Telling the tale of a glorious hero Angus McFife, who wages a long war against the evil wizard Zargothrax, in order to free the people of Dundee, the album is an epic struggle and adventure brought through ten giant slices of bombastic energy and melodic fire soundtracking a fight of good versus evil. It is a release which if power metal does not ignite any passions than it will be a relatively dry well but for genre fans it is destined to be spoken of with excited breath and rampant enthusiasm. To be honest we lie somewhere in between and found as much to impress and enjoy as we did to hide our armour from, but the truth is that the album is still rather compelling from start to finish.

With a line-up alongside Bowes (keyboards) of vocalist Thomas Winkler, guitarist Paul Templing, bassist James Cartwright, and Ben461 Gloryhammer Turk on drums, Gloryhammer opens up the release with Anstruther’s Dark Prophecy, a brief portent of looming black shadows and destructive winds upon a once peaceful place. Its rising presence passes over to The Unicorn Invasion Of Dundee without a breath and its successor is immediately charging through the ear with galloping riffs and a cage of firm rhythms. It is instantly virulently infectious with the vocals of Winkler soaring through the skies with expression and passion whilst the keys lay like the sun upon the senses. Whether there is anything new going on we will leave to true genre fans to decide but through the familiar sonic cascades and melodic elegance it is impossible not to be captivated, especially with the sirenesque keyboard teasing which enrich the song throughout.

    Angus McFife elevates things with its even more contagious lures and thumping pulse. The bass of Cartwright is a prowling predator throughout the track whilst the keys envelope with a glorious sense of heroism to enflame further the already anthemic pull of the vocals and guitar shaped sounds. The power ballad Quest For The Hammer Of Glory fails to exact the same passions for personal tastes but perfectly caresses the struggle and determination of the hero at this point of his story before making way for the first of the two major pinnacles within the album.

Opening with a delicious and inspiring evocation of potent steely keys, Magic Dragon is a fiery and scintillating journey of unbridled energy and melodic triumph cored by again keys which leave one exhausted and blissful as well as an anthemic unity and call which even the dead would raise their hearts for. Again the song has a familiarity about it which only goes to make the encounter more invigorating and even as an old friend in sound, its realisation and delivery is quite breath-taking. The track steals top honours though is seriously challenging by the exhilarating instrumental Beneath Cowdenbeath further into the album.

Before its appearance the likes of the beautifully sculpted emotive ballad Silent Tears Of Frozen Princess and Hail To Crail with its almost regal call offer their descriptive and inviting presences though they falter in raising anything near the rapture as spawn by Magic Dragon, then again after that song they were on a hiding to nothing and emerge almost plain in comparison. Beneath Cowdenbeath though is a scintillating campaign through intense and urgent endeavour brought with skilled interpretation and thought evoking craft. It is a stirring piece of music which leaves one grinning inside and out.

Ending the tale with the triumphant climax of The Epic Rage Of Furious Thunder, the album finishes off a rather thrilling encounter with epic passion and energy. To be honest expectations of Tales from the Kingdom of Fife were not exactly high even with Bowes being its mastermind, but it surprised and surpassed all thoughts with ease.  Gloryhammer may not be a band to take over Alestorm in our musical appetite but certainly makes a worthy and enjoyable companion.

http://www.gloryhammer.com/

7/10

RingMaster 29/03/2013

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Overoth: Kingdom Of Shadows

Overoth Promo

Originally self-released in 2010, Northern Ireland band Overoth has unleashed their debut album Kingdom Of Shadows a second time through Hostile Media, and for those like us who missed it the first time it is a definite blessing. The album is a beast of a release, a carnal seducer of the senses and passions driven by a death metal as eager to groove as it is hungry to corrupt and savagely devour. With a brand new album in the works, the re-release of Kingdom Of Shadows is the perfect time to introduce yourselves to an impressive emerging aural predator.

Hailing form Belfast, Overoth was formed in 2005 by a quartet of friends with ‘a raw passion for no frills death metal’. An early demo release and their impressive live performances brought plenty of attention upon the band which was easily exceeded by the release of the Death Personified EP in 2007. Recorded in the spring of that year, the band was soon approached by Rundown Records, who eventually released the EP in the November. Its appearance was supported by a tour of Ireland and the UK, which included a gig supporting Massacre & Extreme Noise Terror. The next couple of years saw the band relentlessly gigging, with the sharing of stages with the likes of Obituary, Cerebral Bore, Origin, and Onslaught, tours around Ireland and Europe alongside bands such as Shadows Far, Godhate, and Volturyon, as well as festival appearance like Day of Darkness alongside bands alike Unleashed and Watain, the Irelands Low End Festival with artists such as Napalm Death and Primordial, and the Cork Winterfest sharing the bill with Grand Magus, Mael Morda, Hail Of Bullets and more. It was a hectic and fruitful time with the band in 2009 also recording Kingdom Of Shadows with its release coming early the following year. Since its first release, the band has continued to impress with shows and appearances alongside more bands such as Suffocation, Cattle Decapitation, Bolt Thrower, Sinister, Fleshrot, Rotting Christ, Sodom, Rex Shachath and many more. The band has built a formidable reputation with their sound and intensity, a force which now can be felt and greedily consumed by the re-appearance of their excellent album.

Tolling bells and a brewing distressed ambience opens up the title track to start things off, the impending voice of the song soon Overoth - Kingdom Of Shadowsthrust aside by ravaging riffs, sadistic rhythms, and a deceptively addictive groove to vein the heavy intensity. The vocals exhaust the air with their caustic breath and intrusive tones bringing a full malevolence to the already overpowering and contagious sounds. Having already secured a strong persuasion with its destructive presence the track hands over to the equally vindictive I Am One, I Am All. With riffs gnawing the ear with potent malice from the off, the song prowls and seduces with bulging rhythms from the drums and a resonating snarl from bass whilst further riffing chews with a presence which is as primal as it is addictive. Continuing the immense start the song, like the release, is arguably not stretching barriers but undoubtedly it casts a creative presence which impacts with accomplished craft and invention alongside an imaginative violence posing as temptation.

The consistent quality and lure of the release is continued with ease through the uncompromising Summon The Cursed where not for the first time the bass steals the passions with its dramatically bestial voice, and further elevated further with the outstanding The Serpent Of Old. The song stalks the ear with antagonistic rhythms and riffs which are equally attitude driven, whilst the vocals combine a malicious intent and an infectious swagger which compliments devilishly the ebbing and flowing intensity of the music. With a furnace of a climax which climbs all over the senses like a ravenous plague to pull apart and captivate its victim, the track is a pinnacle of the release.

It has to be said there is a surface similarity across many tracks which defuses their potency as individuals without deliberate focus into their hearts but not enough for the release to lose its impact at any point. It to be fair, points to the fact that the band is still emerging its distinct presence and that makes their forth coming second album a very exciting prospect. The likes of Led To The Slaughter and the Pathway To Demise with its insatiable repetitive groove and niggling sonic persistence enflame the senses further whilst Obsidian Blade stands like a leviathan of venom with overbearing energy and matching intensity for a fire of death driven metal. With Upon The Altar also leaving strong passion for its great melodic keys which enchant as potently as the sirenesque whispers within Obsidian Blade, Kingdom Of Shadows is an excellent release dripping immense potential whilst leaving rich pleasure in its wake. Roll on album two.

https://www.facebook.com/overothband

8/10

RingMaster 29/03/2013

 

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Patria: Nihil Est Monastica

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    Expelling malevolence which is raw and instantly venomous, Nihil Est Monastica the new album from Brazilian black metallers Patria is an exhausting and compelling release. Blatantly inventive and almost secretly addictive, the thirteen track beast leaves no sense or thought free of violation and hunger for its abrasively imaginative sounds. Though not breaking into new boundaries the early nineties driven sound certainly stretches limits for the fullest rewards. From those previously aware of the band, Nihil Est Monastica is said to be them at their most experimental and viciously driven, on the evidence of the album there is no reason to doubt just richly enjoy.

Patria consists of vocalist Triumphsword and multi –instrumentalist Mantus, with the band expanding to a quintet for live performances. The first appearance of their black metal and ambient fusion came with the 2008 demo Hills of Mist, the release opening the doors to the band unleashing shadows and darkness which invades and persuades with dramatic efficiency. The following year saw debut album Hymns of Victory and Death followed in 2010 by the second Sovereign Misanthropy, both earned good reviews and brewing acclaim. September of the same year saw a MCD entitled Gloria Nox Aeterna released on, as with the two full-lengths, Russian label Monokrom. Stronger and more intense awareness and acclaim came with third album Liturgia Haeresis in 2011 on, like the new album, French label Drakkar Productions. The release saw the band expand their already in place dark mixture of black metal and atmospheric experimental avant-garde music and with Nihil Est Monastica Patria has taken it to new riveting heights, fusing numerous flavours and textures into their almost rabid consumptive blackened enterprise.

The opening title track is a brief but impacting instrumental, the portent for something colossal and powerful and perfectly sculpted.patriacover A great many bands are now opening up releases with this epic sounding type of intro but few back it up with sounds which live up to the declaration, something Patria do with accomplished ease. The following Conquering Death’s Palace ravages the ear with full intensity but a restrained gait, the song letting the persuasive tight guitar teasing and rasping vocals instigate the first seeds of temptation initially. Into its stride the track has a swagger and allure like a cobra except its toxicity is sharp and deadly whilst that of the song is raw and greedily welcomed. With firm rhythms and a predatory bass prowl the track does not rip the senses into shreds but overwhelms with a persistence of poisonous breath and skilled enterprise for even greater reward for them and us.

Through the likes of Dark Cosmic Legend and the rampaging Nyctophilia the album squeezes tighter on the passions, the latter of the pair a delicious ride through bone splintering rhythmic maliciousness and scorching sonic intrigue. It is after the exceptional epically triumphant instrumental Altar where things really reach a plateau of scintillating and bruising excellence. Sacro Vale dos Encantos is a terrific depravity upon the senses, a track which from being a brawling and unrefined tempest evolves into a seduction of sharply grooved and contagious melodic lashes from the guitar and light expelling suggestive ambience all within the still imposing breath of the track.

The unpredictable and brutal Ascendent of Darkness and equally virulent Storm Before Eternity explore and ignite the passions further, and though like the album they are not going to be an easy ride for a great many they leave a potent and lingering passion behind. The guitar work of Mantus is exceptional but every aspect and instrumentation upon the album is as accomplished and imaginative as you could wish without unbalancing their unity and the songs themselves. The grazing vocals are in many ways formula black metal but again craft a presence which enhances the tracks and takes a keen hold on the ear.

Closing the album with a decent enough cover of the Sarcófago song Black Vomit, Patria has unleashed a magnificent scourge upon ear and passions, a release which stands to the forth of other genre releases over recent months. Nihil Est Monastica is a must for any black and experimental extreme metal fan.

www.facebook.com/blackmetalpatria

http://www.patriablackmetal.tk/

8.5

RingMaster 29/03/2013

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