Idles – Brutalism

Photo by Stephanie Elizabeth Third

An infestation of the senses, a raw roar on all our responsibilities, and a contagious noise fuelled trespass on everything in between, Brutalism is one of the essential incitements of not only 2017 but we would suggest the decade as a whole. The debut album from British quintet Idles rips into personal and social issues with the insatiable attitude and defiance unleashed in the late seventies, its irritable sound as much punk rock rage as it is a post punk/noise rock  enslaving of the imagination and psyche.

Each song from the Bristol five-piece of Joe Talbot, Mark Bowen, Lee Kiernan, Adam Devonshire, and Jon Beavis is a creative growl, a visceral antagonism with an infectious edge and mischief just as bruising and incisive. Dedicated in part to the loss of Talbot’s mother, who adorns the record’s cover, Brutalism is stretched with such invasive treats, from start to finish a mordant adventure, challenge, and accusation as witty as it is vicious, as devilish as it is ferocious. With Idles in the early days of an UK tour, their first album is sure to see it’s already eagerly devoured and anticipated 25 dates embraced by even greater fevered support.

Straight away band and album show uniqueness within a proposition which also swiftly inspires thoughts of bands such as The Fall, Swell Maps, and early The Horrors. There is so much more to it though as that originality shows, opener Heel_Heal cantankerously striding from an initial dispute with an intrusively nagging riff and rhythmic tenacity which alone lures keen attention as Talbot’s equally confrontational vocals snarl. Punk rock infested with crabbily textured noise, the track rumbles and grumbles; band vocals as anthemically rousing and spiteful as the general character of the outstanding starter.

Fellow Bristolians, The St Pierre Snake Invasion also come to mind with the song and successor Well Done, the second a sonically twisted and lyrically spiky shuffle making use of body and imagination like a peeved puppeteer. Its persistent jabs tenderise the senses for the scourges of sound which erupt to further scorch, Idles pressing all the right buttons for lusty reactions before uncaging the equally enslaving Mother. An irresistible bassline cores the next track, its dark tempting soon surrounded by swinging beats and scuzzy riffs, all uniting with Artery meets Gang Of Four scented tempestuousness. Again no punches in sound and word are pulled, one of numerous traits within the Idles sound which leaves there little to be taken lightly but plenty to find a seriously keen appetite for.

Date Night reveals a tango loaded with a rhythmic incitement which barely stays in the same place more than a second or two, its beats on hot coals but with a composure which aligns perfectly with the monotone growl of the bass. As guitars saunter and blaze, Talbot magnetically assaults with word and character, the volatile squall of the track then emulated in its own way by Faith In the City and its post punk ‘n’ roll causticity. A rousing irritant exposing essences hinting at bands such as again Artery and The Nightingales, submission to its lively acerbic inducement is quick and just as rapid as next up 1049 Gotho waltzes with irritated intent and pounding beats into ears and psyche. For all it and the other song’s choleric probing and inventive dexterity, sonic squeals a delight, there is a melodic lining which as subtle as it might be at times just inflames the catchiness and adventure of all escapades.

Wiry tendrils have ears encroached and alive as Divide & Conquer rises with its own particular grumble of sound, the guitars creating a web of raw enticement as bass and beats prowl with a testy air, Talbot stalking it all with his increasingly compelling tones. The increase in energy and ferociousness only adds to the captivation before Rachel Khoo and Stendahl Syndrome irascibly serenade and fractiously critiques respectively; both unloading their sonic and lyrical venom with snappy and quarrelsome devilry.

Next up Exeter has a slightly lazier gait but still imposes its punk ‘n’ roll canter with addiction forging rhythmic cunning as guitars and vocals get under the skin with their respective exploits like a Fatima Mansions/ Big Black collusion exploring creatively fresh impositions. Both tracks leave an already greedy appetite hungry for more, a lust more than fed by the kinetic stomp and sonic psychosis of Benzocaine and equally by the punk grumble and waspish word prowess of White Privilege.

Idles leave their arguably greatest moment for its final track, though each listen only elevates another moment to drool over. Slow Savage is a haunting dyspeptically lined embrace living up to its title as keys and voice fill the low-key and stark atmospheric mist hugging the imagination as a heartbeat of rhythm throbs. It is a dark, melancholic rapture violating as much as seducing the senses and a thrilling end to one exceptional release.

Being truly excited by something new or unique is a treat rarely found these days, Idles though have cracked that desire in fine style with Brutalism.

Brutalism is out now on Balley Records through iTunes and other stores.

Upcoming Dates on the Brutalism Tour…

March 2017

Thursday 16th – Brighton – The Prince Albert

Friday 17th – Tunbridge Wells – Forum

Saturday 18th – Bedford – Esquires

Monday 20th – Oxford – The Bullingdon

Tuesday 21st – Sheffield – The Plug

Wednesday 22nd – Newcastle Upon Tyne – Think Tank

Thursday 23rd – Aberdeen – Tunnels

Friday 24th – Dundee – Buskers

Saturday 25th – Edinburgh – Sneaky Pete’s

Monday 27th – York – The Crescent

Tuesday 28th – Hull – The Adelphi

Wednesday 29th – Nottingham – The Bodega

Thursday 30th – Liverpool – O2 Academy 2

Friday 31st – Wakefield – Unity Hall

April 2017

Monday 3rd – Stoke-On-Trent – The Sugarmill

Tuesday 4th – Preston – Guildhall

Wednesday 5th – Cardiff – Clwb Ifor Bach

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

Pete RingMaster 14/03/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Blacktop Mojo – Burn The Ships

The past four years since forming has seen Texan rock band Blacktop Mojo court a potent reputation for their sound and live presence, all the time increasingly nudging global attention to turn their way. The release of second album Burn The Ships is the moment that awareness just might happen, the release a striking and thickly accomplished slab of highly flavoursome, sinew moulded rock ‘n’ roll.

Formed in September 2012 by vocalist Matt James and drummer Nathan Gillis, Blacktop Mojo swiftly leapt into the live scene with the intent of playing as many shows and tours as they could. It is a hunger which prevails to this day, the Palestine, TX quintet sharing stages with the likes of Bon Jovi, Candlebox, Drowning Pool, Aaron Lewis, Saving Abel, Puddle of Mudd, Whiskey Myers, Dirty River Boys, and The Bigsbys among a great many others over the years. Debut album I Am stirred things up at home with its release in 2014, similarly inviting broader notice of the band’s hearty hard/melodic rock sound. Burn The Ships though is a wake-up call to bigger spotlights upon the band, the Philip Mosley produced and Austin Deptula mixed and mastered encounter a fiery roar very hard to ignore or avoid finding a healthy appetite for.

The Blacktop Mojo sound is arguably not the most unique, the band drawing comparisons to the likes of Shinedown, Black Stone Cherry, and Soundgarden yet has an individual character and diversity which lifts it from the crowd with ease. All the evidence lies within Burn The Ships and its inventive and impassioned rock ‘n’ roll; a proposition hitting the ground running with its majorly rousing opener Where The Wind Blows. A lone melody with a country rock twang makes the first beckon, a sister lure swiftly by its side before muscle bound rhythms loom over ears amidst the continuing invitation of that initial welcome. Soon into its thick and potent stride with the growling tones of Matt Curtis’ bass rich bait alongside the meaty swipes of Gillis, the track has its infectious claws firmly around ears and appetite with James’ delivery leading the way and in turn the listener into one peach of a chorus impossible not to get fully involved in. With the riffs of rhythm guitarist Kenneth Irwin equally steering the temptation as lead guitarist Ryan Kiefer spins wiry grooves, it is a seriously compelling proposal,

The following End Of Days is just as formidable and satisfying, its robust rhythms and gnarly grooves alone gripping body and an instinctive passion for heart bred rock ‘n’ roll. As its predecessor, the song carries an irresistible chorus to back up the already successful lures at play and the album’s powerful start, success its title track continues. As provocative guitar temptation wraps its flame lit charms around ears, Burn The Ships quickly shows itself an equal to those before in enticement, gaining even greater strength in that trait as its groove takes on a nagging quality as it meanders around the vocal potency of James. With Seether-esque hues involved, the song croons and roars; flexing its muscle as it spins its inventively intoxicating sonic web with each passing second. The track is pure drama and the pinnacle of the album though challenged throughout.

The earnest strains of Prodigal follow, its Staind lit serenade a mellow emotive caress allowing for a breath whilst enjoying its melodic heat, suggestive flames building  into a bigger blaze before Shadows On The Wall smoulders and erupts in a 3 Doors Down scented fire next, subsequently  followed by the virile throes of Sweat. The trio do not quite teach the heights of the first three tremendous tracks but each with their individual natures and temptations leave plenty to embrace and firmly enjoy.

The snarling properties of Pyromaniac bring the album back to its loftiest heights, the song as heated as its title suggests with irritability in its riffs and a bass grumble so easy to grow lustful for. Melodically, there is a 3 Days Grace air contrasted and complimented perfectly by the grungier textures at work on the senses, both linked by an instinctive catchiness  which again features in potent form within the predacious 8000 Lines, a song stalking ears with rapacious riffs and antagonistic beats as sonic enterprise and vocal drama ignite. The track is outstanding; its unpredictability enhanced by melodic beauty as an oasis of calm shares ears with its tempestuous heart.

Both Dog On A Leash with its red-blooded plaintive call and the reflective cries of Make A Difference leave satisfaction full, each revealing further twists in the album’s make-up and enterprise while Chains brings a web of athletic grooves and beefy rhythms in a burly persuasion raising the ante again. It is pure captivation preying on an already eager appetite for sound and encounter.

Concluded by the emotionally charged Dream On and the melancholic musing of Underneath, the impressive Burn The Ships has plenty to see the band make the next step towards global recognition. Its songs are shapely and sound rich if not always on the truly unique side. Its craft and imagination more than compensates though as ears embrace the open potential also lying within a triumph of a listen.

Burn The Ships is out now through Cuhmon Records @ https://blacktopmojo.bandcamp.com/releases or http://www.blacktopmojo.com/store

http://www.blacktopmojo.com/   https://www.facebook.com/BlacktopMojo   https://twitter.com/blacktopmojo

Pete RingMaster 15/03/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Freakings -Toxic End

Proud in their old school thrash instincts and inspirations, Swiss metallers Freakings continue their prowess at unleashing imposingly tenacious and compelling thrash furies with their new album. Their third full-length, Toxic End is a tempest of openly familiar and rousing textures, a proposal bold in its recognisable breeding. This though does not make for something lacking a fresh and compelling character, in fact within Freakings finest offering yet, it all goes to offer one mouth-watering, energy sapping, and fiercely enjoyable assault.

Formed in 2008, the Basel hailing trio of vocalist/guitarist Jonathan Brutschin alongside the brothers Toby Straumann on bass and drummer Simon, Freakings nudged broader attention from their already local success with 2011 debut album No Way Out. In turn, its successor Gladiator only brought new hungry ears and richer praise the way of the band three years later. Toxic End will simply inspire another wave of support and acclaim, its raw virulence and old school seeding raw magnetism.

Opener Hell On Earth courts ears and instincts for voracious metal within seconds, riffs and rhythms a hellacious onslaught breeding carnally catchy tendencies in the respective grooves and swinging antics which follow as vocals, singular and united roar. There is no escaping Slayer/Exodus bred influences or the severely infectious surge running through the song’s core, lures helping forge a thrilling start to the album quickly supported by the snarling assault of Future Vision. Rawer in air, arguably even more imposing in nature than its predecessor, the song brawls with the senses whilst uncaging its own venomously enslaving sonic bait. As the first and many of those to follow, it is hard to say there are major surprises involved yet the track just grabs ears and thickly satisfies with forceful ease.

Violent Disaster is a matching success, its antagonistic rhythmic trespass bone snapping and waspish grooves addictive as Brutschin’s vocals brawl with the listener. It is a torrent of wiry riffs, bass predation, and scything beats blended with undisguised belligerence and anthemic instincts; every element leaving thick marks on its victims before TxWxNxD sets loose its brutal rock ‘n’ roll. Though offering a few strains seemingly reaped from tracks before it, the song is a thrash anthem to lose inhibitions and swiftly pledge allegiance to, especially once it hits it’s ridiculously infectious swinging stride.

The album’s title track follows, rampaging with ill-intent devouring all before with hostile rhythmic rapacity and the cyclonic dexterity of Brutschin’s guitar. Simultaneously corrosive and catchy, it is an infestation of ears and spirit accentuated further by the ravenous rabidity and predatory charge of Friendly Fire, its body entwined in toxic enterprise flaming out of the guitar. As much as it is an infernal roar, the song has the hips grooving with its seductive swing, a dual invasive tempting impossible to evade.

Through the caustic sonic tirade and rhythmic pillaging of Brain Dead and the vehement siege of the senses that is Price Of Freedom, with its own crippling volley of incendiary beats, band and album savage and bludgeon leaving nothing less than major pleasure behind.  Wave Of Pain straight after is similarly satisfying, its barbarous nature and air a close match to the song before but soon unfurling an individual web of melodic enticement and sonic ire.

The album finishes with arguably its fiercest offerings, and in the case of first up Beer Attack, its most breath-taking raid. Never relenting in its acrimonious blunt trauma causing incitement, the track leaves the senses reeling, prime meat for the final vindictive menacing of No More Excuses which also punishes as it thrills; the body broken and elated in its wake.

Toxic End makes it very easy to find real pleasure in its storm. Certainly there is an element of similarity between some tracks or definitely specific elements making up their tempests but little to deter a lust loaded appetite growing with each and every listen. There is something particular about old school thrash which never relinquishes its potency and Freakings exploits it to the full.

Toxic End is out now digitally as well as on CD and vinyl.

http://www.freakings.ch    https://www.facebook.com/freakings

Pete RingMaster 14/03/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright