The Hokum – Fools, Mules and Baggage…


Recently UK indie pop rock band The Hokum awoke a fresh wave of attention with latest single Mind Over Matter. It was one of those songs which just gets under the skin, into the psyche, and announced the band as one to pay closer notice of. That meant taking a look at their debut album Fools, Mules and Baggage… from whence the single was plucked. As enjoyable and infectious as the song was it is fair to say that it barely hinted at the adventurous variety and captivating enterprise to be found on the band’s highly enjoyable full-length.

The Hokum hails from Sheffield and emerged in 2013 and is centred round the magnetic songs of songwriting duo Jacob Stanley and Anthony Isaac Stone. As swiftly evidenced by the album, the band’s sound is a vibrant and warm blend of rock and indie pop but also merging in numerous additional spices such as folk and eighties new wave. It is an energetic mix with a swing, even in its seductive ballads, which turns the songs into little anthems of fun impossible to resist. It all starts with Gold Clock, a track which from an almost mischievous prodding of guitar turns into a striding slice of rock ‘n’ roll with stirring riffs and instantly inviting vocals. Bass and beats soon add their heavy lures as the song becomes busier in flavours and energy, stomping along with feisty textures and an increasingly bracing attitude.

It is a great start matched by the smoother swagger of Left for Dead. Opening melodies have a sixties air to their hues, a tone carrying on into vocals and the more power pop nature of the song. As its predecessor there is no escaping being wrapped up in its catchiness, feet and voice ready to comply with its reflective lyrical and musical temptation before it makes way for the blues balladry of Framed. Well we say the song is ballad like but with its folkish essences and tenacious imagination, the encounter simply takes ears and imagination by the hand for a magnetic dance of revelry whilst adding extra seduction with moments of mesmeric calm.

cover170x170     As great as the first few tracks are, they all bow down to the magnificence of Pigs. The first single taken from Fools, Mules and Baggage…, the song is an incitement which has the listener as vocal and fired up as the song itself. Its chorus is pure addiction, served well by the tangy hooks and melodic jangles which colour its way into the passions. Folk pop meets indie rock, the track bounces along with a scent of a snarl to its riffs, moodiness to its basslines, and unbridled persuasion in its contagious invention.

Thankyou has the unenviable task of following the pinnacle of the album and does so with its own caress of harmonies and melodies floating around another lively and charming sixties/seventies inspired ballad. Though it cannot match up to the previous treat, its lingering temptation and smouldering beauty ensures over time it becomes a potent offering just like the more unpredictable and compelling Six of One which follows. Rhythms jump around whilst the guitars send intrigue loaded twangs across the bows of the melody rich stroll. The fascinating song reminds of fellow UK band The Sons, but builds its own distinct identity with constant evolution and a stock of unexpected surprises in gait and imagination.

Next track Knives provides a potent presence though suffers from a raw distortion on the bass when it enters. Whether it is a flaw on the CD or production, it does a great song no favours, which is a shame though normal exciting service is resumed with Cheap and Nasty straight after. Rampant rhythms alone have ears and appetite licking lips, and even more rigorously once vocals and guitar bring their flirtatious swing and festivity to the increasing riot of creative devilry. The blast of blues guitar provides a layer of icing to the excellent aural cake, and the song another great twist in the increasingly impressive album.

Through the ridiculously addictive Duck and latest single Mind over Matter, the band ignites another fresh spark of pleasure, the first a blues/pop tempting equipped with fiery harmonica and bouncy hooks. As across the album, at varying times you get whispers of bands like The Kinks, XTC, and Split Enz to name a few, this song finding breaths of the first two certainly whilst the third is more inspired by Mind over Matter where guitars offer an electrified mischief whilst percussion and beats bring the addictive lures. It is the new wave nature of the hooks and vocal delivery though which provides the really irresistible heart of the outstanding song. As across plenty of Fools, Mules and Baggage…, there is a familiarity at play in the song which only adds to the enjoyment and creative drama, and helps the anthemic quality of songs to take even swifter hold.

The album closes with Monkeys, another thrilling eighties marked slice of punchy pop and new wave contagion with a slightly deranged imagination to its tantalising persuasion. It is a great end to an impressive album, both leaving a want for more and the need to press play again.

Fools, Mules and Baggage… will not necessarily come into your list of classics for the year but as a favourite it is a done deal, certainly once its fourth song starts its devilment.

Fools, Mules and Baggage… is out now @…/id921949091 and most online stores.

RingMaster 26/04/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Yorkshire Rats -Sea of Souls


It is with thanks to Carl of the excellent Chalkman Video that UK punk rock ‘n’ rollers Yorkshire Rats and their debut album Sea of Souls recently and firmly hit our radar. He gave us the heads up on the Leeds quartet having recently shot a video with the guys, and led us to one of those albums which lights ears initially but equally simmers away in the psyche to emerge as one thrilling riot of temptation.

Yorkshire Rats began in 2004, formed by Don Mercy once of Abrasive Wheels and Billy No Mates. Soon into their aggressive stride the band subsequently released, in the words of their bio, “a rabble-rousing 7” and a hooligan fuelled EP.” 2006 saw the band support to great success Rancid but then go on an extended hiatus. They have now returned fuelled to the top with contagious rock ‘n’ roll tenacity, punk confrontation, and potent lyrical incitements, all found to great effect on debut album Sea of Souls. Consisting of Kurt Alexander, Matt Lee, and Chris Furness alongside Mercy, Yorkshire Rats confront, incite, and thrill across thirteen tracks of bracing punk ‘n’ roll antagonism.

There is an instant stirring up of ears and appetite with album opener Hurry Up and Wait, the rolling heavily jabbing enticement of the drums swift persuasion. Raw guitar caresses need little prompting to add their lures, or the swagger lined bassline which jumps in at the same time. It is a feisty and contagious uniting topped by expressive vocals with a delivery which is part challenge, part invitation. The song is the kind of attention grabber all albums should start with, a song revealing the heart of a band’s sound and encounter’s intent with anthemic guile.

sos album artThe following Glory Days opens on a juicy stroking of slim but pungent riffs before opening up into a dusty rock stroll still driven by the initial hook lined guitar bait. The track does not quite have the bite of its predecessor but compensates with a catchiness and blaze of sonic enterprise which again has an early appetite fed well before making way for the album’s title track. Sea of Souls shows a whisper of the Californian punk influences which also colour the band’s sound, whilst the track itself gently but firmly embraces ears and thoughts with infectious rock sounds and lyrical suggestiveness.

The pair of Everyday and Mary Comes First offer fresh variety to an already flavoursome encounter, the former infusing a Flogging Molly lilt to its guitar endeavour whilst rhythms cast an anthemic baiting and the latter with a smell of Tom Petty to its riffery, in a striking landscape of emotive contemplation and rock ‘n’ roll contagion. Both songs have feet and emotions fired up, the first especially incendiary with its magnetic mix of flavours and almost predatory hooks, but as great as they are, they find themselves shaded by the Green Day-esque Lawful Civil Rights. Guitars and bass bring even stronger glimpses of the Cali scene whilst spinning their own anthemic and addictive proposal around punchy beats and expressive vocal reflection.

The opening dark and predatory bass resonance bringing Struck Down into view is one of those invitations only the deaf can resist, especially once guitars add their sonic scythes to the portentous air. Erupting in a tempest of rhythmic aggression and hostile attitude driven by belligerent vocals, the track weaves in strains of psychobilly and blues tinting into its punk roar, creating one of the most momentous and memorable exploits upon the album.

The calm and inviting balladry of You Don’t Know Anything entices ears and emotions next before Only the Rich Men stomps and rumbles with its raucously engaging sounds. Each again shows a different colour to the Yorkshire Rats sound, not major side steps but hues which reveal the strong variety to the bands creativity and tone.

No Freedom as the previous song is another rock ‘n’ roll romp, but with more rigour in its energy and infectiousness in its punk devilry. Rhythms brew up an inescapable slavery for feet and emotions whilst riffs and vocals blaze over deviously addictive hooks. Though not quite the final song it still makes for a mighty finale before Sea of Souls closes with a trio of excellent acoustic demos of Mary Comes First, Only the Rich Men, and the title track.

You cannot quite call Yorkshire Rats a new band, even with their prolonged absence, but they take ears with a freshness which makes their debut album play like a starting point for the band. A base for bigger and just as enjoyable things to breed from we suspect.

Sea of Souls is out now via Indelirium Records @ and most online stores.

RingMaster 26/04/2015

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Robben Ford – Into The Sun


With over 35 albums under his belt, attention has to be given when Californian guitarist Robben Ford describes his new release as “one of the top recordings I’ve ever done.” It is a statement potently backed up by Into The Sun, a collection of songs entangled in flavours such as blues, rock ‘n’ roll, rock pop, and jazz. The album reveals a fresh diversity to Ford’s songwriting and musical adventure, taking the established potent essences of his renowned prowess into new feel good exploits. Most of all though Into The Sun is simply fun; inventive and as expected technically and creatively superb but most of all it is sheer enjoyment.

With a host of guests across the release, the Provogue Records album opens up with Rose Of Sharon, and an immediate sonic caress across a blues bred gait with slowly strolling rhythms to match. Keys and vocals quickly add to the smouldering tempting of ears and imagination, Ford quickly immersing the listener in the landscape and reflective heart of the song through voice and his already beguiling guitar enterprise. The track is a charming smooch of a song, an evocative sunrise to the album which shines with a brighter smile through Day Of The Planets. There is a great sixties breath to the second song, a rock pop essence with R&B spicing which soon has ears firmly enticed and appetite awake, whilst its classic nostalgic hooks just seals the deal .

     Howlin’ At The Moon brings a dusty blues snarl to its sultry presence, capturing the imagination in a new adventure, whilst the following Rainbow Cover strolls into a creatively scenic rock pop exploit with landmarks as expected sculpted by the resourceful fingers and strings of Ford. Both tracks ignite the senses but are shaded by the excellent Justified featuring with Keb’ Mo’ and pedal steel guitarist Robert Randolph. The track has a gorgeous nostalgic feel to its otherwise vibrant character, a blues tone from decades past bringing rich hues to the mix of vocals and piano led sounds. Harmonies add further flaming whilst the craft of Randolph is a shimmering seduction amidst the excellent proposition.

The magnetic Breath Of Me with ZZ Ward comes next, the twining of Ford and Ward’s vocals alone worth the admission price whilst High Heels And Throwin’ Things which finds Gov’t Mule and Allman Brothers guitarist Warren Haynes guesting, has one of those inventive shuffles and fiery landscapes which even in its subdued air has ears and thoughts gripped. Great vocals and the ever sweltering adventure of guitars has one virtually reaching to wipe a bead of perspiration from the brow such the thick exotic climate of the song, whilst across the album the melodic heat conjured more than lives up to its title.

A delicious heavy and lusty bassline marks out next up The Cause Of War first of all, it’s dark lure perfectly backed by firmly swung rhythms, a rich weave of simmering keys, and the contagiously diverse mesh of guitar textures and enterprise. The track takes favourite song honours, though it is constantly challenged as shown by the captivating So Long 4 U and its quaint stroll of keys. The track needs little time to seduce ears, especially when you add six-string slide legend Sonny Landreth to the line-up, though if I am honest it is that vintage twang of the keys which lights the biggest emotions.

The album comes to a close through firstly the spicy adventure of Same Train and finally the heavily enticing Stone Cold Heaven which features Southern rock musician Tyler Bryant. The song is ablaze with guitar craft and vivacity, bringing a fine album a potent finale.

Into The Sun shows a different aspect and direction to the Robben Ford sound in many ways but has all the heart and glowing essences of his sound, and of course all the technical majesty. For full enjoyment though…do play loud!

Into The Sun is out now via Provogue Records/Mascot Label Group @

RingMaster 26/04/2015

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Left For Red – All Things Known And Buried

Left For Red Promo Shot

It is fair to say that previous EPs from UK metallers Left For Red, as well as an acclaimed live presence, bred keen anticipation for the band’s debut album in a great many. Now the moment for the band to unleash their first full-length has arrived in the roaring shape of All Things Known And Buried, and a rather tasty and increasingly captivating slab of aural voracity it has proven to be. It is not an album to send the metal world reeling but for a potential fuelled, ear chewing protagonist it leaves a very healthy appetite and rich satisfaction in its wake.

Formed in 2010, Left For Red took little time in raising attention and support locally and further afield with their Black Sabbath/ Judas Priest inspired assault of modern ferocious metal. Live the Stourbridge quintet has drawn potent praise, their aggressively potent performances seeing the band play with the likes of Chimaira, Crowbar, Beholder, Revoker, Evil Scarecrow, Sacred Mother Tongue, and Breed 77 across the years. It was a success matched by the release of first EP Vol 001 – Empty Shell and even more by its 2013 successor Vol 002 – Mercy Flight, an offering luring eager praise from Kerrang!, Big Cheese, and Rock Sound amongst many. It is now easy to expect the same reactions and more with the release of All Things Known And Buried. The album suggests there is plenty more yet to come from the band as their sound and imagination evolves further, much more than the album at times offers but there is no escaping that it grips ears and gives pleasure from start to finish and inspires wave of excitement for the band’s future exploits.

Left For Red - Cover Art   From the brief album intro of Master Call, band and release launch at ears with current single Master Of The Game, a song already sparking plaudits and eager attention from fans and media alike. For personal tastes it is one of the less potent songs upon the album but with vocal roars, crisp beats, and feisty riffs aligned to an infectious weave of enterprise, the encounter awakens ears and attention with accomplished ease. The guitar play of Aaron Foy and Phil Smith slip from impressive to irresistible across the sonic bellow of the song whilst vocalist LC Decoy just demands and receives attention with his great mix of old school screams and ferocious snarls entangled in melodic expression.

Things step up a notch straight away with Crooked Path, Dan Carter opening the song up with a deliciously belligerent and predatory bass line courted by a just as gripping shuffle driven by the sticks of drummer Rob Hadley. It is a superb opening, becoming more flavoursome with guitar lures and tastier again with the emerging of one instinctively addictive groove. Vocals soon blow a dramatic wind into the tempestuous landscape of the song too, again a varied blend from Decoy and band uniting to great effect. With that enslaving groove ringing in the ears, third song Reborn takes over with a blues flaming around another dark and almost carnivorous bass tone. Like Judas Priest meets Tool, the song grows into a melodic blaze, more old school than modern metal but dealing a deck of intriguing ideas and skilled endeavour. It does not quite match up to its predecessor though nor to the riveting adventure of Echoes Of Strangers which comes next. A song which took a while to convince but increasingly fascinated and thrilled over each listen, as the album to be honest, it is a constantly moving and twisting weave of styles and metal ferociousness. At times there is a scent of bands like God Forbid and In Flames to the song, in other moments a more Down meets Lamb of God spicing seeps out, all adding to the growing weight and strength of the track on ears and thoughts.

The second half of All Things Known And Buried truly hits another level and ignites personal tastes more powerfully; it all starting with the grove fest of Shatter. From a resonating distortion kissed bass welcome, the song develops a contagious swagger and melodic invention which has the imagination hooked from the first swinging step. Riffs and rhythms provide the anthemic bait whilst grooves and vocals sculpt the core of the infection being expelled, but all is outshone by the searing fire of guitar creating its solo.

Ascension has feet and neck muscles gripped next; this another song with a virulent tenacious stroll to its body and a ravenous bestial bassline to its arsenal. These strengths are matched by the melodic might and vocal prowess also going to make this as its predecessor, a pinnacle of the album. The song has everything impressive about Left For Red in its body and character, as well as more of the promise lining the album of bigger and bolder things to come.

The elegant beauty of piano led instrumental Dystopia Rising superbly seduces ears and imagination before the almost rabid presence of Utopia prowls and rages against the senses. Hostility and bracing sonic ferocity combine to create a web of fascinating and again thrilling confrontation, the uncompromising yet temperate force of the song keeping the latter half of the album impressively roaring.

Closing with the excellent Solace In Memories, a warm and intensive melodic croon across more volatile scenery of sound, All Things Known and Buried is a stirring offering from Left For Red, and a more impressive one with every encounter. From a more than decent start and a growing strength as each song comes forward, the album hits a potent plateau around halfway and never looks back. It is not one to claim as a game changer for the British metal scene or maybe even the band itself right now, but it does show them to be heading towards making that kind of breakthrough, and deserves an intensive look at by all metal fans.

All Things Known And Buried is available through Burning Halo Records from April 27th

LEFT FOR RED LIVE: 15th May – Mosh Against Cancer Festival – The Lomax, Liverpool; 16th May – Lower George Inn, Gloucester; 30th May – Midlands Metal Crusade – Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton; 20th June – Hard ‘N’ Hevy Fest – The Dollhouse, Abertillery.

RingMaster 27/04/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @


Native Construct – Quiet World

Photo 3_Cinematic

If Quiet World is the kind of thing the members of Native Construct come up with whilst heavily involved with their college studies, then their future not only looks rosy but the music scene is destined to some real greatness ahead. The band’s debut album is a fascinating end enthralling adventure entwined in more styles and flavours than London Fashion Week and an imagination which simply bewitches that of the listener. It is not without a few flaws yet for an introduction to the band and their creativity, a ‘wow’ is in order.

Native Construct consists of vocalist Robert Edens, bassist Max Harchik, and guitarist Myles Yang, three music students who came together creatively in 2011 whilst at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Using the composition and arranging skills learnt in their studies, as well as the technical craft and inbred inventive talent of the band members, the trio began drawing on a torrent of genres from progressive and classical rock to heavier technical incitements, as well as musical theatre, jazz and plenty more. Between 2011 and 2013, Native Construct set to work writing and recording what was to become Quiet World, predominantly self-producing the concept release, whilst continuing their studies. It came to the attention of Brian Slagel at Metal Blade Records at some subsequent point, and as their press releases says “What began as jam sessions simply for fun eventually turned into a full-fledged musical endeavor.” The band was signed to the label and the album, with its vocals being recorded with Jamie King at The Basement Studios in North Carolina, is now out there to surely stir up a worldwide appetite for this potential drenched band.

Cover   Quiet World brings a tale, to simplify it, of a mute and slightly unstable man who has an unreciprocated love for a girl which leads to obsession and eventual resentment. He also creates for himself a new, fantastic world where there are no oddballs or outcasts, which is where the album comes in. It is an eventful lyrical exploration more than matched by the musical adventure around it, and started with Mute. From an isolated climate with random sonic textures flying round the senses, the song bursts into theatrical and orchestral life. Strings and melodies spin an immediately potent and cinematic landscape of sound and emotion whilst the ravenous drum work is an uncompromising tempering of the fiery beauty. It is an invigorating start coated in elegance and menace, keys and guitars duelling with rhythms for voice whilst equally sharing the spotlight, whilst the vocals of Edens roar and serenade across the magnetic proposal. Relaxing into an avant-garde/jazz lit calm coloured by a seducing of piano and infectious harmonies, thoughts of bands like 6:33 and Pryapisme come to mind, and even more so as volatile and tenacious elements add their erratic and compelling presence to the mix. There are moments which for personal tastes do not quite hit the same sweet spots as others, but constantly evolving and unpredictable with that cinematic orchestral temptation returning in full persuasion, the song is intoxicating drama.

Following song, The Spark of the Archon, opens with an eighties bred synth pop shuffle, keys and percussion a smiling lure before riffs and grooves bring a rawer edge to the entrance. Once in full pop rock flow though, the song has a strong coincidental whiff of UK band 12 Stone Toddler to it with a Mike Patton/Mr Bungle touch too. Music and vocals again bring fluid scenery of unexpected detours and wrong-footing escapades whilst crafting an immersive and easy to greedily devour proposition. Lyrically at this point the protagonist’s new world sees the rise of Archon who leads an uprising in this new land against opposing character Sinister Silence.

The proceeding tracks bring for the main, different episodes in their enduring struggle, Passage next stealing attention and imagination with its stroking embrace of shadowed kissed strings around equally evocative guitars. Sultry and exotic, intimidating and melancholic, the track as those before has a perpetual shifting in its tone and sound, though it is more stable in its progressive flight and controlled in the additional additives of textures and styles seducing the imagination. In saying that the pent up creative bedlam which marked the previous tracks has to go somewhere, and like an itch which has to be scratched it bursts out through gypsy folk breezes and technical metal roars, to name just two of the delicious strains of the almost psychotic enterprise released.

Your Familiar Face also has a calmer interior within its walls, emerging as the most restrained of all songs upon Quiet World but unafraid to throw an unexpected twist and wink of creative mischief into its theatre of sound. It is a captivating caress on the senses but it has to be said by its end ears were hankering for that warped ingenuity, which is swiftly fed again by Come Hell or High Water. Sombre strings play with and incite body and mind right away, though behind their sombre face there is a twinkle which is taken up by rhythms and the swiftly joining vocals. Like a stage show song, it grows in stature and emotional drama, becoming a hearty bellow and in turn a snarling vociferous provocation, especially vocally. Of course by now expectations are redundant, the song ebbing and flowing in all aspects and extremes whilst conjuring new unpredictable and riveting antics.

The album is completed by firstly Chromatic Lights, a short instrumental detour within a raw ambience, which leads into the closing Chromatic Aberration, an epic twelve minute plus psychotic tapestry of emotion and unbridled creative mayhem. It is a chaos which is as perfectly shaped as it is emotionally deranged; every groove, melody, and rhythmic trespass a coherent and engrossing incitement in a cinematic flight across tempestuous and constantly changing emotional climates. The track is a dynamic and scintillating adventure all on its own, a mouth-watering musical emprise which combined with the rest of Quiet World simply leaves ears and emotions smiling.

We mentioned the album is not without issues but to be honest the more you listen and delve into Quiet World they are hardly of relevance, except to ensure that the band’s next offering when they have no other distractions, is an already highly anticipated proposition.

Quiet World is available now on Metal Blade Records via

RingMaster 23/04/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Abiotic – Casuistry



As much as it is swiftly fascinating, Casuistry from US progressive death metallers Abiotic is a challenging proposition, testing in its ferociously busy landscape with a technical prowess to match, and at times approaching overwhelming ears with that same creative tirade so ears and imagination cannot settle and appreciate what is going in the moment. For all its formidable elements though, the second album from the Miami quintet is one striking and compelling proposal which just gets more impressive and enjoyable with every listen.

Emerging in 2010, Abiotic quickly made their mark on ears with debut EP A Universal Plague the following year, a release laying down a template of ravenous riffs, blistering solos, and technical breakdowns. Grabbing the attention of Metal Blade Records, the band subsequently signed with the label and unleashed debut album Symbiosis in 2012, a proposition pushing sound and skills, as well as invention, on in leaps and bounds. In hindsight though it too was a mere step towards the immense adventure in sound and craft now flooding Casuistry. The band’s voracious live presence has similarly lured acclaim and glowing support across the years, shows with the likes of Dying Fetus and Exhumed reinforcing their growing stature. Last year saw Abiotic link up with producer Jamie King (Between the Buried and Me, Wretched, and The Contortionist) as they set about creating their follow-up album, and a change in line-up which saw new vocalist Travis Bartosek and drummer Brent Phillips join the band, a change which has really added to the impact of the new album and the continuing evolution of Abiotic sound.

Abiotic-Casuistry     Casuistry has growth in every aspect from its striking predecessor, a new maturity and exploration fuelling songwriting to sound, lyrical endeavour to technical resourcefulness. This also applies to the rigorous challenge on the senses and psyche of the listener which will be too much for some, but the rewards as evidenced straight away in opener Believe the Unseen, border on intoxicating at times. From its first breath, the song offers a bestial roar on ears, the throat ripping bellow of Bartosek alone a fierce and gripping incitement matched by hellacious riffs and rhythms. It is a brief savagery though as mere seconds later spiralling melodic enterprise flows from the guitars of Johnathan Matos and Matt Mendez, entangling the predacious bassline of Alex Vazquez and the rugged beats of Phillips in their midst. Within thirty seconds the song is a creative tempest, an unpredictable maelstrom which allows thoughts a glimpse on getting a handle of things before stirring its body and threat up all over again. Thoughts of Trepalium hint away across the track but also as everything turns in on itself and dives into new ideation, the likes of The Faceless and The Contortionist spring up.

It is a stunning start, a disorientating one occasionally even in the briefness of the song, but as mentioned earlier and applying to the whole album, with each listen becomes more coherent in thoughts and thrilling in ears. The same of course applies to the following Reanimated Destruction, which makes a much more merciful entrance, the guitars casting an atmospheric sonic mist as the bass flirts with jazz seeds for its instantly intriguing and exotic tempting. The two almost duelling vocal deliveries work a treat again; guttural and serpentine tones twin insidiousness within the technical and intensity driven raging.

One of the things which definitely add to the songs is the snappiness of their length, no track passing the five minute mark and most falling a lot shorter. This certainly intensifies the bustling character of the tracks inventively and physically, Abiotic wasting no second on repetitive thoughts but it also ensures the testing tracks never come close to be laborious propositions. Cast into the Depths epitomises this next; the song a melodic wine of a sound dripping over ears and soon spreading a weave of sonic imagination as rhythmic hostility intimidates the senses. Phillips is as brutal as he is contagious with his swings and beats whilst the song itself is a cauldron of fiercely bubbling and changing sonic and vocal enmity. Featuring John Gallagher of Dying Fetus, the encounter is a blissfully exhausting endeavour, a description fitting Casuistry perfectly also.

Violent Scriptures is a torrential onslaught of malevolence and craft again, Phillips a beast and Matos with Mendez, mesmeric with their melodies and sonic espionage on the psyche. Vocally too the band has hit another level with Bartosek which has spread to the rest of the album’s throat offered exploits, an aspect ravaging the listener mercilessly in Nightmares of Your Conception next. Grooves once more simply ooze from the sonic animus being uncaged, whilst rhythmically the track is the most vicious yet. The song does not quite match up to its predecessor though, that industrious tsunami proving almost too taxing if still enjoyable at times.

Through the ‘funky’ but rabid The Absence of Purity, which features guest Paul Waggoner of Between the Buried and Me, and Falling into Obscurity, band and album seduce with full steam again. The first is especially virulent with its toxic grooves and sparkling melodic flirtation, swiftly becoming a big favourite whilst its successor arrives drenched in a menacing theatre, noir bred hues colouring its opening torrent of riffs and grooves, proceeding to add rich hues throughout the wiry entanglement of sound and skills. Both tracks leave the imagination and ears ringing and enslaved before Molecular Rematerialization nags and worries their defences with its own flurry of concussive rhythms and citric grooves, all bred in the darkest most venomous corners of the band’s invention.

Casuistry is brought to a close by the transfixing and punishing Drain. Deface. Abolish., a final tempest to be seduced and violated by in equal measure. It is a fine end to a great album which only gets stronger and more enthralling with time. Abiotic make you work to explore and unravel their deeply entrenched and wonderfully turbulent imagination, but make the effort, brave their unrelenting creative hunger, and you might just find one of your favourite albums of the year.

Casuistry is out now on Metal Blade Records via

RingMaster 23/04/2105

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Photos by Vince Edwards


Hentai Babies – YO!


Managing to persistently sound familiar and simultaneously unique, primarily down to having developed a one of a kind vivacious sound, UK indie popsters Hentai Babies have been one of the most criminally ignored bands in the British rock scene. Well that is not entirely true as the duo from the Isle of Wight has forged an increasingly devoured live presence and found a flood of radio play with independent radio shows and station, with Reputation Radio leading the way. National awareness it is fair to say has not yet been breached though, despite a host of ridiculously contagious and creatively blistering singles. That may all change now with the release of the band’s debut album YO!, a mouth-watering devilment which sooner than it takes a door knocking Jehovah Witness to clear a lively street, has body and emotions involved in one exhausting and exhilarating stomp.

Formed in 2012 and consisting of vocalist/guitarist/ programmer Paul McCann and bassist Bianca Kelly, Hentai Babies create pop rock with an inescapable addictiveness. Once infested by their sounds there is no escape, it is just getting their jangle into the psyche of the masses which, as all emerging bands find, is the hard part. YO! might and should be that trigger, the spark to widespread recognition for a band and sound which draws on inspirations from the likes of Nirvana, Oasis, Michael Jackson, Smashing Pumpkins, Perfume, Manic Street Preachers, Madonna, and Weezer for their invention, though it is only the latter you would really offer as some kind of reference to the originality of their songs.

The contagious party of YO! starts with Action Jackson, and an instant union of guitar jangles and expressive vocals which have ears and appetite on instant alert. Riffs and rhythms provide a pungent lure from the start too, the basslines of Kelly as throaty as they are seductive, whilst the crisp electronic beats simply match the voracious energy of the song. Punk, pop, indie, it is all in the slice of magnetic rock ‘n’ roll and there is no way anyone will have dormant feet or unused vocal chords by the end of the song. That is a reaction to expect from every song on the album, Canary Into The Cave proving the point straight after. It does have a more reigned in exertion compared to its predecessor, but in sound and enterprise it is just as tenacious and anthemic, and subsequently successful in fully involving the listener physically and emotionally. Hooks and melodies have a spicy tang to their infectious clamour too whilst vocally the band simply stirs up song and ears from start to finish.

cover   Hentai Babies has a busy sound which as shown in the last song, at times can hide some of the great twists and nuances working a way in songs. The second track provides a whimsical kiss of keys from within its depths but easy to miss as you leap around to the call of the encounter. It is not an issue or flaw but something extra to discover over subsequent plays, not that you are ever given a moment to take a breath with Yo!, the following One Potato Two quickly jabbing with an initial tease of guitar and punchy beats provided by guest drummer Rían O’Gandhi, before opening up into another full-on stroll coloured by a swaggering bassline and the ever alluring vocals. Lyrically repetition plays a big part of songs which might not work as well for some as others across a whole album, but it definitely only reinforces the anthemic quality of songs and makes them even easier to join in on, much to the neighbour’s annoyance admittedly.

Pop Is My Prozac comes next and despite its title actually has body and psyche even more agitated even with its gentler persuasion. No one told the hooks and infectiousness of the song to take it easy on the listener and again by its close the temptress of a song has you gasping for air before Something Uncomfortable strolls in. It also has a mellower presence then plenty of those around it but with a thick rock roar and sinew crafted rhythms to it, the song provides a fresh melodic blaze to the variety to the album.

US band Super Happy Fun Club come to mind with Sports Jerk which follows; a bounding romp of a song with a hook which spirals like a pole dancer around the appetite, whilst the following Harmony swerves and flirts with it grooves and spicy melodies for the same epidemic effect. Both tracks are newer ones in the imagination of McCann’s songwriting and explore new twists of sound and texture, whilst unearthing an even juicier form of the discord which always lights up their songs.

   A swift leap at ears, Bubblegum offers no polite introduction as it explodes in a blur of energy and sonic contagion. Hooks grin and riffs bristle as the punk infested song aggressively bounces around as if carrying ADHD, whilst vocally the band finds their most raucous persuasion yet. It is another leaving exhaustion in its wake though for maybe the only time, the band allows some respite from its energetic tempest with Nail On The Head. A dark flirty bassline comes wrapped in surf rock seeded melodies whilst the vocals also show some reserve in their delivery. A sixties rock pop hue emerges to embrace the enterprise of the guitar, and at one point the image of Freddie and The Dreamers swinging their deranged legs along to the song does came to mind.

Everything feistily erupts again with Super Sad, a song also opening with a big hook which has seeds in the pop of earlier decades. Addiction is a given with YO! and it shows no mercy here; vocally and musically the track an insatiable dance of pop punk ingenuity, quickly matched by the sonic and vocal croon of Sober As A Judge. The diversity of the album never diminishes as each song makes its offering, the penultimate incitement embracing a melancholic and reflective sentiment with matching melodic understanding.

Hentai Babies leave on one final bang in the rowdy shape of Go Fish. The song is a predator, riffs and bassline almost carnivorous whilst the beats sting on impact. Vocally too there is an attitude which snarls with every syllable yet that constant instinct inside the band to brew an epidemic riot of fun and body manipulation is an unavoidable temptation. The song is punk rock at its most boisterously infectious and a seismic end to a quite exhilarating album.

If after YO! Hentai Babies is still an unknown quantity then the nation is deaf, blind, or stupid. For us in the know though nothing changes, the band still remains one of the best unsung talents in the British music scene and equally one of the most exciting.

YO! is out now as a name your own price download @

RingMaster 23/04/2015

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