New Model Army – Between Wine and Blood

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New Model Army has never been slow in impressing and stirring up thoughts and passions since forming back in 1980 with their uncompromising and inventive sound, lyrical confrontation, and inspiring stage presence but it is fair to say that the Bradford band hit a new pinnacle with last year’s Between Dog and Wolf album. It showed as if fans needed reminding, that the band has become more impressive and essential with age, the rigorously acclaimed release being rewarded with being the UK band’s fastest selling offering and charting top 30 in UK and Germany. Now the band unleash the similarly outstanding and eventful 2 CD encounter Between Wine and Blood. Made up of six brand new songs on one disc and eleven live cuts of tracks from the previous album on a second, it is an invigorating continuation of the riveting creative plateau set out upon Between Dog and Wolf.

Following the potent release of the last album, NMA set out on the Between Dog and Wolf Tour to equal praise and success. Part two of the tour was scheduled for the spring of 2014 but due to drummer Michael Dean being diagnosed with blood clots in his leg and advised not to play shows, the tour was postponed until this autumn. The break enabled the band to hit the studio and to record 6 brand new songs for the mini studio album accompanying the live CD. The songs are bred from and continue the weighty impressive presence of Between Dog and Wolf, pushing and exploring further its creatively imposing and thrilling emprise. The tracks make for a compelling and enthralling companion to the live portion of the release. Recorded from the first part of the aforementioned tour at venues in London, Nottingham, Cambridge, Cologne, and Amsterdam, the CD sublimely reinforces and the power and impressive stature of the last full-length and the band live, easily capturing the raw and emotive energy which marks their songs and stage presence. Combined the two sides of the proposition makes for one of this year’s most enjoyable and striking incitements from a band as mentioned earlier just get better and better.

The new tracks start off with According To You and needs little time to consume ears in a slow yet heavy and throaty embrace of bass and guitar. It swiftly slips into a pungent stroll of predacious riffs and sonic enticement from the guitars of Justin Sullivan and Marshall Gill, whilst vocally Sullivan imposes himself with the distinctively confrontational yet expressive calm which has always marked his delivery. The grouchy tone of Ceri Monger’s bass brings another breath of drama to the prowl of the track whilst its flowing chorus is unafraid to dabble in rock pop without defusing the intensity and weight of the impressive opener. It is a stirring encounter, but emerging in hindsight as just the tasty appetiser for greater things to come starting straight away with Angry Planet.

The second track has barely time to coax the imagination before raw riffs incite a rampant stroll of anthemic beats from Dean, which in turn are caressed by a gentle but vocal melody and the ever riveting lure of the bass. Exploratory electronic breezes from Dean White enhance the dramatic evocation cast by the song for a stunning challenge where lyrics and vocals work on thoughts as magnetically as rhythms enslave limbs and the inventive sonic weave steals the imagination. Sure to be a crowd favourite ahead, the song builds and boils into a climactic finale driven by the discontent and unrest theming its narrative, ultimately cementing itself as a show and album stopper.

Guessing is equally anthemic in its individual stomp, beats and riffs an irresistible incitement over which melodies and sonic designs twist with flirtatious hues as vocals and the increasingly impressive bass endeavour of Monger, nestle 46f67d33-e5e6-4afa-b8eb-68050a268a25perfectly between the song’s antagonistic rhythmic drive and seducing creative enticement. Another to chalk up as a classic NMA proposition, the song is rivalled by the bewitching Happy To Be Here. An emotive folk embrace wraps ears as a sultry melodic temptation and ambience provides a mesmeric colour to the vocal draw of Sullivan and a courting acoustic beauty. An energetic bounce to the track just as rapidly emerges but is never allowed fully off its leash, the band instead simply breeding it into an infectious swing driving the provocative and intimate adventure.

The new material is completed by firstly the stunning Devil’s Bargain, again a tribal seeded bait opening up the track as keys build a haunting yet engaging atmosphere. It is an instant trap in which feet are unable to stay motionless as the body subsequently succumbs to the baiting. Thoughts and emotions are not far behind in their submission either, keys and vocals leading the resourceful and radiant temptation. As all the songs, there is a potent unpredictability and intrigue to every twist and shift of ideation in the track but skilfully explored with seamless ingenuity and passion. The closing Sunrise, the band’s new single, is a punk folk treat if it can be tagged as anything, which simply oozes irresistible melodies and spellbinding harmonies across a sinew sculpted spine. To be honest it is not the standout song on the release but still an easy choice to lead people into the album.

The live side of Between Wine and Blood just as tightly and swiftly grips passions and appetite, from the fist pumping thrills of the opening Stormclouds through to the closing contagion of Horsemen, band and CD steal total interest in ears and attention. The opening track sets the tone, pulling the listener into the middle of the tempestuous glory of song and occasion, skin almost tingling as ears are immersed in the passion and energy of the night it was recorded.

With every track a roar of intensity and passion delivered with the craft and snarl which has always been NMA, there is no point in the album where you wish to be anywhere else but certainly tracks like March In September with its fiery provocation, the impossibly addictive and brilliant Did You Make It Safe?, and especially the voraciously transfixing I Need More Time take the biggest plaudits. They are rivalled by the excitingly hostile shuffle of Between Dog and Wolf, a classic track and imperious live version in anyone’s book. As said though every song is a transport right into the heat of their recording and the evidence that there cannot be many finer bands live than New Model Army right now.

Mixed by Joe Barresi (QOTSA, Soundgarden, Tool and Hole), Between Wine and Blood is a must for fans and all with a yearning for impassioned and powerfully inventive rock ‘n’ roll, whether from the studio or stage. NMA also have a voice which never shirks taking on the world’s injustices and social wrongs and that as shown by this outstanding release, is just as masterfully engrossing.

Between Wine and Blood is available now on the band’s own Attack Attack label in various packages @ http://shop.newmodelarmy.org/ and https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/between-wine-and-blood/id907118636

Check out New Model Army’s current tour dates and more @ http://newmodelarmy.org/

RingMaster 02/10/2014

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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Cross Wires – Your History Defaced EP

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If you were caught in the ridiculously captivating web that UK band Cross Wires spun with their Assembly EP earlier this year, or indeed the releases before it, be prepared for a new rapture with the band’s recently released Your History Defaced EP. For all those new to the invigorating brew of post punk, new wave, and garage rock which the quartet potently brew, the release is quite simply a devilish treat just waiting to infest your senses. Consisting of five eclectically and creatively warped slices of sound which is simultaneously nostalgic and refreshingly new, the EP reinforces and pushes on the riveting emergence of this severely tantalising band.

Hailing from the creative depths of Bethnal Green and Romford, Cross Wires who take their name from a track on the XTC debut album White Noise, took little time from forming in breeding an impressive reputation locally through their live performances and sound. It was a presence soon spreading with their first pair of releases in the tasty shape of the Forward/Repeat and Animal Heat EPs in 2011 helping spark that growing awareness which the Dark Water EP a year later, soon drove to even wider recognition and attention. Assembly saw the band take another step in sound, songwriting, and success which Your History Defaced looks like not only emulating but surpassing as it seduces fans old and new, as well as the underground media alike.

Opener Modern Art is an instant irresistible offering, slithers of acidic guitar crossing a bulging bassline and feisty beats for an irrepressible coaxing of ears and imagination. Instantly thoughts of bands like Fire Engines and Wire come to mind but just as swiftly the song shows a more rounded and fuller sound from the band than ever before but one still draped in open originality. Right away the vocals of Jonathan Chapman romp with the same mischievous potency as that spicing the sonic intrigue of Peter Muller’s guitar and the rhythmic bait cast by drummer Ian Clarke and bassist Pete Letch. It is arguably the most pop friendly song from Cross Wires to date but one swinging with a rhythmic swagger and melodic flirtation which is virulently infectious and unpredictable. Think Franz Ferdinand meets The Freshies and you get a good hint of the impressive romp.

   Shades Of Light And Dark comes next and soon has a jangle of angular guitar temptation teasing ears as vocals dance with resourceful frivolity over the feverish agitation of beats. There is also a chunkiness to the riffs which ignites the passions as easily as the sonic persistence and repetitious ingenuity flourishing within the thrilling weave of enterprise. The song continues the EPs strong start but is soon surpassed by the thumping and imposing devilry of Tab Clear, everything about the song heavier and more intensive yet equipped with the same contagious weight of hooks and spicy grooves as those before it. The bass of Letch is especially a throaty treat whilst the vocals straddle the whole encounter with a lustful energy and expressive magnetism which seemingly inflames the scintillating tempest of sonic and discord washed endeavour around them.

The thumping rhythmic entrance of Last Stand is all that is needed to ignite the passions, an immediate ardour which is enhanced by the layers of scything riffs and pulsating bass persuasion which underpins the again impressive vocal adventure of Chapman and band. There is a Buzzcocks like flavour to the imagination binding grooves and hooks whilst the song’s overall unconventional catchiness reminds of fellow emerging UK band Houdini. The result is another addiction sparking encounter which in turn is surpassed by the closing punk spawned storm of Vultures, a deliciously raw and rapacious stomp of Swell Maps like causticity and dour infectiousness courtesy of bands like The Lurkers. It is a pungent and thrilling end to an outstanding release from a band hard not to take a lustful shine to.

If new wave and postpunk with a modern mischief excites the ears than Cross Wires and the Your History Defaced EP is a must.

Your History Defaced is available now @ http://crosswires.bandcamp.com/album/your-history-defaced

https://www.facebook.com/CrossWires

RingMaster 02/10/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Nonpoint – The Return

byKatieHovland_01

byKatieHovland

It is hard to say that anything really surprised upon The Return, US metallers Nonpoint’s new album but it does come with a fresh aggression and intensity, as well as resourcefully crafted and presented songs, which will ensure their fans will devour it greedily. The album is prime Nonpoint, melodically flaming with the muscular energy and framing which has kept the band from being lost in the wealth of similarly toned bands these past seventeen years since forming. It does not leave ears awestruck or passions aflame but the album does provide a tasty slab of Nonpoint potency stoked with a strong contagious enterprise missing from many of their previous albums.

Backing up the success of their previous self-titled album of 2012, the Florida quintet spent most of last year touring in its support but swiftly set to writing its successor once they could relax. This past February Nonpoint hit the Groovemaster Studios with Grammy Award-nominated producer Johnny K [Disturbed, Staind, Megadeth] and engineer Daniel Salcidoto, subsequently giving birth to The Return.

It is a proposition which is definitely one of the band’s most consistently captivating encounters with each song an individual and gripping narrative in its own right, something their earlier full-lengths could not always achieve for us. The Return still maybe feeds expectations more than wrong-foots them across its total provocation, but with flavoursome sonic endeavour and melodic toxicity aligned to an at times new hostility to the sound, the album provides a constant intrigue and satisfaction which never diminishes.

Opener Pins and Needles gives a clear sign of intent from its first breath, thunderously thumping beats punctuating fiercely fiery riffs from the off before settling into a formidable canter ridden by the distinctive and potent tones of vocalist Elias Soriano. The guitars of Rasheed Thomas and B.C. Kochmit relentlessly spin a toxic web around ears and the song’s imposing spine sculpted by drummer Robb Rivera and the throaty weight of Adam Woloszyn’s bass for a riveting mix and design. It is an offering unleashing that new intensity to the band’s sound with relish whilst adding some sublime individual invention, especially in a gripping guitar solo.

It is not a devastating start to the album but definitely a rigorously anthemic one which is backed up by latest single Breaking Skin. The song is a sinew driven portrait of the familiar Nonpoint sound but with a volatile air to its energy Coverand impassioned intent to its rich melodic hues. There is no denying the craft of the band members either, the track a blistering showcase of their individual qualities and skills as well as their musical brotherhood. The fact that the most striking aspect of the song is its brevity and enjoyable acute ending does tell of a missed opportunity though which in some ways sums up the album.

Bullet With A Name from Nonpoint’s 2005 album To The Pain is an all-time favourite track here and it is fair to say it is not matched by any song on The Return but the next up Razors is a near miss. It says anthem from first note to last, ruggedly winding grooves and riffs enslaving senses and appetite from the start before relaxing into a melodic embrace which comes alive through the exceptional vocal design carrying it. Soriano as expected croons with an inviting growl but it is the stretched almost warped harmonies accompanying him which help turn a great song into an album topper. There is also a muggy intensity and atmosphere to the track which tenaciously simmers and boils at certain points, again flicking a dramatic switch within the excellent encounter.

Both Misery and the album’s title track keep ears and enthusiasm for the album high and concentrated, though neither can quite match their predecessor. The first of the pair carries another imposing roar in sound and presence which again suggests that the band has chosen a direction in which they can really flourish ahead whilst its successor confronts and seduces the senses like a mix of Stone Sour and Poets of the Fall. The stalking beats of Rivera make a sizeable intimidation and lure around which the song brews a flaming bluster of sonic enterprise and temptation. It is a song where there is plenty going on, more than can be taken in through one listen which in itself is another new side which can be argued has been absent previously in their music, and gives another major highlight to the release.

It is hard not to get a soft spot for the inventive bass proposals of Woloszyn across The Return, his gripping lead into Take Apart This World a prime example where he triggers a lick of the lips for his baiting enterprise in the compelling track.

From this point though the album loses some of its grip on thoughts and passions even though tracks like Forcing Hands and Goodbye Letters are highly pleasing offerings. They slip into that expected and appreciated but unsurprising Nonpoint feel bred over so many potent years, and even though there are definitely enticing and exciting twists and moves within the, to be fair, enjoyable tracks they are unable to seize ears as tightly as the earlier songs on the release.

Never Ending Hole is another similarly missing a trick, especially as it shows like on most tracks, the band’s new adventurous and skilled appetite to suddenly switch and twist the direction and ideation of sounds and vocals. It is a fine and engrossing offering but ultimately hints more than it delivers in that experimentation and originality before making way for the emotive and melodically seducing power balladry of Widowmaker and the ferocious intensity and urgency of Never Cared Before. The second of the two roars and brawls with ears as it treats them to a virulent fury of riffs and rhythms spiced by sonic venom. It is another gripping assault which if anything is again not quite bold enough in its violent invention.

The album closes with firstly the anthemic animosity of F**K’D, a track which is an easy protagonist on ears and to engage with, though lyrically it seems to take the easy option and go straight for the primitive instincts of us all. It is still a rousing incitement which leaves the likeable if uninspiring Know Myself to bring the album to an end.

In some ways The Return is an album of two halves, the first a stirring and thrilling encounter which maybe does not quite go far enough in its new adventure and the second just what you would expect and admittedly want from Nonpoint, superbly crafted and structured sounds which bless ears but this time without setting them ablaze. To be truthful the more you listen to the album the more it impresses so it is hard to be too hard on it but the wish that it surprised with greater tenacity and simply threw some truly unexpected curveballs is never absent.

The Return is available now via Metal Blade Records @ http://nonpoint.merchnow.com/ and http://www.emp.de/nonpoint-the-return-cd/art_288636/

http://www.nonpoint.com/

RingMaster 02/10/2014

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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Brain Pyramid – Chasma Hideout

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As impressive debut albums go, Chasma Hideout from French psych rockers Brain Pyramid is right up there amongst the most enthralling and scintillating propositions. The seven track sonic exploration is a transfixing adventure of ear bending, mind warping psychedelic revelry, but one equally bred on the finest stoner rock grooving and experimental mischievousness. At times it feels like one massive glorious jam but throughout there is an enterprise and inventiveness which just as potently leaves senses basking and passions greedy. If the album is your introduction to Brain Pyramid, be prepared for one ruggedly spellbinding ride.

The Rennes band was formed in 2012 by guitarist Gaston Lainé and drummer Baptiste Gautier-Lorenzo drawing on inspirations from the likes of Led Zeppelin, Hendrix, Sabbath, Motorhead, and Blue Cheer alongside those of Kyuss, Sleep, Nebula, Earthless, and Orange Goblin. Last year’s well received Magic Carpet Ride EP put ears and attention on notice but now with bassist Ronan Grall of Huata alongside the founding duo, Brain Pyramid is ready to really stir things up with their thrilling offering.a0031606373_2

The earth bound spatial adventure is started by Living in the Outer Space, a country twang and kick over of a truck engine the lift off to a groove driven flight through sultry skies and flaming sonic landscape. Instantly riffs draw a raw canvas framed by an unpredictable rhythmic incitement. It is a compelling coaxing but it is the similarly unpolished vocals and senses entwining grooves which brings the strongest colour to the contagion. A flirtation with a noir wrapped jazzy seduction provides a new twist of pleasure before the fiery surface and enterprise of the song re-establishes a forceful and gripping presence. Continuing to surprise and enthral, the song is a sizzling and immersive treat but only the beginning of the fun.

The following Lazy instantly unveils its funk seeded heat and tenacity, the lure bubbling with relish and energy the more the song reveals itself. Grooves and rhythms make a flavoursome embrace whilst the bass with its throaty temptation offers intriguing shadow soaked hues. It is a roaring blaze of melodic and sonic toxicity, the song worming under the skin through the excellent slightly deranged craft of Lainé and the irresistible heavy stoner-esque stroll of the track. Its success is soon surpassed by the even hotter creative breath and climate of Landing on the Pyramind. Soaked in tenacious and intensive blues flavouring, the song twists and entwines ears with serpentine agility through scorching grooves and another deliciously imposing bass tone. It is a big boned temptress with all the moves and invention to enrapture anyone with a lust for dirty riffs, thunderous rhythms, and caustic sonic beauty.

The pair of Lucifer and Twin Headed Giant provides strong individual temptations, the first a mesh of lumbering intensity and sci-fi noise which leads into a smouldering psychedelic wash of sinister persuasion. This in turn slips into something ferocious and fiery, heavyweight riffing and destructive beats punctuating burning grooves; The Doors meets Orange Goblin and Desert Storm if you will. Though it does lack something compared to its predecessors, the track’s dark demonic texture and presence leaves ears enthralled before its successor draws on even stronger seventies psychedelic and heavy rock inspirations to cast its pulsating and pleasingly raw mind-bending adventure. Guitars and keys radiate hallucinogenic sonic colours aligned to a warped imagination whilst rhythms just as voraciously impose upon and stalk the psyche with the gripping cleaner vocal delivery.

  

The song is a fireball of sound but even its qualities and potency cannot match up to the album’s pinnacle, Into the Lightspeed. The instrumental is sensational; an impossibly addictive and infectious stampede of hooks and grooves bound in another seemingly organic and improvised majesty. Its opening is a riotous almost chaotic coaxing which flirts with disaster as eagerly as the senses before settling into a gloriously robust and hungry swagger of rhythms from Gautier-Lorenzo. Every swing resonates through to the bone even when Hammond-esque keys wind around its spine with taunting relish and the bass of Grall adds its own irrepressible throaty resonance. Spicy grooves and deeply rooting hooks are no strangers either as the piece continues to grow and increase its enslavement on ears and emotions. The track is a mind-bending, thought twisting journey and quite brilliant.

   Chasma Hideout sees its title track bring its triumph to a close. Flowing out of the previous track, its celestial exploration proceeds to soar across an expansive melodic and cavernous ambience, guitars and bass slowly swaying with evocative radiance and imposing enterprise as the good ship Brain Pyramid fuels its flight with a transfixing creative sonic illumination. The song leaves listener and album on a high, its energy and incitement continuing to increase with every second of its creative hunger and technical urgency.

The track is a captivating end to an awe inspiring release. Managing to impress and offer more with each and every listen, Chasma Hideout is one of the year’s real treasures and Brain Pyramid a band destined to leave psychedelic rock aflame now and ahead.

Chasma Hideout is available now via Acid Cosmonaut Records @ http://acidcosmonautrecords.bandcamp.com/album/chasma-hideout

https://www.facebook.com/brainpyramid

RingMaster 02/10/2104

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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