Her Despair – Exorcisms of Eroticism

There is no escaping that UK dark rock outfit Her Despair made a major impression critically and on a new flood of fans with their last EP, Mournography. It was a striking and arousing affair built on open craft and imagination which thrust the band before a more international spotlight. Even so, its success will surely only be overshadowed as the ascent of the London band accelerates through the magnificent Exorcisms of Eroticism.

Her Despair’s new EP eclipses its predecessor in every department, the band’s sound a more mature and even more striking proposition as it continues to embrace the essences, drama, and melancholy of gothic rock, punk, and dark metal. Each song within Exorcisms of Eroticism aligns crepuscular gloom and intimate seduction, emotion ravishing shadows and heart bred passion; all within the dark recesses of a world in turmoil.

Pandaemonium opens up the release, the song looming from the dark in a mighty tide of sound which instantly shapes its stride and trespass through the melodic intimation of Toby’s keys. The guitars of Dan and Jord cast a more rapacious side in the emerging song, its voice already rich and broad before calming a touch for the ever magnetic tones of J. Every aspect of the encounter though proved a beacon for attention, the bass of Vikki a dark throaty tempting as the beats of Lee bite yet simultaneously incite. As in previous releases, there is no denying the inspiration of bands such as Fields of the Nephilim and Sisters of Mercy to Her Despair and maybe others like The March Violets in the instinctive infection loaded virulence which soaks every note and spring of imagination but the first track quickly sets the unique tone and individuality which defines the release and each song.

 As mentioned earlier, drama is in full force coating every note and syllable of the outstanding first track, The Exorcism soon following with an equal fertility in all its textures and enterprise. Similarly an inherent catchiness is as bold as the creative theatre shaping the tapestry of light and dark sparking the imagination of band and listener alike. The symphonic lure of keys provides a seductive rapture in the turbulent heart of the song, J’s voice managing to echo both sides in his ever alluring and potent presence.

Though there is open energy in its gait and emotive roar, In That Moment is a siren of temptation, the tempered roar haunting in its beauty and enthralling in its croon while Like A Crucifixion straight after is a cauldron of sonic and emotional tenacity. Akin to a fusion of Type O Negative and Dead Register, the track simply sets another momentous lure in the EP as virulently manipulative as it is emotively invasive.

Beyond The Veil is another gentle haunting, the ballad caressing the senses and thoughts yet with an undercurrent of fiery anguish which erupts enough to scorch the elegance and beauty of the bewitching incitement before Final Rest brings things to a just as captivating close. The funereal gait of the song beguiles alone, the vocals and the words it shares a fascination matched in sound across the whole band. Melancholy is as thick as the rhythms which prowl the senses, enchantment as potent as the melodic weaving of keys and guitars and rich pleasure the result of all.

Exorcisms of Eroticism is glorious; from sound to lyrics, voice to the imagination which fuels it, the seriously impressive EP declares Her Despair as one band the world should no longer ignore.

Exorcisms of Eroticism is available now digitally and on CD @ https://herdespair.bandcamp.com/

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Pete RingMaster 08/01/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

Helldown – In Deaths Hands

The release of their self-titled debut EP in 2016 suggested that Welsh thrashers Helldown had all the attributes to ascend the UK metal ranks, a thought accentuated by their subsequent acclaimed single The Watchers a year later. Now that proposal is about to be made a declaration with the release of new EP, In Deaths Hands, a collection of tracks which whilst suggesting that there is plenty more yet to come from the Swansea outfit, that ascent is well under way.

Formed in 2013 and consisting of blood brothers in vocalist/bassist Ben and rhythm guitarist Matthew Evans alongside drummer Ross Thomas and lead guitarist Lewis Larkman, Helldown have forged a sound bred on thrash, groove, and heavy metal. As the new release shows it is a potent trespass with thrash metal its instinctive fuel, one still enjoyably raw in its voice and tone to provide an edge and bite numerous like-minded bands have let escape in their growth. True uniqueness may still be absent in the band’s voracious sound but as In Deaths Hands proves it can be comfortably overlooked in the fresh trespass on offer.

The EP opens with The Unnamed, a track instantly entangling ears in ripe grooves and preying rhythms before launching into a predacious assault. The sonic invasion and enticement of both guitars make for a keen tempting, Ben’s vocals as the sound earthy yet magnetic within the harassment of riffs and rhythmic aggression. The subsequent twists and melodic endeavour that emerges revels in the prowess of their creators, the track a persistent hungry nagging endowed with that bright enterprise.

The EP’s best track is followed by Mortal Shell, another swiftly revealing intent and character with rapacious urgency. If at first paling against its predecessor, the track only grew in stature and appeal as its ravening riffs and grooves joined bitter beats and the heavy dark resonance of the bass to forge another thickly satisfying proposal.

There is a definite surface familiarity between the songs within In Deaths Hands, the beginning of next up Heretic highlighting the thought yet again it is a track which develops its own presence and enterprise with strength and imagination, the bass of Ben a riveting ingredient in the prowl of the ear grabbing encounter.

Flames of Heresy bring things to a close, its spirals of grooves waspish in their sting and barbarous in the subsequent harassment they inspire from across the band. The gang hollers that break out only emphasize the anthemic air and roar of the track, even as it prowls and stalks the senses between raucous eruptions.

It is a fine end to a release which only left us wanting to hear more from the band and reinforced the thought that Helldown has a very healthy future within the British metal scene.

In Deaths Hands is released January 17th

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Pete RingMaster 14/01/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

Cabinet of Millionaires vs Zion Train – Stop The Coup

As the UK once again went to vote for the next misstep in the country’s political direction, Huddersfield hailing electronic act Cabinet of Millionaires unleashed another of their ear and thought grabbing incitements in the shape of the Stop The Coup EP. It presents a trio of politically-charged tracks centred around the bands lead original assault on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s campaign for re-election.

Stop The Coup is also the first Cabinet of Millionaires actual artist collaboration, the band linking up with acclaimed dub act Zion Train on the original, known as the Pfeffel Mix, which opens up the release. Embracing potent provocative samples shaping the suitability of and attack on the PM, the track is an electronic stroll embracing thought, opinion, and instinctive incitement. Its inherent catchiness is as ripe too just as the rebellious nature of its voice, each as honest as they are direct, defiant and inviting.

Just as powerful remixes provide the other pair of tracks within the EP, the first from Bristol-based Acid House Therapy a tension fuelled kaleidoscopic take as invasive as it is dramatically compelling with all its twists and hall of mirror like aspects.

The final track is a rock enforced stomp provided by Leeds club night promoter, DJ and producer Mikk Stupp. Funk bound, rock driven, the final version of Stop The Coup is a voracious, verging on the barbarous, electro rock incitement  pouncing on ears, the senses, and its protagonist with creative agility.

As another critical moment in UK political history was upon us Cabinet of Millionaires provided another momentous to mark and challenge it. The Stop The Coup EP is the band and its allies at their best, a reason alone to share one’s voice.

The Stop The Coup EP is available through Chocolate Fireguard Records now @ https://cabinetofmillionaires.bandcamp.com/album/stop-the-coup

https://www.facebook.com/CabinetOfMillionaires   https://twitter.com/cabinetmillion

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Pete RingMaster 14/01/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

Desperate Machines – Complet_

It was back in 2014 when in a year of striking releases, American progressive/experimental rock band In Progress left their very potent mark with the album North Atlantic Echoes. The band was the creation of Jake Rosenberg and John Dillon and with a host of guests provided one increasingly fascinating and impressive adventure few rivalled at that time in the progressive rock scene. Since then the duo has seemingly been quiet, evading attention but obviously busy as they have returned with a new project in the shape of Desperate Machines and a debut EP which in distinctly different ways has made the same rich impact on our ears and imagination.

As the three tracks making up Complet_ reveals defining the Desperate Machines sound is never going to be a precise exercise with its tapestries and soundscapes of electronic, progressive rock, industrial, atmospheric and experimental essences and textures but an adventure which will keep imaginations busy and hungry if they herald what is to come ahead.

The EP opens up with Complete and as all tracks within the EP sees Kevin Moore (Chroma Key, OSI, ex-Dream Theater) guesting on vocals as well as providing lyrics. From the shadows the song looms up, its industrial breath springing animated beats and the instantly gripping gnarly growl of Dillon’s bass. Just a rush of seconds in and already the song is a web of flavours and textures, every subsequent twist indeed almost each second the gateway into fresh styles and bold imagination as the captivating tones of Moore rise amongst the synth, keys, and guitar enterprise of Rosenberg and Dillon. The gait of the track is funky, its breath dark with a Nine Inch Nails meets Deftones-esque melancholy and every moment as infectious as it is captivating, indeed haunting.

It is an effortlessly magnetic affair but is still slightly eclipsed by the magnificent Our War. Again from the start rhythms provide a manipulative enticement, melodies caressing and adding to the increasing urging of participation from hips and feet. Alongside Moore, Marjorie Boggs Vazquez adds additional guest vocals, further radiance in the mercurial but relentlessly magnetic encounter. As with its predecessor, every moment offers a fresh surprise with each twist as unpredictable in sound and invention as it is irresistible.

The release is completed by the original demo for Plan B, the song which is said to be the spark bringing Desperate Machines to life several years ago. From an industrial underground, a piano teases the imagination with its intimacy and touch, vocals soon alongside bringing similar intimation and fascination. A hint of a scent in both previous songs, the third strongly reminds of eighties band Comsat Angels and like many of that band’s tracks had us drooling in admiration and desire for more.

Though we had not realised it at the time, there was a gap without In Progress which was waiting to be filled. Rosenberg and Dillon have returned to do not only that but occupy many other areas lacking the imagination and sound which Desperate Machines brings with them.

Complet_ is out now @ https://desperatemachines.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.facebook.com/desperatemachines/

Pete RingMaster 08/01/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

Morning Bells – Fall From The Velvet Sky

photo by Susan Sage

From its evocative title to the intimacy of its heart bred lyrics alone, the new EP from US indie rock outfit Morning Bells makes for a richly alluring proposition and bound in just as provocative and arousing sounds Fall From The Velvet Sky quite simply proved one richly compelling encounter.

Hailing from Raleigh in N. Carolina, Morning Bells began with the creative union of drummer Bryan Fransman and long-time friend, vocalist Ric Denton. Swiftly the emerging band grew as bassist Laura Weislo was enlisted by the duo with in time guitarist Emory Ball and keyboardist Peele Wimberley completing the quintet. Their sound is said to embrace inspirations ranging from Johnny Marr, Television, and The Gun Club to The Smiths, Yo La Tengo, David Sylvian, and Talk Talk alongside for us upon their first EP a certain R.E.M. scenting.

In saying that, the opening track of Fall From The Velvet Sky has a thick dark creative breath which reminds of Scottish band, The Filthy Tongues. The initial melodic glisten of Ghost Story is soon descended upon by emotive shadows, keys and rhythms united in their gothic intimation even before Denton shares his equally suggestive tones. The psych rock breath of those keys continues to light the haunting embrace of the song, its reflective stroll a prowling instigator on ears and imagination.

The track is superb remaining our favourite moment within Fall From The Velvet Sky with relative ease though its companions like the following Through The Dark are no less potent in their captivation and creative incitement. As its predecessor, the EP’s second track immediately enticed keen attention with its first melodic touch, guitar and keys swiftly engaging the senses before the shadowy lure of rhythms and Denton’s ever magnetic tones and words escalate the enticement. The bewitching serenade of the song simply had us hooked before The Truth Is matched its success with its own absorbing temptation. Pop and rock traits entangle within the captivation woven and addiction bred, thick fascination spawned in the web of sound and voice.

Next up, The Night You Touched My Hand shares an eighties indie pop seduction in its melodies and nineties rock rapacity, a fusion further invigorated by volatile urgency and touches with the result another track which just got under the skin and had us hooked and involved in swift time.

The EP concludes with Tonight; a track which maybe did not quite match up to its companions yet had ears eagerly held and our pleasure in full flow as Fall From The Velvet Sky completed its beguiling adventure. It is a release which quickly and increasingly impressed and aroused, thoughts soon relishing the band’s own imagination us eager anticipation blossomed for the next fresh creative resonance from Morning Bells.

Fall From The Velvet Sky is out now; available @ https://morningbellsband.bandcamp.com/album/fall-from-the-velvet-sky

https://www.morningbellsband.com/   https://www.facebook.com/morningbellsband   https://twitter.com/morningbells2

Pete RingMaster 04/01/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

The Membranes – Nocturnal (Kitty Lectro Remixes) EP

photo by John Middleham

Originally a potent part of the band’s acclaimed latest album, What Nature Gives… Nature Takes Away, post pun icons The Membranes have set their new EP around the song Nocturnal and given 2019 a send-off as memorable as it is contagious. The three track release sees the UK band team up with darkwave-goth rock luminary DJ Kitty Lectro for two remixes alongside the album version of the perpetually additive encounter.

photo by Kitty Lectro

Formed in 1978, the Blackpool band has been leading and helping to continually shape the post punk scene for over 40 years while Kitty Lectro has crafted remixes for the likes of Kommunity FK, Andi Sex Gang, The March Violets, Still Patient, Lestat, ANKST, Strap On Halo, Angels Of Liberty, Das Projekt and many more. It feels like it was inevitable that one day the two would unite and Nocturnal is that glorious moment.

The EP opens with Kitty’s dance floor nurtured take on Nocturnal, the pulse of the track an immediate incitement the body can only respond to. It brings an eighties synth pop feel to the song’s animation, shedding a certain infectious light on the track’s unique shadows and dark intimation. The bounce of the song is inescapable virulence and its dance-floor instincts fertile ground for that physical participation, Kitty bringing the instinctive catchiness of the track to the fore.

Kitty Lectro’s Meow Meow Money Mix is next up and straight away for us eclipses the rousing enjoyment of its predecessor. Cinematic drama instantly breathes across the track as John Robb’s tones slowly and rapaciously crawl through ears, Kitty’s intensifying the song’s original shadows with a devilish touch. It lurks, it crawls, every moment of the track a trespass on the psyche and a spark to major pleasure; its Halloween-esque atmosphere a tenebrific shadow on the world today.

As mentioned the album’s original version completes the EP’s line-up, the track as irresistible as ever. For all the magnificence of Kitty Lectro’s two slices of glorious temptation, they do miss the delicious senses carving, bone scything lead incitement of Robb’s bass. Certainly its swing is exploited within the remixes but here it just directs and manipulates body and appetite even before the prowess of the rest of the band escalates the track’s dark, slightly carnivorous majesty.

Put all three tracks together and you have one of  2019’s best EPs and a proposition 2020 will have to go some to match.

Nocturnal (Kitty Lectro Remixes) EP is available via Definitive Gaze @ https://membranes.bandcamp.com/album/nocturnal-e-p

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https://www.kittylectro.com/   https://www.facebook.com/KittyLectro   https://twitter.com/KittyLectro

Pete RingMaster 04/01/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

The Self Titled – Bears and Bulls EP

A rich reputation and a broad recognition of existence do not always go hand in hand and so it is with UK rockers The Self Titled. They are no strangers to thick and eager acclaim and have grown to be one of British music’s most rousing propositions yet still so many prospective fans have yet to discover their prolific presence. The band has just unleashed a new EP but can it address that absence of wide spread attention? Of course time will tell but if anything can be the spark, the mighty Bears and Bulls EP has all the right ammunition and striking qualities to be the trigger.

It was from the moment that the band reformed back in 2010 that they stamped a certain mark on the UK music scene with their rapacious blend of rock and metal and a work ethic which has seen them literally play shows non-stop, sharing stages with the likes of Kobra And The Lotus, Breed 77, Forever Never, Zico Chain and Sarah jezebel Deva, One Machine, Def Con One and many more along the way. It was their impressive debut album, Defaced, in 2012 that we came across the Kent outfit, a release establishing the band as one of the most exciting emerging encounters around. The double track Airlock EP two years later only confirmed the potential and potency of the band which Bears and Bulls EP now exploits to even greater heights, impressiveness, and we suspect success.

Bears and Bulls opens up with Disintegration and straight away guitars are harrying the senses with anthemic energy as rhythms prowl ears and the potent tones of vocalist Tom Procter. The swinging beats of drummer Paul Brander orchestrate the predatory tone of the song with the growl of Steve Burwell’s bass keenly adding to that trespass yet everything about the track is pure contagion, guitarist Philipp Hall weaving a web of hooks and riffs as antagonistic as they are rapaciously catchy.

It is a powerful and potent start to the release swiftly built upon by the following Breathe. Groove carrying riffs provide the first tasty lure, the rumble of bass adding it’s particular growl before uncaging its own body infesting groove. The band pull the heaviest most voracious essences of metal and heavy rock for their inimitable sound with the EP’s second track grabbing a healthy punk snarl to its nu and alternative flavoured confrontation. There is an open Rage Against The Machine edge to the track but imaginatively bound to the band’s melodic prowess in a song which relishes plenty of other metal and rock spawned flavours.

Fear and Loathing is next up, echoing the diversity of sound in its impressive predecessor within its own individual endeavour. Almost crawling over the senses, the track slowly unwinds its quickly addictive bait and enterprise, grooves predatory as they seduce with a matching snarl to that lining Proctor’s and the band’s vocals.  A grunge essence only adds to the infectiousness and richness of the song before the EP’s title track brings to a similarly rousing conclusion.

The final song saunters in on a rhythmic shuffle before unleashing more of the band’s rap/nu metal prowess and hard rock dexterity aligned to melody fuelled contagion. Bluesy flumes only add to the intoxication but as ever in a song bursting from The Self Titled, agitation and aggression at world issues provoke as they arouse.

It is about time the world woke up to The Self Titled roar, Bears and Bulls might give them no choice.

The Bears and Bulls EP is available now @ https://music.apple.com/us/album/bears-and-bulls-ep/1462839970

https://www.facebook.com/TheSelfTitled/   http://www.theselftitled.com/  https://twitter.com/theselftitled

Pete RingMaster 20/12/2019

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright