Hacktivist – Outside The Box

Photography and editing by Perry Westphal

Photography and editing by Perry Westphal

It has been a fair time in the coming but the highly anticipated debut Hacktivist album is finally about to be uncaged. It is a rage living up to the heights and promise of the UK band‘s previous self-titled EP whilst pushing further the band‘s imaginative distinct fusion of nu/alternative /progressive metal with extreme and electronic textures aligned to rap/hip hop fuelled incitement. In some ways it is not bold enough in its exploration and creative drama. Occasionally there is the feeling that the band missed opportunities to create a landmark proposition, but truthfully from start to finish Outside The Box leaves an already established appetite for their sound more than thickly satisfied.

Emerging in 2011, it is fair to say that the Milton Keynes quintet has been leaving deep marks on the British metal/rock landscape whether through their ravenous live presence or that aforementioned EP and surrounding singles. They have been devoured by fans and media alike even with a sound naturally which is going to make as many enemies as long term friends such its unconventional and unpredictable character. Festivals have equally have embraced the band, and Hacktivist them by lighting up the likes of Reading, Leeds, Sonisphere, Rock Am Ring, and Rock Im Park these past years. So as suggested, Outside The Box has bred plenty of intrigue and expectations in the wait for its eventful arrival, a pressure it more than deals with, if without quite realising its own potential at times.

The album opens with Our Time; a track featuring Marlon Hurley which lays out a dystopian atmosphere as an emotive climate springs from keys and spoken vocals before the muscular weight and intensity of the band bears down on the senses and imagination. It is a stalking rather than an assault but with djent spicing to its teeth, the track is a waking up of attention for the following tempest of Hate. An electronic coaxing entices ears initially, though its touch is as sinister as it is magnetic, especially once the subsequently duelling and colluding vocal rapacity of J Hurley and Ben Marvin steer the descending storm. Like a cantankerous cousin to The Kennedy Soundtrack, the track lures and berates the senses; eventually unleashing its full animus with intrusive grooves from Timfy James and predatory rhythms spawned in the creative venom of bassist Josh Gurner and drummer Rich Hawking.

art_RingMasterReviewThe track is a gripping affair followed by Deceive & Defy. It is the first in a trio of re-recorded older tracks amongst eight new provocations, and features Jamie Graham from Heart Of A Coward as guest vocalist. With ambience soaked smog around a rapped narrative, the song’s entrance is restrained yet dramatic, increasingly so as firmly swung beats and agitated riffs build towards an open almost carnal hostility of sound and tone. The track swiftly and increasingly pleases yet it is one which maybe holds back and never quite delivers the raw intensity and explosive adventure hinted at and expected.

It is something Taken certainly offers; its snaky steel lined tendrils of guitar and combative mix of melodic, raw, and spat vocals firing up the passions for antagonistic confrontation alone. The band builds on that with imaginative slips into harmonious vocals and warm melodies shared by James, moments which surprise and reveal the blossoming invention of the band’s songwriting. With Rou Reynolds from Enter Shikari guesting, the song leaves ears and thoughts eagerly involved as does the instrumental, The Storm. It is an evocative moment in time reflecting the physical and emotional aspect of its name, time giving the listener time to regroup before No Way Back launches its dissension. With a scent of Heart of a Coward and Monuments to it, the track badgers and tears into the senses with its jagged stabs of guitars and barbarous rhythms, soothing the wounds with the sighing caress of keys whilst a triple threat of vocals keeps ears consumed and eager to embrace the volatile textures being blended.

A re-working of False Idols comes next, the song moving from an opening romancing to a mountain of groaning rhythms and gnarly riffs bound in viperish grooves. The track certainly pleases without making a big stir in its opening moments but as each passing minute uncages more creative and intimidating adventure, the song blossoms to impress in a way fresh to its original version, even though the differences are not as dramatic as they might have been. The track is a standard bearer all the same but eclipsed by Rotten which sees Astroid Boys and Jot Maxi involved. Weaving essences reminding of Tech N9ne and Twizted into a progressively atmospheric climate, the track simply seduces the imagination as it provides a new strain of invention and diversity to the album.

Elevate has been re-tuned for its place within Outside The Box, given new sonic oil and vocal attitude as it builds build on its first outing in the band’s earlier EP. It is a dogfight for ears and a showdown for emotions as it attacks and stirs up a bedlam of carnivorous textures and electronic trespasses. Melodic and harmonic caresses add a great tempering but they never subdue the thrilling discord and friction of sound and voice.

Lyrically the band is as sharp and incisive as expected but at times they seem to carry a chip on their shoulder which does not lie quite as well as their more politically incited targets. It is something which can be said about the album’s title track where, even with the broadening investigation of its narrative, it captivates most potently in sound.

The album is brought to an exhilarating close by firstly the volcanic and bestial enterprise of Buszy, a deft entangling of contrasting textures in a maelstrom of ire and creative intensity, and lastly by The Storm II, a melodically elegant and sonically ravenous flight into uniting emotional resonance and turbulence. Both provide a climactic and impressing close to an album which itself is only striking.

Whether Outside The Box could have been even more impressive and impacting will surely be debated, our thought being that maybe it missed a trick or two knowing the invention and craft of the band. From start to finish though, it had ears and emotions enthralled and greedy for more; a success no one can turn their nose up at.

Outside The Box is released March 4th via UNFD / Rise Records through most online stores and @ http://www.hacktivist.uk.com/store/products/outside-the-box-cd-2/

http://www.hacktivist.uk.com   https://www.facebook.com/Hacktivistband

Pete RingMaster 03/03/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

The World State – Traced Through Dust and Time

photo by LARS HUR

photo by LARS HUR

Some bands have something extra about them, something instinctively unique which may not be majorly realised in the now but you can only anticipate will blossom to great success for its creators and ears at some point. Danish band The World State is one such proposition, though it is fair to say that its extra ingredient is already showing its face within the bands dark epic rock, as fascinatingly revealed by new album Traced Through Dust and Time. The band’s eight track debut album is an enthralling adventure; a drama in sound and narrative which almost plays like a stage play, luring ears and imagination into individual yet linked episodes of creative and imagination theatre.

In sound you might say that the Aarhus quintet is not exactly breaking into new landscapes yet with the unique structuring of songs and indeed the release itself alone, everything about Traced Through Dust and Time feels fresh and new. The band began in 2009, created by Leifur (bass, vocals, grand piano, harmonium, synths, accordion) who linked up Andreas Schubert (guitar) early on. Over time a number of line-up changes eventually led to the line-up today of Bina Rosenvinge (lead vocals), Jesper Kragh (guitar), and Danny Woe (drums) alongside the other pair. Debut EP Flier made a potent impression with its release in 2013 but it is with Traced Through Dust and Time that we are already expecting far broader and keener attention being enticed the way of The World State.

Written by Leifur and recorded during various stages and places between 2009-2015 with guest contributions from Lone Amtoft, Tenna Duch Schaldemose, Christian Dalmar, and Thomas Faurby, Traced Through Dust and Time opens its tempting with Fading Leaves. A cold wind lures the imagination first, guitars and keys with melodic hums for company soon emerging to offer a quaint yet haunting invitation. Its air is unpredictable, an imposing breeze ebbing and flowing within a warmer lure as a stormy atmosphere rumbles overhead. Already the dramatic potency of the album is at play, the song casting an evocative landscape upon which the theatre to come will weave its tales through elements like the portentous caress of strings provided by Who Killed Bambi.

Traced-Cover_RingMasterReviewA Castle for the Battles that I Fight flows on from the departing breeze of its predecessor and quickly strolls through ears with its infectious rock ‘n’ roll as Rosenvinge’s captivating voice unveils the narrative. The steely addictiveness of the bass soon lays down a gripping strand of temptation to add to that of the winy tendrils of guitar amidst anthemic rhythms whilst across its six plus minutes, band and song explore and evolve new twists and blends of magnetic textures; symphonic and gothic strains uniting with melodic and folkish imagination for example.

The calm shanty like entrance of The Strangest of Places soon glides into a darkly shadowed passage breeding portentous drums within a matching ambience lit with vocal flames. This alone has a web of flavours and styles which simply fascinates, the subsequent burst into a feisty gallop raising energy of song and listener as things become even more compelling and eventful. This song alone shows it is hard to make comparisons to other artists, another quality which sets The World State apart from the crowd.

The album’s title track comes next to seduce and mesmerise, the latter predominantly through the siren lure of Rosenvinge’s increasingly impressing voice. Jazz endeavour from the guitar mixes with progressive enterprise and a funk seeded bassline as the song grows and expands its charms minute by minute, expressive keys and celestial harmonies only adding to the s tantalising of ears and imagination.

A Celtic tinged, melancholy laced melodic sigh cups ears between the last and next track, From Oblivion to Live Again which wears the same solemn elegance and reflective shadows as the brief piece. As keys and Rosenvinge’s hug the imagination whilst a subsequent serenade of strings rises around them, the track provides a highly provocative passage which unexpectedly opens the way for bold and menacing beats to court a dark threatening atmosphere with its own dangers and hidden depths. Predominantly an instrumental, the track is manna for the imagination. All songs come under that in varying degrees, but the song is a mouth-watering almost cinematic involvement, which is emulated by Faith, Hope and the End of The World. Vocals across the band transfix as once more a gentle but creatively engrossing spectacle of imagination grows and eventually erupts around ears. When it does break its emotive cover, the song unveils a gothic rock/post punk like bassline and a virulence of aggressive rock ‘n’ roll which swiftly has body and spirit eagerly involved. As all tracks, it proceeds to twist and evolve with zeal, the violin of Laura Emilie Beck just one slither of rich persuasion keeping body and mind gripped as things build towards a seriously rousing finale as imposing and dynamic as a moment its title suggests.

The outstanding track makes way for another in Unlikely, the song a jungle of spice thick grooves and tenacious rhythms rounded up and held in check by the strong yet smouldering vocals; though that aggressive energy is given its head to run free throughout the galvanic slice of melodic rock. As absorbing and ingenious as its predecessor, the track simply ignites further an already greedy appetite before Everything Changes draws the listener into its own atmospheric play of sound and emotion encased in a web of highly imaginative and creatively incendiary sounds and textures.

Traced Through Dust and Time is just irresistible, and a release which only impresses more as every listen reveals something new in the depths of the songwriting and music. There will be few better or certainly as enjoyable debuts released this year we suspect with the thought that the band will only get stronger and bolder in all areas only adding to the excitement felt.

Traced Through Dust and Time is released March 3rd through most online stores.

https://www.facebook.com/TheWorldState   http://www.theworldstate.com   https://twitter.com/TheWorldStateHQ

Pete RingMaster 03/03/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

Joykill Collective – Self Titled EP

Joykill Collective Promo Shot_RingMasterReview

Last year saw the release of an attention sparking single from UK alternative rock collective Joykill Collective, and a couple of weeks or so ago, the unveiling of its successor. Both were potential drenched, ear pleasing propositions now being potently backed by the band’s self-titled EP. Consisting of those two singles and another couple of fresh and flavoursome propositions, the release is evidence of a band skilled and comfortable in raising rousing roars or intimate serenades.

Originally intended as a solo project by vocalist/guitarist Leif, the Joykill Collective was conceived in the attic of an artistic commune in Northampton. It was here where Leif quickly expanded his idea and began drawing together talented friends and artists from various mediums; musicians, writers, poets, and filmmakers all becoming part of the emerging creative collective. The solo project was soon a multi-talented “politically-charged battle cry”, and the emerging band an adventurous proposal taking experiences of supporting the likes of Skindred, Bullet For My Valentine, and Frank Turner into music making and currently the of regions within the likes of Kazakhstan, China, and Morocco. The middle of 2015 saw the release of the Battle Cry single, and this past month Liberty Taker was uncaged, their lures and qualities now part of the band’s debut EP.

Joykill Collective EP Cover_RingMasterReviewLiberty Taker is the opening incitement within the release and quickly very easy to see why its roar as a single whipped up new attention upon the band. It opens with a raw caress of guitar and vocal temptation, and an almost fifties rock ‘n roll coaxing. Quickly though, the song is strolling along on a throaty bassline within fiery melodies and a great harmonic vocal flame. Things settle a touch as evocative melodies slip from guitars, into a lively simmer which is soon bubbling feistily as the chorus erupts and voraciously entices. The track is superb, a blending of raucous, almost predacious intensity and glowing emotive enterprise within smog like sultriness in air and energy.

It is fair to say that the song steals the show straight away but is potently backed by the following offerings starting with Battle Cry. A lone melancholic strum of guitar within a mesmeric ambience wraps ears first, and continues to keep an evocative hold on the imagination as the surrounding climate becomes tempestuous. A volatility seeps into the atmosphere and body of the song, especially as rhythms and chords spark a sinister and intensive dexterity with almost bedlamic resourcefulness. It is an enthrallingly muggy affair; a rich eruption of creative angst and emotional fire which increasingly fascinates and inspires.

The mellow warmth and reflection of Lies And Gold follows next with Leif’s vocals a soothing yet slightly morose proposal within a gentle hug of guitar. Harmonies rise around his melancholy, rhythms quickly linking in too as the song continues to captivate. As expected, there is drama brewing in its depths which leads to an impassioned crescendo within the track’s mesmeric croon. Whereas the first pair stirs up ears and emotions almost instantly, the song is a slow burn towards the same kind of lingering impact, though enjoyment is a swift result, but it gets there.

Game Show brings the EP to a close; the track making a potent entrance through strings and voice which again easily lure attention into the waiting clutches of one delicious tension and intensity building hook. Subsequently a jazzy, off-kilter passage of unpredictable and gripping imagination frees itself, soon becoming woven into the infectious canter of the song and that pungent hook which came before. Continuing to intrigue and beguile, the track is a thrilling end to the release and arguably the most potent escape of the striking invention and bold imagination fuelling the band’s songwriting and sound.

It feels like the project is still finding the core to its sound; the stable centre from which their diversity and explorations can spring from. When they do though, such the strength and enjoyment experienced with their EP, big things could erupt for them and us.

The Joykill Collective on the EP is Leif- Main vocals, guitar; Lewis- Drums, Bass; Jay- guitar, Bass; Andy- Film; Ben- Stories; Mark- Song writing contribution.

The Joykill Collective EP is released 4th March through all stores and platforms with the single Liberty Taker out now.

https://www.facebook.com/Joykillcollective      https://twitter.com/_joykill

Pete RingMaster 03/03/2106

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

Partisan – Two Lovers


Two Lovers is the new single from UK rockers Partisan and the portent of a similar union between ears and band if the single is a sign of things to come. Hailing from Manchester, it is fair to say that the band has already whipped up appetites with a three track EP last year and songs like Pushing Up Daisies and Juggernaut, and now seem set to make an even bigger impression with their latest proposition.

Partisan was formed early 2013 by vocalist/guitarist Stuart Armstrong, with bassist Dan Albon and drummer Rob Jones, after the demise of previous band Six10Repeater the year before. As mentioned their first EP suggested Partisan was a band worth keeping an eye on; ahead of a new EP being recorded with producer Jim Spencer (The Charlatans), Two Lovers now confirms it.

The song instantly hits a feisty stride with jangling guitar and a moody bassline to entice ears before a slight relaxation of energy, as Jones’ beats keep a lively essence going, brings in the engaging vocals of Armstrong. It is a potent mix which gets attention and appetite firmly involved and ready for the fiery chorus which erupts with Armstrong’s vocals especially magnetic to match the blaze of melodic spicing and tenacious energy which fuel the rich crescendo.

Repeating the enjoyable cycle throughout, Two Lovers is a song which maybe does not bask in major uniqueness sound wise but it has a very memorable character to its infectious presence and imagination which means lingering enjoyment. So with that new EP in the works, 2016 could be a big year for Partisan, certainly if they can build upon the success of Two Lovers.

Two Lovers is released March 3rd

http://www.wearepartisan.rocks/   https://www.facebook.com/wearepartisan   https://twitter.com/wearepartisan

Pete RingMaster 03/03/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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