The Chewers – Downhill Calendar

Defying the claws of pigeonholes and predictability with even greater relish and mischief, US duo The Chewers release their new album in the devilish shape of Downhill Calendar. Off kilter rock is pretty much what the band calls its sound and more than anything echoes the captivating web of styles and flavours making up their new release and rock n’ roll.

The Chewers is the creation of Travis Caffrey and Michael Sadler, both West Virginia bred who by chance eventually met up having individually relocated to Nashville. 2010 saw the release of debut album Every Drop Disorganized and the raw seeds of the sound and humour which has grown over subsequent releases and now boldly flourishes within fourth full-length Downhill Calendar.

I’m Getting Thinner starts things off and within its seven plus minutes of captivation entangles a host of flavours from art/avant rock to post and raw punk through to noise and experimental rock. Immediately bass and drums lay down a repetitive lure smothered in sonic lacing and rising acidic grooves. The rhythmic core of the song echoes the prowess of Gang of Four, its sonic side also hinting but expelling a more feral touch and intent. There is an instinctive nagging at the heart of the song, rhythms its main fuel, which epitomises all album tracks; each song almost harassing attention but rewarding with contagion loaded enterprise matched by the lyrical agility and magnetic delivery of the vocals.

Never a labour only an addictive pleasure even at its extensive length, the excellent opener hands ears and imagination over to the following Skin Stay Thin. Its first breath brings an inescapable swing which again is as primal and raw as it is compelling and manipulative. Hooks and grooves spring like leeches at the imagination, a mischievous edge to them all recalling the creative antics of former PiL/Killing Joke/Pigface member Martin Atkins in his Brian Brain guise. Becoming more caustic by the moment it in turn makes way for the electro /noise punk courting of Where Is the Fun?, those wonderfully infernal rhythms again worming under the skin and into hips within seconds. Vocals, words, and guitar swiftly entwine and saunter across that rhythmic incitement, the latter embracing blues grazing to its melodic vines and funk nurtured swings.

 Rat Belly crawls through ears next; squirts of brass radiating on its heavy infection loaded lumber. With the song’s step never accelerating, the guitar scorches its flesh as electronic resonance brings its own dark dissonance. Bordering on bedlam but just managing to restrain its mania, the track pretty much slips into the psyche trapping Frankie’s Downhill Calendar. Once more drums lead the incursion, their instinctive agility a puppeteer to physical involvement and a rock ‘n’ roll appetite as the creative toxicity of guitar and imagination sear song and senses alike. As vocals once more unearth their own regular magnetism eighties post punk hues please and intimate but only adding to the individual sound of The Chewers.

Without quite sparking the same ardour for its predecessors Yo Yellow Pig still got attention locked in with its mischief coated swing and blues nurtured causticity while the excellent Then There’s Me offers a corroded blues rock canter as seductively elegant as it is openly mordant.

Both tracks trapped attention with ease leaving I Let the Stooge Loose to bring things to a close with its untamed but masterfully mercurial rock ‘n’ roll. Not only to the closing track but The Chewers’ sound in general, there is a sense of bands like Pere Ubu, Powersolo, and The Residents to its character but as the song proves all essences in something unique to The Chewers.

So if you are looking for rock n’ roll in its most “off Kilter” adventure then Downhill Calendar is a must exploration, indeed one for all fans of the flavours The Chewers twist, corrupt, and use so enjoyably.

Downhill Calendar is available now @ https://thechewers.bandcamp.com/album/downhill-calendar

https://www.facebook.com/thechewers/

Pete RingMaster 24/07/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Hardball – Dirty

We are not sure if the North East is Britain’s capital of rock ‘n’ roll trespass but there has been a definite vein of rousing rock bands escaping its depths over the decades. The latest is Darlington quartet Hardball who have just uncaged their debut single/EP in the shape of Dirty. Offering three tracks as individual to each other as they are united in stirring up eager attention, the release is a bruising yet inescapably inviting slice of hard and punk rock embroiled in aggressive enterprise. It is also a potential stocked introduction from a band already sparking a real appetite to hear much more of.

Months maybe mere weeks old, Hardball consists of vocalist/guitarist Tim Smith, guitarist Phil Bailes, bassist Neil MacGillivray, and drummer Denz (Gareth Westgarth). There is little more we can tell you about the band though there is probably little more to share with the band so early in its emergence though you might recognise Denz’ uncompromising dextrous swings from bands such as Hung Like Jack, ill fated riot, and Supercharger.

Recorded live at White Wolf Studio, the band’s debut encounter swiftly had ears on board with opener Dirty. A lure of guitar dangles potent bait first, its classic rock feel a tease into the waiting rapacious embrace of the track. Riffs and rhythms instantly impose once unleashed but with incitement rather than threat while the harmonious tone of the vocals only adds to the rousing temptation already raised, as too the grooves which need seconds to get under the skin. Though surprises were few, everything about the track was fresh and distinctly individual ensuring that the first contact with Hardball was strong, highly enjoyable, and firmly memorable.

The invention within the song was soon escalating as Ballad Of John Fox stepped up next, the song a calm but bold saunter with shimmering melodies and intimation fuelled enterprise to its instrumental and a spirited raucousness to its vocal expulsions. It has an anthemic feel which grows by the minute and a great weave of guitar enterprise as bluesy as it is hard rock inspired.

Our favourite track though is Closed For Inventory, a real gem of a proposal from its initial groove draw to its punk ‘n’ roll roar and scheming rhythms. Carrying a predatory intent at times, especially when those delicious grooves steer the rack’s inescapable manipulation, the final track stole the passions with ease here even against the definite prowess and quality of its companions.

With a first release, any band can only hope for attention and an awakening of their presence as its main success and Hardball will surely achieve that and much more with Dirty. You want some honest, spirit sparking rock ‘n’ roll? Then look to the North East for some Hardball.

https://www.facebook.com/Hardballrock/

Pete RingMaster 28/07/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Draghkar – The Endless Howling Abyss

Already keeping 2018 busy with a pair of split releases with Desekryptor and Ossuarium respectively, US death metallers Draghkar are poised  to unleash their own four track infestation in the highly enjoyable shape of The Endless Howling Abyss.

Formed in 2016 by guitarist/vocalist BW (Grave Spirit/Gravesmasher), the band had gone through a few line-up changes before the first of those aforementioned splits was uncaged; bassist Daniel Kelley and drummer ES now completing the line-up. With a sound said to be inspired by Abhorrence and Amorphis and also increasingly embracing the likes of Molested, Mercyful Fate, and others as intimated within The Endless Howling Abyss, Draghkar has nurtured a potent mix of flavours and enterprise across their releases which certainly flourishes within the latest.

Traversing the Abyss rises from its bed with portentous strikes of sound, dramatic suggestion coating every surge of guitar and swing of rhythms until it settles into a controlled but portentous prowl. Every wave of riffs though brings a slight elevation in energy before it gathers for an intensive assault loaded with the throat gravel of BW. Grooves and melodic entangling escape the growing tempest, each with a lively swing that swiftly got under the skin. It is dark and ravenous, corruption at the creative heart but so very catchy and infectious too.

The excellent start continues with Swallowed by the Dark; a track not as mercurial in the attack of its animosity as in its predecessor but as rabidly venomous. It too shares grooves as viral as they are toxic, the guitar almost dancing on the rhythmic canter of the doom soaked bass splintered by senses splitting beats. It might be death metal bred but the track is prime rock ‘n’ roll, just in the most corrosive form of its incitement.

Next up Eternal Disintegration (Of The Body And Of The Mind) chains ears with one rich hook from its first breath, it a coaxing into a visceral canter but remaining to potently flavour the track’s subsequent emergence into a carnivorous predator. There is a bedlamic volatility in its depths which ignites even more invasive turbulence at times but never enough to extinguish the viral lure of its grooved invasion.

As if the release stored up all its malice and dissonance for its finale, Fading into Emptiness is an unsavoury consumption of the senses full of and leaving scars and fissures but again sweetening the malevolence with a great nagging of grooved temptation.

It is a fine end to a release which announces Draghkar as a definite to watch proposition within the death metal scene. Those previously mentioned splits made the suggestion, The Endless Howling Abyss insists on keeping them close.

The Endless Howling Abyss is released July 27th on CD through Craneo Negro Records (500 copies) and on cassette via Nameless Grave Records (75 copies). Both also available as well as digitally @ https://draghkar.bandcamp.com/album/the-endless-howling-abyss

 https://www.facebook.com/DraghkarBand/

 Pete RingMaster 24/07/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright