7stbaby – Control


7 st baby

    Providing an encounter which not only sparks the imagination but takes it on a rapacious ride through a maze of sounds and metal bred styles alongside the passions, UK band 7stbaby is a provocation we are going to hear much more of and be persistently impressed by. The reason for that bold declaration is debut album Control, a compelling and scintillating landscape of invention and adventure. The Guildford trio has created a juggernaut of riffs and grooves aligned to a sonic mastery which just infects thoughts and emotions. Equally though it is an adventure unafraid to leave expectations and assumptions a barren wasteland with nine tracks which explore and stretch everything from stoner and progressive metal to ambient textures and heavy rock enterprise. Released January 31st via Got Wrong Records, it is one of the first important introductions of the year and already a heavyweight contender to rival the established regime within rock and metal.

     Founded a few years ago but held on the back burner until last year by Kyle MacKenzie (vocals, guitar) and Ben Martin (vocals, bass), both members of the also impressive Surrey band Static Plan, the duo enlisted the presence of drummer Greg Webber also of their other band to complete the active line-up. August last year saw the band record and self-produce their debut album, a release which seizes ears and thoughts from its opening moment and never relinquishes its imaginative feisty hold until its parting breath. Now with its impending release also ready drawing impressed responses alongside ours, the album is poised to thrust 7stbaby into the heart of the heavy riffing intensive fire of British stoner and progressive metal.

     An atmospheric electronic breeze opens up Behind The Looking Glass, an ambient coaxing infused with distant vocals Screenshot-2014-01-07-at-16.15.30taking over the first few seconds before the song slowly stretches out a melodic arm. Again this is a mere moment in the evolving fire of the track, soon bulging riffs and crisply cracking rhythms assault the ears as a sonic weave of guitar class veins their urgency. Into its sirenesque stride the vocals from MacKenzie and Martin punch through air and sounds, their tones laid with effects but expressively forceful in their own right. A Queens of the Stone Age flavouring emerges at this point though similarly the track offers essences of bands such as Orange Goblin and fellow Brits Ten Foot Wizard to the mix. Three minutes of blood rousing, emotion inciting endeavour the tracks makes the perfect contagious start which the album only grips tightly and continues across subsequent offerings.

    The following Somebody’s Bitch opens with a grouchy bassline gnawing at the ear before sonic winds erupt from within the equally rapacious riffery. An acidic groove only adds to the instant lure and as it settles into a more relaxed but still intensive stroll with outbreaks of intimidating and weighty aggression, the song sparks another wave of hunger in the awoken appetite. As magnetic as the first but bolder in its merging of varied styles and sonic spicing, more than happy to slip into voice and ambient progressive breaths within the sturdy enticement , the song continues the strong and riveting start with an ease soon matched by the next up Psycho and its successor, the title track. The first of this pair stalks the senses with an initial predatory snarl and combativeness, a Devildriver feel wrapping the vocal delivery and antagonistic menace. It is an immense opening soon taken to another plateau when the band steps into a gentle melodic embrace, warm vocals and dark rhythms combining for a Korn like temptation which persists throughout. It is a seamless transition repeated as the voracious and virulently addictive chorus erupts. The track is metal alchemy, a voracious invention soaked hunt and enslaving of the passions. Its successor delves into a blend of striding melodically caustic sounds and smouldering vocals, a Palms like venture that seduces and riles the imagination and senses with another mouthwatering fusion of songwriting ideas and musical craft.

      Leave Me To Bleed is another song with a ravenous snarl and heart to its creative abrasiveness yet skilled in immersing melodic and sonic persuasion which leaves the track unpredictable and impossibly compelling. From an Alice In Chains like start the track through an electronic whiff of ambience unleashes a blaze of rhythms and riffs which devoid of vocal direction simply consumes and invigorates with anthemic potency. Its robust and torrential energy is very different to the atmospheric climate of Lucid. The next song on the album carries strong elements of the band’s sister venture, a Static Plan rock elegance merging with a Deftones like immersion for the imagination to seduce and enthral. It is a glorious wash of emotive and bordering on melancholic beauty with shadows as company.

      The outstanding Horses puts the listener back under intensive and heavy incitement next, its vocal drama and tightly gripping grooves sparking thoughts of Life Of Agony whilst the mesmeric Bastille and the closing Pale Horse only reinforce and intensify the impact of the album. The first of the final pair is a riveting interfusion of light and dark, hope and pain through again a Deftones cast ambient transfixing within a threatening and skilful frame of rhythms, bass menacing, and shards of guitar invention. The final song is a drifting melodic caress matched by a similarly sculpted vocal embrace. A progressive flight through reflective beauty lyrically and musically it is a bewitching end to a simply impressive debut.

     From a rigorous and towering first half through to the emotionally driven beauty of its second with maybe just the production a minor niggle with its slightly suffocating touch on the songs, Control is a fluid evolution which takes the listener on an exceptional flight of brave adventure and skilfully sculpted emotional provocation; it gives the passions and neck muscles a damn good time too. 7stbaby is destined to major things…you heard it here!



RingMaster 17/01/2014

 Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Katsuo – Creators

Katsuo Online Promo Shot

    Rife with more ideas than occasionally and debatably it knows what to do with, it is fair to say that the Creators EP from Katsuo is a feverish dance of sound and imagination which is impossible to ignore. Five tracks of electronic pop merged with dubstep, alternative rock, and just a whisper of j pop, the release is an undulating, in success, and rousing inciter of the dancefloor with just enough to suggestively infect even the more hardened resistance. First listen raised doubts and a strain of antipathy but it has to be admitted over time Katsuo and EP became a deviously addictive proposition with moments which just had to be enjoyed more and more.

     Katsuo is the project of multi-instrumentalist Alex Larkman which he formed in 2012. Gaining experience in numerous bands, the musician wanted to ‘create something edgy, contemporary, and innovative’ so taking inspirations from the likes of Fall Out Boy, 30 Seconds to Mars, Skrillex, and Prince into his invention created Katsuo. The first year saw debut EP Silver Tongue released as well as the single Warrior a little later. Their well-received success was built upon last year by the release of the Stereo Jesus video which featured Suicide Girl and Front Magazine cover girl Rebecca Crow (Katherine Suicide). Again it only enhanced the presence and hunger for the sounds being unleashed, something the Super Happy Records released Creators can only emulate and drive on.

     The title track kicks things off and immediately has pulsating beats resonating through the senses whilst an electro rummaging Katsuo Cover Artworkingrains an even deeper alluring presence. As much a contagious agitator on feet as a bed of hot coals, the song is soon striding with a hungry energy alongside the compelling vocals which have been laying down their particular infectious bait from the first second. Assumptions soon kick in that this rampant electronic taunting and enterprise is the way of the track but Larkman is soon dismissing expectations as from the vibrant brew of electro pop urgency with guest vocalist Nakisha Esnard adding her glorious harmonic tones to the mix, a burst of swing and jazzy temptation with delicious dark piano enticement included breaks free from the feisty melodic waltz. Fusing it all in a continuing anthemic seduction with virulently addictive endeavour and adventure, the track is an excitable and exciting start which like the whole EP feels like a bit of a guilty pleasure for more heavily boned and aggressive tastes but simply is predominantly irresistible.

     The following I Wanna Know continues the enthralling start, its industrial bred entrance a reserved yet keen coaxing which welcomes and wraps around the strong and smooth vocals of Larkman. Again there is sense of ‘should I be liking this so much?’, but as the mischievous and provocative slice of electro pop rock continues to embrace the ears there is little resistance to its uncomplicated and radiant presence. Carrying an essence of eighties synth pop to its magnetic croon the song is another thoroughly appealing highlight on an already satisfyingly teasing release.

    From here on in the EP loses some of its potency on personal tastes though the next up Secret Supervillian featuring US singer songwriter Zoe Ann still recruits feet and appetite in its richly catchy web of electro rock infestation ripe with melodic craft and vocal harmonies. There is the spark missing which ignites the previous pair of songs though, and especially with the seductive voice of its guest bringing the strongest temptation it feels like a missed opportunity. With a tantalising brief interlude of cheerleader driven tribal toxicity embraced by electronic groaning sitting between this track and the following As Good As Mine, which itself hosts another guest appearance this time from Mark Bolton, the EP still nestles nicely in the emotions but here without sparking and igniting the imagination as it started out achieving so easily. The second of the two songs is too boy band like for these hungry ears and is a soon forgotten encounter though this is down to personal tastes only. It is a pop song to be fair which has all the tools to capture the passions of teen girls and day time radio whilst to its latter melodic narrative the emerging growl will satisfy soft rock pop enthusiasts. Well-crafted and presented the track is a straightforward flight of pop sound spreading the charm of the release if not the kindling for a fire in the emotions.

   The closing song The Wicked hints at the same results with its acoustic opening and vocal harmonies but it saves itself with dark electronic revving and a bewildering yet inviting mix of ideas and sounds. Just when you think the song is about to fall into a bland pop abyss it comes up with a twist to nudge attention though equally when you hope it is about to expand those elements it slips back into the uninspiring caresses. Arguably messy in its mesh of ideas but persistently nagging with shards of temptation it is a more than decent if not inspiring end to the release.

    The Creators EP is two scintillating long term incitements and three generally pleasing if not lingering pieces of pop kissing. The release will not be for everyone though certainly it offers enough at its start to entrap and enslave all imaginations at least once but with promise soaking every step it is easy to see Katsuo emerging into strong acclaim and greater potency within dancefloors and electro pop appetites over the time ahead.




RingMaster 17/01/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Mark McCabe – A Good Way To Bury Bad News


    One man with his acoustic guitar and a few endearing additives along the way to add to the potency of the emotive endeavour, A Good Way To Bury Bad News the new album from Mark McCabe is a thoroughly accomplished and often magnetic presence with the folk heart of a continual ballad and the occasional outbreak of restrained melodic rock. It is an easily engaging release which reinforces the potency and stature already earned by the Scottish singer songwriter and though it is hard to say it is offering anything dramatically new it has an individual presence and emotive strength which at times sets a stirring spark within the passions.

     The melancholic and often dramatically emotive lyrical thrust of his songs as on the album are said to come from the Aberdeen hailing McCabe’s lonely days at University where he first began writing songs with his acoustic guitar. He recorded debut album Is That Really How You Feel? in 2009 and spent plenty of time playing around mainland Europe, for which he relocated to Paris, in its support. Shows with the likes of Frank Turner, PJ Bond, Asptai, The Flatliners, Chris T-T and many more followed before he returned to Scotland in 2012. Sold out shows with again Turner came next as well as festival appearances and a tour with Oxygen Thief before undertaking a US tour down its East coast with After The Fall, Anchors, and Antillectual. Using 2013 to concentrate on writing and working on his second album, McCabe now unveils the Cats? Aye! Records released A Good Way To Bury Bad News and it is confident to say fans and many more will be elated with its craft and skilled temptation.

     Released January 20th with a European tour to support its arrival, the album opens with the thirty second or so Summer In Album ArtworkScotland Is But A Word. Plain and decent it sets the climate for the Scottish landscaped melancholy set to consume and inspire ahead before the following Doubts emerges from its closing to continue the emotional reflection. The track makes a coaxing start but soon elevates its pull with thumping beats and a stringed breath which is soon soaking the tale with magnetic shadows. A brewing intensity raises its call as the song progresses, the rhythms sturdier and military in combat to add greater tension and enticement the longer the song plays, whilst the vocals of McCabe are strong and expressively powerful to further the potency thought it is the seduction provided by the violin of Gillian Ramsay which steal the passions predominantly in what is an impressive and compelling song.

     Easy For Me To Say with its country twang and skittish rhythms makes an immediate impression rising to another absorbing incitement, the Scottish lilt of McCabe’s vocals enjoyable alongside the again violin provoked stroll which eagerly breaks out from within the emotional angst. For personal tastes when McCabe brings in extra flavours and sounds whilst lifting tempo and intensity simultaneously, the album catches fire but that appetite is never quite fulfilled, just individual teases brought to a solemn end by songs like Crutches. This is not to say that the skilfully crafted and presented track is carrying any real faults, just lacking the same spark but again it is down to personal wants and needs primarily.

    The lively Catch The Wind with a bordering on feisty element to everything from the drums of Sam Henley and electric guitar of Matthew Morris alongside McCabe’s acoustic prowess, scoops up the emotions and appetite in its refreshing melodrama soaked hands. It has an air of fellow Scottish artist Letters to it and provides one of the highlights of the album with its folk rock/pop excellence. The irresistible lure of the track is matched by its successor Welcome Party, a less rampant but still energetically enthused ramble through heart felt and shadowed doused thoughts and emotions. Both tracks draw the imagination and personal thoughts deeper into the album and thus into the same elements of McCabe, providing further reason to be fully enticed by the release.

    The trio of This City And I Have A Lot In Common, That Time I Almost Killed Martin, and Being Lost Presents You With A Better Chance Of Being Found lets the keen impetus of the release and reactions slip though not one of the three is a proposition to find any real faults with; again it is just that missing fuse and kindling for the same enthused responses as spawned by the previous pair of songs. It is clear though that each provides an emotionally coloured canvas that will find a hunger waiting within folk and melodic songwriter bred passions.

    The best song on the album is the irresistible My Disguise Is Better Than Yours though it has to be said, and surely by mere coincidence, the track is at times a very incestuous cousin to I Melt With You, the Modern English hit from the eighties. Nevertheless it is an infectious and captivating slice of rock pop which provides melodic bait and fiery energy which simply sets those awaiting passions ablaze. A definite single of the future, it is the perfect temptation for the album

   The closing Join The Crowd is a final piece which sounds like it was recorded on the local bar stage; a union of voice and nagging guitar bolstered by strong group vocals and harmonies including those of Grant George who often provides great backing vocals across A Good Way To Bury Bad News, leaving a lingering allurement on the ears. There is very little to put up against the album to temper all the positives and persuasions offered except those singular things to this reviewer, something not really relevant as you assess whether to take the plunge. Mark McCabe provides an engaging and personal view into his music and life, an invitation to be honest we can only recommend trying.




RingMaster 17/01/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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