Saint Apache – Wolf Machine

The suggestion of a bold new roar within the British alternative rock scene came with a self-titled debut EP last year, now Eastbourne hailing quartet Saint Apache confirm their potent emergence with its ear grabbing, spirit sparking successor. Wolf Machine is a blaze of muscular and tenacious multi-flavoured rock ‘n’ roll, a proposition often as bruising as it is rousing taking the potential of their first encounter to new creatively accomplished and energetically hungry heights.

Formed in 2015, Saint Apache weave their blaze of sound with an array of influences said to include the likes of Every Time I Die, Buckcherry, and Rage Against The Machine. It is a fiery mix with a volatility of thought and intensity which catches the imagination with ease within Wolf Machine. As mentioned, their debut EP was a potent opening encounter with the band; a promise fuelled introduction swiftly pushed and eclipsed by the rapacious presence of their new creative challenge.

The release opens up with a richly enticing hook; You’re Not A Slave instantly laying down a rich scuzzy lure quickly joined by imposing riffs and thumping rhythms. The equally compelling tones of vocalist Thom Meredith soon roar from within the magnetic nagging tide of sound, Saint Apache stirring up the senses and spirit with persistent and boisterous enterprise. Familiar and fresh hues collude within the fire, unpredictability brewing and grabbing its moment as the track slips into a restrained passage with post punk and invention nurtured twists dancing on the ears. The guitar of Leo casts a tapestry of endeavour and imagination, every second a web of hooks, grooves, and spikiness matched by vocals and the rhythmic predation of drummer Adam Oarton and bassist Luis T.

It is a tremendous start to the release, stoner and heavy rock mixing with punkier intentions and continuing to unite their elements within the following exploits of The Story Doesn’t End Here. The wiry tendrils and fuzzy breath of the guitar brings in a psych/stoner-esque smog, grooves shooting from its midst with again a recognisable yet invigorating character. The growling tone of the bass is a physical addiction all on its own, with an irritable presence just as enticing within Meredith’s vocals and snarling lyrical expression. Rage Against The Machine essences within the first song are a thick spice within the second, giving its swagger thicker liquor to intoxicate the listener with.

Halfway Dead similarly weaves a trap of closely acquainted grooves and hooks for the appetite but again with a tenacity and enterprise which has ears and bodies greedy and bouncing. As with all tracks, it is hard to say that originality is an overpowering essence yet in the bold and craft sharing hands of the band, everything comes in an unworn design and with unique nature. Previously mentioned inspirations again can be grabbed from the track but equally there is something of bands like Damn Vandals and Turbonegro to the raw and virulent attack.

The EP’s title track brings things to a close offering a drama coated, intensity loaded temptation from its first breath which may lose some of its threat as things ‘calm’ a touch and vocals become entangled in spicily wiry grooves but never loses its intrusive touch or creative appetite within its thrilling attitude loaded incitement. It is a gripping end to a continually galvanic proposition hard to find anything other than real pleasure with.

The Wolf Machine EP is audacious and impulsive in character and sound if admittedly not so much in major originality but even there the seeds are openly being sown and bred within its four songs for blossoming further down the line. Saint Apache is ready to make their mark and if Wolf Machine is a hint to the things to come, bring it on.

Wolf Machine is out now across most stores.

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Pete RingMaster 25/07/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Virtual Symmetry – X-Gate

The new EP from Italian progressive metallers Virtual Symmetry, X-Gate is quite simply a theatre of sound, craft, and creative storytelling which keeps ears and imagination greedily engaged from start to finish. Simplicity though is not a feature of the release with every song a kaleidoscope of flavours and styles, each encounter a lure into surreal realms and adventures woven with individual and united craft which alone grabs attention.

Founded by guitarist/ multi-instrumentalist Valerio Æsir Villa, Lugano hailing Virtual Symmetry potently build on the creative landscape and progression of their well-received debut album Message from Eternity of 2016 with X-Gate, creating a web of enterprise and imagination which ensures fascination is an equally lively reaction. There are moments when things settle into a calm temptation, a low key seduction and other times when the EP ignites a real zeal for its dramatic body of sound and invention but always attention is firmly hooked.

X-Gate opens up its exploration of man and its evolutionary possibility, which starts with its artwork, with Eyes of Salvation. Instantly guitars coax the listener with a fiery glaze to their lures before a portentous calm is accompanied by poetic strains of piano from Mark Bravi. Swiftly his additional keys flame up as the rest of the band unites their essences in a rising tide of sound and suggestion. Vocalist Marco Pastorino walks alongside the piano in another mellow passage, his potent voice matched by others within the outfit, before that fire erupts once again with the rhythmic rapacity of bassist Alessandro Poppale and drummer Davide Perpignano driving things. From its first breath, the track is a web of enterprise and thought, a myriad of textures and layers explored better over subsequent listens though its infection loaded chorus is a swift recruitment of ears and involvement. Across its seven plus minutes, the song continues to tease and tempt whilst weaving a fluid collage of styles and theatrical imagination.

It is a great start which has ears and appetite hooked for that to follow starting with the epic flight of Alchymera. For almost a quarter of an hour, the song is a magnet for the senses and thoughts; its celestial and emotional journey especially blessed with keys carrying a definite  Bill Nelson vibe whilst the guitars give Steve Vai like scents to their endeavour. An eighties new wave/synth pop essence also simmers within the track, seductively caressing its more irritable traits while Villa alone brings an emotional drama and moodiness to the track which is absorbed and emulated in the atmospheric climate spreading across the mercurially alluring and skilfully woven landscape.

Elevate completes the release, the track notable alone for the union of Pastorino with the radiant voice of Diane Lee from Swiss melodic progressive metallers Lost Journey. The pair is surrounded by a serenade of sound with volatility in its nature as potent as the emotional drama and invention loaded imagination baring their qualities. The song almost swarms the senses with its charms and fiery heart, breaking into more tempestuous moments throughout to only increase its pull.

It is fair to say that though its strong first showing, X-Gate simply escalates in depth and persuasion over time. Virtual Symmetry is a richly intriguing and tempting proposition from the outskirts of the progressive metal landscape but a prospect increasingly coming to the fore with each offering they make and though the EP might not end up on the year’s best lists come the New Year, but could for many, as one of the most enjoyably fascinating propositions X-Gate is right up there.

The X-Gate EP is out now.

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Pete RingMaster 25/07/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright