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.

 

http://ofusgiants.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ofusgiants

9/10

RingMaster 27/01/2104

 Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Kampfar – Djevelmakt

Kampfar_Press_1

    Ever had a nightmare where a pestilential like presence is suffocating everything around you, then you turn to the one solace and place of safety you can be assured of and that also feeds on you extinguishing all hope and escape?  Whether yes or no, Norwegian pagan metallers Kampfar gives the imagination a pretty strong sense of the experience with new album Djevelmakt. Oppressive and frighteningly uncompromising in presence and artistry, the eight track exploration of black and pagan bred metal is a breath-taking, soul stealing immersion into a malevolence fuelled incitement soaked in riveting ingenuity.

     2014 sees Kampfar marking its twentieth year and no stronger an impressive fall into the jaws of their filth soaked depravity from the blackest realms as explored upon Djevelmakt could you wish for. The sixth album from the band follows the acclaimed Mare of 2011, continuing the ‘third creative wave’ of the band. The years up to 2003 saw the band as a duo releasing a couple of EPs and the 1997 album Mellom Skogkledde Aaser followed two years later by Fra Underverdenen. Enlarging to a quartet Kampfar introduced a live aspect to their presence in its second cycle as well as two more well-received full-lengths in Kvass and Heimgang in 2006 and 2008 respectively. All the time the band’s sound has grown and explored darker intensive areas, each album an evolution and challenging venture which their latest album takes to yet another level and depth. Forged around the theme of condemnation, the Jonas Kjellgren recorded and Peter Tägtgren mixed Djevelmakt is an enthralling and impacting provocation which only leaves the healthiest intrigue and satisfaction breeding in senses and thoughts.

   The Indie Recordings released album opens with Mylder, a dramatic and sinister narrative of keys casting menace and magnetic Kampfar frontcover WEBtemptation into the air. It is a brief but potent coaxing into an immediately insidious brew of astringent rhythms and tempestuous riffs which consume the ears whilst driven by serpentine squalling tones from vocalist Dolk. Melodic acidity and ravenous causticity merge to create a storm which seduces and threatens before allowing the former trait to make a full invitation with great clean vocals, keys sculpted melodies, and an expressive welcoming ambience. It’s free reign is soon tempered though as scowling riffs and belligerent rhythms punctuate the continuing to lure folk radiance lighting the way. It is an immense start to the album which only gets stronger as subsequent tracks ravage the imagination.

    Both Kujon with its predacious stalking from the opening second and Blod, Eder og Galle, cement the capture of emotions aligned to an eager appetite for the release. The first swarms over the ear but with a premeditated reserve which simply accelerates its potency and venomous intent. Vocally too the track has a restraint to its ruinous persuasion which adds to the intimidation and intensity of the unremitting pestilential nagging. An undoubted impressive scourge it makes way for the second and an excellent electronically spawned intro. As with the first track that unexpected beckoning is soon under siege by a rasping intensity and concussive tsunami of energy and disturbing sonic provocation. Though not quite as commanding as the previous songs it agitates and ignites the imagination superbly with another vexatious soundscape.

     Swarm Norvegicus is another track which does not quite spark the passions as other songs, mainly because of their towering individual successes upon Djevelmakt, but with its dark stringed opening enticement and demonically honed spoken vocal delivery within a weave of acerbic sonic enterprise and a voraciously heavy and addictive bass temptation, the track can only excite and impress. Arguably with its again smouldering yet bestial like build up the track provides the most vivid evocation for thoughts to explore and delve deeply into and over time with patience it should be said that the song provides another exhausting but rewarding venture.

      The keys control and provide the strongest alluring flames to Fortapelse, just one more song in which Kampfar impressively entwine melodic and melodramatic beauty with a pit bred hostility, before the album dives to darker depths and higher plateaus through first of all De Dødes Fane. A dirty scuzz kissed riot of heavy rock riffs punctured by tank slapping rhythms provides the springboard to the expected but expectations avoiding fury of blackened rancor which simply abrades and abuses the senses. Twisting and wrapping those early aspects into its ravenous core of pestilence, the track is pure contagious devilry and invention, a sonic plague to fear and embrace greedily.

     The album comes to an equally scintillating conclusion through firstly the annihilistic stomp of Svarte Sjelers Salme and the anthemic yet destructively corrupting Our Hounds, Our Legion. Both provide a corrosive legacy to an exceptional album which devours and lights up the senses and imagination through to emotions. Twenty years is a long journey to get where Kampfar is today, a place on the evidence of Djevelmakt that lies on the frontlines of extreme metal.

www.kampfar.com

9/10

RingMaster 27/01/2014

 Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

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Falling Red – Empire Of The Damned

Falling Red Online Promo Shot

    There is something very familiar about Falling Red and their explosion of heavy metal soaked with dirty hard and sleaze rock fire, a fusion which wakes up the passions like a merger of Motley Crue with Black Veil Brides and Black Stone Cherry. That aspect though is only a positive in the hands of the UK band which picks up well-trodden and arguably exhausted existing enterprise and brings it back to life in an invigorating and thrilling contagious rampage distinct to themselves. New album Empire Of The Damned is a storming riot of addictive hooks and incendiary grooves thrust into the heart of high octane anthemic and hard hitting rock ‘n’ roll. There is an eager buzz around the band right now and the album shows exactly why.

     The Carlisle band formed in 2007 and has been stirring up audiences earning a strong reputation from almost day one with their renowned and incendiary live performances. Over the past years Falling Red has supported the likes of Sebastian Bach and Steel Panther, to strong acclaim, and sparked further attention with the Hasta La Victoria Siempre EP and 2010 debut album Shake The Faith. With successful headlining tours also under their belt the quartet of vocalist/guitarist Rozey, guitarist Jayde Starr, bassist Dann Marx, and drummer Dave Sanders set about creating and recording their Pledgemusic funded second album with Matt Elliss (The Black Spiders, The 1975), the mastering undertaken by Pete Maher (U2, Rolling Stones, Linkin Park) last year. Consisting of eleven insatiably ravenous and passionate encounters, the release is an anarchic and belligerent blaze of virulent rock infectiousness which easily ignites the senses and emotions.

     Opener Time To Rise is a short scene setter, a breeze of melodic guitar behind defiant words which raises its temperature and cult cover lrgintensity the further it declares its intent before a closing gentle coaxing makes way for the immediately antagonistic The Devil You Know. Punchy beats and energy charged riffs stalk and stroll through the ears whilst the vocals of Rozey hold a mischief to their fiery tempting. It is not a dramatically imposing and striking track but one which wakes an eager appetite for the album and gives a healthy indication of what is to come. Skilfully presented and fired up with an obvious passion, the song makes an infection clad access into the album.

    Its potent invitation is soon put in the shade by the outstanding We Escaped A Cult, the new video single from the band. A radiant drizzle of guitar elegance provides the first breath of the song with skittish percussive invention dancing around its luring as Rozey again picks up strong attention. Soon into its heavy stride the track stomps into the imagination with addiction forging grooves and again openly predacious rhythms but equally with a charm and devilry that leave the emotions alert and enthused to join the action. With a Manson-esque swagger and great anthemic group vocals equally as flirtatious with the passions, the contagion is a masterful and thrilling encounter.

    The groove driven Break Me takes little time in stealing its slice of the brewing fixation with the album, the sinew framed romp of taunting rhythms and toxically virulent riffery irresistible with the bass of Marx not for the last time having delicious rapacious savagery to its tone. That lure makes a similar call on the next up Outcast, Marx leading the song into another instantaneous and virulent temptation on the emotions. Shadow cloaked at the start evolving into a melodically flaming blaze of hungry rhythms and bold sonic causticity, the track then takes its allurement up multiple degrees with one of those salacious grooves which street corners were made for. It is a beast of a song with enticing of epidemic proportions as it makes a riotous rival for best song honours.

    The exciting stature of the album is continued with Disposable, a twisting and swerving hook driven song with more enjoyable toxic bait than a rat trap, and the title track, though the second of the two takes longer to make its full persuasion. From an accomplished and engaging slow start the song is soon flexing muscle and intensity with passionate melodic and vocal expression to feed intrigue and satisfaction. It does not make the swift union of other songs with emotions even though everything about it sweats craft and enterprise. As suggested given time the track does reveal a depth and strength which is hard to dismiss or avoid as it adds another strong aspect to the album’s impressive character.

     As The Defiled reminding We Are Reckless and the punk toned rocker No Sanctuary step forward with their irrepressible energy and adventure pleasure is kept at a high even if passions may be less intensively ignited, both nevertheless high octane provocations which still only invite eager attentiveness. The album is certainly stronger in its first two thirds than its last but as the scintillating predatory Lonely Way To Die with its acidic melodies and psyche infecting grooves shows there is still a bruising, exhilarating, and snarling proposition lying in wait to ignite the rioter in us all. Followed by the more predictable yet refreshingly digestible rocker Change For No One, Falling Red brings Empire of the Damned to a vigorous and imaginatively lustful close. The band may have been the rising storm on the radar of a great many but with their new album you can only see the awareness of the whole of the country’s rock ‘n’ roll community finding a greedy attraction towards their recognisable but still original tempestuous musical anarchy.

www.falling-red.com

https://www.facebook.com/fallingredofficial

8.5/10

RingMaster 26/01/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

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A Silent Escape – Black Heart

A Silent Escape Online Promo Shot

     Building on their potent and promise fuelled debut album, Swedish melodic metallers A Silent Escape return with its successor Black Heart to make another pleasing punch on the senses. Merging magnetically persuasive metal with hardcore abrasiveness, the Falkenberg quintet continue to be a band seemingly destined to close and eager attention whilst still on the road to finding their fullest potential. On the surface the new album does not seem a massive leap on from its strong predecessor but time and patience allows the songs making up the emerging impressive release to unveil a much maturer and poised invention alongside a greater hunger to the songwriting and its expressive realisation.

     Formed in 2010 out of the demise of Union Square, which featured three fifths of A Silent Escape in its ranks, the band was soon grabbing attention with their live performances and subsequently first album. Receiving good acclaim and response from the critical media the five-piece of vocalist Patrick Stenborg, vocalist/guitarist Joel Nilsson, guitarist Eddie Hanlsa, bassist Martin Karlsson, and drummer Per Qvarnström are primed to exceed its success with the self-released Black Heart, nine tracks of still not fully distinctive antagonism but certainly an accomplished and dynamic A Silent Escape provocation.

     The album opens with a bang through opener Gone. From its first breath rhythms are jabbing a hole in the senses whilst guitar A Silent Escape Cover Artworkflames singe and light the imagination with enthralling craft and magnetism. The intensive squalling vocal attack of Stenborg brings a caustic rabidity to the protest before making a strong union with the clean voice of guitarist Nilsson, their occasional combination across song and album a continually impressive suasion. There is an unmissable In Flames assault to the song and admittedly the whole of Black Heart which prevents the release from standing fully alone amongst similarly sculpted bands or reaching its fullest promise. It also in some ways undermines the deeper qualities of the songs with the ultimately familiar surface, but still the first thrilling track makes a powerful invitation into the album which cannot be dismissed.

   Both Frozen Blood and the following title track reinforce and continue the strong entrance of the album, even if failing to create the same spark in the passions as their predecessor. The first of the pair builds a melodic web of temptation and emotive intensity to its reserved yet inciting tempestuous sonic heat whilst the second prowls the senses with a challenging and intimidating air through its predacious intent. It tempers this with a seductive melodic coaxing, a singular strand of seduction which has any fault is too far back in the bulging maelstrom of energy and rhythmic probing to realise its full potency. Nevertheless it again shows a pleasing imagination and adventure to the songwriting which arguably was missing in the band’s earlier release.

     When The Last Song canters in with a melodic wind to its initial vivacious sails to make an engaging coaxing, but it is when a tightly acidic groove offers a contagious lure matched by the again thrilling union of clean and grazing vocals that the song ignites into one of the real pinnacles of the release. Aggressive bordering carnivorous and seductive leading into melodic elegance, the song is an ingenious brew of enterprise and rapacious enmity fused into a fiery and enthralling triumph. Without doubt the lead song on the album the band back it up with the verging on vicious storm of The Light, a song where the great rhythms of Qvarnström bruise and make intensive demands on the senses alongside the ferocious hardcore bred punk vocals, alongside the ravenous, emotionally and physically, Gagball. Once more finding a riveting mix of clean and demanding vocals across a melodically infused and threateningly aggressive sound the song, without quite matching the previous peak of the album, boldly twists and turns back on itself with invention and bold explorations.

    The following Speed Of Light and also Seeker bring two more enjoyable if underwhelming encounters, both undeniably skilfully crafted but without the spark of individuality to set them aside from assuming expectations, whilst the closing Still Commanding unleashes a final summit to the album with a mouthwatering play of emotive melodics and angst clad aggression steered into the passions by the excellence mix of vocals. It absorbingly completes a fine album from a band still proving strong evidence that they are a force in the making. Possibly Black Heart disappoints in the fact it is not as big an evolution from A Silent Escape’s debut as hopes and assumptions imagined but it pleases and satisfies from start to finish and that is the first requirement of any strong release.

www.asilentescape.com

8/10

RingMaster 27/01/2014

 Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

http://www.audioburger.com