The Capsules – The Long Goodbye

the capsules pic

Having been seduced by US electro pop band The Capsules through their previous album Northern Lights & Southern Skies, anticipation for its successor The Long Goodbye has been excitable and at times impatient especially when having the honour of a sneak preview a short while ago, and the album does not let any expectations and hopes down now that it is finally ready to immerse the world into its mesmeric embrace. Its predecessor was an enthralling proposition which did not ignite a fire in the passions though it had them bubbling nicely with its enchanting charm and qualities; The Long Goodbye though does both. At times it has emotions and satisfaction simmering vivaciously but more often than not it leads them to raging flames of pleasure and rapture whilst revealing a thrilling evolution in the band’s sound, craft, and songwriting maturity.

Originally from Kansas but now Dallas based, The Capsules’ seeds began in high school with Julie and Jason Shields. Coming together to write music, it subsequently led to romance, marriage, and first band Shallow as well as the first bloom of their breath-takingly textured sounds. Next the pair enlisted drummer Kevin Trevino as they looked to expand and further refine their sound, a potent move resulting in the emergence of The Capsules. As the trio grew in sound and presence so did attention towards them, debut album Reverser sparking a focus upon them followed by two more increasingly captivating full-lengths before Northern Lights & Southern Skies brought in all into a much greater spotlight. Along the way the band has also grabbed an increasingly growing legion of fans including SpongeBob SquarePants creator Steven Hillenburg who asked them to write a song for the show. Understandable comparisons to the likes of Cocteau Twins, Blonde Redhead, Metric, Phantasmogram, and My Bloody Valentine have graced the band over releases and their performances with bands such as The Flaming Lips, Garbage, Mercury Rev, and Low, but it is honest to say that The Long Goodbye places the band into their own unique centre of attraction with its invigorating electronic caresses and seductive vocal temptations. Released via Saint Marie Records, the album quite simply is one ridiculously potent siren.

The entrancing flight of the album starts with The Beginning and its initial jangling enticement, guitars offering more tangible bait in 10364099_10152403884081346_7913373131760722158_nan increasingly immersive ambience bred by the keys. Instantly there is a whisper of drama to the song, a colourful essence which erupts into an eager breath to a lively and in comparison to its start, urgent stroll to the song. The crisp beats of Kevin bring a coaxing spine to the song as the increasingly mesmeric tones of Julie wrap and envelope the senses but it is the teasing melody crafted by Jason which lays down the strongest trap, its Altered Images intrigue, simulated by haunted yet warm harmonies, simply delicious. It is a rousing anthemic start to the album, a scenic evocative contagion which takes the imagination and passions into bright aural views.

Super Symmetry takes over and just as quickly has ears and thoughts transfixed with its expressive electro courting, its breath a mix of melancholy and elation. Julie’s voice smoulders as she glides over the minimalistic yet fully hued landscape of the song, noir kissed shadows and lapping incitements of melodies filling the unfussy and infectious premise. There is a hazy light which soaks the song, one which flirts as it soaks every note and syllable to help create a presence which simply absorbs mind and soul before making way for the thicker narrative of Monsters. Like the opener it has an eighties synth pop like spice to its cloudy wash of acidic guitar enterprise and smothering melodies, but truly comes alive when the band opens up its chorus with a rhythmic crescendo matched by elevated sonic flames.

Both the title track and Death Of A Comet steer the senses into a spatial climate, the first soaring with rapturous vocal flumes and magnetic rhythmic enticement within expansive and emotionally invasive weaves of keys laced together by the intricate guitar sewing of Jason. The second provides an initial emotional dawning which slowly spreads its colour and aural heart until finding itself casting a gentle stroll beneath a moonlit smile. Both tracks light up ears and air, bulging melodies aligned to soaring beauty and a spellbinding croon respectively showing just two more twists in the diversity seeding the songwriting and album, an aspect pushed again by the outstanding Hollywood. With a thick and glorious dark bass prowl stealing attention as the song radiates its entrancing suasion whilst again celestial flavouring breeds sonic fascination, the track is an impossibly beguiling and infectious flight into shadowed climes and compelling sunspots, much like its namesake.

The brooding grandeur of You Are A Metaphor keenly kisses ears next, again layers of dark and light converging into an enriching provocative ambience sculpted in reflection and thought, before being put in the shade just a little by Signals, a song where from its first scattering of Numan-esque trappings steals undiluted attention especially when it brings a heavier and no less welcome OMD expression to its electro stirring. Gripping and mouthwatering the song is itself just a very tasty appetiser for the highlight of the album, The Lonely End. The song is just majestic pop alchemy which stands as one of the best song unveiled this year. From its first strands of electro infection aligned to loudly vocal melodic emotion, the track swarms around seducing senses and imagination like a dark temptress, one needing no assistance but getting it with a just as potent sultriness from the fabulous tones of Julie. Robust but as finely crafted as porcelain, the spellbinding encounter with its earthy bass sound and scorched sonic guitar bred flames aligned to breath-taking melodies is simply stunning.

The height of its glory leaves songs like With Every Hour and Don’t Look Down which follow a thankless task but both without truthfully coming near still enrol the listener in a masterclass of picturesque melodies and imagination painting keys embraced in possessive harmonies and vocals. Neither song admittedly takes the bull by the horns either, both in distinct ways exploring their own independent emotional investigations without the same contagious toxins found elsewhere, though that virulence is soon rediscovered by the almost imposingly dramatic The Forgotten Days. There is a nagging essence and potency to the song which like a dog with a pig’s ear never relinquishes the instant hook it places in the passions early on. With guitars and drums steering the encounter as powerfully as the vocals, the track is a formidable provocateur, one which never truly explodes as expected but still provides a gem of an incitement.

The Long Goodbye closes with the excellent version of I Will Survive, a slowly awakening temptation which once more prefers to croon than romp but still finds a level of energy and enticement which leaves breath gasping. The song is one which has never found favour here but in the hand of The Capsules has become a firm favourite. The Long Goodbye is easily one of the special treats of the year so far suggesting that from being compared to many others The Capsules from this point on will be who others are compared to.

The Long Goodbye is available via Saint Marie Records now!


RingMaster 20/05/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Oruga – Blackened Souls


There is a chilling honesty to the emotionally destructive sound unleashed within Blackened Souls, the new album from French metallers Oruga; an undisguised ravenously truthful breath which revels in the corrosive melancholy and raw misery which breeds its compelling canvas of sound and intent. Fusing the darkest, heaviest doom sculpted malevolence with the most irritable invasive sludge attrition, Oruga create a tsunami of provocation which leaves mercy and respite as lost in the depths of the overwhelming intensity as the senses they invade and violate. Their new album is not a ground-breaking persuasion, slotting in perfectly with numerous similarly bred releases over recent times but whether many others come close to the emotional ferocity and erosive voracity which breeds their thunderous rhythms and colossal riffery is doubtful.

Formed in 2010, the quintet from Northern France caught wider attention with the release of their self-titled debut last year, its dark ravenous premise the certain base from which Blackened Souls explores further and deeper, uncovering primal layers within raw and cold agonies. Whereas its predecessor found avenues for tempting melodic classic metal lures the new release is a charnel house of stark and harsh emotions, though it too is unafraid to colour its cavernous hunger with riveting adventure. There is also a sense of frustration to every note and vocal roar which seeps from the album, a despair at its heart which intensifies and enlivens chords and syllables with persuasive toxicity. It all makes for a thoroughly compelling incitement which shows Oruga to be a potent emerging force within extreme metal, one deserving of major attention.

Heretics brings the album to bear upon the senses first, its opening tide of sonic ravishment and instinctive antagonism brewing in a3478321359_2intensity from the opening note as the guitars of Julien L. and Fred P. swarm portentously around the ears. Simultaneously the rhythmic coaxing of Bruno H. adds to the thickening web, a capture increased by the dark throated strains of bass from Pietro G. and the initially clean spoken vocals of Cedric M. It all converges into a singular menacing which still with some restraint begins crawling over the senses peering into the darkest corners of the psyche as Cedric twists his delivery into a caustic growl. Elevating its potency, spite, and energy in varying degrees, the track crawls under the skin capturing the imagination with its specifically aimed and concentrated creative venom. It is not a track which startles in its invention but skilfully bewitches in its emotional malevolence and undiluted straight forward voracity.

The following We, The Darkness crawls from the same imaginative fiery sonic pit of oppressive invention, its sonic hooks and distorted melodic endeavour shards of acidic light within the lumbering prowl and hunger of the song. Again Cedric brawls with his lyrics with a bestial predaciousness whilst the rhythms cage and punish with each heavy fisted swipe but it is the spearing sonic bait of the guitars which provide the passion spawning lures which pushes the album up another level within two songs.

Both Dead Among The Living and Disciples reinforce the impressive start, the festering aural animosity of the first sculpting a sonically scarred canvas upon which great melodic vocals unveil their suasion alongside expected squalls and guitars paint their intrusive scenery with rapacious hues and searing emotions. It is an even tempered encounter compared to other tracks initially but eventually the predator within loses its chains to unleash violent riffing and cantankerous rhythmic animosity before revolving between a poetic scorched beauty and a vitriolic fury for a breath-taking and at times uncomfortable journey. Its successor opens with a gentle yet primal elegance as the guitar emotionally hints at the impending intimidation of an unbridled fury. A tempestuous cloud of sound and intensity smothers ears and senses subsequently, lurching over and preying on thoughts and emotions as Cedric expels the heart of the song. It is a brutal tempting which bruises and transfixes with every rabid beat and edacious squall of guitar, both enriched by the hellacious dark tone of the bass and the ever threatening vocals.

It is fair to say that from its formidable start the album just increases its weight and quality, the final two songs providing the evidence. Cursed savages air and ears first, its carnivorous presence and breath a perpetual sonic scrub on the senses, a lethal highly addictive scourge punctuated throughout by the uncompromising strikes of Bruno. It is a torrential violation where you soon make assumptions but have them almost as quickly dismissed with force by the brilliant twist into a post metal drift of spiny melodies and cleaner predatory vocals. It is only a temporary detour but an inspired and invigorating one giving the returning maelstrom more depth and intrigue. The track is a glorious example of the ability and invention of Oruga though it is soon left looking up at the plateau set by Ghosts Of Anneliese. The closing song manages to bring an even nastier element to its incitement, every rhythm holding sheer malice and each scrub of riffing scratching deeper into ears and psyche. The excellent spread of gruff and again cleaner vocals spread greater spice to the album whilst the toxic melodic designs and underlying emotive groove paint sultry toxins into the spiteful corruption. Throughout the release there is a stoner-esque spice which here is at its strongest, though twisted with the Oruga invention it emerges as a deranged and rigorously thrilling tainting. The track is glorious, a titanic beast of invention and passionate ferocity, and almost alone the reason why the band and Blackened Souls deserves a strong bright spotlight.

Blackened Souls is available now via Apathia Records @


RingMaster 20/05/2014

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Psychotic Gardening – Hymnosis

Psychotic Gardening Press Photo small Credit Barry McCaulkner

Canadian metallers Psychotic Gardening has continued to catch imagination and certainly expectations off guard with their potent releases, taking them both on demented doom bred adventures which are as merciless as they are unrelentingly compelling. Self-released fourth album Hymnosis is certainly no different with its vivaciously flavoured sounds boldly brutal and torrentially vindictive as they infest what is the band’s finest moment yet. It is an album which like its predecessors in various ways is not quite the full triumphant package, occasionally bringing less successful moments within incredibly thrilling and inventive assaults, but the band seem to be edging towards that ‘perfect’ creation and this monster of a release suggests it will be sooner rather than later.

Hailing from Winnipeg, Psychotic Gardening was formed in 1995 by Chuck Labossiere initially as a side project. Linking up with vocalist Chris “Gillishammer” Gillis, the pair released debut album Sold For Four Souls and a Seed in 1998 but by 2000 the band was put under wraps as Labossiere linked up with Serrated Scalpel though still continuing to write his own material. Their demise in 2005 led to the guitarist/vocalist reforming Psychotic Gardening with Gillis, and the soon enlisted guitarist Andrew Wiens (ex-Children of Tragedy) bassist Aaron Krause (ex-Serrated Scalpel/Lykeum), and keyboardist Will Janssen (Lykeum). With Mike Janssen coming in on bass and Carlos Copaban on drums subsequently, a new line-up unleashed the album Hürdür in 2007 to strong responses, its blackened sombre intensively permeating thoughts and attention. Four years later Humanitorium was set loose to again ignite acclaim and appetites, the release seeing Matt Penner taking over stick duty in the band. Hymnosis comes as the band returns from a break which saw them working on new material and also Labossiere filling in with Broken Hope for their tour dates in Europe and Canada. With the album’s line-up only seeing the absence of keyboardist Janssen, the band infuses rich malevolence of death metal and classic metal temptation into the veins of their new album, creating another proposition which has little regard for assumptions and boundaries. As mentioned previously the release at times ebbs and flows in success but never once leaves the listener short of pleasure and removed from riveting incendiary violation.

The album starts off with its highest pinnacle in the startling onslaught of Origin of The Infection. The band’s recent single, the track HYMNOSIS-cover-Chuck-Labosssprings from demonic breath with immediately portentous riffs and a just as swiftly threatening heavy throated bestial bass prowl. Drum swipes also show instant venom but it is when the opening coaxing shifts into gear and becomes a savage predacious charge that ears and pleasure explode and greedily devour the brutal treat. With the weight of a murderous horde and the military precision of a legion of undead warriors, the track stalks and savages the senses. As virulently contagious as it is vehemently inhospitable, the song provides sonic guerrilla warfare before which primal submission is inevitable, especially within the claws of the outstanding gut wrenched vocal squalls and short spears of sonic enterprise. The track is so good that it is ‘downhill’ for the album here on in though against anyone else the following violations leave most only wishing for parity.

The following Defile entwines a heavy metal groove around the ears, one ridden by a dual vocal delivery which invitingly reeks of pestilence and decay. Again a groove charms with infection drenched efficiency whilst riffs drill their way deep into the psyche, neither quite matching their predecessor but enslaving with their own wealth of toxicity as the excellent range of vocals from Labossiere and Gillis explore the narrative. With captivating guitar craft adding further gripping hues the song gives the senses an exciting pasting which the intensive Re-Hybridized Strain exploits with its insidious, slowly crawling malevolence. The song smothers with its labouring gait and weighty intensity, snuffing out escape and light though the poetic keys of Labossiere and the winding sonic laces of guitar guide thoughts like beacons. It is an overpowering and empowering track physically and mentally which intensively satisfies but surprisingly lacks the dramatic impact of the first two songs within its gothic funereal incitement.

Both Mindfold and Genome Degradation throw the senses into distinct turmoil, the first rampaging with a pack like voracity to rhythms and riffs whilst vocals scavenge the debris of their virulence with another immensely agreeable mix of stances, the band and songs always at their very best when employing this enterprise. The deeper into its body and soul you go the more animalistic and cruel the track becomes, at times even carnal with its invasive solo and vicious hunger. Its successor is another merging more melodically brewed poison into its doom fuelled proposition, deliciously whining acidic grooves and addictive metal hooks reaping the rewards within the overpowering bulk of sound for another tremendous involvement.

The groaning delights of Searing Cital bring the next enthralling episode of ravenous intent, its invasive prowl soaked in an immoral but wholly seductive ambience. It is a track which takes its time to fully convince but eventually is one which lingers long after departure to colour nightmares. Its absorbing threat then makes way for the similarly menacing Garden Raiding, though its potency comes in melodic smog which entrances and invades as it permeates senses and emotions. Not as impacting as other songs, the track still keeps appetite and pleasure high ready for the strong cover of Death’s Open Casket which features Tim Roth (Into Eternity) and Chuck Wepfer (Broken Hope) and then the closing Journey to the Sun, a mesmeric atmospheric gothic journey through celestial shadows and seductive evils.

Hymnosis is a scintillating album which takes the listener on a rollercoaster of an intrusive ride which more often than not hits the loftiest heights and in certain places sets new inspirations for extreme metal whilst Psychotic Gardening has returned to prove themselves the fearsome stalkers of dreams and passions.

The self-released Hymnosis is available now @


RingMaster 20/05/2014

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Broken Records – Weights & Pulleys

Broken Recordspic

Missing the coach the first and second times our introduction to Scottish melodic ‘emoteurs’ Broken Records came with the recently released Toska EP, a release which to be honest underwhelmed despite the impressive craft and ideation oozing through it. This made anticipation for the band’s third album less than enthusiastic but it has to be admitted that Weights & Pulleys makes a more than solid convincing to open up understanding as to why the band is so well thought of. Definitely the album does not light any major fires in our thoughts and passions but a smouldering attraction it certainly makes, one very easy to recommend to fans of the band and of the likes of Doves, Sigur Ros, and Arcade Fire.

Formed in 2007, the Edinburgh band was soon teasing in attention with their folk/indie bred textures and dense emotional enterprise, their first release the ‘gig’ EP inviting plenty of attention and excited praise. As they refined their sound the band successfully shared stages with the likes of Idlewild, Sons & Daughters, and Editors across Scotland before a series of singles including the first, If the News Makes You Sad Don’t Watch It on Young Turks in 2008, saw the band covered in acclaim from all areas of the media and led them to signing with 4AD. The following year was the canvas for acclaimed debut album Until The Earth Begins To Part and the continuation of highly praised shows and festival appearances. The Out On The Water EP also made its appearance at that time whilst 2010 saw the band line-up change into the sextet of Jamie Sutherland (vocals, guitar), Rory Sutherland (violin), Ian Turnbull (guitar), Dave Smith (piano, trumpet), Craig Ross (bass), and Andrew Keeney (drums), and the supporting of bands such as The National and Freelance Whales, as well as second album Let Me Come Home to again intense recognition and support. Three years in the making Weights & Pulleys is the ‘return’ of Broken Records and it is hard not to expect it to be swamped in the same accolade of acclaim as its predecessors from varied and wide quarters.

Released on their own label J Sharp Records and produced by Tony Doogan (Mogwai, Delgados, Belle & Sebastian), Weights & Pulleys br image005moves on from the earlier Toska whilst seemingly continuing its evocative intent. Why the album is a bigger impacting persuasion than the previous four track release is hard to exactly say but it feels like a bigger picture is explored and unveiled rather than mere scenic glimpses as offered by the EP. Also without finding major fuses to raging fires, there is a new spark to a great many of the tracks which captivates and intrigues whilst simultaneously finding an almost anthemic lure to entice senses and emotions. Opening track Ditty (We Weren’t Ready) is a fine example, its thick hypnotic rhythmic coaxing irresistible bait within an emotionally intense melodic swamp. Vocally Jamie Sutherland roars with expression and emotive endeavour, his call cradled in soft but incisive sonic arms and eventually an orchestral caress which equally fires up the senses. It is a richly potent start raising a keen appetite for things ahead, a hope soon sizeably fed by the Springsteen/Petty-esque Winterless Son. Again the rhythms grip attention as they thump out their intent seemingly spurring on the heart of another impressive song.

Toska steps up next and as on the EP fails to entice any real power to reactions even though it is a satisfying and accomplished offering. Sculpted around an evocative narrative of keys, the song merges melancholic breath with an invasion beauty, hope and reality meshed into one dramatic scenario. Musically the song is almost mesmeric but that trigger to light up the passions is a dormant factor, though awake once more with So Long, So Late. Across the release thoughts of fellow Scots Letters and also for less open reasons Josef K emerge with the richest suggestiveness coming with this fully immersive slab of emotional intensive and melodic fire wrapped in drama drenched shadows.

The title track envelopes ears and imagination with a full and heavy incitement of emotion and reflection, a consuming weight of drama and thoughtful provocation which easily pleases if without stoking that again simmering fire in the belly of the album and listener. That poke is provided by the excellent Let’s Call It A Betrayal, an agitated revelry of rampant rhythms, dark throated basslines, and sonic imagination ridden by the persistently impressing vocals. The track tempts, challenges, and simply hits the instinctive provocateur in us all, heights of dramatic expression and melodic dispute walling in the passions.

The following track, Instrumental is just what it says and makes little impression though you appreciate why it is included as it gives a breather within the torrential emotional deluge of the release. The enjoyable You’ll Be Lonely (In A Little While) strolls into ears next with a rhythmic swagger and melodic drizzling which undeniably enthrals but ultimately it is the rhythmic lure which makes the only lingering impression.

The unapologetically emotional Nothing Doubtful comes next to again absorb ears and thoughts. Its opening body and tone has a dulled and shadowed breath, a mono like air which brews up a riveting cloud of intensity before breaking into the light and expanding its full heart and stereo spawned grandeur with delicious flames of brass. Much like the album the song is a slow burner which only impresses more with each encounter to maybe not steal the passions but certainly give them a big nudge.

The album is completed by the folk bred I Won’t Leave You In The Dark and finally All Else Can Just Wait. The first of the pair makes a controlled but keen entrance, that folkish lilt to sound and vocals painting a narrative until the song erupts into another seemingly Springsteen seeded premise but with tantalising sixties pop toxicity carrying a definite sense of The Walker Brothers whilst horns again just excite. Its successor is a slow brooding ballad with a great mix of vocals and pleasingly nagging repetition to its melodies, it all working towards a climactic finale which never really materialises. It is a decent enough end though which like the album gives plenty to make a compelling encounter but not enough to make its case as a constant playlist contender.

Nevertheless Weights & Pulleys is a captivating proposition which will light up the ears of fans and draw a wealth of newcomers with its collection of skilful tracks which combined show just why Broken Records is so highly thought of and at times offer evidence that the band just might have the potential to help reshape British indie rock.

Weights & Pulleys is available on J Sharp Records now!


RingMaster 20/05/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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