The Rott Childs – Alleluia: A Brit Milah In G Melodic Minor

Masks / pic by Fia Cielen

Masks / pic by Fia Cielen

Undoubtedly a musical union from the loins of the Devil, Belgian noise manipulators The Rott Childs are poised to take over the world’s psyche with the unleashing of their second album Alleluia: A Brit Milah In G Melodic Minor. Consisting of ten tracks sculpted with schizophrenic invention and bedlamic imagination, the sonic alchemy uncaged is a breath-taking, fertile tempest of post hardcore and mathcore ingenuity aligned to an aggressive progressive intent which warns not to confirm those best of year album choices just yet.

The Rott Childs made their entrance with the well-received debut album Riches Will Come Thy Way, A Musical in 2009. It was a release which like for a great many outside of their homeland we suspect, evaded our attention but soon received a retrospective investigation once its successor had dug in its staggering sonic claws. Alleluia: A Brit Milah In G Melodic Minor follows on from the endeavour forged on the band’s first release taking it to a maturer and greater incendiary plateau of inspiring confrontation. The quartet of guitarists Christophe Dexters and Jethro Volders, drummer Wim Coppers, and bassist Florent Peevee who also fronts the brilliant Kabul Golf Club, are not content in just engaging the senses and imagination, they want and do take them on a journey through ravenous creative ‘mayhem’ which just enflames the passions.

The opening Prelude offers an intrigue but no real hint of what is to come, its melodic caress and rhythmic shuffling a lure soon 51-QuGgW9vL._SL500_AA280_left behind by the intensive fire of Caloric. Guitars are soon searing the air and teasing the ears whilst the excellent vocals offer a distinct acidic inventiveness too. A scorching sonic bedlam sounding like the deviant cousin to a merger between Blood Brothers and At The Drive In, the track whips up a frenzy of exhausting beauty and predacious energy courted by a crazed craft and mouth-watering invention. Bass and drums sculpt a web upon it which just seduces the passions whilst the guitars weave a ridiculously easy to be addicted to expanse of aural narrative which the excellent vocals and harmonies dance impressively along.

The following Pass Out the Charm parades an even darker psychotic swagger to its adventure, bass lures and sonically hued hooks as with its predecessor virulent tempters spearing the acidically spiced melodic net which just twists and evolves with every passing second. It is a riveting explosion of genius, a feisty torrent of inventiveness which moves its boundaries as it seamlessly flows into a noir clad shadow soaked finale. The song is another masterful pinnacle on an album which gets better song by song, as proven by the fire bred Pretty Diamond. Noise and radiance are easy bedfellows within the rhythmically challenging snarl of a track, a caustic essence of The Fall Of Troy and maniacal breath of The Mae Shi offering their references to the wonderful turmoil being played out.

The next up sinew veined Suitcase Full of Stupid has a Kabul Golf Club toxicity and antagonism to it but within another transfixing melodic meshugah which persists and niggles thoughts and emotions into submission whilst Stumble bursts in straight after with a certifiable rhythmic stomp and sonic rapaciousness, the track virtually stalking and teasing the synapses and emotions into lustful engagement. It is startling and incredibly impressive stuff from song and album, The Rott Childs bringing provocations and spices from all those bands mentioned, to which you have to add Mars Volta at times too, into something loudly distinct and dramatically innovative.

The triumph does not slow down or stop there though as the exceptional sonic storm that is Stutter, the track finding a carnivorous depth which the bass especially feeds off of, and the dark haunting Children’s Life Size Gorgeous Luxury Play House shows. The second of the two is haunting as in an Insidious way, sounds and emotively drenched sonic incitements leaping from the walls and heart of the song to seduce and disturb before ending on a sonic lancing of the ear which leads into another glorious mind challenging provocation. Marching Band is a warped festival of imagination and ingenuity, a technically exceptional, as the album, riot of loose limbed rhythms which simply leave the senses punch drunk and a sonic flaming that corrodes and ignites thoughts.

The closing Gold Crumbs leaves the release on the same persistently consistent high it started upon and maintained. A bewitching and disorientating brawl of never able to settle sound and creativity, the track is a romping puppeteer for lustful passions, a violent and merciless one but one with a wanton seduction it has to share. Not for the first time on the album the bass has a Gang Of Four growl to it presence as the guitars flay ears and air like sonic dervishes, It is a presence which is sheer contagious devilry proving again that quite simply Alleluia: A Brit Milah In G Melodic Minor is unhinged sonic poetry and The Rott Childs the authors of one of the very best albums this year.

http://www.therottchilds.com/

10/10

RingMaster 19/11/2013

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Straight 8s – Girl Trouble

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With the uncanny ability to turn every day and mood into a riotous time, Girl Trouble the new album from US rockabillies Straight 8s, is a virulently infectious and diversely flavoured slice of rock ‘n roll which leaves you ready to party. It is simply irresistible, a release all rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll fans should and need to explore and one which will disappoint no one. Consisting of thirteen songs simultaneously providing no major surprises but catching you off guard at every turn with its enterprise and mischief, it is a release which is at ease and full potency whether seducing or excitedly ‘brawling’ with the senses , basically a long-lasting friend just waiting to be met.

It is hard to be sure exactly when Straight 8s began but with their debut album Casualties Of Cool being released in 2004, the North Carolina trio has certainly been around impressing for over a decade, recruiting a hungry fanbase and acclaim for their sound, shows, and releases along the way. Girl Trouble is the band’s third album, the successor to Never Return To Me of 2007, and has been in the making by the current line-up of founder member upright guitarist/vocalist Robert Striegler, upright bassist/vocalist Daniel Mebane, and drummer/vocalist Mark Murphy, since 2009. The three piece seed their sounds in everything from rockabilly, rock, surf, swing, country and all in between, which upon the Brain Drain Records released Girl Trouble means the listener is taken to a hop of thrillingly spiced and inventively  crafted romps.

The immediately rampant and inviting instrumental F-Hole opens up the release, its initial guitar lure almost Bolanesque within aa2211804433_2 scorching sonic beckoning. Feet and body are soon twisting to its pure rock temptation whilst a hunger for the sound is already starting to stir, though to be honest any rockabilly release does that at the start. Many then lose their grip but no such worry with Girl Trouble as second song Rock Me does what it says on its label. Rhythms and bass slaps tease and recruit the senses with ease whilst the guitar craft of Striegler send sonic tendrils of excitement around the same receptive bodies with the contagious vocal bait help the seizure of the passions.

   First One Standing In Line offers a Buddy Holly like seduction to its easy going wholly enticing rockabilly stroll, again guitars and vocals taking centre stage but shoulder to shoulder with the crisp beats of Murphy and coaxing bass calls of Mebane. Like all the songs on the album you immediately know enough about the lyrical and musical narrative to feel free and able to leap into the romp and its chorus within a minute or so, it an old friend just waiting the first introduction. Both the blues kissed guitar gaited Why Can’t You Love Me Like I Am and the sultry Slowly Lose My Mind continue the impressive start to the release, the second of the pair emerging as one of the biggest pinnacles on the album. From its opening breath drums and bass have a darker almost predatory stance placing the song in psychobilly territory whilst the vocals also strap on a sinewy intent to ignite the adventure. With a smouldering countryesque ambience pressing on the tale and the superb trumpet flames of guest Nicholas Mebane bordering mariachi magnetism, the track is a glorious romance for the emotions.

As mentioned variety is never far away on the album which the next up Porter Wagner Suit, the song a grinning mix of surf rock melodic flaming and blues hued swing stomping led by great baritone fuelled vocals, and the throaty sounding rockabilly excellence of Help Me Save My Life both thrillingly show. Split by the brief Interlude, a fifty second instrumental of pacing rhythms and bass steps beneath a glassy melodic waltz, the tracks alone leave everything from ears and feet to imagination and emotions lively recipients.

    El Mirage returns the listener to the earlier sultry western climes; rhythms cantering across the shimmering hot climes cast by the instrumental as the guitar of Striegler paints and colours the scenic venture expanding in the imagination. It is an enthralling blaze which makes way for the insatiable energy and eager to romp enticement of You’re Always Gone, the song boisterous bait for which there is no resistance, its infection soaked incitement like a cross between The Stargazers and The Polecats.

The final trio of tracks do not allow any slip in the grip of Girl Trouble, the seducing delights of the country rock seeded Two Stubborn Fools featuring the temptress like vocals of Sarah Shook, and the humid You’ll Never Get Away with its gypsy like beguiling temptation and Latin swing spawned wantonness, both scintillating embraces for the now lustful passions whilst the closing Summer Set provides a surf rock sunset which has imagination and energy drifting away wholly satisfied and contented.

Also featuring guest appearances from Phil Sullivan on lap steel guitar and Colin Murphy on vibraphone, Girl Trouble is a gem of a release, an album which is as nostalgic and as fresh a rockabilly encounter as you could wish and hope for. Straight 8s have it all and more…

http://www.straight8s.com/

10/10

RingMaster 19/11/2013

 

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Coven 13 – Destiny of the Gods

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There is a sense of insanity to Destiny of the Gods, the new album from Detroit metallers Coven 13 (also known as just Coven), an almost schizophrenic intrigue and unpredictability to its invention which is just compelling. It has flaws and is wildly undulating in its persuasion at times but equally there is something which works away with a deceitful seduction that makes you want to return to its manic lair, and often. The band is tagged as doom metal but that is also a falsehood of sorts as though that essence does offer a loud whisper at times it is no more vocal than the gothic rock and certainly classic metal side of things, with post punk and numerous more extreme flavours also making their presence known. The result is a sound and release which at times seems unsure of its direction whilst simultaneously being confident, actually wanton in its intent and journey. It just adds to the magnetism wrapping the release and with several needed encounters Coven 13 ultimately makes a uniquely enterprising persuasion.

Coven formed in 1985, the line-up of bassist Roger Cyrkeil, guitarist Todd Kreda, drummer Brian McGuckin, and vocalist David Landrum coming together over a short time to write and create music with influences from the likes of Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Iron Maiden and themes inspired by Celtic and Nordic themes. Their well-received debut album Worship New Gods was self-released on their Crom Records in 1987 as the band built a formidable fan base in Detroit and beyond. A name change followed when approached by the original band Coven (of One Tin Soldier fame) which saw 13 added to the name. 1991 saw the release of Ragnarok again on Crom as a demo cassette and though again well favoured it failed to match the success of its predecessor. The same year saw the departure of Cyrkeil and though the band continued for a short while it came to an end in 1992. In 2005 the band reformed for 4 acclaimed reunion shows which was followed by a hiatus of sorts for Coven 13 until 2011 when the original members came together working on new material. The line-up also saw the addition of Richie Karasinski who had been a long-time friend of the band and who Cyrkeil has tried to enlist in Coven 13 from the start but could not due to the guitarist’s commitments and projects. Entering the studio last year the band have stormed back into action with the Shadow Kingdom Records released Destiny of the Gods, a record which has uncertainties taunting thoughts but still makes for a generally riveting and enjoyable exploration.

A harsh atmospheric climate draws in opening track Thor’s Twins, the song breaking the scenery with an instantly gripping Coven 1500dark bass and guitar beckoning. It is a gentle coaxing which erupts into a charged gait veined with a combination attack of guitar and bass with a prize-fighter hook which seals an immediate submission from imagination and emotions. There is also a punk breath to its lure whilst the entrancing vocals of Landrum add a gothic rock lilt alongside the dark group harmonies. Alongside a dark heavy metal stirring it all makes for something unexpected and enthralling, like a union of Sisters Of Mercy, Danzig, Joy Division, and Venom which excites and awakens a strong appetite.

That anticipation is soon diminished a little by the following Winds of Revelation, a track which is straightforward classic metal for the main with none of the mystique and hypnotic adventure of the first track. Mid paced and certainly well-crafted, guitars and rhythms firmly making it a more than decent proposition, the track lacks the spark to ignite any real passion and a lot is down to the vocals of Landrum. On the first song he was forceful and a perfect fit for the sounds but here stretching whilst his boundaries and tussling with numerous notes it simply deflects form the strong sounds around him. He is certainly a more than decent vocalist in certain scenarios as shown on the album but has obvious limitations which this time around leaves doubts a strong reaction.

Elfstone opens with a pulsating heavy bassline and another irresistible groove which is right out of the eighties gothic rock songbook. Once again a hunger is sparked even with the wandering vocals which at times excel and in others dismay. Like Iron Maiden meets The Mission, the track and album has the listener back in its hands ready for crawling intensive drama of Walpurgisnacht and the brilliance of Isle of Man. Both have a doom presence not always open across the album, especially in the first of the two but also further potent varied spicery to favour the appetite. Isle of Man though stands wide apart from the rest with ease, the track a broody and bustling tempest of dark punk and gothic imagination. It is a masterful beast of sound and predation, at times reminding of Southern Death Cult and Theatre Of Hate and in others Type O Negative and Fields of Nephilim It is virulently contagious with Landrum outstanding and takes top honours with ease, the only complaint being it is less than two and a half minutes long.

The thrash fuelled Frost Giants keeps the album thundering along with skill and intensity whilst Witches Kiss brings a little southern heat into is seventies keys clad presentation, variation upon Destiny of the Gods another certain success. The song like its successor She Rides the Dawn do not reap the same strong responses as others, again a lack of that spark and the vocal discrepancies though the guitar inventive grooves and solos impress.

The album ends on a high through firstly the excellent Cult like Solitary Days and a quite enjoyable and surprising cover of Siouxsie and the Banshees’ Spellbound. The band make a very satisfying fist of the song, yes Landrum is no Siouxsie Sioux but holds his vocals to add expression and flair to the song whilst McGuckin without creating that rolling pulsating hypnotic slavery which Budgie made his own, brings the track into an anthemic and dramatic tempting for the passions. With keys adding a delicious elegance to the stomp the track is an excellent conclusion to an overall enjoyable release. Yes Destiny of the Gods is a bit of mixed bag, falling flat when venturing into the classic/heavy metal stance and excelling when employing a much wider experimental  array of styles and imagination, but one which makes the return of Coven 13 very welcome.

http://www.coventhirteen.com

7/10

RingMaster 19/11/2013

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