King Hiss: Snakeskin

King Hiss

With nostrils flaring and muscles flexing to their limits Snakeskin, the debut album from Belgium rockers King Hiss, is a mountainous terrain of thunderous rhythms, voracious riffs, and exhausting energy.  It is  a powerhouse of a release which draws the potent essences of melodic metal, hard rock, and stoner rock, not forgetting at times a caustic breath of hardcore, into a confrontation which leaves the senses ignited and passions soaring. Consisting of seven tracks feeding off  inspirations from the likes of Red Fang, Black Tusk, Corrosion of Conformity, Down, and Clutch, Snakeskin is a powerhouse of an album, one injecting new blood and predatory strength into rock music.

As soon as it emerges from a sonic mist and finds its feet, the opening title track launches into a tirade of contagious riffing and a4123523464_2rhythmic barracking, a tight beckoning groove winding the passions around its call within moments of its appearance. The vocals of Jan Coudron begin their impressive narrative next, his voice having an excellent grizzled tone and a melodic power which sends every syllable to its target with purpose and appeal. It is an instantly enthralling encounter rising to greater temptation with the ridiculously catchy chorus and further seductive grooves amidst a tempest of rhythmic provocation from drummer Jason Bernard and bassist Dominiek Hoet. Such its immense presence there is a slight suspicion the rest of the alum will struggle to match its heights but its successor soon dispels any doubts.

    Into The Mountains opens with a carnivorous bass groan and rolling drums, their jabbing persistence hypnotic and persuasive alongside the predatory lines of Hoet. It is another irresistible start taken to greater heights when guitarist Josh Fury unleashes sizzling melodic flames and air carving craft. It is an absorbing blaze soon taking on an intensity and raw almost muggy encroachment which sears flesh and soars across the senses raining down sonic adventure alongside further vocals persuasion. The track easily matches the opener and though across the chorus there is something familiar, though impossible to pin down, it is another refreshing and impacting treat, especially the blues lined solo leading to a riotous climax.

Both D&F and Endorphine swagger and stroll through the ear to equally impressive effect, the southern rock whispers in the sound heated and sinewy, especially in the towering hard rock embrace of the first of this pair whilst the second reveals sturdier textures and dramatic fires within its Mastodon meets Kyuss like invention. Again grooves dangle pure irresistible temptation from their lures whilst vocally the group harmonies find an emotive heart not lacking in previous songs but given a clearer canvas to lay out their rich feelings here. Though both tracks just miss grabbing the plateau set by their predecessors they still capture the imagination and compel the passions to greedily accept them.

    Rollergirl though is not happy to accept second best and from her opening crescendos of fire bred sonics and tsunami tall rhythms rampages with high octane energy and virulently compelling infection loaded riffs and hungry drum enticement, the bass groaning with primal rabidity whilst acidic melodic fascination from the guitar scorches ear and beyond with skill and imagination. It is another bruising triumph which colours the passions until full but still lustfully wanting more.

The final pair of tracks ensures there is not one ounce of dissatisfaction or unfulfilled appetite, The Greater Good an ear burning, senses tearing juggernaut of hard rock and classic metal spicery wrapped in the passionate muscle bound vitality that is King Hiss whilst the closing Word Made Flesh, from its opening bass devouring of the ear, is a scintillating rapacious consumption from a delicious and insatiable rhythmic ravaging and sonic scalding. Like Crowbar meets The Sword it is an epic and towering conclusion to a staggering album.

Whether Snakeskin offers anything new can be debated but you know when something sounds this good and raises passions and energy to such heights, who really cares. King Hiss is a force of the future, hell they have already made a deep branding am mark with this, one of the albums of the year.


RingMaster 27/06/2013

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Sykopath Condor – Run For Cover

Sykopath Condor

Hailing from Luton in the UK, rockers Sykopath Condor has been treating the ear to some fine and promising singles since last year, each song another stronger temptation towards their debut EP. Run For Cover is that first album and consisting of all those intriguing appetisers is an impressively solid and enterprising slab of rock ‘n’ roll securing the hungriest appetite.

Formed in 2010, the quartet of vocalist George Zafirakis, guitarist Kai Wolf, bassist Ashley Clark, and drummer Ashley Morton has built an eager fanbase and reputation for their live shows and honest sounds, music taking inspiration from the likes of Black Sabbath, Kyuss, Pearl Jam, Mastodon, Tool, and Clutch. They have gone from strength to strength in all departments and aspects, and with Run For Cover setting a declaration to the strength of the band, there is a hopeful suspicion that this year will see the band awarded with a wide recognition for their muscular and creative enterprise.

The EP opens with Hear Them Coming, its opening sonic guitar drizzle immediately fiery and intense even in its reserved coverstature at that moment in the song. It soon saunters into an energetic and steady stroll with the guitar carving melodic flames in the air and the bass with its delicious pit borne throaty voice prowling its own sinewy shadows. The vocals of Zafirakis are expressive and equally sturdy biting with each syllable whilst holding a good melodic lure, and veining it all the rhythmic invention of Morton is firm when in league with the even stoner charge of the song but equally boldly inventive when given the opportunity. It is a strong start to the release even if a track which is unable to light the same passions as subsequent songs.

One such track which can is the title track, its sizzling sonic rawness tempting further stoner and southern rock elements to play with emotions. With a fire in its belly and to its surface, the song takes on a more sludgy breath around the again appealing guitar and vocal enticement. It raises the temperature of the release but again is a mere step to greater heights provided firstly by the excellent Til It’s Gone. With a Soundgarden like croon to its start the track gently expands into a feisty yet controlled presence, a heavy energy and contagious groove trapping the senses and infectious chorus offering an anthemic hand to pull the listener in further. With a constant snarl to its company, especially from the bass, there is a melodic toxicity and contagious charm which is irresistible and steals top honours on the release whilst stirring up even greater promise within the band.

This Body and Under The Grey Sky both keep the torch of pleasure and impressed satisfaction burning brightly, the first a heavily shod inducement of scowling riffs, belligerent bass tones, and voracious guitar fascination, whilst its successor slips into an emotive coaxing of slower but no less intense blues laced passion. A smouldering slow burner of a song which needed a few extra plays to fully persuade thoughts, it is another of the strongest highlights on Run For Cover.

With the riveting Fire & Blood completing the release, a song which was one of the first we heard before the EP was on the horizon and still holds the passions in its demanding aggressive Stone Temple Pilots flavoured hands, Run For Cover proves to be a terrific statement of intent from Sykopath Condor and a hard to dismiss suggestion that this is a band with a potent future ahead, something we will all surely and willingly benefit from.


RingMaster 27/06/2013


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American Standards – Still Life


With a debut album planned for the latter part of the year we thought it was worth checking out the Still Life EP from US hardcore band American Standards. It may have been out a while but as possibly many, like us, missed its initial unveiling and it is so damn good there is no better time to catch up and fire up a hunger for the forthcoming full length release.

From Phoenix, Arizona, the quartet of vocalist Brandon Kellum, guitarist Brennen Westermeyer, bassist Corey Skowronski, and drummer Geoff Gittleson, has earned a strong reputation for their live performances and sound which though we called them a hardcore band takes in many more potent essences such as punk and noise rock. It is a riveting confrontation and at times borders unleashing disorientation with its passion bred intensity and creative maelstrom. The unpredictable and diverse imagination to its invention though is an easy capture of the imagination with band and sound having the depth and flavours to ignite the appetite of all fans from the likes of Cancer Bats and Every Time I Die through to those of Dead Kennedys and on to devourers of the kind of noise the likes of Coilguns, Retox, and Blood Brothers conjure. Since forming the band has toured extensively across the US especially through 2012, playing with bands such as Sick Of It All, Trial, Touché Amore, and Joyce Manor and making successful appearances at numerous festivals including Within These Walls, The Punk Rock Picnic, and inFEST. Since the release of Still Life, American Standards has signed with Victory Records for the new album and continued to explode stages with their devastating sound.

Released via indie label We Are Triumphant, the EP opens with the brief and irresistibly caustic Self (En)titled, the track coverinstantly attacking the ear with vocal venom and soon joined by an emerging rhythmic and sonic provocation. It is the perfect introduction to open up attention and set the wheels of intimidation and incitement in motion as it boils up into the following Raised By Wolves. Again the coarse vocals of Kellum seize the opening seconds, his delivery a harsh but excellent rub on the senses immediately wrapped in another fury of sonic and rhythmic challenge. There is an earthy groove soon in place to start a deeper contagion aided by group scowls and the enslaving beats of Gittleson but it is just the appetiser as the track explores veins of infectious alternative rock alongside rapacious riff greed to ignite greater flames of passion for its confrontation.

The close of the track also sees the bass of Skowronski develop a predatory throat to its growl which is scintillating and across subsequent tracks prowls and chews the senses and emotions with greater and more carnivorous glory starting with Bottom Feeder. A sonic tease comes with drum foot stomps to open up the fury, and is soon led into a jugular ripping primal assault, vocals and the guitar of Westermeyer scything through the air with acidic malevolence. The unexpected offering of clean vocals is another rewarding and pleasing element and tempers the sonic fire and bass/drum barbarity which threatens throughout.

Both Paradigm-Alt-Shift-Delete and Harvester continue drawing stronger impressed reactions to the release. The first is a tempest of metallic vengeance crafted by again excellent bass and drum vehemence further fuelled by the twisting guitar grooves and varied vocals which switch from seduction to antagonism note by note. With flames of noise rock and discord taunts, the song is a thrilling adventure of predacious design, senses and thoughts lured and exploited by the excellent enterprise and insidious invention of every element of song and band, especially that bass. Its successor is equally corrosive and eager to offload its sonic rabidity onto nerves and synapses, a ferocity driven by arcs of guitar sonically honed imagination, flesh searing vocals, and steel jawed basslines gnawing away from start to finish. Not for the first time American Standards take exciting detours from the assault, here vocal harmonies allowing breaths to be taken and passions to leap before the returning savagery brings a triumphant climax.

The release is completed by the fearsome punk goading of The Red Queen and the crawling intrusive primal chaos that is the title track, its opening lumbering gait evolving through oppressive washes of intensive rage vocally and musically and varying unpredictable pace changes. Again there is a constant flood of ideas and variations all successfully and seamlessly infused into the emotive furnace. The two tracks leave the richest impressions and satisfaction to confirm the release as something quite immense.

Rather than wait for, what on the evidence of the EP, will be an album to bring another striking and exciting provocation, we suggest the Still Life EP should be confronted right away and allowed to feast on thoughts and passions, and as a name your own price offer on their Bandcamp profile, American Standards have given an invitation impossible to refuse, especially when it one of the best hardcore releases to come along in the past year.


RingMaster 27/06/2013


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Go-Zilla – Self Titled


Taking limbs and spirit on an energetic charge of vibrant and imaginative adventure, the self-titled album from UK dance rock band Go-Zilla certainly surprised what were admittedly limited expectations going into it and sparked nothing less than the urge to eagerly shout out about what is an invigorating and enterprising release. It is not without flaws and moments where passions are not sparked into any kind of flame but for the main the London trio has created a triumph which has energy and appetite hungry for more.

Formed in 2011, the threesome of Jon Youseman (vocals and synths), Chris Jones (vocals and guitar), and Glenn Rice (vocals and drums), taking inspirations from many genres and especially the likes of Skrillex, The Prodigy, and Pendulum, set about creating their own sound with their early demo’s finding strong and positive receptions when released online. Constantly gigging ever since their official step in public view at the end of 2011, Go-Zilla has earned a strong reputation and passionate fanbase which their debut album has already driven to greater levels as it works its magnetic charm on new more willingly submissive hearts.

As mentioned the release has faults which admittedly still are rife with such promise that you feel greater things are on the near Go-Zilla - Self titled - coverhorizon, at the moment just brewing in the band’s inventive thoughts, but the moment the opening Go-Zilla (Intro) emerges from the shadows with pulsating beats and refreshing melodic temptation, senses and emotions are scooped up in a brief but lasting riot. The synths douse the ear in incendiary dance calls whilst rhythms stomp with sinews bare-chested within the embrace and though it is barely over a minute the instrumental arouses a greedy appetite with ease, a brewing greed soon being satisfied by the following Camden Queen. Once again drums and rhythms lay down heavy boots to draw on primal needs whilst guitars and synths sculpt a warm and intensity fuelled dance. The vocals singular and as a group are impressive, both elements melodic and harmonious within a Pendulum like temptation which leaves the listener breathless but primed for more of the same.

As much as more of the same would have been welcome, Go-Zilla have too much going on in their imagination to simply keep to a winning formula and pleasingly across subsequent tracks show an exciting range to their songwriting and sound. Our Tomorrow which features guest vocals from Gemma Dand, opens with a great horn blaze before walking a restrained gait as antagonistic vocals make a harsher narrative. Once into its stride the melodic calling of the band leads into an enjoyable mix of alternative and electro rock, a mix of Enter Shikari and Funeral For A Friend with an open contagion to its emotive persuasion.

     Get On the Dancefloor is one of the songs which you take to bed and bust moves to in your dreams, its infectiousness as virulent as lust in a school of teenage boys, and just as lingering. With the punk feistiness of Hadouken egging on roaming electro fingers the track is a tempest of insatiable beats and rabid energy though also containing some moments of listless calm which is ingeniously and smoothly entrenched into the kinetically driven party. It is an excellent track showing yet further depth of diversity in itself and the album, as do the likes of the following Throwdown, a track which is as much pop punk as it is electro rock, and the emotively woven Chasing Shadows. Both tracks in their different ways mark a shift in the release to more indie rock seeded designs though still the synths and electronic heart of the band steers the intriguing endeavour, the second of these two adding a slight hip hop essence certainly to the vocals. Though nicely done the track is one of the weakest and less inspiring on the album but still gives credence to the promise flowing throughout every second of the album.

What Would You Give also struggles against the stronger tracks though it’s Hollywood Undead like snarl leaves good impressions even if the group vocals later on have the opposite effect, but things are soon blazing again with the duo of Don’t Wait for Me and Keep Breathing. Completely unexpected and out of character for the album so far, the two songs are acoustic guitar driven tracks of melodic beauty and impressive vocal elegance, the first still infusing potent electro narratives and the second an anthemic heart bred glory with loud melancholic whispers. It is a stunning track and rivals for best on the album whilst furthering yet again the depth of the band’s imagination and skills.

After the more than decent aggressive stance of The Rise, the album ends on another highlight in Wolfpack. Featuring the great vocal tones of Betty Be Famous, the track returns to the opening punchy dance of the album, bone shuddering beats and electro squeezes chaining up the senses for melodic waters to lay their dramatic caresses upon before the track sways and writhes with addiction forming wantonness across the ear with more teasing enterprise and striking craft.

The album still suggests that Go-Zilla is looking or deciding on which way to take their sound and ideas but it also shows they have many options which they have explored on the release with imagination and impressive invention. It is about time the likes of Pendulum had real competition and though really it is too early to declare, Go-Zilla suggest in time they might be one up to the challenge.

Go-Zilla is a name your own price release @


RingMaster 17/06/2013

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