Spunk Volcano & The Eruptions – EP


Pic by Ste

Pic by Ste

    Stepping out from the punk ‘n’ roll shenanigans of the UK’s irrepressible masters of rock mayhem Dirt Box Disco, the band’s masked lunatic and guitarist/vocalist unleashes his own project of devilry, Spunk Volcano & The Eruptions. With a sound which is irresistibly contagious and riotous, Spunk and cohorts are poised to release debut EP called simply…EP on February 1st. Though arguably not a major departure from the DBD sound, the release provides a leaner and debatably stronger old school bred persuasion which emerges with a distinctive presence through five tracks of unbridled punk rock virulence, or as they call is spunk rock.

     Alongside DBD colleagues, drummer Maff Fazzo and bassist Deadbeatz Chris, and guitarist Ste Lingard from Manchester based punk band Flat Back Four, Spunk has sculpted an encounter which bounces and romps with exhaustive energy and merciless addictiveness, no second of the EP refusing to tempt with salacious intent or devoid of epidemically spawned infectiousness. It is a record which if you are not physically stomping with and vocally uniting with its anthemically cast songs at some point, then deafness of death has beaten it to your senses.

     The opener Sellotape makes a relatively subdued entrance, singular riffing nudging the ears before punchy beats and a coaxingSVEP_PROMO heavy bass sound move in to increase the enticement. It is not a fiery or dramatic start but rigidly compelling with a lure which increases as its intensity raises degree by degree and the great vocals of Spunk, aided by a strong backup from Chris and Ste across the release, start working on thoughts with an emotive narrative which again can be said to be a step away from the attack found with the day job. With a brew of hooks working independently and in tandem with each other and a dark menace to the rhythmic pressing, the song is a magnetic trampling through the ears and into the passions and the irresistible appetiser to even greater glories.

     The Devil Spits You Out shows its intent at the start with forceful beats and a raw guitar grazing laying lures before the Spunk’s vocals start working the imagination within growing sonic flames. Finding greater potency and contagion to its senses worrying riffs and the antagonistic but affirming narrative, the track soon has feet, voice, and passions in league with its call and suasion, a power the following She’s The Girl has little problem in replicating and accelerating. Within seconds a ring of na na na na’s recruits instant submission and alliance from body and heart, its entrance taking the already ripe aural addictiveness of the release into a richer stronger brew of irrepressible toxicity. Guitars and bass grab the ears by their lobes and thrusts them into a riot of insatiable roughhousing rock ‘n’ roll whilst the drums unleash a blast of tempered yet explosive sinews to frame the outstanding group vocal provocation; the result one exceptionally dynamic and irresistible slab of rascality.

     Matching its might and temptation Crossfire steps up next to rile up the passions, the song a rapacious look back at the times of real toys and the vicious board game of the song’s title, well it was violent how we played it. The band also musically dips back to the seventies, where the game was a must have alongside many other mentions in the track, to craft a roguish wash of old school punk sweat and pleasure. Impossibly addictive and demandingly anthemic, the song is a scintillatingly blast of punk ‘n’ roll alchemy. Probably the most DBD like song but again with that essence and bold character in sound and hunger to launch itself into the deepest corners of your passions and imagination, the track is another slice of mastery which makes you hope this is not a one off adventure by Spunk and the guys.

   SV - TOUR & EP promo  The rawer sound of the previous song is increased with a defiant nastiness and belligerence on the final song Superior Brain Damage. It has a harsher combative breath than its predecessors but does not short change on wonderfully toxic entrapping hooks and lung sapping energy. It is a towering conclusion to an outstanding explosion of the finest punk ‘n’ roll sculpting and the start of something which in the future could rival its creator’s main band in appeal and success. Released via STP Records on the first day of February and followed soon after by a five date UK tour, the EP thrusts Spunk Volcano & The Eruptions to instant ‘stardom’. To be honest using Dirt Box Disco as a reference brought assumptions that the EP would be something special, but it is nice to be proved right before being shown an even more impressive triumph which surely only those deaf or dead souls will ignore.




RingMaster 31/01/2014

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Hangatyr – Elemente



     Oppressive, stark, and cold hearted, Elemente the new album from German pagan black metallers Hangatyr provides a landscape to be feared and enthralled by. It is a demanding and intrusive adventure emotionally and aurally which takes the listener through intensive and intimidating climes but one which expands a melody shaped temptation and sonic allurement which is hard to stay away from. Though not the easiest of listens at times with prevalence to a surface similarity in its intensity, bravery to the chilling Nordic riffery and caustic embrace aligned to melodic acidity only results in an absorbing and evocative proposition to recommend out.

     Founded in 2006 and taking inspiration from ‘the mythology of the band members’, Hangatyr made themselves a compelling presence through firstly their 2007 self-titled demo but more so through debut album Helwege which was released in 2010 via German label Nocturnal Empire. It was well-received pushing the band into a stronger spotlight which Elemente can only intensify. The Thuringia quintet began working on their second full-length in the April of 2012, entering The Unholy Studio with producer Christo who had previously worked with the band on the first album and also provided bass on the new record when regular and since returned member Marco could not commit time to the recordings.

     Mastered by Alexander Dietz (Heaven Shall Burn, Chemical Burn Studios), the self-released Elemente consumes and takes Hangatyr_Elemente_Coverover the senses from the start, leading its victim through an unrelenting and punishing yet magnetic tempestuous exploration, one which dramatically and corrosively infests and ignites the imagination. The brief scene setting instrumental title track brings everything directly into view; the mountainous terrains with yawning beauty and overpowering vastness all openly displayed before the following Die Sprache der Zwölf intensifies on one aspect and draws the ears into its aggressive narrative. Musically the song, and subsequently the album, works on the imagination right away, sparking thoughts of a rampant flight through skin buffeting and emotion stretching terrain. With the lyrical and mythology being investigated presented in German for us less able linguists, the music is the key to the emerging canvas and it is hard not to feel thoughts and visions erupting as the track evokes with melodic expression within the torturous soundscape around their folkish beauty.

    It is an impressive start which is not quite matched by the following pair of Eisenwald and Zwischen den Ufern, though both again are skilled and eager in their impact. The first of the two nags and coaxes with an excellent unrelenting groove and rhythmic battering, both aspects further repeated and adjusted across the album but like an intensive wind with shifts in energy and tone constantly if not as varied in design. It is a positive rather than an issue within what is varied and descriptive scenery within each song but occasionally the repetition, more so rhythmically, can antagonise. Like with its successor there is a spark missing which lit up the opener and many of the subsequent tracks, the second of the pair arguably even more devoid of that essential bait, but both with the rasping serpentine vocals and creative sonic causticity bring a strong enticement to enjoy rather than endure.

     Zersetzung next brings an emotional potency to its sonic colour, the guitars casting inciting mercurial patterns soaked in elegant yet uncompromising hues whilst rhythmically the song borders abuse but still lies within the weave of pestilential enterprise to compliment rather than overpower the song’s intent. The next up excellent Grimmfrost expels even greater dramatic investigation, drums and riffs carnivorous in their rabidity whilst the sonic craft and invention of the guitars paint an emotive turmoil to spark again the already over worked imagination. The best track on the album it is a masterful contagion.

    The pair of Gelobt und gejagt and Sie vergessen nicht without quite remaining on the new plateau impress and engage thoughts with ease, the first offering a more hopeful tone to its darkened skies whilst the second courts a virulent rapaciousness which feeds on the senses and the air around its insidious presence. It is the darkest threatening track on the album though the closing Rückzug stalks the same climactic and intensive black depths of its premise and the listener’s thoughts to rival its malevolence. It is a thrilling end to a very satisfying confrontation, if one admittedly losing out to the fact that the lyrical secrecy prevents it making the fullest impact. Hangatyr has undoubtedly matured and grown as a band and through the enjoyable Elemente look set to increase their stature and success around the world.



RingMaster 31/01/2014

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Sceptre – Age Of Calamity


    Laying another huge prod on the world as the metal scene in India shows its current strength, thrashers Sceptre release their second album Age Of Calamity, a release which launches a blistering display of rhythmic and sonic predation to easily win over the passions. An album of ten stirring tempests, it is a skilled and inventive provocation which though maybe not ground-breaking makes for an exciting and enterprising treat. The craft and formidable accomplished statue of the album is not really a surprise since the band has been a major force in the Indian metal underground since forming in 1998. That time has only seen a single EP and album spread the word to the outside though, something which has not unsurprisingly yet achieved the strongest success in spreading the word further afield but with this impressive new assault maybe the Mumbai quartet’s time to waken the world to their presence has come.

      Sceptre has gone through a few line-up changes over the past fifteen years whilst forging a strong live reputation which has been enhanced by their self-titled EP of 1999 and more so with the debut album Now or Never which came out in 2008. Now with a line-up of vocalist Samron Jude, guitarist Gilroy Fernandes, bassist Janus Sayal, and drummer Aniket Waghmode, the band make a loud and formidable statement with Age Of Calamity that cannot be ignored. Exploring a concept of attitudes towards women and society in general, the former an evocative and highlighted situation in regard to India over recent times in the eyes of the world, the album pulls no punches lyrically or musically yet looks at the issues with poise and compelling endeavour whilst igniting the imagination From the melodramatic slightly sinister and haunting intro Solitude, the album suggests and coaxes thoughts and emotions, often dragging them into the heart of the album as the subsequent songs unleash a compulsive fury.

   The second and title track goes straight for the jugular physically and emotively, riffs and rhythms laying a rapacious hand on the coverears whilst a potent groove entices even greater attention to the emerging storm. The vocals of Jude are soon scowling and barracking with a strong and appealing causticity which is harsh but allows clarity to the lyrical narrative for full inciting effect. Stomping with a thrash bred urgency and hunger the song equally veins its charge with tight and engaging sonic designs around a great throaty bass intimidation, the blend breeding a sound which is somewhere between Testament and Exodus with All That Remains.

     The following Wrath of God raises the temperature and strength of the album to even greater heights from the impressive start, its swipes of acidic guitar flames and predatory intensity clad riffs irresistible especially within a framework of antagonistic and feverish rhythms. A varied scourge of vocals from clean to guttural voracity only accelerates the toxicity of the scintillating track whilst its niggling groove within further thrash fuelled rabidity cements lustful responses for its outstanding tsunami of passion and predation. Its anthemic core is equalled in might by the next up Prophesy Deceit, a deliberately seductive beast with addictive grooves and strict riffery aligned to stalking rhythms and the continuing to please vocal delivery where again the lyrics are allowed a clear persuasion within their raw and combative intent.

     Arguably the two songs make the pinnacle of the album though it is a continuing debate when the likes of Lake of the Traitor, a song dawning on elegant melodies evolving into rasping aggressive incitation developing an eventual contagion which gives little respite in its bait, and the equally addictive scourge Fatal Delay explore their depths with adventure. The second of the pair has a waspish lilt to its riffs and grooves merged into annihilistic ferociousness vocally and sonically. The track epitomises a Sceptre track, eventful, unpredictable, but persistently accessible with the kind of familiarity you embrace rather than dismiss.

    7 Seals employs similar exploits in riffs and grooves to its predecessor and some other tracks but with a raptorial charge to its body and infectious potency to its persuasion makes for a tasty morsel to rage with whilst Parasites (of the State) provides a ruinous expanse of emotive frustration and aural antagonism which only adds further sustenance to an already greedy appetite for the album. Though both songs fail to reach the same levels in adventure and temptation as predecessors neither leaves satisfaction low or pleasure hungry, the same easily applying to Judgement Day (End – A New Beginning), a very decent melodic outro to the album and the following bonus track Lest We Forget which brings the album to an end. The song is more metalcore borne and does fall in the wake of the more trash led adventurous triumphs elsewhere, but it is impossible to ignore the craft and passion igniting its caustic breath and sizeable creativity.

    Age Of Calamity is a gripping and impressively  enjoyable brawl on the senses and emotions which may not be setting new boundaries for thrash/metal as a whole but in providing an intensively thrilling and addictive onslaught of craft and enterprise makes it and Sceptre a must check out and have encounter for 2014.

Age of Calamity will be released on February 9, 2014.




RingMaster 29/01/2014

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Braddock Station Garrison – High Water

Braddock Station Garrison

    Merging evocative Americana with feisty rock ‘n’ roll, US band Braddock Station Garrison make a very pleasing and richly promising introduction with their debut EP High Water. Six tracks which ignite the imagination and appetite for instinctive melodic rock, the release is an adventurous endeavour which at its heights ignites the passions and in its quieter moments of persuasion provides a vibrant and absorbing charm draped with drifting emotive shadows. It is not an explosive invitation into the band but one of compelling substance and lingering persuasion.

     Hailing from Washington DC, Braddock Station Garrison’s seeds began when vocalist/guitarist Steve Schillinger and guitarist Tom Soha, who had known each other for years, started to jam together. Officially formed in 2011, the band was soon expanded with the addition of drummer Michael Chapman and original bassist Patrick, who left the band last December to be replaced by Jim Bledsoe. Taking influences from artists such as Tom Petty, Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Cheap Trick, Aerosmith, Johnny Cash, and The Smithereens, the band has evolved a sound which grabs attention whilst suggesting, certainly on the EP, that it is still a work in progress with greater potent things to come.

    High Water has its major highlights topping and tailing the release but in between offers an equally magnetic clutch of dark coveredged melodic enticements. Opener Into Your Arms is a dramatically infectious treat setting things off in immense style. From its first breath thumping muscle bound drum beats hypnotise the ear soon joined by a gloriously throaty bass lure making even greater bait for the imagination. Once the excellent expressive vocals of Schillinger cast a sultry lure over proceedings the track melts the passions and steals their allegiance. At this point the song reminds of the Orson Family track Heartbeat, evolving as flames of caustic guitar ignite the atmosphere alongside rasping riffs into a more Chris Issak seeded encounter with essences of Roy Orbison to its almost rockabilly lilted temptation. It is a masterful and virulently contagious stomp with a melodic acidity which brings garage rock rawness to its beauty.

     The impressive start provides a tall order for the following songs to complete and though for the main they run in the openers wake, all starting with A Lot to Ask offer a pleasing and accomplished endeavour to immerse in. The second song is a straight forward melodic rock stroll but with, vocally and musically, a distinctive enterprise to give it a unique if not ground-breaking character. Thoroughly enjoyable and deceptively infectious the song passes the ears over to Fall, which with a similarly cast blend of riffs and melodies continues the expressive pull of the EP. No aspect of the song stands out with striking brilliance but everything slots in and unites for a skilled and mature invention which treads existing paths with invigorating energy and enterprise.

    The following Maria With Child with a stronger country twang to its presence is the least persuasive song on the EP though there is little to dismiss about its melodic elegance and rhythmic convincing. There is certainly a close similarity to the song with the previous pair of tracks and if there is any sobering thought to temper the enthusiasm for the release it is that you wonder if they bring enough variety in their songs yet. As the pleasing guitar craft and quality shows backed by all other elements, skill and imagination is not lacking.

    California Specific gently coaxes in the listener with a singular guitar and vocal beckoning before expanding with a fuzz kissed blaze of sonic temptation and crisp rhythms which sculpts a smouldering rock pop contagion blending seventies psychedelic radiance with modern alternative rock adventure. Without ever exploding into the fire you expect, the track is a riveting and thrilling proposition which answers in some ways that question about bold variety to the band’s songs, a reminder immediately reaffirmed by the excellent closing track, Girl Gotta Gun. A scuzz fuelled garage rock built romp with garage punk bred abrasiveness and caustic guitar flaming, the track is different in every aspect to what came before but still fits effortlessly within the release and easily at home with the previous Americana coated songs.

   Without doubt the first and last songs are the pinnacles of the EP, and hopefully the direction that Braddock Station Garrison explore further but such the strength and appeal of the rest of High Water, you suspect only good and enthralling things will come from the band as they spring forward from this impressive start.

Get the High Water EP as a Buy now name your price download @ http://braddockstationgarrison.bandcamp.com/



RingMaster 28/01/2014

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Fallen Fate – Into The Black



    With enough issues at times to temper an overall enthused appetite for its intensive brew of death and thrash metal, Into The Black the new album from UK metallers Fallen Fate is a striking encounter reaffirming and stretching the already formidable emergence of the band. Hailing from the North East, the quartet sculpts a sound which merges a diverse array of metal bred influences into one squalling furnace of intensity and sonic imagination. Soaked in this attention grabbing mix, the band’s second full-length release forges a provocation which given deep attention provides a mouthwatering design and narrative but with that comes limiting aspects which suggest that Fallen Fate is still a project in evolution but one with a very potent future.

    Consisting of vocalist/guitarist Lee Skinner, guitarist Piers Donno-Fuller, bassist Peter Hodgson, and drummer John Wright, Fallen Fate formed in 2005 and was soon honing a sound and presence which brought strong responses critically and from fans to their debut EP Revengance three years later. Soon their live presence enhanced their reputation with the band playing the pre-show of the prestigious Download Festival in 2010 to be followed a year later by a return to the Festival to play an invite only event on the 3rd Stage, Fallen Fate becoming the first unsigned band to play Donington 2 years in a row. Their first album The Virus Has Spread was released in 2011, again to critical acclaim, and soon followed by a UK tour in its support with Onslaught and Gama Bomb. Two more British tours came the next year as well as a taking to the stage at Bloodstock and the first Beermageddon Festival before the four-piece settled down to write their sophomore album.

    The highly anticipated and again self-released Into The Black is a concept album providing a horror movie themed tale which vocalist Skinners reveals is about a girl called Vespa, going on to say “She [Vespa] chose a life without faith and over time became possessed by a demon. The demon slowly took over her body and ultimately led her to kill herself and her family. The drive behind the concept is to empower the listener to decide whether she was possessed by the Devil, as she has no saviour in her life, or if she was possessed by God, punishing her for her lack of faith.” It is a dark and tortuous decline with a creative weave of sounds creating a provocative soundscape and drama to the dark events unfolding within the narrative. A marked move on in craft and maturity from their first album, Fallen Fate creates in Into The Black, an absorbing evocative canvas of textures and emotions to wrap the inner story and keep the imagination fired up and hungry.

     The Rise opens up the album, a brief emotive scene setter with haunting voices and melodic enticement gently surfacing within IntoTheBlack-AlbumCovera building rapacious intensity. It brings the danger and dark tones soon to drench its successor, to a head just before Blackened Within explodes with an insidious breath and predacious intent, energy and sonic endeavour not far behind in malevolence and attractiveness. Immediately thoughts of Lamb Of God come to mind as the exciting guitar craft and rhythmic bombardment make a compelling persuasion whilst keys add potent evocative hues to the rampaging drama and the serpentine squalling vocals of Skinner scar and scavenge the senses.

   It is a powerful entry into the black tale soon backed up admirably by the voraciously gaited Until The Final Hour and the transfixing title track. The first of the pair has a pestilential feel to its persistence and savage riffing but a savagery held in check by magnetic and resourceful melodic enterprise and sonic temptation. Its successor is a twisted annihilistic dance of intrigue and imagination which never sits still in rhythmic antagonism and melodic acidity. Like the previous pair it is a thoroughly pleasing and riveting track but also with the other two, beginning to reveal some of the ‘flaws’ of the album. Vocally Skinner again provides a causticity which matches the lyrical demons but his good delivery never deviates from what is overall a one dimensional assault which despite valiant backing vocals elsewhere impressing and helping add some tempering, over whelms the senses and at times appreciation as the release progresses. Equally there is a resemblance between many tracks which sees them flow into each other if not given careful attention. Musically the band certainly never fails the passions but that surface similarity does defuse the creative strength raging within songs in certain moments.

     The imaginative Possession does provide plenty to break up that seeming lack of individualism if not to quite fire up the passions, though the following I Welcome The Dead and Rituals soon sort that out. With heavy handed rhythmic artillery punishing the ears from the off and soon entwined in a sonic weave of scorching medic tempting, the first of the two takes little time to launch a demanding and insatiable attack whilst continuing to vein it with  bewitching sonic imagination and melodic incitement. Its successor opens with a demonic visitation within an emotive embrace before expanding a melodramatic grandeur around an enraged emerging scourge of intensity and technical rabidity. It is a ravenous confrontation with a persistent groove and hypnotic rhythmic bait.

    The excellent Last Rites offers its own bordering on vicious technicality and imagination with again great backing vocals which are not heard enough on the album, before from its intro The Demise, final track Vespa provides a closing exhausting and lingering finale come epilogue to the encounter. It is a powerful conclusion to a fine album though one you also feel is a missed opportunity in some ways considering how magnificent the release is at its heights but fails to sustain it. Nevertheless Into The Black is easy to recommend to all melodic and extreme metal enthusiasts as an enthralling promise soaked release from a band in Fallen Fate which has the potential to be a sizeable creative force ahead.



RingMaster 28/01/2014

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The Reverse – Kind Words For Cruel Times

The reverse pic

     Released in the closing weeks of 2013, Kind Words For Cruel Times is an album you may have missed but is deserving of some of your attention. Brought to life by UK indie band The Reverse, the release is a gentle and persuasive collection of songs bred with a merger of folk and alternative rock intent. A little undulating in its convincing at times and more a work in progress sound wise than the finished article, the album nevertheless provides an attractive way to spend your time.

     The Reverse began with vocalist/guitarist Nathan Loughran and drummer Jason Moran, its idea and seeds growing out of pub conversations between the two, through late night recording sessions, and rehearsals. Initially the band’s sound engineer, guitarist/backing vocalist Sam Hartley was added to the band before a bassist called Joe completed the line-up,  his departure leading the trio to linking up with bass/backing vocalist James McKeown (ex-lead singer of The Great Divide and The Colours). A trio of EPs also emerged to good reactions starting with the debut release A Clean Incision in 2006. The following year saw the release of the Shutterspeed and in 2008 the My Lifelong Psychological Experiment EP, all three as the album recorded with and mixed by Graham Dominy (The Rifles, Razorlight, Ray Davies, Supergrass). Onstage the band has built a reputation to match their records, performances alongside bands such as Klaxons, The Wave Pictures, Lupen Crook, Sgt Buzfuz, and Carina Round enhancing their stature. Kind Words For Cruel Times makes the next step forward for the North London quartet with its unveiling on Under The Influence Records, the label an offshoot of one of London’s premier music nights Under the Influence, a monthly showcase for new songwriters/bands at the Boogaloo in London. Whether it will make an indelible mark on the awareness of UK’s indie scene is hard to tell but certainly given the chance it is an album to wake up some eager attention for the band.

     The release opens with Encore a well-crafted slice of folk pop which makes a positive if underwhelming start to the album. 131125kindwords2With keen melodies and crisp rhythms around the mellow tones of Loughran, the song certainly provides a pleasing encounter but something feels missing, a spark to ignite the imagination. There is a Dire Straits lilt to the melodic design cast by the guitars whilst vocal harmonies embrace their lure with an appealing tempting of their own but there is a low key energy or maybe unoriginality to the track which prevents it taking as much attention as its design deserves.

    All the same the album makes a decent first touch which is immediately built upon by the provocative Atoms and the following Then They Came For Us. The first of the two from a smouldering start develops a swagger and energy to its stride which infects the imagination, guitars cradling the more urgent stance of the song in an engaging melodic web. Again the vocals work best when the trio of singers combine even with Loughran’s delivery a strong focal point; though as the album progresses you yearn for a snarl to his tone occasionally. With a great rhythmic dance in its latter surge, the track is a compelling suasion setting a high level for its successor to match. Evocative and melodically caressing the second of the pair is an absorbing ballad with potent sinews which grows and grows on the emotions over time to provide another sultry high point of the release.

    With a healthy resonance to the opening bassline, a rhythmic tantalising, and melodic enticement to its heart the title track makes a pleasant but slightly underwhelming offering before making way for a song which still offers doubts and irresistible bait. Myleene is a whimsical reflection of a maybe rocky relationship, a song with a creative tonic which simply infests the imagination but one with a poor lyrical presence which at times just niggles. Despite that the song never leaves thoughts and senses alone, the song an addictive sort it is impossible not to embrace and join in with.

     The highly emotive encounter, The Longest Day has thoughts working eagerly next whilst the heated breath and melodic radiance of Ghosts incites a warm appreciation, but it is the excellent revelry of The Third Party which has things blazing again mentally and emotionally. Another song to start with a slow and tender coaxing it soon washes the ears with a bluesy guitar enterprise alongside a stirring prompting from the drums and bass, both elements constantly impresses across the album. With a contagious charm and magnetism to its chorus and energetic heart, the song fights feistily for the best track award.

     Both Mary and Lucy make strong and captivating enticements, the first an especially bewitching treat with its punchy rhythms aligned to virulently addictive hooks and melodies giving the previous track a run for its money. Their lofty heights put next up Dynamite & Gunpowder a little in the shade but it is another to take its time in convincing before succeeding, even if the vocals flounder a few times along the way though redeemed by the backing harmonies and sixties folk pop air.

   Closing with No More Encores, the track completing a top and tail union with the opener on the album, Kind Words For Cruel Times gives a great deal to find strong satisfaction with. It is not without flaws but comes with a potent promise, its accomplished slice of indie folk/pop suggesting The Reverse is a proposition to watch out for.



RingMaster 28/01/2014

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Of Us Giants – Nova Scotia

Of Us Giants Photo by Kitten Cabada Photography

Of Us Giants Photo by Kitten Cabada Photography

    You know when you get so excited you drool a little well Nova Scotia is one of those albums which figuratively achieves the same result. The prize offering from California alternative rock band Of Us Giants, the eleven track release is an energy driven vivacious stroll of melodic and expressive rock brought by a band you can only expect to hear much more of in the future. Impressive and infectiously enjoyable from song to potent song, the album strikingly builds on the band’s acclaimed debut release the Stitch EP, a record which has drawn comparisons to the likes of Balance and Composure, Manchester Orchestra, and Brand New to the Of Us Giants sound.

   Formed in 2012, the Turlock hailing trio of vocalist/guitarist Dustin Andrews, bassist/vocalist Jonathan Jennings, and drummer Sam Battista has found a healthy buzz around themselves, in no small part because of the aforementioned EP. Anticipation for their debut full-length has been eager to say the least and now with its digital and vinyl release via numerous labels and exclusively here in the UK by Close To Home Records, feeds and transcends all expectations.

     Opener Liar takes a mere second to entrap attention and an instantly brewed appetite, its rhythmic enticement a potent ofusgiants_novascotiabeckoning soon enhanced by rich guitar bred hooks and bass spawned throaty temptation. Once the excellent expressive tones of Andrews add their presence the song makes a strong suasion which only increases its power and heights with an anthemic spiral of dual vocals and fiery melodics at its heart. It is a song which you just do not realise how much it has infected the imagination and memory until it has passed by, it an irresistible weave of sinews, rhythmic and emotionally, with evocative melodies and soaring sonics.

     The immense start is not quite equalled by the next up Sycamore Tomb, certainly initially but again it is a devious little treat which just grips and lingers longer in the psyche the more you initially embrace it. Whereas its predecessor had a touch of Placebo to it, the second song with choppy scythes of guitar and intensive bass prompting shows where those Brand New references emerge from. Agreeably anthemic in all the right places, no note of breath wasted without a full dose of temptation, it is succeeded by Iron Boat. The first of two songs featuring the vocals of Lindsey Pavao, a semi-finalist in the US version of The Voice apparently, the song saunters with a swing to its rhythmic hips and fire to its sonic invention. It is a relatively straight forward slice of melodic rock without any startling element or dramatic hook to its gait to be honest but still offers a vocally varied and pleasing piece of refreshment before the album raises its game again with Take It Home. Sultry melodic guitar coaxing first leads thoughts into its emotive hug with the dual vocals of Andrews and Jennings impressing. Soon though passionate arms lyrically and musically open up to release flames of resourceful melodic rock with a rawer muscular trait which makes the band a potential attraction across all of the general genre’s sub sections.

     The smouldering persuasion of Dying and the mesmeric enchantment of All of My Daughters brings another absorbing variation to Nova Scotia, the first a passion fuelled slowly building tower of intensity which plays like a blend of Three Days Grace and Sick Puppies whilst its successor with a ridiculously addictive hook to its first few seconds against another dark bassline, casts a spellbinding shadow wrapped irresistible beauty over ears and heart. There is a familiarity to the song which equally niggles and excites, as it is hard to exactly define its source, but it cannot derail the potency and quality of the encounter, it and the previous song virulently infectious pleasures.

  Around the Furline is sculpted with the same kind of irrepressible incitement and bait without losing any individuality against the other songs around it, a Skids like riffing and sonic bait a major toxicity within that trap, whilst the following A Beam Offshore whilst stalking a similar groove to its foregoer flirts further with the passions through strong vocals and eloquent melodic endeavour.

     The more restrained and arguably richer in emotional intrigue presence of Stone Hands is the first moment where the album struggles to raise the same strength in hunger and attention, though it is impossible to deny it is a superbly crafted and musically exposed presence. Its successor Machine Heart also takes time to convince; that is until it expels a punk infused rampancy and bruising to its pop laden adventure where it moves into being another strong proposition.

    The title track completes Nova Scotia and invites Lindsey Pavao for the second time into its midst. An acoustically honed country touched stretch explodes into a fire borne furnace of emotion and intensive sonic design in a song which catches the imagination though again maybe not the passions as forcibly as elsewhere. It does provide a richly satisfying end to an openly outstanding release all the same, an album which declares Of Us Giants as one rather exciting and impressive rock proposal destined to bright horizons.





RingMaster 27/01/2104

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