Roxanne De Bastion – The Real Thing


In an interview between us and singer songwriter Roxanne De Bastion held after the release of her riveting debut single Red And White Blood Cells, the artist when asked about her first album said it was a collection of songs with numerous characters and styles involved within their breath. The release of The Real Thing more than lives up to her words its wealth of evocative and emotive tracks taking their own individual journeys towards providing a constant richness of quality and pleasure. The single only hinted at the range of expressive depths and musical voices upon the album, the song itself a wonderful ‘cuckoo’ within a varied and captivating clutch of mesmeric ideas and songs.

Born and raised in Berlin, Roxanne moved to the UK after finishing school on a one-way ticket in 2007. The following years saw her continue to develop her craft and creativity whilst travelling all over the country to play shows , her nomadic approach to music giving her many musical bases and a strongly brewing following. As mentioned her first single drew great and potent responses from fans and media with its striking presence and made the anticipation for her first album eager and excitable. Released on her own Nomad Songs label, The Real Thing was recorded with producer Gordon Raphael (The Strokes / Regina Spektor) in Berlin and brings ten inspiring and graciously caressing songs to the passions. It is a release which also holds shadows within its vocal and emotional touch whilst the likes of Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Regina Spektor, and Judee Sill, just some of her potent  musical inspirations, are at times open whispers within her already unique stance.

The album catches the ear with 1964 first of all, its simple acoustic guitar and vocal union an upbeat smile upon the senses with a the_real_thing_coverknowing understanding of how to invite and seduce interest alongside the emotions without making an overstated entrance. The vocal harmonies bring extra warmth to the already wonderfully persuasive tones of Roxanne and though the whistling for personal preferences throws a slight unbalance to the flowing charm of the song, it is a brief aside before the track reasserts its compelling hold.

The following Here’s Tom With The Weather brings a slower walk across the ear, the guitar of Roxanne adding to the narrative painting of lyrics and vocals whilst the touch of the keys add light kisses upon the brow of the song. It is a delightful melodic embrace which sets up the appearance of new single Some Kind of Creature perfectly. The song has an even stronger folk pop lilt to its warm tones than with the earlier songs as well as an open sinew to the vocals and its energy. The Hammond sounds paint an emotive atmosphere behind and around the striking vocals whilst like the first and despite the strong shadows which makes suggestions within words and shaded corners of the track, it has a vibrant and lively stroll to its heart.

The raw Empty Space with its slightly smothered but effective sheltered sound makes way for the excellent Red And White Blood Cells. With a core presence which can be described as The Pixies meets Patti Smith with Belly and the Young Marble Giants adding their unique flavours, the song has a magnetic electric guitar tease stroke niggle which across the song builds and excites itself into a sonic crescendo of energy and eagerness whilst vocally Roxanne is like the angel and devil on the shoulder of the track stroking mischief and beauty with equal clarity. It stands wide apart from the other songs in its individuality and shows even stronger width to the variety at play from the artist.

Both The Life I Lead and Handwriting, in again individual ways, engage the ear and thoughts with accomplished craft and ease, as does the slightly plaintive Somewhere upon Avon before the pinnacle of the album steps forward for the greatest seduction of the release. My Shield begins with a subdued caress of vocals and guitar, the spine and impressive stance of all songs on the album, but then allows hearty beats to add their intriguing touch. At this point the piece certainly has senses and attention riveted but it is when the strings unveil their emotive beauty that a new rapture is ignited. The melancholic yet radiant voices of the cello and violin expand into even more potent wraps and aural beauty bringing every emotive essence from the lyrical narrative and vocal deliverance to irresistible witness.

Closing with the gentle cradle of the title track, The Real Thing is an enchanting and passion capturing treat. The songs recorded as a live capture reaping every ounce of emotive value and musical imagination from their hearts for a mix of styles which leave the purest satisfaction. A must listen from one impressive emerging talent.


RingMaster 18/04/2013

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Wandersword – Waiting For War


Making its steps into the wider world, Waiting For War the debut album from Russian metallers Wandersword is a richly enjoyable firing up of the senses and passions. Released  in their native land last year, the album now gets a wider unveiling via Blasphemour Records and it is one of those releases which if it had remained hidden it would have been a crime. As with most albums there is room for growth and expansion of the already strong promise openly shown upon the nine track rampage of Viking, folk, and melodic extreme metal, but it is still a deeply satisfying and invigorating encounter which is destined to find plenty of devouring appetites.

The quartet of Wandersword riles up and recruits the emotions and passions with tracks which are musically impressively accomplished as well as imaginative and equally aggressive with the energy to bring blood and energy to the boil. With all songs sung in Russian, the album is a rousing and enthralling rampage which signs up the listener into its epically toned charge with masterful ease, the opening title track the blatant instigator and lead into the dramatic and stirring encounter to follow. The dawning ambience and narrative of the brief intro is the stuff of warriors and brewing civilisations, a peace and calm stalked by emerging grandeur of emotive and quarrelsome atmospheres. It is an evocative and descriptive piece, and though many bands now employ this type of beginning to releases, Wandersword make it work more potently than most.

First full song The Valiant Viking immediately is prowling and stirring up the senses, the heavy riffs, punchy rhythms, and sonic WaitingForWarpainting of the guitar an intriguing and beckoning invitation hard to refuse. The vocals of bassist Andrey Anikin are harsh and caustic to the ear, his tones not the easiest to engage with at first but a strong and effective antagonism to the melodic wash permeating the song. Muscular and direct in its intent, the track is a pleasing start if not quite the triumph the intro was suggesting, but undoubtedly is a welcome introduction with moments of irresistible temptation, like the galloping inspiring climatic flourish with its Cossack like energy and voice.

Scarlet Sunset opens on a peaceful warm scenic impression, guitar and warbling whispers bewitching the ear for the thunderous explosion of riotous rhythms and equally antagonistic riffs, both extremes merging with skilled enterprise as the track snarls and invades the senses. Again the vocals bring a moment of insecurity towards the track but into its stride the album soon proves they are not an issue, just a growling confrontation to learn to find a union with.

The release hits its first lingering highest plateau with Strange Ships’ Trail, the album getting stronger and more impressive the further into its battle you go. From the first note the song has a ravenous energy and anthemic hunger which drives and steers the passions with merciless strength and compelling passion. The rhythms of drummer Alexey Krasnov find their most punishing sinews whilst the bass of Anikin finds an impacting growl and predatory snarl which is contagiously addictive, and with the guitars of Alexander Manukhin and Albert Osmilovskiy as inventive and ideally adventurous as they are raptorial, the combination is an immense capture of the imagination and passions.

Next up Masters Of The World continues the elevated plateau, again an evocative and gentle warm welcome shaping its place in the ear before stretching its flanks into an intensive intimidation attached to mesmeric and elegant melodic beauty, all veined by rolling rhythms which chain and spark up the instinctive pleasures inside. Enflaming further the craving for what is on offer, the track steps aside for the outstanding and best track of the album Peaceful Guard to unleash its irresistible hex and dance. With the keys and orchestral pull of the song bringing a siren like captivation to the fore, the track expands upon it with scything riffs and rumbling rhythms whilst the melodies cascade from the skies of the song with magnetic radiance. It is a dazzling track with the guitars painting upon the fascinating muscular canvas, a descriptive inspiration and the keys simply a sense of joy and eagerness to the battle of the heart of the track.

Both 40 Warriors and Northern Gates rage like thunder across the ear with strikes of melodic and ingenious flames spearing their excellent fields whilst the closing cover of Russia, a track originally from a band called Purgen, is one more piece of unreserved pleasure to eagerly consume. Waiting For War is a tremendous album and one sure to light up the passions of a great many with its re-release. It is a battle cry from Wandersword which could grace any field of battle and inspire greater determination.


RingMaster 18/04/2013

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October Tide – Tunnel of No Light


Bleak and intensive, consuming and compelling, Tunnel of No Light the new album from melodic extreme metallers October Tide is a dramatic senses encroaching encounter which leaves a residue of exhaustion and deep satisfaction within the listener. It is a hungry and extensive journey of doom sculpted death metal malevolence, a vehicle for suffering and defiled hope to spread venomous beauty and overwhelming intensity through a magnetic and destructive embrace.

Formed in 1995 by Jonas Renkse and Fred Norrman after a temporary dissolvement of Katatonia, the band soon gained string and widespread recognition for their albums Rain Without Rain and Grey Dawn in 1997 and ‘99 respectively. Despite their success and the strong acclaim upon them especially the second album, which saw Mårten Hansen of A Canorous Quintet replacing Renkse on vocal duties, the return of Katatonia meant the band was put on permanent hiatus. 2010 though saw October Tide return to the studio with the resulting Candlelight Records released A Thin Shell, a heavyweight expanse of seven doom-laden intrusions produced by Jonas Kjellgren (Scar Symmetry) which whipped up again impressive responses from fans and media. The departure of two members last year saw the addition of bassist Mattias Norrman (ex-Katatonia) and vocalist Alexander Högbom (Volturyon, Spasmodic) alongside guitarists Fred Norrman and Emil Alstermark, and drummer Robin Bergh, the quintet soon after beginning the recording of their fourth album, again with Kjellgren.

The Pulverised Records released album encroaches on the ear initially with a deliberate prowl and weighing up of the victim with thePromoImageCAO2B74X start of Of Wounds To Come, guitars and rhythms probing and provoking with fiery breath but restrained energy. Sure of the target they relax into an elevated but still lumbering stance as riffs and vocals abrase the air and an underlying persistent niggle offers its understated temptation. Into its stride the riffs sculpt an intensive melancholic breath with leviathan features whilst the drums and bass continue to stalk with intensive mass and intent. The landscape of the confrontation compellingly shifts and continues to paint a sonic narrative whilst the emotive depths of despair and forlornness are heightened with each passing potent second. It is an impressive start employing thoughts and most of the senses whilst its death metal coursed surface thrust at times belies the invention beneath whilst equally framing it.

Our Constellation opens up with a ‘lighter’ progressive air, the guitars once again designing an impacting setting for mind and passions to decide the narrative whilst the punchy rhythms of Bergh are crisp and resonating to coax further incitement. Like its predecessor the track has no fear of evolving its presence and stretching its imagination though arguably it prolongs its presence too much to defuse some of the achieved impact. Both Emptiness Fulfilled and Caught In Silence continue the strong capture of attention and its approving reception, though certainly with the first fail, to spark the strength of reaction as the previous two. The second of the pair presses firmly whilst allowing its richness of melodic enterprise to flame brightly and engagingly within the smothering intensity for a rewarding and striking union, and again dynamic presence.

Admittedly across the many tracks there is a strong surface familiarity which defuses the individuality of the songs and a less than adventurous heart to their sombre and sobering grinding doom fuelled persuasion, especially notable in the likes of The Day I Dissolved and Watching The Drowners, but when there are songs such as previously mentioned Of Wounds To Come and Caught In Silence as well as the twisted invention and biting ruin of In Hopeless Pursuit and the blackened beauty of Adoring Ashes, both songs closing the album, it is impossible not to be enticed into the depths of the album on a constant basis.

Undoubtedly for fans of bands such as Katatonia, Daylight Dies, and In Mourning, Tunnel of No Light continues the strong and welcome return of October Tide just without really sparking any major fires inside the passions this time around..


RingMaster 18/04/2013

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The Moth Gatherer – A Bright Celestial Light


    A Bright Celestial Light is one of those releases which dares you to offer a description of or to place a tag on its creative tempest then laughs in your face as only a colossal lists of adjectives and genre references could just about do it justice. A perpetually evolving debut from Swedish experimentalists The Moth Gatherer, which takes on a new and refreshing aspect which each and every re-engagement with its stunning presence, the album is a quite incredible and ever twisting imaginative fire which inspires and consumes the passion let alone thoughts for a thrilling, often openly aggressive, and mesmeric experience.

Consisting of Alex Stjernfeldt and Victor Wegeborn, the band employs a maelstrom of flavours to its unique inventiveness, from metal and caustic rock, sludge and doom, to progressive and ambient and much, much more. The band and new album leaves the term unpredictable a slowly reacting, missing the target call on their persistently surprising and shifting ingenuity. Across its quintet of towering tracks the band never over complicates anything, progressive it surely is but with a uncluttered invention and understanding to the whirling imagination at work, it incites and lures in the listener without leaving them bewildered or shell shocked by the continually moving imagination. To share a comment Stjernfeldt made about the album, he said “We just want our music to be an emotional explosion“. Something the pair succeeds in doing with startling effect and craft. He went on to say “A lot of the songs is about death, missing people you loved who have passed away and losing hope in mankind. We want the music to make you feel like you can move mountains with it. I wish for that when people hear our music, they start to dream away.” Again to agree with him the band evokes thoughts and emotions with ease and to immerse within its descriptive depths an easy and irresistible lure.

Released through Agonia Records, the Karl Daniel Liden mastered album which also has a guest appearance from Member 001 of ARCD111The Konsortium, begins its persuasion with The Water That We All Come To Need. The song slowly emerges from a gentle ambience and brewing atmosphere with singular guitar strokes and a dawning rich breath soon joined by inviting beats. It is a part primal wholly organic start which works on and with the inner rhythms of the listener to pull them into the exploding caustic ravage soon to follow. The vocals graze with scathing aggression upon a scene setting feel before the track quicksteps through a sonic blaze of shifting tempos and incendiary intensity veined with sharp acidic melodies and cutting barbed aural hooks. To describe the whole expanse of the song, or any other, would need a full individual review but leaving plenty to creep up and leap upon your senses let us just say the track winds around the senses and passions with riveting and dazzling enterprise. Its darkness is never far from the melodic light, always pressing and intimidating its temptation, whilst the bright sonic entrapment which permeates the different stretches of the soundscape is a constant temper to the at times brutal shadows.

     The following Intervention has a hardened rawer touch to its squalling tones whilst the vocals bring an urgent, maybe needy caress to the fire. Again shifts into melodic elegance across evocative and richly suggestive smouldering escapes are emotionally charged and aurally descriptive yet seamless in their emergence from and as persuasive leads into harsher corrosive and equally compelling sonic and predatory structures. The exceptional piece makes way for the highlight of the album, the brilliant A Road Of Gravel And Skulls, a track which rumbles along and crumbles defences with its cascade of punkish attitude, electro brilliance, ravaging extreme metal and hardcore abrasions plus so much more. The song is a demanding and richly rewarding excuse to visit thoughts and emotions, to let them find their own unique questions and visions, but most of all it is a creatively inspiring and passion sparking fury of invention and innovative imagination.

With The Womb, The Woe, The Woman and its hooked, grooved, and wonderfully melancholic beauty, not forgetting the exceptional snarl of the bass to add further provocation and the closing A Falling Deity, a song which is a free fall of intensive emotive suggestion and impacting scarring yet refreshing ambience, the album engrains itself further into the heart and thoughts. We have not done the album justice with our words, not sure anyone could, but with only the exhausting length of some tracks as a contrived niggle just to be mischievous, A Bright Celestial Light is a stunning release which certainly fans of the likes of Neurosis, Pelican, Breach, and Cult of Luna will greedily devour whilst it has plenty for all adventurous metal and rock hearts. The Moth Gatherer is going to be a major force ark our words.


RingMaster 18/04/2013

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Aosoth – IV: Arrow In Heart

AntaeuspromobandpictureIV copy

An invidious black consumption to ravage and douse any well -lit emotional template and hope fuelled presence, IV: Arrow In Heart the new album from French metallers Aosoth is a threatening and deeply rewarding violation. Viciously intimidating and at times almost too much of a challenge to listen to, the caustic and vengeful nineties death metal cored sounds of the band leave no sense, emotion, or synapse free of brutal provocation, and a thoroughly pleasing and rewarding experience it is.

The band was formed in 2002 as a side project of black metal grinders Antaeus, which took on stronger purpose when the main band stepped back from performing live. Through their  previous three albums the band has earned an immense recognition and acclaim for their invasive sounds and within the previous year has played selected shows with the likes of Watain, Shining, Ondskapt, Nehëmah, Farsot, Enthroned, Hell Militia, Blacklodge, Heretic, and more, their fourth album now stepping forth via Agonia Records to lay waste to senses and emotive bodies. It is a darker more virulent malevolence from Aosoth which the band itself commented on with “We’ve spent such a huge amount of time on defining a darker identity, yet open to a wider range of influences. Those tracks still haunt us, as delivering them was a painful and excruciating experience, and left some of us even physically wounded… which gives that album even more of a spiritual value, as it involved a form of sacrifice. This fourth full-length release is without a doubt a great step forward for us in term of music writing, and sound.” Listening to its hateful beauty it is ready to receive the same sacrifice from the listener, something which is deserved and more than generous in return.

An Arrow in Heart erodes the senses from its first insidious note, the track alone raising the threshold of endurance and passion. Aosoth_IV_artwork copyIt is a visceral encounter, though that applies across the whole release, which twists the senses into a wasted defenceless recipient of the decayed breath and light extinguishing punishment. The sonic veining is a groove to ignite ardour and sear flesh whilst the roaming soon ravaging black course of the song, is a torrent of aural spite and crafted violent invention.

Through the following One With The Prince With A Thousand Enemies and Temple of Knowledge, the band increase the desolation overwhelming the emotions with an intrusive air whilst mutually igniting greater ardour and addictive appetite for their contagious rabid grooves and acid coated melodic maliciousness. The first of the pair shifts and exposes every weakness in the psyche and emotions through continually twisting intensity and gait whilst the second finds a further furnace of intense ferocity and invention to crave and obliterate the senses with. Each song on the album, is rife with riveting imagination and equally mesmeric enterprise but Aosoth make you work and suffer for it with only numerous journeys through its mordant intent the only way to devour it all.

    Under The Nails and Fingertips continues the testing nasty transgressions with again the guitars and bass painting a plaintive narrative to extinguish any lingering corner of light or peace whilst the two parts of Broken Dialogue offer an individual confrontation which is cinematic in their make-up and carnally greedy in their creativity. The first part sets a debris strewn emotive collapse whilst the second is a toxic corruption, the droning and exhausting severity placed upon the ear permanently scarring.

     Ritual Marks Of Penitence closes off the album with its finest moment, the again drone driven sounds and chaining rhythms demanding subservience whilst they feed and suck senses and passions dry yet leave them desperate for much more of the insurgent beauty and magnetic invention. With a production as throughout the album, which allows the skilled craft of the members to stake their claim on the listener within the ferocious intensity, song and album is a masterful piece of mental and physical cruelty and very deeply satisfying.

Whether you can actually truly enjoy an album like IV: Arrow In Heart is debatable but the desire to frequently allow its blistering hellacious touch upon the body is undoubted.


RingMaster 18/04/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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