Thirteen Shots – White Noise EP

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Ever since the release of the single Danzig in 2011, UK rockers Thirteen Shots have been evolving a sound which seemingly chooses its own direction through each release. It is an organic journey which constantly surprises fans and at times maybe even the band itself. The predecessor to the band’s new EP hinted at one potent and striking shift which the White Noise EP now confirms whilst also suggesting more and that it too is just a sign post towards a yet to be reached destination. Early tracks and debut album Vaudeville offered rock ‘n’ roll with a voracious psychobilly/ punk ‘n’ roll devilment but the unleashing of last year’s Tales That Start With A Whisper seven-track brawl explored rich strains of horror and garage punk in its varied adventures. Now White Noise has stepped forward to push those essences further, the result a diversely flavoured slab of rock which is as at ease employing blues and classic rock as it is garage punk and rock, the result a mouth-watering blaze of raw and dirty rock ‘n roll.

Formed in 2011, the Johnny Rose led Thirteen Shots was swiftly firing up attention, especially after the release of the acclaimed Danzig which was backed up by a live presence which had also garnered equally potent recognition, the band sharing stages with bands such as Demented are Go, The Peacocks, Rezurex, Howling Wolfmen, Graveyard Johnnys and many more these past few years. Their following releases only reinforced their emerging presence whilst relishing the movement in the band’s sound, a journey continued with captivating ferocity through White Noise. The beginnings of the Birmingham quartet when Rose linked up with co-founder guitarist Joe Public, saw the pair move away from a hard rock breeding but with the new release it almost feels as if Rose is drawing on the best essences of that earlier time and flavour to add another flame and spice to the next twist in the ascent of Thirteen Shots.

The new release also sees the introduction of drummer Tom Fenn, who replaced the departing and also band original Chelsea McCammon, and opens with the imposing turbulence and attitude Thirteen Shots- White Noise- Coverof Doom. From its first breath, intense and corrosive riffs graze the senses whilst a bulky bassline joins crisp rhythmic punches in accosting ears. It is a formidable wall of sound, almost Sabbath-esque in tone and predation as fiery grooves wind around the distinctive tones of vocalist Rose. Lyrically the band is still spinning great tales from b-movie and horror inspirations but in sound the track instantly reveals a fiercer and more intimidating air, though it is just one aspect in the varied character of the release.

Next up is the first of two recorded tracks taken from last encounter Tales That Start With A Whisper, and in some ways reveals the most about the shift in sound as you compare versions. Nekrosexual whips up an immediate rich garage blues fuelling to the southern kissed garage punk encounter. There is admittedly not a major change in the song’s textures and sonic winery but everything has a new flood of intensity and incendiary colour to it, a rawer rock ‘n’ roll clarity which just gets the juices dribbling.

The following Blue Lagoon features Silpha, the vocalist from German horror punks Silpha & The Corpseboners and label mates on Rose’s own label Undead artists. The track roars from its first second, a bracing horror punk causticity scarring the air around the expressive and magnetic tones of Rose and Silpha. The track is a contagious stomp, the guitar of Lewis Manchip an uncompromising squall and the pulsating throaty bass lures uncaged by George Chick inescapable bait as they collude with the wicked swings of Fenn. The track is punk rock at its finest at its core and a lingering treat even after making way Psycho Jukebox, the other song re-recorded from the EP’s predecessor. A firm favourite of ours from Tales That Start With A Whisper, the new version is a little less convincing yet with its new roar and bluster turning the swagger loaded rocker into a ferociously compelling provocation, the track only adds bruising drama and incendiary enterprise to the release.

Inspired by the romance of the silent film star and film icon Mary Pickford, First American Sweetheart is the EP’s pinnacle, its infectious gait and rockabilly temptation wrapped in hard rock grooves and garage punk contagion. The song is outstanding; another in a line of underground classics sculpted by the band and the deserving of a wider spotlight. It plays with a Turbonegro and The Damned meets Rezurex type stomp and alone does enough to confirm that the new generation of their sound’s evolution is a step in the right and thrilling direction for the band.

Final song Padded Cell Blues is exactly as it says on the tin, a feisty blues drenched slice of deranged rock ‘n’ roll which shuffles and rampages across its sultry confinement with captivating tenacity and invention. Adding another open colour to the canvas of the EP, the song is a thickly satisfying close to another fascinating and exciting release from Thirteen Shots. Playing as a taster of the band’s continuing journey and an anticipation triggering teaser to a new album out next year, White Noise is a treat for all Thirteen Shots’ fans but also a rigorously enticing invitation for all appetites of unpolished, unclean, and masterfully invigorating rock ‘n’ roll.

The White Noise EP is available now via Undead Artists digitally and as a limited CD @ http://thirteenshots.bandcamp.com/album/white-noise

http://thirteenshots.com

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RingMaster 03/12/2014

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Strange Nocturnal – Best Of Strange Nocturnal

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Listening to the sounds of UK goth rock band Strange Nocturnal is like aurally exploring the pages of classic visual incitements like The Haunt of Fear, The Vault of Horror, Tales from the Crypt, and House of Mystery. As shown by their new release though, their sound and drama comes with a just as rich industrial, metal, and horror punk flavouring to produce dark tales with a voracious snarl and ferocity bred from the visceral climate of the modern world. A collection of tracks released between 2009 and 2011, Best Of Strange Nocturnal is a full adventure for the senses and imagination, and it gives ears a pretty good time too.

Strange Nocturnal is the brainchild and originally solo project of Cumbrian musician/composer/producer Strange Nocturnal. From 2011 the band become full line-up wise and swiftly unleashed their debut album Party With The Dead. A host of varied releases have haunted the psyche since, the acoustically driven Halloween Is Never Really Over, the cinematic and dark ambient instrumental exploits of Undead Decadence, and the abrasing exploration of Cumbrian Gothic some open examples of the diversity within the world of Strange Nocturnal. Released via Undead Artists, Best of… teases and seduces, haunts and violates senses and thoughts to provide a macabre blood strewn soundscape.

This Halloween starts the adventure off, its immediately sinister air drawing the listener into a melodically gothic embrace wrapped in lurking and menacing shadows. Extending its intimidating arms soon after, the track grows into a light exhausting stalking of the senses, its hungry presence at ease whether prowling or charging through ears. There is a Tim Burton meets Rob Zombie meets Godflesh feel to the track, its crunchy textures offset by the siren-esque tones of female crafted harmonies.

The captivating start is continued by There Are Ghouls and Ghost’s, a sample of Vincent Price the gateway into an infectious stroll which in turn builds into a fiery turbulence. The vocals of Strange Nocturnal as in the first and subsequent tracks, come clad in smoggy effect but with plenty of room for a variation to show its lures. White Zombie like in many ways but also holding a great essence of Fad Gadget to its bracing charm, the song swings with a rhythmic revelry which infects grooves and melodies. The increasingly contagious blaze is followed by the addictive stalking of Curse of the Werewolf. Again there is an infectious bait at the heart of the song which makes its rhythmic and spicy hooks irresistible whilst around them the air is tempestuous and coarsely hazy, a fuzzy causticity which at times also ignites the potent vocals. Thoughts of The Shanklin Freak Show emerge as the song radiates its temptation and proceeds to prowl with diversely flavoured mystical spicery.

The Undead March instantly has ears and emotions hooked next, its great repetitive striding the first lure in an addictive predation. Vocals are once more wrapped in an insidious effect but undiluted in the virulence of their lead to and part of the full seduction of the song. Holding a whiff of Ministry to its irrepressible persuasion, the track is ridiculously compelling, something the musty metallic tones of The Bitch Was a Witch cannot quite match but with its serpentine breath and smoggy textures, the song makes the most of its moment to tantalise ears. For personal tastes the vocals are over immersed in the oppressive intensity of the music, a small thing which could be raised a few times across the band’s sound in general, but it easily has appetite keen and ready for the next up Fancy Death Party. Fuelled with a great blues winery with southern rock kissed harmonica, the song is another with a devilish swagger to its gait and magnetic toxicity to its sound.

The dark crawl and insidious temptation of She’s My Graveyard Ghoul-Friend has the imagination walking a toxic romance whilst Without Your Head provides a deranged maelstrom of emotion and voices within industrial filtered gothic metal corrosiveness. Though neither lives up to the biggest pinnacles of the collection, each with an underlying catchiness and adventurous climate has ears and thoughts fully engaged before the tempestuous slow waltz of Party With the Dead takes over. The song is a temptress with mercury running through its veins and demonic elegance soaking every melody and harmony on a bed of dark rhythms and imposing intensity lorded over by Strange Nocturnal’s satanic vocals.

The album is completed by the rasping Luciferian tones of Loving You From Beyond This Grave, the track Poe-esque in its dark radiance and fiendish in its industrial/noise sculpted causticity, and lastly The Crow’s Are Calling. The closing track has a devilry and mischievous tempting to its frequently shifting enterprise, an enslaving devilment which could be described as Doctors of Madness and Zombina And The Skeletones being violated by the raw ferocity of Young Gods.

Though there are understandably favourites which stand out and an ebbing and flowing of potency across songs, all tracks across Best Of…provide an enthralling and dramatic glimpse into the creative tempest of Strange Nocturnal, band and artist. The thoroughly enjoyable album is inspired by the darkest corners and emotions with the potential and a black seduction which could ignite the brightest fires in the imagination or spark the worst rapacity in your nightmares.

Best Of Strange Nocturnal is available now via Undead Artists @ http://strangenocturnal.bandcamp.com/album/the-best-of-strange-nocturnal

https://www.facebook.com/thestrangenocturnalband

RingMaster 03/12/2014

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New furies and raw bruises: Talking Riwen with band founder and Cult of Luna guitarist/vocalist Johannes Persson

Riwen Johannes Pic by Henrik Wiklund

Pic by Henrik Wiklund

 

There is little to compare the sound of Cult of Luna and hardcore band Riwen but they are both soaked in the craft and passion of vocalist/guitarist Johannes Persson. His new project prowls a whole new landscape of sound and invention, creating an intensive and brutally imposing provocation unique from but no less gripping and impressive than those cast by he and his Cult of Luna band mates. Having the chance to look into the heart of Riwen thanks to Johannes himself, we asked him about his new exploit’s seeds, approach to writing and recording compared to his ‘day job’, and much more…

Hello Johannes and thank you for sharing time to talk with us.

Can we start with the spark which brought Riwen into existence and what inspired the exploration of the hardcore bred sound of the band?

I love what we do with Cult of Luna and that we have spent a lot of effort to make our live show what it is but it can be frustrating with all the hours of preparations each day on tour. I felt like I needed something less complicated than the Cult of Luna Juggernaut. I just wanted a band where I could show up with a guitar, crank up the volume and just play. So last fall I wrote 14 songs in 14 days, inspired by bands that I listened to during my teenage years such as Judge, Integrity, Battery, Chain of Strength and so forth. When I had the music I started to call a bunch of friends. The end result is Riwen.

Hardcore is a style which has gripped personally over the years?

I wouldn’t say that. I listen to all kinds of music and I haven’t kept any track on what is going on in the hardcore scene after the 90’s. Everything I hear that I think is what hardcore is today sounds like over produced pro tools cut and paste start/stop metal and does not appeal to me. But the punk/hardcore bands that I got into when I was a teenager still sticks with me and I still love that kind of music.

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Pic by Henrik Wiklund

What have been the inspirations which fired up your taste for hardcore and which maybe tipped some influence into Riwen and a sound which is more than simply hardcore in many ways we feel?

I have always had a leaning to band that took it seriously whether they were writing about political or personal stuff. So there are too many bands to mention (more than in my answer above) but the important thing is that I never got a vent for my love of fast and aggressive hardcore and that is why Riwen is what Riwen is. I know we are bringing something new, or at least, unconventional to the table and I am who I am and my personal writing has probably bleed over the classic hardcore that I wanted to write. For good or for Ill, that’s for the listener to decide.

You have just released your three-track self-titled EP; did you have any specific hopes for it?

No, we just wanted to get a few tracks out there so we could start playing shows.

You are joined in Riwen for the EP by Christian Augustin and Fredrik Lindkvist. How did you all originally meet and was there much persuasion getting them on board for the band?

I have known both of them for many years since they were playing in a band from my area called Totalt jävla mörker. Christian has been playing live as a stand in drums for Cult of Luna for the last couple of years so we know each other very well. I actually didn’t plan to ask Fredrik since I knew he quit Totalt Jävla Mörker and I thought he didn’t wanted to do any more screaming vocals but Christian convinced me to ask and I am so glad I did.

I am right in thinking that the line-up is different now?

Since we recorded the EP we have been joined by Christoffer Röstlund on bass and Marita Jonsson Mätlik on guitar.

Your sound and release is obviously something very different to Cult of Luna, did this make or dictate a different approach to songwriting and the recording of the EP to that general with the ‘day job’?

It is totally different but it is hard to explain. This might sound strange but with Riwen I have much lower standard of what I let slip through the riff writing conveyer belt I have in my head. With Cult of Luna I keep 1 out of 100 riffs but with Riwen I just write and whatever comes out I keep. The music is no less important to me but it is a very different outlook on the writing and a very cleansing experience.

The EP is raw and aggressive, brutal at times with an energy and primal intensity which suggests it was recorded live in the studio. How were the songs recorded?

We recorded the songs in a small mouldy DIY studio in Umeå. We recorded it during 6 hours in a cold and dark winter night. I told Fredrik (that recorded the whole thing) that I was going to give him two takes on each instruments. If I screw up then that is what is going to end up on the record. A few of my favorite albums of all time are a few of the worst recorded and played records of all time. If you play with sincerity it will come out on the recording even if you do some mistakes. I also love the idea of catching a moment. If you do something wrong and keep it you have caught the moment in where you recorded the song. If you spend days on a song and make sure everything is perfect you have killed the emotional life of it. If everything is fixed so it sounds spotless there is no way you can tell if the recording is 10-20 years old but if you keep the mistakes you have recorded a ”now” moment.

riwen coverDid you go into that process with specific goals or rather it was letting something new for you evolve organically?

My only goal was to write music that interests me. Whatever happens here on is totally unknown for us as for anyone else.

The caustic sound which ignites the release has an honesty and personality which for all its raging also seems to fuel songs with an intimacy or personal connection to the band. What inspired the songs and their lyrical premises?

It’s a hard question to answer since I have only written the songs for myself and no one else. So of course they are very personal but that is the nature of song writing. When it comes to the lyrics it is Fredrik’s contribution so I don’t have much to say about that.

How has the EP’s release been received and looked at by especially Cult of Luna fans?

I honestly don’t know. It hasn’t been reviewed in any major magazine as I know but that is nothing strange since EP’s doesn’t usually get that much attention. Haven’t heard anything from any Cult of Luna fans yet…but this is very different music than CoL and I don’t expect that people will like Riwen just because they like another band I’m in.

Do you think it took them and the music world’s expectations by surprise, their assumptions coloured again by your Cult of Luna successes?

I don’t think it is a secret that we came from the Umeå hardcore scene but I have no idea of what people expect from us as musicians. I am a very diverse person and I want and need to do a whole lot of different things to satisfy my creative lust and this is one of them. Next time I might turn 180 degrees and do something completely different.

Being just a trio initially, is there a form of freedom and maybe even excitement live and creating music which is especially for the former of the two things more restrained by the bigger size of your other band?

We are not a trio anymore even though we were at the time when the EP was recorded and I must say that it was very tempting to keep it that way. Creatively it is much easier but in the long run I think that it is good for a band to have many members. Tension is always going to be created and I think it is better to have many people to be able turn to when you feel aggravated. If you only are three and somebody is getting on your nerves it might create an infected situation for the group. The more people the more diluted the conflicts are.

Tell us about the live side of the band, again it is a different beast being just the three/five making a vat full of compelling and furious noise?

Pic by Henrik Wiklund

Pic by Henrik Wiklund

Again, we are five now and we have only done one show so far and to be honest I didn’t feel it any different from Cult of Luna. Even though a live situation is a collective effort en responsibility I always play for myself and hardly know that the other members are there, except for the drummer.

Can we expect Riwen to be an on-going presence when other commitments allow?

I don’t know. Cult of Luna is always going to be my first priority musically and I have many more things that I want to do. Apart from that I am a parent and my family comes first. But it feels great to have this vent and even though we will not keep this pace of writing 20 songs in a year we will be able to tour and do shows every now and then.

What is next for the band and yourself?

We are just about to go into the studio to record our album. Hopefully we’ll be able to record about 15 songs but we need to have some bar of quality so I don’t know how many that will end up on the album. We have a few shows coming up but nothing booked outside of Scandinavia yet but I hope that we can get out in Europe next summer for a couple of shows.

Thanks again Johannes for taking time out to chat with us.

Thank you for the interview.

https://www.facebook.com/riwenhc/

Read the review of Riven’s debut EP @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/10/13/riwen-self-titled/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 03/12 /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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