Skulk, The Hulking – Afterbirth Of A Nation

It is fair to say that 2018 has ended its tenure with some of its biggest highlights release wise among which Afterbirth Of A Nation has to be one of if not the most compelling and enjoyable. The second album from one man project, songwriter and satirist Skulk, The Hulking, the offering is an imagination rousing, ear gripping slab of unique enterprise which had us drooling in no time.

The successor to his 2015 debut album, In Sickness and in Health, the new encounter this time sees Skulk joined by creatively like-minded musicians in guitarist Ashley Levine, drummer Fernando Morales, and bassist Vern Woodhead. In turn this has brought a far broader palette to the bold and adventurous escapade seeded within its predecessor. The band has merged the electronic, hip hop, and punk of that first encounter with the feral and ferocious antics of metal in its varied guises within Afterbirth Of A Nation; the result something akin to a rabid fusion of Dog Fashion Disco, System Of A Down, Five Star Prison Cell, and Agent Orange but distinct in its character and forcibly magnetic incitement.

Afterbirth Of A Nation opens up with Hide Your Children.  Straight away sauntering in, the bass begins luring ears with the dark jazzy mystique of the song blossoming alongside. Soon after the unique and captivating tones of Skulk unveil the drama and mischief of his words as the Bauhaus like lure of the encounter boils up into a metal inflamed blaze. Settling back down, new hues and enterprise rise up around the infectious rhythmic stroll and hip hop nurtured vocals; it all making for an irresistible introduction to the release.

It is a resourceful and striking beginning only accentuated by next up He Who Finishes First Is Finished First. Leading with teasing guitar bait, the song swaggers in with eager rhythms and a vocal prowess which just made us want to get involved. It is simultaneously composed yet manic, every second a devious seed and ingredient to an adventure which swiftly got under the skin echoing those earlier mentioned clues to the Skulk, The Hulking adventure.

The track is simply superb and quickly matched by the devilish swing of By Hook Or By Crooked Automatic Assault Rifle. Like a psychotic carousel it swirls in ears, from time to time slowing momentarily to add fresh adventure and revelry around another potent lyrical trespass before scooping up the listener in its carnival-esque hunger.

The darker, predacious presence of Grind (Money Crotch) intimidates as it seduces with its slow swing, bass and guitar portentous in their tempting before its lid is lifted and ferocious discontent spills out. It too is just a moment in the track’s mercurial landscape, a captivating web of sound and vocal enterprise exposed and expanded by the cycle before making way for the tenebrific grumble of Joe Candidate with again Skulk sheer magnetism at its heart. A sombre slow and simple crawl with bursts of carnal irritability, the song just seduced from start to finish, much as the album itself.

Through the mischievous punk inflamed swing of Cancer and the funk ‘n’ jazz saunter of Make It Sew, an already rising addiction to the album was simply escalated, creative devilment and vocal tenacity their inescapable fuel while This Commercialism Sure Means Business… brings an unhinged, indeed certifiable blaze of punk and blues funk tinged rock ‘n’ roll full of derision and tenacity which similarly had us leaping to feet while giving an eager roar.

And the goodness just simply continues; The Proper Way To Fail bringing back the meandering but purposeful amble the band so easily breed to entice and ensnare ears and appetite with. Unapologetically infectious especially within its delicious chorus, the track was manna to the imagination before Add Her All had the same also eating out of its creative rock ‘n’ roll hands and in turn We, The Terrorism enticed physical spasms and attitude soaked vocal involvement in its virulent nonconformist furor.

Afterbirth Of A Nation ends with the unstable temperament and exploits of May It Never End; a loco of sound and boldly resourceful enterprise which left only a hunger for more as it sealed quite simply one of last year’s major highlights and an encounter no one should let slip by.

Afterbirth Of A Nation is out now @ https://skulkthehulking.bandcamp.com/album/afterbirth-of-a-nation

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Pete RingMaster 04/01/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Gumshoe – The Governor’s Brother

Condemned by love, life, and the leaden disparities which hungrily frequent the secret backwaters of everyday existence, the heart of the tales shared by Gumshoe are rich fascinations which simply seduce ears and imagination. Proof comes with the new album from the Athens in Georgia hailing US outfit, The Governor’s Brother a collection of dark intimation someone like David Lynch would relish giving a visual face to.

With the imagination teasing lyrical prowess of vocalist/guitarist Andy Dixon, his magnetic narration and the creative evocation of sound cast by bassist Jef Whatley and drummer John Norris, The Governor’s Brother simply dragged ears and appetite into its rich crepuscular landscape. Musically, Gumshoe conjures with a blend of shadow embracing folk, country, and blues; their sound matching and echoing the tenebrific stories explored.

The Governor’s Brother opens up with Barking At Shadows and its unrushed amble is an instantly captivating proposal. It is a lure only accentuated as Dixon shares the intimate breath of the song and the band spring its dawdling swing. Pure seduction as it draws the listener into its ill-lit heart the track is a compelling introduction and potent sign of things to come as confirmed by the following Call Me Mr. Rubber Belly.

The second song immediately shows a firmer hand but equally saunters along with a heavy, bordering on lumbering gait. Wiry blues nurtured tendrils of guitar illuminate word and voice as rhythms impose their thickly enticing bait; hues of punk and country rock colouring the brooding virulence which infested ears and imagination before Amorosa steals its own fair share of the album’s limelight with its unworldly   cryptid bred romance.

Next up, the irresistible I Am The Sun provides another instantaneous fixation as richly enticing flames of brass spring eagerly across another reserved yet eager stroll of sound and voice as firmly catchy as it is suggestive while Bye Bye Baby emulates its pleasure binding exploits with its own individually dancing jangle and vocal enterprise. Maybe taking a touch longer to warm up than its predecessor, the song soon has body and attention swinging to its pop ‘n’ folk rock exploits carrying a great warped Talking Heads meets Roy Orbison flavouring.

The album rounds its manipulation of storytelling and imagination with firstly C.L.A.U.S., a tenacious blues/surf tempting which sometimes is overrun with less collected lust as it serenades the focus of its inspiration, and finally the melancholy engulfed desolation bred croon of Never Enough. A track which haunts long past its departure, it is a riveting and delicious end to a release which is easily drawing us back time and time again.

An encounter which seems to further blossom as it reveals more of its portentous intrigue loaded  depths listen by listen, The Governor’s Brother is a bewitching anthology of word and sound; its dark poetry tantalising and accompanying but just as potent music a masterful insinuation in an album which just commands keen attention.

The Governor’s Brother is available now across most online stores.

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Pete RingMaster 8/01/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright