Centuries – The Lights Of This Earth Are Blinding

It has been four and a half years since hardcore fury Centuries scorched this earth with their debut album Taedium Vitae, time we can say thanks to its successor which has not seen the band mellow a degree. In fact The Lights Of This Earth Are Blinding reveals the band’s sound has become even more sonically and emotionally irritable yet honed into a tempest of noise and intent as precise in its aim and impact as it is rousing in its nagging causticity.

The years between releases has also seen the 2008 formed band’s line-up evolve to now include members based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Nashville, Tennessee, and Manchester in the UK. Similarly the Centuries sound has grown and matured; its dark hardcore breeding embracing even richer crust and metal hues amidst bolder adventure. It is imposing, invasive, and persistently tormented; a harrowing and severely intense mix which also manages to be violently infectious and increasingly cathartic. Carrying a theme of constant self-doubt, “It follows how we choose to accept our loses and the reaction to life, as well as the journey we take to make peace with the demons we’ve made”, the air is a searing soundscape once more within their creative tempest just one more grievous, blacker, and inescapably compelling.

Recorded with by Kris Hilbert at Legitimate Business (Catharsis, Torch Runner, The Body) last year and mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege (Integrity, Black Breath, Halshug), The Lights Of This Earth Are Blinding first scores the senses with its title track. Initial silence soon brews an electronic lure, its impending incursion quickly joined by vocal irritancy and a raw scarring of guitar. Just as swiftly it all unites in an insatiable charge, rhythms wildly yet precisely flung as acidic grooves tempt and abrase but an inhospitable surge as catchy and irresistible as it is punishing, and quite superb.

The outstanding start continues with Wooden Hands; it’s first coaxing an intimate acoustic melody, its second down an inviting line offering a furious expulsion of senses crippling beats, scavenging riffs, and vocal discontent. As the first, it has an instinctive infectiousness, an organic swing to a sonic chastisement which grips the imagination and manages to enhance rather than defuse the song’s vehemence.

Bygones is next up with barely two minutes of infernal confrontation. It is barbarous and unforgiving yet too has that contagious ability to tease and manipulate with virulent traits before Soil unleashes its own ruinous tirade. With a sludge thick weight but no less boisterous in its creative and physical mauling, the track prowls the listener, stalking their psyche before giving it a hellacious clubbing. As in all tracks though, the mayhem is finely sculpted and skilfully woven, every twist a fresh coercion into the heart of turbulence.

The following Bow Across A String sends a cascade of corrosion across the senses, every rhythm and riff putting them under duress but equally exciting them while each unpredictable turn in its caustic exploration has ears hooked and imagination challenged and aroused. Closing on the most excruciatingly intrusive yet addictive repetitious sonic yawn, the track leads into the meandering arms of The Climb. Its grooved vining wraps around the senses with ease as vocals scour their lining, muggy smog emerging to envelope the inviting bait and subsequently collude with equal potency with them as the track worms its nefarious way under the skin.

A delicious causticity of bass opens up The Endless Descent, its insidious grumble soon met by the raw throated assault of vocals and together triggering another highly addictive scourge of deliciously grooved bullying which only gets more captivating and debilitating by the second. That majestic ability to entangle extremes continues through the portentously shadowed May Love Be With You Always, its relentless rhythmic shuffle alone sheer captivation matched by the tapestry of guitar and groan of the menace brooding bass. The track is a maelstrom of sound and intent, a vortex of intensity which ebbs and flows but persistently pressures and pleasures as a host of flavours infuse its incursion.

A sepia toned clean vocal beckoning opens up Fury next, its dusty air shared by another mesmeric acoustic melody. It is an enthralling request for attention which boils up its emotions and air into a melancholically hazed wind and a proposition which bewitches before evolving into the rapacious climate of Nul Orietur. The outrage is a cyclone of suggestion and provocation, from the rolling enterprise of its rhythms and the inescapable snaring of its hooks and grooves to the scalding touch of its riffs and vocals, the album’s closer is another compelling assault to lead the album out on another major high.

With their debut Centuries made a major introduction to themselves, with The Lights Of This Earth Are Blinding they have uncaged one of the essential hardcore furies of this or any year.

The Lights Of This Earth Are Blinding is out now via Southern Lord Recordings and available @ https://centuriessl.bandcamp.com/album/the-lights-of-this-earth-are-blinding


Pete RingMaster 31/01/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Saint Tragedy – Prolonging The Agony

Formed in 2008, Saint Tragedy is a hard rock outfit from Kenosha, Wisconsin and they have just released a rather flavoursome new EP in the shape of Prolonging The Agony. They have a sound which is not dramatically unique but as the six tracks within their latest release reveals, it is a fresh and thoroughly enjoyable proposition.

Consisting of vocalist Wayne Wiginton, guitarist Matt Brudniewicz, bassist Eric Serbedzija, and drummer Jason Scuffham, Saint Tragedy has honed their sound over the years into a boisterous and enterprisingly crafted rock ‘n’ roll roar and it all comes together within Prolonging The Agony. It might not be an encounter which startles yet from start to finish, especially at its departure we only wanted to have more of its goods to rock out with.

As the EP opens up with Make Believe where familiarity and individualism collude to tempt and grab ears, straight away the band’s music with its muscular lures and melodic fire begins working its way under the skin. Like a fusion of Poets Of The Fall and the sadly demised US outfit Resin, sound and song stomp across the senses, rhythms adding their heavy thump alongside the rapacious tenacity of riffs. Wiginton’s vocals swiftly appeal too, adding further dexterity and tone to a track which continues to blossom with melodic enterprise and infectious craft by the second.

It is an impressive start which only continues with Ties That Bind. From maybe a less striking start though its early hook is pure infection alongside potent vocals, the song brews its own highly catchy and persuasive rumble with a chorus so easy to get involved with. Guitarist Brudniewicz once more firmly entices with his sonic enterprise, the rhythmic half of the band providing a formidable yet equally infectious lure before No More Religion takes over. The third track opens with the simple alignment of Wiginton’s croon and the melodic suggestion of guitar, a rich union which ignites into another rousing rock ‘n’ roll incitement equipped with tasty hooks and scorched melodies. Major surprises are few but skilfully nurtured enticements plentiful.

Move On has an old school feel to its confident stroll, classic rock hues and a sultry twinge to its melodic voice adding to its smouldering presence. Though it did not quite grab as forcibly as its predecessors, the song only pleases with its sultry air and emotive touch before being followed by the robust shuffle of Would I Lie. It too maybe lacked the spark of those earlier tracks for personal tastes but more than added to the strength and attraction of the EP with its melodic flames and steely undercurrent.

Closing with an alluring acoustic version of their song, Jumpin’ the Gun, Saint Tragedy prove themselves to be one highly enjoyable and accomplished proposition. They may be something of a secret to a great many right now but Prolonging The Agony could just change that. As mentioned surprises are not thick in coming forward but persistent enjoyment is far more eager.

Prolonging The Agony is available now via Pavement Entertainment.



Pete RingMaster 31/01/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Andy Cooper – The Layered Effect

Like the fleet footed shuffle of a confidence fuelled, adrenaline powered boxer, the sounds of US rapper/producer Andy Cooper beguile, spar, and jab within his second album The Layered Effect and like the very best, it swings knock out punches to simply drool over.

A tapestry of old school rap and hip hop as funky and jazzy as it is lung bursting fresh, The Layered Effect is pure pleasure in the ears. It is a homage to the past equally embracing the experiences of Cooper through his part as one third of hip hop outfit Ugly Duckling but not so much a throwback as a new revitalising breath in its history, and the fact that at times it reminds us of nineties UK hip hop duo Honky is extra cream to greedily lap up. Lyrically Cooper also acclaims the core and original essences of the genres he plays with throughout his album, revelling on the fun conjured on the inside as much as the listener basks in it on the outside.

The Layered Effect opens up with Here Comes Another One. Featuring Dutch MC Blabbermouf, the track swiftly swings and flirts with tenacious beats and the vocal shuffle of Cooper, keys keeping up with their own suggestive dance. The rapid fire exploits of Blabbermouf are just as rousing once uncaged, the song’s subsequent vocal weave devilish in its lure and as irresistible in its enterprise as the magnetic alignment of brass and keys with all the track’s other enticing sounds..

The following interlude of Layers toys with the chorus of the opener before Get On That has attention jumping and body bouncing with its R&B meets Fat Boy Slim scented jazz ‘n’ hop funk. As busy and richly flavoured as it is greedily infectious, the song twists and turns like a controlled but lustful dervish, its rhythms alone are instinctive manipulation, a trait just as potent within successor The Perfect Definition. More predacious than its predecessor in beat and tone, the track is a virile invitation led by the verbal shuffle of Cooper wrapped in boisterous musical prowess.

Talking of virility, Do The Andy Puppet is sheer virulent contagion, a deceptively persuasive saunter spun from presumably The Allergies 2016 video for Rock Rock featuring Cooper and his material woven counterpart. It has the innocence of child entertainment and the machination of retail temptation but really it is one slice of sublime contagion putting a smile on the face and spirit.

Last Of A Dying Breed has ears and thoughts swaying with the essences of old school rap blessed in instinctive funk while Anything Goes with Canadian rapper Abdominal guesting, pounces on the appetite with rapacious relish and dark intrigue, the song another as shadowy as it is radiant. The vocal union of the two is animated captivation skilfully matched by the song’s less forward but no less engaging sounds.

Surely only a deceased heart can stop any body from twisting and rolling to the rhythmic pulse and jazz flumes of the superb Can’t Be Satisfied, the track a virus to hips and feet let alone the imagination, while B-Boy Blues spreads further diversity to the album with its steely breath and twang lined funk. Both hit the spot dead centre, each solely owning the listener for the expanse of their presence.

The sultry shindig of Sizzling Hot provides a sweltering festival of sound and enticement to which once more eager involvement is inescapable. Its heated swing slips into the interlude of Just One Of The JB’s, its declaration springing into the celebration of Rick Said So, a Beastie Boys toned roar riding the inspirations of rap’s spawning days from Rick Rubin forward.

The release ends with the summer energy of A New Dawn, a fascinating web of sound around a final spring of vocal enterprise and lyrical suggestion which simply draws ears and imagination into its folds. It is a spellbinding conclusion to one increasingly addictive encounter. Andy Cooper has been no stranger to attention and acclaim through his previous projects and debut solo album but maybe not as much as The Layered Effect could and should spark.

The Layered Effect is out now through Rocafort Records; available @ https://rocafortrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-layered-effect

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Pete RingMaster 30/01/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Vantablack Warship – Abrasive Pulmonic Speak

Photo by Wayne William Archibald

Unapologetically harsh and uncompromising, arousingly irritable and voracious, Abrasive Pulmonic Speak is the debut album from Canadian fury Vantablack Warship; it is also one seriously addictive assault with as much swing and contagion as sonic violence.

Vantablack Warship is the coming together of various members from some of Montreal’s best bands including one of our favourites, Buffalo Theory Mtl.  2016 saw the release of a self-titled EP, a slab of hardcore fuelled extreme metal taking no prisoners and announcing a formidable new trespass to brave. Abrasive Pulmonic Speak builds on its potential and then wipes the floor with its sibling, the album eight chunks of barbarous punk ‘n’ metal virulent in sound and viciousness throughout, sludge thick and stiflingly suffocating when it leans back on its urgency but not its ferocity. With the rapacious tones of vocalist Yannick (Pil) Pilon (Arseniq33 / Buffalo Theory MTL) standing dead centre of the rhythmic barrage unleashed by bassist Kurt Clifford (Foreshadow) and drummer Pierre Pitre (Arseniq33 / Foreshadow) surrounded by a sonic tempest cast by guitarists Pat Gordon ( Ghoulunatics / Les Ekorchés / Leprocy / Buffalo Theory Mtl) and Thierry Hivon (Brutal Chérie / Sarkasm), Vantablack Warship go straight for the throat from the start with Abrasive Pulmonic Speak leaving the senses reeling and body rocking.

The album leaps upon ears with Another Dead Rockstar, the opener swiftly a severely infectious incursion with Pilon blasting the listener from its first to last breath. Thrash nurtured riffs and senses puncturing beats surround his raw and honest appraisal, lustfully swinging grooves soon adding to the already salacious temptation. Carrying a Society One meets Converge like scent the track is dirty, hateful punk ‘n’ roll at its best and an incursion which gets under the skin like a viral puppeteer.

The following Black Tongue Bertha is a carnal invasion of sound and enmity, riffs and rhythms crawling sharing pure animosity yet from their malevolence a glorious addiction spewing groove springs. Ebbing and flowing in its urgency of attack with increasing contagion, the song breeds additional flourishes of acidic melody and body rousing incitement but never relaxing in its antipathy, in fact accentuating it as it passes its victims over to the waiting chokehold of Blood on the Mat. A “graphic account of women in the UFC”, which can be transferred to the vileness of domestic violence, the track is another barbarous anthem pulling no punches or finding a relaxing its foot on the pedal of its persistently punishing attack. It is superb, an irresistible rile to attitude and spirit; the album after three tracks already drawing fevered praise.

Kill the Kid keeps things as forcibly stirring if maybe not quite offering the individualism of its predecessors though its subsequent predacious crawl from its incendiary start brings the thickest hues yet of the sludge/doom textures in the band’s sound. Equally it rocks and batters the senses like a cyclone, as too, and even more so next up Ruderalis. Grooves, riffs, and hooks escape every angle of band and sound, even the beats of Pitre getting the body bouncing as guitars weave their infernally invasive temptations. Again Pilon’s vocal squalls bring the ill intent each track constantly embraces, his rancor soaked syllables and bad blooded breath as compelling as anything aligning his intrusion.

The album’s title track bullies and stalks ears immediately after, but Abrasive Pulmonic Speak is equally loaded with manipulative grooves and tenaciously persuasive rhythms, the gnarly barbed throat of the bass just manna to these ears. It shuffles and swings like a bare knuckled fighter, again no reserve given to its physical and emotional trespass while The Blackhole, a song about ‘Raider Nation football fans’ takes a more considered though no less corrosive energy to its lead heavy gait; both tracks hitting the spot in their differing ways.

The album concludes with the thunderous tempest of Crisis, a tenebrific slow lumber churning the senses with vitriolic malevolence with just enough instinctive catchiness to have neck muscles keenly worked. More of a slow burner than those before, it makes a fine end to the release with grooves which just seduce heavy rock ‘n’ roll instincts.

Abrasive Pulmonic Speak leaves the senses reeling, lungs gasping, and pleasure spilling over as the wounds build. What could be better?

Abrasive Pulmonic Speak is released January 26th; available @ https://vantablackwarship.bandcamp.com/album/abrasive-pulmonic-speak


Pete RingMaster 24/01/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Blinding Sparks – Brutal Awakening

It has been a fair while coming but French metallers Blinding Sparks recently unleashed their debut album, Brutal Awakening, and it is a jewel of a proposition; a flawed one maybe but a real treasure nonetheless.

Sarreguemines hailing Blinding Sparks came together in 2009, producing a clutch of demos before unveiling the Renaissance insipide EP in 2014 or 15; as with other moments in their early days, the date seemingly varying. Nevertheless, its post rock adventure lured strong attention and provided a spring board from which Blinding Sparks really took off in sound, reputation, and presence. As Brutal Awakening swiftly shows, the band’s sound has evolved into a rapacious alternative metal fuelled proposition but one embracing an array of flavours with an imagination which is as unpredictable as the album’s character.

Brutal Awakening opens up with Don’t Need A Name, a track instantly prowling the senses as keys shimmer. The muscular rhythms of drummer Nicolas Kieffer and the imposing snarl of the four strings cast by bassist/guitarist Claude Hilpert are as predacious as they are infectious, vocalist Jeremy Conrad joining their trespass with his gravelly tones, again part threat part invitation. The song mellows a touch before returning to its invasive temptation, the song, featuring French singer/actor Laurent Bàn, revealing mercurial enterprise twist by turn.

It is an adventure which fuels the whole of the album, next up Arch springing a web of grooves and vocal irritability across rhythmic predation. As Conrad’s vocals match his and Hilpert’s guitar in contrasting fierce and melodic textures with clean prowess, Johanna Flauder adds her warm tones, she impresses immediately and within every track shows she is much more of a presence and important hue than simply a backing singer. Vocals return to their raw state as the cycle begins again, nurturing thoughts that though Conrad is potent with each, personal tastes hope his ventures into his far stronger cleaner delivery are more concentrated ahead, a thought the album continues to nurture.

The punk infested My Dog Will Piss On You follows, its metal ferocity rabid and addictive with its death, alternative, and groove metal collusion matched in nature by the varying and richly enjoyable vocals, singular and united. The track is superb, a glorious nagging on the senses arousing attitude and spirit with every raucous exploit before Deathbeds calms things with its melodic, slight Latin spiced croon. Anthemic beats and melancholic strings respectively drive and wrap the song’s emotive stroll, Conrad and Flauder vocally magnetic as Hilpert and Kieffer lay down their own virulent bait. Both tracks are magnificent, instinctive bait to ears and quickly matched by the catchy seduction of A Trois, a song which arouses involvement like a puppeteer.

Not for the first time within Brutal Awakening, ears are reminded of Russian band Biting Elbows, this time by the melodically fired In Front Of My Mirrors. Its caustic touch and acidic melodies are perfectly tempered and complemented by the searing tendrils of guitar and invasive beats, the song tantalising at every turn with a quality more than exploited by the tenacious and increasingly volatile This Useless Fate straight after for another particularly stirring moment within the album.

The cantankerous often choleric For An Eternal Rest as good as bullies ears into submission next, its thoroughly enjoyably trespass escalated within successor I Fuck It, a track in breath and attitude more than living up to its declaration. Each leaves real greed for more, both with great vocal contrasts and the latter with its ravenous grooves and evolving maniacal drama.

That earlier mentioned diversity in the band’s sound is relentlessly in full charge but each track has a character unique to Blinding Sparks; the dark hearted, noir lit psychosis of A Tough Road For The Heart emphasizing the point. It might not quite match up to the heights of other tracks within the album but has to be the most compelling and fascinating moment within Brutal Awakenings, its nightmare simply beguiling.

Make You Happy sees Bàn guesting once more, the song another which is so easy to fall into if without inciting the lust others may have teased while the mighty assault of The Straight Line welcomes the voraciously scarring throat ripping tones of Océane Thomas. The track steals the show, Thomas and Conrad instinctively dynamic together; add the more composed yet as potent presence of Flauder and the rabid sounds of the trio and you have aural manna for certainly these ears.

The album closes with the brief serenade of The Last Song, a melodic seducing to drool over as band and release leaves as captivatingly as they entered. Brutal Awakening is a masterpiece, as suggested one with aspects which are not so much issues as potential to be realised, but simply one of the most enjoyable assaults heard in a long delivered in a roar living up to its title.

Brutal Awakening is out now.

http://blindingsparks.com/    https://www.facebook.com/blindingsparks/

Pete RingMaster 23/01/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Hyvmine – Earthquake

High praise has been brewing up around Los Angeles quartet Hyvmine and it is not too hard to understand why listening to their debut album, Earthquake. The release is a tapestry of attention gripping craft and substance, an encounter woven with individual style and enterprise united with a single rock ‘n’ roll intent.

Hyvmine could be said to be a proposition built around or for the striking technical skill and open imagination of lead guitarist/vocalist Al Joseph but the band’s first album soon shows it is all about four very talented musicians bringing individual prowess to a common guile and aim. Their sound is a magnetic fusion of progressive metal, hard rock, and grunge, a weave which at times ebbs and flows in its imagination stoking qualities and success but is never less than one seriously fascinating and enjoyable proposal.

Earthquake wakes upon ears with Shift, keys like suggestive mist immersing the senses before piano and guitar cast their own inviting welcome. Al’s earthier vocals step forward soon after bringing grunge nurtured hues with him, the song already aligning a mix of flavours and only continues to broaden its web as Al’s guitar paints its creative intent around the rousing rhythmic rumble sprung by bassist Christopher Joseph and drummer Fabrizio Cavallaro. With veins of progressive and heavy metal continuing to escape the strings of Al and fellow guitarist Alon Mei-Tal, the track simply lures intrigue and increasingly keen attention.

The following Mirror Master opens with a bass led grumble, a Sick Puppies like breath joining it as the song swiftly eclipses its predecessor. Veins of technical dexterity and cunning ensure the imagination is persistently caught unawares and pleasured as wholly as ears, the track bursting from its earthier canvas like a firework before settling down to similarly enticing heavier rock incitement. It is a weave emulated across the album in numerously individual ways, as the following Shogun shows with its instinctive rapacious growl and Seether-esque croon. Flowing through mellower scenes, the backing vocals of Alon a warm caress, and steelier climes, the song seduces and snarls with equal tenacity and temptation.

All Of Creation brings its own braid of menace and melody next, grooves winding around the senses as vocals and melodies smoulder if with a great gravelly raw edge especially in the former. If you can imagine a fusion of TesseracT and Stone Temple Pilots, this absorbing track could very well epitomise your thoughts. Again Al’s skills radiate but as elsewhere they are never, even with the startling twists leading to his strands of creative flair, forced upon ears but organically embraced with a track’s roar.

The album’s melodically seductive title track engagingly, almost lovingly, wraps around the listener but still holds a thick growl in its depths while Fire Escape prowls with a plaintive grouchiness as it flirts and challenges with a funk infused, predation lined shuffle. Each left a definite want for more, a lure pretty much all tracks within Earthquake sow as echoed by the melodically atmospheric Elysium. Like a heavy rock equivalent of The Christians meets Voyager, the song is pure mesmerism, its metallic touch addictive and harmonic heart irresistible.

The album closes with firstly the similarly hued but firmly hard rock nurtured Great Divide and lastly the flaming almost tempestuous Cliffhanger. Neither song quite ignited the appetite as their predecessors but both just left an already bred intent to enjoy the album again and again a little more urgent each offering moments of real mouth-watering adventure within their bodies.

Though making a great first impression, Earthquake really grows with every listen, recognisable aspects aligning with uniqueness for one thoroughly pleasurable encounter.

Earthquake is out now through Seek and Strike, available @ https://hyvmine.bandcamp.com/releases and https://seekandstrikemerch.com/products/hyvmine-earthquake-cd


Pete RingMaster 23/01/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright