The Sums – Start At The Finish

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Not so much rising from the ashes of 90’s indie chart topping band Smaller but an evolution of, Liverpool band The Sums is one of those proposals which suddenly swoops on the unsuspecting to unveil one captivating proposition. Certainly that is the situation for us, though for those in the know and fans of their previous guise, the band and its striking presence will be no surprise. What is the same for everyone is the impressive and compelling arrival of new album Start At The Finish on ears and imagination. Consisting of thirteen pop rock offerings weaving flavours from the past decades into tantalising new infections, the bands second full-length is one stomp of melodic and creative magnetism.

The quartet as said emerged from Smaller, a band making a potent contribution to the UK Brit pop scene and whose Badly Badly is listed as one of Noel Gallagher’s all-time favourite albums. Fronted by singer songwriter Peter ‘Digsy’ Deary, the band hit problems from that successful release when their label folded before its successor could be released, an encounter never seeing the light of day. The band continued with various line-up changes marking the years, until in 2005 Digsy and bassist Chris Mullin decided to bring the band to a close and re-emerge as The Sums with a new creative direction in tow. The band had just recorded a new collection of songs showing this evolution in sound so the time was right to regroup and change the band name. First album If Only…,after early demo Treat Your Victim was the first major result of the move, a very well-received offering lighting potent attention the band’s way.

It was in hindsight just the base and teaser to bigger enthralling things, specifically the eagerly awaited Start at the Finish. It is an album which from beginning to end has ears and energies engrossed and at times really ignites a blaze of passion for its almost mischievous enterprise. One such moment comes in the tempting shape of the album’s opener and title track. Start At The Finish opens on a cosmic dazzle of sound, relaxing for an acoustic strum to caress ears and then unleashing a firmer compelling embrace led by a slow heavy bass stroll and exotic melodic radiance. This turn of events is soon joined by the distinct vocal tones of Digsy, his voice a perfect mix of raw touches and pure infectiousness brought with almost side show barker like mastery. The song itself continues to croon and slowly wrap around the senses, its burst of rock intensity as enthralling as the shadow kissed smouldering guiding its persuasion. The track is glorious, addictive, and an inescapable coaxing into the album.

10806237_10154758298730526_1475424889455222043_n     A bluesy touch of guitar opens up the following Cliché, making way for a gentler acoustic hug and the entry of the vocals, before returning straight after with even brighter flames. The rhythms of Mullin and drummer Chris Campbell provide a firm if undemanding frame for the sonic enterprise cast by the guitars of Lee Watson and Digsy, but all together it makes for a highly enjoyable blues rock seeded stomp matched in success by Come On Down right after. Catchy from its first breath, with a chorus impossible not to lend your own tones to, the song has a strong Beatle-esque whisper to its melodies and harmonies and a riveting swing to its whole body, though it and its predecessor are shaded out just a little by the excellent I Won’t which follows them. A little pop punk, a little beat, and completely contagious, the song romps with a great mix of muscular reserve and addictive energy. It is swiftly an irresistible prospect but digs deeper with its flashes of warped devilry as hooks explode across it with discord lit tempting.

Nobody makes an enjoyable companion next, its opening balladry leading into a highly agreeable, and of course should be assumed catchy, rock folk/pop punk forged stroll with a hint of Weezer to it. It is immediately overshadowed though by Get Out Clause. Its opening clockwork rhythmic enticing, (Trumpton anybody?), is the prelude to an outstanding punk ‘n’ roll stamping, though again one cast upon a melodically smouldering and controlled incitement. It has a great snarl to it too, vocally and inventively, whilst its imagination provides a web of fascination employing essences of post punk, new wave, and folk rock.

The reflective and intriguing charm of It’s You cups ears in a sultry haze initially before expelling blues rock winds whilst its successor I’m Not Very Good has a certain XTC elegance and imagination to its captivation. It is also flavoured by the guest vocals of Dave McCabe of the Zutons, who provides a great sandy growl of a passage mid-way and helps turn a great blues veined melodic rock song into another peak of Start At the Finish.

Every song comes with great unpredictability and surprising attention grabbing twists and hooks, this no exception with its guitar and vocal crafted devilry or indeed neither the melodic flight that is Hose Me Dow. Providing its mesmeric croon with almost carnival like quicksteps and harmonic smooches, it is an adventure of ideation and sound again bringing something extra to the character of the album and helping it stand apart from the crowd.

Vegetable is another track which easily grips ears and thoughts if not quite lighting their emotions as dramatically as other tracks, whilst Maybe One Day is a bewitching serenade with a great feel of Holly Johnson meets The Killers to it, and a song which only blossoms to greater heights with its orchestral infused climax.

The album is brought to a close by firstly the tangy, acoustic and atmospherically rich croon of Bad Move and lastly the smoky blues treat of Something’s Afoot. The final song enters on a brilliant deranged vocal and rhythm shuffle and proceeds to coat its length with sonic liquor and melodic spicing set ablaze by the dusty growls of Digsy and a juicy guitar solo.

Produced by Mullin & Pat O’Shaughnessy, and themed by tales of ‘achieving whilst being the underdog’, Start At the Finish just lights up and involves ears and imagination for its whole length. It might not become your most favourite album this year, though it just as easily could, but it and The Sums will be one you return to time and time again with eager haste.

Start At the Finish is available now @ http://thesums.net/store/

https://www.facebook.com/TheSumsofficial/

RingMaster 21/03/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://reputationradio.yooco.org/

Oh Captive – Two Mirrors

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It is hard to supress a roar of frustration and disappointment when after enjoying a new and thrilling encounter from a band with all the tools and sounds to be a major presence in British alternative rock, they announce ‘on the eve’ of its unveiling they are to be no more. That is what has happened with Bristol quartet Oh Captive. Just a couple or so weeks before new EP Two Mirrors is released to light up ears and appetites, the band announced it had called it a day, though it might emerge to be more an internal evolution resulting in a name change and new direction rather than a full departure. Time will tell but whatever the outcome, they leave behind two impressive releases and a collection of vibrant and inventive songs, their latest the most captivating yet.

Formed in 2012, Oh Captive swiftly lit their local music scene and subsequently set about the whole UK scene with their energetic live presence, playing with the likes of Sonic Boom Six, UK Subs, Straight Lines, Max Raptor, Sharks, Blitz Kids, I Divide, Fighting With Wire, and Scholars along the way. Their sound has drawn comparisons to the likes of Biffy Clyro and Twin Atlantic, open and potent spices in the band’s debut EP Advance Creature, which was released in the March of 2013. It was a stirring and dynamic offering rippling with a potential which has been realised with sizeable success within Two Mirrors. The past year has seen Oh Captive supporting the likes of Marmozets and Arcane Roots, and make highly successful appearances at festivals such as Leopalooza and New Age, whilst media attention has grown as potently too. Now it may be over, but if so the band has gone out with a bang and ensured attention for their next exploits will be eagerly attentive.

Oh Captive - Cover Artwork   Two Mirrors opens with Recover, an instant ear grabbing proposition as vocalist Tim Kelly and a tangy rub of guitar combine a minimalistic but highly tempting bait to bring the song into view. It is not long before the heavy throated bassline of Tom Hitchins and the punchy beats of drummer Chris Hill leap in, accompanied by sonic flames cast by the guitars of Curtis King and Kelly. Immediately there is a drama to song and sound, light and dark textures colluding in an imposing but inviting web. Settling down a little for the continuation of the narrative from Kelly, the song increases its lure as it builds to energetic crescendos and an anthemic chorus. There are no major surprises in the melody soaked track but there is a bold invention to match its gait, which leaves expectations and predictability absent protagonists in the outstanding encounter.

The impressive start is backed with similar strength by Motion / No Motion. The second song is a rhythmically raucous stomp from its first breath with Hitchins offering a magnetic lure of a bassline. It is a dark coaxing surrounded by the concussive stick ability of Hill, a thick drawing of attention never wavering even as they are immersed in the sonic and melodic blaze of the guitars and the ever impressing tones of Kelly. There is something missing compared to its predecessor though, a small element just stopping it drawing the lustier satisfaction bred by Recover, but nevertheless the song has feet and imagination leaping in tandem with its resourceful enterprise.

Live Fast Don’t Last explores more of a croon for its creative shape and emotive intensity next. It has a slower flow and a more immersive canvas than the last songs with melodic tenacity and evocative expression from the vocals providing a deeper reflective colour and emotion to the encounter. It smoulders and tempts pleasingly as it shows another side and depth to the band’s songwriting and its creative realisation, though again cannot quite emulate the success of the first track and indeed its successor.

The EP’s title track brings it all to a lively and impressive close. Two Mirrors bounds along with another invitingly dark bassline aligned to eagerly swung beats, whilst their union is drenched in an anthemic energy and charm which the band seems to conjure at ease. Veined by richly enticing and tenacious guitar craft, the song makes a pungent end to a fine and enthralling release. If this is to be the end of Oh Captive, song and EP has seen them go out on a high and will leave fans saddened and newcomers kicking themselves for not discovering their promise and quality before.

The Two Mirrors EP is available from March 23rd through all digital outlets.

https://www.facebook.com/ohcaptive

RingMaster 23/03/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://reputationradio.yooco.org/

Grenouer – Unwanted Today

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Russian metallers Grenouer are one of those bands which has been seemingly around for decades, two in fact, and increasingly been looking like they were about to break from relative obscurity into intensive spotlights within world metal through their recent releases. Certainly the Saint Petersburg quartet has been drawing stronger and broader attention over the past few years but still they have yet to make that big step; maybe though that moment has come with the release of new album Unwanted Today. A release bulging with melodic expression, grooved tenacity, and sharp hooks, it also carries a hungry snarl bred in the early days of the band, a combination which goes to make one rather impressive offering from a band surely poised to leap into the wider consciousness of the metal world.

Formed in 1992 by vocalist Andrey Ind and guitarist Alexander Motor, Grenouer has released seven albums to date with the last, Blood on the Face, a thrilling and gripping enticement confirming the creative invention and musical weight of the band for those in the know whilst luring a great flood of new appetites. Again released via Mausoleum Records, Unwanted Today takes its potency into new explorations of imagination and sound. It is not a big departure from or massive leap forward in their already established sound yet there is something fresh and unique at the new album’s heart which gives the release a new voice. Emerging twenty plus years ago, the band was a raw and uncompromising extreme metal proposition, but over time and records, a melodic and alternative metal exploration has evolved and now shows its finest blooms within Unwanted Today.

With its line-up completed by bassist Al Bolo and drummer Danny D, Grenouer works on the imagination right away with brief opener Awake, a cinematic and provocatively atmospheric piece with industrial clangs and suggestiveness courted by floating harmonic vocals. It is an imposingly picturesque lead into the album’s title track, a proposal instantly pouncing on ears with punchy rhythms and growling riffs. This in turn slips into an inviting embrace of gentle melodies within a warm ambience, though even this is courted by the early predacious shadows and sounds which take their turn leading the tempting ears. It is an excellent start to the album, the vocals of Ind as alluring and potent as ever whilst musically the song radiates attitude and seduction.

Things only grow in strength and contagion with the following pair of A Little Too Obsessed and Something Really Bad. The first of the two immediately has attention and appetite GrenouerUnwantedTodayenslaved, bounding in with a heavy stride and an addiction forging groove. It is a hook lingering even in the mellower twists of the song, just waiting to unleash its swagger and tenacious tempting, and always with increasing effect. Embracing essences of groove and nu metal as eagerly as the swing which infests song and listener, the track is modern metal with a nod to a diversity of styles and time, and quite brilliant. It also has a great, almost muggy air to its presence, and a bedlamic edge to its invention which shows its magnetism again in its successor, though maybe not as openly. This is another song which bewitches from its first sonic and vocal caress, and another unafraid to merge abrasing snarls of sound and grouchy basslines into a colourful and fascinating tapestry.

That dark bass toning and attitude also opens up On A Rainy Day next but in the arms of an electronic wrapping and melodic caress; voice, guitar, and keys a seducing contrast to the track’s equally flavoursome dark side. Their union is soaked in an increasing tempestuous air and intensity, one never overpowering what lies within but certainly and enjoyably giving it all a stormy and imposing landscape to colour. It is a similar blend of textures which lights up the rock/pop virulence of Blossoms In The Dust, a riveting croon of a song built on rising crescendos of sound and emotional energies. There is no escaping the mesmeric and creative romance of the song though it is soon eclipsed by the outstanding I Can’t Stand It. Everything about the song gets under the skin. From another bestial bass sound and accompanying stabbing beats to spicy melodies and soaring vocals, but especially in the unpredictable imagination and ingenuity which infects especially the latter two of aspects, the song is a compelling fascination and impossibly infectious.

   Daily Miracles is another primarily instrumental flight through evocative scenery, similar to how the album began and feeding thoughts further before Going To Stay immerses ears in its own individual melodic and emotional emprise of dark and light textures embroiled in a weave of electro rock spicing and ravenous Meshuggah like voracity. Its melodic side reminds of UAE Absolace but, as all tracks, the resulting entwining of flavours only results in an encounter with the familiarity of Grenouer alone.

Album and pleasures only continue to grow and excite as the fiercely enticing Point Of No Return unveils an invigorating maze of melodic and nu-metal equipped with the alternative flair of a Linkin Park, the inventive antagonism of a Mudvayne, and the intensive roar of a Prong. Escape from its claws is impossible as another peak is set in course of the release whilst the next up gentle balladry of Artificial Tears brings a moment to take a breath but not a slip of attentive focus on Unwanted Today. It is fair to say that it did not impact as powerfully as other songs on personal tastes, but reveals yet another side to the songwriting and charm of band sound to further feed a greedy appetite.

The same applies to Don’t Let Them Get You Down in many ways, the song missing a spark found in its predecessors but still adding its own thick slice of modern metal before the closing Clearway provides a short and delicious volatile come seductive proposal for ears and thoughts to sink within. A fine end to a great release, the track sums up Unwanted Today perfectly with its heavy and light, raw and elegant unions; creating another hypnotic adventure.

There are moments where some songs maybe have too similar a surface to others which without a deliberate concentration sees them losing some of their clear identity, but alone all show modern metal with its strongest diversity and imagination whilst together they ensure Unwanted Today is a seriously enjoyable encounter. Grenouer is knocking even harder on the fullest recognition of the metal scene now, how long they can refuse entry we will see.

Unwanted Today is available from March 20th via Mausoleum Records

https://www.facebook.com/grenouer   http://www.grenouer.com/

RingMaster 20/03/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://reputationradio.yooco.org/

Rhythmic slavery and expressive words: exploring the creative world of Dave Barbarossa

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 A potent and swiftly vocal roar for one particular band in the past months has been very noticeable in the London and UK underground scene, an eager buzz which led ourselves and colleagues at Reputation Radio to go check out live Cauldronated, the new band of punk legend Dave Barbarossa. This is a musician who has been the rhythmic driving force and inspiration behind Adam and The Ants, Bow Wow Wow, and…well the list goes on. Certainly those first two bands, and indeed Dave’s unique playing style left a legacy still inspiring artists today, and it is quite easy to suggest his new project with Eva Menon, has the potential to make the same potent impact. So excitedly we got in touch with the man to not only discover more about the band but also to find out about Dave’s acclaimed debut novel Mud Sharks which has just had a revised edition released via New Haven Publishing Ltd. Dave kindly agreed to let us throw a torrent of questions at him, subsequently taking us into the world of Cauldronated, the seeds and landscape to Mudsharks, the linking up with Adam Ant on tour again, and the musical heart of Dave Barbarossa.

Hi Dave and thanks for sharing your time to talk with us.

There is so much to, and areas within your career to talk about but with the enjoyment at your recent show at The Unicorn, Camden still rushing through the veins and thoughts, can we look at your latest project Cauldronated first. How would you describe the band and its sound to newcomers?

Thanks for those kind words, mate. It was a pretty good gig, I have to admit. Cauldronated is a blend of quirky synths, a lot of drums, and impassioned vocals. I like the discipline of playing with a digital metronome (clicks/synths). It pushes my playing into places it wouldn’t go if I were just allowed to play as I liked…so the strictness makes me creative, that make sense?…sounds a little masochistic, but I enjoy it.

Was there a particular spark or idea which gave birth to the band?

I was working with David Harman (we were both in Chicane together). We thought we’d try something very drummy with synths and sequences.

How did the initial link up with David and Eva Menon come about; were these musicians you already had in mind to work with on something?

I’d not met Eva in person. I was aware she was a drummer. When I eventually met her, I had one of those ‘McLaren’ moments and immediately asked her to join David and me in a bit of an experiment.

Eva has a presence and drama to her stage presence which has the potential to be, in my mind, one of the most creatively imposing and invigorating vocalist you have worked with. Was it this quality which first captured your attention too?

Yes, her presence and intensity were compelling. I knew she would ‘pull her weight’ with the idea I had.

When I saw the band at The Unicorn, it was just Eva and yourself on stage, is that the usual live set-up?1970901_10152291115742767_350111327_n

At the moment it is…who knows what the future may hold.

The band has a sound and presence which feels as punk in nature and attitude as anything over the past four decades; this was a deliberate or organic essence which emerged?

It was deliberate only in the sense I wanted something uncompromising and challenging. I didn’t want to serve up what people expected. Musically, I feel uncomfortable being comfortable.

Do you still feel that individualistic punk and defiant attitude in your music and creativity as strongly as those first days and years of your career?

That ‘individualistic and defiant attitude’ sustains me. I’d be in a covers band in a pub without it. At the risk of sounding a bit of a knob, I will forever be a punk rocker.

How about in music in general, is it still loud and potent or more of a recurring whisper in modern music for you?

It is still loud and proud. You just have to dig beneath the superficial…it has always been that way.

Cauldronated seems to find you returning to and exploring the more tribalistic rhythms and contagion which marked your time in The Ants and more so Bow Wow Wow. Is this something you feel too or have you not been too far from that side of your adventure over the past years anyway, so it is just part of the current evolution of your ideation?

There are so many drummers (most better than me) playing ‘straight’ beats, ‘serving the song’, being a ‘side man’. I’ve got a trick and I’m gonna play it!

Your first novel Mud Sharks was published in 2012, but I believe it is being republished again very soon?

It is…With added extras; photo, review and a ‘Mud Sharks’ track. (please keep this under your hat until I have a release date – that will be very soon) ta.

What was the trigger to writing a novel? Was it something brewing in your thoughts for a while?

Yeah, I think a lot of us have a novel in them. I simply got mine down. Some emotional events collided with professional ones and out it came. Frankly, I’m a little stunned about how well it has been received.

Mud SharksCan you give a synopsis to the novel?

This is what is says on the cover so it must be right ‘Mud Sharks? Harry Ferdinand is in trouble at home, in trouble at school and now he’s in trouble with the police. He’s battered, bruised and lost until he meets the love of his life: the drums. Things are never to be the same again. Plunged into the world of Punk Rock, Harry finds purpose, adventure and heartbreak as he transforms from boy to man.’

It looks at and confronts racism and violence in its story, within the embrace of the seventies music scene. How much is autobiographical or inspired from experiences you have had or closely come across yourself?

It is a story based on my childhood, schooldays and early career. Not a factual, chronological ‘blow by blow’ of my life. But, all the stuff, good and bad, happened, pretty much.

Do you feel its narrative and observations still represent the current music world and young lives within it now?

It is a story of its time, but perhaps it resonates with people of ‘Harry’s age now. Dunno

Have you plans to write another book in the future?

Yep, finished the second…It is going through the editing and proofing stage. These things take yonks.

Returning to music, what were the inspirations which led you into music predominantly?

I was captivated by the drums, so big and loud. I wanted to master the instrument, on a very basic level. Never dreamed it would be my life.

We have to ask about those heady days, certainly for us fans, when Dirk Wears White Sox was the creative anthem for a great many of us. What are your strongest personal recollections of that time with Adam and the Ants and in the punk scene generally?

Well, it was a while ago and at a time when a young person’s life flashes by. Personally, I was in a perpetual state of astonishment and relief. Both states were euphoric, blissful, magical…how’s that sound?

Next came of course Bow Wow Wow and the highly publicised and still seemingly talked of departure of yourself, bassist Leigh Gorman, and the sadly missed Matthew Ashman from the Ants. What musically enticed the move and how coincidental was it that the two projects pursued the tribal/Burundi sound from that point on?

I really can’t think of why the drums sounded so familiar in both bands – insane coincidence?   I left Adam because Malcolm gave me the opportunity to be my own man. Create my own sound and lead ‘from the back’. With Adam, I was a loyal soldier to a musical genius. I like change.

Probably the last thing fans imagined would be the coming back together of yourself and Leigh with Adam again, something which happened last year when you both joined him in The Ministers 1979117_10151960991666780_7133093067893089771_oOf New Super Heavy Funk Punk and an UK tour. Was this something you would have probably not predicted over the years either or was the supposed ‘animosity’ between all parties a media driven ‘reality’?

Never been any animosity between myself and Adam. I’ve played in his bands off and on down through the decades. We have coffee, talk about our daughters.

How did the link up for the shows come about?

Adam called me and asked if I’d fancy doing the old Dirk numbers live. We’d never done it live, apparently. The minute we got in rehearsals, we knew why. He turned round to me during Animals And Men and said, ‘This is fucking jazz, how did we do it?…

It is fair to say that you helped pioneer the tribal rhythmic temptation which has graced so many bands and still does. Do you offer yourself an inner smile every time you come across another proposition in band and song form obviously inspired by your legacy?

That’s very kind of you mate. I have been lucky to do what I love and what comes naturally.

1888843_10152291116392767_1239021352_oSadly missing out plenty of the other bands and projects you have been involved with, can we turn back to Cauldronated and what is ahead for the band over the coming months?

We’ve got another offering out soon…Ring of Khan, there’ll be gigs and the inevitable quest for world domination…All of it, such a laugh.

What about your solo sounds,; particularly thinking of the Barbarossa Beat two-track download release of last November which teased with a sound reminiscent of a Bow Wow Wow flavouring in songs like I Want Candy but took feet and energies into a new tantalising dance…More to come and any other irons in the fire musically for us to look forward to?

Yes, more to come with Barbarossa Beat, I love changes in direction, challenges. There are a few other things, collaborations popping up too.

My big thanks again Dave for your time.

An absolute pleasure Pete…Thanks you so much for your interest.

Mudsharks is available @ http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mud-Sharks-Dave-Barbarossa-ebook/dp/B00ULELOP0/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_img_10 and for more info regarding the book go to https://www.facebook.com/MudSharksNew/

https://www.facebook.com/dave.barbarossa   http://www.cauldronated.net/

The Buy This Thing EP from Cauldronated is available now @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/buy-this-thing/id914978407

Pete Ringmaster

The RingMaster Review 19/03/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://reputationradio.yooco.org/

Reign Of Fury – Death Be Thy Shepherd

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Plenty about the Reign Of Fury sound hits the sweet spot of familiarity yet everything about the band’s music is rigorously fresh and inventively captivating. Theirs is a dramatic roar which draws on the finest essences of thrash and heavy metal from across the decades, involving them all in new tenaciously melodic adventures. It is also a honing of flavours woven into a collection of songs making up a release easily providing the year with one of its essential listens. The fiery and thrilling Death Be Thy Shepherd is a devilish rampage of old school and modern invention, a proposition from the British metallers unafraid to simply offer rock ‘n’ roll in its most potent and insatiably contagious form.

You could say that there is little ground-breaking about the West Midlands hailing quintet’s sound and album but equally you can only admit that nothing about them feeds expectations or leaves the imagination looking for new inspirations. It should not be a major surprise such the impact and quality of Death Be Thy Shepherd. Its acclaimed predecessor World Detonation in 2012, sparked eager attention towards the band worldwide, and it is fair to say that since forming in 2006, Reign Of Fury has increasingly gripped ears and appetites with a sound seeded on eighties thrash and metal inspirations, flavours which fuel the band’s personal passions. Highly successful performances at the likes of Bloodstock around the release of their first full-length, and their own shows and a 40 date tour in 2013 only helped accelerate their emergence into broader awareness and stature. That year also saw the band organise and host every show of the Headbangers Balls UK tour, and again the following year when the band played with 100 bands, Onslaught, Lawnmower Deth, Xentrix, and Hatebreed, over 22 dates. Both provided one of the most potent events of their year in the metal scene, raising awareness for testicular cancer and funds for Teenage Cancer Trust in tandem with great show. Now the band has uncaged Death Be Thy Shepherd and instantly thrust themselves to the frontline of world metal with its quite breath-taking avalanche of instinctive and passionate rock ‘n’ roll.

The opening chord and lure of first track Faustian Mastery instantly has ears intrigued; appetite soon following as the guitars of Ed Westlake and Jon Priestley conjure a web of raw but inviting riffs alongside a melodic invitation. The song embraces the listener with temptress like wiles, coaxing and luring them into a waiting tempest of ravenous rhythms from drummer Magic Dave and bassist Paul Bielby aligned to fierce flames and causticity cast by the guitars. Straight away the song brings the climate of eighties/nineties thrash/metal into its compelling landscape, flirtations of Metallica and Megadeth colouring the intensive stride and swagger of the track. Driven by the ever alluring tones of vocalist Bison Steed, backed eagerly by the band’s shouts, the track stomps like an old friend with new face and character in tow.COVER_ART

Over nine minutes long but feeling like a mere handful due to its fascinating invention, individual craft, and volcanic energy, the opener is soon matched in strength and virulence by the following Harbinger of Decay. If the first was a swift persuasion, its successor has ears and passions aflame almost within a brief swing of its rhythms and a lone blaze of sonic enticement. Its slow crawl of an entrance is the brief prelude to a thunderous charge of addiction forging riffs and grooves matched by just as gripping vocals. Like John Bush era Anthrax colluding with Trucker Diablo whilst Mastodon add their infection, the track is a glorious onslaught of hungry and inventive metal binding ears in spicy solos, rabid riffs, and psyche seducing grooves. Rhythmically and vocally too, it is an instinctive persuasion, almost primal in its temptation and straight after emulated by the just as immense Hypnotise The Masses. Riffs are bestial and sonic enterprise sultrily warm, their extremes combining across a frame work of predacious rhythms which captivate and compel the listener to join the anthem.

Through the merger of melodic seducing and corrosively rampant riffing that is Gates of Sanity and the Hetfield and co like power balladry of All is Lost, band and album only grip thoughts and appetite tighter. Though neither track can quite match the impact and creative plateaus of the first trio of songs, each leaves satisfaction full and attention enthralled whilst The Love of a Dying God is an unstoppable hunt of and march upon the senses. Volatile in texture and imagination, the song is a hellacious storm as ridiculously contagious as it is grievously imposing. It is fair to say that Reign Of Fury is not going to be the most brutal and violent proposition you will come across this year but as proven by the song, there are times where they go for the jugular with all creative guns blazing and on an attitude fuelled by hostility.

The outstanding offering seems to be the spark to the band finding even greater animosity, certainly in its rhythmic confrontation and aggressive riffery. The next up Sorrow Made Flesh is barbarous in that department but salaciously anthemic in vocal and sonic invention. Once more the backing shouts of the band add extra bait to the bellow of the song’s call, whilst musically its grouchy, often senses stalking animosity, combines superbly with the melodic and invitational enterprise offered.

The album closes with its title track, a ten minute leap into a tapestry of bewitching guitar skills, rhythmic agitation, and vocal captivation, and that only covers half of the song’s epic landscape of imaginative, skill sculpted endeavour. Arguably the most adventurous song on the release, and certainly its most varied, the track is spellbinding and raucously riotous in equal and entwining measure.

Death Be Thy Shepherd is simply intoxicating, thrash and heavy metal in its original pungent form, not worried about shaping new templates but twisting existing ingredients into gripping and ferociously new incitements. This in turn makes the band’s familiarity in sound also a brand new protagonist for ears and pleasure. Simply put, Reign Of Fury is pure rock ‘n’ roll and quite irresistible.

Death Be Thy Shepherd is available now via http://reignoffury.bandcamp.com/releases

http://www.reignoffury.co.uk/     https://www.facebook.com/reignoffury

RingMaster 19/03/2015

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Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://reputationradio.yooco.org/

Train Arrival – Dramatic Existence

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An engrossing proposition for ears and imagination, it is fair to say that Russian band Train Arrival has given one impressive introduction to itself through debut album Dramatic Existence. Oozing creative theatre as striking and potent as the technical craft bringing it to life, the eight track encounter is a riveting adventure of instrumental progressive metal. To that cinematic canvas though, there are also inventive weaves of djent voracity, symphonic ambiences, and oriental and Eastern beauty captivating the senses. It makes for one mouth-watering offering, one not lacking either familiarity or fresh invention, but ultimately providing a thoroughly enjoyable and imaginative emprise of sound and intent.

Train Arrival is the solo project of Krasnodar composer and guitarist Max Ben and that is about all we can reveal about the talented artist. Then again Dramatic Existence does all the talking starting straight away with opener History. A lone melancholic guitar melody wraps around ears first, its sweet tone soon joined by darker caresses and a classical air. It is a gentle and captivating start, immersing senses and thoughts with great potency as keys and a symphonic breeze brings new warmth and expression to a by now rhythmically bold proposal. As becomes a constant success across the release, the imagination is already conjuring a landscape of peace and beauty echoing the dramas and turbulence of past times. The track as all subsequent songs is an aural paint box for thoughts, inviting interpretations addition to the piece’s own suggestiveness, and finding new twists with every listen.

The following Returning takes the listener into a far more aggressive and agitated climate, but equally as tempting and inviting. Rhythms cast a web of intimidation whilst jagged stabs of guitar only accentuate the danger and imposing presence of the new soundscape. A djent bred examination shows its first grouchy signs whilst keys again cast an immersive embrace over the volatile heart of the track. It is a gripping and skilful theatre of sound and invention from Ben, every second of its six minutes providing persistent magnetism, the same which is easily said about all tracks and immediately evidenced by Theatre Of War. The outstanding third track does not enter with the hostility its title might suggest, in fact is less forceful than its predecessor in many ways, but offers drama and epic grandeur aligned to intimate aggression for one transfixing exploit. Again ragged djent persuasion colludes with elegant and immersive symphonic arrangements courted by emotionally colourful keys, whilst mystique and melodic hues of the Oriental with far reaching Eastern spices bring their intrigue to track and ears as the listener is taken again on their travels musically and mentally.

There is an underlying fatality to the track though and its aftermath is echoed in Devastation next, its colder air a telling introduction though soon succumbing to another tempestuous climate, sculpted imaginatively and powerfully by the guitar skills and keys crafted adventure of Ben. To that technical prowess there is a creative resourcefulness too which makes this and all pieces a fluid and tenacious theatre of sound and expression. The track has thoughts and emotions instantly and firmly involved, their premises uniting with the artist for another peak of the already highly impressing album.

Majesty just about sums up the air and presence of the next song, keys dancing provocatively over ears with an endearing renaissance charm before rhythms and riffs bring a creative turmoil to the expanding adventure. Predatory shadows and sounds stalk the melodic flaming of guitar and the bewitching radiance of keys, each of their twists bringing striking textures, creative hues, and sheer mesmeric enterprise best described as, yes majestic.

The ten minutes epic temptation of Badlands is next, provocative balladry and stormy climates colliding and entwining for another spellbinding offering which is simultaneously seductive and fiercely erosive on the senses. Possibly a touch overlong, though there is never a point where attention and appetite waivers, the track is a journey and adventure all on its own, and that is another impacting thing about Dramatic Existence, tracks work just as powerfully alone or as one act in the album’s whole sonic libretto. The song flows straight into the reflective embrace of Ashes Of Time, a serenade skirted by a carnivorous bass tone and raw edged riffs. It is the melodic lure of the song and guitar though which prevails in the increasingly volcanic atmosphere and intensity of the track, both assisted by the warm and emotive tides of the key’s invention.

   History Repeats brings it all to a fine, epilogue like end. The piece is maybe not the most impacting and gripping, relative to what came before, but provides a final richly satisfying and suggestive voice to the breath-taking exploit. It also provides one last slice of evidence to not only the impressive technical craft of Ben but his pleasing understanding and restraint in not over powering impressive songwriting with indulgent excesses of technique.

Dramatic Existence is a tremendous entrance by Ben and Train Arrival, progressive metal which simply ignites ears and imagination. The album might not be imposingly pushing progressive metal boundaries but it is giving them a damn good shaking as it thrills.

Dramatic Existence is available now @ https://trainarrival.bandcamp.com

https://www.facebook.com/TrainArrival

RingMaster 18/03/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://reputationradio.yooco.org/

Oceanic – City Of Glass

Oceanic PR 2

Not sure exactly why but the depth and quality to the Israeli metal/rock scene always surprises, even despite covering numerous releases and artists from its creative well. You have the likes of Orphaned Land, Ferium, and Desert amongst a great many stirring up the world scene with their varied sounds, and from within the underground bands like Walkways making their mark. To the latter you can now add Oceanic, a band beginning to draw and earn potent responses to their presence and debut album, City Of Glass. Formed in 2009, the Tel Aviv quartet has inspired strong and increasing attention, especially over the past couple of years, and now with their first album nudging greater awareness, Oceanic has the potential to be another breaking into broader spotlights well beyond their homeland.

The band’s sound is melodic/alternative rock but with an appetite to throw in unique twists of progressive exploration and feisty imagination. As shown upon City Of Glass it makes for a fascinating and unpredictable proposition which can offer familiar essences in a fresh and often offbeat design. There are moments where things just confuse and miss their target but for the main, album and sound are one captivating tempting. The band itself has grown its stature and reputation in the Israel underground scene through appearances at events like Progstage 2012 and in supporting the likes of Pain of Salvation. Band experiences are not restricted to Oceanic alone either, bassist Or Lubianiker having toured as part of bands for Marty Friedman and Gus G whilst playing on Yossi Sassi’s album Desert Butterflies. The ex-Orphaned Land guitarist is now returning the favour by producing City Of Glass, and providing guest guitar, vocal, and bouzoukitar enterprise within certain songs on the release.

A Scanner Darkly starts things off and swiftly has ears and attention intrigued; it’s atmospheric opening inviting but also oppressively hazy. It is a tantalising mix veined by gentle melodic Oceanic - City of Glass - Front (sRGB)coaxing and soon joined by the gentle husky vocal reflections of guitarist Idan Liberman. The song gently immerses senses and imagination, broadening its intensity and provocative textures with smooth and warm persuasion. Before long its passion and energy breaks through the calm though, crisp beats and a dark bassline uniting with fiery enterprise from the guitars of Amir Manbar and Liberman, whilst the latter’s vocal tones also elevate in emotion and roaring vivacity. The song by now offers a mix of Palms, Bush, and in some ways System Of A Down, melodies and harmonies blooming in a fiercer cage of beats from Gal Shochet and throaty bass suggestiveness from Lubianiker. The song continues to ebb and flow in its intensity, increasingly impressing and exciting ears and imagination.

The following Wind Up In Barrel (Tribute To Walter) continues the strong start, raising the album’s game straight away with its rolling rhythmic start. A sudden drop into an emotive calm catches ears by surprise, losing that potent start quickly and dramatically wrong-footing, especially first time around, but it is soon embroiled in a brewing climatic of creative voracity and sonic agitation. Vocally too, Liberman seems to find a left field approach to his delivery which only adds to the riveting drama of the song. It takes time but the track eventually emerges as an inescapable seduction whetting the appetite further for album and the sultry embrace of South Of Heaven which follows. Its smouldering lures and charm is just the lead into more tempestuous but restrained musical and emotional progressive bred turbulence. It is a compelling encounter, essences of bands like Shinedown and Seether making glimpses in the magnetic presence of the song.

Both Enter and Clouds keep attention and enjoyment high, each again a mix of aggressive energies and reflecting tranquillity, never lingering in either too long and uniting them with craft and invention. Neither song creates new templates for rock ‘n’ roll it is fair to say, but both provide refreshing and thoroughly satisfying proposals, the first a melodic bellow with tangy sonic endeavour from the guitars and another rhythmic enticement to equally intimidate and excite. It only grows in pungent appeal and strength over time whilst its successor almost stalks ears with its heavy rhythmic resonance and predatory riffing, though again it is tempered by the strong vocal and guitar sculpted enterprise bringing warmth and light to the darker tones.

The brief and harmonically elegant Fish You Shouldn’t Eat (Part 1) slips in next, its musty warmth and sonic shimmer, a pleasing appetiser for the impact of These Countless Hours. This is a song which left ears and thoughts undecided and still does even though it is also a compelling puzzle. It starts off in impressive style, rugged beats and caustic tone a swiftly enthralling protagonist aided by similarly robust vocals. It continues to light ears until something strange happens, an exploration of invention emerges which sees music and vocals going in different directions. Both continue to work just not together for personal tastes, and we devour anything with a warped twist or avant-garde approach. It is almost as if singer and instruments have their own individual songs and are trying to unite them as one. The fact that it keeps luring ears back to try to make sense of it is a testament to what is going on in ideation just not its success.

We are back on an even keel with HMS Beagle, an intensive ballad of power and emotion with more roaring senses licking flames than a bushfire, and straight after through the melodic smooch of Eva The Cat Doesn’t Sleep, a song with a Poets Of the Fall whisper to its melodic and creative beauty. Vocally Liberman shows his full and strong range, occasionally showing an Andy Partridge like lilt, whilst guitars and rhythms combine in a graceful romance of accompanying sound.

The track Oceanic brings City Of Glass to an epic end, its meaty length and imaginative textures a rich croon of soaring vocals and provocative melodies wrapped in thick bass shadows and gripping beats. It has a latent aggression and underlying anger to it too, which only seems to intensify the emotion and sonic tempest smothering ears. It is a fine end to a great album. There are certainly moments which do not work as well as others but ultimately, City Of Glass is a dramatic and enthralling storm of melodic and alternative rock very easy to recommend all at least should check out.

City Of Glass is available now @ http://oceanicband.com/album/city-of-glass-full-album

https://www.facebook.com/OceanicBand

RingMaster 18/03/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://reputationradio.yooco.org/