Strap in and release the hand break to your appetite and emotions as Black Belt KARATE have just given garage rock a boost of adrenaline with their debut EP Volume 1. A five track blaze of refreshing indie punk, garage rock, and a spatter of blues devilry, the release is a thrilling rampage of passionately crafted sounds and fiery intent which awakens senses and emotions with its first romp and proceeds to increasingly enslave and dazzle across subsequent ventures down its exciting road.
Hailing from Los Angeles, the quartet of vocalist Ryan Hanifl, bassist Harry Ostrem, drummer Ryan Brown, and guitarist/EP producer and engineer Jason Achilles Mezilis, came together in the summer of 2012 with Mezilis and Hanifl reuniting from their time together in Your Horrible Smile. Soon a foursome, the band whose members also feature in other bands, Mezilis in Owl and Ostrem as tour bassist for Guns n Roses’ Dizzy Reid’s band for example soon grabbed attention for their groove littered rock ‘n’ roll. Constant gigging equally built up a potent and fervour led following with the band again rapidly moving to the largest stages and festivals such as Ink-n-Iron Festival in Long Beach where they shared a stage with the likes of Iggy and The Stooges, Sublime, Bad Brains, Rocket From The Crypt, The Offspring, Dead Kennedys and many more. Self –released this past April in the US and August 19th in the UK, Volume 1 now brings all the potency and power of the band which woke up their homeland to the other side of the big pond, and it is hard not to see Black Belt KARATE seducing once again.
As soon as the throaty grizzle of the bass and the equally raw and incendiary guitar scrubbing consumes the ear in a delicious prowl the world narrows into just their tunnel of existence, the introduction a sizzling beckoning soon enhanced by the excellent vocals of Hanifl. Rigamortis instantly holds attention in its enterprising hands, taking a considered stroll through the ear to start working on the senses with a sultry temptation and underlying snarl reminding of Queens Of The Stone Age. There is also a wantonness that licks at the passions without ever showing all of its illicit charms, its own lure holding a touch of Eagles Of Death Metal, and only adds to the full persuasion fingering the passions from first note to last.
The following Servant saunters in with a less intensive rabidity to its core but a still predacious hunger from guitars and bass speared by the steel rhythmic punches of Brown. Once again it is hard to tear thoughts away from prime QOTSA but with the continuing to impress vocals and melodic toxicity which engulfs the heart of the song and the listener, as well as the playful devilment peeking throughout the track and release it is a fresh and magnetic proposition which only leaves a greedy appetite behind. The song is simply a straight forward slice of riled rock which despite being three minutes seems over before it has begun and demands that replay button is used.
Push cracks open a riot of agitated rhythms driving a voracious tempest of blues rock loaded with punk attitude and concentrated intensity. As with all the tracks the band does not overdo or stretch out the delicious flourishes to distraction but uses them to colour the body of the song making with the vocals a perfect temper for the almost savage and addictive growl of bass and riffs.
A Stones like tease drapes around the opening of Building Walls and continues to whisper throughout the slower tempo gaited sonic croon. Though it is not as tightly gripping as the previous tracks, the enthralling almost mesmeric hug of vocals and the persistently caressing sonic touch of the guitar takes the song right to the emotions to place its firmly in a vat of satisfaction.
Kaleidoscope is left to complete the release and does so with the best moment of the EP. A vibrant enticement of drums cages the passions from the first second and is soon given a bass sculpted warder that ensures contagion is absolute. It is a riveting and scintillating start expanded to a similarly breath-taking dance of rhythmic incitement, insatiable riffs, and a sonic tonic which adds a lingering taunt for full rapture. Strenuous and athletic, infectious and compelling, the song is blues rock n roll at its finest and the final piece of evidence in the case for declaring Volume 1 as one of the intoxicating debuts this year maybe the most electrifying.
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