Jonestown – Aokigahara

Jonestown_RingMasterReview

Beauty and paradise can turn to pain and hell with seeming ease within the hands of mankind; the utopian vision of the charismatic and disturbed central figure in the inspiration to the band’s name a prime example. UK metallers Jonestown seed their sound and lyrical confrontations in such personal and worldly tempests; to borrow words from their bio, “The name Jonestown encapsulates the fragility of our state in nature and in society. We’re oblivious to how fragile we are and how quickly life can turn to death.” Musically, the Brighton band starts in hellish landscapes of sound and emotion too which, as shown by new album, Aokigahara, is then taken to fiercer debilitating states whilst subjecting the listener to one seriously thrilling incitement.

Formed March 2014, Jonestown took little time to impress and lure thick attention. They won the Metal 2 The Masses competition that same year with their first ever gig together being the initial round of the event which they also won. From there they have played with the likes of Soulfly, Monuments, No Consequence, and Black Dahlia Murder , toured with Prolong the Agony, and drew acclaim with performances at festivals such as Bloodstock Open Air in 2014 and in 2015, both Leofest  and Mammothfest. 2016 is going the same successful way as its recent predecessors for the band, starting with the recent release of their stunning debut album Aokighara. Named after the forest at the base of Mount Fuji known as ‘the Suicide Forest’, the release is cauldron of raw and varied metal ferociousness fuelled with a hardcore laced antipathy in sound and tone. It is a creative animus, a web of inventive rabidity and ravenous imagination, and quite irresistible.

Jonestown Artwork_RingMasterReviewIt opens up with Deliverance, a track taking its time to come into view from within a haunting cold ambience. Chilling winds wash provocatively over the senses as a melancholic melody sighs in the background. Soon an imposing wall of intimidating chords and raw intensity looms up though, it in turn erupting into an onslaught of corrosive sonic and rhythmic animosity led by the vocals squalls of Harley Anderson. It takes little time for the technical prowess and unpredictable enterprise of the band to show its impressing nature with guitarist Craig Radford spinning a web of grooves and melodic temptation as a suggestive wrap to his and bassist’s Tony Hardwick predatory riffs and lines, this all without defusing the unbridled rancor of tone and touch of the song.

It is a striking start to the album quickly matched by Cenodoxus and Borderline. The first of the pair is equally as bitter and uncompromising as its predecessor, the senses bruising swings of drummer Rich Owen as virulent as they are punishing. It also pushes the imagination further with a great Korn-esque twist within its Black Dahlia Murder meets Meshuggah meets Murdock like ravishing of ears and emotions. Its successor has its own creative vendetta to share; grooves an infestation as toxic as they are seductive, simultaneously tempering and accentuating the impressive and varied strains of Anderson’s vocal enmity and the carnivorous voice and exploit of the bass.

Mass Extinction Six is a merciless knot of emotional tension and sonic jaundice next, again an assault brought and veined with some richly flavoursome and appetite inciting invention, whilst the album’s title track breeds an emotionally corrupted atmosphere around a whirlpool of virulent riffs and grooves. Without quite matching the earlier pinnacles of Aokigahara, both leave ears resonating and pleasure thick before Aprés Moi shares its own caustic drama. As with all tracks, it is an unrelenting predator, never giving ears a moment’s breath or the imagination time to settle before another raging and contagious outburst of invention and breath-taking hostility erupts to steal attention.

With the mouth-watering emotional discord and physical bedlam of The 33rd Parallel and the sonic terrorism and mesmeric beauty of the equally outstanding Deadweight bringing Aokigahara to a riveting and ferocious close, the album stands as one of the best metal debuts this year and back. At times it almost proves too brutal and invasive to take in one go, but every track brings such a fresh adventure of conflict and emotional friction that tearing away from the album’s grudge proves impossible. Bottom-line is that this is a treat no one should ignore.

Aokigahara is out now @ http://Jonestownbrighton.bandcamp.com

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Pete RingMaster 28/04/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Valley Of The Sun – Volume Rock

VOTS_RingMasterReview:

If a title ever reflected its contents then it is Volume Rock, the new album from Cincinnati stompers Valley Of The Sun. The release is a mighty roar of rousing rock ‘n’ roll which never takes a breath and demands to be played with the dial locked on maximum. In many ways it carries on where their acclaimed debut album Electric Talons Of The Thunderhawk left off but with even more resourcefully honed and fiery exploits on board to fire up ears and rich enjoyment.

With the two well-received EPs, Two Thousand Ten and The Sayings of the Seers in 2010 and 2011 respectively, under their belt, Valley Of The Sun really caught attention and a new wealth of eager appetites with Electric Talons Of The Thunderhawk in 2014. It took their inflamed mix of stoner, hard, and desert rock to new heights with just rewards in responses and acclaim. It is easy to feel though that all of its success was just the appetiser to bigger things and reactions around the uncaging of Volume Rock and its step up in sound, songwriting, and the band’s ability to get all rocking like a bone starved hound.

The album opens on the instantly masterful and rousing swagger of Eternal Forever, ears clipped by sticks on rims as a bluesy invitation swings away alongside. In another handful of seconds, the song hits a rampant stroll with its riff loaded chest out and rhythmic hips swinging. The vocals of guitarist Ryan Ferrier quickly impress as they light ears and song whilst his riffs find quick unity with the catchy grooves of Adam Flaig, the contagious start becoming a full on anthemic enticement driven by the potent jabs of drummer Aaron Boyer and the brooding bassline of Ringo Jones.

It is an exhilarating start backed within moments by the following Wants and Needs. Slightly less urgent but no less commandingly infectious, the track has a spicy Queens Of The Stone Age feel to its melodic and vocal persuasion though equally, and not for the last time across the album, there is also a grungy essence which hints at Alice In Chains. A blaze of spirit raising rock ‘n’ roll, its success is matched and eclipse by the thick and sultry charms of The Hunt. Badgering the senses and body from start to finish, the track is an inflamed shuffle with imposing rhythms and citric grooves bound in the outstanding tones of Ferrier, his presence backed just as potently by the band in voice and enterprise.

Volumerock_FrontCover_RingMasterReviewNext up Land of Fools has enjoyment and limbs in full involvement too; it’s more reserved but seriously addictive entrance, with rhythms and riffs insatiable bait, the lead into a virulent epidemic of lean keen hooks and beats which continue the track’s initial magnetic work as sonic flames cast by the guitar of Flaig and Ferrier’s harmonic throat flare. There is no escaping a Josh Homme and co feel again to the outstanding encounter, a flavour only adding to its triumph before making way for I Breathe the Earth and its delicious bass grumble. That leading lure brings ears into t smouldering sighs of fiery guitar and in turn concussive beats and beguiling harmonies, all colluding in another aural swelter with psych and blues rock imagination.

The heavier and thicker textures of Speaketh the Shaman steps forward next, Ferrier crooning with purpose and heart within the smokier fire of the song’s sizzling climate and sound. As in a few other tracks, bands like The Sword and Torche come to mind a little, though generally a fleeting essence within Valley Of The Sun’s own creative flame. Certainly the band skilfully employs familiar hues in their own sonic designs, but as different colours in something maybe not boldly unique but undoubtedly distinct in style and character.

If previous tracks were fires, Beneath the Veil is a volcano of grooves and melodic lava, enveloping and treating ears to a white hot invasion of infectious blues rock ‘n’ roll. It roars and stomps in its groove woven waltz, springing the listener into an exhaustive dance and revelry for which no escape is possible or wanted until its last note blisters on the ears.

A chance to grab a breath is allowed momentarily by Solstice before it too is a thumping hard rock scented canter with a punkish snarl pulling tired bodies back to their soon revitalised feet. Its departure lets Empty Visions bring the album to memorable close, the track a hot bed of sonic fuzz and melodic tinder setting fire to ears and spirit under the catchy guidance and temptation of the ever impressing vocals.

It is a fine end to a thrilling encounter which just leaves you wanting more and with real greed. If Valley Of The Sun impressed before, they will blow a great many more away with Volume Rock and its incendiary rock ‘n’ roll.

Volume Rock is released April 29th via Fuzzorama Records @ http://www.fuzzoramastore.com/en/ and https://fuzzoramarecords1.bandcamp.com/album/volume-rock

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Pete RingMaster 28/04/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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dälek – Asphalt For Eden

Photo credit: Devine Images

Photo credit: Devine Images

Returning from their hiatus a few months back, dälek have confirmed their return with the release of their new album Asphalt For Eden, the successor to 2009 full-length Gutter Tactics. Released via Profound Lore, it also sees a new line-up bringing their imagination to the band’s renowned experimentation.  Revived by mastermind and producer MC Dälek (aka Will Brooks) last year, with the permission of ex-member and co-producer Oktopus, and with DJ rEk on turntables and co-producer Mike Manteca on samplers and effects alongside, dälek reveal the first result of their fresh union with an album which bewitches as it intrigues, provokes as it explores new dramatic adventures in the band’s sound and imagination.

Whether it is a new pinnacle in the band’s creative endeavours we will leave others to decide but certainly Asphalt For Eden ignites the imagination with its raw noise within ambient beauty and dark trip hop meets hip hop experimentation and provocation. It opens with the hypnotic Shattered, a persistent nagging of drone and sonic repetition hugging the lyrical prowess and delivery of MC Dälek. It is a haunting waltz of dissonant shadows and throbbing resonance; reminding a little of British hip hop band Honky, with MC Dälek prowling ears and thoughts with his stirring presence.

The sensational start continues with the also toxically atmospheric Guaranteed Struggle. Again the senses are immersed in inharmonious textures and sonic trespasses, rhythms roaming with a distracted gait as the vocals spread their evocative insight. The cacophonous air is as mesmeric as the swing and vocal enticement, becoming more invasively compelling and corrosive with each passing minute of the song’s droning beauty. It increasingly seeps deeper into the psyche, magnetic in its mystique laced discordance and ravenous in its oppressive envelopment of body and mind.

art_RingMasterReviewMasked Laughter (Nothing’s Left) is a lighter distraction; its elegant fuzzy harmonies blossoming into halos of sonic suggestion around effect cloaked vocals whilst Critical provides an industrial toned intrusion with a carnival-esque revelry and infectiousness to its melodic undercurrent. As with its predecessors, there is a busy creative machine working away within the muggy climate of the track, new revelations emerging with every listen and in turn a fresh wave of virulent contagiousness.

The rockier incitement of 6dB comes next with its haze of sonic instrumentation and raw ambience around a brewing rhythmic stroll. It is a plaything for the imagination before Control simmers and bubbles with its bracing celestial air and harsh romance of noise around MC Dälek’s ever alluring presence. Its spatial qualities are emulated in It Just Is, a closing slice of transfixing sonic and melodic discord aligned to a pulsating trespass of charm. Though it, and the track before, do not quite ignite the same strength of reaction as those before, both leave satisfaction full in their absorbing embrace.

The biggest pleasure comes in the repetitious and enjoyably monotonous drones of sound which shape tracks in a range of differing textures and ways. It provides a mesmeric and imposing romancing of the senses and imagination simultaneously acting as fuel to the creative fire of Asphalt For Eden and spicing to its rousing explorations. It is as if dälek has never been away.

Asphalt For Eden is out now via Profound Lore across most online stores.

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Pete RingMaster 28/04/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Pearl Handled Revolver – If The Devil Cast His Net

Pearl Handled Revolver _RingMasterReview

This month British rockers Pearl Handled Revolver release their third album, a collection of dark rock ‘n’ roll encounters which almost deviously seduce ears as they work their way into the psyche. The band spins tales of mystery and intrigue graced shadows, creative episodes shaped and coloured by the magnetic hues of blues and psych rock, though that is simplifying the enthralling tapestries of sound and imagination making up If The Devil Cast His Net.

Since forming, Pearl Handled Revolver has released four EPs and two full length albums, all between 2010 and 2013, and shared stages on tour at shows with the likes of The Black Crowes, Stray, The Blockheads, FM, The Quireboys, Black Star Riders, Toots and the Maytalls, Donovan, and Focus along the way. It is fair to say that the quartet has not been lost for acclaim and attention but equally with If The Devil Cast His Net, they have breached a new plateau on creativity and sound which you can only see being rewarded by a similar increase in attention and reward.

With the gravelly tones of Lee Vernon fronting the house of blues mystery, a Tom Waits like comparison is easy to offer but equally the band’s sound has tantalising hues reminding of The Doors, Nick Cave, and Japanese Fighting Fish to its magnetic body and invention. It is a rich temptation working away at seducing ears from the start of If The Devil Cast His Net, opener Help Me Down From The Trees gripping the imagination within seconds as the pulsating lure of Simon Rinaldo’s peddle bass is immersed in the mystique soaked suggestiveness of his keys. It is a quite mesmeric coaxing driven by the great nagging beats of Chris Thatcher and only increasing in temptation as the scythes of guitarist Andy Paris seem to spark a new weave of organ cast enterprise. Dark and brooding yet simultaneously warm and celebratory, the song beguiles as it intrigues, Vernon’s dusty tones opening up the narrative for greater captivating drama.  It is mesmeric stuff, the bass a perpetually enjoyable nagging and the spicy lilt of the keys a dark temptation within a fiery dance of sound and creative theatre.

Pearl Handled Revolver Front Cover_RingMasterReviewThe sensational start is followed by the more straight forward rock ‘n’ roll of Don’t Throw It Away. A cleaner tone to the vocals is matched by a lighter spring in the step and voice of the psychedelia lined sounds around them. A sixties/seventies mixed scent potently adds to the inviting lure of the song and though it cannot live up to its brilliant predecessor, it has ears and body rocking before they are faced with the tantalising seduction of Someone Like You. It’s surf rock spiced melodies and ambience is a swift bewitchment, as too the rolling rhythmic bait of Thatcher; all caressing  and coaxing the senses as Vernon’s sandy tones paint an evocative picture in word and tone. It is a hex of a song, a spellbinding incitement of appetite and imagination to bind listener and release closer together.

The rhythmic design of the track is emulated in the album’s title track, though around it the guitar and keys weave their own distinct episode of encroaching shadows and sultry flavours around the devil’s lyrical play. A compelling persuasion, it is matched in success by the melancholic hug of Walk These Streets. Reflective and emotive, the song is a smouldering serenade painted by the cleaner side of Vernon’s voice, provocative strings, and the sombre yet graceful caress of keys. As expected, shadows court this cast of emotive protagonists, bass and drums guiding their intervention as much as the sorrowful scent of voice and word.

Current single, Absinthe In Adelaide stirs air and spirit up again with its almost rapacious growl of voice and steely grooves whilst Loverman is a primal shuffle of blues courted rock ‘n’ roll; both tracks basking in the unique psych and classic rock imagination of keys and guitar. The second of the pair is especially irresistible; a heady, almost muggy trip into the dark psychedelic backwaters of mysterious deeds and lives. We have not really touched on the cinematic side of the album, each song tempting the imagination to conjure their own at times almost pagan-esque adventures to accompany the rich tales of the band with this proposition a prime example.

The album closes with Into The Blue, a groove entangled romp luring the listener into a salty tango of organ spun melodies and wonderfully niggly hooks, all driven by the ever compelling rhythmic persuasion of Thatcher and Rinaldo. It is an impossible to resist flirtation bringing the album to a riveting anthemic conclusion.

Some tracks shine over others within If The Devil Cast His Net, but from start to finish it feeds the spirit and ignites a hungry appetite for more; almost as if the Devil had a hand it.

If The Devil Cast His Net is released April 29th through all platforms.

http://www.pearlhandledrevolver.co.uk/   https://www.facebook.com/pearlhandledrevolver/   https://twitter.com/PearlHandledRev

Pete RingMaster 27/04/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Unheard Before The Wake – Humanity Burning

UnheardBeforeTheWake_RingMasterReview

It is fair to say that Humanity Burning took its time to fully convince, for its ideas and elements to fall into place within ears and understanding, but when it did, the new EP from UK melodic death metallers Unheard Before The Wake showed why the band is beginning to be strongly noticed within the British metal underground. Unleashing five intrusive tracks which devour the senses while intriguing the imagination, the band’s sophomore EP emerges as an attention grabbing trespass.

Formed at the end of 2013, the Sutton hailing Unheard Before The Wake has increasingly lured fans and keen interest through the release of their self-titled debut EP on 2014 and more so a live presence which has seen the quintet share stages with the likes of Xerath, Meat Train, and A Vulgar Picture. Their sound is a tempest of extreme flavours unafraid to entangle black and classic hues into its death and melodic metal bred invention. Humanity Burning is the band’s new national assault on ears, a release which maybe does not always fit perfectly with personal tastes but certainly left them with an appetite for more.

The EP opens with its title track and a nagging of riffs, their whiney hue like raw nectar swiftly grabbing keen attention further enhanced by the barbarous torrent of beats and the great gnarly tone of the bass. As its predatory nature continues to ignite the appetite, the track rumbles and grumbles like an awakened beast, subsequently stretching into its prowling gait and animosity as the heavy throaty growls of vocalist Chris Rossiter enter the scene. At this point the guitars of Dylan-Thomas Chinchen and Ryan Adams expand their own tapestry of enterprise and sonic flavouring, the song blossoming into an unpredictable and increasingly rousing proposition. On the initial listen, it almost seems to have too much going on in its rabid assault but with time each twist and turn skilfully flows and in turn impresses. The personal taste thing does kick in as cleaner vocals make their appearance, an addition which just does not work for these ears, though the only time something grates against rather than benefits the song.

Unheard Before The Wake Cover Artwork_RingMasterReviewLurker steps up next, again with an opening which demands attention. This time the invitation is a threatening collusion of sound and texture, almost asylum like in its tone and vocal cries. Framing the drama, drummer Jasper Brownlow and bassist Adam McGuinness again place wonderfully grouchy bait which only finds greater impact as a thrash bred surge of riffs and energy erupts. As its predecessor, the song also flows through intensive and slower predacious moments to keep expectations on their toes, especially the almost theatrical passage of the lyrical protagonist’s introspection which comes forward.

It is clear Unheard Before The Wake know how to compose a song to make an immediate impact, The Pluto God also stirring up ears in seconds with its fierce waltz of grooves within an intimidating rhythmic shuffle. In no time from that great start, the song is stalking the senses and psyche with the excellent heavy throated growling of Rossiter a potent lure in the corrosive storm. The twist of classic metal seeded vocals derail the track a touch again for these ears though it is soon back to its former glory with raw guttural vocals leading to a weave of tantalising craft and flavours.

The EP’s best track, Right To Die, comes next; it a maelstrom of intrusive rhythms and riffs bound in roaming grooves and melodic toxicity which swiftly inflames air and ears. Clean vocals do make another appearance but in spoken form to great effect, providing another texture in the resourceful blaze of sound and imagination.

Completed by an instrumental reprise of its title track, Humanity Burning is a release which takes its time but makes a thoroughly enjoyable persuasion of the potential and readymade qualities of Unheard Before The Wake. Their sound still feels like it is in evolution which only adds to their promise. The press release suggests Humanity Burning is something fans of The Black Dahlia Murder, Carcass, Dimmu Borgir, and Cannibal Corpse might take a shine to; something easy to agree with. As for the clean vocals, we suggest the band really does not need them with everything else boiling up rather nicely.

The Humanity Burning EP is released April 29th @ https://unheardbeforethewake.bandcamp.com/ and most online stores.

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Pete RingMaster 28/04/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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