Skinlepsy – Condemning The Empty Souls


    After numerous years away from its initial conception, Brazilian thrash bands Skinlepsy cement its return with one of the tempestuous treats of the year in the raging storm of debut album Condemning The Empty Souls. The nine track fury is a scintillating torrential blaze of generously spiced, death metal urged thrash mayhem; a collection of assaults which reap the essences of numerous metal sceneries  to create a not necessarily unique consumption but certainly one which is compelling and thrillingly refreshing. An immediate persuasion which gets stronger and more potent with each and every traverse of its creative ferocity, the album is a magnetic pleasure showing again the strength of South American metal.

Skinlepsy was created in 2003 by former members of Siegrid Ingrid, five musicians with extensive experience across other bands and the mutual desire to craft something brutal and new. Consisting of drummer Evandro Jr. (Anthares), guitarists André Gubber (Skullkrusher, Nervochaos) and Sergio Hernandes (Brutal, Elma), bassist Luis Berenguer (Opera), and vocalist Scream (Stun), the band released the Heros Trench (Korzus) produced, three track demo Reign of Chaos. It was met with enthusiastic responses and decent acclaim which sparked good anticipation for the band’s debut album. Their first year though saw the members return to their other projects and Skinlepsy go on a hiatus as such. Fast forward to 2011 and the São Paulo trio of Gubber, Berenguer, and Evandro Junior came back together with an appetite to explore their brutal thrash metal inclinations, spending the second half of the following year recording Condemning the Empty Souls. Fearlessly aggressive and unashamedly adventurous in its intent to avoid being cast into a singular sound, band and album emerge as a thoroughly accomplished and captivating temptation, a violent blood drenched slab of hostility which ignites the passions and enslaves the imagination.

The slowly expanding ambience of opener Crucial Words comes with menace and destructive demons, their whispers and snarls paraded from within sonically crafted shadows before the track explodes into a charge of caustic vocal squalls, uncompromising rhythms, and hungry riffery. It is not a jaw dropping expulsion but one which grips attention firmly and teases further with flirting grooves and an already open adventure to the songwriting and musical stomping. Just like the album the song viciously flirts and seduces ears and emotions to grow in stature and success across its length and multiples exploits within its harsh arms, its presence making a formidable start to an album which grows more potent and impressive as it reaches into its following depths.

The following title track and its successor Crawling as a Worm build on the strong introduction with an intensive predation which ignites the appetite further. The first is a thunderous descent of rhythmic provocation and exhaustive riffing above which a melodically honed sonic rain descends to stretch the imagination, whilst the second unleashes a swarming ravaging of merciless drumming and equally rabid riffing as the vocals of Gubber scowl and crawl all over the senses with a threatening lyrical narrative and his excellent malevolent delivery. The track mixes up its gait and attack throughout with a stalking rapacious approach wrong footing thoughts to leave greed and satisfaction a burning fire before the rest of the album.

Across the release thoughts of Slayer, Exodus, and Machine Head come to mind amongst many, but for the somewhat familiar aspects of the sound each track is a riveting new adventure which leaves expectations redundant. The outstanding Alienation immediately proves the point, its predatory fondling of the ear complete with lethal rhythmic punctuation simply irresistible whilst the bass of Berenguer makes for a dangerous provocateur within the perilous mastery of the imaginative maelstrom.

As mentioned the album just gets better and stronger the deeper into its hulk you go, the likes of the adrenaline driven scourge Perversions of Racial Hatred and the barbarous Pride and Rancour stretching and matching respectively the already incendiary qualities uncaged whilst the contagious Regressing from the End manages to be wholly infectious, venomously malicious, and openly uncomfortable simultaneously. It is an excellent example of the enterprise and invention of the band and why Condemning The Empty Souls is one of the most exciting thrash albums of the year.

Brought to a powerful closure by Global Desolation and Dominium, two tracks which make bruising truculent declarations lyrically and intensive examinations of the band and the senses musically, Condemning The Empty Souls is a thrilling creative fury which is drenched in the promise of even greater things to come from Skinlepsy. If you are looking for an album to feed your traditional thrash metal needs but one with something new and fresh about its toxicity, Condemning The Empty Souls is easily the obvious suggestion.


RingMaster 18/10/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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4 Past Midnight – Life On The Inside


It has not been an easy ride for Scottish punks 4 Past Midnight over the couple of decades the band has been creating prime genre provocation but thankfully the determination of the Glasgow quartet, though severely tested at times, has emerged victorious meaning we get to be buffeted and thrilled by the likes of their new album Life On The Inside. A thumping riot of grouchy punk rock and bruising rock ‘n’ roll, the fifteen track release is an exciting onslaught of passion and aggression which clearly shows 4 Past Midnight as still one of the most respected as well as recognised inventive bands within British punk.

Formed in 1989, the band was soon under strong attention and responses with their first release, the ten track Start Of The Liberation demo of 1990. Well received it led to live performances around Scotland leading up to the 1992 released Smash The Front. Again the album was keenly received and responded to but gigs were becoming harder to come by for the band, a situation which continued in both aspects with Pain, Greed And Death the following year. Acclaim was again garnered by the release but shows were scarce to put it mildly, a problem which remained as the likes of the 15 track cassette Midnight Escapades, the Get A Life single and EP The Fears We Hide were unveiled to greater attention over the next couple of years but no one seemed to want to put the band on in venues. At this point the band called it a day but renewed interest in their music saw them return in 1998 under the name Trickshot. The name change was not received well and the band reverted to their original title with The Ruff Demo and The Best And The Worst Of 4pm following, and for a while more shows promisingly did materialise but debut CD Jesus Christ Its 4pm Again in 1999 followed the earlier pattern, eagerly received but gigs came to a crawl.

2002 saw the band link up with Stu of S.T.P for a last charge on the punk scene. The Mental Ward EP and Trials And Tribulations ‎continued to gain success as did the Punkology compilation of 2008 though the 2006 SOS Records British Invasion Fest and a tour of the East Coast of the US with The Angst led to less unhappy experiences with the latter seeing the band fall apart whilst the release of their Guilty As Charged album never happened as the label went bust. Slipping forward slightly to 2011 and again through fan pressures and wants, vocalist/drummer Peter linked up with fellow band original rhythm guitarist Fred to have another assault on the scene with new members in bassist Stevie and lead guitarist Tam joining the band. The first result is the excellent Life On The Inside via STP Records, an album which leaves you breathless and hungry for much more.

The release storms from the blocks with the outstanding Broken. The track is an instant call of riffs and rhythmic temptation which expands into a hook cored slice of essential punk rock. The caustic enticement of the gravelly vocals and the infectious lure of the song are irresistible whilst the riffs scrub out an enslavement to compliment what is a deceptively familiar feel to the song. A lyrically emotive track which is like a mix of UK Subs, Angelic Upstarts, and Stiff Little Fingers in many ways, it makes for an immense start soon matched by the following Nightmare and its successor Any Other Way. The first is virulently contagious; its seduction starting from the first spirals of sonic engagement  and elevating through the catchy barbed hooks and bass prowling before the anthemic chorus locks in the passions and throws away the key. Snarling and confronting from its first aggressive note and syllable right through to its fiery finish, the track is the first of many pinnacles on the album. It is equally matched by the second of the two, the song a less antagonistic roar in the ear but one which still embroils feet, voice, and emotions in a riotous slice of punk rapaciousness.

The abrasive Crisis like Riot brawls with the ear next to again pleasing contagion soaked effect, though it does not quite match what came before and certainly falls before the might of next up Justified. The track creates another major highlight upon the album, riffs and drums building walls of addiction whilst the vocals climb their heights and senses with angry intent. A song about domestic abuse, it is a commanding punk ‘n’ roll provocateur with a furious energy which reminds of UK rockers Dirt Box Disco.

The album continues to exploit the already awakened passions through the likes of the outstanding Punk Rock Noise (4pm crew pt3), a track opening with a hook that is the close relation to that cast on Pretty Vacant and evolving into a ridiculously catchy terrace like anthem, the ferociously bruising Story Of My Life, and the dark compelling Hollie. The song about sexual abuse hits home hard whilst recruiting energies and emotions into another unmistakable potent triumph to follow predecessor, the more than decent Nothing Has Changed. All tracks stand out with individual character and passionate craft, though every song to be fair can be wrapped in that descript, as shown by The Truth Is Out There, the song an insatiable riot springing from TV show The X-Files.

The tracks and quality keep coming thick and fast, the dirty rock seeded attack of Trapped and the old school punk bred The Fight plundering the emotions to ignite another dose of rapture whilst What You Gonna Do has an Sham 69 oi snarl to its thumping rock ‘n’ roll confrontation to continue the cementing of Life On The Inside deep into the heart.

Bringing the release to an incendiary finale, Who Takes The Blame and How Does It Feel ignite ears and emotions with their ferocious riff driven anthemic persuasions, the first through another heavy slice of punk brutality sculpted with precise craft, epidemic hooks and rhythmic tension, and the closing track with its straight forward stomp of infection clad dirty rock ‘n’ roll.

4 Past Midnight has set loose one of the punk triumphs of this year, the last and maybe as far back as their previous attack. Life On The Inside is a gem you cannot help missing away from its muscular incitement and a band you all should petition local venues for to get them tearing up your town.


RingMaster 18/10/2013

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Jingo – Jaclyn

jingo pic oct

It must be at least two to three weeks since we last wrote about Jingo on The RR so that must mean we are overdue a single. Actually we are a little late with Jaclyn having been released at the beginning of the month, but better late than never and certainly when the song is as stunningly impressive as the band’s sixth unveiling.

The London based quartet of Jack Buckett (vocals/guitar), his U.S. born wife Katie (lead vocals/keys/guitar), Sahil Batra (keys/bass/guitar/vocals), and Joseph Reeves (drums), opened up their singles account with three tracks in the compelling shapes of IQ84, Same Without You, The Matador. Each was an eclectic mix of sounds and adventure which maybe only hinted as great as they were, at the potent things to emerge with their successors, Black Flowers and Wake Up, two songs which brewed up the darker heavier shadows of the band’s imagination and songwriting into a sultry blaze of intensive rock fuelled by scorching melodic flames. It has been an enthralling evolution which continues to engrain Jingo deeper into the passions, with Jaclyn is no exception.

Continuing the dramatic presence and grandeur of its predecessors, the new single again merges psychedelically flavoured heavy rock with virulently contagious passion, a brew which incitingly washes over senses and thoughts through music and vocals alike. Inspired by and dedicated to a Jaclyn Ann Perrelli, the song initially tempts ears and air with a guitar teasing alongside the powerful and mesmeric voice of Katie, her first touch gentle yet instantly magnetic.  With drama rising, a squalled name cry of the song’s inspiration sears the atmosphere before the track unveils its rigorous yet restrained stomp, a considered charge coated in vaudeville like charm within the emotively impacting weight of the musical narrative. It raises the hairs on the back of the neck, refusing to leave them be across the whole of its riveting expanse. Melodramatic keys equally lay down the strongest temptation but it is the stunning vocal potency and depths of Katie aided by equally impressive vocals from the band which steal and steer the passions into a feverish embrace. If there is a finer natural vocalist in British rock right now it is hard to bring them to mind right now.

Everything about the track is immense and majestic, as well as dynamically provocative with Jingo just getting better and better with each uncaging of their all-round talent through irresistible pyres of burning sounds and emotional flames. With references to the likes of Jess & the Ancient Ones, The Magic Numbers and now Saint Agnes and Helldorado creeping into view to give an idea of the original blazes being created, Jingo just might be the most important new entrant to the world of British music, certainly for our convinced hearts.


RingMaster 18/10/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Unified Past – Spots

Unified Past - Spots - by Ed Unitsky

Journeying through eleven evocative soundscapes of carefully sculpted sonic sunspots stretched over imaginative colour strewn melodic canvases, Spots the new album from US progressive rock band Unified Past is an enthralling and magnetic adventure. It is a release which leads senses and emotions by the hand into heated flights of provocative designs across triumphant landscapes, each venture a key to their and the listeners unique imaginative plays. It has to be said that personal preferences come from the metal side of progressive alchemy but Spots has little problem in lighting up the senses and emotions very successfully.

Formed in 1984by Steve Speelman ( guitars/vocals/keys) and Victor Tassone (drums), New Yorkers Unified Past has released five albums leading up to Spots over the years, each building and earning the band acclaim as well as a strong reputation in their homeland. With bassist Dave Mickleson now alongside the founding pair, the trio according to those long acquainted with the band has with this sixth album created their finest moment yet. It is hard to be dubious listening to the album and easy to see how the experience and skills of the three has honed a release which works the listener on numerous levels. The experience and pedigree of the band you can only assume is an important factor alongside the inventive heart of the band to its success; Mickleson who is also currently the bassist for Joey Belladonna’s bands Chief Big Way and Belladonna, Tassone who has recently worked on The Colin Tench Project, Andy Bradford’s Oceans 5, and John Orr Franklyn’s Reaching Ground Project, and the classically trained Speelman uniting their talents and gained know-how for something rather special with the Melodic Revolution Records released album.

A fusion of classic 70’s progressive rock with strong spices and flavours of more current melodic fires, the album opens with the eager passion and energy of Blank. From a mesmeric celestial introduction rhythms and sonic invention scramble into position before relaxing into a seventies flame of melodic rock and progressive persuasion. Keys soak the ear in a flowing ambience which lays down the platform for the guitar to twist and enflame the air with excellent thought and rich sonic hues. It is an instantly engaging mix skirted by strong mellow vocals and a rhythmic firmness veining the track. Arguably not a dramatic stealing of attention to set things off, the song nevertheless captures the imagination to seal the same fate for thoughts and emotions.

The following Deep is bred of the same seeds in many ways as its predecessor but with the sinewy bass croon and a wealth of irresistible hooks and excellent vocals from Speelman, the song winds its way into the reflective depths of thought and exploration to again engage the listener and take them on a hypnotic flame of enterprise.

The first of six instrumentals steps up next in the vibrant form of Hot. The piece is a stirring mix of progressive jazz rock which saunters along with a mischievous swagger and fun driven invention to its continually teasing presence; little touches like a slip into the classic refrains of Shortnin’ Bread and a great piano boogie like coaxing increasing the enjoyment and lure of the track. It raises the appetite further for the album which is soon rewarded with firstly Seeing and then the excellent Tough, both tracks individual temptations which evocatively stroke the ears and beyond. The first of the pair has whispers of Hawkwind and even Yes to its endeavour whilst its successor brings a sturdier metallic flair to its sultry instrumental climate, its title a potent reflection of its heart and frame.

From the sizzling embrace of Age, its breath almost folky in touch within a throaty narrative of sound lying inside a fusion best described as Rush meets Metallica with King Crimson in attendance, the album goes on a course of four instrumentals. They have a tall order to match the heights of this impressive track but the fiery weaves offered by Sun and the sweltering charm and elegance brought by Big certainly stand strong in their majestic attempts. Next up Wet does fall short though again the piece of music is a scenic descript for the imagination to submerge within whilst the short bass driven G again shows the devilry which walks within the album, its open carnality irreverent and voraciously tempting, and sure to put a smile on the face.

Spots brings a closing rising soar to the album through the passion recruiting melodic and sonic glory of The Final. Though by this point the instrumentals have admittedly stolen the show, the last song confirms the rich craft and expansive textures the band evolves throughout Spots and their songwriting. With vocals returning to bring an appealing plaintive to the unfolding musical story, the track is an absorbing pleasure bringing an enthralling experience to a lofty conclusion. Progressive metal may still be the preferred destination if given a choice but Unified Past has certainly given food for thought and a very enjoyable encounter.


RingMaster 18/10/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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