Beyond the Dust – Khepri

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Beyond the Dust is a French progressive metal band which has a very potent future on the evidence of debut album Khepri. It is not a release which puts the band up alongside the weightier and more robustly adventurous protagonists of their genre, but one which suggests with the ripe potential coursing through their songs, that the Paris quartet could find that success some when within their evolution.

The band made a potent introduction to themselves with their six-track New Dawn EP in 2011, a release which led the band to shows with the likes of Periphery, Sybreed, Protest The Hero, Monuments, and Becoming The Archetype. The song Reality Deformed opened up a new gaze of attention with its unveiling at the beginning of 2012; the song which featured ex-Aliases singer Jay Berast already showing hints of the new maturity in songwriting and sound which is ripe within Khepri. The band signed with Dooweet Records last year for the release of their first full-length, it a 57 min concept album which has been compared to “references like Dream Theater’s Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From a Memory mixed with Meshuggah’s Catch 33 and Periphery’s albums.” That might be a grand suggestion for Khepri but certainly Beyond the Dust has grown in creative strength and imagination between releases and this certainly lights up the album.

A mature male voice sets the scene as first track Rise waits in the shadows to reveal its presence. It is a dramatic scene being cast under a stormy sky, one soon joined by the melodic charm of guitars and a darker foreboding bass tone. Similarly the ambience of the track becomes thicker in dramatic hue, providing an intriguing premise that Meshuggah bred enterprise agitates and ignites. The instrumental is a captivating opening to the album, alone sparking the imagination and anticipation of what is to follow.

Clarity is the next offering, its own elegant start a potent coaxing before being immersed in a vibrant but cloudier weave of riffs and rhythmic incitement. It is not a particularly stormy encounter though and is soon mixing in peaceful melodies and certain emotional calms, but still prone to eruptions of raw vocals squalls alongside the predominant clean delivery, as well as fierce intensive roars of sonic voracity. The track continues to seduce and blaze away in ears, the band persistently impressing in craft and ideation but, and something which applies to most of the album, not finding that final spark to push the band beyond familiar territories.

After the Light is a valiant attempt though, a voracious predator from the start but guided by the excellent clean tones of the vocalist and almost as swiftly twisting into unexpected and khepricompelling detours. The song is quite gripping, luring in close attention as you wait to see where it goes next, and it does not disappoint with its imagination whilst still managing to stay within the original framework of the song’s tempest. There are moments where it veers towards the precipice of too much but always turns away and explores new just as sonically theatrical and engrossing ventures. A proposal to take your time exploring, much as Khepri itself to be fair, it emerges as a peak of the release which grows even more impressive over time.

A smoother embrace comes with Relief, melodies and harmonies as resourceful as the guitar escapades and vocal variety. There is a small sense of flamboyancy through the solo which will appeal to some and maybe less to others but it is the lack of the bold almost warped ingenuity of its predecessor which prevents the song lighting emotions as potently. As a rapacious melodic rock track though there is little to ignore and refuse, much as with Last Breath, though the song is much more volatile emotionally and aggressive creatively. The further into its short but eventful body it travels, the greater the creative temptation discovered where again a more twisted invention is allowed to flirt with the listener even if in short doses.

Both Zero and Silence and Sorrow have the imagination heavily invested and ears fully attentive, the first a tenaciously expressive and inflammatory instrumental coaxing thoughts and emotions into the savage jaws of its successor. The most carnivorous track on the album, riffs and rhythms a barbarous incitement, the song proceeds to explore a sonic tapestry of bedlamic enterprise and melodic ingenuity. Funk, jazz, and math rock all seem to have a part of its breeding whilst the ever impressing vocals in their harmonic styling only add to the magnetism of the tempestuous encounter. As After The Light, the track stands as a pinnacle of Khepri, the moments where something new is truly breached.

The three parts of The Edge of Earth and Sea complete the album, each a part of an epic twenty plus minute narrative also standing well individually if taken that way. Part 1: The Tears Of Departures is a mellow and evocative embrace, though as expected it has a fiercer energy to its air and a darker nature to its shadows. They subsequently boil over into a brawling hardcore-esque vocal expulsion over jagged riffs and tingling melodies, the evolving vocals and warm guitar expression ensuring though that there is plenty of adventure in the growing maelstrom, a stormy scene which slips into again the more restrained and charmed opening to Part 2: The Fear Of The Journey This in turn rumbles with storm like emotion and intent across its colourful and technically extravagant soundscape. The mid way collapse into hellish domains, where the safety of the narrative’s protagonist is lost, suddenly ignites the track to new heights matched by the voracious stalking of the senses from riffs and rhythms. There is a new inescapable drama to the scene which you wish was there sooner and longer as Part 3: The Bliss Of The Gathering comes in. With its rugged terrain and hungry hostility aligned to harmonic reassurance, the bliss of its title seems to come at a price thematically, but with a new pleasing adventure offered to the listener.

It is potent end to a fine first album from Beyond The Dust, not one to rave endlessly about but easily a release to recommend progressive metal fans take a good look at. Khepri is a seriously solid and enjoyable proposition, not pushing the band above the crowd but with songs like Silence and Sorrow and After The Light showing flair and promise which definitely excites, it hints that their time in a singular light will surely come.

Khepri is available via Dooweet Records now @ http://dooweet.bandcamp.com/album/khepri

https://www.facebook.com/beyondthedust   http://www.beyond-the-dust.com/

RingMaster 28/02/2015

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/

 

Squidhead – Prohibition

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Great Instrumental music is the playground for the imagination and emotions, a suggestive toy for the senses and thoughts to sculpt their own adventures to, and that is exactly the success that Prohibition from Belgian band Squidhead achieves. Its five tracks cast a captivating web of technical vivacity and sonic expression which has the listener physically and mentally involved with little fuss and accomplished ease, and though you can openly pick out the influences to artist and music it only adds to the intrigue of the encounter.

Squidhead is the solo project of Pierre “Pish” Minet, a guitarist providing all the additional bass, electronics, and drum programming turning Prohibition into a rigorously and increasingly addictive proposition. There is little we can tell you about the man behind the project, the Squidhead bio on the website dummy text, but seemingly the EP is Minet’s debut release whilst inspirations come from the likes of Meshuggah, Devin Townsend, Steve Vai, Morbid Angel, Fear Factory and many more. The music within the release is sculpted with 8 string guitars and forges modern death metal riffs and melodic licks, a description which does not quite do the whole adventure of the encounter justice.

For us any metal instrumental proposal comes with the fear of over indulgence and excessive showing off by the aural sculptor, hopes that there is not the creative fiddling which goes nowhere as it shows what a ‘clever boy’ the artist is. Though Minet is not slow in coming forward with his technical prowess and in the face shredding, it never really defuses the fluency of the songs, slipping into their narratives as any other aspect. Nor does it disturb the theatre sparked in the imagination, so our personal wants in instrumental explorations are provided for whilst those with a hankering for a fiddle or two will also be more than satisfied.

Opener Riding The Octopus dangles a sonic lure before ears right away; a tempting swiftly reinforced by aggressive riffs and agitated rhythms. It is an immediate heavyweight proposal Prohibition coverwhich relaxes a little for the magnetic fret work of Minet, though it still retains a seriously predacious air. It is a dramatic intimidation which constantly prowls the track, even as mystique kissed melodies and acidic grooves show their spicy proposals. It is a skilled blending of extremes within a track which already has thoughts lost in a realm of fantasy figures and occultist bred minatory escapades.

The following Edge Of Consciousness is bred from the same dark shadows as its predecessor, riffs snarling and menacing as rhythms descend with hostile tenacity. Across both songs you can hear those Meshuggah/ Devin Townsend like essences whilst Minet veins and lights the portentous canvas of the track with sizzling sonic flames which as inventive and impressive as they are, never stay too long in one design to feed expectations or temper the unpredictability flavouring the tracks.

The strong start to the EP is taken to stronger persuasion by the outstanding title track. A sinister devilry comes with the opening dark throated bass coaxing and percussive shuffle, expanding as bestial riffs align to the flamboyant tones of guitar. It is the swing behind the song though which steals the passions, a contagious swagger which spines the whole piece of music. From this all the other enthralling additives hang and dance, whilst imagination wise both track and thoughts collude in a dark seduction full of salacious temptresses and demonic flirtation; well that is what emerged in our fantasy and that is another beauty of the release, each track inspires visually potent exotic emprises.

The EP’s best track makes way for the more ethereal atmosphere of Coded Dreams, the song exploring a post rock/progressive landscape regaled with melodic blooms and sonic elegance. The rhythmic side of the track is an unsettling and threatening provocateur but remains in the shadows as the brief but mesmeric track warms ears and air.

Prohibition closes with The Ritual, a devilish fusion of rabid riffs and unrelenting beats within a maelstrom of guitar enterprise and at times espionage as with relish it twists and turns to take ears and imagination on a spiral of fascination and danger. It is an impressive end to a thoroughly enjoyable release. The EP could be said to be offering little new but when ears and pleasure are only wanting more it is a quibble to easily dismiss.

The world of Squidhead is a mysterious adventure and sound-tracked by a rather enjoyable debut. Anticipation for its successor starts here.

Prohibition is available now digitally and on CD @ http://thesquidhead.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/squidheadproject         http://www.squidhead.be

RingMaster 28/02/2015

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/

 

Cris Pinzauti – Black

Pic by Ilaria Costanzo

If like us the name Cris Pinzauti is a mystery then we suggest you change that as soon as possible by checking out his debut solo album Black. Consisting of eight songs which all captivate ears and attention, and at times explodes into one of the most thrilling and essential acoustic rock propositions you are likely to find anywhere, the release just leaves you wanting more. It is not an encounter which always hit the sweet spot of personal tastes but when it did boy the pleasure was thick and irresistible and at those other times satisfaction was still a done deal.

The background to Pinzauti sees him born in in Florence, Italy in 1971 and from a young age writing songs before self-teaching himself the guitar at 16. From here on, Pinzauti was part of numerous musical projects, creative collaborations, and played thousands of concerts throughout Italy and Europe, many with SUZY Q the band he and his brother Marzio founded and hard rock band Devil’s Mojito over recent times. Equally as a solo artist Pinzauti has strapped on his guitar and clicked on his loop station to light up audiences for over a decade in local venues with his creative style of acoustic rock. Now Black is poised to take the singer songwriter’s sounds to broader spotlights and appetites. Recorded exclusively with acoustic guitars, acoustic bass, and additional acoustic guitars used in percussion mode, and with guest appearances on certain tracks from Marco Di Maggio (Di Maggio Connection), Jack Meille (Tygers Of Pan Tang), Francesco Bottai (Articolo 31 and Irene Grandi Band), and brother Marzio, the album is a wake-up call for us all still unaware of this captivating talent.

Themed by “the BLACK or dark side of our lives, that which society labels as “dark”, but in reality is not” and contemplating the shadows behind forbidden love, sex, loneliness, soul searching, cynicism, inner demons, and rock and roll, the album opens with The Devil in the Closet. A breaking storm heralds in the song and its narrative, a stranger walking into a vaudeville bar room springing from an imagination sparked into action by the encounter before the potent tones of Pinzauti unveil more of the expressive scene in the company of his creative fingers on guitar strings. There is a mix of delivery styles to his voice; his offering equally a theatre of characters in the brief but intriguing folk bred opener.

It is a magnetic start but not as potent as the excellent My Black Is Back which follows. The song is instantly popping with melodies against vivacious beats, the infectious coaxing soon cris coverenhanced by a gentle strum of guitar. Again Pinzauti mixes up his tones, a gruff offering turning into a much stronger and compelling clean delivery which as the elevated melodies which hug it, gives the song a new energy and pungent contagion. The string plucks equally add a fascinating fun and creativity to the outstanding encounter to match that of the adventurous vocals, which once more never settle with one line of persuasion and only add weight to the enthralling temptation.

The country lined folk croon of Wasted Years comes next and has ears and thoughts hooked with its warm melodies and reflective vocals. The song does not give expectations a hard time but has enjoyment full before the brilliant Down brings its own transfixing beauty to bear on the senses. The resonating bassline is an instant hook whilst the guitars almost flirt as they sculpt a weave of melodic enterprise. Vocally too, and as now expected, Pinzauti only impresses as he increases the infectious tenacity and persuasion of the song’s gentle yet lively stroll.

The Vampire’s Lullaby is one of those moments which still has yet to fully convince. It is again a drama, a music play for today in some ways set in two parts. Let Me In is a spellbinding instrumental narrative, the fingers of Pinzauti bewitching across the strings of his guitar as he sculpts an imagination firing suggestiveness of a gothic tale. The storm of the first track again cracks and shares its intensity as Hush comes in and Pinzauti finds his dustiest Tom Waits like tones to bleed into the dreams of the song’s recipient. The track is a skilled and fascinating offering but one which misses sparking the same reaction as other tracks despite the exceptional vintage wine like melodies he pours across the song. Primarily it is the raw vocals which do not quite do it for us, just a personal thing and for others will work a treat, just like the rest of the compelling track.

The blues flavouring of Forever Yin Forever Yang is a vibrant collusion with a funkier endeavour sure to bring the listener to their feet whilst Hellbound Train explores that country breeding again with a southern rock balladry. Both tracks are short and potent temptations continuing the impressive nature of the album, but soon surpassed by Zombie Attack. The closer is easily the pinnacle of Black, its initial sandy croon the lead into virulent revelry blending melodic rock and pop into one quite sensational triumph. Addictive and ridiculously infectious yet intricately sculpted without taking any short cuts in seducing the listener, the song slips under the skin and into the psyche with sublime craft. Experience also knows that once infected the song never goes away, not that you will wish it to of course.

Black does not quite steal the passions for the whole of its body for us yet there is never a moment you wish to pass over and when it hits its heights, Cris Pinzauti simply has us in the palms of his creative hands. The bottom-line is that this is a must check out rock ‘n’ roll album and as the last line of Zombie Attack says “If Rock is dead, we are a Zombie Attack!” and that about sums up the attitude of this album and rock ‘n’ roll period.

Black is available now via Red Cat Records @ http://www.redcatpromotion.com/ita_store.html

http://www.crispinzauti.com/

RingMaster 27/02/2015

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/

Madre De Dios – Self Titled

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It is hard to get enough of out and out heavy booted rock ‘n’ roll, especially when it comes in the kind of shape of the self-titled debut album from Italian rockers Madre De Dios. Consisting of eleven tracks which blaze away with all the instinctive and prime essentials any thumping rock song needs, the quartet’s introduction is a stomp of impassioned energy. The band is not interested in break down walls of originality it is probably fair to say but in bringing a release which anyone can give their bodies and pleasure to, the band has an undoubted success on their hands.

Hailing from Bari, Madre De Dios was formed in 2010 by guitarist Stefano Pomponio aka S.P. Jesus (Natron). The band’s first line-up was completed by bassist Gigi D’Angella (Anuseye), vocalist/guitarist Gianpaolo di Stasi (Stainer), and drummer Marco Ninni (Swedish Death Candy), a foursome who’s live presence was soon luring in increasing masses of devoted fans. Over time a more stoner-esque character emerged in their heavy rock ‘n’ roll propositions, their sound continuing to evolve as a shuffle in personnel saw vocalist Frank Bizarre (The Missing, Cafè Bizarre) and drummer Vince Floro (Stainer) replace di Stasi and Ninni respectively; the latter joining the band after his predecessor had recorded the album in 2013, and a year’s break for the band soon after. As the album, swiftly shows, the band’s sound draws in numerous spices from varying decades to create something familiar yet fresh and compelling. With shows with bands like Bud Spencer Blues Explosion also on their CV, 2015 is looking like turning into a potent and break-through year for Madre De Dios, especially as their album grips many more appetites like ours week by week.

The albums gripping devilry opens with The Evil Guide, a song exploding from a crotchety riff into a full on assault of bracing grooves and pungent rhythms within a blaze of melodic enterprise and tenacity. There is an immediate snarl to the song but equally a captivating infectiousness, every element an anthemic lure in the rigorous persuasion of the excellent incitement of feet and appetite. Just as swiftly the craft and creative attitude of the band is an open temptation too, every swing of the sticks, casting of tangy grooves, and vocal expression drenched in a stirring energy driven by personal adventure.

The same applies to the following High Living in the Sunshine, well every song on the album to be truthful, the track making a more deliberately controlled entrance but loaded with thick MoftheRspicy grooves which make slavery of ears and imagination right away. Exploring a potent mix of hard and classic rock, the song is soon leading the listener in a sing-a-long chorus and head nodding participation for the slower but catchy stroll of its surrounding verses. Not as dramatically persuasive as its predecessor maybe, the song is still soon a masterful treat, and even more so once bluesy stoner bred temptation begins to colour the song’s increasingly appealing canvas.

That blues tang is just as ripe in Flamingos! which comes next, its rich spicery again merging with a more classic roar of rock as jabbing beats keep an antagonistic edge to the rhythmic side of the infectious encounter. This virulence is exploited further in the similarly sculpted Big Head. Coming straight out of the previous track there is an unmissable similarity to certainly the riffs and grooves of the song, though that is tempered by the excellent grizzly growl of D’Angella’s bass and the ever engaging dusty vocals of Bizarre, not forgetting a grunge meets stoner air which at times has a slight feel of Kyuss and Gruntruck to it.

I Crashed Your Car opens up our favourite part of the album, its rhythmic agitation and fiery melodies an exciting and inventive embrace for the magnetic vocals and creative majesty of Jesus’ solos. The throaty bassline also adds further irresistible bait for ears, its dark presence contrasting and complementing the increasingly imaginative weave of raw and spellbinding melodic ingenuity. As great as it is though, the song is just the appetiser for the delicious exciting meals of Shake it Baby and Mad City. The first as so many, just slips out of the song before with seamless and natural ease, and straight away unleashes an enthralling and invigorating rock ‘n’ roll dance. Like a sonic epidemic, the track is soon infesting ears and psyche, not to mention body and soul, as riffs and beats unite in a merciless temptation whilst grooves and vocals toy with the passions. Hooks are spilled left right and centre across the adventure whilst the bass has lips licking in excitement even just thinking about its lures. The brilliant proposition is matched by the just as insatiable tempting instrumental which follows, Mad City a foot to the metal juggernaut of toxic riffs and just as venomous grooves within a tempest of rhythmic and sonic charging. If you are aware of the equally addictive Buzzcocks track Late for the Train from Love Bites, you will understand the unrelenting potency of the track.

A mischievous nature adds to the raucous bellow of Ordinary Man next, the song another creatively stormy and exhaustingly fun rock ‘n’ roll romp matched by the excellent cover of The Beatles’ Helter Skelter, renamed Mater Skelter here. The Siouxsie and The Banshees version still holds the heart but Madre De Dios’ cover definitely gives it a run for its money at times, the band not twisting it around too much but still giving it their own spirited slant.

The album is completed by the stoner blues breathing Merry Go Round Song, a song which seems part Pearl Jam and part The Black Crowes, with a scent of Clutch but again finding something more to stand out, and lastly by the spatial adventure of Orbit. The final track seems to draw on all the flavours permeating album and sound so far, casting them all into its own individual escapade of eighties, nineties, and modern day rock ‘n’ roll. Like the album as a whole, it makes no demands and makes accessibility and enjoyment a done deal within the first handful of seconds, but as on all tracks it offers plenty of imagination and enterprise to be an intriguing and thrilling proposal at every turn.

If you want ground-breaking stuff, want to have your boundaries pushed into new realms, Madre De Dios will please to a certain extent but if you want rock music to leave you bloated on undiluted pleasure and fun then band and album is a must.

Madre De Dios is available on most digital music platforms and CD through Red Cat Promotion.

https://www.facebook.com/madrededios2010

RingMaster 27/02/2015

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/

Seven Year Storm – Aion I EP

Sean Lang press photo

With most instrumental releases, especially in metal, there is so often a bias to the instrumentation of its creator or the composer of the pieces. This can work or not depending on personal appetites for the leading element, so it was with extra intrigue that the Aion I EP from progressive metal band Seven Year Storm was allowed to take ears in its creative hands. The band is the solo project of Canadian Sean Lang, a Vancouver-based freelance drummer / instructor who until now has been contented to keep his music compositions restrained just to song writing. Thanks to pressure/support from friends, Lang was finally persuaded and encouraged to record and release his music and a fascinating treat it is turning out to be.

The first thing to thrill and please is that there is no leaning to a particular instrument with Lang’s compositions; yes songs are potently rhythm driven but in tandem with just as dramatically skilled and voraciously creative elements across guitar and bass. This could have been a top heavy and certainly an unbalanced proposition in the hands of some but upon Aion I, every imagination coloured and skilfully sculpted landscape is a thoughtful and inventive equilibrium. Solely written and produced by Lang, the EP sees him link up with guitarist Dean Lamb(Archspire), whose fingers are surely possessed by the devil at times, and bassist Brent MacKenzie, the provider of the dark emotions and shadows which also superbly balance and temper the fiery side of the release.

Morphogenesis opens up the EP, keys an immediate warm lure tenderly coaxing attention whilst also brewing up a sonically misty atmosphere. It is not long before a turbulent climate hits the scene though, snapping rhythms aligning to snarling riffs snarl and subsequently a melodic blaze cast by Lamb. There is a swift visual suggestiveness to the music too, a cinematic incitement which only grows as keys and guitar entwined inventively around the precise yet unpredictable patterns of Lang. Essences of classic rock, jazz, and technical vivacity spice up the progressive emprise, the track as the beats growing into a wonderfully fascinating and perpetually evolving creative theatre.Seven Year Storm - Cover small

The dramatic and invigorating opener is followed by the classically seeded Dyatlov, the track bringing a more intimate narrative to its canvas whilst still expanding into another broad movie of sound and evocative enterprise. Tenacious flames collude with calm passages of melodic elegance and stirring almost sinister ascents of drama, as the music again explores new avenues of imagination and inventive twists. As its predecessor and those to follow, the track does not really end sounding as it began, but like a child is still the same heart just with growth evolving its character.

A celestial charm embraces Virtue next, the song a mesmeric soar across a summery climate within which Lang prowls and directs the adventure like a conductor with his exhausting and exhilarating swings whilst MacKenzie adds a throaty growl to the djent like jaggedness of riffs. Into its rich and slightly tempestuous stride, a haunting calm and melodic beauty suddenly descends, a gothic breath spiced by the noir lit vaudeville of keys a gripping twist backed by Lamb’s increasing transfixing invention. The unpredictable treat is a union of light and dark, much as its successor Nazca Lines. The following piece is an emotionally agitated but as now expected fluid exploration through heavier and darker investigations entangled with bewitching flames of light.

     Blue Car Syndrome brings the EP to an impressive close, again all three musicians spinning an explosive and fiercely imaginative web of sound and ideation. As all tracks, it is as separate an individual as it is a part of one massive sonic travelogue of melodic and dramatic realms, emotionally and physically. It is fair to say that our words do not do justice to the skills of the band, the ravenous theatre of the songwriting, and the sheer strength and diversity of the sounds within Aion I. The first of two EPs planned this year, the final thought is to thank those supporting Lang and hope they continue to inspire him to release further triumphs like this.

The Aion I EP is available now digitally and on CD @ http://sevenyearstorm.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/sevenyearstorm   http://www.seanlang.com/

RingMaster 26/02/2015

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/

Them County Bastardz – Sick Daze

TCB Press Photo

Sick Daze is an album which reminds us that just maybe we all can slip into the mistake of taking our metal and heavy rock too seriously and that dirty rock ‘n’ roll which is just out to have brawling fun, is as potent and enjoyable as any technically and inventively driven proposition. That is not to say that the new album from Canadian stompers Them County Bastardz is lacking skill and open enterprise, but the seven track romp is all about the heavy riot and thumping devilment of old school metal crossed with voracious country bred rock ‘n’ roll.

Hailing out of Leamington in Ontario, Them County Bastardz rouses up the energies and emotions with a sound taking the southern ferocity of a Pantera and Black Label Society and the grooved predation and attitude of a Bloodsimple and Crowbar, and adding it to the roars of a Hellyeah and Volbeat. It is a brew which does not hold many surprises but relentlessly hits the sweet spot if those kinds of flavours ignite the appetite. It is a head-banger’s heaven with all the spicy grooves and toxic attitude you could wish in a mercilessly bruising and contagious encounter. Sick Daze will probably not top many best of lists come December but in favourites line-ups expect the album to be a persistent regular.

Things are instantly careering into riotous behaviour as opening Drive By spins its sonic wheels and unleashes its unbridled energy in a wall of thumping beats from drummer Jim Kay and the grouchy riffery of guitarists Brien Alexander and Mike Rennie. The song hits its intimidating stride within seconds, the dusty tones of vocalist Andrew Watson stirring up air and mischief as bassist Tyler Wickham adds darker predation to the anthemic belligerence. Neck muscles and voice are just as swiftly enlisted as the track continues to raise controlled but insatiable hell, sirens swarming in the background as band and song begin the album’s mayhem.TCB Cover - Sick Daze

The great start is straight away eclipsed by the excellent In The Country. Opening with police despatch checking out the identity of the band which leads to a panicked alert, the track simultaneously builds up its rhythmic and sonic defiance, an impending attitude led by the thick vocals of Watson who in turn is backed the band’s equally infectious calls. Its full gait and assault still has a somewhat restrained aggression but is merciless in its stalking of ears and inciting of pleasure, especially with things like cow bell mischief adding to spicy blazes of guitar to further ignite the addictively cantankerous persuasion of the song.

Buzz Kill keeps body and emotions locked and loaded on the album’s weighty temptation; the aggressor providing a rowdy but again controlled stroll with abrasing riffs and vocal attitude speared by a groove which is as virulent as it is predatory. Littered with the scorching scythes of Alexander’s guitar, the track is another formidable antagonist upon Sick Daze but matched and surpassed by the bestial treat Metal For Mark which follows after the skit intro of It’s Not Metal which lies between the two tracks. Volatile and viciously captivating, the ravenous Metal For Mark slips into its fury the raw infectiousness of Rob Zombie with the corrosive essences of Prong. Each spicing up the bootleg brewed rock ‘n’ roll snarling from the Canadian rednecks southern ‘breeding’, with extra irresistible tang.

The best track on the album leaves the closing pair of The Bastard and Rise Up some height to match and truthfully they miss its plateau but with a melodically catchy and anthemic magnetism to the first of the two and the final song offering a grizzly growl of southern rock, satisfaction and enjoyment are overflowing in response to their brawly hell-raising.

Sick Daze is rugged rock/metal which relishes a musical and physical quarrel, and only has the appetite to kick up a storm and lead the listener into salacious devilry. Ok it might not be setting down new adventures as such but there is a time to be reminded what rock ‘n’ roll is all about, and this year’s comes with Them County Bastardz.

Sick Daze is available now via Smokehouse Records digitally and on CD @ http://themcountybastardz.bandcamp.com/releases

http://www.themcountybastardz.com/   https://www.facebook.com/ThemCountyBastardz

RingMaster 26/02/2015

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/

 

Skeyes – Empty Mirrors

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Like with post-hardcore, for any emerging band to stand out in metalcore, even in its more progressive state, is a bit of a tall order. US band Skeyes is another coming up against that challenge but with debut EP Empty Mirrors, the band certainly makes a potent introduction and offers plenty of potential that they can rise up from the pack. The four track offering is a very likeable slice of metal voracity with a melodic invention which wakes up the imagination. Whether it has enough to push the band above the crowd time will tell but right now the release sparks the feeling that the Pennsylvanian band can ascend to that spotlight pushing height at some point.

Skeyes was formed in 2013 by Jesse Cease and Tyler Williams, and originally was intended as a studio project. Their first year saw many changes in line-up which led to the becoming a fully functioning band with vocalist Dale Brosious and guitarist Ryan Macaluso alongside guitarist/vocalist Cease. Drawing on inspirations from the likes of Erra, Mureau, Northlane, and For the Fallen Dreams, Skeyes have now arrived at the point of unleashing their presence on a broader landscape. Featuring guest vocals from Garret Rapp of The Color Morale and Jesse Cash of Erra, and released on Imminence Records to whom the band signed last October, Empty Mirrors is a more than solid and pleasing base for the band spring forth from.

Ethereal sets the ball rolling and instantly is a flame of clean vocals amidst a web of sonic enterprise, a coaxing punctuated by thumping rhythms which shows restraint in their attack but not their weight. With Garret Rapp bringing his strong guest tones to the song, it is soon a turbulent storm of an encounter, the caustic roars of Brosious an increasingly enjoyable squall against the warmer colours and harmonies of the song. The guitars also grab attention swiftly, tendrils of sonic imagination aligning with ragged riffs equipped with a djent seeded agitation. It is a strong song which satisfies with ease especially through the ever growing voracity of the rhythms, but elevates its stature with an excellent twist of melodic calm coloured by excellent vocals of Rapp.IR030

The following Myriad also needs a breath before unleashing its maelstrom of imagination and sonic tenacity. In some ways it is a less imposing and intrusive track yet still stirs up an intimidation and creative agitation which keeps expectations at bay. Even so there are plenty of recognisable things about the song, as the EP, but it would be amiss to not say it comes over as fresh and with a hungry passion as it roughs up and seduces the listener’s ears and thoughts. Strangely another thing in its favour and success is the briefness of its presence, at under three minutes the track is a dazzling quick jab to the senses with certainly as the old adage says, ‘leaves them wanting more’, just as the similarly swift offering of the EP’s title track which steps up next.

With Jesse Cash involved, Empty Mirrors is virtually a bedlamic swirl of venomous raw growls and melodic suggestiveness within a cage of aggressive riffery and belligerent rhythms. Holding magnetic calm at moments and unbridled energetic hostility in others, the song seduces with dramatic keys and impressive clean blazes of vocal expression. Easily the best thing on the release, the inventive bellow is as fascinating as it is exhausting and with more songs like this, Skeyes will definitely rise to join the cream of melodic metalcore.

The closing Ars Amatoria revels in the mellower side of the band’s sound and songwriting, initially at least anyway. The voice of we assume Cease shows its strongest and most impressive moments on the EP as the song brews up a tempest of sound and angst round him. It does not take long for Brosious to unleash his thick venom too as guitars paint a reflective sonic picture in the rabid frame of rhythms and riffs. The song is also brief, though this time it feels like an unfinished proposition once it departs, as if there was more to say but instead just walks away.

Empty Mirrors as suggested is a strong way to open up their entrance into the ears of the world. It is not going to shake the tree but certainly will do enough to ensure Skeyes and what comes next is given stronger attention, and if the band can really build on songs like the EPs title track, with equally potent rewards in return.

The Empty Mirrors EP is available now via Imminence Records @ http://imminencerecords.bandcamp.com/album/empty-mirrors

https://www.facebook.com/skeyesband

RingMaster 26/02/2015

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