Jess & The Ancient Ones – Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes

Photo_ Jarkko Pietarinen

Photo_ Jarkko Pietarinen

After an impressive introduction through their self-titled debut album back in 2012, there is always a potent twinge of excitement when whispers and news of something new from Finnish psychedelic rockers Jess & The Ancient Ones comes forward. It happened with their impressive occult surf metal EP Astral Sabbat in 2013 and again now with second full-length Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes. It is fair to say though that as keen the anticipation it was not really expecting the full majesty and fascination which envelops ears from the band’s latest triumph. Spreading open psychedelic inspirations bred from the late sixties/seventies, Jess & The Ancient Ones boldly embrace a host of other ripe styles and rich flavours too, creating one of the year’s most breath-taking offerings in the process.

Formed in 2010 as a septet, the band has slimmed by one over recent times and broadened their sound to weave in as suggested earlier, a new kaleidoscope of distinct styles. There is also less of the occultist intensity found in the new album’s predecessor as a more earthly magical theming seems to fuel the lyrical exploration of Second Psychedelic Coming. The new album is certainly as raw and seductive as anything before, the creative heart of the band unashamedly honest and unworried about sounding overly polished as again ears are provided with a gritty and organic character to the encounter and the instinctive way that the Kuopio sextet grip ears and incite the imagination. With the striking new aspects and imagination to the band’s sound though, it all unites in either fiery roars or invasive serenade of sound, most songs a collusion of both and more.

artwork_RingMaster Review     It is fair to say that within seconds band and album had its first inescapable claw into the passions through opener Samhain. Moving in on ears via the potent rhythmic stroll cast by Yussuf, attention is grabbed and appetite sparked, especially as a provocative sample makes a lead for a web of surf bred guitars and sultry keys to offer the next mighty lure of the song. It is instant persuasion, especially once virulent hooks step from that smouldering hug, they in turn sparking unbridled infectiousness in energy and tone emphasized by the caped crusader like groove flirting at the heart of it all. The distinctive and ever compelling voice of Jess is soon in the midst of the thick tempting of course, wrapped alluringly in the guitar enterprise of Thomas Corpse and Thomas Fiend as a mischievous bass canter sculpted by Fast Jake and the flowing suggestiveness of Abraham’s keys bring more creative tonic for the imagination to work with. Quite simply the album gets off to a glorious and irresistible start, offering a joyful pagan and dramatic celebration to get lusty with.

The Flying Man steps up next, it too an immediate contagion of tenacious rhythms alongside a tantalising sonic weave. Soon the track shares a bluesy breeze in air and melodies as its body exudes folkish/Celtic hues, whispers of Jethro Tull/Horslips teasing throughout the pungent smog of evocative and sonic heat. The undiluted fascination conjured continues with In Levitating Secret Dreams, it also entwining surf and psychedelic invention with enthralling imagination. As the first track, the song has a keen catchiness which quickly has body and appetite enlisted in its adventure, that success the springboard for warm harmonies to surround Jess’ vocal bellow but equally a maze of classic and blues rock resourcefulness through the guitars, which with the inflamed theatre of the keys and of course vocals, takes the listener into a uniqueness of creative splendour.

The addictive invention of the album never misses a beat or a moment to grip attention through the rhythmic slavery perpetually sculpted by bass and drums, another of its variations setting the tone and potent entrance of The Equinox Death Trip. With keys carrying a great Dave Greenfield of The Stranglers colour to their psych rock imagination, the track blazes away in ears and emotions. Jess powerfully leads the fire as things feverishly rumble and sizzle on the senses in another major highlight in nothing but across the album, though its mighty presence is still eclipsed by that of Wolves Inside My Head. The track is a beast, flexing its energy loaded and creatively provocative muscles from its first breath but just as swiftly exploring an eventful tapestry of keen hooks, spicy blues mystique, and melodically incendiary flirtation, all matched in kind by bass and drums. Again samples are a strong additive, though it is the wonderful vaudevillian air to song and backing vocals that add the most irresistible glaze. A whiff of delta blues also spices the encounter but comes much more pronounced and tempting within the following Crossroad Lightning. A climatic croon with tempestuously restrained sounds, the song is pure bewitchment with a healthy glow of My Baby to its shamanic and melodic sultriness.

Through the blues infested psych funk of The Lovers and the jazz spiced psych theatre of Goetia of Love, ears and pleasure are full, each presenting an inimitable shadow kissed carnival of diverse sound and a temptation as nostalgic as it is incessantly fresh. The latter of the two is a real siren of enterprise and evocative brilliance leading the listener into the epic affair of Goodbye To Virgin Grounds Forever. At twenty minutes plus, the closer is a flight of perpetual evolution and imagination in its own right. Classical and melancholic flavours collude with voracious and contagion carrying exploits, they just a few of the aspects sculpting the ever changing canvas and experimentation of the spellbinding proposal. From voice to rhythm, individual craft to combined melodic seduction; the track is an unpredictable and increasingly magnetic journey which alone ensures Second Psychedelic Coming has to be declared one of the must investigations of 2015.

The potential and triumph of the first Jess & The Ancient Ones album led expectations of bigger and bolder things from Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes. It lets no one down!

Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes is out now via Svart Records and @ https://jessandtheancientones.bandcamp.com/album/second-psychedelic-coming-the-aquarius-tapes

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Pete RingMaster 07/12/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Ripper – A.D.

Photo by Kate Murray

Photo by Kate Murray

The background to US band Ripper is simple; four punks who list former and current bands like Grotto, The Hidden Chord, Rolling Blackouts, Bombay Sweets, Zoo Animal, and Ghostmouth on their CVs, and draw on inspirations such as Dead Kennedys, Germs, Sonic Youth, and The Beach Boys for their virulent 2-3 minute punk rock songs. What also is uncomplicated is the fact that the band’s tracks and indeed new EP A.D. are bad ass rock ‘n’ roll devilment to get lustful and greedy over. The five-track roar is a stomp of dirty and antagonistic punk ‘n’ roll but with a virulence and feverish energy that just whips up the passions one blistering anthem by another ferocious anthem.

Hailing from L.A., New Jersey, Minneapolis, and Saint Paul, Ripper consists of vocalist/guitarist Danny Holden, guitarist Sean Levine, bassist /vocalist Noah Paster, and drummer Jeff Brown. January 2015 saw the release of their self-titled debut EP, a well-received introduction now eclipsed by the raw contagion and old school punk meets modern rock discordance of A.D.

photo- -Aaron-Oas

photo- -Aaron-Oas

The one minute incitement of Chain Fight gets the revelry off to a mighty start, guitars and feisty rhythms colluding in a sonic mugging driven by the just as quickly involving vocals of Holden, they potently backed by those of Paster. For those US based influences mentioned earlier, there is a just as open UK feel to the bracing roar to these ears, thoughts of The Vibrators and The Lurkers coming to mind as the brief and thrilling starter gets pleasure and appetite all riled up.

Latest single On The Curb follows and just as swiftly lays down catchy grooves and spiky hooks amidst a rhythmic and sonic tempestuousness. Within this storm though, the band skilfully slips the listener into mellower climes and with consummate ease belligerently leaps out of them again as that infectious attribute shown in the opener fuels verse and especially chorus. Again British comparisons come to mind more easily, the vintage and rousing attitude of Angelic Upstarts/The Boys aligning with the current discord irreverence found in bands like Asylums, the result a boisterously flirtatious incitement.

One Desire roars and brawls with the listener next, it a wonderfully antagonistic yet catchy invasion of the senses again bridging the decades of punk and noise rock superbly. As its companions, the song is the breeder of addiction; a want to indulge again hard to resist but postponed for the intrigue of what comes next, which is the just as outstanding Lick The Knife. Spicing its initial predacious prowling of ears with waves of off-kilter guitar seducing, an enticing weave punctured by the dark tones of Paster’s bass and rapier like swings of Brown, the track continues to restrain intensity and its assault as it slowly stalks the senses. The track is a compelling persuasion showing that there is much more than just punk influences to the heart of their riveting sound, whispers of post punk and noise rock igniting even greater greed for the release.

The EP is concluded by Never Win, a blaze of warped grooves and abrasive riffing speared by intensive beats amidst the throaty groan of the bass. The guitars of Holden and Levine, as shown elsewhere on the EP, are accomplished at unleashing a web of sonic bait to get eagerly entangled in, but here turning up the creative juices to spring their own thrilling trap within the larger delicious slavery of song and release.

Ripper is a band with the breath of the seventies and the creative devilry of all the punk years since, with plenty of their own distinctive imagination to shape, as shown by their EPs, fiercely memorable and exciting exploits.

The A.D. EP is available now as a co-release between Land Ski and Lawn Chair Records, and @ https://rippermpls.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/666RIPPER/   https://twitter.com/rippermpls

Pete RingMaster 08/12/2-015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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MACHINÆ – Clockwork

machinae-clockworks-promo_RingMaster Review

A breath or two over a year since first emerging upon the Finnish metal scene, MACHINÆ make a broader and richer introduction to their melodic metal exploits with debut album Clockwork. Given its global release via Concorde Music Company barely two weeks after a successful unveiling in the quintet’s homeland, the album is a fascinating and captivating encounter making a persuasion that builds and then lingers rather than providing an immediately explosive one. From start to finish though, Clockwork tantalises and entices with its imaginative weave of potently varied flavours within a metal bred rock ‘n’ roll landscape.

Formed by guitarist/keyboardist Eriksson and drummer Romppanen, MACHINÆ took their first step as a full band on Halloween 2014, swiftly getting into the creation of their first album thereafter. Potent teasers in the shape of singles/videos Never Coming Back and Frozen Ground earlier this year ignited great anticipation for Clockwork and now here, fair to say it delivers a highly enjoyable and imaginatively accomplished incitement. Covering themes ranging from “death, independence, and an overall tone of overcoming hardships”, the self-financed and self-produced album is merges aggressive and seductive contrasts within an often tempestuous canvas. As if bred on the melodic/progressive prowess of Amorphis, the epic and industrial intensity of Rammstein, and the emotive resourcefulness of Poets Of The Fall, the album persistently entangles ears and imagination in its creative drama to leave satisfaction full.

machinae-clockwork_RingMaster ReviewDestroy And Rebuild starts things off, raw riffs and rhythms colluding with theatre laced enterprise spread quickly by the keys and guitars of Eriksson and Karenko. Enveloping ears with thick tempting from the start, the song’s energy relaxes a touch as the clean tones of Piipponen step forward, though beside him the carnivorous tone of Kauppinen’s bass ensures dark intimidation is still a prowling feature. Throaty growls add to the mix too as the swinging swipes of drummer Romppanen drive and shape the great volatility at the heart of the song. It is a great proposal epitomises things to come; the track not sending the senses and passions spinning but perpetually working away on them to emerge a long term and increasingly persuasive proposition.

The gripping Never Coming Back comes next; keys straight away hugging ears with lively yet shadow hued melodies as the vocals paint an evocative portrait of paranoia and the tragic outcome it leads to. As throughout the release, the song carries a familiarity which adds spice to the highly agreeable mix whilst its raw and bracing textures wake and hold attention as potently as the enterprise colouring their confrontation.

Barely a breath is allowed between tracks, This Will Be The Day emerging from the final release of sonic air out of its predecessor, instantly casting a folkishly melodic and engaging coaxing evolving into brewing angst and the intensity of the song. Its light might darken in the process but the track also unveils eager infectiousness and a similar welcoming glow from the keys which tempers that Poets Of The Fall like melancholy.

Across the quartet of songs so far, the album shows distinct diversity within its imagination, and continues to spread those wings through the brooding gothic croon of Casualties and the haunting air of Frozen Ground. The first of the two embraces symphonic and grouchily predacious elements whilst its successor blossoms a provocative electronic expression aligned with a gnarly touch and at times intent.

From a warm reflective smoulder to a rousing rock ‘n’ roll roar simplifies but gives a glimpse of the heart of Into light whilst Falling One By One weaves a tenaciously sculpted tapestry of sultry keys and hungry riffery around the enjoyable variety in vocal delivery and imagination colouring the song’s contagious body. It is an enticement and virulence echoed within Forever, where, not for the first time within Clockwork, there are certainly parts closely similar to others in the other songs but skilfully nurtured to positive effect in the emerging individualism of again an inescapably enjoyable encounter.

MACHINÆ continue to please and intrigue with their craft and imaginative songwriting as Almost Human Doll and Don’t Get Used To This provide eventful and unpredictable exploits, the latter especially riveting and anthemically incendiary before making way for the magnetic Blank Canvas which brings the album to a musically and melodically evocative close, with a contrasting snarl or two included.

Clockwork is not an album which left ears and thoughts awe struck, though thorough enjoyment was an easy conquest, but each song and moment offered something adventurous and sparked an appetite to explore the band more now and across future releases.

Clockwork is out now via Concorde Music Company.

http://machinaeband.com/   https://www.facebook.com/machinaeband   https://twitter.com/machinaeband

Pete RingMaster 08/12/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Sugarmen – Plastic Ocean

cover_RingMaster Review

2015 will be marked by many things for different people in regard to music, and most likely amongst them will be not only the introduction to UK indie rockers Sugarmen through debut single Dirt in April but equally its successor, the rousing infection that is Plastic Ocean. The band’s new song is a tenacious dance of jangly guitars and eighties spiced melodies with captivating energy and joyful enterprise to match, it all making up confirmation of the promise and qualities shown in its predecessor.

The year has been a potent adventure for the Liverpool quartet. Between the singles, the foursome of songwriters/guitarists Luke Fenlon and Chay Heney, bassist Tom Sheilds, and drummer Sam McVann have played two Hyde Park shows with The Who and Blur, whilst amongst their own shows they have shared stages with the likes of Sleaford Mods, The Bohicas, Hooton Tennis Club, Deer Hunter, Metronomy, and British Sea Power. The release of the Mick Jones (The Clash) produced Dirt was a attention grabbing spark in the year too and now matched by the voracious adventure of Plastic Ocean.

The single instantly hugs ears with a spicy melody from within the jaws of a groaning bass and crisp rhythmic jabs. As quickly that eighties flavouring springs its welcoming lure, the song like a mix of King Trigger and through its spicy guitar flirtation, Haircut One Hundred. The voice of Fenlon is just as warmly inspiring as the sounds, feet and hips fully involved by rhythms and the catchy swing of the song as the listener’s vocal chords and a greedy appetite are recruited by the vocal and melodic prowess seducing ears.

Within it’s less than three minutes of length, further magnetic infusions of fresh flavouring emerge to line the excellent dips and leaps in energy, it all adding to the undiluted festivity of the song. Quite simply, the track is an adventurous pop rock party which has the listener in the palms of its boisterous hands.

If you missed Sugarmen the first time, be sure not to miss this second slice of their sound, indeed add it to your playlist for this festive period and spread the goodness.

Plastic Ocean is out now via Rooftop Records.

https://www.facebook.com/sugarmenuk    https://twitter.com/Sugarmenuk

RingMaster 08/12/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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