Axis Mundi – Sci-Curious

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If debut album Chapel Perilous was the gas cloud holding the seeds to their genesis and the Science Junkie live single the spark to their expulsion, Sci-Curious is the big bang thrusting UK’s sound adventurers Axis Mundi into global recognition. An incendiary merger of aggressive rock, voracious rave, and untethered dubstep just to suggest some of its blistering invention, the band’s second album is a coming of age, a realisation of the potency in songwriting and sound which tempted before whilst breeding another strain of potential to even greater heights. A roaring celebration of science with insatiable riffs, hooks, and melodic predation, the album puts an already irrepressible proposition into the arms of essential investigation and devouring.

The trio of drummer Matt and guitarist/vocalist Gary Frewin with lead vocalist Shaun Garner first emerged in late 2008, taking little more than a year to become rated as one of the top upcoming bands in the UK. Originally a quartet, Axis Mundi earned an acclaimed reputation for their live performances and emerging songs. Already holding a passionate appetite and exploratory intrigue for all things science and its battle against the likes of politics, religion, and apathy, the Hinckley band worked closely with best-selling science author and New Scientist writer Michael Brooks during his election campaign against Hinckley and Bosworth MP David Tredinnick. Their first EP Find the Others caught strong waves of attention but it was with Chapel Perilous that the band really sparked a wider appetite for their sounds within the underground scene and subsequently more established media spotlights. Sci-Curious though makes it all seem like just the appetiser before its own main meal.

Through an attention raising Introduction, the album erupts with the instantly transfixing and highly animated opening shimmering of Sci-Curious-CoverE-Bomb. Synths merge on the senses with sonically drenched colour and vivacity from its first breath, tempting the senses in league with increasingly tantalising sounds. Into its energetic and fiery stride the track dances around ears with a dervish like enthusiasm before settling into a more relaxed stroll within which the melodic tones of Shaun unveil the song’s narrative as infectious guitar toxins bred by Gary entwine their shadowed bait around the imagination. The sounds are as provocative as the lyrical view and its look at the turning away from scientific truths from those which choose to be blind. A masterful blend of electro alchemy and compelling heavy rock, the track is a magnetic tempest setting the album off to a tremendous start.

It is a potent entrance swiftly taken to another level by Movie In The Mind which emerges from the finale of the previous treat. Like a side show barker, Shaun coaxes in thoughts as a great niggling rub of guitar skirts his tones. The rhythms of Matt join the revelry soon after, his precise jabs adding to the unpredictable and intriguing showmanship of the song’s initial gambit. Just as immediate is the contagious air to the track, its irresistible call wrapping every note and syllable of the punk and metal kissed canvas beneath the subsequent rampantly swirling keys. Whereas the its predecessor had a feel of the Pendulum to its character, this plays at times like a rapacious merger of Pop Will Eat Itself and Enter Shikari, though as with the first song Axis Mundi have developed their sound to a point that first thoughts are always of the band itself when describing any of its distinct aspects.

The album continues to stir up hunger and passions with its might and established band sound as Science Junkie steps into view next. A favourite of seemingly everyone upon its release as a live track a while ago, the trio have understandably relinquished some of the unbridled urgency and rabidity which marked the original release with a greater adventure and melodic clarity on the album. The track still gallops like a stallion in heat, keys and guitars brewing up a techno maelstrom which is impossible to escape. As it sways, lurches, and climbs all over the senses you can almost see the invention of the song pulsating through its veins, its sonic blood rushing around the hypnotic hooks and seductive melodies which parade relentless across its ravenous body as glorious vocal harmonies between Shaun and Gary caress like a devious temptress. The track is a ridiculously thrilling encounter soon rivalled by the enthralling and confrontational rocker Shut Down The Rave. Feisty guitars and more sinewy toned vocals lead the track into another variation within the release, it in many ways a more straight forward course of electronic metal and rock but with plenty, like the acidic scythes of guitar and flowing evocative key sculpted hues, to steal the imagination all over again. With an antagonistic climax which smells of Rage Against The Machine at their best before a final bloom of seducing melodies, the song is a magnificent incitement.

As undeniable impressive as the album is already, the next stretch of songs secures its status as a classic protagonist. Springing from an informative sample, their use another pleasing additive to the album, The Astounding Fact unleashes almost ten minutes of heart racing, bone juddering invention but equally it involves elegant and sweetly melodic caresses between rabid outbreaks of predacious ravishment. Consistently evolving into and involving further anthemic strolls and almost Manic Street Preacher-esque like croons the ingenious provocative and unpredictable storm alone shows just how far the band has come in its songwriting, musical skills, and mischievous designs. It is just the start though as both What Do You Get? and Little Stories Of Discovery climb up to yet another plateau of persuasion. The first plays with that earlier carnival like premise of Movie In The Mind, though its intensive menacing onslaught of initial rhythms and guitar around discord blessed keys is a differing frightening prospect. Once the vocals enter to stir up air and lyrical dirt, a deranged fairground essence seeps into the riveting equation, wonderfully darkly tainted verses inspiring thoughts of Insane Clown Posse more than one or twice. Switching with a chorus cast in melodic rock, the song is a puppeteer of shadows and passions, the best track on the album though straight away challenged by its brilliant successor. It is a psyche /indie rocker which leaps and swaggers with the relish and craft of a Reuben and a Bloc Party aligned to the melodic craft of a Feeder, though despite those references the bewitching slice of invention is again uniquely and irrepressibly all Axis Mundi.

The album carries on enslaving thoughts and emotions though maybe not to the same heights such the brilliance of earlier songs but certainly the rich and welcomingly bruising rock endeavour of Only Genes Can Judge Me and the jagged reggae inspired canter of The Gospel According To Science steal their very fair share of the passions with their highly accomplished and skilfully coloured tales whilst the closing New Scientist brings one final undiluted festival of dancefloor igniting voracity. Within all the tracks the band again thrusts a middle finger to expectations with their enchanting harmonies and reserved melody fuelled breezes within diverse tempestuous stomps, and all constant instigators of feet and passions.

Sci-curious is an exceptional kaleidoscopic offering which takes Axis Mundi into a whole new realm of quality and instinctively invigorating adventure. You can only hope and suspect that the world will take intensive notice of the UK trio as they and the album dive into an insatiable rampage which maybe even scientific doubters will find no resistance for.

The self- released Sci-curious will be released on June 1st

http://www.axismundionline.com

9/10

RingMaster 16/05/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Mongrel – Evolution

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Towards the end of last year US punk metallers Mongrel released the single Snakes to provide a very appetising taster for their next EP whilst simultaneously reconfirming themselves as unique and passionate provocateurs of antagonistic punk rock and dirty metal. The band now unleashes that highly anticipated Evolution EP, a release which surely places them on the precipice of a well-deserved intensive world spread spotlight. Sealing a spot on an impending cover mounted CD of the renowned Terrorizer magazine as well, The Boston quartet are poised to make the next big step in recognition. It is an ascent their releases have threatened to spark for the past couple of years but it is easy to feel and expect that Evolution will be the potent fuse that achieves the breakthrough.

Formed in 2003 by guitarist Adam Savage, Mongrel has earned themselves the reputation of one of the hardest working and increasingly acclaimed bands in the underground of metal and punk rock. Each one of their releases has thrust the band on another lofty step though it was the addition of vocalist Jessica Sierra in 2010 where things truly clicked into place and the arguably dormant fire in their already impressive sound and presence erupted. From The New Breed of Old School EP of that year through the following Declamation EP in 2011, there was a new potency and venom on the grooves, hooks, and rhythms which core Mongrels’ invention. Alongside these successes the band live has earned a reputation most bands could only dream of, their sharing of stages with the likes of GWAR, Korn, Otep, Sepultura, Prong, Halestorm, Wednesday13, Fu Manchu, Dizzy Reed, Misfits FEAR, Blitzkid, Trashlight Vision, Michale Graves, Mindset X and hordes more garnering tides of fans and recognition. The Reclamation album of 2012 saw the band ascend to new heights in songwriting and imagination which now Evolution pushes further forward. Recorded with Jim Foster (POD, Nullset, Sully Erna), mixed by Dave Fortman (Slipknot, Evanescence, Godsmack), and mastered by Howie Weinberg, (Metallica, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pantera), the EP is a stirring anthemic brawl which is as contagious and addictive as it is raw and lyrically uncompromising.

Snakes opens things up and as soon as the initial controlled blaze of guitar from Savage hits the ears there is a sense of impending infection which is soon confirmed by the crisp beats of drummer Mike Hogan and even more so by the riveting vocals of Sierra. With the pulsating bass groan from Michael Ariza added to the mix, the song is rapidly into a potent stride heading towards its virulently compelling chorus. The band takes little time in enslaving the imagination, treating it further with a seamless drift into a smouldering sultry passage with emotive guitar rubs and a glow to the voice of Sierra, a lady who seems to own ears, thoughts, and songs whether she is roaring with antagonism or seducing like a temptress. Building up its energy and passions throughout the lighter flight, the song creates a dramatic crescendo of a finale which leaves appetite licking lips and emotions looking at a lustful hunger.

Mongrel have a certain distinct sound which never deceives its source but within that the band with Evolution seems to be exploring their punk side this time around, the first song giving a major hint which the following Oxygen Mask elaborates on within a still heavily insatiable metal toxicity. An acidic groove hits ears first, though rhythms and a great gritty bassline is courting its coaxing. Pulled together by the commanding vocals, the track twists through a predatory intensity and gait, Savage spearing the air with metallic vines of sonic bait. Persistently turning with singular moments for the bass and guitars to flirt with ears, the song recalls essences of Siouxsie and the Banshees, certainly if they had embraced metal. Imposing but respectfully forceful the track backs up the immense start easily even if without matching its heady heights.

That first plateau is equalled by Consumed; a deliciously abrasive enticement of caustic hooks and senses burrowing grooves. Guitars worm under the skin within seconds with rhythms swinging punches soon after, the combination a hungry platform for the dark hearted bass sounds and rich vocals to colour their canvas. Unleashing a swagger to match the almost brutal energy, the song stomps with epidemic irresistibility, those spiteful grooves especially inescapable whilst sonic hues sculpted by Savage in an engrossing solo provide further rigorous colour to the outstanding incitement.

Best Revenge has the hard task to follow the triumph which it does with a rawer hostile punk enticement, the bass finding a carnivorous throat to its presence and the guitar a combative attitude to its riffs and squalling flames. Once again though it is caged by great controlled rhythm work by Hogan and led by the expressive might of Sierra. The track is not as immediate as others on Evolution but emerges as another pinnacle with punk nostrils flaring and metallic muscles challenging.

The release is concluded with another sizeable success with the riotously catchy Over And Over. An addiction forging bassline sparks ears first before riffs and rhythms cascade upon the lure to build a rampant canter of punk rock. Hooks and grooves from both stringed antagonists grip with a constant temptation whilst Sierra swings syllables and intent into their barbed scenery with the expected but never under-appreciated skill and passion she brews. It is an exhilarating conclusion to a tremendous encounter, leaving ears, thoughts, and passions bursting with greed for more.

Guiding their sound to a side step in many ways from that taking Reclamation to such heights, Evolution stands side by side with its predecessor’s undoubted success and quality, though with a heart for well-crafted punk rock if pushed the EP shades it. What is clear for all though is that Mongrel just goes from strength to strength whilst evolving with a constant flair and voraciously appetising enterprise. It really is about time the band was known worldwide and Evolution might just be the trigger.

Evolution is available on iTunes on May 20th and via all major online retailers and streaming services from June 3rd with physical copies available through Mongrel, Unable Records and Amazon.

http://www.MongrelBand.com

http://mongrel.bandcamp.com

9.5/10

RingMaster 16/05/2014

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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Zero-Eq – Fall EP

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If you are looking for some easily accessible synth pop which is just as potently offering new intriguing promise then you can do a great deal worse than heading over to the Fall EP frim Italian trio Zero-Eq. Consisting of five virulently infectious and persistently enterprising songs with a quartet of highly pleasing remixes, the release is a sparkling electronic endeavour of emotive shadows and captivating melodies which you can easily envisage inviting an intensive spotlight upon the band.

It is fair to say that there is nothing particularly ground-breaking in sound upon the seemingly eighties inspired encounter, if Depeche Mode was not an inspiration to the band we would be staggered, but it is just as valid to say that few synth pop bred releases in recent times have thrilled and sparked the imagination as rigorously as Fall does. It is a colourful and imperiously seductive proposition which makes feet and attention a submissive volunteer with great ease but it also leaves a lingering bait of invention and craft which has thoughts and appetite engaged well beyond its departure. It is a release which cannot be placed on the top table of the genre it is spawned from but for enjoyment and rich potential band and EP sit on the frontline of pleasure.

Hailing from Roma, Zero-Eq was originally a duo before the line-up of Phenix (guitar, synthesizers, vocals), IO (lead vocals, synth), and Zero-Eq - Fall E.P.Tyler (bass, synth bass) came together. A collection of early songs in the Greatest Hits 2003/2004 EP in 2005 was the band’s first venture though it seemingly has been kept under wraps whilst 2012 saw the release of their second EP Bugged Karma, a proposition which drew the band strong attention and acclaim home and beyond its borders. The year also saw the band emerge live to again pleasing reactions and appetites for their magnetic sounds. Fall is their next step and one which should bring another elevated twist in their ascent with its captivating qualities.

Erase starts things off, its opening sample and haunted noise a swift temptation for the imagination before emerging pulsating sounds further coaxes ears and senses. Synths pounce with a confident air and robust energy within the still subdued yet forceful gait, a keen canter which embraces the excellent dark vocal tones of IO. His voice even with an effect glazed production has a certain Dave Gahan tone whilst musically the song crowds shadows and subsequent melodic flames into a thick tapestry of seducing adventure and enthralling suasion. It is a song which does not explode into anything more than a keen invitation but does not need to as its infectious charm and imaginative hooks refuse to be ignored.

The following Never let you in is similar in many ways, its stance another emotive premise with darkened hues which permeates rather than seizes thoughts and emotions. Again a Depeche Mode essence is a vibrant spice to the song’s transfixing body, adding richer flavour to the evocative narrative simmering perfectly within a chilled but conducive ambience. Like its predecessor the track has a firm hold on a by now hungry appetite which the title track moves in next to reveal its presence to. The opening discord blessed twang of sound is soon pushed aside by a gloriously vivacious and urgent stomp of electro enticement, its pop bred smile and energy sparking thoughts of Blancmange and in some ways Modern English with its insatiable hooks and electro grooves. The track is a mesmeric instigator of feet and passions, a song you know dance floors will be greedy over.

Negative Changes provides an arguably larger emotive presence than previous songs, its melodies and expressive keys weaving a rich and expansive landscape within which vocals and melodies play with a festivity of spirit. The mix of vocals from IO and Phenix is a captivating move whilst the bass seduction of the track simply engrosses to the point of lustful recognition. Like so many of the songs on the EP it is certainly not out of its time but you just know that if it and others were released in the birthing days of synth pop they would be stealing the limelight from lesser talents.

Inside My Head emerges as another quite irresistible incitement, its rawer burn of rock guitar and throaty bass a masterful tempering and complement to the flaming chorus which it has to be said has a definite touch of early Duran Duran to it. Flexing muscles and oozing charm from start to finish the track is a scintillating and stimulating triumph showing yet another edge to the sound and creativity of the band.

As mentioned the release is completed by four remixes by Retrogramme, Public Domain Resource, Lost Reality, and Klonavenus, for the title track, Erase, Halloween Inside, and Enemy respectively. All make for an intriguing and pleasing extra to the main course but play second fiddle to the main protagonists.

The Fall EP as said is not bursting with anything strikingly new but you have to ask if that really matters when it sounds and feels this good.

The Fall EP is available digitally and on CD through Space Race Records from May 23rd.

https://zeroeqofficialpage.bandpage.com/

8.5/10

RingMaster 16/05/2014

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