Johnny Wore Black – Walking Underwater

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     Having richly impressed with a quartet of singles which were as emotively potent as they were compellingly crafted, UK rock band Johnny Wore Black finally release debut album Walking Underwater to complete the seduction and seal the long term capture of the passions. We say finally as it seems like it has been a long time in making, though maybe it is just the greedy anticipation which was bred from the first single that made it seem so. The ten track release is a mouthwatering and enthralling evocation of melodic rock with tinges of metal. At times it simmers and coaxes with lively emotional embers and in other moments blazes with sonic flames and vivacious endeavour, searing the hairs lining the ears. Whichever the character of songs, each one engages and absorbs senses and thoughts with a suggestive spark and provocative texture for a quite mesmeric and thrilling adventure.

     Johnny Wore Black is the solo project of former Hollywood stuntman Johnny Jay (Jay Coen). The former leading force of The Jay Harley Band, the London based songwriter/producer has carved an invigorating and eagerly accepted presence with his refreshing sounds, in the last couple of years especially with the release of exciting singles which sparked a greater acceleration in his rise within the British rock scene. Jay has equally built a strong reputation with his collaborations, one which has specifically been spawned through Johnny Wore Black being a union with David Ellefson from Megadeth. Walking Underwater again brings the writing and musical skills of the pair together, their union ripe with organic power and commanding suasion. Produced by Grammy Award winning producer David Bottrill and featuring clips from his Jay’s father’s seminal 1960s documentary The London Nobody Knows, the March 28th released Walking Underwater is Part 1 of a bigger entity, with the second 10 song part scheduled for this coming autumn, each containing two of the four outstanding singles which have already marked out the project for hungry attention.

     The encounter opens with Different Shades which bursts into the ears after the first of the evocative samples taken from the coveraforementioned film, each splice of cinema making a highly stimulating impact and link between songs. The track initially entices the ears with a single melodic dance on the imagination before further guitar caresses gently add their stroking alongside a velvety dark bassline aligned to firm beats. It is an instantly riveting beckoning which increases its lure as the strong and expressive vocals of Jay weave in with the lyrical narrative. That earlier mentioned smoulder is at work from the start of song and album, its mesmeric touch and seductive breath permeating thoughts and feelings whilst brewing up to a muscular finale with an almost accusing edge to its passion.

    It is a magnetic start to the release soon matched and surpassed by All the Rage. The song is the first of the previous singles from Johnny Wore Black, the debut release which was originally released in conjunction with Help For Heroes to raise funds for Help for Heroes and Combat Stress. Once again the entrance is restrained and poetically alluring, a sonically crafted melody and evocative atmosphere wrapping the senses before the vocals and fuller breath of the track encloses the ears. As throughout the album there is a melancholic feel to the track but one which never snuffs out the light and hope of the song or its ambience.

    Up in Flames, another previous single follows next, it a slice of rock/metal excellence which still makes the strongest persuasion even after a horde of listens. Riffs and rhythms make a firm and compulsive frame for the contagious draw of excellent vocals which combine with the melodic weave of imagination, glowing feisty bait poised to erupt with its metallic sinews and infection soaked energy across the resourceful and flavoursome stroll of rock ‘n’ roll. Everything from the bordering on sombre initial coaxing to the climactic eruptions is perfection; the track one of the best heavy/melodic rock compositions in recent years.

   Both So Dusted and The Battle continue the impressive temptation, the first an atmospheric reflection of shadows with a warm melodic breeze for company and the second from a shimmering summoning of the imagination, evolves its shadowed heart and sonic portrait into a darker unleashing of fiery passion. The pair though very different in appearance, share mutual melancholy which coats every note and seeps from each syllable offered by the heart bred tones of Jay.

   The acoustically shaped One & the Same steps up next to seduce and spark the listeners thoughts, the gentle sway and gait of the song lapping the imagination like waves on a lonely beach, one left in a shadow draped view with hypnotic aural scenery. Its slow pervading beauty is succeeded by the similarly chilled atmosphere of Cold Water, though as with all the songs there is enough warmth and melody spawned adventure to inspire hope to temper the lyrical dark. Though the pair of songs takes a little longer to secure the lingering ardour bred by other songs, the outcome is just as powerfully the same.

     The intrigue and mystique brought by What I Am entrances next, its noir almost sinister climate a deliciously rich hue to the pictorial mix of vocals and floating melodies. One more the contrast of shadows and light, emotionally and musically, is an open canvas for the listener to reflect and imagine within, the word alchemy applicable to the depth and power in his songs Jay achieves with the blend again gloriously shown in One Love Song. The track seduces from first breath to its last, a catchiness spawning from its chorus complementing and tempering the almost invasive dark eloquence and reserved yet potent drama of the song. It is a beautiful song if not stealing best track honours certainly sharing them.

    The closing Outside Looking In unleashes the sinews which have had to play second fiddle for the most to the scintillating melodies and inciting evocative textures which predominantly breed the album, not that the track lacks any of their fascination either. The song is a galvanic stride of energy and power with sonic captivation and melodic ingenuity. It offers a tremendous end to a scintillating release, one which gives melodic rock a new spellbinding creative fire to embrace. With essences comparable to bands such as A Perfect Circle, Deftones, Tool, and Porcupine Tree but sounding very little like any of them, Walking Underwater and Johnny Wore Black are one of the must investigations of the year now and ahead. Roll on Part 2 is all that is left to say.

http://www.johnnyworeblack.com/

9/10

RingMaster 27/02/2014

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Marla Mase – Half-Life

Marla Mase by Blair Bauer

Marla Mase by Blair Bauer

     Hailing from New York City, Marla Mase is a writer and performer, producer and singer songwriter who has earned a feisty and impressive reputation for her compelling songs and expressive lyrics amongst many things. Following two acclaimed and eagerly received albums, the artist unveils her new eight track adventure Half-life. Diverse and an emotive look inwardly and outwardly at life’s struggles, emotions, and obstacles, the album is a fascinating insight into the world of its creator, a release which takes a serious investigation to its themes whilst having and providing its most magnetic quality, fun.

     Mase as mentioned drew strong praise and attention with her previous releases, A Brief Night Out which was a rock opera/theatrical play performed in theatres and Speak, an encounter eclectic and adventurous in sound and imagination. The album also spawned Anna-Rexia (and a dub mix version by Bill Laswell), the song now spearheading the STAY ImPerfect Forever Project. Following the successful Speak Tour, ‘a multi-media theatrical event exploring the themes of body image exploitation, involuntary confinement, the silenced and the silent combining spoken word, video imagery, music, and theatrical spectacle to celebrate the raw reality of the human condition’, Half-Life reinforces and expands the emerging world presence of Mase with more of the incisive and unique invention already persuading her homeland.

    The release opens with the brilliant Drown in Blue, a bluesy punk stomp with fire breathing guitars and self-challenging Mm_HalfLIfeJacketprovocative vocals. Ripe with hooks and a swagger from the first second, the track glares at the senses with a raw and confrontational incitement of sound and attitude, the voice of Mase slightly Debbie Harry like and the song something which would not have been out of place on the first Blondie album. Self-critical and revelatory with an edge to its honesty which equally coaxes thoughts of bands like L7 and Au Pairs, the track is a full and irresistible captivation.

   The impressive start is followed by the mesmeric title track, a hypnotic rhythmically framed lure with a celestial ambience and seductive pop rock elegance. The song gently strolls across the senses through to thoughts, the drums of Mike Faulkner providing the guide rail to prevent being lost with the skyward spiralling melodies amidst blazes of jazz bred sax from Mark Henry. After the provocative lively dance of the opener, the song is a warm breeze to drift along upon, a glide embracing the shadows and noir kissed caresses which line its journey and the excellent enthralling tones of Mase.

    Things That Scare Me (the 2014 Club Version) comes next bringing another twist in the release’s presence, the song a funk blessed tango which bounces and seduces with almost toxic charm and persuasion. Soon springing thoughts of The Tom Tom Club as it roams around the ears, Mase lists obstacles and ills which challenge her stride through life whilst the sounds darken and lighten with a pulsating and riveting mischief around her. The song provides another fully loaded contagion within the release, its presence offering a rampant exploit for any dancefloor or intimate dance of self-reflection within four staring walls with equal success.

    Next up The Heart Beats walks through a sultry ambience with a full yet simmering heat of passion and spoken incitement of thoughts, an almost meditative rhythmic holding of attention working with the prowess and strength of Mase’s words. Featuring Bill Laswell on bass, it is a provocative stroke again bringing a distinct and original twist in the course of the album, as does the melodic rock canter of Gaping Hole with its merger of blues and R&B, and not for the first or last time excellent backing vocals to support the unfussy delivery of Mase. Though neither song matches earlier and latter heights both seduce and provide a lingering suasion to find a greedy hunger for.

     After a blues soaked acoustically shaped reprise of the opening song, Bitch in Heat steps up to unveil another funk prone romp of blues and rock attitude. Including Charlie Funk on backing vocals and a great flame of harmonica from David Barnes, the track infects the imagination and passions with a confidence and exciting escapade of musical skill and eye to eye honesty, all wrapped in a slightly caustic and highly pleasing surface glaze.

    The True Groove production released album is completed by Hold Fast Your Dreams, a piano and vocal led enchantment written by Louise Driscoll, Roberta Mase, and Mase herself, the song taking inspiration from a poem by Driscoll of the same name. Also featuring Tomás Doncker, James Dellatacoma, Manu Koch, Josh David, Kevin Jenkins and more to help bring the release to life, Half-Life is an exciting companion providing constant unpredictability and creative adventure to ears and thoughts. Marla Mase is still a bit of a secret outside of the US to a great many but not for much longer you feel with treats like Half-Life.

http://marlamase.com/

8/18

RingMaster 27/02/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Atacama Death Experience – Wasted Time And Broken Bones

 

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     Like being drawn into the darkest dirtiest cess pool you can imagine and subsequently fighting against suffocation, listening to Wasted Time And Broken Bones the debut EP from Italian metallers Atacama Death Experience is an experience to fear but equally hanker after, its intimate intrusive violation comforting in a perverse kind of way. Consisting of four unrelenting fusions of doom and sludge metal with healthy, or should that be unhealthy, essences of crust, the encounter is an intensive corruption to introduce a striking and promising band by. With a sound tagged as nihilistic blues, the EP immerses the listener into a vat of pestilential ravishment, a debilitating swamp of riffs and grooves with more physical distortions than residents frequenting The Hills Have Eyes. It is certainly not a comfortable or merciful listen but one which is undoubtedly frighteningly compelling and intriguingly satisfying.

    Atacama Death Experience consists of bassist vocalist Romano Monero and drummer Antonio Iodice, the pair coming together in 2013. Combining and creating a monstrously striking and rewarding encounter from just bass and drums is not a first, Morkobot one impressive example, but the Rovereto hailing duo twist that union into a carnivorous and carnal sonic consumption of the senses which stands apart from most other similar two pronged invention. Wrapping lyrical themes of decay, anarchy, and drug experiences in this destructive provocation of sound, the Cimmerian Shade Recordings released Wasted Time And Broken Bones is simply a scourge but one which constantly you just want that little more of time and time again.

    Fleece Of Time starts things off with a savage appetite and presence; rhythms casting an iron clad net as the bass tones abrase WTBB_Coverand scour the senses trapped within. To say there is a scuzz bred sound to the bass comes nowhere near the reality, its throat and voice a demonic drone of noise and malevolence twisting riffs and grooves into one venomous and riveting malefaction. This infringement on sanity and peace is matched by the grizzly malicious vocal squalls of Monero, a union which converges on their victims with rapaciousness as hungry and unrelenting as a tsunami. The track is the hardest most brutal on the release but within its brawling maelstrom the rhythms of Iodice entice whilst repetitive grooves and hooks tease as they threaten to show their faces.

    The following Useless Blues opens with a swagger of a groove as psychedelic whispers drift across its brewing seduction. It is not long before that temptation takes a full and contagious flight with the drums in close and appealing attendance. The intensity and devastating oppression of the first song is reined in upon its successor, though intimidation and spite are never far from the vocals and the acid lined burn of a groove coring its infectious bait. Though from the same breeding, the song is openly diverse from its predecessor instantly showing variety and depth to the creativity and noise making of the band, next up Rotten Clouds offering yet another example though on the surface it feels closely related to the second song. Lumbering in its stalking of the senses, its sludge driven intensity and doom soaked breath like tar around the ears. The song again has a swagger or honest confidence to its gait which easily enthrals the imagination whilst bursts of frantic grooving and rhythmic explosiveness only add to the enjoyable onslaught inspiring a definite eager appetite to devour this enterprising animosity.

     Whereas Wasted Time And Broken Bones opened on its most difficult moment, the first track one to have newcomers fleeing from or embracing its ruinous presence, the title track leaves it on its loftiest plateau. Shamanic vocal calls and handclaps resound around the ears and senses setting things off unpredictably before the bass almost creeps into the mix and unveils a ridiculously addictive groove, its appeal soon matched by the rhythmic adventure of Iodice. With cleaner vocals opening up the lyrical narrative before the ignition of a furnace of energy and sonic heat, the track proceeds to unleash a continually inventive and twisting predation which snarls, savages, and seduces for the strongest irresistible part of the release.

    Wasted Time And Broken Bones is a startling entrance from Atacama Death Experience, one leaving good and less favourable scars but an introduction which gets better and stronger through each track whilst suggesting that the Italian band is a provocation to keep firmly on the radar.

https://www.facebook.com/AtacamaDeathExperience

http://atacamadeathexperience.bandcamp.com/

7.5/10

RingMaster 27/02/2014

 Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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