Me For Queen – Iron Horse

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It has to be admitted that the thought of an album set around two wheeled exploits was intriguing but did not exactly spark eager anticipation, but readers do not let that colour any decision to check out the bewitching and thrilling embrace of Iron Horse, the debut album from Me For Queen. Themed by the adventure of cycling in the city, exploring and inspired by events and emotions found by experiences of the band founder’s on a bike, the release lays down an inescapable seduction which bewitches ears and imagination right through to the passions.

Originally the solo project of Talk In Colour’s Mary Erskine, Me For Queen has subsequently grown to a full engagement with the addition Will Dollard, Nick Bowling, and Andy Paine. Last year saw the release of the Live at Red Gables EP, a well-received release sparking strong interest in this following Pledge Music funded release. Talking about Iron Horse, Erskine explained that “there are tracks about the freedom of cycling, the rage and fear you sometimes feel on your bike when surrounded by cars, and a white bike tribute”, going on to add “You’ll like it whether you cycle or not.” That last declaration is certainly very easy to agree with. Equally the album’s tales can be translated to more general experiences in everyday life, how people connect and live within each other’s space for example. It is a fascination of sound merging various flavours into one bike inspired festival of creative enterprise, the album’s sound and presence as cosmopolitan as the pastime and scenery it colours.

The tempting of wheels starts off album and opener The Deer and The Dark, voices from surrounding scenery adding to the atmosphere of the song. Soon though, the attention grabbing voice of Erskine breaks its air with rich mesmeric charm, swiftly joined by a rhythmic coaxing coloured by radiant keys. The song swiftly turns into a funk seeded stroll weaving enchanting melodies into its dramatic lyrical and ambient sunset. Employing samples and riveting brass temptation, the track provides a glorious canter of enterprise and endearing harmonies for one scintillating entrance into the album.

Its glory is matched straight away by Bike With No Name, male vocals taking the lead fully backed by the increasingly transfixing voice of Erskine. With a folk intimacy to its again funky gait, the song idles up to the imagination and 10553901_829249350419623_3979257569886355370_ocaresses it with a seductive blend of vocals and flirtatious melodies from guitar and keys. A darker throat of bass only adds to the infectious bait but it is the pair of vocalists which ignites emotions most prominently and potently. Though music wise there is a distinct difference, vocally and in the impact and quality of their union, the two singers remind of Dizraeli and Cate Ferris from Dizraeli and The Small Gods.

An intriguingly enticing bass lure opens up the next up Zebra, its tone kissed by discord blessed resonance. It is soon joined by both sets of vocals as a jazzy climate and seducing comes over the senses. The song is a delicious blend of distinctively different shades, melodic flames and light slowly grazing on the emotions whilst the darker shadows of bass and a slightly twisted invention to certain chords and notes add a mouth-watering and unpredictable texture to the sultriness. Its glorious presence is matched straight away by Traffic Light Crush, an irresistible croon with romantic tones and catchy revelry in its magnetic dance. Thoughts of eighties band Jim Jiminee easily come to the surface as the brief track sets down another majestic pinnacle on the album, its tango of sound and imagination refusing to leave even after the song has departed ears.

The first single from the album, Slow Jam (Look Out) comes next, its soulful swing of melodies and emotion revealing vocals a gentle and elegant kiss on the senses. As the album, it is impossible not to be thoroughly captivated and mesmerised by it, every aspect from the breath-taking vocals of Erskine to the smouldering flame of trumpet, and the velvet hug of bass to the sizzling harmonies, a poetic toxicity seducing and immersing blissful ears and thoughts. Its gentleness is emulated by the funkier flight of Freewheel, a melodic glide which strokes thoughts and passions from start to finish with a lean structure within provocative beauty.

Both Wobbly and White Bike add new tantalising hues to the release, the first a wash of emotive melodies over a skittish percussive tempting, which itself is hand in hand with the heavier, ever enticing tone of bass. There is a relaxed giddiness to the song too, imagination swirling in its creative sun and similarly flowing sounds before moving on to its successor. The second of the pair slips into something even more leisurely comfortable energy and gait wise whilst turning up the heat with its impassioned and earnest climate lyrically and emotionally as it fully enchants the senses.

For personal tastes the first half of the album is the strongest with its array of lively explorations but there is no escaping or dismissing the spellbinding beauty and majesty of the two songs, and also the following Rat Race. With bubbly electro spicing starting things off before vocals and bass soon lay down their catchy lures, the track is a compelling portrait of fleet footed life. Sounds almost flit across ears, each a different personality in the vibrantly moving scenery whilst the lead vocals provide a singular almost out of sync view inside the tunnel flowing fast around them.

The album is brought to a close by firstly the emotive balladry of Road Out, a track which brews and grows into an imposingly drawn ambience as its melodies and vocals immerse ears, and lastly Wheelie. The final track is a fifty second electro jazz funk romp which hits straight away like The Tom Tom Club but leaves before you can really get your teeth into it. It is a final smile though to an exceptional release.

Iron Horse is simply majestic, a richly hued collection of sounds crafted into an unforgettable and virulently infectious soundscape of adventure. Me For Queen may not have you turning to peddle power with their album but will surely have you breeding a hungry appetite for their sensational sounds.

Iron Horse is available now @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/iron-horse/id913647443

http://cargocollective.com/meforqueen

9/10

RingMaster 12/09/2014

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Hollywood Heads – Self Titled EP

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Sauntering out of Moscow, Hollywood Heads is a band with a swagger to their presence and lustful intention to their heavy metal exploit. Formed in 2011, the quartet has powerfully awoken the eager attention of their local underground scene but now with the help of their self-titled debut EP, the band is ready to break out into a wider spotlight. Inspired by the likes of Aerosmith, Guns N’ Roses, Motley Crue, Alice Cooper, and Zakk Wylde, their sound is not one bursting with startling originality but it offers boisterous and dirty rock ‘n’ roll which easily lights ears and appetite.

Line-ups changes, as with many bands, has been part of Hollywood Head’s emergence but the EP finds the band at its strongest yet with founding members in bassist Yeti and drummer Dan Mark alongside vocalist Gine King and guitarist Cross_Cover_Hollywood_HeadsFox. The successor to the well-received single Blood City, the EP rocks without any thought of respect or restraint from its first rousing track, the feisty Hollywood Heads. It does not make the most dramatic start but with riffs stirring up air and rhythms prowling with predacious intent, the song makes a strong enough invitation before exploding into a fiery slab of rowdy rock ‘n’ roll with glam rock urges. The slightly wayward tendencies of vocals only add to the energy and excitement brewed in the track whilst guitars unveil a potent craft of sonic endeavour to add fuel to the fire. There are no surprises with the song but plenty to get feet and ears rigorously engaged.

The following Aerogrill is the same, not making shocking statements but igniting body and thoughts with its excellent punkish twang and feverish vivacity around more of those addictive unique vocals. The best track on the release it shows a riveting twist of adventure to the band’s sound. Hooks seduce and grooves bind the senses whilst the virulent stroll of the song takes a hold of the passions. It is not ground-breaking but wholly addictive as it awakens a greedy hunger for the band’s creative brawl.

The EP comes to a close with Game, a proposition showing yet another side to the band’s invention. It is the heaviest track on the release; riffs prowling with weighty enticement as rhythms crisply spear their intensity as vocals roar with lusty relish across their canvas. Lit with an additional blues hue, the song is an accomplished and magnetic close to a fine release.

Hollywood Heads are at the start of a potentially dramatic ascent and success. They have still to evolve their own distinct voice but the EP makes a highly satisfying and pleasing base to start from.

The Hollywood Heads EP is available now

https://www.facebook.com/hollywoodheadsofficial

8/10

RingMaster Review 12/09/2014

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Gramar – Oskolki Veri

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Weaving a blend of alternative and progressive metal with numerous flavoursome additives, Russian band Gramar provide a very healthy invitation to explore their depths with new EP Oskolki Veri. Translating as Pieces of faith, the four track release is a fascinating and skilled expanse of sound and enterprise. It is not an encounter to set a fire in the belly but certainly one to spark a keen appetite to explore more.

The Chelyabinsk hailing Gramar was formed in 2010 by guitarist and songwriter arranger Ilya Sokolov. Soon joined by drummer Ivan Salo, the pair making the spine of the band since, the band released the well-received Existential quantifier EP in 2013. A change in line-up occurred between the last and new release, the latter now unleashed following the band signing with GlobMetal Promotions earlier this year. It is an attention asking and receiving proposition which captures the imagination from its opening minute.

Нет прощения (No forgiveness) embraces ears first, electronic coaxing with crystalline radiance gliding around the firmer rhythms and provocative melodic textures. It is potent start which only increases its impressive presence as riffs and grooves aligned themselves to symphonic breezes from the keys and strong vocals. It is a captivating offering which even with the narrative sung in Russian hints resourcefully at the lyrical and emotional intent of the song, though it is frustrating to not know more admittedly. More a kaleidoscope of sound than a maelstrom, the track swirls around senses and imagination with a fluid blaze of inventive and gripping ideation.

The impressive start is followed by Время потерь (Time of losses) which again instantly brings a symphonic metal whisper to its otherwise rugged entrance. It is soon rolling out an anthemic rhythmic bait which itself is quickly joined by equally evocative melodies from the guitars and expressive vocals, both adding enticing hues to the emerging landscape of sound and creativity flowing through the song. The track continues to spark with twists of melodic and progressive rock whilst entwining industrial and electronic intrigue in its fully coloured enticement for body and thoughts.

The melancholic drama of Крылья печали (Wings of sadness) comes next, its shimmering sonic climate an intriguing breath over the fiery scenery of aggressive riffery and similarly imposing rhythms. Gramar again show they are well equipped to merge dark and light, fierce and mellow textures to great and persuasive effect to cast a bewitching encounter. Like the release it does not set a fire raging but firmly grips an awakened appetite urging another strain of hunger for its presence to escape.

The release closes with Ложь (Lies), it like its predecessor a slower prowl initially before firing up an intensive web of riffs and rhythmic incitement, the bass especially vocal and compelling within the song. The most predatory track on the EP, it proceeds to intimidate ears with antagonistic riffs and bass voracity whilst seducing them with melodic ideation and sonic adventure. As the whole release, it is an enthralling protagonist which is maybe missing a spark or two to set the passions ablaze but has plenty to keep imagination and eager interest firmly latched on to the band.

Russia has unveiled some striking and potential drenched bands over the past couple of years, its underground ripe with potent emerging bands, and to that list you can firmly add Gramar.

The Oskolki Veri EP is available now

8/10

RingMaster Review 12/09/2014

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Doomster Reich – The League For Mental Distillation

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The League For Mental Distillation is a warts and all proposition which offers a compelling and unpredictable collision of seventies heavy metal with psychedelic and doom bred metal. The debut album from Polish metallers Doomster Reich, it is raw, passionate, and unafraid to show its flaws alongside the band’s dramatic enterprise. Equally it unveils an organic freedom to its invention, more than once suggesting that the Łódź quartet strapped themselves into their instruments, plugged in, and unleashed whatever was in their heart at the time rather than having a predetermined journey for a track. It is an encounter which ebbs and flows in its success it is fair to say, but one leaving ears and imagination riveted and happy to learn and hear more.

Doomster Reich was formed to the rear of 2011, with the foursome of guitarists Voytek and Markiz, drummer/vocalist Rasz, and bassist Radek settling down to write and record the songs making up The League For Mental Distillation the following year. Its recent release via The End Of Time Records gives the album a broader landscape to persuade, and whilst it may cause raised eyebrows at times, the album is a captivating and skilled blaze of heavy psychedelic doom which becomes more convincing with every listen.

Ears are wide awake and anticipation lit as soon as the opening strains of John Woe sets the album in potent motion. The guitars wind around the senses with a fiery and magnetic touch matched by the throaty tones of the bass and even heavier swipes of beats. It is a transfixing start teasing like a mix of Black Sabbath and Electric Wizard. The striking and also unpredictable vocals add another enthralling element to the mix, the tones and notes of Rasz at times wayward in delivery yet never harming the dramatic adventure around him, mostly adding to that theatre even in his less convincing vocal moments. The song itself continues to stalk and sway seductively before ears, guitars expelling flames of ingenuity and absorbing melodies as rhythms add rich shadows and intimidating weight to its proposal.

The following I Ate Some Desert Diamonds flirts with an expressive blues seeding in its introduction before stretching muscles for a lumbering gait, within which dramatic urges break free to ignite feistier passages of energy and vocal cddoomster_reichexpression. Also equipped with a thoroughly contagious web of hooks and acidic grooves, the track takes all the strong essences of the first to another engrossing level; strong vocals painting guitar sculpted walls of sonic intrigue against a heavy rhythmic canvas colourfully. It is a richly satisfying and evocative creative emprise swiftly matched by the maelstrom that is Comfort of Conscious Demise. Driven by an early thrash seeded charge, the track releases atmospheric smog of sonic oppression before opening up trails of urgent riffery and infectious grooving within the suffocating air. It is a glorious rampage, as savage as it is bewitching, and the best track on the album.

     Pornosopher’s Dream emerges under sultry skies coloured by sonic turbulence but it is a tempest restrained in its voracity and tempered by smouldering flames of coarse melodies and provocative sonic hues. With portentous spoken vocals and the bass pushing heavy shadows into the radiance, the track is as fascinating and gripping as the last with again thrash bred riffery aligning itself to the heavy metal ferocity hanging around the senses scorching designs of the guitars. Its lingering success is followed by the potent if less successful presence of I’ll Shoot You Down, a more sinew driven slab of sonic aggression. Vocals again vary in success but only add to the unique character of the song. The track proceeds to bine ears in excellent guitar play amidst strong rhythmic bait but does lack the spark and ingenuity of previous songs to certainly please but not make an imposing impression.

Closing track In Storms epitomises the album across its thirteen plus minutes. At times it leaves senses basking in scintillating craft and individual enterprise and at other times flirts too much with predictability and expectations feeding ideas, which stand out more because of the shining invention of other parts. Nevertheless despite it’s over long presence, another slight issue, the track is a rich end to a thoroughly enjoyable release. Certainly at times The League For Mental Distillation makes some wrong moves but it is easily compensated by the attention grabbing skills and inventive sounds within the release. It is not the most impressive release you will hear this year but an enjoyable one announcing Doomster Reich as a band more than worthy of close attention.

The League For Mental Distillation is available now via The End of Time Records.

https://www.facebook.com/doomsterreich

8/10

RingMaster 12/09/2014

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

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