Black Oil – Resist To Exist

Black Oil_RingMaster Review

I think we can all agree it is seriously hard to be truly original in the music scene now and just as difficult to be noticeably unique against the hordes of other bands tempting time and attention. A few though do instinctively stand out through sound or presence to stand many steps from the masses, and one such proposal is US based groove metallers Black Oil. Their sound is a furious maelstrom of various strands of metal, Latin and worldly invention, and a defiant passion which binds it all for one, as shown by their new album, blistering and rousing confrontation. Resist To Exist is a riot in the imagination, a tempest in the ears, and an anthemic incitement just leaving the body alive.

Calling LA home, Black Oil originally emerged from Brazil with a sound crafted and honed with a unique blend of cultures and years of experiences gained by founder Addasi Addasi, whose travels have taken in the life and flavours of over thirty countries. Since forming the band has earned a big reputation and following through a previous pair of acclaimed albums, including the predecessor to their new encounter, the Logan Mader (Machinehead, Soulfly, DevilDriver, Gojira, FFDP) produced the Not Under My Name, as well as a live presence which has seen them play with the likes Megadeth, Fear Factory, All Shall Perish, Soulfly, Otep, Cavalera Conspiracy, Arch Enemy, Anthrax, Cattle Decapitation and many more. Their renowned metal-samba sound and hard hitting politically charged lyrics has made Black Oil a hungrily devoured proposition already, and now with Resist To Exist it is easy to expect even greater reactions and spotlights on the band, the album simply one of the most exhilarating incitements of the year.

cover_RingMaster Review     Produced by Cristian Machado of Ill Nino, with many other contributions, Resist To Exist sees the quartet of guitarist/vocalist Addasi, vocalist Mike Black, bassist /vocalist Drew Petropoulos, and drummer Michael Gomez joined by a host of guest contributions including Fear Factory/Archaea’s Raymond Herrera and ex-Static X/Soulfly and now Fear Factory bassist Tony Campos amongst them. This and the unbridled imagination and ideation soaking songs all goes to create incendiary tapestries of sound and energy which from the opening track makes Resist To Exist one feverish conquest of body and emotions.

It all starts with Rise Up, a song with its intent in its title and success in a character which just will not accept anything less than full involvement from the listener. From its first breath, riffs and rhythms are a cauldron of enticing intensity, a tenacious prelude to swiftly joining and just as quickly virulent grooves. Aligned to the guttural roar of Black, the track is in full violent swing in seconds, its rhythmic hips casting a commanding swagger as guitars and bass cast an inescapable web of searing grooving and infectious riffery. Like Five Finger Death Punch meeting Powerman 5000, but so much more, the track is an incendiary device of invigorating and exhausting metal contagion, raw alchemy to get the blood and energy rushing through anyone’s veins.

The ferocious start continues with the just as explosive Justified where malevolently swung beats and a carnivorous bass tone add their great grouchiness to a wind storm of sonic hostility, and that is just the initial impact on the senses. Soon Middle Eastern hints stir within a spicy expulsion of guitar before the track puts its head back down for another hellacious and rabid stomp. As much death and industrial like as it is a grooved fury, the encounter continues to ignite and incite ears and thoughts before passing the senses over to Callate. The third track, which features Campos on bass and vocals, is a predator of emotional bedlam and creative unpredictability, its sound as diverse and ravenous as the vocals fuelling its inner corrosive rage, and as irresistible.

Exoskeleton savages ears with its vocal and rhythmic hostility next, whilst simultaneously seducing the imagination with a tangy web of melodic grooving and feistily flavoured enterprise. The result is something which roars like a blend of Fear Factory and Devildriver yet equally only has its own distinct animus of sound and intent. It is a flesh searing bellow leaving the body shell shocked and ready to be taken on a fiery ride by the following Combustion. From its initial fierce caress of sound, Latin bred percussion and melodic hues are enriching the song’s rhythmic and sonic tempting, elements of bands like (Hed) PE and Bang Data joining the muscular rebellion and expelling even greater influence as the track springs its bruising anthemic shuffle. Joined by guest Silverio Pessoa on vocals, Black is the ringleader of one addiction forging, body igniting tempest. The guitars alone create an enslaving persuasion with their relentless and evocatively creative twists whilst the percussive aspect of the song aided by Mario Pallais, is simply a puppeteer on the listener.

One brilliant encounter makes way for another in the insatiable shape of Revolution. Featuring and driven by the ravenous rhythmic swings of Herrera, the track is a bestial onslaught but one littered with infectious grooves and sonic devilment. The track is psychotic, never allowing the listener to make assumptions on its direction and with more guests involved, evolving character. The same can be said about Stand Against Everything which comes straight after, the song akin to the last and taking certain aspects of its persuasion into its own persistently evolving and fiery samba.

Resist To Exist closes with Paper Slave, a final aggressive and venomously inflamed uprising of creative hostility and impassioned defiance. It comes shaped with cantankerous riffs, merciless rhythms, and mesmeric invention, bone breaking hostility merging with worldly and emotive resourcefulness. Stuck Mojo and Ill Nino come to mind as it ravages air and ears but again the song in reality is something else again, and though maybe not matching earlier heights, it leaves the listener only wanting more upon departure.

Black Oil brings something different and relentlessly exciting to the metal table with Resist To Exist. Some tracks soar above others in creative adventure and sheer compelling power but all leave a greedy hunger and thick pleasure behind them. Who can want much more than that?

Resist To Exist is available now via Sliptrick Records through most digital stores.

RingMaster 22/07/2015

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Prowler – From The Shadows

Prowler_RingMaster Review

Not to be confused with seemingly a handful of metal bands with a matching name, the Prowler unleashing new album From The Shadows, hail from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and create a rousing onslaught of horror fuelled heavy/thrash metal. Theirs is a sound which is maybe low on major surprises and high on familiarity, one unafraid to wear its inspirations on its blood soaked sleeve, but equally it only provides a compelling and thoroughly enjoyable escapade that hits the undemanding sweet spot time and time again.

Prowler began in 2010, releasing a quartet of EP’s which they subsequently brought together with an additional new track for their debut album After You in 2013. The band’s inspirations seem to stem from early Metallica and Anthrax, taking From The Shadows as an example, and indeed eighties thrash in general, essences twisted into sonic echoes and offshoots from horror movies of the same era. 2013 also saw the release of The New Blood EP, a well-received attention grabber in many ways sowing the accomplished and ravenous seeds for the Roger Lian (Slayer, Overkill, Pantera, Damageplan) mastered From The Shadows. As suggested the band’s new album does not particularly reshape the landscape or scenery of thrash metal but it does join a handful of genre releases this year which simply leave ears and appetite highly satisfied whilst uncaging anthemic fun easily luring limbs, neck muscles, and voice to get fully involved.

The album opens with R.O.T.L.D and the first of the individual film samples bookending each track within the album; here a slither of Return Of the Living Dead triggering a swiftly contagious rhythmic stroll. A riff and groove sculpted swing soon adds to the dynamic theatre and persuasion of the song, whilst vocally with a whiff of Wednesday 13 to his delivery, guitarist Patrick Best opens up the cinematic narrative. It is a raw and magnetic concoction with a horror punk scent brewing up its enmity within a thrash spawned prowl, and a rousing start to the album.

cover_RingMaster Review     The excellent track makes way for Out Of The Fog, riffs and beats encasing the opening sample just as the theme of the lyrics impose within the cinematic source. Keys soon add spicy colouring to the antagonistic prowl of sound whilst the bass of Shawn Bruce and beats of drummer Jak Sumwalt cast their own sinister and rampant cage. It is a predatory mix with plenty of enjoyable and generally unpredictable twists, and knowing the films seeding each track, as here, only adds to the theatre of it all.

I Am Wolf quickly hunts down the senses and psyche next; the throaty primal tone of the bass and the rapier like beats alone inciting ears and imagination whilst vocally Best is a protagonist with barker like appeal around the continuing samples which puncture the passage of the track. As the first pair of songs, the track is undiluted full-blooded thrash metal, easy to offer comparisons too but hard to dismiss as a pale imitation of anything.

The commanding and stirring beats of Sumwalt make an inspiring impact across the whole of the album, and at the start of the following The Thing Not Seen, simply stalking ears with a tribal come demonic stance and canter. Like the bass tempting offered continually by Bruce, which is just as potent across From The Shadows, there is a primal feel and air to the rhythmic provocation, one emulated in their own raw and spiteful fashion by vocals and searing guitar enterprise of Best.

Prowler next offer a cover of The Ramones track, Pet Sematary, the song given a heavy metal make-over fuelled by another thrash cast tempest of energy and sound. It is a more than decent and pleasing version but lacks something compared to the band’s own songs, which maybe is how it should be with any cover song, always being eclipsed by a band’s own invention as shown immediately by Return To The Lot. Another entwining rabid rapacity and a more stalker like gait to its primeval hell, the Salems Lot inspired ravishing captures ears and imagination with visceral ease, again not splintering into new domains but healthily feeding any wants from a thrash/horror punk fusion.

Death On Wheels carries a similar attack and growl to its predecessor and wears arguably the strongest Metallica/Anthrax sound of any song within the album, and through those aspects does not quite match what has already lit up From The Shadows. There is no denying though that it has ears and pleasure in full swing before leaving Creature Of The Black and its atmospheric entrance to work another enthralling tempting. Eventually the song grows into a muscular and savagely predacious offering with carnivorous rhythms and caustic grooves, and a fine end to a thoroughly enjoyable album.

From The Shadows certainly offers little new but it certainly provides a festival of eighties aural and visual devilry with an attitude and snarl as nasty as the creatures central to each and every song. As mentioned earlier, it is enormous fun and that definitely works when looking for something to simply get the blood rushing through veins and emotions primed to take on the world.

From The Shadows is available digitally and on CD now via Slaney Records and @

RingMaster 21/07/2015

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Max Pie – Odd Memories

MaxPieBand_Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review

Fair to say their name is still as dislikeable as it was when we covered their excellent album Eight Pieces, One World album two years ago but musically the Belgian metallers still rock the juices out of us as proven by new encounter Odd Memories. Max Pie fills their third album with all the essences which made its predecessor a surprising and compelling proposition but it is with bigger and bolder imagination and creative energy. We are no major heavy/power metal fans here to be honest but once again Max Pie has given us one thumping and rousing time.

The band was formed in 2005 by vocalist Tony Carlino taking inspirations from bands such as Symphony X, Van Halen, Toto, Queensrÿche, and Dream Theater into their emerging ideas. A slightly unstable time in personnel graced their early years before Max Pie released debut album Initial Process in 2012. Fan and critically acclaimed it was surpassed by Eight Pieces – One World a year later in presence, sound, and praise. Its release was followed by the band playing numerous festivals and undertaking tours with the likes of Symphony X, Evergrey, Fates Warning, Avantasia, and Queensrÿche. Now they return with, as the last album, the Simone Mularoni mixed and mastered Odd Memories and simply their finest, most inventive proposal yet.

The album opens with its title track; an instrumental ripe with a foreboding atmosphere and epic textures all cinematically imposing on the imagination. This type of beginning is becoming a common practice across varied metal offerings but when done right, as here, it makes a potent invitation into any release. As the track slips into the following Age of Slavery, a sizzling electronic coaxing colludes with rampant riffs and a melodic embrace of keys. The thick commanding rhythms of drummer Sylvain Godenne shape and invigorate the track further, framing the growling vocals of Carlino perfectly. The frontman’s diverse delivery is as magnetic as ever, some elements more powerful and potent than others but like the music, a constant lure that likes to stretch and push both song and musician. As the guitar and keyboard craft of Damien Di Fresco builds and expands its enterprise, the track blossoms into a sturdy and fiery encounter to really kick things off.

It is also, in many ways, a relatively straight forward and maybe expected proposal from the band, the new exploration showing itself more from Odd Future on. Keys breed the first mesmeric caress on the third track before guitars and the wonderfully dark throated bass of Lucas Boudina bring their hues to the emerging and stirring landscape of the encounter. Once vocals join, the song settles into a melodic roar and sonic flame of melodic and heavy rock ‘n’ roll, their union a heated and tenacious arousing of ears and thoughts veined by sparkling, and at times understated temptation from the keys. It is when things go off kilter with a glorious stretch of discord kissed invention and melodic bedlam that the song really comes alive and if there is any moan it does not play in this great moment long enough.

MaxPieOddMemories_Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review     Promised Land opens on a vivacious escapade of keys quickly encased in storming riffs and rhythms, it all quickly blooming into a virulently contagious slice of rock pop with classic metal and progressive rock hues. It has single running through its potent craft and lusty veins, every second of the track a bold and rousing incitement for body, voice, and emotions. Such its power and lure, it gives next up Love Hurts a hard time trying to follow it, and as mesmeric in melodic beauty within tempestuously emotional and physical terrain that it is, it never quite finds the same full-blooded personal reactions as its predecessor. It is undeniably superbly crafted and woven though and does leave only fully satisfied thoughts before the darker, ravenous excellence of Don’t Call My Name takes over. The guitars alone are predatory with their creative rummaging of the senses whilst the keys float with celestial temptation above them and the uncompromising rhythms spearing it all. Reaping the ripest elements of technical and progressive metal, band and track pulsate as they gnaw on ears, adding melodic and harmonic balm to the increasingly irresistible voracity on offer. With Carlino also on fine form, the track is the pinnacle of the album, reason alone to eagerly approach Odd Memories.

The acoustically brewed Hold On slips in next to transfix and from a slow start to its persuasion grows into a big favourite. Whether by chance or intention, it has a Bowie-esque essence to it, a floating whisper in quieter moments which does it no harm. It is a scent soon out flamed by vocals and the sonic blaze giving the song rich crescendos and a breath-taking finale before Unchain Me takes the listener on another tumultuous ride of rugged metal and tantalising electronic adventure.

No prizes in guessing some of the scenery within Cyber Junkie, its electronic and industrial endeavour a potent spicing to another song offering a compelling fusion of bestial metal and melodic flirtation, the former steering the ship with invigorating success. As Don’t Call My Name before it, the track is a masterful web of varied and diverse styles in one predacious provocateur, thoughts of bands from Anthrax to Armored Saint, Dream Theater to Skyharbor coming to mind across its exciting and again show stealing soundscape.

The album is finished by The Fountain Of Youth, a song which either a raging storm of a canter or a gentle caress enthrals and sparks only the keenest attention and support from ears and emotions. Like a couple of other songs it takes longer to get all of its hooks inescapably entrenched but with its additional symphonic elegance and emotively hued strings, the song has seduced long before realisation notices.

Wrapped in the excellent artwork of Didier Scohier, Odd Memories and indeed Max Pie have caught us again with a tempest of sound and invention driven by craft and passion. This time it is bigger, more adventurous, and confirming the band as one of progressive power metal’s finest.

Odd Memories is available from June 19th via Mausoleum Records @

RingMaster 19/06/2015

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Armored Saint – Win Hands Down

Photo byStephanieCabral

Photo byStephanieCabral

Some things are at their pinnacle straight away and some just get better and more potent with age. Taking Win Hands Down as evidence, Armored Saint is definitely one of the latter, the release for us the most inventive and exciting proposition from the LA band in a long time. The album has all the essential ingredients which have made Armored Saint one of the ‘unsung’ but generally devoured heavy metal propositions of the past three decades, but equally a fresh attitude of invention that explores ideas the band want to pursue rather than feeding expectations bred from previous offerings. The result is an album which has you rocking like a dog in heat.

It has been five years since the release of previous album La Raza, time that has seemingly seen vocalist John Bush, guitarist Jeff Duncan, bassist Joey Vera, and guitarist Phil Sandoval with brother and drummer Gonzo explore arguably even bolder ideas and imagination in songwriting and sound. Major departures are not rife within Win Hands Down but openly unpredictable and striking ideation lines the album to fine effect.

The album opens with its title track and a slab of prime Armored Saint persuasion which never gets tiring though this is one song which does feed expectations a touch. The song is an instant cauldron of rhythmic and energetic aggression, the band launching itself at ears with a sonic tail wind as things slip into place for a thumping stomp of an encounter. Things settle a touch as Bush with his ever alluring voice sets the song’s narrative and heart in motion. Fair to say, the frontman’s vocals have always been a major attraction for us, his Anthrax days seeing of the finest moments of that band with his rich and explosive tones at the helm, and his potency again lights things up here. The opener proceeds to rumble in ears and appetite until sparking the imagination with a melodic, almost spatial passage. It is a thoroughly engaging and intriguing moment, though for the main the track is a highly agreeable if, to go against the grain of other opinions, a little underwhelming. Simply it offers what you assume you will get from Armored Saints, a highly accomplished and enjoyable encounter, which of course is no bad thing either.

Cover_Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review     The core adventure really starts with Mess, the second song a bone shuddering barrage of rhythmic bait in its first breath and a volatile predator of ears thereafter. Gonzo Sandoval continues to sculpt a web of antagonistic and inventive rhythms whilst the bass of Vera snarls with every groove expelled. Riffs are equally as imposing and at times bestial in tone whilst the superb guitar enterprise and imagination shared by Duncan and Phil Sandoval mouth-watering, especially when adding some eastern mystique and melodic unpredictability into the mix. It is a treat of a song swiftly backed by An Exercise in Debauchery, a song about “people’s fascination with porn.” Thick basslines and spicy grooves collude with the rich roar of Bush, whilst drums revolve in aggressive and anthemic prowess. The tapestry of the song continues to get more involved and fascinating with every passing minute, samples and funk fed grooves amongst many things turning a potent rocker into a major pinnacle of the album.

Muscle Memory mellows the intensity and air of Win Hands Down a touch with its opening reflective power balladry, though in no time Bush is leading a powerhouse of sonic expression and rhythmic tenacity. The song continues to entwine elevated intensity and impassioned drama with calmer temptation, again as its predecessor and subsequent tracks, avoiding going down a more formula route of simply repetitious verse chorus etc. The creative freedom offering from that intent is as potent and exciting as the sounds sculpted within the album, and a quality explored further by the power metal predation of That Was Then, Way Back When. Like a muscle-bound stallion leaping from a race starting block, the song grumbles as it voraciously strides through ears, cantankerous rhythms flexing as carnivorous bass lines prowl with heavy incitement within the brew of creative hues cast by guitars and vocals over the song’s narrative.

Rock ‘n’ roll does not get much better, though it does get persistently replicated within Win Hands Down, as proven by the outstanding With a Full Head of Steam. Pop, rock, metal all collude for a fiery romp of a proposal, a rampant adventure energised further by the guest vocals of Pearl Aday which share the spotlight with Bush and co. The vocal union is a delicious success matched by the increasingly sublime enterprise of guitars and the contrastingly intimidating and animalistic qualities of bass and drums. The album’s title track is the lead song but as next single and enticement for the release, it has to be this gem of a thrilling persuasion.

Inspired by the Boston Marathon terrorist attack, In an Instant is an emotively fired and provocative proposal whilst Dive straight after provides a piano led, shadow blessed ballad, which from a lean opening evolves into a smouldering seduction of melodies and vocal reflection within a hug of evocative strings. Both songs take longer to inflame thoughts and passions but instil the album with further magnetic diversity and given attention become pungent proposals to increasingly and greedily devour.

The album finishes with Up Yours, a dirty and adversarial bruiser with punkish inhospitality but equally equipped with melodic imagination and sonic invention. Like it started, the album finishes with a strong and thoroughly enticing invitation impossible to turn down, but the prime creative meat and majorly exciting richness of Win Hands Down comes in between.

Surely destined to be acclaimed one of the heavy/melodic metal triumphs of the year, it feels like Armored Saint is entering a new creative chapter with this album whilst staking their place again at the fore of the metal scene.

Win Hands Down is available now via Metal Blade Records @

RingMaster 05/06/2015

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Jarboe and Helen Money – Self Titled


It is almost frightening how spellbinding the collaboration between Jarboe and Helen Money is on their self-titled album, how immersed into its dark inviting depths and ravenously siren-esque shadows ears, imagination, and simply reality becomes. The release is quite extraordinary, embroiling the listener in a soundscape of harmonic drones and sonic distortion but equally a sinister beauty and psyche engulfing adventure. It should probably be no surprise the impact of the album. When you place the evocative invention, craft, and voice of Swans co-founder and former vocalist Jarboe alongside the creative dark majesty of visionary cellist Helen Money (aka Alison Chesley), something startling was bound to happen, though an understatement in the case of their album.

Neither lady is a stranger to the skills and adventure of collaborating, Jarboe having worked on over 63 projects with the likes of Philip Anselmo, Neurosis, Jim Thirlwell, Merzbow, Bill Laswell, A Perfect Circle, Colin Marston, Cobalt, Cattle Decapitation, Justin K. Broadrick, Jesu…and the list goes on, alongside her 36 solo albums, whilst Helen Money has linked up with artists such as Mono, Anthrax, Russian Circles, Joe Lally and Shellac over time. They are experiences and bold adventures which have added to their own subsequent imaginative creativity, something their album reeks of.

The delicious tones of Money’s cello is the first caress as album opener For My Father embraces ears, its melancholic voice provocatively coaxing senses and thoughts under a just as darkly lit ambience. The heavy emotional air parts just a slither for the instantly magnetic presence of Jarboe, her radiant tones instantly poetic like against the shadows and the crinkling texture of her keys. The track continues its increasingly broadening embrace as both ladies unveil further shafts of melodic light and doom lined expression through their respective skills. The song is simply mesmeric, a golden sunrise of enterprise and melodic temptation but equally a breeding of dark clouds and imposing drama. As expansive a minimalistic proposition you are ever likely to be lost within, certainly outside of the album, there is an immediate immersion into the heart of the release, external light not to be seen and felt again until the album decides.

The following My Enemy My Friend is similarly a swift fascination of noir wrapped radiance; the alluring string plucking of Money tensing the spring for the flight of intensive sonic and emotional exploration. Within seconds the instrumental is resonating through body and thoughts, the lyrical and social nudging of the first track seemingly spreading into the intimidating but seductive breath of its successor. Keys and cello create a labyrinth of haunting and ominous suggestiveness, an incitement the imagination tenaciously casts scenes with whilst emotions bow before the weight of the track’s rousing portentousness. It is meditative and unsettling, and quite riveting, a success matched by the outstanding Hello Mr. Blue.

The almost carnivorous opening of what feels like bestial bass is glorious, something to sell your soul for. Whether it is bass or a brilliant merging of keys and cello which is also possible as repeat listens twist and turn with indecision, it is an enslaving start which only escalates into a kaleidoscope of, well creative alchemy to be honest. The floating harmonies of Jarboe seduce with celestial beauty whilst Money’s cello flirts with darkly centred eyes, every note having a knowing smile to their heavy persuasion. As Jarboe unveils the warmly delivered narrative, the track in contrast becomes a brewing maelstrom of agitation and aggravation, egged on by the contagious rhythmic dance of the piece. Every track already has breached new plateaus and taken the listener into inventively denser and increasingly threatening exploits, and this continues that exhilarating success as its marches towards its controlled but vocally bedlamic closure.

Wired is pretty much what it says on the tin, its presence a fibrous mesh of sounds and sonic intrigue presenting an intensive and feverish climate for ears and a sea of opportunities for the imagination to interpret and develop further, whether through its voracious incitement or the more of a harmonic smoulder it also harbours. There is little time for those thought bred adventures to take long term root though before the intimacy of Truth inspires with its own reflective beauty. Keys and sublimely drifting harmonies soaked in an air of loneliness kiss ears first before Jarboe opens up her vocal heart in a theatre of those continuing initial croons and just as emotive guitar stabs.

It is hard with words to present the drama and emotive intensity which comes with every bewitching track and the pair’s creative ingenuity which unrelentingly and deeply works away once breaching ears, but easy to enthuse over the ever evolving experiences which re-invent themselves in sound and visceral adventure with every listen. The closing Every Confidence is a perfect example. We can only hint at the tempestuous nature and climate which seeds from and descends on the senses and psyche after an initial gentle mesmeric croon of sound, but rigorously recommend its rapacious hunger to stretch not only the listener and their emotions, but the creative emprise bred by the artists pushing their instrumental and vocal limits.

It is a challenge and success which applies to the whole of the album. It is an astonishing encounter, a scourge of everything bland and predictable in modern music which goes beyond being something merely to listen to. You feel and almost taste the dynamic and intensive atmospheres of the tracks, you breath the drama and emotional intensity of the sounds and their inspiration, and ultimately it is a journey provided by Jarboe and Helen Money which you take and will never be the same again after.

Jarboe and Helen Money’s album is available now via Aurora Borealis as a black vinyl LP, on CD and digitally.

RingMaster 04/03/2015

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Dead City Souls – Self Titled


Potential loaded and aggressively contagious, the self-titled release mini-album from UK rockers Dead City Souls is simply an irrepressibly enjoyable and impressive debut. It is an encounter which is firmly established in a recognisable heavy and hard rock seeding and stomps more with the presence of an already familiar friend than a brand new provocateur, but it does not stop the release from switching on appetite and emotions with its thoroughly satisfying and adventurous rampage of sound and energy.

Rocking out of Stoke-on-Trent, Dead City Souls formed in the spring of 2013 and were soon drawing and breeding potent local support and attention. This spread as their live presence and their reputation for fiery energy soaked performances. Spending last year also recording a host of demos in preparation for this album, the quintet hit the studio with Paul Hulme (Lawless, Demon) in May of this year and the result is a potently stirring riot posing as an album.

Starting with the almost blink and you miss length of decent intro Embark, band and album fully explodes with the following Back Against. The guitars of Jay Meehan and Scott Pinnington are swiftly upon ears with raw bracing riffs whilst in close attendance the crisp beats of Jake Nixon and bass predation of Glenn Culver add to the infectious lure of the song. In no time the strong vocals of Jordan Davies are adding their expression and weight to the increasingly punchy drive of the song, every aspect converging on an addictively catchy and fiery blaze of a chorus. The song is insatiable in its anthemic tempting and infectious tenacity from start to finish, an entrapment of body and emotions which arguably is not opening new doors of originality but does not prevent it making a seriously compelling and thrilling start to the release.a1944187688_2

The following Breathe makes a gripping entrance as artillery of pulsating beats rain down on the senses but it is defused slightly once the song hits a more merciful stride. Nevertheless with thumping rhythms and caustic riffs against the increasingly impressing vocals of Davies roaring across its muscular frame, the track makes for a highly pleasing aggression driven slice of melodic rock with a pop tempting. Overall it is a steady if unimposing track but with enough invention for thoughts to get to grips with before the outstanding Save Me launches its predacious enterprise. Prowling with sinew clad riffs and as expected unrelentingly heavy rhythms, the song almost flirts with its antagonism before unveiling a seriously addictive and incendiary chorus; the type classic anthems are bred from. There is imagination to the guitar designs and flaming emotion to the thick texture and heart of the strong vocals, each only adding to the drama but it is that chorus which seals the deal enlisting feet, voice, and passion with ease.

Say Goodnight has the task of following the release’s pinnacle and with its intrigue of keys and rampant rhythmic rigour, the track soon has its own hold on ears and thoughts with another uniquely tenacious slab of rock pop. It also shows yet another twist of colour and diversity to the band’s sound, not a major leap but as shown by all tracks certainly an open side step in flavour and character which reinforces the success of the album, as again shown by excellent snarl of Hurt No More. The track is another major peak in the lofty heights of the release, its flaming riffs and acidic grooves the web to which thick vocal expression and a rugged terrain of riffs and melodic blazing bring a tasty John Bush era Anthrax spice.

The album is closed by the meaty hard rock stomp of Watch The World Burn, a track which is simply raw and irrepressibly contagious rock ‘n’ roll to test neck muscles and fill the appetite. It is a heftily pleasing end to a great introduction to Dead City Souls. There is unfiltered promise across the album which ignites every song in tandem with the sounds themselves, this not only provides a thoroughly enjoyable encounter but raises real anticipation for the band’s endeavours and evolution ahead.

Dead City Souls is available now through all good online stores and @

RingMaster 10/11/2014

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Chainfist – Scarred


It is fair to say that Danish metallers Chainfist with their new album Scarred, has not ventured too far from the roaring core which made their debut album Black Out Sunday an acclaimed and greedily devoured storm. To that easily agreeable seed though, the quintet has found a bolder, fuller, and melodically driven freshness which makes second full-length and even stronger and gripping proposition. The release still wears the inspirations of thrash metal’s founding fathers openly and proudly on its sinew bulging sleeve but twists them into a new creatively exciting and voracious adventure.

Formed in 2007 by members who have the likes of Infernal Death, Epicenter, Panzerchrist, and Frozen Sun to their pedigree, Chainfist made their first major impression in their homeland and around Europe with Black Out Sunday in 2010, it gaining further recognition when the band signed a management deal with Rock N Growl two years later. It was a release making strong first impressions before growing to be an increasingly persuasive potential soaked thrill. Scarred makes the biggest impression right away, the band fulfilling the promise offered on their debut whilst building a more distinctive presence of sound and invention. There is still not a massive uniqueness about the release but with a melodic emprise and imaginative resourcefulness which inescapably captivates ears and emotions, the album stands as a thoroughly riveting and anthemically powerful proposition.

The Michael Hansen produced and Jacob Hansen (Primal Fear, Volbeat, Anubis Gate, Pretty Maids) mixed and mastered release swiftly grips ears and imagination with the start of opener Scars of time. A lone guitar within a chilled ambience offers a haunted and portentous yet inviting coaxing which soon opens up the door to rugged riffs and thumping beats. It is prime thrash antagonism which gets the blood running urgently through ears and emotions but also carries an infectious swing leading to a rampant chorus. In no time vocalist Jackie Petersen is driving the song to greater ferocity, his clean but welcomingly raw tones backed perfectly by group harmonies whilst the guitars of Michael Kopietz and Thomas Hvisel provide an abrasing and melodically bracing temptation to fire up the senses even more. It is an impressive if not startling start, in comparison to things to come, which sets the tone for the album perfectly.

1000 ways to bleed strides intimidatingly in next, the rhythms of drummer Jesper Heidelbach flirting with hostility whilst bassist Braca Pedersen provides a heavy compelling lure around which vocals and guitars cast their addictive ChainfistScarredCoverdesigns. Less aggressive than its predecessor in some ways and more intimidating in others, the track explores a melody rich but imposing scenery of invention and enterprise before making way for the outstanding Black rebel noise. A spicy groove wraps ears early on before the track finds a swagger to its punchy incitement. There is a definite Volbeat feel to the energy of the song whilst musically and vocally it is hard to look past Metallica and John Bush era Anthrax as references but the track soon develops its own contagious suasion to enslave body and passions.

Both Another day in hell and Poison moon keep the thrills and quality coming, the first bursting from an evocative stormy ambience coloured by a melodic caress of guitar and the continually impressing vocals of Petersen. It subsequently evolves into an emotive reflection which is at ease whether smouldering with melodic calm or raging with virulent hostility. Melodic meets classic heavy metal within a thrash bred predation the track is an unpredictable and impassioned blaze of sound and craft. Its successor goes for the jugular from the start, almost moving in reverse as it brings warm washes of melodies into its unrelenting tempest of intensity and ravenous riffery. It is a striking and richly pleasing provocateur but soon shaded by the next up 10.000. Prowling ears from the start with menacing riffs and brutal beats, the song stalks with tenacious vocals and sonic enticement, guitars spinning a caustic and infection soaked web to bind ears and thoughts. It is a glorious muscular anthem unafraid to explore its more devilish side through toxic addictive hooks and a scorching solo.

Know you hate similarly sets the heart afire with its ridiculously catchy temptation within an aggressive weave of riffs and rhythms. Volbeat again comes to mind whilst also thoughts of Disturbed make their suggestive hints from within the exhilarating slab of addiction. It is not quite matched by Seven minutes of pain, but the following song powerfully lays down a bordering on savage assault of riffs and rhythms which is prone to scythes of sonic intrigue and melodic radiance vocally and musically. It is another song where its infectiousness is irresistible for feet and voice, an aggressive provocative fuel for the passions.

Through the similarly structured and creative Statement, band and album reinforce their potent persuasion whilst Mass frustration provides the most intensive and volatile track on Scarred without neglecting the radiant melodic side of the invention running through the release. It is a powerful encounter which leaves ears on an agitated high for the final acoustic version of Black rebel noise to restore calm and peace to. It is an enjoyable and skilled end to the album but the meat is in the richly flavoursome meal of the previous songs.

Chainfist have moved their sound on to a striking new plateau with their album and it is easy to feel there is still more to come even as impressive as Scarred is. The album confirms the Danes as a major proposition in the making and a thrilling encounter of insatiable metal in the now.

Scarred is available now through Mighty Music @

RingMaster 07/10/2014

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