Hamerex – The Abyss Vol. 1

The Abyss Vol. 1 is the first part of a trilogy from UK heavy metallers Hamerex, a collection set to be fully released by the end of the year. The four track encounter just uncaged is a powerful and inventive assault of a sound which has been stirring up the senses and praise since the band first emerged back in 2004. Consisting of two new tracks and two previously released songs which have been re-recorded and infused with the stirring evolution surging through the band’s sound, The Abyss Vol. 1 is basically a compelling slab of voracious rock ‘n’ roll.

Hailing from Wakefield, Hamerex was formed by vocalist/guitarist Steve Blower. Starting with debut album Rites Of Passage in 2012, the band’s releases have drawn potent praise, its successor IX the following year and third album Traitor in 2016 sparking acclaim as too before the latter, The Last Ride EP. Each has revealed an open growth and maturity in the band’s sound which has a new head with The Abyss. The new EP is also the first release to feature bassist Marc Hood and drummer Sharif Diz Dyson alongside Blower and guitarist Andy Firth.

It immediately roars upon the senses with opener The Extremist, riffs devouring ears as rhythms voraciously pounce and drive the track through ears. Blower’s vocals have no restraint either but come with a more composed attack as the sounds ravage and incite. Heavy and more extreme metals textures collude in the tempest, every hook and groove as threatening as they are flirtatious with every bass growl and flying beat accentuating each magnetic trait. The track which originally appeared on XI, just hits the spot as familiar and unique sounds and textures come together with rapacious intent.

The following Broken is just as bold and tenacious on the ears though it prowls the listener before unleashing its web of melodically inviting and sonically fiery enterprise; never going for the jugular but blending seduction and threat all the same. One of the new tracks it just ignites big anticipation for what is to follow across the other EPs ahead as too its fellow newcomer, Crucifixion. Featuring Hood on lead vocals, the track storms ears with a thrash nurtured surge, Blower and Firth infesting the senses as grooves incessantly nag. Darker ruinous hues invade backing vocals and in turn the climate of the incitement, the track continuing to revolve between heavy and extreme metal predation until its final toxic expulsion.  Both tracks suggest a new and striking evolution in the band’s sound which as suggested earlier makes the other two episodes in this trilogy very easy to get excited for.

In between those two songs is The Dark Tower which first infested ears upon Traitor. The tendril of guitar drawing attention to its body is pure enticement as too the subsequent heavy metal rumble of the encounter and its tart melodic veining.

All four tracks suggest that Hamerex is at the beginning of a new chapter in their sound but it is the new pair which really excites ensuring the next volumes of The Abyss will be eagerly welcomed.

The Abyss Vol. 1 is out now and available across most online stores and @ https://hamerex.bandcamp.com/album/the-abyss-vol-1

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

Pete RingMaster 12/06/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Wheel – The Divide EP

Pic by Jonna Ohrnberg

With time seemingly at a premium in all aspects of life, especially free time to do as one wishes it is far too easy to be acquainted with bands and artists in name and reputation but not through the real attention they quite possibly deserve. Finnish progressive rockers Wheel is such an outfit with us. The release of The Path EP last year sparked potent acclaim for the 2015 founded band; praise that reached us here even though its sounds evaded close focus. We have not made the same mistake this time around though with its successor, The Divide EP a collection of tracks which roar and seduce with craft and enterprise whilst enthralling the imagination in their complexities, intricacies, and emotive landscapes.

Helsinki based, Wheel weave a sound which is as familiar as it is fresh and bold. It is easy to suggest comparisons to bands such as Karnivool, The Pineapple Thief, and Tool though none are an exact match or true clue to the powerful sound within the release. There is a touch of all in its tracks but each swiftly proven individual to Wheel with the outstanding voice of English vocalist James Lascelles at their heart.

Produced and mixed by Jesse Vainio (Apocalyptica, Poets Of The Fall, Sunrise Avenue), The Divide opens with Please. Immediately the dark growl of Mikko Määttä’s bass entices ears and attention, the crispy beats of Santeri Saksala enticing alongside. The pair is soon joined by the flavoursome lures of the guitars, a mix settling into a suggestive stroll as Lascelles tones step forward. There is a slight Bush like scent to the song at this point, its tempting tendrils and intimation a flirtation easy to grab with hunger. Lead guitarist Roni Seppänen weaves a web of adventure and craft as the track grows, Lascelles backing him with string and voice as the tempestuous heart of the song erupts with increasing rigour. As suggested earlier, there is something recognisable about the song yet every twist is unexpected and each of its emerging textures and turns a spark for the imagination.

Powerful in tone and voice and coming in two versions on the EP, radio edit and extended cut, the track is an easy pleasure to devour and pretty much matched in strength and adventure by Pyre. It is aflame from the off, rhythms and guitar colluding in a tenacious proposal as muscle and enterprise unite in persuasive voracity, vocals equally blazing alongside. As in the previous track there is a grunge bred lining which adds to its richness and magnetic layers. Similarly there are also the expected detours and twists, all fluid and imaginative as the track continues to melodically holler and emotively croon over instinctive volatility.

Completing the line-up of songs is It’s Over Now, a compelling ballad aligning melancholic strings and Lascelles’ similarly magnetic vocals to the melodic poetry of the guitars. Compared to their dynamic shaping of the other tracks, rhythms provide a calm almost reserved presence but one just as suggestive in their shadowed touch.

If like us Wheel has yet to make it upon the radar we can only suggest, indeed urge The Divide EP is given keen attention, the rewards as the pleasure are quite addictive.

The Divide EP is out now via Umbrella Productions / Warner ADA.

http://www.wheel.band/   https://www.facebook.com/wheelband/

Pete RingMaster 05/06/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Norm & the Nightmarez – Wild ‘n’ Rockin’

There is no denying if there is a sniff of psychobilly or rockabilly in a release we instinctively lick our lips and with real zeal if it comes under the moniker of Norm & the Nightmarez. The band has been the source of tracks and albums which have unerringly ignited our appetite for those and aligning genres past and present so you can imagine we had a spring in our step when the gent behind the outfit sent over their new 7” EP, Wild ‘n’ Rockin’ containing four rich slices of what Norm and co do best.

Northern Ireland born but living in Birmingham since the age of 4, vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Norm Elliott has been stirring up the psychobilly scene long before his latest band was a spark of an idea. The eighties saw him step forward with The Phantom Zone, an outfit which supported the likes of Guana Batz, The Vibes, and The Sting-Rays in its time. Numerous other projects followed before Norm linked up with ex-Meteors/ex-Guana Batz bassist Mick White and Sharks drummer Paul ‘Hodge’ Leigh for Mickey & The Mutants, the band releasing the outstanding album, Touch The Madness in 2013. From there Norm created Norm & the Nightmarez and has released a pair of equally impressive albums in Psychobilly Infection of 2014 and Psychobilly D.N.A. two years later. There was rumours that the band might be calling it a day or at least on a hiatus but thankfully last year it was re-energised and now in fresh inspiring form as proven by Wild ‘n’ Rockin’.

The band’s sound has always been more adventurous than the psychobilly tag suggests. It is undoubtedly psychobilly bred, nurtured, and perpetually grounded in its first love but also keenly embraces the cleaner cut rockabilly from the fifties onwards as well as further diversity inspired by both styles. It is that fact which EP opener Too Rockabilly deals with; a song going eye to eye ball with all dismissing its imagination and rich flavouring as not psychobilly, presumably accusations the band has had to dismiss despite their music always doing the talking. The rousing track opens with a juicy rockabilly chord, immediately bursting into a swinging canter with rhythmic predation as melodic tendrils entangle ears and Norm’s vocals challenge. The throbbing double bass of Chrissy Royle alone had us bouncing, the ear clipping beats of Dave Prince egging on even greater participation whilst Norm had vocal chords in league and hips swinging to his melodic antics with ease. There are essences of Ray Campi meets The Sharks to the track but as always the case to date, it is a song pure Norm & the Nightmarez.

It is followed by Bop, a track living up to its name once initially teasing with a flirtatious guitar lure. Again the body was soon lost to its manipulation, its core hook infesting the psyche as rhythms again brought the bounce in body and spirit alive. As with the first, decades of rockabilly and especially its early Sun days are embraced in its psychobilly groove, the wondering if Johnny Burnette fronting The Meteors might sound something akin to this brought about by its attributes.

The B-side to the EP starts with Catwoman; its dark salacious antics immediately toying with the senses as the guitar courts and preys on the imagination. Primarily a deliciously seductive instrumental with melodic finesse and shadow clad threats crossed by almost portentous yet encouraging echoes of its title, the track needed little time to enslave.

That success was just as quickly inspired by the closing stomp of Lonely Avenue. Considering selling its soul from the off, the encounter gallops through ears reaping melodic rewards and dark temptations; the trio spinning a web of each with their inventive craft and enterprise. It might escape the clutches of the horned one but is a devil in itself and had ears hungry for more, addiction increasing with every devouring.

Among so many great previous tracks, the four within the Alan Wilson produced Wild ‘n’ Rockin’ just might be the most thrilling bunch yet from the band. Certainly with the great artwork of Sherrie Gunstone similarly flirting from the front cover, they are some of their most contagious and arousing. Rock ’n’ roll is indeed the devil’s music and Norm & the Nightmarez’s sounds quite possibly the most devilish of them all.

Wild ‘n’ Rockin’ is out now on 7″ coloured vinyl via Western Star; available @ https://western-star.tmstor.es/cart/product.php?id=37163

https://www.facebook.com/Normandthenightmarez/

Pete RingMaster 05/06/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Cut Throat Francis – Ghosts EP (Extended Edition)

Originally unveiled last year, the Ghosts EP from UK outfit Cut Throat Francis has just had a re-release as an extended edition through ScreamLite Records. Offering four slices of the Bristol band’s acoustic gypsy folk swing, the release is a second chance for those missing its first appearance to discover a juicy treat for ears and body; one which really should not be missed.

Formed in the summer of 2017, the quartet of vocalist/percussionist Harriet Hayes, guitarist Randolf Morton, bassist Danny Riches, and Jonny Staines on mandolin and banjo quickly whipped up local attention and venues with the lively flirtatious sound now fuelling their debut EP backed by successful festival appearances. The second unveiling of Ghosts given the push it deserves will surely give a potent nudge to richer and broader attention, national appetites destined to be on greed alert hereon in with the luck all introductions need.

The EP opens with the quite irresistible I’m Not Ready; the song four minutes plus of virulent energy and infectious enterprise. A stroke of guitar is the first tease, Hayes’ magnetic voice the second with swinging grooves wearing Eastern European flavouring swiftly following. Like a blend of Molotov Jukebox and The Penny Black Remedy flirting with The BeauBowBelles, the track had feet shifting and hips swinging in no time with its chorus seeing a bold escalation as vocal chords also refused to show restraint.

Individual prowess is as rich behind the song as united enterprise, a core just as potent as the EP’s title track follows. Ghosts is a gentle serenade with a just as tenacious if more understated swing compared to its predecessor. Magnetism is certainly as thick and forceful though, Hayes’ alluring tones as strongly backed by the voices of the rest of the band and their melodic manipulations. Once more an instinctive sway took hold of us to match the song’s; it’s inescapable contagion deceitful in its apparent calm but perpetually fuelled by the lope of the bass and the caress of the various picked strings.

New track Hubert is next, another sauntering along with a knowing swagger bringing a touch of bands like Tanks The Henge with it through its more gypsy punk nature. Male vocals lead this time, their raw rasp a great lilt contrasting the warmer textures making up its melodic swerve, one soon infesting limbs and heart.

The EP ends with These Last Kind Words, a track featuring the guest fiddle prowess of Susan Moffatt. It too has a gypsy punk edge to its vibrant folk canter, banjo whipping up song and appetite with its mischievous chords as vocals entice. Feeling like it was recorded live, the track is a rousing conclusion to one highly addictive proposition, one suggesting seeing the band live has to be a must at some point in time.

Quite simply, the Ghosts EP is a treat and if like for us it escaped you first time around we suggest you make amends now; just be sure to get your hips and imaginations are ready.

The Ghosts EP is available now through ScreamLite Records @ https://screamliterecords.bandcamp.com/

https://www.cutthroatfrancis.com/   https://www.facebook.com/cutthroatfrancis/

Pete RingMaster 05/06/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Lightness Of Being – Diversions

Called Diversions, the new EP from UK rockers The Lightness Of Being is just that, a diversion from the bland and predictable in sound and life and one ear thoroughly compelling distraction it is too. Formed in 2010, the London hailing outfit has already uncaged a pair of attention stoking EPs to date but are surely poised to flare up on far bigger and broader radars with their new offering.

Inspirations are said to come from the likes of Queens Of The Stone Age, Mastodon, and Deftones but the three tracks within Diversions show they are influences immersed in the quartet’s own and still growing character of sound. Each song is individual to another and all cruising along the fine line between seduction and predation with relish and imagination.

The EP opens with Bottomfeeder and immediately nags ears with a line of controlled but lustful riffs punctured by just as eager beats. The vocals of guitarist/keyboardist Gabriel Lim rise up within the quickly delicious bait bringing with him menace and intimation which subsequently inspires a ferocious squall; it’s settling back down the spark to repeat the delicious cycle. Fresh drama blossoms by the minute though, new instinctive strains of rapacious enterprise as dark and threatening as it is captivating. There is also a touch of early Therapy? to the song which only adds to its striking presence and persuasion.

Cave follows, a song openly embracing that Deftones inspiration. Its atmospheric caresses provide a mellow sigh to complement the similarly calm tones of Lim, the guitar of Sam West a radiant shimmer alongside as the mist of keys is slowly walked through by the sombre but magnetic stroll of Chris French’s bass. With the crisp beats of Sergiusz Brudek adding their inviting touch it is an infectious calm yet there is a sense of disturbance glimpsed in its depths, one which brews and festers until erupting in an immersive wash of volatility and sonic intensity. We cannot say that the song sparked the same richness of reaction and pleasure as its companions just due to personal tastes but there is no denying that it had ears gripped and appetite feasting before drifting away.

Closing song Refute took our favourite title, its blend of voracious punk ‘n’ roll and dark rock with grungier/alternative rock devilment quickly getting under the skin to incite and manipulate rock ‘n’ roll instincts. A host of flavours make up its swinging escapade, each a fiercely flavoursome spice aligning it’s almost garage punk instincts; just a shame it only lasts two minutes plus but a brief time which had us bouncing and growling.

There is plenty seemingly familiar about the sound of The Lightness Of Being but nothing less than fresh and individual to the band all the same. It is a great mix which makes Diversions a rich listen and the band ones to keep under close scrutiny.

Diversions is released 1st June.

http://thelightnessofbeing.co.uk/   https://www.facebook.com/TheLightnessOfBeing   https://twitter.com/TLOBmusic

Pete RingMaster 29/05/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Mayflower Madame – Premonition EP

photo by Sven Santelmann

Though formed in 2011, it was the release of their debut album Observed in a Dream two years ago which awoke real attention upon Mayflower Madame, introducing them to a whole wealth of new fans, us included. It offered a compelling and increasingly gripping full taste of the band’s psych rock infested post punk. Ahead of a new album later this year the Norwegian outfit have unveiled the Premonition EP, a release which simply leaves that previous encounter in the shade and is already making anticipation for the band’s second album impatient.

Fresh from a US tour, the latest the Oslo quartet has undertaken beyond their homeland since the release of that first full-length, the band now no strangers to venturing across the UK, Europe, and N America, Mayflower Madame lures the listener into a new soundscape of their imagination fuelled sound with Premonition. Consisting of four tantalising propositions which can be, as the EP’s promo sheet suggests, “best described as apocalyptic love songs”, Premonition has a captivating calmness across its body which the previous release maybe evaded but equally a more virulent almost predacious craft and indeed seduction for a romance of impending darkness to embrace and fear.

The EP opens with its title track, a siren warning its arrival. From the midst of the threat an instantly compelling groove emerges, its calm but inescapable swing courted by additional melodic tendrils from the guitars of Håvard Haga and vocalist Trond Fagernes. It was pure temptation to our ears, the swarthy blend of their lures irresistible and swiftly complemented by the dark enticement of Kenneth Eknes’ atmosphere weaving synth and Fagernes’ potent voice. The rhythmic captivation of Petter Gudim Marberg’s bass and the crisp swings of drummer Ola J. Kyrkjeeide reinforced the grip the song quickly held, it only tightening its hold as the layers of psychedelically lit post punk infested body and psyche.

The following Before I Fall makes a similarly magnetic entrance, the bass of this time Fagernes walking magnetically through ears with the melodic intimation of the guitars for company.  Like a psych washed fusion of Dead Can Dance, My Bloody Valentine, and Fields Of The Nephilim, the song fascinated and tantalised in equal measure. Its heavy emotion and senses wrapping shadows unavoidably infested the imagination but equally the song tempted the body into calm but definite involvement even as its darkness consumed. The fact that the song did not bring the same lust as for its predecessor or successor is simply down to their might, the song only magnetism.

The best track to our ears is Alma’s Sermon, its swing and melodic dance manna to our musical instincts and passions. Flirting with both through something akin to The Orson Family assimilated by The Doors, the track ensnares ears with a hook which teases and pleasures as an insatiable creative appetite supports it from within a web of melodic suggestion from the guitars. All the while, rhythms manipulate attention and hips like a puppeteer with the tones of Fagernes as alluring as they shimmer and echo the song’s dark magnetism.

Spiders Seek with the opener is a close contender to that favourite track choice as it completes the release, the intrigue soaked encounter cinematic in its atmosphere, intimate in its breath. The keys simply seduced our ears, their seemingly familiar yet unique enterprise a spark for the imagination on their own, the suggested drama thoughts conjured only accentuated by the dark catchiness of the bass with Marberg back plucking the strings, the hypnotic stroll of the beats, and the guitar’s sonic wiring.

It is a superb end to a magnificent release. Observed in a Dream only pleasured and excited but the Premonition EP has left it in its wake with ease. Goodness knows what the band’s forthcoming full-length will do…We cannot wait.

The Premonition EP is out now digitally and on CD via the band’s own label Night Cult Records @ https://mayflowermadame.bandcamp.com  as well as being available on cassette via Black Verb Records (Germany), SpiderChild Records (US) and Custom Made Music (US).

https://www.facebook.com/mayflowermadame

Pete RingMaster 26/05/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

 

Chris Mullin – Sooner or Later

Last year Chris Mullin, the bassist/co-songwriter of Liverpool outfit The Sums, took time out to explore the solo side of his musical imagination, the result a debut EP which was as richly enjoyable as it was heartfelt. This year he has done the same. Momentarily taking time away from recording The Sum’s third album, Mullins has created and unveiled a new collection of tracks in the shape of the Sooner or Later EP, an encounter which simply puts its impressive predecessor in the shade.

Also former member of Hurricane #1, Mullin has been a potent part of his home city’s current musical fabric through The Sums, his other projects and writing and also producing. As shown by the previous Myself Fooling Me EP, his solo side music has the potential to be just as impacting; indeed the introduction to his own sounds easily drew acclaim and attention. As suggested, Sooner or Later builds on and eclipses the emotively woven and sensitively delivered sounds of its predecessor. It has a spring in its step contrasting the melancholic gait of the first release but still embraces its calm and intimacy with fresh adventure and imagination.

Released on his self-owned Nowhere Music, Sooner or Later opens up with the immediately infectious Lonely Fools. Its initial melodic clang easily tempted ears, the subsequent reflective stroll centred by bass, voice, and guitar captivating them as melodic shimmers and sonic caresses surround the Mullin’s lure. Though not exactly in sound, there is something of Pete Wylie to the outstanding track, a slice of indie pop intimation and infection which just lit our ears and appetite.

The following Just Want You to Know is equally as magnetic, its instinctive catchiness aligned to personal openness in tone and word. Rhythms again entice as keys suggest and guitars weave, vocals making their earnest declaration with equal allurement and sincerity. As the first, the song is nothing less than contagious pleasure, third song, Dissatisfied Mind, enticing from the same instinctive template. Its shadows come with hopeful light, its emotional insecurity with a vibrancy that wants to escape within a weave of sound which just seduced ears.

The track completes easily the three best songs from Mullin’s solo work yet, a trio alone making Sooner or Later one irresistible proposition with the icing on the cake being its title track. An acoustic croon with imagination embracing orchestration, bold adventure, and organic catchiness understated but lively as it infests the spirit, the track just enthrals as it pleasures; those few words pretty much summing up the Sooner or Later EP as a whole.

The rumour is that Mullin’s next offering might be a full-length adventure; we for one are not only up for that, after Sooner or Later, we are greedy for it.

Sooner or Later is out now on Nowhere Music, available as download only from most stores and https://chrismullin.bandcamp.com/album/sooner-or-later

https://chrismullin.net/   https://www.facebook.com/chrismully   https://twitter.com/chrismullin74

Pete RingMaster 24/05/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright