Bear – Propaganda

Having discovered Bear through their senses ravening second album back in 2013, every new moment with the Belgian outfit has been a momentous moment in our musical year and there is nothing different in 2020 with the unleashing of Propaganda, their most striking trespass of the senses yet.

There has always been an open uniqueness about the Antwerp quartet’s sound but again it has evolved into a whole new beast of fascination within their fourth full length. Described as a fusion of progressive metal and hardcore, the reality is that it is a far richer and diversely woven proposition. Within Propaganda groove and tech metal embroils in death and noise rock, a mixture only further twisted as rapacious imagination cast its weaves. The feral likes of Noumenon and successor /// have blossomed in that creative environment but Propaganda though has simply found a whole new discharge of temptation.

With its heart and breath a roar against the spins which manipulates all our lives, Bear’s new onslaught immediately descended on ears with opener Dissolve Dissipate. Rhythms immediately assault as acerbic grooves entwine the listener, a hungry contagiousness swarming the senses as the track violently devours. The thick growl of vocalist Maarten Albrechts erupts straight into the barrage, spilling further malice and tempting in a fusion only increasing in enslavement; even more so as a contrast of clean vocals rises within the sonic persistence and growing enterprise.  As the track again twists and escalates its lure, all the time soon adding greater lust to our appreciation, it is a superb start to the album and a scene setter of the invention within its body and ravenous dexterity in its realisation.

The rhythms of drummer Serch Carriere and bassist Dries Verhaert perpetually make for a magnetic invitation even as more restraint wraps their baiting of ears as the release’s title track follows. Nevertheless it instantly held attention tight as further aspects add the inescapable beckoning into a waiting deluge of sound and venom. Even that though is aligned to melodic and compelling enterprise, the track a mercurial incitement as savage as it is seductive on body and thoughts. Winding, Guitarist James Falck again weaves vines of sound and threads of grooves around the song’s transfixing length, tendrils which threaten as they lure; the track itself epitomising that feat within its predacious presence.

Obey barely allows a breath to be taken before uncaging its own predatory instincts and sounds, ferocity again interlaced with progressive and grooved imagination which not so much tempers the assail as encourages it and an already well grown addictiveness to the encounter. It is a trait we found with previous releases, a quickly formed and unshakeable hunger for their wares which is soon fertile within Propaganda and only intensified with the following pair of Apollo’s Heist and Red Throne. The first teases ears first, nagging on attention before rewarding such focus with a menacing crawl which was soon burrowing deep; the sinister temptation only accentuated by the harmonics of varied vocals and synth caresses within the ursine confrontation. It provided full enthralment from start to finish which its successor quickly devoured with its far more volatile and grievous exploits. As those before and to come, the track is as unpredictable as it is compelling, leaping with bruising dynamics yet never hinting on its subsequent moments of greedy aggression or dramatic restraints; it all delivered with devious craft and manipulative imagination.

Through the similarly ominous and disturbing intimation of the increasingly carnal Mite and the viscous animosity of Gutter Love the album only gripped tighter, the latter a virulent slab of primeval rock ‘n’ roll while the following Stigmata left its deep sonic mark with rhythmic lashings and dark raptorial fingering of the psyche and fair to say that each track is bound in capricious adventure and skilfully erratic enterprise inventively and imaginatively bred.

The calm dark beauty of The Ram brings a moment to find stability for the senses and suggestion for thoughts though the listener is soon consumed in the cataclysmic invasion of Flares which erupts with Bear’s trademark brutality and imagination gripping resourcefulness as again expectations are never allowed to seed and appetite to lose its greed for the band’s ingenuity.

Engine and Kuma bring the album to a close, the first an infection of sound and intimidation which is as masterfully radiant at times as it is persistently intrusive and truculent throughout and the second an infestation of quarrel and hostility around a groove woven web of harmonic and melodic splendour; both providing a rousing end to the album with the last another particular peak in its lofty landscape.

Propaganda only becomes more potent and magnificent by the listen and imposingly stimulating as its lyrical side stands tall in the instantaneous glory of its sounds. Not for the first time Bear has crafted one of the year’s major and richly enjoyable moments; the continuing welcome ringing in our senses proof.

Propaganda is out now via Pelagic Records.

https://www.facebook.com/bearpropaganda   https://twitter.com/bearpropaganda

RingMaster Review 16/06/2020

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Calling All Astronauts – #Resist

The voice of celebrity can sometimes rightly and wrongly have a highly persuasive impact on essences of society and political apathy. Equally arousing as proven decade by decade can be the assertion and roar of musicians and their vociferous sounds. They can be a rich echo of the issues and divisions in the world and a rousing ‘call to arms’ to their refusal. UK goth punks Calling All Astronauts have been a creative thorn in a world of indifference, bigotry, persecution and more for the past seven years but maybe one of their releases has never been more relevant and impactful to what is going around them as well as being simply striking than new album, #Resist.

Since emerging in 2013, Calling All Astronauts has regularly entrapped ears and praise with their fusion of goth and electro punk, but a sound never afraid to stretch its landscape and enrich its snarl with fresh enterprise and creative venom. It is fair to say their debut album, Post Modern Conspiracy, that first year immediately gripped attention as it enticed acclaim, both escalating as single and EP led to and surrounded 2016second full-length, Anti​-​Social Network. Each encounter has seen the band grow and intensify the adventure of their sound, each flourishing in evolution which #Resist now basks in.

The seeds for the trio of David B (vocals, programming, keys, producing), Paul McCrudden (bass, guitar, keys), and J Browning (guitar) go back to their time in seminal rap-metallers, US:UK. After its demise, J went on to form pop-punkers Caffeine while Paul joined Goth outfit The Marionettes. A chance meeting though reunited David and J with Calling All Astronauts the result, the threesome back together when Paul linked up as the band set to work on that ear gripping second album.

Mixed by Alan Branch (Depeche Mode, NIN, U2), #Resist took little time to spark an already in place appetite for the band’s sound to date but equally evoked keen anticipation for new development and extension as The Holy Trinity opened things up. Keys immediately surround ears bringing drama and intrigue swiftly echoed in the surges of guitar. CAA have bred an identity and sound which is unmistakably their own and again it envelops song and persuasion as David’s equally distinctive tones lyrically provoke and highlight. With rhythms a similarly dark place of intimation as the fusion of melody and sonic tension around them, the track is a gripping start to the release.

Divided States Of America strolls in with matching strength and tenacity, every aspect built on sharp imagination and persuasive muscle yet it soon reveals taunting hooks and fiery grooves which easily slipped under the skin. Like a fly on the  wall to the state of its concentration, the song unveils a host of compelling twists and turns, all lined with virulent hooks and melodic enterprise with eighties synth pop hues. The track is superb, epitomising the creative growth and imagination in songwriting and its realisation before Give Them A Leader stamps its own authority over attention and enjoyment. David’s dark tones bring an edge to songs which alone court keen heed and regard, here a magnetic shadow across the marching sounds, with Paul’s bass a unique tempter in their midst, sharing a creative flourish just as captivating.

The likes of Ministry, Mindless Self Indulgence, and New Order are regularly touted as hints to CAA’s music, all relevant clues yet as Rapture proves only suggesting shades of their music as it infests the senses with its fusion of eighties gothic rock/post punk and industrial incitement, the track carrying something akin to Alien Sex Fiend meets KMFDM/ Nitzer Ebb in the lining of its uniqueness while New World Disorder shares another electronic hue in the album’s kaleidoscope of imagination. Seduction and trespass align in its body, again essences across recent decades courting originality in its haunting presence.

As Fifteen Minutes and Resist share their individual offerings so the album only gripped all the tighter, the first a punk fired incursion which the release, not for the first time, shares something of an Amen-esque grievance upon ears within. The second in turn nags and harries the senses with its defiance fuelled uprising, the trio enlivening both with their united invention and craft with next up Post Truth World matching their thick temptation with its synth pop saunter and indie rock punch.

Finalising a favourite moment within #Resist has proven impossible so far, every minute of every track a persuasive suggestion but Reason persistently lurks around first thoughts with its animated contagion and enslaving catchiness. Bass and guitars again just ignited greed with their imaginative enterprise, one only escalated by keys and David’s cajoling tones before Welcome To The Black Bloc had the body bouncing and pleasure aflame as thoughts are stoked once more by band and release.

Completed by Not In My Name and brought to a boisterous conclusion by its snappy moves and dark manipulations led again by the devious resonance of Paul’s bass strings, #Resist is the finest and most compelling outing with Calling All Astronauts yet.

In a world of change enforced and desired but one where the worse in man seems empowered by its leaders, a voice for all wrongs and equally something to find pleasure in it’s a hungry desire, Calling All Astronauts and #Resist provide both.

#Resist is out now; available @ https://music.apple.com/gb/album/resist/1513156706?app=music

https://www.facebook.com/CallingAllAstronauts/   https://twitter.com/caa_official   https://open.spotify.com/artist/0xqglBsPF9COYj64LNl85t   https://www.youtube.com/callingallastronauts

Pete RingMaster 11/05/2020

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Smiling Assassin – Plight Of The Millennial

As the issues and injustices of society and politics seem no closer to be squashed and resolved, UK punks Smiling Assassin bring a new holler to highlight and attack such corruption, suppression, and iniquity. The Yorkshire band also presents punk rock with an openly fresh breath, a trespass of punk and hardcore with a ska tinge that we for one are greedily devouring.

Hailing from Hull, Smiling Assassin formed in early 2019, its name “inspired by the collective’s experiences and frustrations around, and with the current economic and socio-political climate.” The past nine months or so has seen the band a rousing live presence breeding a potent and loyal fan base and, as their album reveals, a sound and message which demands attention.

Plight Of The Millennial opens with Prologue, where within an atmospheric uprising a vocal warning of a time of change baits the world; a call to arms for those to change it before the album’s title track unleashes ten seconds of sonic and vocal challenge.

From there Psycho-Apathy taunts the senses, riffs an immediate enticing bait as rhythms barbarously leap across the invitation. Uniting in an intensive surge, it subsequently springs a hook swinging stroll led by the potent tones of vocalist George Garnett. The tenacious beats of drummer Robbie Johnson continue to violently pound but manipulation echoed in the groove of Casey Stead’s bass and the wiry web cast by guitarist Josh Rogerson. The track is superb, an invasive yet virulently catchy and ferocious punk incitement with much more to its almost devious exploits.

Divide And Conquer quickly follows, its intrusive attack again as infectious as it is vicious. Relentless in its blitz, vocals singular and united driving the uprising, the track is a clamorous summons for action wrapped in just as an instinctively provoking sound while next up Coping, emerging from the sonic wash of its predecessor, is an equally enjoyable nagging fuelled by word and esurient rhythmic tenacity. Rogerson’s riffs and grooves escalate the temptation and drama, an intimacy entwining their enterprise echoed in the vocal holler of Garnett equally reflecting the pressures we have all dealt with in current isolation.

There was no escaping physically emulating the bounce of the ska coated News Corp. Monopoly, the track as virulent as anything around right now whilst devouring news media before National Pride unleashes its feral jaws and voracious sounds on race discrimination for another seriously rousing inducement.

Both tracks epitomise the individuality of the Smiling Assassin sound and it’s sometimes understated but always open imagination with plenty to hook ears and attention to the motivation within, With All Due Respect similarly striking and stirring. From its Vincent Price sample to the splintering beats of Johnson and the spiral of grooves and riffs to the belligerent throb of Stead’s bass as well as Garnett’s ever goading vocal strikes, the track is a cauldron of enterprise and provocation.

Completed by the panic and violent mayhem of The Aftermath, reaction to the previous incitement, Plight Of The Millennial proved one of the most thrilling and impressive things heard so far this year; Smiling Assassin a band easy to feel is destined to major attention if they demand it and with their first album they are doing just that.

Plight Of The Millennial is out now via Warren Records; available @ https://smilingassassin.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.smilingassassin.co.uk    https://www.facebook.com/smilingassassinofficial   https://www.twitter.com/smilingassass1n

Pete RingMaster 02/06/2020

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Desert Storm – Omens

This May saw the release of the fifth album from UK metallers Desert Storm, a band which has continuously forged new aspects to their thunderous sound but reaped the most dramatic essences of their imagination yet for the compelling Omens.

Formed in late 2017, the Oxford hailing band has had us, like so many, persistently licking our lips at their releases. From debut album, Forked Tongue, through the seriously acclaimed Horizontal Life and Omniscient, and the just as welcomed Sentinels of 2018, Desert Storm has persistently breached new plateaus of enterprise and reputation which Omens stretches once again. The quintet’s sludge metal bred sound has nurtured a progressive adventure along the way which was especially fertile within the band’s previous full-length and now makes its successor one fascinating proposal and creative trespass.

Even with its immediate persuasion and striking presence, Omens only reveals greater rewards the longer spent within its perpetually evolving adventure. It challenges and seduces in equal measure; the band’s trademark ravenous riffs and colossal rhythms still a chest crushing trespass and melodic enterprise a searing web of craft and dexterity. Yet their progressive metal imagination is the source of pure captivation, every track an unpredictable and fertile exploration which enthrals as it ravages and where maybe the last album missed out, leaving a lingering imprint on ears and appetite.

Omens opens up with its title track, a spoken word introduction cast by vocalist Matt Ryan within dark atmospheric intimation. It is a portentous poetic lure, an embrace come accusation of darkness which erupts within the following Black Bile. Immediately a patient horde of riffs surround the senses, the cutting swings of drummer Elliot Cole splitting the air as the guitars of Ryan Cole and Chris White spread their esurient web of sound. Ryan’s familiar gruff tones command the air in between their sonic wires as the tenebrific grumble of Christian Benoist’s bass only adds further dark fuel to the temptation. There is also a mercurial breath to the track’s landscape, one which echoes the album’s body as a whole and only fascinates as the sounds it inspires.

It is a great and rousing full start to the release which Vengeful Gods adds to with its feral touch and anthemic stroll. It is a song which is sonically bitter and rhythmically antagonistic, riffs a rabid crawl over the senses yet its vocal union springs a chorus as inviting and rousing as any moment within the release. Again Ryan shares a new depth of diversity and imagination in his presence, a storyteller and protagonist of the sonic spite which erupts in equal measure.

Pain, Grief & Suffering is a beast of venom and grievance but also one glorious groove which immediately wound around the passions between the untamed expulsions of breath and sound, the track recalling the exploits within the band’s early albums but as richly fertile in the progressive and melodic imagination which has increasingly set them apart from the crowd. With the piano caresses of White adding to the tantalising drama, the song is an escalation of temptation while The Path of Most Resistance taking a less invasive journey provided a similarly riveting proposal. Truth be known, it too is a forceful trespasser at times but within a melody crafted landscape with almost shamanic tendencies at certain moments; the song forging itself as our favourite track.

Through the creative contrivance of yet almost bestial presence of The Machine, the band set another keenly devoured mark, riffs and grooves colluding in ravenous intent as bold adventure again steers the imagination in its unpredictable landscape with next up Lockjaw springing its own venomous grooved steeled and riff laded trap upon the senses to match the temptation of its predecessors; Cole and Benoist just as merciless yet manipulative in their invention.

The album concludes with Rebirth, a magnetic folk tinged ballad which took thought and attention away with its words and melodic charm to bring the adventure to a fine close. From start to finish, Omens had ears greedily attentive but certainly the last quartet of tracks had us drooling and alone declares Desert Storm’s latest encounter one no one should simply pass by.

Omens is out now via APF Records; available @ https://desertstorm.bandcamp.com/

http://www.desertstormband.com/   https://www.facebook.com/desertstormuk   https://twitter.com/desertstormuk

Pete RingMaster 02/06/2020

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Tiny Fighter – Going Home

photo by Marcos Engman (aka Mecno)

From a chance meeting to deliberate collaboration and a moment of pure captivation; that is the emergence of Tiny Fighter and their debut album, Going Home. To be fair it is another bewitching affair with the band with a previous EP already enslaving a great many but definitely the most enthralling adventure with them yet.

Stockholm based, Tiny Fighter grew out of an unintentional meeting between Therese Karlsson (a truck driver from Kalmar, Sweden) and Tim Spelman (a doctor from Melbourne, Australia) in 2017. Soon the pair were creatively united, a link up which bore the acclaimed Tell Me EP two years later, recorded with legendary multi-Grammy, Gold & Platinum Award producer Thomas ‘Plec’ Johansson, and the following Reworks remix EP. Well-received singles and The Loft Sessions (Live in New York) encounter have marked the past couple of years as well as their magnetic live presence which has seen tours across the likes of Ireland, Latvia, Serbia and Scandinavia. Going Home has emerged from over 12 months of recording and sees the band expand their indie pop bred songwriting into a richer and fuller embrace of sound. So often across their first album, it is as haunting a proposal as a hungrily catchy affair, compelling shadows and dark dwelling emotions colluding with the lively imagination and instinctive infectiousness of their creativity.

Going Home opens up with its title track, a shimmer of keys drawing ears into the radiance of Karlsson’s harmonic tones and the growing reflection and beauty of the song. In no time that virulent catchiness in their music is working its temptation but equally that fresh emotive and textural evolvement of their sound is hugging the imagination. Drama soaks every note and syllable, dexterity just as ripe in the enterprise of Karlsson and Spelman.

The striking start only continues through Strangest Thing, a recent single which calls on attention and imagination like a fusion of The Primitives, The Cranberries, and Sheryl Crow. There is eagerness to its persuasion which gets under the skin with increasing tenacity as the song rises from its gentle start to offer an irresistible swing so easy for the body to match.

Similarly Devotion is an insatiable slice of persuasion, its controlled but temptation loaded throes as addictive as the subsequent infection soaked eruptions that break, the track teasing with essences of early Pretenders and Metric across its unique body, while Happier casts a web of indie catchiness and atmospheric drama to just as potently seduce ears and an already greedy appetite for the release. So individual in character, both unite in sublimely captivating the imagination before Perfect Game simply seduced with its piano cast melancholy and vocal intimacy. It is an open heart which mesmerised and haunted beyond its presence.

The intensity of emotion which shapes the track is just as pungent within Rollercoaster, covering its contagion bearing walls and creative theatre of sound while Echo is a warm stroll wrapped in nineties indie catchiness but again a song that shapes the imagination with its emotive breath and dextrous touch. As all tracks, each revel in the vocal prowess of Karlsson and the musical invention of Spelman, the songwriting a reflection of their bold imaginations.

Emotion lines every aspect of the band’s album, Maybe an alignment of emotional sensitivity and rhythmic boldness wrapped in melodic intrigue. It is a track which just increased in potency and temptation by the listen, success similarly shared by the fascinating Stars and its addictive exploits. Again rhythms simply manipulate attention before sharing it with vocals and keys, each tapping into the song and listener’s heart, the track another major highlight of the album.

The album is completed by firstly the poignant almost harrowing Vessels and finally Hold On, a track just as moving within its energetic catchiness. Together they provide a fine end to an album we can only eagerly recommend. As Tiny Fighter grow and evolve their sound so the temptation escalates, Going Home the proof.

Going Home is out now via Bay Terrace Records; available @ https://tinyfighterz.bandcamp.com/album/going-home

https://www.facebook.com/tinyfighterz   https://twitter.com/TinyFighterz

Pete RingMaster 02/06/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview

Ignea — The Realms of Fire and Death

An encounter provoking thought and the imagination as voraciously as it did ears and body, The Realms of Fire and Death is the new album from Ukraine melodic metallers Ignea. It provides a full-blooded emprise of sound and storytelling which from start to finish took attention and pleasure under its visceral and viscera stained embrace.

Kiev hailing, Ignea first emerged in 2013 under the name of Parallax. The Sputnik EP was released a year later before in 2015 the band rebranded as Ignea and began a new chapter in their evolving sound and creative character. Debut album The Sign of Faith found a praise carrying welcome in 2017, success leading to tours across Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands with bands such as Nordic death metallers Illdisposed, Butcher Babies and Kobra and the Lotus and shows within the likes of Slovakia and the Czech Republic as well as prominent festivals in France, Lithuania, and Ukraine over the next couple of years. It was a time also seeing the band writing and crafting the concept tale behind The Realms of Fire and Death.

Divided into three major parts and accompanied by a book of short tales incorporating the lyrics of each song, it is fair to say that The Realms of Fire and Death incited ears and the imagination equally from its first captivating symbol and metaphor intimating moments. It soon proved impossible not to be as entangled in the stories breeding its themes of fire and death as the sounds shaping their individual and distinct adventures. Musically the band’s melodic metal is a tapestry of flavours and styles, an undercurrent of the symphonic metal which the band first arose with embracing richer electronic enterprise whilst the multiplicity of their metal bred sound is often as brutal and predacious as it is melodically seductive and progressively scented.

The album opens with Queen Dies and a rhythmic intimation luring ancient and middle-eastern seeded conjuring. As guitar and keys spin their own suggestiveness, vocalist Helle Bogdanova rises up with melodic beauty dripping from every syllable of the tale told. Playing the lead protagonist she effortlessly captivated within the similarly alluring enterprise of guitarist Dmitriy Vinnichenko and keyboardist Evgeny Zhytnyuk. Yet darkness, emotional betrayal, and demons await; a portentous edge and subsequent snarl erupting through the rhythmic trespass of drummer Ivan Kholmogorov and the carnivorously throated bass of Xander Kamyshin. As her lyrics reveal the darkness to unfurl, so Bogdanova’s tones portray hellish threat amid physical contrast, her fusion of clean and gut bruising dexterity irresistible.

It is an outstanding start to the release which evolves into the following Чорне Полум’я  (Chorne Polumia), a track which even sung in the singer’s mother tongue cannot not hide the continuing battle of emotions and paranoia fuelling the story it continues. Again Bogdanova is a magnet with her vocal diversity, her clean presence especially enthralling whilst equally the feral and melodic craft of the band shares a tapestry of suggestion and exhortation commanding skill and attention as again a web of styles are woven into Ignea’s striking sound.

Out of My Head chews on the senses from its first breath, rhythms boldly dancing on the surface as the textural enterprise of guitars, keys and bass again bring a host of flavours woven together for one contagious and fascinating involvement. This too has us swiftly and greedily devouring its physical drama and lyrical awakening; defiance and realisation shaping its heart before the band tantalised with a cover of Í Tokuni, a song by Faroese singer-songwriter Eivør and fair to say it beguiled as effortlessly and richly as those before it.

The electronic template of Too Late to Be Born was enticement enough to keep the album’s grip on ears tight, the quickly following corruption of hellish endeavour addictive and continually challenged by melodic temptation while What For flirts with folk nurture radiance and a rhythmic shuffle which was under the skin before its first melodic tempting had finished caressing ears. Bogdanova is a harmonic sun within its mix, the whole thing a melodic summer warming the instinctive need of the body to join its encouraging swing and forgiving voice.

So many major moments are shared by the album, this quickly followed by another in the thickly contrasting climate and threat of Gods of Fire. Once more though Ignea prove skilled in fusing beauty and raw menace, music and voice uniting both just as the emotional shifts within the pages of the tale it reveals before Jinnslammer roars in defiance and rebellion upon a landscape still fertile with melodic invention and inspiration. From Bogdanova’s bewitching vocal presence to the individual prowess of her comrades, song and indeed album are cauldrons of pure temptation and enthralment; so often irresistible and always spellbinding as proven as ably by Disenchantment and its riveting web of sonic wiring and melodic enticement woven into another tale ears and thoughts devoured.

With an English version of Чорне Полум’я translated as Black Flame completing its mighty presence, The Realms of Fire and Death only proved increasingly addictive and impressive; its creators a band all metallers should be checking out sooner rather than later.

The Realms of Fire and Death is out now; available @ https://ignea.band/products/the-realms-of-fire-and-death-cd

https://ignea.band/   https://www.facebook.com/ignea.band/

Pete RingMaster 19/05/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

South Haven – Motion

Emerging from the successful #NEXTGEN project started by Danish label Prime Collective, South Haven spent almost three years honing their songwriting and sound before unveiling anything to the world. Now with their debut album, Motion, orchestrating our eager bouncing we suggest it has proved a very fertile plan and time.

It is fair to say that Copenhagen hailing South Haven gripped our attention with just the first play of their first full-length. It hosts a collection of songs which entangle the familiar with the boldly fresh to forge a release with distinct character. Maybe the most striking thing about the band is the two pronged vocal temptation at the fore. Nigerian born Angel Jemegbe and Christine Nielsen shine with individuality yet unite for a just as potent and unique proposal; energy and power fuelling both their prowess rich styles. Musically though the band is no fleeting temptation either; the swinging rhythms of drummer Sebastian Stendal and the mercurial growl of Stefan Elbaek’s bass command and manipulate attention whilst the guitar of Mathias Frederiksen is as hook and melody flirtatious as it is sonically invasive. With all aspects tied together the band’s melodic rock and metal forged sound bites and seduces, often simultaneously, and consistently had us enthralled in its roar.

Recorded with a host of Denmark’s finest producers in Jacob Hansen and Martin Pagaard (Volbeat, Amaranthe), Christoffer Stjerne (HERO), Chris Kreutzfeldt (CABAL, Ghost Iris, MØL) and Mirza Radonjica-Bang (Siamese, Helhorse), Motion instantly got under the skin with opener Dancing In Nightmares. One of their first singles, the track sets a lure with a strand of riffs before Stebdal’s beats fly through the air. As quickly the delicious grumble of Elbaek’s hit the spot with Angel’s immediately magnetic tones a calm texture in the more volatile mix. In an instant Christine’s vocals add yet another alluring aspect to the creative canvas, the vocals side by side a riveting proposal while throughout the track springs bait after hook, strike after temptation to strikingly kick things off.

In some ways the following Better struggled to spark the same lustful reception as its predecessor yet with its melodic fire, dark rhythms and again a vocal unity which refuses to be ignored, the song is a fiery serenade on the ears which was keenly devoured. Similarly as within the first and those to follow, the song shares unpredictable twists and invention; aspects as ably woven into the following pair of Crush and Soldier’s Heart. The first proved another particular favourite moment within the release, its snappy stride and matching vocal dexterity alone manna to an instinctive appetite which was only fed further as melodic, harmonic and sonic flames escalated the attraction.

Straightaway its successor springs a juicy groove on ears, its southern tinged drawl the invitation to bold vocal and rhythmic incitement which only harbours an urge to get under the skin. There is certain infectiousness to all tracks but especially virulent here as again the dual grip of both vocalists seeds the rich temptation on offer amidst individuality across all songs as shown again by the ensnaring flame of Torn. Emotively seductive and feverishly volatile, the track is a fruitful body of craft and enterprise matched in success by the agile alternative rock spiced Sweet Suffering and Devotion with its My Chemical Romance kissed dynamics and drama; two tracks which again had us keenly involved, the latter with real greed.

Next up, Winter In June is a portentous flirtation of irritability and aggression which provides a just as agreeable union of emotional intimacy and fervid breath while the balladry of Tomorrow is pure captivation, both voices sirens within the melodic embrace of guitar.

Bringing the album to a close, Stains is a coquette of sound in its own right, a sonic temptress woven in beguiling voice and tantalising enterprise. It is a fine end to a superb first involvement with South Haven and an album which maybe was not always basking in originality, though so often it was, but never wavered from providing fresh, fascinating, and full pleasure.

Surely reason enough to pay South Haven a visit.

Motion is out now through Prime Collective across most stores.

https://www.facebook.com/southhavenbanddk/   https://southhaven.dk/

Pete RingMaster 14/05/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

The Mystery Plan – Zsa Zsa

photo by Daniel Coston

Presenting a host of vibrantly tempting and almost ridiculously infectious escapades, Zsa Zsa is the new album from US outfit, The Mystery Plan. It is a record which flirted with feet, teased ears, and courted the imagination; seducing all with sublime almost mischievous enterprise from start to finish.

The Charlotte, NC hailing band sees Jason Herring, Amy Herring, Jeff Chester, Otis Hughes and Patty McLaughlin once more give an escape from everyday dramas with its own captivating theatre of sound and invention. Zsa Zsa is their fifth album since emerging in 2010 and in many ways their most striking. It features numerous guests including producer John Fryer, Micah Gaugh (The Veldt / Apollo Heights), and Ian Masters, former bassist-vocalist of British shoegazers Pale Saints; all bringing fresh ingredients to a recipe of imagination which revitalised the soul in these spirit subduing times.

The bewitching Those Stars breaks the silence as the album takes its first breath, the track immediately seducing our attention as the simmer of cymbals align to the leisurely swing of the bass. Its alluring moodiness is soon sharing the air with the jazzy flames of an equally steady and evocative sax; it all combined with the tantalising words and wistful tone of swiftly enslaving vocals, a picturesque captivation.

It is a delicious start to the release which is immediately matched in craft and enslavement by the pair of We All Get Down and Al Gore Rhythms. The first simmers in to view through keys, a just as minimally touching guitar laying its gentle melody alongside as the harmonic grace of Amy and Patty’s vocals caress song and ears alike. A weave of dream and folk pop with much more in its texturing, the song has a touch of XTC to its beauty while its successor is a body manipulating, feet leading slice of trip hop flirtation. It too soon reveals plenty more to its design and a character with magnetically soulful vocals at its heart.

And the addictive persuasions continue as recent single, Ballad of JC Quinn, steps up next to get under the skin. The harmonic lure of the band’s ladies leads ears into the tantalising rhythmic shuffle of Otis and Jeff, their animated temptation echoed in the lively keys and melodies of Jason’s guitar while entangled in the steel guitar intimation of Peter McCranie. Mesmeric and dreamy yet with a rich physical tempting which feet and hips cannot deny, the song had us under its spell in no time before Lolaphone gave its own instructions to the willing sway of the body. Its electronic nurturing reminded of Paul Haig, eighties flavoured hue and catchiness working limbs as the innocence of a child’s creative voice toyed with thoughts. Though maybe not breeding the same lust as those before it, the song just as skilfully took the day away before passing it on to its following companion.

Bonny is another which instantly had feet and hips lending their participation; its indie wired, nova seeded stroll a fusion of moodiness and flirtation refusing to be ignored while Long Way To Heaven escalated the temptations of it and all before to steal the show for our ears. From the virulent charm of the vocals to its rhythmic saunter and through the arousing twang of guitar to the evocative mood of keys, the track seduced every aspect of our listening bodies.

Through the folkish charisma and indie rock revelry of Sweet Tart and the crepuscular dream pop of Electric Love, a track loaded with mystique and a touch of darker intimidation, band and release only reinforced their hold; both demanding a share of favourite song limelight with every listen.

We All Get Down returns within Zsa Zsa with the Rob Tavaglione mix of its provocative fascination before Distant Sirens brings the album to an imagination provoking close through piano, keys and flute; each fuel to suggestion within the instrumental evocation and its fusion of ethereal beauty and street dirty reality.

As the world continues to be held down by nature and our reaction to it, escape and release is a longing we all share and one which the gorgeous Zsa Zsa offers in its unique and enthralling way.

Zsa Zsa is out now via Ten Millimeter Omega Recordings; available @ https://themysteryplan.bandcamp.com/album/zsa-zsa

https://www.facebook.com/themysteryplannc/   https://twitter.com/mystery_plan

Pete RingMaster 23/05/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

The Room in The Wood – We’re The Martians, Now

photo by Mark Sant Angelo

As for most music lovers, our list of all-time favourite singles is quite extensive but one riding high is Things Have Learnt to Walk That Ought to Crawl by UK new wave/post punk outfit The Room. A couple of years short of four decades later a track by former members of the band has joined that eager line-up; Charmed from The Room in The Wood recently released before the band’s new album, We’re The Martians, Now. Its success suggested a bigger release which had the potential to capture ears and imagination alike which we can now loudly declare it does with sublime ease.

Liverpool’s The Room in The Wood is at its heart vocalist Dave Jackson and guitarist Paul Cavanagh, the former a founding member of that predominately eighties band with the latter joining them the year after the release of their 1982 debut album. Uniting again as The Room in The Wood, the pair released a self-titled first album in 2018 to critical acclaim with later that year The Mars EP more than echoing its support and potency. With twelve tracks which fascinate as they seduce, of which numerous could equally demand an attention grabbing standalone release, We’re The Martians, Now is destined to command even greater praise and success, the album one of the most captivating encounters 2020 has embraced so far.

Featuring drummer Colin George Lamont (Mark Lanegan, Dave Gahan), flutist Simon James and the celestial backing vocals of Helena Jacks, The Room in The Wood immediately compelled thick attention with album opener Diamond Clouds. The band’s sound is a tapestry of flavours; new wave, post punk, dark pop, and folk nurtured hues among them and swiftly We’re The Martians, Now revels in the rich temptation it offers. The first song saunters in on a fuzz lined melody and a rhythmic skip, Jackson’s almost stoic tones quickly walking the song’s instinctive rock bred catchiness while the angelic harmonies of Jacks make for a siren like contrast to his earthier presence, both magnetic within the flames of Cavanagh’s guitar.

Never breaking its lively amble, the track is a richly rousing affair which the following Mars (Won’t Save Us) more than matches in contagion with its post punk lined virulence. Akin to a tonic made up from the essences of The Doors and Stan Ridgway, the track is part apocalyptic insight and part celebratory flirtation and one greed eagerly took to before Stowaway lured its own healthy portion of appetite with its surf washed, dark pop/rock stroll. Warm and seductive with a gorgeous crepuscular edge, the song swiftly got under the skin, its rhythmic swing gripping hips as vocals and melodies entangle the imagination.

From one majorly favourite moment to another in Blue, a similarly shadow lit seduction haunting air and  ears alike, again something of a Mr Ridgway styled hue adding additional colour to its dark kissed intimation and breath before the album sets its title track on an already lustful appetite for We’re The Martians, Now. Again Lamont’s rhythms are eager manipulation beneath the melodic caresses of guitar and Jackson’s descriptive presence, the track another which had the body swaying and attention inescapably hooked.

Across the glistening melodic radiance of Shimmer, a song with a surface which teases volatility, and the infection loaded nostalgic bounce of Fun of the Fair, The Room in The Wood just gripped the passions tighter, the second of the two especially viral in sound and effect and  living up to its title whilst provoking thoughts. Even so they still found themselves eclipsed by the aforementioned Charmed and its esurient beauty. With a great Monochrome Set spice to its melody woven intoxication and graceful harmonies, the track is splendour in a shadow drenched world, a spark and light to the darkest day.

There is a similar tinge of Bid and co to next up Dragonfly though there is as much a XTC like breath to the folk coloured song too yet as everywhere the moment of creative glamour is as distinctive to Jackson and Cavanagh as you could wish with the flute of James a romance of fluttering gossamer wings.

The final trio of the intimately earnest and acoustically bewitching Halloween Lies, the tense indie pop lined Under the Waterfall, and the sonically aflame and rhythmically bold exclamation, The Earth is Flat ensure the album never loosened its hold from start to finish. The second of the trio carries a Wonder Stuff-esque sigh to its captivation while the last of the three is a rousing almost belligerent post punk stomp reminding a touch of bands like 1919 and Gang of Four.

And that is We’re The Martians, Now, a collection of tracks which with consummate ease simply held attention and the imagination in a realm of magnificence.

We’re The Martians, Now is out May 15th via A Turntable Friend Records; available @ https://theroominthewood.bandcamp.com/ digitally, on CD, and Limited Edition Vinyl.

https://www.facebook.com/theroominthewood/   https://twitter.com/davejacksonroom

Pete RingMaster 16/05/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

Zedi Forder – Isolation

The musical journey of the members of UK outfit Zedi Forder has left behind a legacy of metal and rock induced captivation under the guises of Tricore, An Entire Legion, and Rind Skank; an adventure we caught upon from its early days and have lustfully devoured thereon in, their previous escapades in Zedi Forder no exception. May sees the trio unleash their second album and yes the slavery of our ears, instincts, and imagination continues through Isolation.

In fact there is not just Isolation to consider as the band has also unveiled twinned project Zedi Forder Superium with its first release, Judgement. Consistently the band’s songs feel like they are itching to venture to other places whilst relishing the landscape they thrill, this alter-ego of sorts pure fascination just as a thought before a sound was heard and which you can explore with us in a separate review on the site. As for Isolation; it is a release not bred by the current challenge upon the whole world, though it feels a perfect soundtrack for current times, but one borne “out of a sense of feeling separate and apart from the various communities and industry elements that dominate most of the music world.” From their first days as Zedi Forder the threesome of guitarist Mark Carstairs, drummer/vocalist and primary song writer Chris Kerley, and bassist Rich Tomsett have musically stood outside of the crowd and too often the richness of attention deserved but with a so what defiance which fuels their invention, power, and imagination. It is a situation and attitude which has wrapped Carstairs and Kerley across their decade long creative union also embracing those previous bands though you can only feel it has also been incitement to their true uniqueness and one of the UK’s finest if yet to be truly recognised songwriters in Kerley.

With Carstairs departing after the release of the Woking band’s first album in 2017, being firstly replaced by April Cox, the band’s current line-up was completed by Wayne Clifford last year, a seamless change which has seen the band spring some of their finest moments yet within Isolation. The instantly intriguing One Hundred Exactly starts things up, gently caressing ears with guitar and bass as breath bred sighs shimmer. Kerley’s distinctive tones and melodic touch is already feeding a waiting appetite which became only greedier once the song erupts in a charge of hungry riffs and carnivorously swung rhythms. Zedi Forder have a wholly unique sound which is as pungent within Isolation but as the opener swiftly insists it does not stop each track caging new and fresh adventures and trespasses. The opener continues to flourish as metal and heavy rock essences collude, again in a sound which defies true tagging as it teases in variety and diversity.

The outstanding start continues through Partaay, waspish grooves instantly seducing our imagination and imagination as the band proceed to harass and encroach on the senses. As with all songs though, things twist in an instant, change in a moment of mischief as unpredictability seeds virulent captivation found within the mercurial encounter before JoJo conjures its own magnetic field of electronic and sonic contemplation around the expressive and animated vocals of Kerley. As it bites it seduces, rhythms skilfully plundering the senses as grooves prove infernal flirtation in another enslaving moment within Isolation.

Through the metal forged and infectious dare we say almost electro poppy antics of The Herder, a glorious slice of viral addictiveness, and Messy Mechanical with its electronicore scented, infection loaded multi-flavoured rock stroll there was an escalation in attention and pleasure which No Taint stalked and added to with its mix of rhythmic predation and melodic seduction. As within all songs, there is plenty more going on to hungrily court the imagination, electronic and alternative textures as prevalent as other funk and metal nurtured aspects.

Shallow Black provides an epic and atmospheric excursion next but as you may now expect one which challenges as it entices, dark almost apocalyptic enterprise merging with invigorating melodic and sonic temptation while straight after Anonymoose springs a web of cosmopolitan temptation and insular trespass as virulent and rousing as anything within this and any album heard so far this year.

The trio continue to devour expectations and grip ears through the diverse combination of Try Your Luck, a track as funky as it is rapacious, the electronically infested cauldron of metal provocation that is We’re All Coloured, and the similarly bred and equally unique Alterway; the trio providing maelstroms of flawed emotion and intimacy aligned to riveting manipulation.

Wake Up is the final track, as in the last Kerley’s rhythms shaping the attack as potently as his tones and here prowling through the darkest shadows and intense emotions as wiry grooves wrap around the senses alongside the tenebrific crawl of the bass. It is a superb end to the release, an almost claustrophobic pleasure and another major highlight among so many within Isolation.

As mentioned we have been hooked on the band’s sound since day one but that brings a greedier and harsher demand for innovation and surprise with every release; once again Zedi Forder has delivered and how…

Isolation is exclusively released May 15th @ https://tricore.bandcamp.com/ with a “PAY WHAT YOU LIKE” pricing.

https://www.zediforder.com/   https://www.facebook.com/zediforder  https://twitter.com/ZediForder

Pete RingMaster 14/05/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright