ssSHEENSss – Strapping Stallions

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It might be hard to be convinced by the band name but there is no such issue with the new album from Finnish heavy rockers ssSHEENSss. The band’s second full-length, Strapping Stallions is a compelling beast of a proposition, riffs and rhythms as cantankerous as they are aggressive yet there is an eclectic devilry across the release which aligns itself to a gripping inventive craft, it all resulting in an album which is resourcefully unpredictable, mischievous, and most of all great fun.

Formed in 2011, the Hamina sextet set to work on their self-titled but album at the tail end of 2012 with producer Billy Anderson (Eyehategod, Mr. Bungle, Melvins, Neurosis), before unleashing it on the world to eager reception in the February of last year on guitarist Harri Pikka’s own label Stabbing Records. It was an attention grabbing stomp and sound but one which between albums has evolved into an even more muscular and ferocious tempest of stoner bred sinew sculpted rock ‘n’ roll. Early this year the line-up of vocalist Mikko Kiri, bassist Edu Lethal, drummer Juho Harjula, and the triple strike of guitarists made up of Pikka, Porkka and Muhli, hit the studio with a new horde of songs. Mixed by Tomas Skogsberg (The Hellacopters, Dismember) and mastered by Brad Boatright (Sleep, Corrosion of Conformity, Beastmilk), what emerged was the riveting and virulently contagious Strapping Stallions.

The accompanying press release announces that the album and its sound is something fans of Turbonegro, The Hellacopters, and ZZ Top will want to devour, something easy to agree with though that is only one shade of the diverse flavouring of the encounter. Opening track Adios, Fucker! for example pungently reminds of Troublegum era Therapy?, and as the nine tracks come and flirt with ears and imagination plenty other references come to mind, though they cannot defuse the potency of originality also spewing from ssSHEENSss. The opener is an instant wall of thumping rhythms and predacious riffs, all sides of the song converging on ears with an irritable tenacity. Employing essences of punk and metal to its keen and voracious, the stormy treat as mentioned easily reminds of the aforementioned Northern Ireland trio but also with its melodic sultry swagger hints at the likes of Mondo Generator. It is a riveting and thrilling start to the release, honest rock ‘n’ roll with little need to add over the top flourishes but allowing guitars and rhythms to craft a compelling web of highly infectious baiting.

The excellent opening is not matched by a cover of ZZ Top track Concrete And Steel, though to be fair ssSHEENSss twist it into an individual incitement of their own with resourceful imagination. It is a more than decent encounter but ssSHEENSss_strappingstallions_800x800px_weblacks the spark and in the face potency of its predecessor, something the next up You And Your Daughters is more capable of. Bluesy grooves entwine ears straight away as beats jab powerfully across their fiery coaxing. With vocals and riffs joining the swift temptation on feet and emotions, it is a rigorously inviting opening accentuated by sonic flames searing the magnetic spine of the song. There is also a seventies hard rock breath to the caustic sound fuelling the proposition, a lure which easily secures full attention and appetite but it is the mid-way twist into a bordering on bedlamic post punk/garage rock venture reminding of The Three Johns, where a great track becomes an outstanding one.

The equally stunning Voice Distortion Call with its heady and weighty intimidation of air and power sparks another lustful wave of hunger for the release, its Queens Of The Stone Age like devilry a sonic toxicity impossible to resist. With grooves and a sonic colouring you can almost physically taste such its spicy twang, the song is a gripping slab of stoner bred ferocity; a track as volatile as it is creatively composed. Another lofty highlight of the release, it is followed by the more classic metal toned Wolf Street Blues where that earlier Turbonegro comparison comes in handy. It is an easy going and undemanding proposition but keenly contagious and enjoyable providing another flavoursome turn in the diversity of Strapping Stallions.

Shadow Animals with its anthemic rhythmic thumping and corrosive riffery sets the fires in the passions burning bright again, its virulent hooks and Kiri’s vocal prowess irresistible amongst nothing but inescapable enticements. Imagine Mastodon meets again QOTSA and you get a sense of the adventurous climate and canvas of the song explored and set ablaze by the band. Its successor Let’s Explode does not quite match its triumph but still provides a lively smoulder of stalking riffs and classic rock soaked sonic endeavour to eagerly embrace. With at times a southern lilt to chords and heated harmonies from vocals, it is an enthralling offering, though it and its predecessor come nowhere close to the brilliance of the next track.

It is rare to call a cover the best track in a seriously impressive release but the band’s version of Love Will Tear Us Apart is sensational. Easily the best version of the track since Joy Division’s own unleashing, the band turns it into a new depressive seduction giving riffs a more carnivorous growl and beats antagonistic agility which lies perfectly with the pulsating throat of the bass and the melodic toxins which seep from every chord and twist of guitar. Even the vocals make a dramatic statement, Kiri managing to hold onto the cold emotion of Ian Curtis’ unique delivery whilst adding further expressive twists. It is pure dark majesty leaving Saigon the unenviable task of following and closing up the album, which it does successfully with its own anthemic rhythmic lures and melodic rabidity creating a song which whispers Eagles of Death Metal and Kyuss meets Melvins.

It is a great end to an exciting release which in some ways might even have missed a trick or two to become a modern classic. Nevertheless Strapping Stallions is another firm treat for the year and ssSHEENSss a band with a dodgy name and a natural ability to create exceptional rock ‘n’ roll.

Strapping Stallions is available via Soulseller Records on 3rd October

www.sssheensss.com

RingMaster 03/10/2014

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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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Vomitile – Mastering the Art of Killing

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Consisting of ten tracks which brutally roar whilst unleashing relentlessly nagging grooves aligned to insatiable riffing and a rhythmic assault which the word barbarous was drawn up for, Mastering the Art of Killing from Cyprus-based death metallers Vomitile, is a violent fury impossible to get enough of. It is not the most ground-breaking of offerings or an album to leave the extreme metal world awe struck, but for an accomplished and creatively skilled hostility there cannot be many more enjoyable, passions igniting death metal releases this year. Each song manages to feed and surprise expectations without the wish to over furnish their riff and groove driven slices of primal malevolence, and this inventive simplicity alongside the united skills of the band definitely helps go to make the release a must investigation for genre fans.

Formed in the early parts of 2007, Vomitile made their potent mark locally before reaching further afield with the 7-track EP Rotting Life in 2010 and even more so debut album Igniting Chaos three years later. Live too the quartet has earned a potent reputation and gone on to share stages with bands such as Sodom and Obituary, but it is with Mastering the Art of Killing that it is easy to feel and expect the band to break into the widest more attentive spotlights. Mastered by Andy Classen (Asphyx, Destruction, Rotting Christ) at Stage One studios in Germany, the new full-length fury is prime death metal turned over and stoked with creative passion and tenacious intensity for an inescapable and addictively inhospitable triumph.

Launching from a vocal squall, opener Morbid Holocaust instantly consumes ears and senses in a barrage of vicious swings from drummer Hugo Olivos and equally lethal riffs from guitarists Panos Larkou and George Yildizian. Just as swiftly addiction forging grooves spew their toxicity as vocalist Khatch Yildizian unleashes a caustic roar which as the album constantly shows manages to be bestial and uncompromising but with certain clarity for lyrical narratives to be digested and enjoyed. The track continues to savage and rampage with sinews to the fore, the bass of the vocalist just as vocal in its predatory enticement. It is an outstanding entrance and first offering, the track a torrent of contagious enterprise and as it proceeds, imagination igniting sonic endeavour shaped as melodies and solos.

It is also just a taster of things to come as the following pair of Project Mayhem and Forthcoming Apocalyptic War continue the riveting baiting of ears and emotions, both squeezing out further malice and venom from every aspect of PBR031_cover_1their confrontation. The first of the two combines a demeanour which stalks the ear and an all-out slaughter of the senses, alternating both as again rhythms become a relentless provocateur and riffs a feverish single minded yet inventive spite. Add bordering on corrosive grooves and raw vocal squalls and you have a second thrilling assault emulated straight away by the second of the two songs. This is built from a similar template to the last track but adds its own intrigue soaked twists of pace and sonic ideation. It does not quite match up to those before it, such their quality, but the following Born to Kill certainly has no problem setting another pinnacle with its swaggering riffery and scything grooves across at times a just as catchy rhythmic devilry. The song is still a destructive slab of sonic malignancy but it just makes you feel like dancing as it violates the soul.

The intensive grind of Forced Mutilation is the next to excite, its senses gnawing riffery a potent temper to more swaying revelry cast by drums and grooves, their lure masterfully courted by a just as gripping and imposing stroll of bass. With enthralling guitar skill and enterprise another beacon within the excellent tempest, it paves the way for ears and psyche to be ravaged by the thrashy excellence of Nekropound, the track a tsunami of bone splitting rhythms and rabid riffery which is just as at ease and potent when slipping into a predatory crawl over the senses. It is another shuffling up its attacks whilst embracing a melodic beauty which is as feverishly captivating as the grooves squirreling away at ears.

Across the heavy and intensive prowl of Slaughterhead, a song which surprises little but please lots, and the hellacious glory of Stabbed, Shot, and Bludgeoned, Vomitile still have attention and satisfaction firmly gripped, and in the case of the second of the pair with its tightest hold yet. The track is a virulently infectious and erosive piece of work and quite scintillating. You still would not say there is a wealth of originality going on but Vomitile turn the weapons they have and use into a primal and inescapable seduction to which we certainly have no defence.

Bringing the album to a close is firstly the heavy handed and footed brute Immense Catastrophe, a tempestuous joy all on its own and lastly the ferociously destructive and barbarously seductive Commencing Assault, a final invigorating anthem of bad blood and vile temptation. The pair brings the album to a mighty close leaving ears ringing and emotions torn asunder.

Mastering the Art of Killing is an exhaustive treat of a incitement which even though there is a kind of formula attack and structure to many songs, turns it in a minor issue such the contagious enterprise and unbridled intensity fuelling each encounter. Is the album offering much new to get your teeth into…not really but it cannot not stop Mastering the Art of Killing from being one of the best and favourite death metal intrusions in 2014.

Mastering the Art of Killing is available from October 3rd via Pitch Black Records @ http://store.pitchblackrecords.com/VOMITILE-Mastering-the-Art-of-Killing.html#.VC6ozRaDwvQ

http://www.vomitile.com/

RingMaster 03/10/2014

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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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pq3H3R3EWEc

Sumia – Until We Shine Again

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With a sound which in so many ways reflects the warm and cold climates which embraces their home city of Jyväskylä across the seasons, Finnish band Sumia make a striking announcement of presence and intent with debut album Until We Shine Again. Emotionally and sonically bracing, whether soaked in heated passion or imposing shadows, the release is an attention grabbing and immersive adventure which captures the imagination from start to finish.

Though described as alternative rock and metal, Sumia brew a sound and melodic tension which employs essences across numerous styles and flavours ensuring each song is an individual encounter, though at times some too closely share textures and structures so that any individual emotive bite they might aspire too is somewhat defused. Against that though, soaring melodies and vocal harmonies within evolving rugged and mesmeric terrains never relinquish their transfixing beauty and gripping enterprise so that thoughts and emotions are constantly fully and eagerly involved in the album’s emprise. Overall Until We Shine Again is a riveting full introduction to a quartet it is easy to feel is setting put on an eventful and successful journey.

The album opens with the elegant melodic touch and potent sinews of Dive, the track immediately aflame with sonic beauty and emotive intensity. The song swiftly envelops and seduces ears with the fluid invention of guitarists Samuli and Jonni, the latter’s vocals just as enticing and impressive. A Deftones essence soaks the encounter but similarly with the dark voice of Jussi’s bass and melodic flames which shoot up around the spine of the song and vocals, thoughts of Pigeon Lake come to mind. Framed and punctuated by the accomplished rhythms of drummer Olli, it is a stirring and compelling start to Until We Shine Again.

The following Sirena makes a much sturdier and aggressive entrance without losing the magnetic melodic coaxing which washed its predecessor. Vocally too, Jonni offers a mellow hug though he too is unafraid to flare up with attitude and raw tones. A rugged rhythmic enticement continues to set an imposing air to the track; guitars and keys vibrant and acidic as they sear across that provocation in a song pushing the album swiftly to another level, one subsequently surpassed by the outstanding The White One. It is fair to say there is a familiarity to the band’s sound at times, as shown by the third song, but it only adds to the appealing drama and lure of the incitements on offer. As the track winds with restrained feverishness around senses and imagination, a Johnny Wore Black meets Palms breeze seduces ears with a touch as enthralling as it is intimidating. It is a glorious encounter, guitars and rhythms crafting a tempestuous beauty over which vocals roar with heated harmonies and emotional passion.

Ghost (The Healer) brings a similar melancholic glaze to its reflective melodies and shadows, throaty bass hues a dark temper to the rawer blaze of sonic intrigue and drama raging above. The song does lack the spark of the previous tracks yet still binds ears and appetite in a resourceful and enterprising provocation easily igniting another strain of hunger towards the album, something One Single Look is missing. To be fair, the elegant piano led exploration is a captivating caress of haunting melodies and searching emotions which alone bewitches like a mix of Nine Inch Nails and Mr.Kitty, but in the landscape of the album makes for an ‘interlude’ in the roar of the album for personal tastes.

Through Sunbath and Arc Lights the album is back seriously infecting the psyche, the first of the two songs a spellbinding fire of the ever enchanting melodic invention within the band aligned to increasingly impressive vocals which come as ethereal and haunted as you could wish. Seamlessly flowing through gentle kisses on ears to raging sonic storms, the track is a scintillating proposition. Its successor lacks its punch but instead offers a rigorously simmering radiance and forceful emotional angst which just as tightly enthrals thoughts and senses, especially with the bass driven rhythmic predation which lurks throughout.

With Next To The Wheel stepping forward next to tantalise more than impose itself on the listener, the album gears itself up for a potent close. The track ebbs and flows in energy and pressure but ultimately is another lively sunspot of melodic calm and emotive heat prone to appetising sonic eruptions much as Otus which smoulders inventively with nagging riffs and flirtatious hooks within another sultry fire of sound and emotional outpouring. Its engrossing unpredictable and richly enjoyable tempest makes way for the closing Crystal Plane, a final melodic furnace which has an open if undefined familiarity and makes a thrilling and powerfully infectious finale to a seriously impressing release.

The additional strength of Until We Shine Again is that with every listen its songs unveil a little more about the heart of the album. There is plenty going on in the belly of songs which can get missed over fleeting glances, rewards that only need time to please further and make Sumia’s debut album a prize to seek out.

Until We Shine Again is available on October 3rd on Inverse Records @ http://www.inverse.fi/shop/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=448

http://www.sumiaband.com

RingMaster 03/10/2014

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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