Tracings of time and reflections: an interview with Black Space Riders

Black Space Riders 1

German heavy rockers Black Space Riders is a band which has persistently drawn acclaim and attention with their unique and ravenously adventurous sounds but it is fair to say that new album D:REI is their finest moment. A journey of progressively sculpted metal and psychedelically forged rock through a dramatic narrative, the bands third full-length is a compelling incitement for the imaginations and passions. We grabbed the chance to find out more with JE and Seb from the band, touching on origins, albums, and much more…

Hello and thanks for talking with us.

Hello and thank YOU, here are JE (vocals, guitars) and SEB (vocals) from Black Space Riders

For newcomers to the band, please tell us about its beginnings.

JE: Black Space Riders were born in the deepest winter of 2008/09. C.RIP (drums) and I wanted to play Heavy Rock again after some years of making decent songwriter-stuff. I contacted SLI (guitar), an old friend from the schoolyard, we had been doing a NWOBHM-fanzine together when we were teens around 79/80. He brought in SAQ (bass) and we started jamming in an old mouldered bowling alley. It was great from the start. Fantastic musical and social chemistry! We created 4 songs in 2 rehearsals. We recorded our debut in 2010 and played shows while writing material for album No.2, “Light is the new black”, which was released in 2012.

SEB: In 2012 I came across and joined Black Space Riders first as an additional and background singer, then as the 5th member. But I already had known these guys years before.

JE: Now there are 5 Riders, 5 friends, just been releasing album No.3 called D:REI.

What are the musical histories of the band members before Black Space Riders?

JE: All of us have been playing in many bands or projects before. SLI played in Heavy-, Punk- and Indie-Bands since the Eighties. SAQ had a couple of Punk Rock bands before but also played in Indie-Rock-Bands, SEB used to sing in Metal bands but also has a great experience in playing accordion and singing weird, folkloristic Chanson-Stuff together with C.RIP who played and plays every imaginable musical style from Jazz over Metal to Ska. I also played in a lot of bands since 1980. Metal, Rock, Wave, Punk, Indie, Folk, Jazz … I played and sung for a long time in a Crossover band with C.RIP, which gained a decent regional/national awareness in the Nineties.

What was the spark or initial intent within the band when you started out?Black Space Riders 3

JE: As said, to create something loud and wild after years of “decent” music and to take up the Heavy stuff that we all are loving since our youth. The idea was to jam around and to create a hypnotic wall of sound … there were no ideas of releasing albums in the beginning

The band’s name stands out and suggests a space ranger like almost comic book appeal. What inspired the band name?

JE: Exactly what you have read in the name. 60ies and 70ies Sci-Fi had a very strong influence on me. I read a lot of those books when I was a child, my uncle had hundreds of them. We were looking for a name which can instantly create cartoonish, dark, hypnotic, psychedelic and cool images.

How would you say your sound has evolved since the early days and your self-titled debut album to what we thrillingly hear on new release D:REI?

JE: This time when we entered the recording studio we knew even better what we wanted and what we did NOT want. As for the sound of the recording itself: we wanted to retain the warmth, the organic live-feeling and the bottom of the first two albums but wanted to add additional freshness, transparency and openness to our existing drive. So – for example – we have been discussing a lot about the amount of “attack” in the drum sound or about guitar amps  and how to record the guitars with our friend and engineer Role (“die Tonmeisterei”) before entering the studio. Stylistically we allowed ourselves to integrate more elements and accepted the eclectic result of our songwriting without sorting out parts, grooves or ideas that sounded a little bit far out in the beginning.

As you said earlier D:REI is your third album; for us an exceptional progressively sculpted metal and rock adventure which can seduce and prey on the senses at any given moment. Did the album end up exactly how you envisaged it or did it have some surprises in store for even you guys as it evolved and emerged?

SEB: There are, in fact, some positive surprises for us. Partial tiny, audiophile little things – but also relevant structural changes we have made during the recordings.

JE: There are always surprises in the studio. The songs and arrangements are final before entering the studio, but then you begin experimenting with sounds or somebody within the band or let´s say our engineer Role has a charming “new” idea and – oooops –you find yourself changing the master plan. We are a live-recording band, old-school, five friends and all their instruments and amps in ONE room … but sometimes  we are adding some decent flavours later … experimenting with dozens of effect-pedals and creating some “space” can be so inspiring almost addictive! We are also experimenting with our vocal expression while recording, encouraging and coaching each other.

1545083_10151894936042963_1727001018_nThe album is split into ‘chapters’ exploring a…actually could you tell and expand on the theme behind the album for us please?

SEB: A new life in a new world? The depths and abysses of the human soul? Find out for yourself !

JE: On the first look a post-apocalyptic plot of destruction, escape, voyage and looking back. But maybe it´s all just in your head and it´s all about inner liberation and freedom?! The listener is defining the meaning of the story. My advice: Take a look at the story and the lyrics (you will find them here: www.blackspaceriders.com/d-rei), then put on your headphones, lights out, volume up and find it out!

Did the lyrical aspect or idea of the album come first or the music?

SEB: We had framework for about the half of the songs when JE delighted us with his concept of “Total destruction as the root of a new beginning and the Journey as a transformation”. From this point concept and music were evolved in parallel.

JE: Music first, basic concept next, lyrics last.

How does the writing process work within Black Space Riders?

SEB: On the way from our debut album Black Space Riders to D:REI we have expanded  the common songwriting.

JE: The process of songwriting has changed over the years. In the beginning I brought in almost finished songs and structures. Today it´s “just“ a riff or some harmonies, somebody picks it up, we start jamming and then we love it or we don´t. At one point SEB and me are starting to hum or sing. We are recording every rehearsal, every jam and are listening to it before the next rehearsal. We then discuss about it and try out different grooves, tempi, atmospheres, sounds. Our drummer C.RIP is playing a big part in arranging songs and developing structures…So the “song” as you know it from the album, is a common work of several band members.

Being a concept album did you approach the writing of D:REI any differently to say previous album Light Is The New Black?

JE: Not really. Light is the new black was considered by many to be a concept album as well. But D:REI seems to be so perfectly balanced and cohering, both musically and lyrically. To be honest: that is a happy ending and not a result of a worked out master plan. We have changed the sequence of the songs several times to find the perfect flow through the whole album … so we had to fiddle around with song titles and lyrics in the last moment during the recordings.

What did you take into the recording of D:REI in particular which you learnt on previous releases to enhance or ease its emergence in the studio?

JE: As said above … a clearer vision about the desired sound, recording techniques, approach and modus operandi. Additionally a greater open-mindedness, a grown faith, trust and friendship within the band and with our engineer/producer … relaxation and a strong belief that this album was going to become something special.

With a concept album is there a more demanding and intensive focus needed to link music and the expanding lyrical story of the narrative or does it pretty much come together as any other album?

SEB: I find it even a little easier because I had a specific movie in my head since the said date.

And is another concept album a possibility for future releases or maybe with the next will you return to individual standalone songs?

SEB: Anything can be, nothing must be.

JE: … all is possible. No plans, no expectations, no disappointments 😉

Have you shows/tour in the works to support D:REI, and if so will you be rampaging around Europe, the UK maybe?Black Space Riders 2

JE: Yes we have played some release-shows in some of the bigger German cities and are working on more shows and festival-slots in 2014. We are doing all this on our own. We have a distro and some professional help in the background, but in order to keep our independency and all rights… no label-contract! So most of the work, organization and booking is up to us. Additionally we all have families and jobs. It seems as though our new album, D:REI, will be received very well, so with that kind of “tailwind” we are starting now to book more shows for 2014 and will hopefully be able to play some festivals in the summer as well. Would love to play some shows in the UK, but we don´t have an “official” distro or label in the UK … so I guess we have to wait for some nice offers to play the UK.

Rightly or wrongly I have the assumption that you are a band which never stops writing or working on ideas, if correct how far are you into writing album 4? 😉

SEB: Honestly we have just a few ideas or fragments, because we were very busy with the preparation of our release-shows. But the prickling is already there and I’m looking forward to the upcoming rehearsals.

 Once again many thanks for sharing time with us, any last thoughts to leave us with?

JE: If you like what we are doing … tell the world about it! Spread the word! May the force be with you!

And lastly what are our biggest inspirations not so much for Black Space Riders but just as musicians?

JE: Of course each of us has different inspirations that is why we sound like we sound. On the other hand we have a lot of common preferences – and again – that is why we sound like we sound. Band-favourites are e.g. Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, NWOBHM, The Chameleons, Motorhead, Monster Magnet, Alice in Chains, Massive Attack … many more. For me personally on top of those: Psychedelia like on the early Pink Floyd –Albums. 80ies Dark Wave like Bauhaus or Joy Division and the BIG three: David Bowie, Tom Waits and Johnny Cash.

Read the D:REI review @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/01/23/black-space-riders-drei/

http://www.blackspaceriders.com

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 12/02/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

 

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Manhattan Coast – This One’s For You

Photo Sofa B&W

    Self-released on February 17th, expectations and suspicions are ripe with only one thought, that the This One’s For You EP will be the trigger to a countrywide awakening and passion for UK alternative rock/pop band Manhattan Coast. The evidence is bouncy and vibrant through the five irrepressible slices of revelry making up the release, and though the Bridgend quartet is not exactly carving out brand new adventures they are casting an enticement which is potent and rigorously enjoyable. The EP is an encounter which easily catches the imagination and breath with its big contagious choruses and almost spitefully effective hooks, a release showing Manhattan Coast as another in the long line of satisfaction fattening bands from South Wales.

    Formed in 2011, Manhattan Coast has crafted a fine and impressive presence and reputation locally and across the UK, tours across Britain and the release of their first two EPs, Never Tell Me The Odds and Beg, Borrow and Steal, sparking eager interest amid a constantly growing fanbase. Equally shows with the likes of Kids In Glass Houses, Blitz Kids, and Straight Lines have brought further impressed focus upon the band. Now, supported by a European tour this month and UK dates with Forever After, This One’s For You is the next stirring declaration from Manhattan Coast and a tasty piece of excitable creative persuasion it is too.

     War On The Weekend opens things up and immediately has ears under the spell of an infectious hook and punchy rhythms. MC_EP_Cover_Sml_WebInto its potent stride with the excellent vocals of Nick Lane unveiling the lyrical narrative with smooth melodic tones, the track surrounds him with those continuing firm senses tagging rhythms and additionally teasing riffs whilst a web of inventive and resourceful guitar endeavour from Geraint Rees defeats expectations to inspire even greater adventure in the infection drenched song.

    The band has been compared to bands such as The Wonder Years, Taking Back Sunday, and Man Overboard over past releases and sounds but the one band which stands out as the closest reference, certainly in regard to the contagion and inspired potency of the torrent of hooks across the EP, is Lost Prophets. Rees has mastered the ability to cause addiction with his inventive and often short but razor sharp hooks, their efficiency and potency as irresistible and admittedly at times enjoyably similar to those which littered the other Welsh band’ compositions. Second song Monsoon Season In Machine City like its predecessor offers that prime Lost Prophets like virulence with its first breath. From there the band unleashes a dense brawl of rock ‘n’ roll intensity and pop punk voracity as the song seizes the imagination and appetite as tightly as the first. The band’s songs have that mischievous quality of recruiting the listener’s passions, limbs, and voice in their adrenaline fuelled choruses, not a pretty sight in some of our cases, and this blaze of melodic rioting is no exception.

    The opening pair provides the strongest bait into the release and band for newcomers, but are soon left in a sort of shade by the title track and the following Dreams Are For. The first of the two makes a reserved entrance, vocals and melodies stroking ears as the excellent bass tempting of Adam Jones adds just the right amount of intimidation to egg on the ever forceful yet respectful beats of drummer Dan Ryan. That Lost Prophets thought is probably at its strongest across these two songs but only adds to the admittedly familiar but refreshing stomp of passion and enterprise bursting from the songwriting and its presentation. The second of the two and best song on the release, is an epidemic of melodic toxicity and feverishly presented hooks within a pop punk riot of energy and ingenuity. Constantly unpredictable and swerving into new avenues throughout with Lane providing his most potent and impressive moment yet, though that applies to all members to be fair, the song is the most complete and original track on show and the most potent gateway into the artistic heart of the band.

     Carpe Diem finishes things off in equally immense and winning style, rhythms finding their biggest sinews and guitars their strongest snarling attitude though as always melodies and harmonies aligned to deep infectiousness is the order of the moment. It completes a persistently thrilling and magnetic encounter from a band you sense is on the verge of breaking it big, certainly the This One’s For You EP suggests so. With no real flaws and maybe only a surface similarity in sound to some songs a seeming minor niggle for some i, Manhattan Coast  is set to make 2014 their year.

MANHATTAN COAST EP RELEASE TOUR:

13/02 – De Bliksem, Den Helder (NL)

14/02 – Carpe Diem, Hasselt (BE)

15/02 – De Duycker, Hoofddorp (NL)

16/02 – Blaues Haus, Mönchengladbach (GER)

21/02 – Hobos, Bridgend (UK) w/ Forever After

22/02 – Racehorse, Northampton (UK) w/ Forever After

23/02 – White Horse, Colchester (UK) w/ Forever After

https://www.facebook.com/ManhattanCoast

http://manhattancoast.bandcamp.com/album/this-ones-for-you

9/10

RingMaster 12/02/2014

 Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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We Hunt Buffalo – Blood From A Stone EP

     whb_live

     Clad in a thick rich blanket of enticing fuzz, the quartet of stoner sculpted tracks making up the Blood From A Stone EP provide one of the most refreshing and invigorating treats from the genre in recent months. The new release of Canadian rockers We Hunt Buffalo, it is a masterful tempest of intensively persuasive riffs and commanding rhythms around melodic imagination, the result a release which captivates and fires up the emotions.

     The Vancouver trio of vocalist/guitarist Ryan Forsythe, vocalist/bassist Brendan Simpson, and drummer Brandon Carter, soon set tongues wagging and appetites awakened for their compelling sound with the release of a first EP in 2010. Linking up with Tanis Gibbons at The Hive recording studio in Burnaby BC the following year, the band recorded their self-titled debut album, the release re-working tracks from the previous EP and new slices of psychedelically touched stoner spawned rock ‘n’ roll. 2012 saw the band place in the top three, out of 400 entries, in the 99.3 The Fox annual SEEDS competition which led them to supporting Monster Truck at Vancouver’s The Commodore Ballroom, a stage which subsequently saw the band returning often to sharing space with the likes of Chevelle, Matt Mays, Danko Jones and Steel Panther over time. Released at the tail of last year, Blood From A Stone reinforces and stretches the band’s stature and potency with four tsunamis of creative power and hungry riffery, the release a wake-up call for a still sleeping world to the band’s tremendous potential and presence.

      We Hunt Buffalo opens up the EP with its title track, a song which from a restrained sonic mesh of guitar acidity canters into an coverinstant attention grabbing proposition, fuzz cloaked riffs and crisp rhythms leading the imagination into an evolving and enveloping stoner grooved almost doom based embrace. The vocals are as impressive and appealing as the sound, their expressive and earnest clean pleas openly magnetic within the squalling incendiary smog of fuzz and sonic invention. Essences of Black Tusk come to mind briefly during the excellent track’s persuasion but with its dirty climate and roughened touch the adventure creates an evocation of sound purely down to the Canadians.

    The bouncing yet heavy weight opener is followed by an equally energetic suasion in Cobwebs. A blues soaked flame of guitar veins the merger of military seeded drum beats and the tempestuous sonic scuzziness drifting across and drenching every note. Vocally the delivery takes a slower mesmeric radiance, Forsythe and Simpson blending for a resourceful and compelling mix within the fiery breath of the song. There is a Palms essence to the track, something which reappears again later in the EP but again an essence which is merely a radiant spice in a distinctive and unique recipe. You admittedly would not say song or EP is setting new avenues for stoner and heavy weighted rock but certainly it offers something strikingly fresh and individual to We Hunt Buffalo.

     Hometown taps a stronger vein of southern blues in its flame of guitar, the sultriness of its charm evolving into shards of heat and invention through the slowly strolling reflection of stoner fire and emotive ambience. We mentioned Palms earlier but maybe more so a Deftones embrace wraps this track through the atmospheric and evocative intensity dripping from every chord and syllable of the excellent track. It is a hypnotic incitement with punch and inventive endeavour to contrast with and add to the immersive journey into the depths of the song, excellently crafted twists and imaginative nuances working away at the senses on route.

     The triplets of outstanding tracks become four with the closing Telepathic Eyes, an arguably cleaner faced meeting though also not adverse to a healthy dose of fuzz permeated enticement. It is another slow and smouldering piece of melodic rock with blooming stoner flavouring, a fire of sound and temptation which retains the release on the same impressive plateau it started on and held. Blood From A Stone is one of those stoner cast treats you hanker for time and time again, and We Hunt Buffalo a band the world will be eagerly aware of sooner rather than later on the evidence of this.

http://www.wehuntbuffalo.com

http://wehuntbuffalo.bandcamp.com/album/blood-from-a-stone

9/10

RingMaster 12/02/2014

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Ambassadors of Shalom – Abdicate Self

Ambassadors of Shalom

     Thirteen tracks of mouthwatering old school punk with a crate load of hooks and barbed riffs to entice any appetite, Abdicate Self the new album from UK Christian punks Ambassadors of Shalom is a thrilling introduction to the band and its blaze of Evangelistic punk rock. Hailing from the North West of England, the trio of guitarist/vocalist Neil Roddy, bassist/vocalist Pete Field, and drummer Joe Wilson challenge and evoke thoughts with a hungry punk invention which just as easily ignites the imagination and emotions. The songs on the album are well seeded and versed in the ways of original punk rock, each providing a thoroughly satisfying anthemic bait, but also each comes with an individual adventure to bring an identity singular to the band.

    Ambassadors of Shalom was formed in the January of 2012 after an acoustic gig in Stoke community centre and from there took little time in grabbing the attention and passions of local fans. In August the same year, the band signed with Californian label Thumper Punk Records with Abdicate Self the new impressive offering. The album is one of those enjoyable encounters which seems familiar but just as potently finds a new intriguing presence. From the opening track Astray, the Tim Davies (Brohnis Music) recorded and produced release picks on the ears and imagination with a flurry of incisive and virulently effective hooks and riffs. The first song makes for an energetic antagonist from its first breath, guitars stirring up the air whilst the bass lays down a shadowed prowl which only recruits an immediate appetite. Crisp rhythms around the lead and backing calls of Roddy and Field respectively next engage before the song pulls all into an enthused riot of invention and contagion. It is a masterful and irresistible lure into the release, an invitation forcibly backed by the remaining vivacious body of the album.

     This Ain’t Home stokes up the hunger next with a starting anthemic bait of rhythms which the guitar subsequently crafts a 1908240_671390592925450_835805858_ncaustic sonic wash with bluesy flames onto. It is a sultry raw sound complemented by the charge of clean riffery and rhythmic enticement which splits the blaze of sonic heat. Though not as potent as its predecessor the song keeps the album rigidly in focus with ease before both Jesus Said and United We Stand offer their scuzz kissed storms of punk evocation. The first is a scowling yet warm mesh of stirring noise which crosses the senses like a mix of Angelic Upstarts and The Adicts whilst the second is an equally pleasing street punk brawl of anthemic vocals and coarse alluring riffs. Both songs have an intensity which draws attention and thoughts even if slightly lacking the richness of barbs and grooves found elsewhere upon Abdicate Self.

    Both the UK Subs/Crisis like Break ‘Em Out and the groove veined Opposite The Enemy keeps things boiling nicely, the pair forceful yet respectful slices of resourceful punk urgency and invention, before the release flicks up a gear starting with the ridiculously catchy We Don’t Need It. One of those songs you only need to hear the first line of the chorus once to be bitten and soon joining in with its declaration, it is a brief but meaty slab of punk beckoning setting up the emotions for the likes of the excellent Death By Love and equally impressive Blamethrower. The first of this pair scowls and stomps with a raw causticity to the vocals and a Sex Pistols like draw to its sound, and though arguably the song is the least unique on the album it is one of the most potent and eventful, not forgetting thrilling. Its successor loaded with the strongest imagination of the whole release is just as compelling, a Melvins like texture grazing the senses whilst hooks and seductive temptation teases like a mix of The Vibrators and Suburban Studs.

    A punk version of the hymn Nothing But The Blood follows and is an exceptional and unexpected treat before the album’s finest moments arrive, starting with the outstanding Julia. Hooks and a rhythmic dance of sinew soaked in ripe energy kicks things off before the song settles into an inciting and persistently shifting venture. Its groove and riotous hooks easily reminds of the Ruts whilst the surrounding less intensive but eager rock brew around accentuates the pull of those other incisive elements.

    The album is concluded by the exciting and rousing Victory before finally the combative and antagonist glory of the album’s best track, It Is Finished brings one impressively enjoyable encounter to a close. Abdicate Self is not only Christian punk at its best, but for anyone wary of that tag, it is punk rock at its best. Ambassadors of Shalom have unleashed a debut which sees the band closely tailing most other frontline punk provocateurs.

https://www.facebook.com/AmbassadorsOfShalom

8.5/10

RingMaster 12/02/2014

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Among Gods – Malstrøm

     AG

     Giving a potent sizeable teaser of their impending second album Monument, Norwegian death metallers Among Gods have just released Malstrøm , the first single from the new full-length. It is a great groaning slab of captivating metal which sparks intrigue and imagination for the upcoming PRC Music released album. It is admittedly not an explosive encounter, not a force to bring knees to the floor and senses to heel, but with a stalking predation and inventive sonic weave the song certainly leaves an appetite for the bigger narrative to come.

     Hailing from Bergen, the band started as a solo side-project for vocalist Ripper (Syrach) in 2010. The following year saw Among Gods expand to a quintet with the addition of guitarists Broke (ex-Arvas, Vithr) and Andrea Costanzo (Syrach) on guitars, bassist Remi Skråmestø (ex-Arvas), and drummer Ivan Rolstad (Vinterbris, Neoplasma). Working on and recorded their self-titled debut album across the rest of the year its well-received unleashing was followed with a vinyl release in late 2012. Reducing to the threesome of Ripper, Broke, and Ivan thereafter, Among Gods returned to the studio last year to begin bringing Monument to life, its emergence scheduled for May this year.

    The entrance of the single, like its overall presence, is restrained and steady but soaked in a rapacious intensity and atmosphere among_gods_logo_lowwhich intimidates and invites full focus. A rhythmic coaxing starts it off before the guitar winds a sonic lace of sound around the senses.  It is instantly engaging bait soon joined by the burly coarse vocals of Ripper, his tones initially overwhelming the enjoyment already bred by the emerging sounds but eventfully falling into intrusive place. The prime groove which flirts with the imagination is a delicious lure and the strongest potency within the song but with Broke’s guitar craft and the ever badgering rhythms of Ivan taunting and teasing the imagination, the track is an imposing, dramatic, and malevolently engrossing proposition.

     The one concern rising from the song is the production, which maybe can just be put down to the digital copy received here, its touch meandering in quality across the length of the track with certain moments soaked in up front clarity and others, like the vocals, seeming like they are drifting in a distant landscape. If the song is a demo cut, than all is good and anticipation for the album is ripe but if that aspect is the final glaze than a little uncertainty raises questions ahead of Monument. Nevertheless Malstrøm is a strongly satisfying and fascinating encounter helping spark a definite appetite for Among God’s sophomore album.

https://www.facebook.com/amonggods

7.5/10

RingMaster 12/02/2014

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

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