Old Ivy – The Greater Mind


old ivy

     With more angst to their melodic hardcore than a horde of hormonal teenagers, Belgian band Old Ivy make a striking announcement of intent with debut EP The Greater Mind. Released via GIANT MKT, the four track incitement is a promising and dramatic introduction to the Ruddervoorde quintet. It is a little bit of a mixed bag, at times simply feeding expectations with skilled and passionate quality and in other moments sparking the imagination with an exploration and adventure you can only hope the band pursue ahead. Overall though it is an intriguing and captivating tempest with plenty of potential in the band suggesting strong times ahead.

    Old Ivy began in 2011, formed by guitarists Cedrik Smalle and Kevin De Cock. Initially the line-up was unstable as various members joined the founding duo but once vocalist Arnaud Stroef joined in 2012 and drummer Frederic Van Zandycke alongside bassist Luarent Huys a year later, the band found a potent completion to its presence and emerging sound. Live the band has earned a strong reputation, sharing stages with the likes of The Homeless and Meet The Storm around mainland Europe. Now with the signing to their label and the unleashing of their first provocation, Old Ivy stand poised to push their presence into a wider spotlight. It is not a startling first encounter that The Greater Mind offers but certainly one to mark out the band as worthy of attention.

    As mentioned earlier the EP is a mix of success, though a success nevertheless, and it is the first two songs which make the least a4135584323_2imposing impression on senses and thoughts. It is fair to say that both Flawless and The Northern Wind are fine enveloping and evocatively delivered propositions but do lack the spark of adventure and uniqueness which blesses the final pair of the songs, these the strongest evidence that Old Ivy can step aside of similarly driven bands. Flawless drifts in on a scenic ambience, a lone melancholic guitar making the initial emotive stroking of the imagination before being joined by the other equally soulful stringed suasion. The vocals of Stroef drip pain and unrest with his squalls as they bring the lyrical narrative into the equation. Skirted by firm rhythms and similarly sturdy bass incitement, the song wraps its emotive design around ears and thoughts before breaking into the second track. As its predecessor the song stirs up air and senses with craft and passion if without igniting something individual to the Old Ivy. The Northern Wind does delve into a deeper vat of emotive expression and intense anxiety, sonically and lyrically, providing a formidable encounter with the variety of vocals, absent in the first, an especially pleasing proposition to temper the regular acidic delivery of Stroef.

    The strength and potency of release and band just ignites with the appearance of Earthling. The best track on The Greater Mind with ease it is an inventive and imagination affair which from its opening urgent riffs and restrained vocal causticity wakes a greater hunger in the emerging appetite for the band. A contagious groove aligns itself to that elevated energy and gait of the song, its eager unpredictability and lively rapaciousness an irresistible seduction for ears and imagination. There is also a distinctly different and immersive drama to the song which was missing before, it’s stalking intimidation and intensively descriptive textures corrupting and embracing. It is a masterful piece of songwriting and realisation providing the noisiest inventive suggestion that there is much more in the band to be discovered and pushed.

   Abyss closes up the encounter in fine style too, the guitar scrubbing of ears at first an inviting if worrisome beckoning that expands into an emotionally searing cast of sonic hues and melodic provocation, all led by the caustic vocals. A web of adventurous rhythms brings another magnetic toxicity to the absorbing and consumptive smothering whilst the less pronounced, compared to the last song, but still clear desire to twist and stretch the band’s invention only strengthens the engagement of song and potential of the band.

    The Greater Mind may not have you shouting from rooftops about Old Ivy but it will warm up an eager anticipation of their next move, especially if it explores the same avenues as the last pair of songs on the EP do. bottom line is that this is a band definitely worth paying attention to.




RingMaster 21/03/2014

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Madder Than A Full Moon Dog DVD

dvd cover

     Lunacy, mayhem, and most of all a celebration of heavy metal and of a lost brother to the genre, Madder Than A Full Moon Dog is one of those films and experiences you come out of feeling you were there and part of something special. Filmed at the UK’s Full Moon Dog Festival in 2012, the DVD throws sweat, noise, and passion at the senses, all rolled up in the love of one of metal’s charismatic frontmen.

     Held at the Cockpit in Leeds, the 2012 Full Moon Dog Festival shows you via the film everything a major festival does not have, the intimacy and unbridled passion of the bands, organisers, and fans united in one purpose, music and celebration. Bringing a mix of live performances, interviews, and back stage antics, there is no selfish intent or endeavour to the occasion which in itself makes the event and film a refreshing encounter. Though not surprising, the affection for Jay-Jay Winter, one of the founders and vocalist/bassist of Asomvel, just fires up the emotions as the camera takes the viewer right into the heart of the festival. Sadly taken from the world in 2010 in a road accident, Asomvel and UK metal was hit hard by the loss of one of the most potent metal protagonists but picked themselves up with the presence of the man still by their side. The event celebrates and parties with his spirit as a host of bands and fans revel in his inspiration and the muscular arms of heavy energy dealing rock ‘n’ roll.

  Conan Asomvel  Directed by Deborah Louise Robinson, the Wienerworld released film also brings a rare and honest glimpse into the world of heavy metal, uniting those on and before the stage in a sinew clad rampage of passion drenched, fire bred metal. From the opening slice of the Asomvel track Full Moon Dog followed by their live performance of Stone Cold Stare, the film thrusts the viewer into live madness and back-stage tomfoolery. Across 83 minutes the likes of Orange Goblin, Mercenary, and of course Asomvel, amongst a great many, recall with relish their times and adventures with Winter to interviewer Rob Webb whilst Toby Craven-Griffiths takes his microphone into the fans for similarly celebratory anecdotes, proving that the man was one of us and a personal friend with so many of the attendees. Smiles and mischief are never absent from playing in front of the camera either, and not all alcohol fuelled, as people throw themselves into the show to eagerly relate their own individual meetings and ventures with Winter.

    The live footage is impressive and powerful, bands such as Stiletto Farm, the band of Winter’s nephew Stel, Mercenary, Dark Forest, Triaxis, Stuka Squadron, and Screaming Eagles unleashing all their sound and passion to enflame the fevered crowds. There are no weak moments in quality and energy from all performances but certainly some moments stand out as a lingering memory; the sight of seeing and feeling Asomvel unleashing Stone Cold Stare and Eliminator scorching air with We Rule the Night sending shivers down the spine whilst Orange Goblin uncaging Round Up the Horses just proves that British metal still rules.Stiletto Farm

   Hilarious, poignant, and thoroughly compelling, the DVD leaves you almost as exhausted as those involved and just as wholly satisfied. It is an outstanding insight to a small and important festival, to the weight and potency of British metal, and the comradeship of its creators lost and present. Not many live DVDs/films truly capture the essence and nature of the beast like Madder Than A Full Moon Dog, which makes its masterful and no holds barred look at the heart of metal even more irresistible and an urgent investigation for all metallers.


Live performances track listing:

· “Full Moon Dog” – Asomvel

· “Stone Cold Stare” – Asomvel

· “Death before Dishonour” – Stiletto Farm

· “Black Shadow” – Mercenary

· “The Wizard of Alderley Edge” – Dark Forest

· “Stand for Something” – Orange Goblin

· “We Rule the Night” – Eliminator

· “Drudgery” – Asomvel

· “Black Trinity” – Triaxis

· “Round Up the Horses” – Orange Goblin

· “Tales of the Ost” – Stuka Squadron

· “Blow Me” – Screaming Eagles

· “They Come Back” – Orange Goblin

· “Womb to the Tomb” – Asomvel

Spirit of Jay-Jay


RingMaster 21/03/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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