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

Hostile Array – Self Titled

With a sound delivering a punch as rich and inescapable as that of the heart and lyrical confrontation it surrounds, the self-titled debut album from US post hardcore outfit Hostile Array s one striking and impressive introduction. That forceful, indeed imposing attack though comes in layers of enterprise and imagination which equally enticed and ignited an always searching appetite for fresh, exciting, and individual.

Emerging in the initial weeks of 2017, Maryland hailing Hostile Array have already hinted at the potential of the album and gave a rich taster of their sound through a couple of singles. Their music is tagged as post hardcore but has real depth and adventure to its character embracing an array of metal and punk spices alongside inspirations cited as including Underoath, Norma Jean, Silent Planet, and Architects. Consisting of Brendan Frey, Garrison Frey, Hector Fernandez, Fredy Menjivar, and Andrew Markle, the band also has a ferocious lyrical intent and touch, songs getting their claws into political and social issues, corruptions, and ill-doings.

The album opens up with the outstanding Herd Instinct, the track one of those first couple of singles luring keen attention. Sonic intrusion and rhythmic baiting opens its tempting, a great grumbling bass soon in tandem with fury fuelled throat rasping vocals. Quickly though there is imaginative hints licking at ears, blossoming with melodic enticement and wicked hooks as the roar continues to harass air and social mentality. It is a cauldron which continues to evolve, metal bred textures coursing hardcore irritability; invention escalated by the potent landscape of clean and raw vocal dexterity.

Bastardized follows with its own ferocious incursion, snarling and blistering the senses from its first breath before sharing a more nu-metal natured breath with a touch of bands like Spineshank to it. Snapping and jabbing at ears, the track springs toxic contagion and intense discontent within an atmospheric melody stranded weave; seducing whilst preying on the listener before Wiretap uncages its own ferocious animus with instinctive catchiness and melodic suggestion at its core. There is a whiff of Deftones meets Architects to its growing body but to be honest as all hints offered to tracks, the Hostile Array sound absorbs and turns all in its own individuality.

Next up Devoid brawls and hollers within atmospheric smog next, it’s calm but portentous climate an emotive glaze to an inner volatile frustration while Migrant Myth is a net of metallic wiring around a blaze of unbridled displeasure. Both tracks invigorate their already resourceful landscapes with tenaciously adventurous twists and turns spun from unpredictable and contrasting textures. The second of the two is immense, too short but a thrilling trespass of persuasive enterprise igniting the passions for the following sonic and melodic fire of Newspeak; a track quickly burying itself in ears with emotional intensity and melodies as descriptive as the words they colour.

New single Warmonger is next, looming up from a distance with the animosity and skilled dexterity its title suggests. The throaty grumble of the bass and the composed bone splitting swings of beats incite the sonic flames and vocal voracity which climbs their irritability; they in turn like accelerant sparking melodic shimmers into senses broiling, emotionally burning flames.

Viciousness and tempting contagion shape up Calloused, it as body inspiring infectious as it is vocally and lyrically scathing with a tapestry of flavours and invention to accentuate both aspects. The song flows straight into the waiting jaws and feuding tendrils of Bluebird, it an equally accomplished and magnetic patchwork of ire led emotions and flavours woven into one fluid and riveting trespass.

Final track Disillusioned is a pyre of punk and metal malcontent and emotional grievance within a skilled bedlam of imagination and ferocity. It is a powerful striking last attack in a charge of nothing but; a truly memorable departure demanding a swift return to the album to face, endure, and thrill at its creative challenge and vendetta on world ills. There have not been too many post hardcore bred releases which have truly fired us up in the past couple of years but Hostile Array have not only provided such a treat but one which deserves to be considered as the best of the lot.

The Hostile Array album is released June 1st, available @ https://hostilearray.bandcamp.com/album/hostile-array

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

Pete RingMaster 29/05/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Architect Of Disease – The Eerie Glow Of Darkness

Architect Of Disease is a black metal band from the Polish city of Łódź; a band with a sound infested with death metal malevolence among other extreme flavours and a technical prowess and imagination which just entices attention. We have just been presented with their second album The Eerie Glow Of Darkness, a sinister indeed pestilential affair which more than deserves a minute of your exploration.

Formed in 2012, Architect Of Disease released their debut album, Open the Hearts, in 2013. Its line-up features members of bands such as Doomster Reich, Alastor, and Deep Desolation in its ranks. As mentioned, The Eerie Glow Of Darkness is our introduction to the quintet and one which quickly hooked real attention and increasing fascination.

Death Call is first up on the album, its rhythmic bait instant inducement quickly followed by the flowing scourge of the guitars and invasively visceral vocals. It is a striking start which only escalates as the track shuffles its attack; punk predation, noise hostility, and melodic toxicity all woven into one magnetic and exhilarating animus.

The following W.W.E. prowls the senses as it saunters through ears next, sonic rapacity courting rhythmic harrying as vocal squalls blow. Grooves dictate assault and reception, their lures a venomous seduction and arousal against the raw and thick rancor exuding from everything else. Though not quite as virulent as its predecessor, the song easily gets under the skin before making way for the similarly inhospitable yet compelling Cycle of Change. It too is a web of intensity and antipathy; unpredictable enough to surprise, constantly narrow-mindedly intrusive to desecrate senses and imagination.

Through the tantalising uncanny invitation of Eerie Glow and its subsequent melodically haunting discord and the ruinous rock ‘n’ roll of Illumination of Abyss, the album kept its perpetual captivation in top gear, both tracks individually intriguing and unitedly magnetic. Each also epitomises the invention and vindictive charm of the release nurtured on a blend of the familiar and imaginative; again that varied fusion of styles and flavours colluding to entice and at times enslave.

The torturous roar of Everlasting Torment springs from another manipulative rhythmic shuffle wrapped in sonic vitriol and enterprise while Premature Death stalks as it suffocates the senses in its infernal rancor and blackened malice veined with melodic intimation.

The Eerie Glow Of Darkness is completed by the grievous temptation and nagging, almost viral infectiousness of Chant of Lord; grooves and hooks aligning in a feral but rousingly controlled incitement of ears and thoughts. Again you can only call it voracious, malignant rock ‘n’ roll and once more only recommend its aberrant allure and the album’s richness it helps serve.

A release black, death, and extreme metal fans should find plenty to feast upon, The Eerie Glow Of Darkness gripped and impressed with increasing strength and rigour. It is a cavern of ruin, spite, and attraction; an encounter deserving of much more recognition we suggest.

The Eerie Glow Of Darkness is available through The End of Time Records.

https://www.facebook.com/Architect-Of-Disease-425689324215174/

Pete RingMaster 29/05/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Infrared – Saviours

Pic By Gord Weber

Recent times have seen a growing wealth of eighties bred metal bands rising from their assumed demise or slumber. Thrash metal especially seems to have that power of resurrection. Some of those bands are venturing into new areas, some simply continuing what they did best back in the day which lured potent attention, success and reputation. Infrared sits in the second camp, their love and hunger for classic thrash openly inspired by contemporarys like the Big 4 as well as the influence of Sabbath, Maiden and the likes. As old school thrash never dates or tires in our ears, a resourcefully woven and imaginatively delivered encounter of said genre has a welcoming place and the new album from the Canadians is that and more.

Hailing from Ottawa, Infrared grew from local legends to stirring real attention within the national metal scene. Their sound was and is rooted in 70s and early 80s metal, bands such as Accept, Scorpions, and Judas Priest alongside those already mentioned inspirations on the quartet. Their rise came to a halt as life took members down different paths until 2014 saw three of the original four reuniting; vocalist/guitarist Armin Kamal, guitarist Kirk Gidley, and drummer Alain Groulx coming together again. Original bassist Shawn Thompson had since relocated to Miami so Mike Forbes was brought in to complete the line-up. The foursome then released debut album No Peace which featured songs written all those years ago. Now successor Saviours brings eight brand new tracks to ears, songs which swiftly grabbed ours as themes of “demagogues, dictators, and religious leaders professing to be the saviours of the world but instead inflict the most brutal attacks on humanity imaginable” roared.

Saviours erupts into life with Project Karma its opening magnetic yet portentous lure, one becoming even predacious as it prowls the senses. A delicious groove spears it’s stalking, a swinging proposal aflame with sonic enterprise and rhythmic incitement. Its initial lengthy instrumental is irresistible and only accentuated once the warrior tones of Kamal backed by the band head the song’s even fuller assault. Familiar and fresh hues collude in its web, imagination blossoming across its fiery body as a tremendous start to Saviours is set.

That predatory air retains its presence within The Demagogue, the following song also a court of threat and contagion which almost swaggers around ears as the guitars spin their sonic threads and rhythms pounce. Like a fusion of bands like Testament and Slayer, it hits the spot; increasing its temptation as calmer climes are ventured and melodic intimation embraced. It’s subsequent rising heat and intensity brings it back to its original sonic inference before Saviour explores an even darker trespass of menace and seduction. As we suggested, Infrared is not set on reinventing the wheel of thrash metal or even their core sound but there is a bold lining of adventure and imagination which makes their music and especially this track stand out.

Through the melodic and melancholic elegance to tempestuous roar of The Fallen and the voracious charge of All In Favour the album just hit the spot. Across both tracks the vocals of Kamal added more incitement to an appetite already happily feasting on the individual prowess and enterprise of the band, Forbes’ bass especially dark liquor stirring our taste buds. They are all attributes just as persuasive within the predatory They Kill For Gods and Father of Lies with its intensive atmosphere over increasingly manic and ferocious entrapment around demonic character. The most adventurous of all the tracks it simply enthralled.

The album finishes off with Genocide Convention, a trash dervish of sound and aggression with spiralling sonic wires and senses blistering turbulence. Our favourite track it brings the thoroughly and increasingly enjoyable release to a mighty close.

Uniqueness might be a rarity compared to familiarity within Saviours but from an already established base it breeds fresh adventure and captivation. The album lit our pleasure from start to finish and Infrared is further proof that very good things can only get better with age.

Saviours is out now through iTunes and other stores as well as @ https://infraredmetal.bandcamp.com

http://infraredmetal.ca   https://www.facebook.com/infraredmetal   https://twitter.com/infraredmetal

Pete RingMaster 27/05/2018

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