Desert Storm – Omens

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pete RingMaster 02/06/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview

Old Bones – Sleepwalker

They call it ”powerslop deathrock”, we call it rapaciously virulent rock ‘n’ roll but however you wish to tag the sound of Old Bones, it makes for one very satisfying and rousing time within their debut EP, Sleepwalker.

Hailing from Long Island, New York, Old Bones is a trio consisting of guitarists/vocalists Anthony Dallolio and Johnny Dadabo, and bassist/vocalist Dan Walsh. Emerging from two decades plus of friendship and finding the last incentive to finally be serious about the project after watching a Mastodon/Opeth show, the band has spent the past two and a half years “writing, rewriting, revising, scrapping, starting over and writing songs until our fingers bled and our throats were shot. These five songs represent our literal blood, sweat, and tears to tell stories ranging from extra-terrestrials to loneliness and grief, and every note is a piece of our soul screaming to be heard.” It is a suggestion that nothing was left at the table by the time the EP was borne and listening to its stomping quintet of tracks that physical intensity alone is unmistakable.

Fusing various metal and heavy rock essences with a mischievous imagination, Old Bones spring a sound which demands attention. Familiarity aligns with individuality throughout, the latter the freshest and most captivating aspect of a sound which is as contagious a trespass as you would wish for. There are at times moments which feel like they organically burst free even catching the band unawares but only add to the great unpredictability and enterprise striking ears.

Enlisting drummer Griffin McCarthy (Letter of Marque) for its recording at Vudu Studios, with Walsh a later addition to the mix, Sleepwalker immediately set about the senses with opener Elegy. Its thick melodic opener carries temptation and threat, its amble through ears as menacing as it is inviting. Raw throated vocals ride the grooved lines soon sparking a keen appetite while the following clean vocals make for an equally potent aspect, the mix of feral and warmly catchy swiftly captivating and addictive. There is plenty more going on though; virulent hooks and skilled melodic trails rising up as keenly as predacious riffs and punchy rhythms.

The impressive start continues with INVADERS which straightaway has ears in the palms of its hands as grunge and punk essences infest alternative rock bred agility. Again the untamed instincts of the band are bold and gripping, the song unapologetically infectious and just as pungently aggressive while taking favourite track honours before the EP’s title track muscularly ambles in. McCarthy’s rhythms gripped ears and appetite from its first breath, equally carnal riffs a welcome treat before melody rich imagination weaves another enterprising tapestry of temptation and surprise while extreme and progressive metal traits only add to the drama and incitement.

Colossus and Sights & Sounds / Electric Frankenstein bring even greater flavour and variety to the release; the first wild and ferocious rock ‘n’ roll at its core engaging with a host of just as voracious flavours and skilfully nurtured sonic flirtation. It too emerged a major favourite moment within Sleepwalker while close behind, the latter of the pair strolls the heaviest landscapes of rock and grooviest plateaus of metal to spring a Black Tusk meets Mastodon meets Tool like incitement.

Both provide ears, as the EP overall, with a tide of aspects to greedily dine on and as great a bundle of reasons to eagerly recommend Old Bones and their Sleepwalker.

Sleepwalker is out now; available @ https://oldbonesny.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.facebook.com/OldBonesNY

Pete RingMaster 19/05/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview

Tiny Fighter – Going Home

photo by Marcos Engman (aka Mecno)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pete RingMaster 02/06/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview

Hallows – Subtle

photo by Daniel Kastner

Subtle is the debut EP from Seattle based Hallows; a collection of tracks which resonated in ears and the imagination with increasing effect listen by listen and encounters that are sure to fascinate any appetite for darkwave and post punk exploration.

Consisting of Dom R. (vocals, guitar, synth, drum programming) and Vanee D. (vocals, synth, bass), Hallows emerged in 2018 in Minneapolis / St. Pau before relocating. As their first EP reveals, the duo create songs and soundscapes as atmospherically revealing as they are post punk bred and dark wave mysterious. Each of the five tracks within Subtle make for captivating encounters which got under the skin in varying degrees but all deeply fascinated from first to last tenebrific breath.

Even in the individual character of their sound, Hallows reflect inspirations from modern peers like Soft Kill and Ritual Howls but equally there are certain aspects which bear essences of eighties bred bands. EP opener Out Of Sync is a lure of dark shadows and electronic suggestion, its web portentous in a way yet melodic radiant before the following title track consumed attention. Around the temptation of Vanee’s warm tones, its rhythmic touch carries intimation of early March Violets, almost concussive small explosions on the senses drawing that echo which is only enhanced by the dark throes of bass and Dom’s equally inky tones. This is turn brings thoughts to the likes of Skeletal Family and Children on Stun yet firmly Hallows set their own identity down, the track a striking persuasion.

In a Sleeping World is next up, rhythmic bait tapping air within a sonic shimmer initially before the song breaks into a lively dawdling gait lit by electronic phosphorescence. Again there is an old school breath to the track colluding with a fresh intense sigh carrying a touch of Dark Register to it, but once more the duo breed their own unique presence and a moment which only entangled ears and imagination before The Call // Ravenous dug even deeper into the psyche. Mystery and darkness soak every second of its dramatic presence, it’s almost claustrophobic air lit by electronic beacons of sound and seduction as again the union of vocals unite imposing shadows and streetlight like safety. Effortlessly compelling, the song is superb and with the title track stealing top honours.

The EP ends with Far Too Gone, a muggy bordering on suffocating hug of sound and atmospheric gravity which subsequently evolves into a just as thick and ravenous mist of ephemeral beauty and synth borne temptation if still shrouded by heavy invasive clouds of matching intimation. It is a spellbinding and gripping conclusion to a similarly hypnotic encounter, one announcing Hallows as one great reward in embracing darkness.

The Subtle EP is out now via Phage Tapes; available @ https://hallows.bandcamp.com/album/subtle

https://www.facebook.com/hallows.seattle

Pete RingMaster 02/06/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview

Combos – Steelo

Norwegian punk has not been slow in coming forward and grabbing our eager attention over recent years and the release of Steelo introduces another band we have made room in our hungry appetite for. It is the debut album of Trondheim-based punk/noise rock quintet Combos, a band which springs a voracious roar as animated and lively as it is defiantly antagonistic.

Emerging at the tail end of 2018, Combos was founded by guitarist/song writer Thomas Antonsen, vocalist Axel Møller Olsen, and drummer Andreas Kjøl Berg. Forging a rapaciously catchy sound from a fusion of punk and noise rock, the trio soon hooked praise and attention at home. Now with bassist Jørgen Wassvik and guitarist Terje Bjørndahl in their ranks, the quintet is setting their sights on bigger borders to arouse; a mission the Loyal Blood Records released Steelo openly shows the creative armoury to achieve.

Combos’ sound has something of a Shelter meets Swound! accosted by Bokassa to it. It is immediately infectious, just as swiftly aggressive and invasive, and an incitement of manipulation we could find few defences to. EP opener Boom Shakalaka tells you all you need to know about the holler and addictive nature of their creative stomping. Instantly rhythms are forcibly jabbing at the senses as riffs nag on punk instincts, their united incitement enough to have limbs punching even before the highly virulent encouragement of vocals and swinging rhythms. As shown across previous tracks, the band cast choruses which feed on one’s inner yell, easy to leap upon and share moments one’s own riotous body and roaring tones with. All the same, if not as bold as elsewhere upon the EP, twists and turns bring imagination and stirring enterprise, every second of the song listener orchestration.

Kjøl Berg’s dexterous beats are a potent essence within Steelo and an immediately compelling introduction to next up Meme Supreme. His rhythms demand attention, continuing to direct proceedings as guitars and vocals jump on his creative animation. Eventually the track bursts into a noisy clamour retaining a catchiness increasingly escalated by the drummer’s gripping rhythmic athletics which only continues within Mad Beef and its niggling irritability amidst physical tenacity. The delicious growl of Wassvik’s bass had us quickly hooked as too the sonic web cast by the guitars before it all descends into a smog like trespass, this only bringing greater focus on factors behind it when clearing.

Nerdz is a spiral of grooves and rhythmic fingering from its first breath, a song sharing a broader flavouring of sound as post punk and hardcore essences collude with its noise bred instincts while Make Money Take Money is a pandemonium of styles and temptation which is chained by melodic restraint until bursting upon ears in another commotion of a chorus. That post punk hue again enjoyably tainted the raucous spirit of the trespass and again both tracks left us greedy for more which All About The Wex heartily fed. A slice of feral rock ‘n’ roll, it teases with its initial distant baiting before leaping upon ears with noise bound audacity and physical dexterity; it all coated in a garage bed rascality.

The EP is completed by Bro In Pain and its title track; the first also laying down its addiction through ravenous beats before reaping its subservient rewards through vocal and melodic shenanigans. There is a touch of Shevils to the song in certain moments but as throughout the release belongs distinctly to Combos as too the second of the pair, the magnificent Steelo again entangling noise and post punk lures to viral contagion and inescapable manipulation.

The word was that Combos is one of the most promising up-and coming Norwegian bands; well they are here face to face with the world with Steelo, both refusing to be ignored and more than living up to that suggestion.

Steelo is out now through Loyal Blood Records.

https://www.facebook.com/combosofficial

Pete RingMaster 19/05/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview

Nived – Self Titled EP

Sharing a quartet of emotionally bred, atmospherically captivating proposals, the self-titled debut EP from US singer/songwriter Nived is described as ‘sensory seductive’ and we have to say we cannot think of a better way to describe the captivating encounter.

Hailing from a city with instinctive assumptions made to music coming from within, Nashville based Nived quickly pushes aside expectations with his blend of emo/alternative rock and dark pop, one further laced with industrial like texturing. Even that does not quite reveal all of the hues making up the character of the songs within his first EP, a release which swiftly lured attention but has only further captivated thereon in.

See is the first track and immediately wraps an enticing melodic strand around ears. Electronic intimation soon joins its suggestion as too Nived’s similarly magnetic tones; it all a seductive and emotionally bred hug on the senses. Shadows float across its darkened pop landscape, those emo hues as keenly emotive in its catchy reflection and calmly lively amble.

The following Shame is just as inventively crafted; darkness and light colluding in a tapestry of emotion and electronic radiance as vocals and words portray the crepuscular hue of its heart. Rock and indie spices only add further depth and colour to its short but potent presence before Cry reveals its heavier rock heart and industrially dusted touch. Our favourite track, it almost taunts with its singular declaration before becoming a flood of seduction within electronic reassurance; a ballad which continues to haunt the imagination.

The release is concluded by Shadow, a song arising within the darkest shadows upon the EP to bare its melancholic elegance and understated but openly tempestuous heart; one welcoming the darkest thoughts and compulsions.

It is a fine end to a release which has only grown from firmly enjoyable to thickly compelling by the listen; its relatable darkness and dreamy light proving keen company in a time of the kind of isolation that can breed its own dark intimacy.

The Nived EP is out now.

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

Pete RingMaster 19/05/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview

Ignea — The Realms of Fire and Death

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pete RingMaster 19/05/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

South Haven – Motion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Surely reason enough to pay South Haven a visit.

Motion is out now through Prime Collective across most stores.

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

Pete RingMaster 14/05/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

The Mystery Plan – Zsa Zsa

photo by Daniel Coston

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pete RingMaster 23/05/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

Cauls – Epoché

It is hard to know what happens to UK outfit Cauls between releases but there seems to be a regular threat of demise around them. That might be over dramatic or not but between the 2012 release of the 2 EP and five years later debut album, Recherché, the band almost came to an end. Now they have returned with Part 1 of a “2 part Prog extravaganza” and again it sees the band rise from another threat to existence and as before with one of the most striking and compelling things from them yet.

It was the departure of vocalist Michael Marwood when he relocated to New Zealand which almost brought the Newcastle upon Tyne band to an end since the release of their acclaimed full-length. Another option considered was going on as an instrumental proposition but it was the discovery of trained soprano Katie Oswell which brought back the spark and inspiration to continue and listening to Epoché we can all be thankful to that unearthing. It is fair to say though with their sound richer, fuller and bolder than ever, the addition of a second guitarist and keyboardist has been just as important to the impressive evolution from the enterprise making Recherché so enjoyable and eagerly praised.

As mentioned Epoché is the first part of the new album with Part 2, Ataraxia, due later this year. The four track encounter is a tapestry of progressive and melodic rock equally embracing an array of other flavours and styles within its inventive walls. Inspirations to the sextet of Chris McManus, Graham Morris, Kye Walker, Michael Anderson, Josh Ingledew, and Oswell include the likes of The Mars Volta and Tool and in some ways both can be suggested without that info by listening to the new release yet it firmly and swiftly sets out the individuality which has increasingly grown across the band’s records.

Bloodlines opens things up and swiftly reveals the new imagination and depth to the band’s mix of alternative and progressive rock. Its gentle and intriguing, almost sinister beginnings evokes attention and anticipation, both increasingly rewarded as Oswell soon reveals her striking presence within the growing web of guitar and keys bred enterprise. Engaging melodies rise from all aspects, the song’s creative tension soon breaking in a vocal and sonic roar just as contagious as the lead to its eruption. The haunting aspect of voice and melody continues to seduce within the more tempestuous landscape uncovered, every moment and turn bringing new adventure and temptation to consider and devour.

It is a superb start to the encounter, fascination already keenly bred and soon as busy as ears with the following and more animated exploits of The Martyr. It’s robust and muscular beginnings though soon ebbs to another melodic calm to radiate seduction and intimation yet that too a mere moment in the mercurial soundscape unveiling before the listener. Oswell is a magnet in its midst, every rising of her lyrical and vocal fire matched by a fervour and fever in sound and the progressive imagination and craft breeding them.

The serenity bringing the following Lilith to the surface is another wrapped in shadow and portentous suggestion, its tranquillity seemingly ill-omened though Oswell soon appeases the threat with her radiance; keys and guitar a similar caress. It is a disquiet which will have its say though and subsequently ignites another restless landscape in just one more song within Epoché which left us enthralled in so many ways.

There is a great challenging aspect to the Cauls writing and sound too which some might take less openly to than others but equally it brings a freshness and drama to their music which hungrily rewards. Even so their new offering is also arguably their most catchy and dare we say at times rock pop friendly with final track, The Saboteur, epitomising that infection. As those before it, it is a tempest of tension and physical agility but often erupts into the catchiest most virulent moments led by the swing of Oswell’s delivery and a flurry of ear grabbing hooks. It ensures a song which from start to finish lures and holds attention with ease and increasing captivation, much as the release itself.

Whatever the challenges Cauls have faced between records, it consistently seems to bring them to a greater state of invention and imagination, Epoché the greatest outcome yet.

Epoché is available now @ https://cauls.bandcamp.com/album/epoch

https://www.facebook.com/Caulsband/

Pete RingMaster 19/05/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright