I Plead Irony – This Statement Is False


As we all know rock ‘n’ roll can be a thing of striking beauty and in the hands of some artists at certain moments in time, something which encroaches on the realms of perfection or as close as it is possible to achieve that ever evading absolute. Such is the case with This Statement Is False, the debut album of UK rockers I Plead Irony. It is a masterpiece of rock music in its numerous vibrant guises, band and release an irresistible temptation which croons, rages, frolics, and rampages within the ear across its startling collection of impressively sculpted contagion posing as songs. It is without doubt one of the most exciting and compelling  albums this year, a scintillating mesh of hard, alternative, and indie rock with many more flavours swirling around its aural album of the year nomination.

The Farnborough based trio of vocalist/bassist Rauf Jordan, guitarist/backing vocalist Paul McDonald, and drummer/backing vocalist Lawrence Arnold, have a craft and maturity which roars within their first album as loudly and vibrantly as the sounds and energy they create. The three between them also create distinct sounds within the bands Ipanema, The Fins, Atomic Garden, and Welcome The Howling Tones, and probably more such the hunger to make potent and empowering sounds which burns within the threesome and fuels this outstanding release. Their debut was mixed by renowned French producer Guillaume Doussaud and takes the listener on an adventure driven ride with lyrical narratives which are as easily accessible for thoughts and emotions to relate to as the sounds wrapping them are for ear and passions. It is an irrepressible slab of fun and anthemic temptation, a ‘greatest hits’ like album in stature and infectiousness marking the entrance of one intensively impressive and potent rock band.

Now Or Never is the first track on the album to get the adrenaline coursing through the veins as its seductive blend of melodic rock and IMG_0361v3feisty intent makes an opening gambit before the passions. Eager guitars stroke the ear initially to awaken attention and once joined by the throaty snarl of the bass and the crisp punches of Arnold, the song provides an honest and striking piece of alternative rock enticement, ridden by the strong vocal tones and delivery of Jordan. It is maybe not the most spectacular start, the album reining in that treat until…well its successor, but it is a pleasing and bracing introduction.

The following Et Tu Brute makes a dramatic entrance, staggering its arrival before the delicious steely bass voice entwines its teasing tones onto the ear drawing everything into a hungry blaze of shadow clad almost sinister sonic declaration from each aspect of the song. With barbs lining the hooks of the song as sirenesque as the melodies and vocal smoothness surround them, there is no possible resistance to a tingle of lust for the striding anthem coated call of the song.

Things only go from strength to strength as both I Can’t Hear You and Honest Villain pull the passions to their feet for an emotive waltz of intensely impacting muscular beauty and punkish devilment respectively. The pair are sensational songs, the first a rising fire of emotional fervour that from an instant smouldering wash accelerates into a burning weave of passion, and the second a sturdy pop punk lilted stomp where the bass finds its most carnivorous throat yet and the guitars hooks that enslave instantly and permanently. One of the major highlights of the album, the song is a perfectly sculpted riot with all the power and bruising charm to secure full ardour in return for its contagion.

The height and strength of each individual sounding song is impossibly impressive, tracks like the virulently catchy [Insert Words Here], the compelling Timewaster (Behind The Glass) with its heart bred emotive heat, and the hot-blooded Faith Or Fear all charging thoughts and emotions with their distinctly unique yet uniformal impassioned grandeur and skilled tempting, whilst amongst them the superb Yourself Defence is the devil in disguise such its epidemically thrilling sonic bait and formidable rhythmic slavery. Riling the hungry ear instantly with the rapacious jaw of bass snarling ruggedly at its victim whilst the heavyweight jabs of Arnold intimidate with every jackhammer swipe, the track is a mercilessly enticing spike of brilliance driven deeper into the lustful affections by the emerging sonic swarm of toxic grooves and wonderfully niggling riffs. It is a brilliant mix of noise and raw melodic rock honed into a hornet strong sting of scintillating provocation and excellence, best track on the album and one of the most aggressively capturing suasions anywhere this year.

The magnetic Wrecking Ball and the voracious Sick complete the release, the final song another intensely magnificent chest beating clamour which simply leads to unbridled satisfaction and impatient appetite for more, bass and drums a threatening beast combining with the sweltering declaration of guitar and vocals for a lasting scald of invention and stirring craft.

This Statement Is False is exceptional, easily one of the most breath-taking and rousing releases found in a long time. Such its ravenous power and exhilarating imagination, it would be no surprise if under the term Rock ‘n’ roll there was a picture of I Plead Irony. Though they have a sound all of their own, in intent and ability to create infective triumphs the band will feed the hearts of fans bands such as Billy Talent, Reuben, Lostprophets and the like with ease.



RingMaster 08/08/2013

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Arceye – At First Light


Welcome to one of the candidates for album of the year, certainly in the darkened hungry hall of this site. This is a contender which feeds and devours with imagination, craft, and a devastating predacious invention that takes the listener on one of the most enthralling dangerous aural journeys lying in wait this year.  The beast is At First Light and its creator UK death thrashers Arceye, a band who have built on earlier acclaim and promise to stand as one of Europe’s, if not the world’s, most creative bands.

The second album from the Shrewsbury quartet, At First Light sees the band at a pinnacle though still only one level of a mountainous evolution of their invention one feels as the album explores and expands thoughts and emotions. Formed in 2004, Arceye has been no stranger to critical acclaim certainly with from debut album The Divide Between Chaos & Order of 2009 which followed the As The Ground Consumes You EP of two years earlier. From the first album the band has continued to increase their stock with impressive live performances, a trait of the band from day one, which has seen them support bands such as Decapitated, Man Must Die, Beholder, Finntroll, and Kataklsym as well as making successful appearances at festivals at the likes of Bloodstock Open Air in 2010, where they closed The New Blood Stage, and Hammerfest. The new album unveils a strong evolution in the band’s sound though still bred on a canvas of prime thrash metal with invading death metal shadows, but now the colour soaked progressive nature of the foursome of vocalist/bassist Al Llewellyn, guitarists Dave Roberts and Luke Durston, and drummer Craig Mackay, explores greater rich hued narratives upon the muscular black hearted canvas. It is a stunning combination breeding scintillating and impacting songs, ones which either offer a devastating confrontation or a captivating evocation, but all that enthral and ignite the senses and passions.

The Hostile Media released and Scott Atkins mixed (Sylosis, Cradle of Filth, Gamma Bomb, Amon Armarth) album steps from within Cover 001crackling flames with an inviting potent guitar lure leading the way, the call of the title track increasing as rhythms and a darker tone add their beckoning whispers. Soon with drums unleashing their full sinews and riffs following suit soon after, the track opens up an intensive prowl which recruits attention and hunger with ease. Into its stride the song rampages with guitars and drums sculpting a battlefield of intimidation and senses barracking skill whilst the gruff scowling vocals of Llewellyn, ably aided at times by the backing scarring tones of Roberts and Durston, parade a venomous and antagonistic breath that only fuels the intensity of the song.

The following track takes things another rung up the immense ladder of the release, The Storm sonically what its name suggests with the already ridiculously impressive skills of Mackay caging the tumultuous and imaginative adventure and persistence of the guitars and again the great mix of vocal threats. The track is a fury of invention and innovative thrash/death exploration, its underlying groove a rapier like hook ripping the ear open for the melodic and extensive flames of the guitars’ emprise to tempt and magnetise the imagination. The bruising from the towering encounter are soon soothed by the short instrumental The Longest Drive, the thought provoking piece of elegant composing and its realisation a resourceful caress and prelude to the staggering might and presence of I Silently Wait. Honed from a web of grooves, melodic beauty, belligerent riffing, and a cauldron of ferocious rhythms and vocals, the aural predator seamlessly moves from rampant aggression to seductive kisses and on to voracious rage, subsequently combining them in an unpredictable and fluid transgression of magnetic enterprise.

The deliciously sublime progressive radiancy and smouldering invitational glory of Sirius follows to again transport thoughts and feelings into an instrumental painting of suggestion and emotive incitement, the song alone showing the full extent of the songwriting, skill, and imagination of the band and the even greater promise of things to come over the next horizons of the band. Its building height and emotional depth grows in potency the further the song pulls the listener into its powerful soundscape, transfixing them into place for firstly Brother Disarmed with its savage rabidity to stir up the nest of previously settled emotions into another welcome turmoil, soon reinforced by the riveting Prey Forgiveness with its cracking tempest of carnivorous creative fire and sonic fascination and the magnetic Damage Done where clean vocals make a strong and pleasing offering within the rhythmically stretching slice of melodic and imposing triumph.

The album is completed by the crushing, yet seemingly respectful onslaught of The Thirst, though the track still demands and is welcomingly given its pound of flesh, and the closing instrumental sunset Dusk, another instrumental temptress this time coaxed into the passions by outstanding mesmeric guitar play and the open skill of the band. They provide the perfect conclusion and parting reminder of the quality and strength of Arceye and their brilliant album. At First Light is a real joy, a release which tears you apart whilst kissing the wounds it is simultaneously chewing upon. One of the real treats of the year, maybe the very best.



RingMaster 08/08/2013


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Black Polaris – Life/Death EP

Blk Polaris

Following the impressive inventive and technically destructive furies of second album Empires of 2011 and the Envisage EP the following year, all expectations were that UK metalcore band Black Polaris would become one of the prominent forces within the country’s extreme metal scene. Awareness wise that has not quite happened yet for the inventive Royston, Herts quintet but on the evidence of their new EP Life/Death, the band are still on course to achieve that musically whilst such its new breath of technical and melodic temptation not to forget its violent voraciousness the other aspect should soon follow. The EP shows the band has matured and expanded their creative passion and craft with no expense to their renowned hostile aggressiveness and confrontational fire. It is another mighty treat from the band and possibly overall their best offering yet.

Formed in 2009, Black Polaris have fought through the usual obstacles laid before bands, line-up changes, lack of finances etc. continuing to evolve into a stronger more determined creative force. This has seen them earn acclaim not only for their previous releases but equally stage performances which has placed the band alongside bands such as Martyr Defiled, Eternal Lord, Seven Year Kismet, Devil Sold His Soul, This Is Colour, Eradication and many more as well as successful shows and tours across the UK. The five piece storm of vocalist Sam Burgess, guitarists Paul Futter and Gaz Groombridge, bassist Luke Jackson, and drummer Neil Prenty, now unleash their new furnace of intensity and provocative antagonism, a release which confirms all the earlier promise and declarations placed before the band whilst carving out another depth of texture and imagination to their caustic presence.

The title track intro open up the release, a sampled drama making an intriguing entrance to the quarrelsome encounter whilst into its a1409551889_2stride the track is a commanding enforcement upon the ear and senses with the almost convulsive rhythmic and riff attack a jagged seizure of attention and instant hunger. At less than three minutes, which includes the opening narrative the only complaint is that the compelling starter feels over before it begins and the wish it had been a fully-fledged assault strong, though admittedly soon forgotten once S.I.M consumes the ear with its initial sinister ambience erupting into a furnace of crippling rhythms behind a tempest of passionate melodic endeavour and sonic fire, all thrust home upon the ever squalling vocal venom of Burgess. The ambience of keys brings a warm almost soothing wash within the continually searing heat and spite of the song whilst as expected the band unveil a technically accomplished scythe of sound and imaginative fire, it keeping them still within comparisons to the likes of Meshuggah and In Flames.

Taken emerges next, again an evocative ambience caresses thoughts whilst a lone guitar designs a narrative within the atmospheric suggestion of an impending force, which is realised as the track expands its welcome and muscular arms into a magnetic maelstrom of corrosive vocals and belligerent rhythms courted by the rapacious jaws of guitar incitement and oppressive intensity.  Futter and Groombridge light up the track, sonic fascination honed into shards of melodic flame seduction within the persistently doom laden weighty breath of the song. A refined mix aflame between the extremes of death metal voracity and progressive metal temptation, the track without stealing the passions like others on the release leaves an enthralling touch on the senses.

The rabid Lost Souls is a monster of bestial predation, riffs and rhythms a pillaging provocateur of fear and intimidation whilst the carnally bred technical prowess shown is pure serpentine malevolence disguised as sirenesque mesmerism. Burgess ably backed by the vocals of Groombridge, rages with the deepest toxicity of spite and maliciousness to be found on the EP whilst musically the track is a juggernaut of a storm, the heaviest turbulent slab of anger on Life/Death and its pinnacle. Everything about it from the unpredictable sonic majesty and the ferocity of guitar, the blood and guts bass and drum entrapment through to the uncompromising vocals, the song is simply outstanding.

The release closes with The Tyrant, a truculent frenzied quarrel with the force and unbridled brawn of a bear and the sonic beauty and severity of a tornado. Again though, it is only part of the picture, Black Polaris veining it with a glowing seduction of melodic and progressively charmed elegance brought from a craft and imagination which simply captures the imagination. It completes in Life/Death, a release which finds the band at its most creative and exploratory but still within the enslaving grip of its equally impressive annihilatory temper. Thoughts are still debating if the EP is the best thing the band has done but it is certainly right up there whilst poking those same ideas with an even greater promise and assumption that Black Polaris will be one of the most potent forces in UK metal.



RingMaster 08/08/2013

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BlackDivision – Daze & Delusion (Not-So-Special-Edition)


Though it has been out a little while, the Daze & Delusion EP from Croatia band BlackDivision is a release which whether a few months or years old should be given attention such the impressive and richly satisfying offerings. Consisting of four striking songs and two additional covers on this the Not-So-Special-Edition, the release introduces a band that with an already strong reputation in the local underground scene is poised to strike out further afield and with luck plus hope it will trigger the same hungry reactions found at home.

Merging many styles into their metal forged sound, the Vukovar quartet of vocalist/guitarist Alex Pierce, bassist Justin Case, drummer Sasha Grey, and Andrean Daine on electronics, and guitars, shape their first demo release with a wash of electronic temptation latched onto sinew clad melodic and death metal whilst further flames of sonic endeavour adding extra temptation to the release. Daze & Delusion is not without flaws but for an entrance in to the wider world and as evidence of what BlackDivison has to offer it is a captivating and accomplished, very promising encounter.

The title track starts things off and immediately has attention dancing in the aisles with early hunger for the bulging electronic sounds Front Coverand ear rifling riffs. Once set the song charges along with a feisty mix of sinew wrapped bass and drum enslavement framing the strong vocals and guitar play of Pierce whilst Daine wraps an immersive and riveting narrative of keys and electronic ambience around it all. The blend is intriguing and at times mesmeric leaving song and band entrenched in thought and satisfaction.

The striking start is soon accompanied by the equally compelling Stardust, the song retaining the dramatic poise and impressive mix of textures and sound to flavour an also exciting presence. Arguably at times the track is walking a too similar a line to its predecessor but such the call and enterprise on show it is a welcome rather than a displeasing aspect. The vocals of Pierce find a good mix between a raw but clean and a raucously aggressive delivery, his tones matching in many ways the imaginative conflict between keys and guitars, as well as bass, which sculpts the song and release. The track continues the adventurous start to leave a now sure appetite for BlackDivision.

Both Losing My Course and My First Division provide interesting and entertaining propositions even if they pale against the previous two. The first of the pair has a gothic metal breath accompanied by a slight glam/horror rock air which engages easily but with the production for the first time on the release showing its demo stance more potently it does flounder somewhat. There is plenty to grip hold of and find good promise in the song though whilst its companion unleashes a heavier classic and power metal like core twisted into an industrial/thrash urgent collision of rhythms and riffs to also raise a nosey focus. There is plenty going on within its appealing exploits more than a mouthful of flavoursome spices to devour keenly, though also it lacks the strength and guile of the opening songs.

The EP is completed by firstly a cover of the Lady Gaga track Bad Romance, a song which is treated to a sturdy make-over without lighting any fires and a great version of Crno Je Sve, a track of legendary Serbian punks Ritam Nereda. That final song retains the fire and growl of the original and fires it up with the great keys of Daine, the union a less vicious but equally potent rub on the ear compared to the original. Truly it is hard to match anything the great Serb band offers but BlackDivision make an impressive and riveting attempt leaving the listener as awake to and eager for the band as when the release first started.

Daze & Delusion (Not-So-Special-Edition) is an accomplished and dexterous invitation to a band new to most of us and as BlackDivision show their promise and already established skill and invention with the release, suspicions that they will not be the quietest secret for much longer is a lingering thought.



RingMaster 08/08/2103

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