Able Archer – Bullets EP


It is hard not to get a little over excited when listening to a band for the first time and they spark a potent fire inside with honest and passionate music. Such is the case with Irish band Able Archer and their deeply impressive EP Bullets. The release is four tracks of inventive alternative rock which is as thoughtful as it is infectious and accomplished as it is compellingly imaginative; it is quite simply a richly thrilling encounter.

From Dublin, the band formed in 2011 and went through six months of line-up changes before finding themselves a settled quintet. In no time after the band was gigging extensively around their home city and earning an eager and strongly growing fan base as well as accompanying acclaim. With the release of the outstanding Bullets EP it is easy to declare the band is at the threshold of something major in their near horizon but also one suspects right on target.

The EP opens with Superhuman, a song which takes mere breath lengths of time to intrigue and secure concentrated attention through its inviting keys and expressive melodic enticement. It is a gentle enriching brew to start off the song soon evolving into a broader canvas for the heart of the track to unveil its colour. Stepping back into a reserved yet still keen energy, the vocals of Emmet 859709119656_cover.170x170-75McCaughey open the narrative and again impressed is the first thought at work. His tone and delivery hits the spot with strength and emotive poise, and with the throaty bass of Diarmuid Breathnach walking the electronic breeze of Neil Buckley, soon joined by the acidic shards of elegant guitar invention of Rob McDonnell, it is a mesmeric and refreshing encounter. There is a slight familiarity to the chorus it has to be said but a fleeting thought as the song continues to dance on the senses with elevated precision and seductive majesty throughout. It is a mighty opening to the EP which sets a high bar for the remaining songs.

The title track steps up next with the rhythmic tempting of Seán O’Connor carefully spearing another emotive wash of keys. The vocals are soon employed and throwing a passionate narrative into the expanse of building energy and melodic discovery. Arguably the song feels bigger and deeper than it is but that only confirms the might of the songwriting and its realisation whilst the caustic almost discord tainted invention which lines the call of the guitar, ignites a hunger to learn and feel more of song and band.

Third song Patches is the pinnacle of the release, the most impressive and insatiably contagious fascination offered. It starts with a slow tantalising piece of melodic and lyrical reflection, both McCaughey and McDonnell playing with and securing thoughts and emotions well before the keys tease with their own seductive caress. It is mere moments before the song captures the fullest rapture with persuasion firmly sealed with the cutting scuzz surfaced guitar strikes and adventure alongside the outstanding vocals. It is a magnetic stroll through a provocative and stylish soundscape, a masterful piece of invention igniting full ardour.

Closing track, The Great Henry Watt is a flume of electro flames seeded with an eighties breath through a passion soaked heart. Impossibly easy to ride its waves of melodic and vocal expression, the song reminds very strongly of Poets Of The Fall, never a bad thing and especially incendiary when added to the open imaginative talents of Able Archer.

The Bullets EP is an exceptional introduction to a band we are sure to hear a lot more of. Able Archer cut a scintillating figure with their stirring sound and has all the potential to stand prominently within European alternative/melodic rock.


RingMaster 20/05/2013


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I and E

Already aware of and having enjoyed earlier electronica led sounds from Serbian multi-instrumentalist Ivan ‘Iveza’ Ivezic, there was plenty of intrigue when discovering his new project Iveza And Elements. What it discovered was an enthralling muscular fusion between electro and rock which ignites the ear before moving on to the senses and accompanying aspects. The quartet from Kragujevac is an emerging force which on the evidence of their first couple of songs is set for a potent horizon.

Alongside Ivezic, whose history past and current includes playing in Thimble(hardcore/screamo/new school),KBO!(legendary punk/hardcore band founded in the 80`s) and Librium(melodic/post hardcore) as well as his solo electronica cored work, the band consists of Marko Sujica, Predrag Spasojevic, and Nikola Vasic. Together, as evidenced by Fireman and The World Is Gonna Stop, the four-piece creates an expanse of sound which defies precise labelling but reaps the essences of a great many seeds for its own individual persuasion. Industrial, alternative, and electro metal all find a loud whisper within the songs and add to the imaginative and riveting temptation offered.

Fireman is a song which immediately seizes the ear with a mighty commanding grip; forceful riffs and vocal strikes scything through the electro dazzle being expelled around the ear. The brewing tempest soon breaks into a stride of hungry energy and snarling aggression; the guitars, drums, and bass all growling with rapacious urgency whilst the keys dance and transfix the senses with exhilarating warmth and invention. Like a mix of Celldweller, Marilyn Mansion, Houston!, and Terminal Choice, the song rampages with refreshing intensity and insatiable enterprise, chewing and caressing the emotions with equal greed and potency. It is industrial metal at its most compelling and thrilling, and alone makes the band a certain target on the radar.

The World Is Gonna Stop ventures down a less metallic avenue, its electronic ambience and expressive melodic narrative a sonic heat within colour drenched electro imagination. This is not to say the song lacks sinews, its rhythmic framing caging the ear with firm inescapable skill, but the venture is more a sultry blaze of smouldering vocal tempting and keys sculpted sunlight which washes over the listener like a vibrant dawn and sizzling sunset. The mentioned vocals are a gentle call compared to the aggressive snapping delivery in Fireman, but as impressive as the unique sounds and evocative atmosphere borne.

With another song, Revelation, a track which sits somewhere between the two covered here, bringing further irresistible quality and adventure to the opening introduction of the band, there is only intensive anticipation for the future of and creativity from Iveza And Elements. It is impossible not to keep a close eye upon them after the unveiling of their first songs, an excited eye.

RingMaster 20/05/2013

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Everything Burns – Take Your Aim

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It is probably fair to say that Take Your Aim, the second album from UK melodic metallers Everything Burns, has been a lesson in determination, patience, and dedication for the band such its traumatic emergence. Through the likes of an injury to the drummer, shock departure of the bassist, long studio delays due to a refit, and several changes of mixing engineers, it has been a long drawn out process to the point of release. Add to that the delay due to vocalist Tim Kellow being run down by a car after a gig it has not been an easy ride for the release and quintet. Thankfully and miraculously the singer stepped away from the accident with only shoes flying down the road rather than him, and apart from being pissed that by the time he picked himself up the KFC he was heading to for a post London show feed had closed, the band is ready to make a big mark with their Meshhead released gem.

Everything Burns emerged from the ashes of Seven Days Awake in 2007 and signed with Rising Records the following year. 2010 saw their debut album Home released, the Mark Daghorn (Orange Goblin, Trigger The Bloodshed) produced earning strong positive responses. A mix of post hardcore and melodic metal, the eleven track album set the band up as ones to watch and bred a couple of hungrily viewed videos. The first release with their new label, Take Your Aim with its tightly carved aggressive traits and even more emotive progressive potency is set to take Everything Burns to a new level of awareness. It has a sound which is familiar, already the release pulling strong comparisons to Bullet For My Valentine with its voice maybe too close to the Welsh band for some, but also there is invention which intrigues and suggests the band is well on its way to finding its own true stance.

From the intriguing Intro, a very brief piece of combustible sonics and fiery vocals with metalcore tendencies, the release opens EverythingBurnsup its melodic arms with Ghosts & Angels. Initially it has to be said that there was a tinge of disappointment as the intensity and commanding first track suggests something similar ahead to what the second track delivers but song and band soon with a potent mix of crisp rhythms from drummer Jez Marshall alongside sonic flames of guitar from Chinn Lawlor and Vince Finch inspires concentrated attention. As the excellent vocals of Kellow light up the already bright encounter with strength and expressive melodic poise, ably backed up by the equally strong tones of Finch, it is impossible not to be excited by the first single from the album and release after all.

The skills of the guitarists and vocals easily impress at this point and only further their status as the title track steps up next. From a music box beckoning the song pounces with melodic elegance and inciting temptation, their seductive fire finding the equally inviting bass of Aaron Robins prowling the outskirts of their imagination. It is a captivating and contagious mix which spreads open the invention and thoughtful songwriting of the band into clear sight and though again you could claim the song is heavily whispered with the BFMV spice, it more potently reveals the promise and creative enterprise and class of Everything Burns, whilst again the vocals of Kellow and Finch leave a smile on the ear such the solo and combined talent and raw harmonic delivery they find.

Both Our Story and Interlude fall beneath the impressive stance set by the opening trio of tracks but at the same time reinforce the quality of band and sound especially the second of the pair where emotion and passion drips from every note and syllable. Neither find something truly new or distinctive to engage deeply though as the release is one which gets better with each and every listen, it has to be said to dismiss anything about this pair is wasteful with both revealing plenty to be enthused if not exhilarated about. The same can be said of Battlefields, another track where a flame of beauty accompanies undeniable passion and creative intensity. With almost carnivorous riffs and snapping rhythms the song is a formidable proposition but fails to find a strong snarl behind the wealth of melodic triumph. It is a thoroughly pleasing song though and one easy to return to, like the album itself.

Shadows and Whomper finish off the release, the first an excellent blend of growling bone splintering, riff guided antagonism in league with tempestuous emotive harmonies and searing melodic invention. It is an easy rival to the opening songs and again leaves only keen to endorse impressions of the band whilst the closing track is an unpredictable tempest of ideas and rhythmic shuffling honed with metal cursed invention. Both make a final persuasion which is pleasing and ear catching, something you can throw over the whole of Take Aim.

Yet to find their true voice, Everything Burns sets a satisfying and exciting base for their future endeavours whilst lighting up the appetite right now.


RingMaster 20/05/2013

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PTSD – A Sense Of Decay

PTSD pic 1

Creating their own distinct merger of dark and light alternative metal fuelled sound, Italian band PTSD has all the attributes to become a well-spoken name especially if their new album A Sense Of Decay is the template they will build upon. Though it lacks the spark to truly stand it apart from other equally capable alternative metal bands it suggests it is a mere step towards that horizon for the band, and leaves a rich vein of promise in its enjoyable and accomplished wake.

Formed in 2005, PTSD (standing for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) grabbed strong attention with debut album Burepolom, its varied ideas and flavours taken further by its successor, a release which lit a keen appetite in their homeland and further afield with its following worldwide release via My Kingdom Music. The success of the album led to three songs being included in the soundtrack of the Dark Vision Films movie Am I Evil, its director Richard Terrasi becoming a fan through the release. A successful European tour with Ever Grey came next for the Grottammare quintet before starting work on A Sense Of Decay.  The band pulled in the might of drummer Marco Minneman (Kreator, Necrophagist, Ephel Duath) as we’ll as having Jim Caruana, a Grammy, Golden Globe, and Academy Award winner, mix and master the release. The result is a record which offers impressive songs wrapped in skill and melodic majesty and though arguably it fails to reach its full potential, it easily sets up eager appetite for the band and a potent satisfaction now.

Soon proven by the first few tracks alone, the album is a mix of varied flames fusing the likes of nu-metal, indie, industrial metal, andPTSD cover melodic rock to its alternative core, the opener Event Horizon spreading electro arms to welcome the ear. As the electronic elements seduce and sway the senses crunchy riffs and striking rhythms add their lure beside the impressive melodic tones of vocalist Henry Guy. It is a compelling and contagious mix which though familiar in many ways has an edge and breath which leaves a lingering individual impression. The guitars of Yorga and Jason craft acute sonic colours across the face of the song to further its temptation whilst the infectiousness of the chorus and incendiary harmonies is a final irresistible temptation.

From the great start the following A Reason To Die and Parasomnia seize the ear with equally passionate sculpted bodies, if also less able to trigger raging fires for their undoubted quality. Like with the opener, the first of the pair reminds at times of Stone Temple Pilots and Tool and grab the emotions with intense emotive intrigue whilst the second unleashes a snarl to the riffs and hunger from the bass of Rob Star which intimidates and pulls on the passions. The accompanying excellent melodic blaze unfortunately reduces the aggressive challenge too much to make the song as effective and commanding as it could have been but despite that the track ensnares strong greed.

After Staring The Stormwall, a song it is hard to criticise but just does not raise a flicker of energy in the emotions towards its warm pastures, the album hits with another gem in the predatory Suicide Attitude. The track has a mesmeric call within its squalling aggressive winds and this time the fusion of peace and spite is a richly invigorating reward with bruising intensity and gothic elegance forming an enthralling treaty for a fully absorbing enterprise.

The likes of the pleasing title track and the tempestuous driven Breathless continue to keep the album centred within full focus, if again they seem to fall short of the promise they offer with the songs throughout feeling like they are itching to stretch their walls and extremes but are held back. The imagination and craft they equally declare though keeps any thought of moving on from their embrace a remote option and provides a richness of satisfaction which makes the band still a very interesting proposition, especially when enforced by a song like By A Thread. The best track on the album by far, the song gnaws and seduces  the senses, the scowling guttural additional vocals and rapacious riffs making a corrosive wash within which the ever impressive vocals and stirring harmonies dance and weave with passionate beauty. The track also twists its gait and venture into a haunting and menacing detour, an aside which triggers thoughts and fears before expelling a climax of exhausting and scintillating fury. It is a thrilling track and a direction you can only hope the band explore further as it is no coincidence that the strongest moments upon the album come when the band unleash spite and venomous creativity.

The album also includes a cover of the Anastacia song Heavy On My Heart which is a fine effort but does not really do much for the album itself though it does introduce new drummer Marco Lancs, as well as a more than decent remix of Event Horizon by Forgotten Sunrise. In between the two there is the impressive ……If?, which makes another pleasing call dripping with pure promise.  A Sense Of Decay is an album to find much to relish in and deserves a full investigation from any melodic metal/rock fan. It is debatable if it will set any fires burning inside but certainly will place PTSD as a band most likely to in the future.


RingMaster 20/05/2013

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