ICOSA – The Skies Are Ours EP

ICOSA

It is hard to know how long the members of ICOSA have been playing, nurturing their skills and invention but it is fair to say that band, and debut EP The Skies Are Ours leaves the majority of releases and certainly first encounters this year in the shade. The four track release is a fascinating and exhilarating slab of mature invention and startling imagination brought with a technical craft and instinctive adventure which leaves you grinning and basking greedily. It maybe just one release but it is impossible not to suggest that this is the awakening of one potentially important force for British and dare we say world music. Casting a web of progressive metal and heavy rock, a description which still only gives half the picture, the London trio has made a big statement with their first release and set the benchmark very high for them and UK progressive metal.

Formed in 2011, ICOSA consists of vocalist and 8 string guitarist Tom Tattersall, 7 string guitarist Stacey Douglas, and drummer Jack Ashley. Drawing on the inspirations of bands such as Tool, Meshuggah, and SiKth, the band has been stirring up a bit of a buzz around them and now having been seduced by their EP it is very easy to see why. Their sound sits somewhere amidst Between The Buried And Me/ TesseracT and KingBathmat/ King Crimson whilst infusing a wider diversity in its body for an openly distinct presence. It is a riveting weave which seduces and rages, commands and demands within The Skies Are Ours to inescapably bind ears and imagination.

ICOSA open up the release with Ermangulatr. Its initial shimmering touch is gentle, almost spatial in breath as it slowly entangles thoughts and senses. Guitars soon add additional intrigue before expelling a heavier intensive climate coverwith sonic veining which mesmerises as it scorches aligned to a Meshuggah like predation. It is a powerful lure which only increases as it welcomes the excellent vocals of Tattershall, his tones another tempering flame against the brewing ferocity of intent and invention. As it expands and explores, the track continues to twist and turn with inescapable hooks, fluid grooves, and simply a web of compelling ideation and craft. Reminders of The Ocean, Opeth, and The Mars Volta flirt with thoughts across the song but with its striking creative emprise, the track and ultimately release is impossible to truly pin down.

The two part title track is next, Part 1 instantly teasing senses with coarse but ridiculously enticing melodies within agitated rhythms and an equally frenetic narrative of riffs and invention. There is rapacious rabidity to the track and its dramatic landscape but just as potently a fury of seduction which drives every warped twist and idea as well as every melodic spearing and ingenious coaxing. At times listening to the track you feel like you are on a roller coaster ride through a vast ever shifting landscape of unpredictable dangers and beauty whilst in other moments you get the feeling of a dogfight in the air between dark and light protagonists, each spinning their individual traps as they tussle gleefully. The closing sun of melodic elegance glides the listener imperiously into Part 2 and its almost celebratory beginning where rhythms and guitars romp with ideas and endeavour whilst the vocals find an additional snarl to enrich the elevated revelry. The track simply enslaves and intrigues; its merger of metal and rock into a distinctly individual and transfixing voracious blaze of invention and imagination, ridiculously impressive and thrilling. It is all so seamless and fluid that you just get lost in the sheer beauty of the persistently shifting mystery and adventure so that at times the real world is just not there.

The EP is completed by Trepidation, a welcome trespass into the passions with bulky jagged riffs, cascading sultry melodies, and bordering on psychotic invention honed into a contagious stride of devilish imagination and just as sinisterly attractive and skilled ingenuity in songwriting and presentation. It is an outrageously brilliant end to a similarly potent and masterful release. ICOSA is already a major player in metal, it is just that we and the metal world did not realise until now through their debut. As The Skies Are Ours lets its last notes tease and thrill there is room for one more thought, something this good and genius just has to have the Devil’s backing.

The Skies Are Ours EP is available digitally as a name your price download and on CD now @ http://icosa.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.facebook.com/icosa/

10/10

RingMaster 25/07/2014

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Idols of Apathy – Unheard Words

IOA Promo

Unleashing a sonic cyclone of unwavering hostility and technical victimisation, Unheard Words the debut EP from UK metallers Idols of Apathy is one formidable and gripping slab of creative savagery. As striking as it is vicious, the release explains with ease why there is a healthily buzz brewing around the band. It is not without aspects which prevents it making an even more major impact but with a raging potential and openly impressive craft to its sound and textures, it is easy to raise excited anticipation of big things for the band ahead.

Hailing from Essex and uncaged in 2013, Idols Of Apathy probably could not have made a more attention grabbing assault on the senses to start off their consumption of the country’s senses than with Unheard Words. Five tracks across a fifteen minutes furnace of sound and aggression, the release is a short bludgeoning shock to the system but one which does leaving a lingering impression and hunger in thoughts and appetite. It certainly takes work to explore and reveal the intricacies and superb skilled invention at play, its thick surface similarity to an arguably formula attack of songs already having fallen short in the opinion of some others, but dive into the eye of the storm and that is where songs and Idols of Apathy excel and surprise.

The EP starts off with brief instrumental Rebirth, a piece which enthrals from its first seconds with a melancholic ambience and melodic wistfulness, soon graced further by a harmonic haunting. It seduces senses and imagination before Artworkthe staggered djent charm and tenacity of the guitars within viciously stabbing rhythms ravage the air. That initial mesmeric beauty still persists though as it settles seamlessly into the portentous tempest stirring ruggedly around it. That intimidating suggestion is swiftly realised with Death Row. The corrosive vocal roar of Jack Paul Dervish explodes in ears first, matched by the ferocious backing tones of Dean Chignell whose guitar, alongside those of Tom Johnson and Joe Gregory, collide in an ear splitting maelstrom of intensive and technical voracity. As much as the track seemingly is intent on annihilation of the senses, there is a swagger and a budding nest of grooves poised and hinting in the belly of the fury. It swiftly makes for an intriguing and riveting encounter, to which the returning melodic call from the instrumental adds a rich emotive hue . It is a stunning track which continues to reveal new corners and depths within its bestial rage; every breath and twist a punch and treat for ears but within a frame of less than three and a half minutes there is no time for excess and showing off, not that you ever feel the band has the urge to go into that kind of indulgence.

The dramatic and impressive encounter is backed up by the just as imposing The Devil’s Clock Tower. That earlier comment about similar touches of songs is evident here as the rhythmic and guitar enterprise bleeds into what came before without close attention, even with the evocative sonic coaxing in their midst. As it grows and digs deeper into its intensive heart though, the guitars sculpt an individual web of temptation whilst the bass of Elliot Black in league with the ear drum puncturing beats of drummer George, brutalise and seduce in equal measure as the vocals again provide a caustic challenge to sink teeth into. As all songs, it is not just about the maliciousness though, the atmospheric fire and melodic colour drenching the track being as provocative and imaginative as its inhospitable drive and passion.

The release is concluded by firstly Ventriloquist, a track which filters its predatory animosity through a maze of scything riffs and mouth-watering ideation. The rhythms refuse to have a veil of course, their crippling designs and hard fisted rabidity resourcefully vengeful and as irresistible as the sonic binding and aggravated riffery working away on the passions. It is a fine torturous confrontation which is matched by the closing Deceiver, which as the previous song comes from distant scenery but this time simply takes the senses in its teeth and musically and vocally flails and tears their security to shreds. It is a devastating onslaught with strangely a touch of Mudvayne to it initially before the track unleashes another creative blend of metalcore and technical metal to engross and violate ears. It is a powerful and viciously engaging protagonist bringing the EP to a potent end.

Unheard Words is a commanding and impressive debut which leaves thoughts in no doubt to the promise and quality of Idols of Apathy. For sure it has that to be honest minor issue of tracks sharing certain aspects of their identities and it is fair to say that their sound just now fails to really stand out against the best similarly styled, aggression clad bands pushing the genre. Idols of Apathy though easily stand in the company of most of that crop with all the potential to find their lone voice in the future with you imagine even more impressive endeavours.

The Unheard Words EP is available now as a free download @ http://idolsofapathy.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/IdolsOfApathy

8.5/10

RingMaster 25/07/2014

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Liquid Meat – In Meat We Trust

LM

Want a slab of rock ‘n’ roll just to lose yourself in and let inhibitions slip away with, then try out In Meat We Trust the new album from German rockers Liquid Meat. The thirteen track riot is from start to finish an honest and mischievous fusion of heavy rock, metal, and punk rock with extras, which simply leads passions astray and body into an unbridled stomp of instinctive devilry.

The creation of German born Rocker Freddie Mack, Liquid Meat was formed in Los Angeles in 2004 and was soon playing a horde of gigs around Hollywood. Two albums followed before in 2011, Mack returned to his hometown of Munich which meant a new line-up was needed. This led to the recruiting of drummer Manu Holmer and bassist Max Horch, and unsurprisingly soon after the trio was back into the swing of playing shows, drawing attention, acclaim, and notoriety musically all over again. Earlier this year the band began recording the Indiegogo crowd funded In Meat We Trust with legendary producer Reinhold Mack (Queen, ELO, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, etc.), the result one mouth-watering rock ‘n’ roll party which enjoyably wears its warts and influences like a badge.

The album opens with Liquid Meat Anthem, an uncomplicated bruising of choice riffs and crisp rhythms aligned to a great bass sound which probably grabs attention most of all on the track. The growling vocals of Mack instantly reveal the grin in his delivery and the song, whilst the backing calls of the rest of the band lays swift anthemic bait. It is hard to ignore the Motorhead like causticity and charm of the track as it provides one strong and inviting entrance into the album.

The following song right away shows the unpredictable and diverse flavouring to come across the release. They Lied sways in front of the ears with a sultry blues haze to its sonic enticement before prowling around the imagination with a IMWT Cover_1funk bred swagger which has the markings of Infectious Grooves. Equally there is a punk air to the blend which only increases the persuasion, especially when provides urgency through the chorus which brings another tasty spice, this time a Rage Against The Machine colour. It is an infectiously flavoursome track with twists of drama and an increasingly addictive groove. Its triumph is immediately matched by the outstanding Punch The Clock. Its opening intimidation of bass and predatory rhythms makes for an intense affair though that is soon lost to a big smile as the track starts flirting with what can be best described as Macho Man does Pantera. Mack does his best wrestler vocal impression as a groove certainly related to the one in Walk binds attention and appetite. It is insatiable in its luring and delicious in its devilment with Holmer providing her most magnetic rhythms yet alongside the throaty bounce of Horch’s bass.

The best song on the album is followed by the smouldering blues revelry of Double Standard Blues and then the punk joy of Black Out. The first also has a swagger which grips imagination as well as ears, whilst as with most songs lyrically it brings a devilish tone to climb on board with. Though not at the same heights of the first songs, it still provides a pleasing proposition which its successor soon over runs. Teasing and exciting ears with a riff stolen from The Ramones songbook, so much so that you just are waiting for the “Hey Ho! Let’s Go!” chant, the song is punk ‘n’ roll at its most contagious; hooks and beats as potent and greedily devoured as the driving riffs and bursts of caustic intensity. The track is another which makes claims on that best track title.

Both There Is No God and Guilty As Charged keep things strolling along nicely, the first with a dark blues whisper to its almost psychobilly kissed blues breath, which reminds of Joecephus and the George Jonestown Massacre, whilst the second puts a lighter shade of the first to a raw and incendiary classic metal canvas. Each song leaves a dose of keen pleasure behind whilst the next up Rock N Roll Will Never Die from a reserved but alluring opening melodic flame, breaks into a virulently catchy stomp of old school rock toxicity with a fevered rhythmic energy. There are no surprises with the song but a flood of hooks and inescapable trappings which leaves ears and emotions on a high as lofty as that forged by the groupie salaciousness of Up Against The Wall, never has rock ‘n’ roll romance been so aurally addictive.

The decent enough fiery rock sounds of classic/blues rocker Road House comes next before another pinnacle of the album arrives in the shape of Fuck That. The track is a return to a more punk led rampage, its jabbing rhythms and scything riffs again offering a slight rockabilly flirtation whilst the bass roams around like an adulterous predator. Revealing a parade of impossible addictive hooks and grooves blessed with a Dead Kennedys temperament, it is another glorious encounter which leaves the remaining pair of songs a task to match and leave the album on a high. That they do with consummate ease though, Smoke ‘Em a grizzled protest and confrontation of bruising raw rock ‘n’ roll and final song, The Devils Music is a noir cloaked stroll with sinister intent and psychobilly/blues intrigue. As all songs the tongue in cheek honesty is as infectious as the great sounds and adventure it rides in upon.

It is fair to say that In Meat We Trust is not going to be the greatest album you are going to hear but it will be one of the most fun and irresistible.

In Meat We Trust is available now @ www.liquidmeatlocker.com

8.5/10

RingMaster 25/07/2014

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The Old-timers – Be Reconciled

THe Old Timers cover

Hailing from South Africa, punk band The Old-timers has forged themselves a quite potent spotlight not only in Christian punk but the punk underground as a whole with their releases. Now the trio return with their finest moment yet, the Be Reconciled EP. With a broader sound and inventive nature, the release catches the imagination with infectious slices of raw and organic punk rock and a premise which asks questions of thoughts. The band’s fourth release, the EP is simply another open step forward in the presence and sound of The Old-timers.

The band was formed in 2011 by Cape Town vocalist Dave Emerson and Port Elizabeth guitarist/bassist Donovan de Necker, its seeds first sown when they met whilst the latter visited the home town of the former whilst on holiday. From the pair’s unplanned meeting they found plenty to connect over, punk rock being one big love for both. Writing and sharing songs over the vast distances between them through technology, the band emerged with a demo Punk’s Not Dead! Nor Are We!, which brought them to the attention of Christian Punk label Thumper Punk Records. Soon after its release the duo recruited Californian drummer Matt Lagusis whilst Thumper Records released the band’s following impressive releases, the 2012 album Soli Deo Gloria and the Spiritus Sanctus at the end of last year. Both releases showed the continuing growth in sound and songwriting, an evolution pushed again by Be Reconciled.

The new EP is a concept release, its premise following the story of a life finding the light from a dark destructive place, “from sinner to repentance to reconciliation through Jesus.” That journey can be translated into a search we all embrace at some point in our lives within or outside of religion, and in its infusing of keys, a capella harmonies, and spoken poetry within old school fuelled punk rampages, Be Reconciled is a masterfully riveting encounter which works on ears and emotions. It starts with Hole in My Heart, a track which instantly lights ears with its rising persistence of riffs and stomping rhythms. The song, as the vocals, roars with a rapacious intensity and air as the guitar of de Necker expels caustic riffs and enticing hooks whilst his bass prowls the song with a devilish intent. It is an outstanding start to the release, the song’s NOFX like raucousness and Exploited like intensity bound in grooves and hooks which simply infests the imagination, whilst the inventive pounding from Lagusis and vocal demand of Emerson round off the potent lure of the song.

The spoken poetry of Blessings Out of Buffetings is next, voice and haunting keys the protagonist accompanied by percussive taunting. It is a track which alone you would say is for those of faith but within the narrative of the EP and linking the opener and the following Hope for the Rejected, it works well in the context of the story and unimposingly. The third track flies at ears with a raw scrub of riffs and bass driven by rabid beats. With group vocals which works a treat the track at times reminds of early Shelter, its grazing breath veined by a contagious groove which simply entices the appetite further and without reserve. Another highlight of the release, the track provokes, incites, and thrills in equal urgency and strength.

The bruising sounds of Father God I Wonder excites and challenges senses next, the track recruiting the incendiary essences which grabbed attention within previous releases and loading them with a richer infectious bait and instinctive ferocity. It is one minute of prime punk rock which thrusts its sound and narrative irresistibly through ears into thoughts and emotions. Its triumph is matched by the riveting The Joy of Reconciliation. The song starts with that a capella offering mentioned before, a striking union of the band’s voices which works so well you almost throw a sigh of disappointment when the song erupts into its punk rapacity. It soon has those thoughts forgotten though as it squalls and stomps aggressively across the senses for another hunger feeding slab of punk passion.

The closing Ambassadors as the second track is a spoken word within a keys embrace, a conclusion to the narrative which also like the earlier song links in well when taken as part of the journey but for those without a feeling for the religious side of things you sense it may not get the chance too often to make its suasion in being the final track. It has to be reinforced though that as all their releases, The Old-timers presents an encounter which is for all punk fans, just this time it is the band at its most adventurous and dynamic sounding to date which is reason enough to spend plenty of time with Be Reconciled.

The Be Reconciled EP is available now through Thumper Punk Records and Veritas Vinyl as well as @ http://theold-timers.bandcamp.com/album/be-reconciled

https://www.facebook.com/theoldtimers

8.5/10

RingMaster 24/07/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Triton – First Orbit

triton

Rising from the ashes of rock band Damsel Down, one of the best US underground secrets, North Carolina quartet Triton has subsequently been faced with strong expectations but on the evidence of debut release First Orbit, have simply taken it all in their impressive stride. The seven-track EP provides a potent and rigorously engaging proposition of melodic rock with a hint of Americana as well as a whisper of more muscular elements. It is an encounter to feed ears and emotions rewardingly and spark the imagination with open potential and quality; maybe not a release to open new avenues for rock but certainly one to give it a very healthy colour.

The demise of Damsel Down last year with the departure of vocalist Dave Burke left many intrigued as to what would happen next. With bassist Darrin Craft unwilling to commit to a brand new project after it was clear the band would not be able to continue, remaining members in drummer Jim Clardy and guitarist Kyle Spidel set about starting afresh. First to join them was long-time friend and bassist Andy Allen who subsequently brought along vocalist Chris Rich. Originally meant to be a stop-gap link-up until a permanent vocalist could be found, Rich stepped into those shoes impressively to grab that full-time position. The Concord band was now ready to emerge which it did with attention grabbing songs and now through First Orbit. Recorded last year it is a striking debut to not exactly set the world on fire but sure to make Triton a name to keep a close eye and ear on.

The release opens with the outstanding One, a track which from its first tantalising bass and guitar notes is crawling into the imagination to light instant attention and appetite. The song is almost teasing senses with its intrigue before 1238890_435546393229170_1824389728_nbroadening its expanse and reach with a blaze of melodic enterprise and rhythmic enticement. Holding a sturdy and commanding stride, the track partly intimidates and partly seduces in sound and intent, its metal seeded groove and the impressive voice of Rich bringing extra captivation to bear on keen emotions rising to embrace the song. With hints of bands like Seether and Poets Of The Fall to its body, the track dominates with confidence and creative flair.

The following Every Way similarly has a potent gait and presence, punchy rhythms and a throaty bassline instant lures to take hold of. Though less dramatic as its predecessor, riffs cast an appealing web whilst the growl bred in the music and Rich’s voice offers another rich hue to the sound and songwriting of the band. Though subtler than with some bands, there is infectiousness to the song which crawls under the skin and lingers. The track is an imposingly enticing encounter which has thoughts and emotions bound in its sinew built charm with ease before making way for Live Free or Die. Opening with sounds of war, the track bears down with a swing to its gait and contagion to its rhythmic bait. Like the last song there is an instinctive snarl which caresses every aspect of the song, its caustic riffs and fiery enterprise right through to the anthemic beats of Clardy and those again impressing vocals. It is a blaze of thrilling rock ‘n’ roll, as suggested not the most ground-breaking but a track which leaves a real hunger for more.

Real Bottom comes next to change the air of the release slightly, it’s slower yet no less imposing presence an emotive and passion fuelled reflection which enthrals thoughts and ears. Excellent group harmonies add extra potent spice, though the dark toned voice which seems to enter most tracks does not work as it does say on the first trio of songs and should have been forgotten as it distracts too much from what is a great song. Nevertheless the track shows the strength of the band as does Broken Souls, a power ballad which just grows and grows over time. As the last song it misses the heights of the first few tracks, but engages relentlessly as its smouldering presence blossoms with a slow burning surety over each play.

Warrior Stare has no problems making a powerful first impression; it’s almost predacious challenging of ears with forceful rhythms and antagonistic riffs as irresistible as it is intimidating. Again the lone heavy throated voice frustrates but cannot defuse what is an insatiably gripping song with a great flame of enterprise from Spidel, the ever enslaving beats of Clardy, and the masterful vocals and bass temptation of Rich and Allen. The track lights up body and imagination riotously before leaving for the evocative caress of closing ballad If They Only Said, to bring the encounter to an enjoyable close. It is not the strongest song on the EP but easy to constantly devour as Triton show the depth of their creativity and again the enthralling voice of Rich.

     First Orbit is a masterful introduction drawing on the experiences and already honed skills of its members for a strikingly accomplished and magnetically riveting, not forgetting thrilling adventure. Listening to the EP it is hard not to feel that Triton will outshine and find a much larger spotlight than some of its member’s previous endeavour.

First Orbit is available now @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/first-orbit/id844636540

https://www.facebook.com/Tritonrock

8.5/10

RingMaster 24/07/2014

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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