Battlecross: War of Will


Two years ago US metallers Battlecross impressed with debut album Pursuit of Honor, a release which pooled a potent and powerful blend of classic, thrash, and death metal into twelve ferocity driven senses withering tracks. It was possibly not steeped in ground breaking originality but compensated with a sound which ravaged and thrilled with exhausting hunger. The Detroit band now return with its successor, the again Metal Blade Records released War of Will, and taking the same flavours and inspirations into its torrent of heavy metal fury stands as a big, if again undemanding on boundaries, step forward. It is a breath-taking onslaught of adrenaline crafted metal brought with unbridled passion and untethered aggression, and simply irresistible.

All the elements which powered its predecessor into the passions return; the rapacious riffing, uncompromising rhythms, and the deliciously predatory basslines all remain at the core of the sound but taken to another depth of enterprise and skilled effectiveness. Featuring this time around the drumming skills of Shannon Lucas who arguably adds an extra antagonism to the rhythmic potency of the band, War of Will roars before the ear like a muscle fuelled gladiator and promotes the band into an even greater and formidable presence within metal, backing up their impressive reputation garnered from live performances at numerous festival and sharing stages with the likes of Five Finger Death Punch, Killswitch Engage, Trivium, Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Deftones, Suicidal Tendencies Municipal Waste, Corrosion of Conformity and many more.

Co-produced at Audio Hammer Studios with famed producers Mark Lewis and Eyal Levi, War of Will rips at the ear from its veryBattlecross - War of Will first second as opener Force Fed Lies stands eye to eye with the senses, challenging them to flee before gripping them by the throat and showering them with exhausting rhythms, equally commanding riffs, and furies of vocal enterprise, not forgetting tantalising grooves. Into its stride the track provides a steady wall of provocation which expels flames of melodic enticement from its sinew clad battlefronts. The vocals of Kyle Gunther deliciously squall with serpentine intent as they ride the crest of the sonic abrasiveness and at times is joined by a sturdier pose to snatch a lift on the continually impressive grooves. It is a mighty start which ignites the greed for more of the same.

     Flesh & Bone follows with a melodic tease to its armoury, riffs and tight feisty grooves bringing a fiery narrative to the infection soaked track. The guitars of Tony Asta and Hiran Deraniyagala create compelling colour soaked sonic endeavour alongside the insatiable riffs which ignite the senses throughout the album but here they carve an adventure far from the more direct aggressive confrontations elsewhere which is just scintillating and inspires equal imagination in the thoughts. It is an enthralling slice of inventive imagination and a benchmark for the rest of the album.

The cantankerous Never Coming Back with its belligerent rhythms and vocal scowling sear the flesh of the ear next, its battering intensity speared with further flames of riveting sonic hues from the guitar, soon followed by the equally and arguably similar malevolent provocation of My Vaccine. With the bass lines of Don Slater coursing moodily through the track it is not a song which has the drama or impact of previous songs but still keeps attention and hunger bubbling for Get Over It to exploit with its unpredictable savagery and inventive manipulation held in a rhythmic caging alongside insidiously bred grooves,  the bass again finding a stronger rabidity to its presence. Wholly infectious and matching in intimidation it is another powerful highlight of the album.

The likes of the thrash cured Ghost Alive, the tempestuous The Will To Take Over with its treacherous sonic terrain, and the threatening raptorial Beast provide further notable moments on the album though every song makes an explosively satisfying companion even if not all linger after their departure in thoughts. The third of this trio stalks the senses with roaming grooves and magnetically luring riffs which combine to enslave the passions and pull the passions deeper into the release, the solo and melodic imagination an extra feast of pleasure and certainly long remaining once off to find new flesh to savage.

The exceptional track is followed by closer Never-Ending Night, a song which choices a more predictable stance to make its final statement. It is a more than decent proposition but possibly the album would have been better ending on the intense height of the previous track. It does not stop War of Will from being an impressive and exciting antagonist and confirming Battlecross as one of the best emerging heavy metal bands this decade.


RingMaster 09/07/2013


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Unkind : Pelon Juuret

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Finnish band Unkind is a hardcore punk band with a ferocity that cannot be escaped as shown with their previous releases such as Yhteiskunnan Pikkuvikoja and Harhakuvat have shown. With their new album Pelon Juuret though the band has discovered an insidiously deceptive side to their anger fuelled creativity which seduces and undermines the defences all the while the fury is raging with primal intensity. Released via Relapse Records, the new album is a magnetic tempest which is not always easy to listen to but ensures that only hunger for its coarse declaration is prevalent with its enterprising secret imagination.

From the Helsinki/Tampere area, Unkind forge a brawling confrontation which is hardcore and d-beat antagonism merged with an pelonjuuret_1500atmospheric coaxing and sonically sculpted grooves with more than a melodic air to their persuasion. It is torrential in spite and animosity but equally a potent temptation with an evocative imagination that is quite irresistible. As soon as the title track opens up the release and its storm of vehemence you know what you are in for from the quintet, or do you? Firstly the bone splintering rhythms crack down on the senses with barbarous intent whilst riffs scar the surface of the ear and beyond with venomous vitriol matched by the exhausting vocals. It is arguably expected hardcore yet something distinctly honed into that Unkind feel, but when a devious groove permeates its shadows things take on another vital perspective. It is decidedly sneaky and deeply appetising.

The following Vihan Lapset continues in similar vein but with a web of melodically tinged sonic beckoning to make its entrance and a somersault come avalanche of thumping rhythms. Once the vocal squalls with venom dripping from every syllable and the wonderfully throaty snarl of the throaty bass take hold the track becomes a wholly carnivorous assailant. Buckling under its charge you feel its full weight squeeze the throat of the senses but then it offers mesmerising grooves with a warm temptation which distracts from its full violent attack. It is a devious twist and thoroughly thrilling here and across every track in its many flavoured disguises.

Third track Valtakunta is the biggest highlight of the album from its very first seconds, a sinister ambience and imposing atmosphere crafted by bass and guitars emerging before the ear. It is not long before the ravenous jaws of the song steal flesh and savage the sense though, but again simultaneously there is a melodic caress and sonic smouldering which captivates and draws thoughts and emotions from the viciousness, the sound reminiscent of the glorious calls Killing Joke have conjured over the years. Vocally the attack is a constant blistering of air and listener, never veerng from that welcome singular intent here or over the album, leaving the guitars to create a sonically honed inviting alchemy within the bruising sadistic ravishing. The song is a scintillating brutality with the purest contagiousness to its ingenious underlying inventiveness.

The toxic lumbering doom breathing Viallinen and the grievously snarling Olemisen Pelko continue the impressive conflict at work though both pale up against their predecessor, whilst Laki swarms over the senses with a sludge consumption and truculent malevolence to further numb and invigorate every pore and synapse. Again like the other pair despite offering impressive blazes of metal and melodic adventure the song lies in the shadow of earlier tracks but still only thrills with its burdensome demands.

Kehtoon Tapetut is pure hardcore nastiness which smells pleasingly of Kvelertak at times and gives one final corrosive malignant slice of spitefulness before the excellent closing Saattokoti steps forward to take the listener on an intensive flight of folk infused evocation. The instrumental is wholly unexpected though a natural evolution of all that has been at sublime work behind the hostility in previous songs. Hypnotic and also intrusive on thoughts it is a masterful piece with essences which hopefully the band will continue to employ ahead.

Pelon Juuret suggests Unkind is quite possibly the future of hardcore and certainly a band set to shape its horizons in the very least. It is an outstanding album which leaves you wasted but blissfully satisfied.


RingMaster 09/07/2013

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The Heights – Drag Race On The Moon

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Hailing from Toronto, Canadian pop rock band The Heights are set to make the summer a warmer and more melodic place with their new EP Drag Race On The Moon. Made up of five vibrant and enterprising alternative/melodic rock songs which flirt with the ear from start to finish, the release is sure to bring the band to a stronger and wider spread attention.

Initially a solo project for Gavin Sutton (vocals / guitar / piano), The Heights soon expanded to a full encounter with the addition of guitarist Nick Dooley, bassist Colin Jacques, and Tyler Jones on drums. The self-titled and Bonacres EPs from the band set appetites alight but it is Drag Race On The Moon which looks set to make the quartet a name on a greater array of lips and passions. Employing inspirations from the likes of Coldplay, City and Colour, and John Mayer, which are open whispers in their clean cut and honed sound, there is a freshness and invention to the band which is impossible to dismiss even if they do not find the spark to ignite your passions. Earning further acclaim for their live performances which has seen them play with bands such as Set Your Goals, Silverstein and Fireworks to name a few, The Heights with the release of the EP stand at the door to greater recognition, whether it is the actual key the next months will tell but certainly the band offers everything available within them to provoke success with their new offering.

Opening song Soldier is an immediate rich attraction, its initial atmosphere brewing behind the emotive and excellent vocals of drotmcoverSutton as intriguing as the keys which also add their voice. Those impacting lures open up a deeper bait for the senses as drums and bass walk around and cage the melodic flames beginning to lick at the ear. Once its chorus erupts for the first time there is a contagion at large which wraps tightly around thoughts and emotions and continues throughout the rest of the song. Reminding of UK band Candidate23 though arguably not quite as virulently addictive, band and song add further drama and energy to the excellent track and secure certain acclaim well before its final note kisses the ear.

The following Some You Give Away has a sense of The Wonder Stuff to its first melodic caresses but then evolves into a boisterous and energy fuelled pleasure complete with jangly guitar strokes and evocative keys. Again the vocals are outstanding and ably aided by the rest of band in voice and inventive sound. A track which prods and leaps through the ear at times,  it is a heated blaze of melodic imagination and impressively crafted songwriting continuing the strong start with ease.

Both Devil and Spinning Webs unveil their feisty yet elegant depths, the first another song with punchy rhythms and sonic crescendos which ignite around the chorus as the keys spread a resourceful and smouldering ambience to the emotive tones of vocals and words. With an element of Doves to it the track passes the baton on to its successor who runs with a piano led narrative which is coated in a melodic beauty which demands total clarity. That the band gives as harmonies lead in sultry bass persuasion and rhythmic tenderness to support another great vocal and keys invitation. Maybe not as impacting as previous more energy driven songs it is still a treat of honed and sculpted excellence.

Closing song You Make Me is the weakest on the release, though still a more than satisfying encounter, which lacks the individuality of earlier songs to set the band and release apart from the rest but with strong craft and passion coaxed enterprise it makes a more than decent conclusion to a fine EP nevertheless. It is hard to say that Drag Race On The Moon got our passions excited enough to ignite any lingering ardour but undoubtedly it got feet dancing and sparked lively reactions in its eager company which is not a bad thing.


RingMaster 09/07/2013

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Promethee Online promo photo
Up and coming Swiss slayers ‘Promethee’ set loose their spanking new video single ‘Life/Less’, out now.
Pitching ‘Born of Osiris’ against ‘Job For A Cowboy’, and merging the melodic death metal craft of ‘Darkest Hour’, Promethee are here to shatter your world with their stunning blend of original modern metal.
Formed in Geneva, Switzerland, Promethee started life back in 2008. The metal upstarts soon began to play shows throughout their native land, and in 2010, the quintet struck out to France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland and Hungary, including an influential appearance at the Greenfield Festival playing alongside HIM, Rammstein, The Prodigy and The Dillinger Escape Plan, among others. Not ones to rest on their laurels, the industrious five-some continued to progress and played a successful mini-tour in Canada before releasing their debut EP, which secured creditable praise throughout the UK and mainland Europe.
Last year the band released their debut album “Nothing Happens. Nobody Comes, Nobody Goes” and it helped to redefine the noise-niks’ place as Swiss metal leaders. The record also garnered widespread acclaim in the UK from Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Rocksound, Terrorizer and Big Cheese magazine, and by undertaking rampant European touring and high profile festivals, including the Loudfest 2013 (Heaven Shall Burn, Architects, August Burns Red) and the Aries Festival (Knuckledust, TRC, Cutdown), the band’s stock has firmly risen to a European scale.
Promethee are now continuing their climb with the release of their explosive new single and video ‘Life/Less’, taken from ‘Nothing Happens. Nobody Comes, Nobody Goes’. The single is a powerful slab of ferocious edgy metal that clearly showcases the band’s devastating brilliance. Future festival appearances will follow this summer in support of the release, along with extensive touring of Europe.
* The stunning video for ‘Life/Less’ is out now and can be viewed at – *


Faltered Online Promo shot
Ascending Northern Wales Alternative duo ‘faltered’ nationally release their debut mini-album ‘Fortune Favours’ through all digital outlets on Monday 2nd September.
From a small, unassuming village in Wales, come ‘faltered’. United by a love of alternative and post hardcore bands, blood brothers Daniel (Guitars, Vocals) and Conor Cahalane (Drums, Percussion and lead Vocals) fuse the heavy aggression of early Nirvana meshed with the twisted groove of Biffy Clyro; yet the dynamo duo make their own mark, evidenced in the shape of their brand new hotly-tipped mini-album, ‘Fortune Favours’.

Having scoured the local vicinity for suitable band members, all to no avail, brothers Conor and Dan Cahalane decided to form the band as a duo and swiftly went about rehearsing and recording their debut EP in 2012 called ‘Victorian Post Mortem Photography’. Well received shows throughout the North West and a growing fan base soon followed as the assiduous combo continued to pen further songs for their next release.
Now the band have completed work on their new mini-album ‘Fortune Favours’ and it’s the perfect soundtrack for the Summer; that’s assuming you like the idea of Biffy Clyro handling the BBQ, Hundred Reasons cleaning the pool, and Reuben manning the bar! From the intriguing math-rock rhythms of their opener ‘Leave It Out’, to the off kilter hard-hitting riffage of ‘Fortune Favours The Needy’, to the abundantly melodic ‘Thanks A Million’, faltered have proven themselves inventive and accessible, and have amalgamated a sound that is poignant and ambitious. The post-hardcore crew have assembled a live line up and have UK dates in the pipeline for later this year; just watch them climb.
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