Shatner’s Bassoon – The Self-Titled Album Shansa Barsnaan

SB_RingMaster Review

We have all had a dream which is ripe with randomness so abstract that it somehow makes sense, and that is exactly what it is like listening to The Self-Titled Album Shansa Barsnaan, the new album from Shatner’s Bassoon. Not that our brain cells have yet managed to come to terms with any of its themes, if there are any, or the intent behind its psyche twisting bedlam of creativity, but without doubt we are having the richest fun and enjoyment trying.

Shatner’s Bassoon is a sextet from Leeds taking influences from the likes of Tim Berne, Mr. Bungle, John Zorn, Frank Zappa, and an expansive range of styles and flavours into their warped composing and sound. Equally individual experiences of its members carry a diverse range stemming from European folk, Hindustani music, Brazilian music, straight ahead and free jazz, reggae, metal, contemporary classical, musique concrete and most likely plenty more inspiring spices. 2013 saw the release of their debut album Aquatic Ape Privilege and last year the live EP, The Crowd Grows Mild. Now representing “the summation of the last three years of working since the addition of Joost Hendrickx on drums and electronics”, Shatner’s Bassoon release their second album of unhinged imagination, an encounter from Johhny Richards (Keyboards/Piano), Michael Bardon (Bass/Bongos/Botanical String Quartet), Andrew Lisle (Drums), Oliver Dover (Saxophones/Bass Clarinet), Craig Scott (Guitar), and Hendrickx which puzzles, bemuses, seriously confuses but most of just thrills.

cover_RingMaster Review     Bruce Lawn starts the album off and according to the press release sees “Seemingly disparate musical fragments converge into a unified theme as catchy and uncomfortable as gonorrhoea. It dissolves as quickly as it manifests into a visceral aural soup, crashing into an overtly sexual Transylvanian organ punch.” It opens with a handful of lusty seconds of anthemic sax bursts and handclaps before flinging a host of discord kissed sounds made up of melodic and sonic tweaks. Already thoughts are conjuring a picnic in a thirties freak show, an abundance of off-kilter beauty providing an embrace of joy with sorrowful undertones. As with every track, and no matter the hints given by the band musically and in word, each listen sends the imagination down a new avenue of lively and shadowed adventure, though ones maybe not quite as disturbed or avant-garde as the ideas in the minds bringing the piece to ears. Band and song continue to ‘meander’ and spin new detours, a few of them Essential Logic like, as it drifts into an increasingly sinister haunting; coming out the other side with aural face paint smudged and mental coherence askew.

Bruce Lawn II: Arms like a Mirage comes next; the song’s initial elegantly chilled breath a surreal reflection of its predecessor’s final dark throes whilst spinning slowly deeper into its own turbulent intrigue of sound and barely masked insanity. It all leads to a bordering on bestial climax which is almost 6:33 like in its concussive collision of jazz, rock, and whatever else lies within its tapestry of aggression.

Like that initial spattering of water as rain clouds open is how Fringe in my eyes, Thighs in disguise sheds its mosaic of incompatible yet united sound next, each note from the song sheet a jazz bred splatter marking its territory; yes warped sounds seem to breed warped ideas, in us anyway.

Percussion and rhythms provide a skittish but fluent dance to set Mushroom/Fancy a Waltz away; bulging blobs of sax and clarinet flirting with the spicy strings of the guitar soon after before things get a little psychotically hairy in something best described by the band itself as “a machine gun spluttered duet finally melting into a refreshingly resolute meditation.” To be honest whatever we write or they say is a scratch upon the strange and spellbinding tapestry at work throughout the album and its individual exploits of tangling sound and ingenuity.

Ten seconds of innocence coated sax gaiety is all Mitch Fargone’s walk to school offers before Advocates of Anti-Funk pulsates and shimmers in a kaleidoscope of melodic and brassy sunspots, all wanting to share their swinging hips before eventually colluding in a dark carnival-esque seducing. Rip Rig & Panic meets Mr Bungle might be a good way to describe it…actually not really as again Shatner’s Bassoon cast only their own uniqueness over ears.

The dark enchantment of Boat Comforts moves in like sea fog, creaking boards and melancholic siren sent calls mesmerising and tantalising the senses. Every passing second brings darker and stranger nautical essences, the piece toying with the imagination like a Jules Verne on LSD written adventure complete with a bare boned and crazed shanty. Cardiacs come to mind the more the song spills its insanity and rum brewed frenzy before Boat Comforts Part II: Goat Conference / The Real Shim Lady unveils its own sonic choral of loco spawned textures and cracked rhythmic incitement. Like the unbridled discordance of eighties band Stump infesting the psyche and the creative prowess of a composer to a silent movie, the track goes from low key musical disorder to sinew swung hysteria and back again into deep melancholy.

Next comes DMT AABA which is like a nursery room found in American Horror Story, it in turn followed by the even more thickly haunting of The Ballad of Long Egg, a track which for whatever reason sparked thoughts of films like Roman Polanski’s Repulsion and The Tenant. Closing eyes whilst listening to the track ensures it is an atmospheric noir scare, its textual narrative high suggestion even if the results brewed mentally do or do not match the band’s intent.

Inspector Fargone is another passing swoosh of temptation, its twenty odd seconds like a spaced-out Jacques Tati moment whilst the brilliant Boghead (WaspSpeed) is a fevered uproar of energy through a palette of eccentric funky sounds and demented brass grimaces and eruptions, all coming together like a Dali sculpted painting by numbers, though of course there is no recognisable order or structure to the blaze of premeditated and free form ingenuity.

The album is brought to a close by an enveloping lure of sound which again can only be described as haunting. Will you be my Friend? draws in vocals for the first time, their harmonies as left field and fascinating as the sounds hugging their presence, and wonderfully as musically heretical as the gentle cacophony creating one enthralling and exhaustingly bewitching album.

When you listen to The Self-Titled Album Shansa Barsnaan you will have a totally different view and response to its songs, that is a given such its diversity and unfathomable genius but most will agree that for appetites of humour loaded music with an insanity as broad as the imagination and wealth of flavours in its creation, Shatner’s Bassoon have provided one feverish treat.

The Self-Titled Album Shansa Barsnaan is available via Wasp Millionaire Records from September 24th.

Pete Ringmaster 23/09/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/

Dead By Dawn – Dead Time Stories

Courtesy of George Martin Photography_

Courtesy of George Martin Photography_

You can never have enough ghouls rocking the breath from your lungs by our reckoning, so it is great lusty pleasure that we bring you Dead Time Stories the new EP from UK horrorbillies Dead By Dawn. It offers four tracks, which like a swarm of the undead, unleash contagious bloodlust and decayed virulence across relentless stomps which increasingly become ravenously addictive.

Dead By Dawn rose from the cold dank earth in 2013; escaping graveyards in the North East of England and coming together to brew a plague of rockabilly, punk, and ska; all strains soaked in horror. Before their enrolling in the walking dead, the band’s members earned their musical claws and experiences playing in a host of hard rock, punk, metal, and ska bands. Their subsequent resurrection as Dead By Dawn has already seen the release of the well-received Re-Animation EP and attention grabbing debut album 13 Nightmares. Now it is Dead Time Stories prowling the nation and devouring the psyche with one thoroughly welcome and thrilling rock ‘n’ roll rampage.

The defilement starts with Romero & Ghouliet, its first touch a raw scraping of riffs quickly bolstered by the deeds of Shovel, who with a name like that you just know will be the drummer. His beats are like sledgehammers on the senses as guitarist Dead Bundy weaves a tendril of sultry enterprise around the mischievously alluring voice of Siouxsie Psycho once she joins the already forcibly infectious proposal. Her string prowess backs up her joyful vocal enticement and the spicy grooves of Dead Bundy whilst Ruby Morgue swings thick lures from her upright bass like a big boned seductress. It is striking stuff with a smiling chorus so catchy it borders on candy pop and works superbly within the predatory and salaciously enticing sounds around it.

Deadtime-Stories_RingMaster ReviewThe great start to the EP only get musically juicier and more creatively ravenous as Bloodlust: Hellbound Hearts takes over. Shovel brings the song in on a rousing roll of his ever intimidating beats, the guitars adding their lures swiftly as boisterous riffs and another web of wicked grooves and sonic endeavour escapes, their temptation lined with an exciting tinge of discord. The track’s body continues to rock like a dog in heat, bass and drums cultivating an addictive swing over which guitars devilishly prowl and Siouxsie spreads her siren-esque intent.

The Dead By Dawn sound lies somewhere between HorrorPops, The Bloodstrings, and Dragster but continues to find its own increasingly unique character as shown over the band’s trio of releases and indeed American Mary. The third track on the EP leaps from a slither of a cinematic tempting into a rhythmic stalking draped in punk hooks and intoxicated grooves, the guitar’s winey lure as compelling as the psychobilly growl uncaged alongside them. A whiff of The Creepshow and Zombie Ghost Train seeps through in different ways from within the bracing dark tango but again it only colours a heart bred devouring which is primarily Dead By Dawn.

Dead Time Stories saves the best till last in the mouth-watering heavy canter of its title track. Once more hooks and grooves provide a constant supply of inescapable traps laced with delicious discord whilst the band unleash their inner vocal bedlam around enchantress lures laid by Siouxsie’s delivery. There is great simplicity to the infection loaded bait uncaged within Dead By Dawn songs but it is with instinctive imagination and craft that it becomes so successfully woven into fiercer, predacious exploits without either contrast losing its impact. The final track, with another impossible not to get involved in chorus, is the perfect example as it gives a rousing end to one exhilarating encounter.

It might be fair to say that Dead By Dawn is still looking for their majorly unique sound but when they do, and you feel they certainly will on the evidence of Dead Time Stories, there is little to stop them finding real success ahead; though the fact that every genre of heavy music it seems has at least one band with the same name might be a shadow the band has to escape from too.

The Dead Time Stories EP is available now

Pete RingMaster 23/09/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/

Human Bodies/Leather Chalice – Split

HB cover art_RingMaster Review

In a union to scar the psyche and corrupt the senses, Broken Limbs Recordings have unleashed a 7” vinyl split release between New England hailing Human Bodies and Leather Chalice, a hellacious proposal of pure black metal malevolence and rancorous hardcore viciousness. These are two bands building a potent name for themselves and they do their reputation no harm wit this intensively rabid encounter. The four-track EP is painfully corrosive and fuelled by creative hate, but if that is your recipe to bliss, then this is an encounter demanding keen attention.

Human Bodies_RingMaster Review     The first two tracks come from the Boston foursome of guitarists/vocalists Terzakis and Gabe, bassist Jason, and drummer Dan, collectively known as Human Bodies. The band began in the October of 2013 as a studio project, developing over time into a fuller line-up and live presence to go with the well-received No Life cassette EP of last year. Just off of a successful full US tour, Human Bodies entangle ears in a rhythmic web as their first offering on the split, Only the Sigh feistily prowls into view. Energy and intensity continue to rise as a bestial bassline colludes with sonic hostility where guitars are ravenous and vocals raw intrusive squalls. It is an uncompromising attack yet has a swing and swagger to it which welcomes body and attention as much as its sonic trespass tries to defile them. It is lethal contagion and an outstanding start to the release which runs straight into a similarly alluring violation in the caustic shape of Malice Prepense. Repetitious beats and riffs again entice and spark a healthy appetite whilst a doomy cancerous breath smothers the listener to simultaneously temper the virulence but increase the potency of the whole malicious incitement.

Leather Chalice is the solo blackened punk project of Jann from Ramlord, who brings inspirations from Venom, Discharge, and “depression and Leather Chalice_RingMaster Reviewtotal defeat of the human spirit by modernism” into his ruinous tempests of blackened punk loathing. Good Intentions (Coming Home I) is his first offering, an abrasion of erosive and raw cancerous morbidity which is as fearsome as it is sonically compelling, whilst Last Gifts of Worship (Coming Home II) takes all the enmity of the previous song and twists it into an even harsher and surprisingly catchy enticing. Of course that infectiousness lies beneath a tsunami of ill-will and rancorous intent which to swim through is as painful as it is rewarding.

Only The Sigh might have emerged as just the favourite track here but between them Human Bodies and Leather Chalice uncage four dangerous and highly enjoyable onslaughts which fans of black metal, hardcore, and violent post punk should take a deep breath and dive deeply into.

The Human Bodies/Leather Chalice Split is available now on Ltd Ed 7” vinyl via Broken Limbs Recordings in co-operation with Prison Tatt Records.

Pete RingMaster 23/09/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/

City Of Thieves – Incinerator

CoT_RingMaster Review

We just cannot say no to a rousing slab of rock ‘n’ roll at The RR and that is exactly what UK hard rockers City Of Thieves uncage with their debut EP, Incinerator. It is five tracks of varied, no frills heavy rock which may not carry too many big surprises but potently feeds the instincts to roar and brawl with revelry. After the first minute of its opener you will kind of know and certainly welcome what you are going to get thereon in, but with a formidable freshness and passion to it too, it quickly shows why there is a thick buzz brewing up around the band; Incinerator inciting heavy satisfaction as it sonically lives up to its name.

The London quartet emerged in May of 2015 and as soon as their sounds hit ears and their feet stomped on stage, City Of Thieves began stirring up rich attention. Their live debut was an acclaim awarded introduction at his year’s Camden Rocks Festival, whilst debut single and now EP title track Incinerator, saw the band play listed on the New Rock Show on Planet Rock Radio for 7 weeks. Since then the band has found itself booked for this year’s Hard Rock Hell, Legends Of Rock, and Rockstock Festivals, played Bloodstock, and seen their EP already covered in plaudits.

EP Artwork_RingMaster Review     Recorded with producer Toby Jepson (Little Angels, The Answer, The Virginmarys), mixed by Mike Fraser (Metallica, AC/DC, Slipknot, Aerosmith), and mastering by Simon Francis (Kodaline, Kaiser Chiefs, Primal Scream), the Incinerator EP starts with a bang and never looks back. That first single opens things up, enticing ears and teasing an instant appetite with its initial predatory prowl of riffs, they courted by the swiping beats of drummer Will Richards and the gnarly tones of Jamie Lailey’s bass. Pretty soon things have ‘relaxed’ into a fiery stroll as the guitars of Ben Austwick and Adam Wardle spin a melodic web of grooves and spicy riffs , and Lailey unveils his sandy, slightly grizzled vocal tones. Like an old buddy, a familiarity entwines with the sonic enterprise and stalking rhythms, and like a returning friend it only pleases as it comes further alive with individual prowess and a creative energy which many bands never ascend to, especially within a debut.

The great start continues with Buzzed Up City, a mellower and warmer grab of the senses but one not scrimping on vociferous snarls within its fiery heart as the band embraces a more classic rock tone with eighties hues in its infectious rock ‘n’ roll. It hits the spot with accuracy though is still eclipsed by its predecessor and the following Lay Me To Waste, the best track on the release. From the almost carnivorous tone of the bass, the rebellious nature of drums and riffs, and grooves which flirt like a lithe seductress, the track smoulders and blazes with a virulence and enterprise which swiftly captures the imagination, and of course greedy ears.

Here Comes The Shot is more of the same infection in its individual way. Its bluesy air and rumbling rhythms also immediate persuasion as vocally again Lailey, like the song and indeed EP, brings a ‘this is how it is, take it or leave it’ attitude and the taking is the only reply possible to the rousing anthem.

A live acoustic take of Mr 50/50 brings the release to a fine end, the song a closing reminder of the core craft and qualities of City Of Thieves always lying beneath the full on riotous sound of other tracks whilst providing a last shot of aural liquor complete with boozy harmonica.

The bottom-line here is that there are few BIG surprises with Incinerator but an unbridled dose of fun and rousing rock ‘n’ roll, and who is never up for that?

The Incinerator EP is available now via Townsend Records / Monster Box Music

Pete RingMaster 23/09/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/