4 Past Midnight – Battle Scars & Broken Hearts

Over a career expanding over a decade or more there are moments when a band openly dips below their previous heights. That blip has yet to come with Scottish punks 4 Past Midnight since raising their middle finger back in 1989 and is not on the horizon yet as their new album, Battle Scars & Broken Hearts, proudly declares. Offering fifteen slices of the band’s uncompromising yet relentlessly infectious punk rock, the album holds no major surprises in a departure from that instinctive sound but easily refreshes an already established appetite for their militant roar across its tenacious body.

The Glasgow quartet’s sixth studio album among numerous singles, EPs, and compilations, Battle Scars & Broken Hearts sets out its agenda straight away with Do it Now. An opening scuzzy chord opens the gateway to a surge of rapacious riffs and punchy rhythms through which the distinctive lead vocals of drummer Peter McCartney gravelly growl. A delicious hook adds its bait from within the roar too, reinforcing the track’s instinctive punk ‘n’ roll contagion with addition inciting traits.

From one great track to another as For Life strolls in next upon the swinging beats of McCartney, the guitars of Tam Bowman and Fred Stevenson uniting in a calmer but no less boisterous invitation. As vocal chords quickly join in with McCartney’s, hips are bound in the groove of Stevie Goldsack’s bass, its grumble a flirtatious tease within the chest beating declaration of the track before being a similarly compelling lure within the drama clad, politically scathing Politician. Bowman again weaves ear grabbing melody lined hooks as Stevenson’s riffs crawl over the senses, they and the rhythmic prowess of Goldsack and McCartney gaining in aggression and adrenaline as the song hits its finale.

Through the more controlled yet predacious growl and narrative of the UK Subs-esque Guilty and the brief instrumental shuffle of Tonight, variety and further pleasure consumes ears, both tracks anthemic in their keenly individual ways though not as imposingly as 4pm On Tour (4pm crew pt4). The fourth instalment of the band’s rebel rousing, spirit sparking anthem, it swiftly declares there is no point trying to resist its instinctive persuasion to roar your head off and physically stomp especially through its virulent chorus; the track leaving the body and heart elevated in a way only 4 Past Midnight can.

The sultry melodic hues of Bowman’s guitar immediately ignite next up Hope, Fear, Pain, Love, Desire if not lingering around long enough when seducing ears across its contagiously muscular canter for personal tastes while Survive just blisters the senses with its energy and rapacious tone. Though neither quite hits the levels of songs before them each brings hooks and invention which resourcefully leaves a smile on lips before being fully eclipsed by the chest beating might of Let’s Go. For any band, punk or not, wanting to learn about creating organic but purposeful anthems sure to whip up the hearts of their fans, this fevered soundtrack to any uprising has it all; 4 Past Midnight continuing to deliver such incitements album after album at times almost song after song.

Its bold corralling of emotions and spirit is followed by the rough and ready insight and equally tone of Alone, where a blend of old school and modern street punk with a whiff of hardcore for good creative measure is unleashed, and in turn by the Oi infested I Hate My Life. The first of the two again hits the spot without inflaming it leaving that to its ravenous successor and the magnificent Day After Day within which Goldsack’s bass brews up a primal almost carnal grizzle in its tone and virulence. The goodness does not stop there as Bowman takes the imagination into a melodic metal nurtured detour before things get salaciously punk again.

Accompanied by the piano elegance of someone simply called Vivian, McCartney shows his melodic vocal side to surprise and enthral as Whithered Roses next serenades.  Written by the band with Clare Bowen, it is a magnetic beckoning subsequently leading into the waiting jaws of the track with the bass again finding a bestial hue to its growl as hooks sink deep within the passions as McCartney is back to his sandy throated best with matching rhythmic dexterity. The track is superb, rock ‘n’ roll to whole heartedly give energy and zeal to.

The album is completed by firstly The Reason, a song hinting at pop punk instincts whilst roaring with a flavoursome mix of rock, and lastly through the gnarly and seriously catchy blaze of Can Anyone Hear Me; a plaintive call which grabs attention on every level. Together they provide a grand finale to another mouth-watering and increasingly thrilling encounter from 4 Past Midnight.

It is hard to pick the best album from the band, though there is no doubting that they are only increasing their impressive reputation as not only Scotland’s best punk band but one of the UK’s most essential propositions with each release, but for sure  Battle Scars & Broken Hearts is right to the fore of their biggest punk triumphs to date

Battle Scars & Broken Hearts released through Hedgerow Records (UK) on Vinyl and on CD via the band, Combat Rock Records (France), and Bosstuneage Records (UK),with its digital store @ https://4pastmidnight.bandcamp.com/

http://www.4pastmidnight.co.uk/    https://www.facebook.com/4-Past-Midnight-215468135159655/    https://twitter.com/4pastmidnight

Pete RingMaster 26/07/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Chasing Sanity – Anathema

Chasing Sanity is the new solo project from Erik Martin, formerly of Erik Dismembered and one half of Skin Drone; a new creative adventure born from the ashes of the first of those two when Martin decided to “start over and rebrand” himself and his music having felt “uninspired to write anything under the Erik D moniker”. In many ways, Chasing Sanity is closer in style to his work with Otto Kinzel as Skin Drone but as swiftly revealed within debut album Anathema, creating its own unique and fascinating world of imagination and sound.

Though you might primarily tag Anathema as Avant Industrial Metal, it is equally a kaleidoscope of atmospheric and cinematic textures drawn from the darkest corners and depths of the imagination. Every track is a challenge and canvas for the imagination to conjure upon and a place where intimate horrors collude with broader nightmares. Themed by “anxious depression and anger” bred in Martin’s own experienced emotional turmoil, the album opens with You Fiend. Primarily an instrumental release, the first track features the vocal prowess of Nate Exx Gradowski from Isolated Antagonist, AutomatoN, and Quo. Straight away the raw snarl of guitar stalks the senses, inserting their toxic magnetism as Gradowski adds his multi-textured presence within a similarly diverse lure of synths. Every second of the song leads to a fresh turn and unpredictable twist, Gradowski’s switches between harsh and clean vocals matched very second of the way by invasive yet captivating sound.

In many ways, the opener is a straight forward proposal to embrace compared to its successors where the imagination is as active as ears.  Cursed is next up, gliding in on the infectious throb of bass as an increasing web of sound and noise insert their suggestive glimpses into the track’s brewing landscape. Drama fuels every second, metal nurtured riffs and trespasses gripping bait but persistently interrupted by haunting atmospherics and sombre shadows to catch ears and thoughts off guard time and time again. As with all pieces, interpretation will be unique to the individual but unavoidable as the track provokes and inspires before Depths Of Euphoria immerses ears in its own disarming quiet suggestiveness. Even more cinematic than its predecessor, the song is like a flight through night clad scenery with sinister shadows and dark traps waiting to spring.

The industrial intimidation of Haunted Walls quickly has thoughts and emotions involved next; danger and innocence entangling within its guitar veined gothic body. It is a dark place though with the invasive intent of a Hostel found cell, every step within its fascination wrought with tension and ill-intent before Dismembered Thoughts brings some light to the release with its infectious waltz. Yet it too is a tenebrous dance with treachery and menacing asides, keeping ears and thoughts again wary and busy throughout its passage through to the steely net of sonic intimation cast by Orange Bottle. A blend of textures and styles unite for its metal nurtured shuffle, the track prowling the senses as it commandingly ignites physical and mental involvement.

Pills, Pain And An Autopsy creates its own travelogue through the dark tunnels and layers of psyche and suggestion where caliginous beauty and thought infesting angst breed their own unique connection. The track continues to grow and blossom, never escaping its haunting shadows but nurturing a myriad of melodic hues and evocative textures within its atmospheric immersion.

The final pair of tracks upon the EP sees Martin linking up with firstly Rockwater Pictures for Red Death and its percussive and inhuman infestation of the psyche and lastly with Chris Bollinger of Kill Point Protocol and Varicella in Salem, 1666. The final track only needs Vincent Price’s distinctive growl to be the complete cinematic nightmare, one offering extreme and industrial metal surges seemingly glimpsed through a damaged canvas slashed by the claws of the horned one. As the album, it needs numerous plays to settle on a final interpretation, if you ever can, with thick enjoyment flowing through every attempt.

There is no doubt that Anathema is a challenge, one only venturing within its dark realms will reveal whether you  will embrace or flee from it,  but as is the theme with Erik Martin’s work, it is a testing which leaves you mentally and physically alive and indeed welcomingly exhausted. Chasing Sanity pretty much sums up the sound and experience of Anathema, something we all do in varying ways through life.

Anathema is out now across most stores and @ https://chasingsanity.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/chasingsanityband

Pete RingMaster 26/07/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Vault 51 – Kid

It is never a bad thing to make a thumping good first impression and that is exactly what US quintet Vault 51 has done with their debut EP, Kid. Not that the band is exactly a new force to attention having been around a while now with a buzz soon brewing up around them and apparently they have been signed to Roadrunner Records at some point too. Kid though is their first meaty proposition for real focus following a clutch of magnetic singles, and a forcible reason to pay close attention to their rousing sound.

Roaring out of Atlanta, Vault 51 breed a sound which lies somewhere between alternative rock and melodic/post hardcore; a proposition embracing familiar essences with fresh invention to create an individual character which blossoms across the six tracks of Kid. Already earning comparisons to the likes of Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and Story Of The Year, the band gets straight down to persuasive business with the Drew Fulk (I Prevail, Motionless In White) produced and Lee Rouse mixed EP. Thirty Six gets things underway, it’s ticking suggestiveness soon submerged in a torrent of riffs and fiery sonic flames. That passing of time is still there working away as the song ebbs and flows, the bass of Alex Garmon a gnarly temptation and the jabbing beats of Joshua Landry a biting trespass as melodies and harmonies catch alight and soar. Frontman Landon Jones leads the way with his potent tones backed by the similarly alluring voice of guitarist Tom Jepson, whose strings simultaneously collude with those of Patrick Snyder in a web of enterprise which has ears gripped and an early appetite stoked in swift time.

It is a powerful start to the release, that mix of varied flavours and textures a tempestuous yet composed blaze which as suggested earlier merges recognisable essences with bolder exploits belonging to Vault 51; a success found again within the following We Don’t Care. The track quickly shows itself a predatory individual, riffs carrying a sinister and aggressive edge tempered by again impressing vocals. With rhythms bringing their own cantankerous almost inhospitable intent, the track still plunders the senses; a Spineshank meets Breaking Benjamin spicing grabbing keen attention as things flow through mellow and harsh scenery with craft and emotional intensity.

The first two striking tracks set the marker for the EP which arguably the subsequent songs miss matching yet as latest single Magnolia with its melodic graces and atmospheric caresses soon reveals, the adventurous ear pleasing nature and power of the release refuses to die down. A volatile encounter as calm and seductive as it is fiery and imposing, the third song breeds a virulent infectiousness as forceful as that cast by its predecessors and in next up Wildfire. A poppier incitement from the off but soon lighting a pyre of emotion and intensity, the song has something of Australians Voyager and Sick Puppies to it, a mix of the two in many ways at least which has the imagination soon caught up in its creative drama.

The magnetic reflective calm of Mourning View makes an engaging contrast soon after; the song a melodic serenade on the senses with a brooding rhythmic lining as keys cast their suggestive poetry.  It too has tempestuousness to its heart which flirts with rather than breaks in ears, adding an anxiousness which firmly appeals before Sincerely Me brings things to a ferocious conclusion with a blistering tempest abound with melodic beauty and emotional drama. Maybe taking longer to initially convince than other tracks within Kid, it blossoms into one of the highlight of the release with its cyclonic breath and rousing ingenuity.

Kid makes an increasingly compelling and impressive statement through every listen, sparking the lift off of Vault 51 into the grasp of real attention but more importantly a certain new wave of hungry fans.

The Kid EP is out now on Spotify, through other stores and @ https://www.vault51.net/merch/kid

https://www.vault51.net/    https://www.facebook.com/Vault51official/    https://twitter.com/vault51official

 Pete RingMaster 25/07/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright