Mickey & The Mutants: Touch The Madness

picture by Cathy Bloxham

picture by Cathy Bloxham

If anything from psychobilly to fifties rock ‘n’ roll and rockabilly to rhythms & blues gets your feet and heart eagerly moving than we just might have the album of the year for you in the mighty shape of Touch The Madness, the debut release of UK rockers Mickey & The Mutants. Multi-flavoured and insatiably contagious, the album is a storming slab of mutated rock ‘n’ roll brought with all the craft and devilish guile you would expect from the experience and invention of its creators.

Mickey & The Mutants is made up of double bassist/vocalist Mick White (ex-Guana Batz and ex-Meteors from the Mutant Rock/Wrecking Crew and arguably best era of the band), guitarist/vocalist Norm Elliott, and Sharks drummer Paul ‘Hodge’ Leigh. It is a trio which on past history we admit we here had greedy expectations of but with Touch The Madness they surpassed everything wished for with a wonderful devilment borne from honest uncomplicated rock music. Formed in the summer of last year the band, on the evidence of their debut, only has the single intent and that is to provide an unforgettable, high quality, bruising party for the senses and passions, something they succeed in doing within the first three songs alone and reinforce time and time again across the twelve track release.

The title track opens up the excursion through the ‘bedlamic’ enterprise’ and imagination of the band, a lone guitar and distant WSRC072_300psychotic wails displaced by a barrage of rumbling beats from Hodge and sabre like riffs from Elliott. Amongst their instant persuasion the nimble fingers of White bring throaty bass slaps into the mix and slightly crazed vocals which within the devil bred brew being cast recalls The Orson Family in touch. The song is pure psychobilly and an evocation of primal urgency to join its hungry commanding mood. The track also gives portent of the album ahead, its body a twisting and varied temptation that has limbs and voice offering their well in our case, feeble blasphemous help.

The following Elvirista (Queen Of The Dead) teases with again a single coaxing of guitar before once more the rhythmic potency of the thumping drums and belligerent bass provoke and fill the song with such depth and menace you feel you are about to succumb to aural voodoo. The vocals of this time Elliott, the vocalist within songs being who penned them, have a dark demonic shadow to their narrative which like and with White before, brings great character to each slice of devilry and the release as a whole. The track smoulders with wanton seduction and enchanting intimidation which again receives no resistance as it takes passions into realms of rapture.

These Ol’ Bones explores a country rock seeded field of compulsion which sounds like a mix of Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers and The Screaming Blue Messiahs, whilst veining itself with some tantalising blues guitar licks and flames which ignites further the immense pleasure the impossibly addictive song has already sparked. It completes one of the strongest starts to any album in a long time, but it does not sit back on its laurels or take a rest as the excellent Jacob And The Well Of Love and its successor Something Bad’s Comin’ Outa The Ground soon show. The first also walks with a rhythm & blues swagger and lilt to its mesmeric stroll whilst the second of the pair is a slow canter around another blues narrative that leaves the lips of satisfaction licking feverishly.

Adrenaline soon opens its boosters again as the old school stroll of Blonde Haired Assassin takes the ears in its Gene Vincent/Blue Cats like palm of sound. Not for the first time on the album the guitar of Elliott is a delicious blaze across the sky of the song whilst White leaps over the senses with his upright skills and Hodge simply hypnotises from start to finish with instinctive rhythmic bait.

If the album stopped here it would be fair to say acclaim would still only ooze from these words but thankfully it is only midway into its rewards and soon raises the temperature further with firstly the contagious punk driven Rock n Roll Messed Up My Mind and even more so with Phantom Of The Opera. The second of the two is to all extent and purposes a cover of the Meteor gem on their Wreckin Crew album of 1983, though as it was written by White anyway maybe cover is the wrong word,  nevertheless he has just reowned it with the stunning version on Touch The Madness which we would suggest surpasses the previous version, it is that good and still one of the most riveting psychobilly songs of all time.

Burn You Sinners Burn just stomps over the already seduced heart with another dark toned piece of rockabilly majesty, White and Hodge creating a menacing wrap of rhythmic menace psychotically ridden by the vocals of Elliot and his sweet toned guitar caresses. It is pure aural manna which is sidled up to in quality by the sultry and dangerous mystique of Kiss Of The Spider Woman. Winds of surf rock wash over mariachi whispers to draw out a sweltering ambience which soaks every pore of the body and senses.

The album ends on the twin psychobilly enticement of Zombie where every aspect of band and sound stalks the passions with all the relentlessness of the risen dead, the song feeding off on the eagerly given submission to its virulently infectious jaws, and the insatiable Mind Control, the only time the band really reminded of The Meteors. It has to be said expectations to like Touch The Madness were strong but to the depth that we did was wholly unexpected and greedily taken. Mickey & The Mutants has opened its account with a killer album, one which is not quite up there with the major genre classic but easily one of the very best rock ‘n’ roll albums heard in a long time.



RingMaster 23/07/2013

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Reigniting passions and fight: An interview with Yap of One Minute Silence

PIC by Stefan Ferreira

PIC by Stefan Ferreira

 Like so many the return of UK rap metallers One Minute Silence bred a big sense of excitement for us when the band announced their return after a seven year absence a couple of years ago but it was the release of their first new material which came just a few weeks back that things took on real hungry proportions. The Fragmented Armageddon EP  was an absorbing and inciting confrontation that showed the band had lost none of the fire and fight inside its creativity and thoughts. Given the chance to find out more about the returning force we asked vocalist Yap about things like the cause of the ‘hiatus’, the spark that brought the band back, and of course the new EP as well as more politically shaped questions. Here is what he shared with us…

Hi Yap and thank you for sparing time to talk with us at The RingMaster Review.

I know we were not alone in having a strong twinge of excitement at not only hearing of the return of One Minute Silence but your first new release in a decade, the Fragmented Armageddon EP. Did you have any sense of the appetite for your return and hunger for new OMS sounds?

In a small nutshell – I went on a journey to ground myself, and came back grounded. I felt more focused as a person, more grown up.  I had ideas, but everything in the OMS camp is of an organic process, so it was just all about waiting to see what would happened when we regained our collective music head.

Can we first ask about the decision back in 2003 to put the band on the back burner? What was it that brewed and led you to that decision?

Like I said, I needed to go on a journey. I felt squashed in the music industry and in life in general. I was unhappy inside

Was it originally planned as a hiatus with thoughts to return at some point?

I had no thoughts of anything to be honest. I didn’t know what planet I was on, or where I was going. I just dropped the ring into the fires of Mordor and I left.

What filled the time of OMS’s member in the subsequent seven years?

All the guys kept their heads in music. Massy spent a lot of his time learning to produce his own sounds. And Glen, being the musical madman that he is kept himself busy mastering his mile. I subsequently went on to make a couple of albums that fell under the name Pink Punk. It was hardcore slam poetry produced by John Hendicott.

So what triggered your return in 2010 and was it an idea which found a receptive response with you all?

PIC by Stefan Ferreira

PIC by Stefan Ferreira

It was a slow burner in regards to us finding our flow again. We were all fresh in our heads, but on different roads musically. It was just a feeling burning in my belly that I wanted to explore I guess, and the guys felt the same way. It was very refreshing for us in many respects too though; being away from it all for so long and so on. It didn’t feel stale is what I am saying.

Always being a band to provoke and bring political and world issues to the attention do you think the time away brought a new and inspirational fuel to your personal and the band’s fire as much as anything musically seeded to spark your return?

Back in the day I was a young man carrying a lot of internal anger, and this shaped the sound of my words. I feel I am a better fighter now mentally as I carry no anger in my soul. This gives me more focus, and so I hit harder and better than ever before. It has allowed me to throw punches in the Zen sense, and direct my words with more precision if you like.

As the new songs on Fragmented Armageddon shows you do still have that fire in the belly not only musically but lyrically and politically but do you think it is much harder now to make an impact on the younger generation with so many seemingly seduced by the inane reality shows culture and the force feeding of primetime blandness musically and entertainment wise into their psyche?

I think there are a lot of blind people out there, but as the recent student marches have shown, there is also a healthy awakening. I think people are ready now more than ever for the truth. People need to be. The ship is sinking after all, and no one can shout conspiracy when the water is almost above their nose.

Why do you think each subsequent generation over past decades arguably lost the instinct to question and fight the wrongs of society, as the likes of bands like yourselves, Amen, RATM, UK Subs, Refused, Flogging Molly etc. have not lost their snarl and passion to inform and bring things to attention.

Generations have always been a mixed bag. Some listen and take action against the corruption of the day, while others march the line.

Do you think the unrests you pointed at and we are seeing across the globe will eventually translate into something similar in size in the so called more democratic countries like the UK and wake up the sleeping generations?

Chaos is coming. The four horse men are saddling their horses. It’s only a matter of time. We can’t stop what’s coming now. All we can do is our very best in the face of it. Millions will die. There’s nothing anyone can do about that fact. All we can do is keep promoting the truth until we find balance as a species. It’s a long road.

922931_561590037195380_1533141906_nBack to the music, Fragmented Armageddon contains two new OMS tracks, Fruit From The Lie and Pandemic Schizophrenia which immediately squashed any doubts that the band may have lost any of its potency creatively and passionately. Did you have any similar questions of yourselves about that aspect when first reuniting and writing?

To be honest I felt we were ready to write our best music.

There is also open evolution in your invention and sound bringing in new flavours and imagination to the songs, what inspirations or new ideas have you explored this time around with your songwriting and music?

I am glad you noticed. I am a more rounded person now in every respect. I have been out on the circuit trying to bring some of my philosophical ideas into the world arena. I believe I have new ideas that will help open the world of philosophy to a brighter day. My work in linguistics and psychology has brought me to a new door in my head, and once it opened everything changed. Obviously my lyrics would be an extension of my new broader perspectives.

Did the different musical ventures the band’s members investigated in the ‘time off’ also bring fresh avenues for your imagination to contemplate with your new material?

Yes, in many ways. I have a much broader understanding of sound now, as do all the guys in OMS.  However, trying to incorporate our new ideas took time.

Are the two songs a strong representation of what your next album will feel and sound like, can we get excited yet?

Yes, they are a good indicator. We have many great songs in the pipeline. All we need now is the finance to get it all together. Time and timing as Massy likes to say.

Have you approached the song writing and recording of the songs any differently to your previous albums and EPs?

In some respects yes, and it other respects no. It’s very hard to corner it.

Your line-up contains new drummer Martin Davies, how did you link up with him and what has he brought to the band which is not openly clear on the tracks for us outsiders?

Martin has been working with Glen for the last few years, and so Glen brought him to the bands attention. We knew from the first best he was our man. It’s quite astounding to listen to him in action in the studio. There’s nothing he can’t do on the kit.

You are currently working on your new album so can you give any spoilers for us about it?

PIC by Stefan Ferreira

PIC by Stefan Ferreira

It will represent the zeitgeist of our times.

Other than the album what is on the near horizon of One Minute Silence?

We are waiting to see where the wave will take us. It’s all easy and in good flow. We are just a bunch of happy people, and if we get to finish another album, well then great. If we don’t, I will sit in fields pondering the universe regardless.

Once again a big thanks for chatting with us.

Have you any last thoughts you would like to leave us with?

We were touched by the response we got on our return. We hope we find our way back to the live stage. We hope we find our circle in the pit. Peace to all.

Thanks Pete.

Read the Fragmented Armageddon EP  review @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/06/16/one-minute-silence-fragmented-armageddon/

Pete Ringmaster

The Ringmaster Review 23/07/2013

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Quest Of Aidance – Misanthropic Propaganda

Quest Of Aidance Photo1

From its opening instrumental, Misanthropic Propaganda, the debut album from Swedish metallers Quest Of Aidance towers over and brutally palms the senses into an enterprising torrent of extreme provocation, a journey which leaves you captivated inside yet numb on the surface. Combining grindcore with melodic death metal whilst adding plenty of other flavoursome essences into its stirring ferocity, the release is a confrontation that does not smash through existing boundaries for extreme metal but certainly at times gives it a damn good prod.

Quest Of Aidance was formed in 2004 by guitarists Christian Älvestam (Unmoored, ex-Scar Symmetry, Miseration) and Christian Lundgren (Miseration, Carnalized). Soon a quartet the band recorded their debut demo Human Trophy the same year which took them to the attention of Roy Yeo, the label manager of Pulverised Records. This led to the re-release of the demo as the Fallen Man Collection two years later with the Dark Are the Skies at Hand EP coming the following year. Line-up changes over the years have undoubtedly helped the band hone and evolve the sound found on the early releases into the predacious triumph that is Misanthropic Propaganda. Created by vocalist Daniel Valström (Syconaut) alongside Älvestam and Lundgren, with guests musicians like Patrik Gardberg (Torchbearer, Solution .45, The Few Against Many), Oscar Nilsson (Miseration, Saint Daemon, Despite) and jazz guitarist Johan Randén adding their skills and invention into the mix, the again Pulverised Records released album marks the band as a major emerging force which if not now, ahead will be setting new levels for others to contemplate and emulate.

Opener A New Storm Rising is a dramatic and cinematic heralding of the album, its rising walls of intensity and sound sculpting Misanthropic Propaganda Coverthe sense of an imposing ominous force about to launch itself upon the body. The piece is gloriously crafted and presented, an evocative intimidation wrapped in sonic beauty to start off the science fiction themed and inspired album. Once it has coloured the imagination the track evolves into the carnal ferociousness of Seething Voids, the track a burning volcano of raptorial riffing and rabid rhythmic confrontation driven by a sonic storm veined with irresistibly compelling grooves. Though a mere two minutes in length the track is devastating and addictive with the excellent bruising vocal squalls a menacing persuasion to compliment the already contagious bait.

Both Deadly Viral Strain and To No Avail thrust the release instantly to another level, the first an intoxicating tempest of lethal rhythmic bartering with the ear alongside a suffocating riff driven intensity. The song as so many on the album is not satisfied with a one dimensional attack, shifting and twisting with slight progressive teases and impacting industrial flames within the ashes hot annihilation. Its successor unleashes a wholly addictive groove from its opening seconds, its call and grip squeezing tighter and tighter until the blood drains from the ears. Grievous and animalistic in its hunger, the track is a delicious grinding aural explosion with a murderous sonic breath and openly severe thirst to ravage its victim.

The progressive fire which marks the entrance and guitar enterprise of Section 34 shows further that band and album has an arsenal of invention to keep the listener and songs fresh and for the main unpredictable, and though the track does not light the passions as strongly as the previous songs its drama and sonic pictorial leaves mind and imagination bursting with visions and interpretations. Anyx too in its air shattering viciousness inspires stark images of destruction though as it is only a sub one minute presence these are fleeting thoughts once the equally sadistic Dimout expels its death metal cored creative cruelty.

Each track on the album impresses in their individual ways to similarly varying degrees with both the truculent yet openly seductive Red Dust where riffs, vocals, and rhythms scintillatingly chew up the senses whilst keys sooth the wounds with delicious beauty, and the carnivorous venom caked Spawnlayer standing alongside those earlier glories as major highlights. The pair shares an invention which is draped in jazz and progressive ingenuity though it has to wait for its place in the maelstroms of sonic spitefulness and uses all of its imaginative resources to leave the strongest impression.

Misanthropic Propaganda is an outstanding album which continues to reward as songs like Sirian Breed with its epic bookending intro and outro and The 5th Column trespass welcomingly into the psyche. It may lack a little on originality at its heart which stops it being the biggest release of the year but feeds every need and more with its undeniably powerful and fertile invention not forgetting violence.



RingMaster 23/07/2013

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True Widow – Circumambulation


One of the strongly anticipated albums to be unveiled this year, Circumambulation the new release from US band True Widow, is just a masterful alchemy of shadows and light filtered through equally enveloping sounds. Towering in intensity, seductive in beauty, and consuming in atmospheric toxicity, the eight track album leaves the listener exhausted, invigorated, and submerged in its and their own emotional depths for a full aural and mental exercise.

The third album from the band has a sound which defies labelling, though True Widow themselves term it stonedaze. The trio merge a stirring mix of drone, post-rock, and shoegaze but continue to add further unique additives as their creativity evolves. The new release breeds further the essences of the likes of My Bloody Valentine, Baroness, and Earth into their own distinct flavour but into the brew also incorporates the pop warmth of a House Of Love and delicious distortions of a Sonic Youth. It is an irresistible alchemy that takes the listener on a journey musically and emotionally, a mesmeric and at times gnarly trip that explores the textures and extremes of thoughts and experiences.

The Relapse Records release in many ways follows on in the same vein of previous albums True Widow (2008) and As High As circumambulation_1400The Highest Heavens And From The Center To The Circumference Of The Earth (2011), but there is also a sense that the trio from Dallas is refining their imagination from deeper depths within their rich invention. As soon as opening track Creeper emergences from a destructive ambience with a wiry guitar groove twisting around the ear soon joined by the plodding thick bass call and crisp rhythms, the drift into undiscovered sinister realms is an evolving fresh encounter. The track is a slow stalking evocation teasing and intimidating around that almost fifties like groove call whilst the vocals of guitarist Dan Philips and aside him bassist Nicole Estill, bring a hue and warmth to the melodic persuasion that the senses just revel in. As the drums of Timothy Starks drive and cage the portentous breath of the guitar alongside the tenebrific air of the song wrapped in sultry heat and devouring ominousness, the track lies as a riveting contagion that works on every pore, sense, and thought.

The following S:H:S has a tall order to live up to the might of its predecessor but as the distressed ambience slowly swarms around scuzz lined guitar teasing and rhythmic evocation the band again has its recipient falling into a rich and thick weave of tempered aural fire. It is not as dramatic as the first song but walks the same plateau of temptation and potency as it creatively explores its sonic narrative on the way towards the best track on the album.

From its first sizzle of guitar beckoning there is a sweltering heat to Four Teeth. The song accosts the senses whilst simultaneously guiding them into a rapture which is truly ignited when the wonderful tones of Estill take the vocal lead and kiss the ear with harmonic beauty against the resonating flumes of sonic vapour pouring from every guitar note. It is a scintillating steamy embrace with roughened skin to its molten touch that simply leaves you lost in a pop inspired stifling haze. Another song which impacts on every facet of the emotions and body, it is a perfect slice of finely crafted inspirational rock pop brilliance.

As the imposing Numb Hand with its slowly burning grunge tinged labour and the equalling lumbering but darker brooding Trollstigen declare their testing intent and hypnotic stances, the album just sinks deeper and firmer into the passions, the second of the pair a predacious crawl into the psyche with the vocals of Estill again a merciless temptress. It uses repetition and doom spawned ambience as ripe sonic fruit within its bait and towers as another caliginous pinnacle on Circumambulation.

From the more than decent instrumental I:M:O, the release closes with the sweltering climes of firstly HW:R, a track coasting through southern rock heat with a tropical surf rock coaxing and melodic elegance, and finally the consuming and dense Lungr. The song slips into the darkest corners of mind and heart but lights the way with a beacon of melodic majesty and reverberating sonic imagination that leaves the listener immersed in enthrallment.

Circumambulation is sensational and though it arguably lacks the hunger to go to the very darkest places it is one of the most rewarding and thrilling albums to enwomb the senses this year.



RingMaster 23/07/2013

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Black Tusk – Tend No Wounds

black_tusk_satan_2  Geoff Johnson

The promo with Tend No Wounds, the new six track EP from riff sculptors Black Tusk, says it is a stop-gap release between the outstanding previous album Set The Dial and its successor sometime in the future, and in many ways it feels like that. There is something indefinable missing within the release which leaves it in the shadows of certainly the last two albums but even in saying that the EP leaves senses and hunger more than satisfied as the band unleash more of their rapacious riffs, equally predatory rhythms, and squalling throaty vocals to ravage the ear.

Twenty minutes of raw and furious rock ‘n’ roll, the Relapse Records released EP sees the band merging their earlier sound with its subsequent evolution over the years, the sludge bred rock abrasiveness given further caustic venom from hardcore and punk sculpted additives. It is a compelling and insatiable sound which sparks a strength of appetite in the listener that is always welcome and though as mentioned there is an absent element which prevents the release being one of the major provocations of the year it stands tall and muscular against plenty of the other more than decent releases unleashed to date. To be honest by the end of only its first listen Tend No Wounds inspires the desire to hear more of this approach from the band ahead and numerous encounters with it only reinforce that thought.

A Cold Embrace opens up the enjoyable brawl, the track a brief instrumental which opens on a sprawling expanse of jangling tendnowounds_1400guitars before unleashing the trade mark riffs and grooves the Savannah, Georgia trio are renowned for. With the drums of James May as punchy and spiteful as ever the piece softens up the senses and lights the greed inside despite being barely two minutes of corrosive beauty. It soon passes the baton over to the belligerent Enemy Of Reason which takes no time from its opening barrage of beats in creating a tempest of animalistic rhythmic intent and unpolished encounter. The guitar of Andrew Fidler scorches the senses with tight acidic grooves in between gnawing at flesh with his dirty metallic riffing whilst the bass of Jonathan Athon prowls and provokes within the maelstrom like a beast on heat. With the vocals a truculent hardcore confrontation pushing all the right punk crafted buttons, the song has no problem seizing attention and enlisting the listener into its adrenaline fuelled charge.

The strong start is taken to its biggest peak on the release with the following gem The Weak And The Wise. Its start is a deliciously mesmeric call of seductive strings, cello and violin making a sultry temptation which actually reminds of UK band The Mission. It is an introduction that only gains greater potency as bass and then guitar share their emotive presence to the persuasive lure. With full submission to the smouldering embrace ensured the band release the throttle for another ferocious blaze of punk filtered rock ‘n’ roll, riffs and grooves coated in vitriolic aural oil to easily slip through the ear and vocals challenging and provoking with chest beating antagonism. It is a screamer of a song, easily the best track on the EP and the one which lingers the longest after its departure.

Internal/Eternal sonically niggles from the off with a groove spanning the mesh of sound which has a Celtic lilt to its voice. Into its stride the track strolls with rabidity to its gait that again makes sure it has the full gaze of the ear and thoughts on its combative body and though the track arguably is unremarkable in originality within the release, it still gives a rugged experience that is impossible to dismiss, the returning groove irresistible bait as the song leans into its heavy weight climax.

The closing pair of Truth Untold and In Days Of Woe continue to grip the listener firmly, the first a heavy metal/hardcore torrent of aggression and evolving predacious riffs whilst the last song is simply a sonic fire that sears whilst riffs and rhythms crawl over the emotions with sludge laden intensity and metal borne antagonism. It sums up the whole of Tend No Wounds too, a song which leaves you richly satisfied and drawn physically into its superbly crafted furnace of sound but lacks the killer touch or final piece of its aural jigsaw.

Tend No Wounds is not the best thing Black Tusk has thrust through our ears but is still easily worth an investigation and purchase such the impacting fun and qualities the band brings to the table.



RingMaster 23/07/2013

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