Growls and grooves: talking with The Devil In California

The Devil In California_RingMasterReview

“Hailing from the broad, cracked streets of West Oakland, California,” The Devil In California is a band uncaging rock ‘n’ roll which rumbles with attitude and adventurous enterprise. Since forming they have swiftly forged their own identity with a rousing hard/heavy rock sound which devours as it masterfully involves the senses and imagination. Currently working on their second album, we grabbed the opportunity to talk with the heavy rockers to explore The Devil In California past, present, and ahead.

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

Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to how it all started and what brought you all together?

Tony Malson – We are The Devil In California; formed in 2013. Our drummer Eddie had an ad out that attracted Jamie (guitar), who brought in Matt (bass) to jam and see what was up. Eddie gave me a call and asked if I wanted to check out the project. I loved the tunes and The Devil was born. Snake was added to the project after mixing our first tunes. The line-up was then complete. We all share a passion for heavy hitting hard rock with influences galore.

Have you been/are involved in other bands before?

Tony – I moved to the bay area in 94 and have been singing in Bay Area bands ever since. Bands like AngryInch, Fiksate, The Servants, Mavalour and played drums/sang in Insecto and Monte Casino to name a few; all an artistic pathway leading to The Devil In California.

Jamie Cronander – Most of us have played in quite a few bands. Some you’ve probably heard of. Some of us have side bands. Some rock bands, metal bands, industrial bands, tribute bands, even trumpet in a brass band. We prefer that the Devil be thought of in its own light.

Has past experiences had any impact on what you are doing now, in maybe inspiring a change of style or direction?

Tony – Every musical experience I’ve had in other acts has contributed to how I approach writing/singing in The Devil. And I’m still exploring different avenues and genres to broaden my musical horizons; so much to learn.

Jamie – TDIC is its own inspiration thing. We draw influence from a lot of things, and most importantly from each other. You’d probably find that all of our other music, be it present or past, does not sound like the Devil.

What inspired the band name?

Eddie Colmenares – I came up with it when doing the initial planning.

Tony – Eddie came up with the name and I liked it right away; perfect for this band.

DIC_RingMasterReviewWas there any specific idea behind the forming of the band and also in what you wanted it and your sound to offer?

Eddie – There was. I really wanted to put together a heavy, hard rock band that had that southern, slide guitar vibe to it.

Jamie – Matt and I were working on a project that kept getting put on hold by the other members. We wanted to do something that was more heavy, old school, and southern influenced. Alice In Chains, Corrosion Of Conformity, Skynyrd, Pantera, Clutch, STP, Allmans, etc. We had plenty of time, so we started a couple ideas and were directed to Eddie’s ad almost immediately.

Tony – I think the idea of a swampy, heavy, melodic, hard rocking 5 piece was the idea from the beginning. I came in after Jamie, Eddie and Matt had jammed a bit so it changed a bit from there but we all have a similar vision.

Do the same things still drive the band when it was fresh-faced or have they evolved over time?

Eddie – It’s a mix. First, we aren’t that old of a band, so nothing is ‘too much of the same’ yet. And we are moving up pretty fast – it’s a lot coming at us at once, which in turn drives us more.

Tony – I’ve always been very musically driven personally. My passion to play music and get that music out to the world hasn’t really swayed in the last twenty plus years. I’ve always got the same vibe from the band in that regard. But you can’t grow without change and we tend to evolve in a very natural upward spiral. Has our music changed? Yes. Does it still encapsulate TDIC? Absolutely!

Since those first days, how would you say your sound has equally evolved?

Jamie – Definitely an evolution, but a young one; we have some prettier stuff coming, and some harder stuff coming. We’ve only got the one record out. But if you dig it, fear not. The next record will be just as hard hitting and sing-alongy, but will not be a repeat of the first.

Tony – I’ve always enjoyed the band “process” of learning to play with new musicians and finding that absolute sweet spot where everyone’s talents, technical abilities, and musical emotions come together as one. This process takes years and is a constant evolution. And in my opinion it’s really coming together with The Devil.

Has it been more of an organic movement of sound or more the band deliberately wanting to try new things?

Jamie – A lot of it is that Snake joined later in the process of the first record. He still had a heavy hand in the songs on the record, but the structure was mostly in place. Snake and I work VERY well together, so now that we’re able to do the whole process of guitars together, I think the band is really blooming into something better as we become one.

Tony – Definitely more of an organic flow towards our sound and what feels good.

Presumably across the band there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approach and ideas to creating and playing music?

Tony – Everything from Prince to Pantera inspires me. I’m a huge fan of the Seattle sound that was so instrumental in the 90’s. Alice in Chains have always struck a deep chord with me; Soundgarden as well for that matter. Chris and Layne were and are my top vocal heroes.

Jamie – Alice In Chains is a big common thing for all of us. Their ability to be as pretty and acoustic as they get or ugly and heavy as they get, is intense and the vocal harmonies…so important. For me personally; Corrosion Of Conformity, Pantera, Stevie Ray, Nirvana, Sonic Youth, STP, Allman Bros., CCR. They’ve all changed the way I think about the guitar.

Is there a process to the songwriting which generally guides the writing of songs?TDIC_RingMasterReview

Tony – In this band the riffs usually come first. We formulate the tune based on that then I begin to add lyrics and melodies. I prefer to wait until I hear a song and digest the riff before I start to head in a lyrical direction. You never know where inspiration will come from so you can’t fall in love with a preconceived idea.

Jamie – Usually it stems from me and Snake bringing in riffs we’re having fun with. We’ll hash them out at home a bit, record the ideas, send it to the guys on line, and then bang on it all together in the studio.

How about the lyrical side of your songs, where do you, more often than not, draw inspirations from?

Tony – My lyrics are largely derived from the life experiences of myself and those that surround me. Inspiration can take many forms. I’m always open to a new vibe or sound or riff. It’s kept me coming back for years on end. I love writing and recording new material.

Can you give us some background to your current release, Longer Ride Down?

Eddie – We only have the debut release out, so really, the background is “we formed, and wrote a record in a year”. We go back into the studio this winter for the follow-up.

Tony – It’s a hands down, kick ass, hard rockin’, heavy grooved, melodic, ear bender. If you dig heavy riffs with harmony and soul all wrapped up in emotion then you’re in!

Can you give us some insight to the themes and premise behind it and its songs.

Tony – I’ve always gravitated towards the darker side of musical tastes. The beauty in expressing that space is undeniable. It can be very moving and haunting at the same time. That being said, positivity needs to reign supreme in your approach to life as well as music. You usually have to traverse the darkness to see the light.

Are you a band which goes into the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?

Eddie – Oh lord, hahaha… they are final final final, and then we still change things. All songs are prepped long before we are in the studio.

Tony – We always do a pre-production round of recording before we do the final tracking. 99% of our changes to our songs happen in prepro. Then we are super close to the final product when doing the final version in the studio.

Jamie – We usually end up pre-producing songs in full three times at least. The first takes are to nail tempos, and see if we feel like they need anything, like additional breaks, leads, backups, etc. As for the finals, we record them just guitar, bass, and vox, lay drums over them, then redo the instruments over the drums.

Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably the favourite aspect of the band?

Tony – We want you to walk away from our live show saying, “That was one of the best bands I’ve ever seen”. So our approach is filled with intensity and vigor. We all have a professional approach to our live show but realize that without a little danger and spontaneity it’s hard to take it to the next level.

TDIC_RingMasterReviewIt is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it?

Tony – We have made a good splash in the Bay Area. It’s not an easy place to play music as the people and crowds are so diverse. This diversity is what we love but it also lends to many different kinds of music being played out live. There is no “one scene” in the bay so you have to fight a little harder for your rock and roll piece of the pie; which only makes you a better act in the end.

Eddie – The San Francisco / Bay Area is a fickle place. If you want to do well locally, you better be really good out of the gate, and then keep it coming. Fortunately we have some great, loyal fans. We’re at that stage where when we are playing and I look out at the audience, I don’t even know 70% of the people. That’s awesome.

Are there still the opportunities to make a mark there if the drive is there for new bands?

Tony – Absolutely! There are always opportunities to take advantage of. No excuses. Get out there and attack the scene. Write good tunes, play a great live show, and leave it all on the stage. You will see results.

Eddie – Yes, but it’s a whole new paradigm now. Be ready to work your ass off if you want to do anything other than play your local bar. Nobody is going to come along and hold your hand these days. No label is going to show up at your local show and whip a contract out of their suitcase to hand you. That is absolutely over – doubly so if you are not in an “urban” act, or are a rapper. We do pretty much everything in house, and it’s a just as much a job as it is a band.

How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date?

Tony – The music industry is an ever changing beast due to the internet and social media today. You have to get on board and ride that bitch to your benefit or it will leave you behind in an instant. There is always more to be done but we are benefiting from it for sure.

Eddie – I think social media was far bigger of a deal just a few years ago than it is now. The stream of having said that, at least 80% of our exposure is through some sort of social media interaction.

Jamie – The internet is basically the only way to discover music these days. If you’re not on FB, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and everything else, you’re not putting in the work. People do still buy physical CDs, but usually they’ve been watching your video before that.

Do you see it as something destined to become a negative from a positive as the band grows and hopefully gets increasing success or is it more that bands struggling with it are lacking the knowledge and desire to keep it working to their advantage?

Tony – It’s a positive in the end. It has to be. You need to make it so and will it to be. Even a bad situation offers lessons towards a positive outcome. Ask questions. Investigate all the solutions. If you’re not failing in some arena then you’re not trying hard enough.

Once again guys, big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?

Tony – Thank you! And yes, our new album is in the works and due out this winter. We have some more touring this summer going down as well. Keep an eye out for some new videos and some surprises from The Devil. Let’s Rock!

Eddie – Thanks! And please stay tuned – more is coming!

All – Please follow us on your favorite social media site!

https://www.facebook.com/thedevilincalifornia   https://twitter.com/eldiabloencali

https://www.instagram.com/thedevilincalifornia   https://www.youtube.com/thedevilincalifornia

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 10/06/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Valley Of The Sun – Volume Rock

VOTS_RingMasterReview:

If a title ever reflected its contents then it is Volume Rock, the new album from Cincinnati stompers Valley Of The Sun. The release is a mighty roar of rousing rock ‘n’ roll which never takes a breath and demands to be played with the dial locked on maximum. In many ways it carries on where their acclaimed debut album Electric Talons Of The Thunderhawk left off but with even more resourcefully honed and fiery exploits on board to fire up ears and rich enjoyment.

With the two well-received EPs, Two Thousand Ten and The Sayings of the Seers in 2010 and 2011 respectively, under their belt, Valley Of The Sun really caught attention and a new wealth of eager appetites with Electric Talons Of The Thunderhawk in 2014. It took their inflamed mix of stoner, hard, and desert rock to new heights with just rewards in responses and acclaim. It is easy to feel though that all of its success was just the appetiser to bigger things and reactions around the uncaging of Volume Rock and its step up in sound, songwriting, and the band’s ability to get all rocking like a bone starved hound.

The album opens on the instantly masterful and rousing swagger of Eternal Forever, ears clipped by sticks on rims as a bluesy invitation swings away alongside. In another handful of seconds, the song hits a rampant stroll with its riff loaded chest out and rhythmic hips swinging. The vocals of guitarist Ryan Ferrier quickly impress as they light ears and song whilst his riffs find quick unity with the catchy grooves of Adam Flaig, the contagious start becoming a full on anthemic enticement driven by the potent jabs of drummer Aaron Boyer and the brooding bassline of Ringo Jones.

It is an exhilarating start backed within moments by the following Wants and Needs. Slightly less urgent but no less commandingly infectious, the track has a spicy Queens Of The Stone Age feel to its melodic and vocal persuasion though equally, and not for the last time across the album, there is also a grungy essence which hints at Alice In Chains. A blaze of spirit raising rock ‘n’ roll, its success is matched and eclipse by the thick and sultry charms of The Hunt. Badgering the senses and body from start to finish, the track is an inflamed shuffle with imposing rhythms and citric grooves bound in the outstanding tones of Ferrier, his presence backed just as potently by the band in voice and enterprise.

Volumerock_FrontCover_RingMasterReviewNext up Land of Fools has enjoyment and limbs in full involvement too; it’s more reserved but seriously addictive entrance, with rhythms and riffs insatiable bait, the lead into a virulent epidemic of lean keen hooks and beats which continue the track’s initial magnetic work as sonic flames cast by the guitar of Flaig and Ferrier’s harmonic throat flare. There is no escaping a Josh Homme and co feel again to the outstanding encounter, a flavour only adding to its triumph before making way for I Breathe the Earth and its delicious bass grumble. That leading lure brings ears into t smouldering sighs of fiery guitar and in turn concussive beats and beguiling harmonies, all colluding in another aural swelter with psych and blues rock imagination.

The heavier and thicker textures of Speaketh the Shaman steps forward next, Ferrier crooning with purpose and heart within the smokier fire of the song’s sizzling climate and sound. As in a few other tracks, bands like The Sword and Torche come to mind a little, though generally a fleeting essence within Valley Of The Sun’s own creative flame. Certainly the band skilfully employs familiar hues in their own sonic designs, but as different colours in something maybe not boldly unique but undoubtedly distinct in style and character.

If previous tracks were fires, Beneath the Veil is a volcano of grooves and melodic lava, enveloping and treating ears to a white hot invasion of infectious blues rock ‘n’ roll. It roars and stomps in its groove woven waltz, springing the listener into an exhaustive dance and revelry for which no escape is possible or wanted until its last note blisters on the ears.

A chance to grab a breath is allowed momentarily by Solstice before it too is a thumping hard rock scented canter with a punkish snarl pulling tired bodies back to their soon revitalised feet. Its departure lets Empty Visions bring the album to memorable close, the track a hot bed of sonic fuzz and melodic tinder setting fire to ears and spirit under the catchy guidance and temptation of the ever impressing vocals.

It is a fine end to a thrilling encounter which just leaves you wanting more and with real greed. If Valley Of The Sun impressed before, they will blow a great many more away with Volume Rock and its incendiary rock ‘n’ roll.

Volume Rock is released April 29th via Fuzzorama Records @ http://www.fuzzoramastore.com/en/ and https://fuzzoramarecords1.bandcamp.com/album/volume-rock

https://www.facebook.com/valleyofthesun    https://twitter.com/centaur_rodeo

Pete RingMaster 28/04/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com

 

Boss Keloid – Herb Your Enthusiasm

Boss Keloid_RingMasterReview

Big praise drenched words and claims have been shared in the build up to the release of the new album from British heavy rockers Boss Keloid, and we can quite eagerly say that Herb Your Enthusiasm more than lives up to every syllable of acclaim offered. The Wigan hailing quartet’s second album is simply superb, inescapably irresistible, and a ravenous incitement entangling the finest ravenous textures of sludge, doom, stoner, progressive rock and much more. For ten tracks it turns ears and imagination inside out with unpredictability and ferocious adventure that catches the breath as equally as the heavy predacious sounds and rabidly dark ideation terrorises the senses. The release is spellbindingly fascinating and destined to stalk the top places of end of year best album lists.

As in debut album The Calming Influence of Teeth of 2013, riffs carry a furious rabidity as rhythms probe and punish within Herb Your Enthusiasm. That alone provides a proposal demanding attention with the seduction of low-slung grooves only increasing the senses intimidating, imagination courting prowess at work. To this masterful palette of raw intensity and barbarous persuasion the band layers further temptations of melodic dissonance and glamour, progressive drama, and at times an avant-garde psychosis which just puts hex on album and listener. The result is a release which blows its impressive predecessor out of the water and announces Boss Keloid as a big creative predator in a large devouring pond.

Recorded and mixed by Chris Fielding at Skyhammer Studios and mastered by James Plotkin, Herb Your Enthusiasm opens up with Lung Mountain, a track swiftly providing the template for the heart of the album. Riffs badger and pounce on ears as the hefty swings of drummer Ste Arands resonate on the senses. It takes little time though for band and album to slip in something more sultrily comfortable as guitarist Paul Swarbrick shares flirtatious melodies cross a calmer landscape where the already rousing roar of vocalist Alex Hurst mellows into a more enticing growl. With Jon Davis of Conan guest and adding to the vocal web, the bass of Adam Swarbrick is all the while a predator, stalking the song and imagination with its swaying animus for a perfect temper to the kinder climate and the spark for more ravenous intent elsewhere. As shown time and time again, there is so much going on in songs only physically embracing them can reveal all with every listen perpetually revealing a new twist or texture to get hooked on.

Boss Keloid_HYE_Front_Artwork_RingMasterReviewThe progressive ingenuity in the latter stages of the song only adds to a theatre of sound and craft which continues in the imagination fuelled emprise of Haarlem Struggle. An exotic acoustic opening is soon a tempestuous wall of lumbering confrontation, though that early spicing still flavours the bracing proposal of primal intensity aflame with senses enveloping harmonies. Strains of death and groove metal among other bold spices are equally glimpsed in the brewing maelstrom, teasing and thrilling ears though not as much as the subsequent spiral into experimental adventure towards the track’s rear where Boss Keloid conjure an alchemy best described as a bedlam of Faith No More, Trepalium, 6:33, and Destrage.

Giving a final crushing of ears as it leaves, the excellent track makes way for the equally compelling Escapegoat where grunge/stoner toxicity quickly grips and excites whilst vocals and rhythms collude with more tenebrific riffs within an atmospheric trespass. There is no let-up of thick pressure and corrosive intensity across the song, its invigorating voracious intent single minded as its heads into the doom spawned jaws of Cone. Amongst resonating bass bait and dark fibrous grooves, Alex Hurst flirts with a Mike Patton like devilry for his early presence though he and song need little prompting to raise their antagonistic side as heavy rock and thunderous rhythms align for an invasive tsunami of sound and intent. For every assault offered there comes a flirtatious groove or virulent infectiousness that has the body and passions swinging, here it revealing a great Alice In Chains like hue to its tempting.

Axis of Green keeps the release and enjoyment on the same striking plateau, the rhythmic agility of Ste Arands and Adam Swarbrick catching ears in swift time as Paul Swarbrick’s sonic strands and venomous grooves weave in and out. Increasingly more eventful as it progresses, ending with a progressively tenacious and again expectations destroying climax, the song is followed by Highatus, a brief and fiery slice of instrumental sludge suggestiveness which is far more straight forward than the tracks around it but similarly enjoyable before being seriously outshone by Lung Valley. With psych rock keys and the increasingly impressing vocal variety and quality of Alex Hurst instantly sparking further lustful reactions, the track creates a tapestry of grouchily invasive textures and inviting grooves. Every element is as welcoming as they are imposing, and ultimately all addictively persuasive.

The fierce blaze and climactic toning of Elegant Odyssey enslaves next, every groove and slither of ingenuity infesting the psyche as the senses are bruised and body physically nagged by the track’s weight and aggressively shared intent. With its mercurial and spellbinding character, the track is simply outstanding, a ravenous triumph to bear and lustfully embrace, much as the final pairing of songs on the album. Chabal steps forward first, Davis again featuring as another array of textures and rock ‘n’ roll strains entangle and unite as the band forcibly push their songwriting and imagination whilst similarly imposing on the listener, trapping them in a web of contagious exploits and instinctively quarrelsome incitement.

Hot Priest closes up Herb Your Enthusiasm and is as exceptional as its two predecessors. Immediately it flirts with ears in an avant-garde rock shuffle with keys and rhythms sharing off-kilter imagination and enterprise too. Of course in no time, Boss Keloid has uncaged the pugnacious side of their invention with combative riffs and beats led by snarling vocals descending on the senses. From there the two contrasting sides continue to switch within and share the track’s glorious presence.

We have only hinted at the heart, body, and character of Herb Your Enthusiasm such its rich depths and imagination. Your job is to explore it, embrace, it, and be mercilessly buffeted and seduced by something surely few will manage to better this year.

Herb Your Enthusiasm is released April 8th via Black Bow Records and @ https://bosskeloid.bandcamp.com/album/herb-your-enthusiasm

https://www.facebook.com/bosskeloidband

Pete RingMaster 07/o4/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/

American Head Charge – Tango Umbrella

AHC_RingMasterReview

Like many others we are sure, there was a surge of excited anticipation when the new American Head Charge album was announced. It was the first since 2005 full-length The Feeding and the band disbanding two years later. Their return after six years subsequently brought the excellent Shoot EP, a release bristling with hints of a new bigger and even bolder adventure to the AHC sound. Now those clues are realised and reinforced with Tango Umbrella; a maelstrom of prime AHC moments, new imaginative adventures, and exploits seemingly inspired by some of their companions in the nu-metal/melodic metal scene first time around. The result is a riveting and galvanic tempest of sound and imagination which for the main hits the spot dead centre.

From the first breath of their first album for Napalm Records, AHC go straight for the senses and imagination with opener Let All The World Believe. Its entrance is calm and coaxing, electronic pulses and beats gathering within an increasingly sinister ambience before the doors burst open and predatory riffs and rhythms eagerly crowd and trespass ears. It is a forcibly enticing start only blossoming again as the band unleashes inventive industrial metal rabidity. The keys of Justin Fowler sizzle and incite with devilish enterprise whilst the intrusive beats of Chris Emery descend with uncompromising intent. All the while Cameron Heacock vocally prowls like an apocalyptic ringmaster; his expression and words scathing and confrontational and just as alluring as the thick mesh of sound around him. With touches of Fear Factory and Static X to it, the track is a glorious start; an anthemic death dance bursting with the dramatic sonic devilment of guitarists Karma Cheema and Ted Hallows.

Drowning Under Everything quickly follows with another industrial sculpted invitation, its initial clang soon immersed in a robust tide of riffs and grooves. The growling bass of Chad Hanks quickly steals a chunk of the attention, backed by the matching potent bait of guitars and vocal laced with a Manson-esque hue soon evolving into a richer melodic flame bred with the familiar AHC dexterity and invention. It too is a swiftly shifting and changing passage within the tantalising track, a moment soon becoming entangled with all the other textures in a muggy creative maze. Inescapably the track ignites ears and again an already awoken appetite before the more thunderous assault of Perfectionist flares up to place its virulent grip on attention too. Atmospherically suggestive and vocally provocative, the song merges grunge and nu-metal traits and flavours to infectious effect as essences of Korn, Mudvayne, and Alice In Chains spice its enthralling proposal. Epitomising the whole album though, for all spices and influences openly shown, the track is unmistakably American Head Charge through and through.

art_RingMasterReviewThe latter of those three references nudges thoughts again as the thick mesmeric and emotive embrace of Sacred takes over, the track crawling seductively over the senses as vocals, guitars, and keys charm and tantalise ears. With the bass grumbling and beats swinging in tandem, the track beguiles from its first second, before being followed and overshadowed by the quite irresistible I Will Have My Day, a fiercely rousing and relentless White Zombie incitement with again great AIC sounding harmonies and melodic caresses.

The emotion loaded A King Among Men comes next; the ballad a requiem of piano, voice, and harmonies likely inspired by the loss of previous band guitarist Bryan Ottoson in 2005 and more recently friends like Wayne Static but equally a sentiment for anyone losing someone. It is a potent piece leaving a lingering touch much like, but in whole different way, Suffer Elegantly. The call of the wild springs a charging, invasive surge of riffs and grooves driven by hellacious rhythms. There is no escaping a Ministry incited dynamic to the track or its savagely tenacious energy and sound but again AHC twist it into their own ravenous ideation and aggressive imagination. Many major favourites emerge from within Tango Umbrella, this right there on the frontline.

The twisting rapacious tone and grooves of Antidote enslaves ears and thoughts next, its flirtatious melodies and off-kilter slithers of sound rich pickings for the imagination whilst the Down like hostility which seeps from the track’s uncaging of raw intensity has the spirit as inflamed as the rest of the song has ears gripped. Increasingly more impressive and addictive with every listen, the song entices and snarls like a beast in heat much as the Trent Reznor like Prolific Catastrophe which sidles in with a devilish glint in its creative eye and a rousing fire in its sonic belly.

Completing the album is firstly the musically and lyrically antagonistic Down And Depraved, a grouchy and mercurial blaze of voice and sound, and finally the atmospherically cast When The Time Is Never Right. It is another which needed time to convince as heartily as previous tracks within Tango Umbrella but persistently has satisfaction and involvement fully engaged whilst bringing the album to a magnetic end.

It is fair to say that Tango Umbrella lives up to the promise of the band’s last EP and more. It is like a kaleidoscope of their highlights to date and inspirations picked up along the way, in turn almost like trip through the listener’s own nu/industrial metal inspired soundtrack but most of all, the album is one thoroughly thrilling, inventively fresh and varied slab of American Head Charge imagination re-establishing the sextet as one of our prize assets.

Tango Umbrella is released via Napalm Records on March 25th through most online stores.

http://www.headcharge.com/    https://www.facebook.com/AmericanHeadCharge   https://twitter.com/AHC_Official

Remaining dates on the AHC/Mushroomhead UK tour

26.03.16 UK – Bristol / The Marble Factory

27.03.16 UK – Plymouth / The Hub

29.03.16 UK – Cardiff / The Globe

30.03.16 UK – London / Electric Ballroom

31.03.16 UK – Brighton / Concorde 2

01.04.16 UK – Southampton / Engine Rooms

02.04.16 UK – Norwich / Waterfront

03.04.16 UK – Reading / Sub89

Pete RingMaster 24/03/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/

Grooves and zombies: getting close and personal with Novacrow

novacrow_RingMasterReview

According to the band, Novacrow is “a four-piece of zombie-punching, hard-rock sleazeballs.” What they certainly are is a hard rock seeded roar which is earning a mighty reputation for their eclectic sound and EP Black Syrup has only backed and reinforced their striking emergence on the British rock scene. With the supporting of bands such as Skarlett Riot, Heonias and Green Jellÿ also under their belts, the EP feels like the spark to bigger things and attention upon Novacrow so we seized the opportunity to get to know the band and its hungry heart with big thanks to vocalist/guitarist Kitty Synthetica and bassist/backing vocalist/producer Federico Spera.

Hi guys, thanks for taking time out to talk with us

No worries, thanks for the interview!

Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to how it all started and what brought you together?

Federico: The band consists of the following sex gods: Kitty Synthetica on vocals/guitar/kazoo, Jonyx on lead guitars, Freddy on bass/backing vocals, and Torben Schmidt Hansen on the drums. We all got together when Kitty and John wanted to form a band; they met Torben and I through mutual friends and cosmic forces.

Have you been/are involved in other bands?

Federico: The others have all been in bands before and I studied music in university, so I’ve always been part of different bands in some form…The so called “Mistress Bands”.

Kitty

Kitty

How have previous experiences impacted on what you are doing now?

Federico: It’s kind of hard to say, obviously with us all having been in bands before you’d think we’d be super pros, but the truth is that there’s no set way to work together. It depends entirely on the bands and the people in them. But being in other bands definitively taught us how to promote ourselves and our releases, what works and what doesn’t, etc.

Kitty: I’ve been playing gigs since I was 16 and it really helps giving you ‘live experience’. Shows can be tough and crowds can be unforgiving, but you need that to make you a better performer. In terms of the impact on my music, in previous projects, I was solely focussed on writing metal, which tended to limit my creativity. I listen back to demos I had scrapped for ‘not being heavy enough’ and think “Oh nice, I want to use that now!”

What inspired the band name?

Federico: The legend says that John one day just picked a word out of a dictionary and fused it with an animal. The idea of a bird on fire must have appealed to him I guess, so he stuck with it.

Was there any specific idea behind the forming of the band in what you wanted your sound to offer?

Federico: Kitty had a few songs already written when she originally formed the band, but that’s about it. I think ultimately we just wanted to rock out with our cocks out, and that was the main premise behind the band.

Kitty: I had a very different project in mind! I wanted an all-girl band, but these guys were the closest thing to women that I could find. Haha. No, I love this band and how well we all work together. One big creepy happy family!

Do the same things still drive the band from its first days or have they evolved over time?

Federico: The drive of the band is still rooted in the desire to be outrageous and we’re very much a success driven band. However, the way we focus that drive has definitely matured throughout our time together.

Since those early days, how would you say your sound has evolved for you?

Federico: I’d say it has evolved for the better. If you listen to our old demos there were some nice ideas, but they weren’t particularly well mediated and executed. I’d like to think that as time goes on, we manage to find the right balance between being ridiculous and writing good songs as opposed to doing one or the other, which is a significant sign of evolution for our sound.

Would you say that change has been more of an organic movement of sound or have you gone out with new things you wanted to specifically try?  

Frederico

Frederico

Federico: It has always felt quite organic. I don’t think there’s a single song which we’ve had to force into existence.

Kitty: Because Novacrow is so unrestricted when it comes to genre, there’s no ‘wrong sound.’ I have a few juicy riffs in the pipeline though.  I am also a big fan of vocal harmonies, (Alice in Chains get this SO right) so I’ll be looking for opportunities to use some interesting melodies.

Presumably across the band there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approach and ideas to creating and playing music?

Federico: With the exception of Black Syrup (which was inspired by the burlesque goodness of Pussy Liquor by Rob Zombie), I wouldn’t say there’s been a conscious influence on any of our songs or approach. We mainly base our inspiration for songs on vibes and energies as opposed to songs or artists. Instead of saying “We should write a Machine Head-esque riff in C phrygian”, we’ll say “We should write an angry and crushing powerhouse of a song”.

Kitty: There are some awesome female musicians that have inspired me massively. Brody Dalle of The Distillers, Tairrie B of My Ruin, Joan Jett, Grog of Die So Fluid, Otep, Alissa White-Gluz- to name a few. From the earliest days of getting into rock and metal, I would seek out bands with powerful female figures and I always wanted to emulate the same sort of commanding presence they had onstage.

Musically, I only ever learnt guitar as a means to write songs. I’ve never had an interest in replicating tracks; if I love a song, I have no urge to reproduce it identically. But, I do love deconstructing a track that I adore and putting together a new cover, something I have been doing on YouTube since 2009. It’s a fun challenge and a way of paying homage to songs I love.

Is there a particular process to the songwriting which generally seems to emerge?

Federico: Generally, one of us (usually Kitty) will have a whole song idea in their head, which they’d bring to a rehearsal room and we bounce ideas off each other. Each song is then mediated in a different way. I’d say the biggest exception to this is The Mantra, which was almost a completely different song when Kitty first showed it to me for pre-production.

Kitty: For a lot of songs, I think that the melody is the most important part- and by this I mean the vocal tune combined with the central guitar riff. That will always be the starting framework of any song I write. In my opinion, if you strip back everything else, but still retain that central vocal/guitar, it needs to be strong enough to make an impact on its own.

Where do you, more often than not, draw the inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs?

Kitty: It completely depends on the song. In a lot of cases I fixate on a phrase and use it for a title first (Black Syrup and Fat Frog for example), or the lyrics drive the rest of the track entirely (I think this is particularly the case in The Mantra).

Fight The Horde!!! was very much video game inspired. The lyrics loosely follow the storyline of The Last of Us, whilst the title is a reference to Left 4 Dead. I wanted something fast and heavy, with epic soaring choruses, perfect for kicking ass.

I wrote the lyrics to Set in Stone and Colourless whilst reading a lot of Haruki Murakami novels. I love how he creates such fantastic vast images and creates these prophetic journeys of self-fulfilment for average characters.

Novacrow EP 2016 - Blacky Syrup Cover Art_RingMasterReviewGive us some background to your new release and some insight into the themes and premise behind it and its songs.

Federico: Our latest release is the panty-dropping powerhouse of an EP called Black Syrup. It really captures the vibe of the band effectively, opening with the kazoo filled drunk anthem Fat Frog to get them booties shakin’ (which is about getting shitfaced and party-hardying). That’s followed by Fight The Horde!!!, which is a zombie-apocalypse based thumper of a song inspired by the game Last of Us. Then comes the title track Black Syrup, which is inspired by sticky black goo. Set in Stone is next, which gives the listener a peak into our more melodic side. The whole EP is brought to an end by Colourless, an easy listening instrumental piece.

Kitty: I love focussing on big over-the-top themes. Most of the time, I write the majority of a song in my head before picking up an instrument, so it’s very much a ‘visual’ experience. I deliberately wanted a set of very different songs for the EP, each with a completely different vibe and based on very different vivid scenarios.

Do you enter the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or use that scenario to bring songs to their final character?

Federico: For all of our releases so far, we’ve gone through intensive pre-production, so when it comes to recording we know exactly what we’re doing. The pre-production usually consists of recording high quality demos, so if we want to develop an element of the song we can use that as a reference point.

Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably the favourite aspect of the band?

Federico: Ooh, there’s so much to talk about here, but I’ll do my best to sum it up. We don’t believe in “over-the-top”, so we pretty much do what we want on stage, which usually means somebody is gonna make an ass out of themselves. We’ve brought inflatable crows on stage, did a kazoo cover of My Heart Will Go On, chugged pints mid songs, and done all sorts of stupid shit when performing. It’s the biggest form of release for some of us, so we’re not gonna hold anything back on stage.

Kitty: Performing is everything. I love to make people laugh, I love writing songs and I love goading a crowd. Word of our onstage stupidity is definitely our biggest pull to shows and makes us appeal to promoters. Basically, we’re just a bunch of attention seekers, that aren’t talented enough to earn praise for doing great deeds, so have to resort to being a bunch of performing chimps. AND WE LOVE IT.

It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally or further afield. How have you found it?

Federico: Like you said, it’s not easy. We’ve definitely not even scratched the surface. It’s hard because you want to celebrate every little insignificant bit of success that you achieve, but as soon as you do then it sort of means you’re satisfied, and then your efforts diminish. This is an EXTREMELY tough industry, and unless you’re giving it you 10000% then there’s virtually no chance of getting anywhere in it. We’ve found it extremely tiring at times, especially whilst trying to balance the band with our “normal” life, but at the end of the day we can’t show any signs of stopping otherwise we won’t get anywhere.

Kitty: The music industry today is highly saturated with competing artists, in a field where very few people are willing to spend money on music. Every small victory is important to me, as I wouldn’t be making music if I didn’t enjoy it. In the grand scheme of things, I’m not under any false impressions of earning world notoriety, but I am grateful for every show, every sale and every person who takes the time to let us know how much they love the music. Hard work is everything though.

Are there the opportunities to make a mark if the drive is there for new bands?Novacrow_RingMasterReview

Federico: Absolutely. You gotta play to win. It’s gonna be extremely hard, and even if you put your 20000% into it then there’s still no definitive chance to “make it”, but it’s the best chance you’ve got. As soon as you stop trying then you lose any opportunity you might have. It’s just a matter of persistence and not letting the odds get you down and eventually you’ll find yourself in a good place.

Kitty: There’s no guarantees, at all, but if you’re going to go for it, there’s no point half-assing it. You have to treat a band like Walter White treats meth; you need to believe in your ‘product,’ market it intelligently and push it like CRAZY.

How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date?

Federico: We’ve started the band at a point in which internet and social media became crucial to a band’s success. We’ve started using Kitty’s YouTube “fame” to fuel traffic to our various pages and so far it has worked very well, people who like Kitty’s covers tend to like Novacrow as well. So far, it has had a great impact!

Kitty: Social media is such a fantastic platform for bands, but I don’t think everybody appreciates just how hard you have to work to harness it. It is survival of the fittest. You can’t just moan about how small your post’s ‘reach’ on Facebook might be, you need to fight to get people’s attention.

The internet is incredible for musicians. I love looking at the insight statistics on YouTube and our website and seeing how people all over the world are listening to us. I had to send out all of our EP pre-orders this week, and there’s Novacrow CDs flying out all over the globe!  To an extent, social media gives you a chance to reach an audience without borders or limit. As a listener, you have an endless supply of incredible music at your fingertips.

Do you see it as something destined to become a negative from a positive as the band grows and hopefully gets increasing success or is it more that bands struggling with it are lacking the knowledge and desire to keep it working to their advantage?

Federico: Probably the former. People don’t realise exactly how much work needs to go in just to have the tiniest chance of success, and so they don’t work for it. And then they get annoyed when they can’t draw a crowd to their gigs, or get any decent support slots, until they eventually give up. How hard do you think you need to work to get anywhere with your band? Welp, that’s wrong, you have to work EVEN harder than that.

And that’s when we whip out the kazoos and zombies. We know how to work hard yet still entertain ourselves.

Kitty: You have to MAKE people want to see you. Give people a reason to want your music and look forward to your gigs!

Once again a big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?

Federico: Hell yeah, thanks for the interview! Check out our EP Black Syrup, I guarantee you will be more aroused than you’ll have ever been in your life! And keep an eye out on our various pages for more music, pictures, videos, and tips on world domination!

https://www.facebook.com/novacrowofficial/    https://www.novacrowofficial.com/

https://twitter.com/novacrowband   https://www.instagram.com/novacrowband/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 21/03/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Monster Truck – Sittin’ Heavy

pic by Brooks Reynolds

pic by Brooks Reynolds

Yet again Monster Truck lives up to the suggested weightiness of their name with their sound in new album Sittin’ Heavy. The eleven track encounter is a rousing rock ‘n’ roll roar embracing a landscape of bold styles and flavours. It is an adventure the Canadian band’s fans have become accustomed to and helped lead their Juno Award nominated debut album Furiosity to rich acclaim and hordes of new appetites two years or so back. Sittin’ Heavy carries on the muscular work of its predecessor, unleashing broad and robust rock ‘n’ roll you can only give full attention to.

The Hamilton, Ontario hailing Monster Truck quickly began stirring up local attention and support when emerging in 2009, backing it up with the release of their Gus Van Go and Werner F (The Stills, Priestess, Hollerado) produced self-titled EP the following year. The band linked up with producer Eric Ratz (Billy Talent, Cancer Bats, Three Days Grace) for its successor, The Brown EP in 2011, with surrounding singles pushing the band into the Top 10 on Canadian Rock radio. That initial live success has only accelerated and grown across the years too; tours across North America and Canada as well as supporting shows and festival appearances seeing the quartet sharing stages with the likes of Slash, Deep Purple, Guns N’ Roses, The Sheepdogs, Alice in Chains, ZZ Top, Buckcherry, Rival Sons and many more.

Furiosity put Monster Truck on bigger heavy rock/metal maps with its release in 2013, something the again Ratz recorded/co-produced Sittin’ Heavy will surely stir up and exploit further. Their first offering since signing with Mascot Records, the album charges at and through ears with opener Why Are You Not Rocking. Jabbing beats instantly grip attention before being quickly joined by fiery grooves around hungry riffs. Hitting its rousing stroll in moments, the track is a contagious stomp with the lead vocals of bassist Jon Harvey growling and enticing from within the busy web of Jeremy Widerman’s grooves and the seriously coaxing organ lures of Brandon Bliss. With drummer Steve Kiely inciting further involvement through his rapier like swings, band and song has hips, appetite, and energies ablaze with ease.

art_RingMasterReviewSittin’ Heavy is off to a mighty start which continues as Don’t Tell Me How To Live steps up next; its blues spiced grooves and tenaciously pressing riffs offering potent bait as they crowd the robustly snarling tones of Harvey. The song’s air is almost woozy with the melodic liquor fuelling the richly enticing grooving, their flirtation the lead into the suggestiveness of Widerman’s sonic endeavour and imagination. As the first, the track is a magnetic affair pleasing and simultaneously setting up the emotions and appetite for the even thicker weave of spicy textures and sultry invention that is She’s A Witch. As its predecessor, the song has a groove built net which quickly envelops ears as hips and feet are tempted and urged by the funk infused hooks and flighty flames of blues resourcefulness.

A southern seeded celebration is laid out by For The People next, its character and sound a familiar persuasion yet distinctly sculpted with Monster Truck invention and passion whilst Black Forest allows a rest for the body and inspiration for the imagination with its mellow yet still slightly tempestuous air and reflection. As with the last song, there is a sixties/seventies scented essence to the song; hues which align to a modern heartfelt blues seducing before having to make way for the wonderful discord twisted introduction of Another Man’s Shoes and subsequently its muscularly imposing and evocative body. The track is rock ‘n’ roll at its feverish yet controlled best, another skilful tapestry of textures and energies which Monster Truck, in this album alone, show themselves so accomplished at weaving.

From one pinnacle to another as Things Gets Better strides in with a keys sparked swagger that infests every aspect of the song. There is no escaping the unrelentingly persuasive and anthemic prowess of a song which never breaks into a riot of energy and sound but has the senses and spirit as aroused as if it had. The track also adds more of the flavoursome variety that makes up the album. As great as it is though, it and every song making up Sittin’ Heavy, gets outshone by the sensational incitement of The Enforcer. Straight from the big swinging rhythms which bound in under the control of Kiely, submission to its fiery charm is inevitable and even more assured as the soulful fire of sound and harmonies unite to seduce and stir the spirit. Grooves are almost toxic such their winy intoxication whilst the vocals of Harvey, backed by the rest of the band, simply provide virulent bait. Add biting riffs, piecing hooks, and more creative swing led by the bass revelry of Harvey, and you have one of the most incendiary tracks you are likely to hear this year.

To The Flame takes ears into a tantalising mix of sludge and stoner-esque adventure next. The track almost crawls over the senses whilst leaving a glaze of volcanic seduction, led by Widerman’s sonic lattice and the smothering allure of Bliss’ keys. Compelling the listener into full involvement, the track’s sweltering landscape adds another peak to the lofty range of the album, its success matched and surpassed by the devilishly creative and expressive throes of New Soul. The song has all the hectic and inflamed elements that makes the Monster Truck sound; elements which collude with individual craft and anthemic mastery for lusty rock ‘n’ roll to get hot and sweaty to.

Completed by the gentle, in relation to other songs, emotive embrace of Enjoy The Time, the irresistible Sittin’ Heavy is a band revelling in the varied strains of rock ‘n’ roll and their imagination in uniting them with their own invention. That in turn has ears and emotions similarly making feverish merry to the results.

Sittin’ Heavy is out now via Mascot Records, available digitally as well as on CD and Vinyl (which includes bonus track Midnight) across most online stores.

http://www.ilovemonstertruck.com/   https://www.facebook.com/ilovemonstertruck   https://twitter.com/monster_truck

Pete RingMaster 07/03/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Blackhour – Sins Remain

Blackhour_RingMaster Review

A few days in and the new year gets its first metal treat courtesy of Pakistan hailing Blackhour. The Islamabad quintet unleashes their second album on January 5th through Transcending Obscurity Distribution, and a mighty slab of inventive and skilful heavy metal it has proven to be. Sins Remain offers five rich and imagination fuelled tracks which explore far beyond that heavy metal tag, and such its thick and pleasing impact you wonder how Blackhour has so far escaped the fullest global acclaim.

Drawing on inspirations from the likes of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Guns and Roses, and Alice in Chains, Blackhour has certainly teased local and wider found appetites with their music and debut album Age of War which was released in 2011. Fair to say though, that most of us will probably have missed the presence of Blackhour until now but things surely are about to change with Sins Remain.

Straight away the band’s metal bred rock ‘n’ roll shows its adventure and variety with opener Losing Life. An instantly engaging caress of provocative guitar opens things up, the bass of Salman Afzal just as swiftly vocal with its suggestiveness. The tremendous coaxing eventually erupts into a fiery roar of sound with sonic tendrils of guitar veining a tempestuous yet controlled climate of sound and intensity. There is a touch of Disturbed to the track whilst the rhythms of drummer Daim Mehmood almost bully the senses as the bass prowls and growls within their potent web. With vocalist Tayyab Rehman also quickly impressive, the track paints a great provocative and persistently evolving proposal for ears and imagination.

BlackhourArtwork_RingMaster Review     The outstanding start continues with Wind of Change. From the off heavy metal essences steer the persuasion, the guitars of Hashim Mehmood and Mubbashir Sheikh Mashoo flirting with eighties hues to infectious effect. Their hooks and grooves because of it hold a familiarity which only adds to the forceful virulence of the encounter, whilst rhythmically the song nurtures an anthemic rock ‘n roll canter becoming increasingly wrapped in melody rich sonic enterprise. The song is irresistible and more potent with every listen, a quality applying to the whole of Sins Remain to be fair and certainly the following Life Brings Death, Love Brings Misery. The third track is an epic temptation, its nine minutes blossomed on Metallica like seeds but equally casting textures sprung from seventies heavy rock and thrash laced heavy metal. Imagine Reign of Fury and Stone Temple Pilots meets Iron Maiden and you come somewhere near the compelling encounter.

Battle Cry opens with an instantly addictive guitar hook next, one welcoming more militant and aggressive elements to join its tenacious stirring of ears and appetite soon after. It is maybe the least unique offering on the album but the fiercely boisterous song simply whips up a storm of attitude and creative prowess easy to greedily devour and want more of. The individual skills of the band are, here alone, there for all to see and praise but their unity and the powerful songwriting casting their invention is where the album truly wins out, as proven a final time by the album’s title track.

Bringing Sins Remain to a glorious conclusion, the track is a kaleidoscope of imagination, moving through acoustic elegance into Celtic spiced adventure and Eastern majesty across its length landscape. Fascinating and irresistible, the track is a thrilling end to an increasingly impressive album. With moments which stir thoughts of bands from Arch/Matheos and Horslips to Motherjane, the closer is theatre for the ears, a melodic seduction for the imagination, and alone one reason to check out the album.

Blackhour is ready to breach the broadest spotlights with Sins Remain, an album which could also be the key to opening the door to the great metal adventure going on in their homeland and surrounding regions just a little wider for the world.

Sins Remain is out now via Transcending Obscurity Distribution @ https://transcendingobscurityindia.bandcamp.com/album/sins-remain-heavy-metal

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

Pete RingMaster 06/01/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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