Healthy Junkies -The Lost Refuge

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Our attention was first given a tasty prod by UK melodic punksters Healthy Junkies back in 2011 by their track Manifesto taken from debut album Sick Note, its impressive enticement soon backed up once discovering the singles Copycat and Trash My Love. There was a certain promise and persuasion about the songs which made you suspect that the band had even greater moments and triumphs up their sleeve. The release of new album The Lost Refuge proves that that hope and assumption was more than valid, in fact such the exciting invention and presence of the release it shows maybe a depth of underestimation was at play too.

The seeds of the London based band came with the meeting of Parisian vocalist Nina Courson and guitarist Phil Honey-Jones at the venue Punk in Soho in 2009. Each in different bands, they found a mutual love and sharing of inspirations which fired up their individual creativity, influences that included the likes of Iggy Pop, Nirvana, The Doors, Blondie, Killing Joke and Sonic Youth. Linking up they were soon joined by drummer Adam Lewis and bassist Tjay Tarantino. Lewis recorded the two previously mentioned singles, and also plays on one of the tracks on The Lost Refuge, before leaving with Steve Nightmare taking over the sticks. From their first gig at an all-day punk festival in Brighton in 2010 the band has gone on to play with great success numerous shows across the UK including headlining the new band stage at the 2012 Rebellion punk festival and this year having their new album’s launch party again at the Rebellion Festivals in August, a show which saw Danny Fury (Lords of the New Church, Sham69) on drums and Dave Renegade on bass in a changed line-up since the recording of the album.

Signing with STP Records for the release of The Lost Refuge earlier this year has given Healthy Junkies a stronger platform to launch the stp1album from, though you can only feel it would make its mark such the quality and devilish temptation. The release opens with Resistance, riffs and harmonies teasing around the firm rhythms to fully engage the ear before the song hits its stride. With sonic lures riding the senses alongside the strong vocals of Courson, the track makes a satisfying introduction if a slightly underwhelming one, especially when compared to previous songs and the suggested heights they offered ahead. Nevertheless there is little wrong with the song just a lack of a gripping bait or spark to ignite thoughts and emotions.

There is no such problem from the second song on though, the album unleashing a mischief and contagious invention which now confirms and extends those earlier hopes and sets fire to the passions. Spoilt Brat offers a restrained chug of a persuasion initially as the dual vocals work their temptation. The thumping beats and moody bassline flicks more switches as the song erupts into a thrilling blaze of aural and lyrical attitude which takes hold of the emotion’s shoulders and leads them on a pop punk lilted stroll of undoubted quality. The band reminds of eighties pop punk band The Photos as the track dances on the ear which only adds to the pleasure. It is instantly followed by the excellent Play Me and its coaxing of grazing riffs and jabbing rhythms. Once in full flow with hooks and melodies laying deep barbs in the passions, the track is a fiery stomp with a blues flame to the solo and seductive licks to the vocals, especially in the restrained moments before the song bursts into sonic crescendos.

From one major pinnacle the album steps into another and the magnificent Scam Update. Coated in a definite Penetration like confrontation and old school punk urgency yet with a melodic indie breath, the track is an enthralling and magnetic glory, the little twists of ska punk strokes and grungy intensity imaginative manna. It probably takes the best song award though it does change with each listen as the likes of the next up pair of If You Talk To Her and Swansong as examples, challenge each and every time. The first of the pair casts a sinister cosmic wash over the listener before a pulsating bass tango avails the song of its charms amidst the cracking rhythmic cage set by Nightmare. In full flight the song is a sonic thrill with a whiff of wantonness and surf rock to its invention and scent of sultry melodic sex to its dance. A scintillating and irresistible provocateur it is soon matched by its successor and its cantankerous vaunt, its rhythmic slavery as inescapable as the vocal enticement and the near on psychobilly guitar mystique which strokes the imagination before launching into a raw and rewarding riot. It is another major highlight in so many.

The fun and decent enough cover of La Vie En Rose is followed by the pleasing prowling sleek Cat Story, with Lewis on drums, and Mad Parade with its hungry riffs and throaty bass call seizing the ear tightly for the playful keys brought by Honey-Jones to whip up another rise of appetite especially with the musicians equally impressive guitar ingenuity. Old school pop punk with a muscular heart and steely frame, the song is another deviously potent suasion and yet one more exciting treat.

The quality and triumphs just keep coming, the likes of the bewitching and elegantly forceful Shine A Line and the charismatically riveting and rapacious Witches Of Lust unleashing in their own unique ways more punk alchemy to enslave the passions. The album as a whole is diverse and inventively distinct from song to song, the final pair of the pop rock shaped Coz It Sucks and the magnificent Sex War with its dub scythes of invention stoking the fires as melodic pop flames to fly whilst the vocals of Courson and Honey-Jones create a sizzling duelling attack. Ruts meets Dangerous Girls with Pauline Murray at the helm, the track is a mighty end to a robustly thrilling album. Healthy Junkies have come of age and you only sense they will get better. A must investigate release!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Healthy-Junkies/128020360589230

9/10

RingMaster 12/09/2013

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Deals Death – Point Zero Solution

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Immediately attention gripping and venomously intrusive, Point Zero Solution the new album from Swedish melodic death metallers Deals Death shows it is also an insidiously creative beast when it comes to persuasion. Whilst gnawing upon and chewing up the senses, the album works deceptively away beneath the tumultuous surface tempting and seducing thoughts and emotions into a full and lingering submission. It is a riveting confrontation from a band set to explode to even greater recognition within extreme metal.

Formed in a music college by guitarist Erik Jacobson with a couple of fellow students, the band moved through line-up changes before releasing their self-financed debut Internal Demons which was met with strongly positive reviews and responses. The band moved to Gothenburg as new members joined the band before recording second album, Elite in 2010. Linking up with Spinefarm Records the album was released in March 2012 again to great reactions, the video of the track Fortified released the previous year sparking eager anticipation for the album’s release. Live the band has also earned a big reputation with shows alongside the likes of Scar Symmetry, Hypocrisy, and Dark Tranquility, tours across Sweden, Finland, Japan and the UK, as well as numerous festival appearances such as at House Of Metal, Rockstad Falun, and Sweden Rock only increasing their presence and stock.

Point Zero Solution takes the band to another level, its potent and dramatic textures an intriguing and captivating distraction for the Deals_Death-Point_Zero_Solutioncarnivorous intensity which drives forward the striking invention and malevolence. Themed by the destructive nature and progression which brings down the systems of nature and society, the album opens with its title track. Opening with a brooding and brewing soundscape rife with intimidation and drama, the song makes an impactful entrance, an apocalyptic introduction which only accelerates into a more formidable and menacing presence as rhythms and riffs start to rip down the remains of the once safe landscape. Caged and thrust forth by the excellent predacious rhythmic enticement of drummer Janne Jaloma and bassist Fredrik Ljung, the track explores its darkest streets and open thoughts of the listener, imagination sparked by the dark venomous temptation merged with smouldering and glowing guitar enterprise from Jacobson and Sebastian Myrén. Vocalist Olle Ekman is a grizzled toned lyrical conductor to it all, his malicious growls and squalls the perfect vehicle for spite and lost hope to drive.

The excellent start is followed by the impressive Facing The Echoes, a sultry dance of keys beckoning in the muscular intent and heart of the track whilst ensuring yet again appetite for the song is keenly awake. Creatively expressive within the tall walls of intensity and wrapped in melodramatic breath, the track like most on the album twists and turns within its imagination and invention, creating an unpredictable and captivating venture. The keys on the album are outstanding throughout and at times exceptional as here where it provides a contagious flame alongside the equally potent guitar narrative rich in sonic colour.

Escalation has a rapacious hunger to its attack and charge, riffs fired in a thrash kiln whilst the atmospheric sky of the song is symphonic/power metal in its suggestive descript. It is a seamless and fluid blend which has senses and limbs intensively involved whilst thoughts and emotions have an equally tempting canvas to explore their corners and limits too. Continuing the excellent start the track steps aside for two more pinnacles in firstly Flatline and the even greater Passion For Infinity. The first song is an epically honed expanse of rousing melodic craft whilst its successor again with a delicious key lead in takes the mind through a scenery of impending peril and chilling elegance, the keyboard invention stunningly effective and poignant building a union of destruction and radiance.

The likes of the caustically elegant classic metal teasing The Separation and especially the scintillating predation Paramount Authority grip tightly to the plateaus set and passion ignited whilst Dark Dream Dawn with its climactic intensity and fervency within an irresistible and brilliantly crafted blaze of melodic ingenuity climbs another to another level of excellence.

Every track on Point Zero Solution provides an enthralling and generally breath-taking furnace of blood soaked, sweat dripping quality and toil, the closing Author Of Arts providing a last ravenous fury to devour greedily. Pushing boundaries whilst still openly within existing limits, Deals Death has created an invigorating annihilatory triumph which declares the band as a real force of the future.

www.facebook.com/dealsdeath

9/10

RingMaster 12/09/2013

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Taberah – Necromancer

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A very agreeable merger of classic and power metal with melodic flames licking the imagination from within, Necromancer the new album from Tasmanian metallers Taberah makes for one rather tasty and satisfying encounter. Fusing a mix of essences which reap the seeds of Iron Maiden like heavy metal, AC/DC spawned classic rock ‘n’ roll, and the over blown revelry of Powerwolf, the album is a richly enjoyable ride which arguably is low on originality but high on accomplished perfectly sculpted pleasure.

With seeds blossoming from 2004 through guitarist/vocalist Jonathon Barwick and drummer Tom Brockman, Taberah has built a mighty reputation and following through firstly the Tasmanian live music scene on to the Australian shores and beyond. Handpicked by Lemmy for the Sydney leg of Motorhead’s 2011 Australian tour the band earned equally potent reactions from their own shows and the sharing of stages with artists such as Paul Di’anno, Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens, LORD, Psycroptic, Black Majesty and many more. 2011 also saw the release of the band’s debut album The Light Of Which I Dream, recorded with producer Joe Haley of Psycroptic, the record drawing strong acclaim around the world. Its successor Necromancer looks set to cement their stature and take it up a few more levels and though arguably it offers little truly new, the Dust On The Tracks Records released album leaves nothing less than eager satisfaction from its creative revelry.

With guitarist Myles Flood and bassist Dave Walsh alongside Barwick and Brockman, the album opens up with the mighty 2012. InstantlyTaberahNecromancerthe great throaty bass growl conjured from Walsh seduces the ear whilst crisp beats stand by its side with anticipation for the melodic flames of guitar. Next group harmonies light the air before the delivery of Barwick impressively delivers the lyrical narrative within a mesh of sonic imagination and striking craft. As energetically inviting as it is infectiously compelling, the song makes a great start to the album offering expectations what they wish for and intrigue plenty to find thrills within especially the excellent solo mid-way.

Dying Wish continues the riveting introduction with its colourful sinew clad riot of power/glam metal. There is a Cooperesque breath to the track especially early in its presence which catches the ear and with a contagious gallop of a chorus the track like the first provides all the aural manna needed to brawl with a wide smile on the passions.

From here on in the album ebbs and flows in its contents and originality thus also in success though plenty of that is down to personal preferences as much as the songs. The melodically weaved encounter Burning In The Moonlight, the dramatic Warlord, and the acoustically shaped Don’t Say You’ll Love Me are prime examples, all hard to dismiss and mark down such their craft and open imagination but still they are unable to generate a spark for the passions to grip on to. Amongst this trio there is the excellent title track to keep the release hanging on to its earlier heights though, the track a climactic march of air flailing riffs and flesh stripping rhythms creating a web for vocals and harmonies to paint their provocative and descriptive tale. As across the whole of Necromancer, from drums to bass, guitars to vocals everything is irrepressibly potent and skilled, all coming together in this instance for a ferocious yet merciful rampage.

Further highlights are unveiled in the shapes of the explosive and sonically absorbing For King And Country and the outstanding beast of a track The Hammer Of Hades where the band finds a carnivorous predation to accost the ear not seen previously on the album. It is a thunderous treat which leaves the closing harmonic sunset of  My Dear Lord quite pale in comparison though the bonus track Burn ensures the album ends on a final storm of incendiary rock ‘n’ roll.

Necromancer is a very decent and satisfying album which declares Taberah as one of the bands within melodic/heavy metal able to really fuse old school and modern metal into a voracious if debatably slightly unadventurous pleasure.

www.facebook.com/taberah.tas

8/10

RingMaster 12/09/2013

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Lacey – Outlaws EP

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Eager to confirm the buzz building around themselves, UK alternative rock band Lacey release their third EP Outlaws, an angst coursing collection of songs which push the already evolving sound and craft of the band up another notch or two. The four track release merges rock and pop for a heated encounter which is arguably light on originality but heavy and rich on passion and enterprise.

Hailing from Nottingham and formed in late 2010, the quartet of Graham Turner (lead vocals, bass), Josh Lewin (guitar & vocals) Pete Maksymiw (guitar) and Dave Pearson (drums, vocals) has earned a fine reputation for their sound and energy through their EPs of last year, What Use Is Wasting Time and Chapters, and live performances which has seen the band play with the likes of The Blackout, Patent Pending, and Erik Chandler (Bowling For Soup). Now the release of Outlaws is set to cement their emerging presence whilst you can only imagine, rustling up a great many more appetites for their enjoyable and potent creativity.

Opener Hometown immediately raises a heat of strong vocals and melodic tantalising from the guitars spiked by firm reserved rhythms. Outlaws_1Building up to a mini crescendo the song relaxes into a vibrant stride of prodding drums and descriptive riffs whilst the delivery of Turner adds an emotive glaze to the proposition.  It is an instantly engaging song which never relinquishes its hold right through to the end, and though the track does not ignite great fires in the passions mainly due to its familiarity to many others, there is an open accomplished style to the songwriting and presentation which coaxes out only satisfaction and impressed reactions. Keen and infectious the track makes a powerful and appealing start to the EP.

The following Contender takes the evocative breath of its predecessor into a ballad bred emotive croon, vocals impressive over equally an intriguing and thickly hued melodic narrative. As the guitars shaped the design of the heart spawned sounds around the similarly bred lyrical reflection, the song reaches into greater depths and textures with excellent string arrangements and portrayal to coax even stronger passion from the vocals and listener. It is a tremendous song, the best track on the release showing the wider adventure and skill of the band.

Both Burning Out and Let It Go step back into a more bouncy gait, the first with a swing to its offering which tempts feet to match its tempo whilst bass and drums cage it all in their own rhythmic persuasion. As with the previous tracks nothing is overdone, all aspects showing clarity yet restraint with subtle persuasions as effective as the more forceful elements of songs. Its finale is maybe a little predictable with the group harmonies/chants but it works well and makes for a fiery conclusion to another very decent song. The closing track is the most poppy of the four but no less dramatic with strong sinews to its riffs and emotional intensity. Thoroughly engaging and contagiously anthemic to thoughts, body, and emotions, it is another compelling track which emphasises why Lacey is gaging strong acclaim and enthusiastic support.

Outlaws may not shine on distinction compared to other bands, Taking Back Sunday, Brand New, and New Found Glory often making their comparisons known, but it certainly glows in all other aspects showing that Lacey looks like a proposition which will just get stronger and more inventive, as well as popular ahead.

https://www.facebook.com/Laceyofficialuk

8/10

RingMaster 12/09/2013

 

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Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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