The Amsterdam Red Light District – Sapere Aude

Though The Amsterdam Red Light District seized major plaudits as they boldly established themselves within the punk/hardcore/rock scene with second album Gone For a While in 2014, the release still missed stirring up the kind of fervour in us that others were finding the certainly highly enjoyable encounter. It seems that we were just waiting for a particular undefined spark which has now undoubtedly caught within the France based band’s new fury, Sapere Aude. THARD’s third album is a beast of a roar, as ferociously infectious as it is instinctively irritable and emotionally tempestuous and for us by far the best thing the band has unleashed.

With inspirations found in the likes of Refused, The Bronx, The Ghost of a Thousand, and The Bled, Europe has been the broad sounding board for the 2005 founded band’s sound over the past few years, THARD sharing stages with the likes of Refused, Anti-Flag, Thrice, 36 Crazyfists, Comeback Kid, and Slayer alongside their own successful shows and tours. This month sees the band off on their travels again with Sapere Aude lock and loaded in their arsenal.

It opens up with Nobody Moves Like You and a spiral of acidic grooves and heavy handed rhythms which lure ears and attention like a magnet. Swiftly it settles into a tempestuous stroll as catchy as it is belligerent, Elio Sxone’s vocals an alluring temper in its midst backed by those increasingly captivating grooves cast by guitarist Maxxx Comby. A blend of hardcore and metal, the track has a natural swing which alone infested the appetite with the dark tones of Greg Clert’s bass adding to the instinctive temptation. Vocally Sxone brings adventure and diversity to match the raw and skilfully woven sounds around him in one glorious inventive brute of an introduction.

The following The Best Is Yet To Come is just as quickly and intrusively gripping. Featuring Cancer Bats front man Liam Cormier, the track simultaneously grumbles and seduces in voice and sound, the rhythmic trespass of drummer Julien Chanel driving its intent and forceful urgency as the guitar and melodic aspect of the vocals bring a ferocity tempering enterprise. As its predecessor, it demands and commands willing attention with adventure and imagination.

Two songs in and already the album has whipped up personal passions missed by previous offerings and only ups the ante with the fiery punk ‘n’ roll of Need. Again vocals and music create a cauldron of contrasts and ferocity with balance and adventure, the song having something of Every Time I Die meets The Ghost of a Thousand to it as it too inflamed the senses and appetite before Wild Life sparked its own blaze of praise and ardour with its hellacious creative clamour. Blending various aspects of ferocious intrusion and melodic captivation to its punk metal, vocal harmonics adding to the drama, the track simply whipped up greedy attention.

Carry On is an infection of temptation, tenacious hooks and riffs colluding with the song’s emotional irritancy and rousing breath; all bound in an enterprise as persistently catchy as it is rapacious. It all comes though with an ebb and flow which only increases its fascination and imagination while Over The Fence in turn uncages a sonic squall and a senses battering rhythmic dance which holds similarities to its predecessor before unveiling its own quest of creative discontent.

The turbulent spirals of Waiting For The Day needs little time to incite intrigue and imagination next, its opening web subsequently draped in vocal and sonic dispute again as magnetic as it is corrosive in a psyche infecting mix which nags and harries as it bruises and excites. That raw incursion is only intensified in The Whole City Burns, its melodic metal aligning with feral punk in an invigoratingly abrasive holler loaded with spiky riffs, barbed hooks, and melodic fire.

The album concludes with firstly Evil Stakeholders, a slab of crotchety yet melodically bewitching raging which maybe did not quite inflame as others before it but only reinforced the impressive character and force of Sapere Aude. Its title track is the final offering, an outro of intimation and samples reflecting the portentous state of the world with bursts of rhythmic incitement. Maybe better served as an intro to the album in some ways, it is a fascinating last breath to one striking release.

From first note to last Sapere Aude truly stirred our fullest passions, that anticipation for bigger bolder things ahead sparked by its predecessor more than realised in a release sure to feature as one of the year’s greatest moments.

Sapere Aude is out now via Red Light Records.

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Pete RingMaster 08/03/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Faintest Idea – Increasing The Minimum Rage

FI_RingMasterReview

Though understandably often tagged as a ska punk band, Faintest Idea definitely shows themselves to be a true punk band with a penchant for ska bred hip swinging revelry loaded with oi! inspired snarls upon new album Increasing The Minimum Rage. The eleven track stomp is an irresistible roar of politically charged songs that have no qualms in getting feet and bodies feverishly bouncing whilst thoughts and emotions are inspired by its lyrical bite. Most of all though, the British band’s new offering is simply one of the most rousing slabs of contagious rock ‘n’ roll heard in many belligerent moons and deserving of everyone’s energy and time.

Formed in 2008, the Kings Lynn hailing Faintest Idea initially was a jugular ripping punk band venting their political unrest and distrust. That attitude and defiance has never lessened even as the band began weaving in inspirations taken from two-tone, ska and reggae influences. 2013 saw the release of debut album The Voice of Treason on Manchester’s TNS Records to swift acclaim, soon potently backed by the videos for tracks such as Bull In A China Shop and Youth. Live the band has equally become an essential great time for many, the “rudeboy street punks” taking their rousing presence to shows and festivals across Europe and the UK, including in 2014, a 10 date tour of Russia.

Now the band is ready to uncage a new infectious call to arms in the shape of the Hieronymous Melchers (Capdown, Citizen Fish, King Prawn and Snuff) recorded and Massimiliano Giorgini (Anti Flag, Rise Against, Alkaline Trio, Common Rider) mastered Increasing The Minimum Rage. Featuring guest contributions from Vic Ruggiero (The Slackers) and Sean Howe (Random Hand), the album quickly reveals Faintest Idea to have a grouchier fire in their creative belly and a sound at its heaviest and angriest, musically and lyrically, yet with no detriment to their instincts to swing and inflame the listener’s body. The first track, Circling The Drain opens on a theme setting sample as horns meander in the background. From there as a guitar adds its vague musing, the song grabs a breath and leaps into a captivating stroll with Jack’s choppy riffs colluding with the flirtation of mischievous melodies amidst organ shared smiles. The brass flames of trumpeter Sara, trombonist Bobble, and tenor saxophonist Lil dan add to the infection quickly grabbing ears and imagination, creating a rich platform for the snarling vocals of bassist Dani and his dark throated bassline. There is a snarl to Jack’s guitar enterprise too and a firm hand to the beats of the other Jack but as the song’s climate gets feistier and more agitated, a rampant swing stills drives it and the listener before it slipping straight into the equally irresistible Cocktails.

Faintest-Idea-Front-Cover_RingMasterReviewThe second track similarly bounds through ears with rhythms and riffs as inescapable bait and a virulent catchiness to its energy and attitude equally matched by the band’s vocals. Throughout hooks grip and again flirt with the imagination as the song’s skittish gait takes care of the body, vocals in turn challenging thoughts at the same time as brass unveils a rich seducing in something akin to Rancid meets Random Hand meets The Members. Its mellowing departure simply simmers into the sultry embrace of Down Pressure, a funk infested and ska fuelled romp as light on its feet as it is antagonistic in voice. As its predecessors, the song defies the listener not to become fully involved, dares them not to offer their hips and support; a challenge impossible to win as the song leaps around with kinetic persuasion.

The power pop/ska punk exploits of Echo Chambre steals attention next, working its addictive charm on every aspect of a willing disciple as guitar jangles and pop punk rhythms act as ringleaders to another thrilling proposal embracing smouldering brass and lively shadows furthered nurtured by Dani’s vocal attitude. Its tenacious exploits lead to the thick energy and aggression of The Well Has Run Dry which, from its first breath, is a confrontational proposition equipped with spiky hooks and a flaming melodic coaxing courtesy of guitar and some emotive lip prowess. United it stirs up air and emotions before the outstanding Stick Em Up (Lords of War) takes a stand with its punk ‘n’ roll contagion. As jazzy and funky as it is ska and old school punk spun, the track tantalises and badgers in sound and tone. Female vocals bring a B52s spice to certain parts whilst other times the song rumbles along like a mix of early Specials and The Adicts, revealing itself as another enjoyably multi-textured adventure.

Through the Clash/ Serious Drinking like chest beating of the beguiling Throw Away The Key and the ballsy rock ‘n’ roll of No Consequences, greed and thick enjoyment for the album is only confirmed before being given another big shot in the arm by the brilliant pairing of Ouroboros and Corporation. The first of the two is a web of flavours and styles as surf rock spiced guitars entangle with ska spawned riffs and intrigue loaded progressive punk grooves whilst Dani and co take potent shots at political and social injustices. The track is glorious and swiftly matched by the dramatic theatre of its successor. With vaudevillian prowess to a sinister soaked sound, the band bring the exploits of the song’s villainous title protagonist into panto-esque but certainly not trivialised view before descending upon them with oi! fuelled animosity and anthemic incitement. The track is ingenious; pure creative theatre and heading numerous memorable moments within the album.

Closing on Tightrope with its strongly brooding persuasion of sound and imagination, Increasing The Minimum Rage makes it so easy to say it is destined to be one of the year’s highlights. From start to finish it has every aspect of the listener enthralled and involved; only increasing that hold with subsequent plays whilst showing that to stand up and be counted does not have to see an absence of unbridled fun.

Increasing The Minimum Rage is released via TNS Records on 1st April @ http://tnsrecords.bandcamp.com/album/increasing-the-minimum-rage

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Pete RingMaster 31/03/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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The Decline – Resister

The decline_RingMaster Review

Third album in and Australian skate punksters, The Decline, continue to offer contagion fuelled stomps that simply rouse up the spirit. Resister is packed to the rafters with imagination crafted and wholly magnetic propositions, tracks which only want to offer a good time whilst uncaging a lyrical substance easy to get involved with. Pop/skate punk boundaries are certainly not worried too forcibly by the thirteen track adventure but any resistance to its unstoppable virulence is swiftly dead in its invigorating waters.

Formed in 2006, the Perth hailing quartet made its first strong attention grabbing mark with debut album I’m Not Gonna Lie to You in 2010, an encounter straight away pushing the band towards international awareness. Its acclaimed successor of the following year, Are You Going To Eat That, helped spark the opportunity for The Decline to undertake a headlining tour of Europe as well as a Japanese tour with Israeli pop-punkers Useless ID and So-Cal 90’s super band Implants. Across the years the band has continued to share stages with the likes of Descendents, Unwritten Law, Frenzal Rhomb, Propagandhi, Bodyjar, Bouncing Souls, Anti-Flag, Lagwagon, No Use For A Name, No Fun At All, Guttermouth, and The Flatliners, they amongst a great many others. 2014 saw the release of the crowd-funded Can I Borrow A Feeling EP as well as another hectic tour schedule whilst after a line-up shuffle earlier this year, The Decline set about recording Resister, its immediate unveiling coming just before the band hits the festivals Punk Rock Holiday in Slovenia, Munich’s Free and Easy Fest, and Rebellion, the latter one part of a UK tour running through August. With further global shows in the offing too, Resister provides the most potent incentive to check the band out and make this a summer of insatiable romping.

Resister Artwork_RingMaster ReviewThe release opens with New Again, a short, punchy encounter which quickly sets the creative scene for the album. Jangling melodies flirt with muscular rhythms whilst the potent vocals of guitarists Pat Decline and Ben Elliott unite and entwine across the tenacious start to the album. There are no surprises but plenty of fiercely flavoursome sounds setting up ears and appetite for the following Giving Up is a Gateway Drug, the first single from Resister. With the thumping beats of Harry steering the song into view, his drums a blur of activity, the song twists and turns with emotion and energy. Every second is a tempestuous and easy persuasion for ears, vocals again slightly outshining the sounds, but all aspects crafted with inventive and unpredictable elements.

As strong as its start is, Resister kicks up another gear or two from I Don’t Believe onwards. Featuring guest vocals from Cameron Baines of Bodyjar, the third track boldly enters on rolling anthemic rhythms, they in turn laced with sonic spicing from the guitars before it all colludes in one seriously infectious incitement. A whiff of older schooled punk embraces poppier exploits resulting in a rigorous and pungent anthem swinging punches at the music scene and stirring up new hunger for the release. It is an appetite fed just as healthily and fully by Almost Never Met You, a song littered with tangy riffs, sparkling hooks, and the ever impressing vocal combination. The throaty bass twang of Ray Ray as good as steals the show but is matched all the way by the spices just mentioned and a Green Day meets Bodyjar essence coating the excellent encounter.

Both The Blurst of Times and You Call This A Holiday? keep the album’s new levels roaring in ears and thoughts, the first with fiery atmosphere and attitude to body and voice, and the second through its seamless and magnetic passage from a riveting acoustic/vocal lure into another throttle to the floor ball of creative and physical energy. Each, but especially the former, has an air of The Living End to the full-blooded tempting whilst Camberwell Street straight after, explodes with a richer hardcore but melody drenched escapade. It does not quite live up to its predecessors, but again with skilled endeavour and ideation spicing every aspect the song, hits the spot nicely before making way for the similarly successful Broken Bones.

The thickly pleasing Wrecking Ball fires up the passions, even with its opening barbershop skit. Subsequently into an unbridled bellow of aggression and explosive energy, the track is an easy persuasion of rippling rhythms, inescapable hooks, and more potent vocal combinations. But as good as it is though, it gets over shadowed by the outstanding You’re Not The Waitress, another pop infused punk tempest which is pure contagion.

The thirty second Little Voices is more of the same, revealing a similarity to the previous track and others around it without losing its individual potency during a short tenure of ears. It stirs the emotions nicely which Underworld Tour takes on a thrilling ride straight after with its NOFX/Motion City Soundtrack/ Set Your Goals like fusion of sound and imagination. Again rousing is the best word to describe its heavy satisfaction breeding character as it leaves the listener on a high ready for the closing catchy onslaught of Start Again. The song sums up The Decline sound perfectly, melodically hot, energetically sizzling, and creatively lively in a gripping finish to a fine album.

As suggested earlier, major surprises come in rare batches across Resister yet few moments truly feed expectations and every song is a galvanic exploit hard to turn away from. That certainly works for us!

Resister is available now through Pee Records (Australia) @ https://peerecords.bandcamp.com/album/resister, Bird Attack (USA) @ https://birdattackrecords.bandcamp.com/album/resister-4, and Cargo Records (Europe/UK).

The Decline UK tour dates:

Sat 8th – The Maze, Nottingham

Sun 9th – Rebellion Festival, Blackpool

Mon 10th – New Cross Inn, London w/ MDC (Millions of Dead Cops)

Wed 12th – Brudenell, Leeds w/ MDC (Millions of Dead Cops)

Thu 13th – The Hope And Ruin, Brighton

Fri 14th – Owl Sanctuary, Norwich w/War On Women

Sat 15th – Nice N Sleazy, Glasgow

Sun 16th – Exchange, Bristol w/ Teenage Bottlerocket

Mon 17th – The Fighting Cocks, Kingston

https://www.facebook.com/TheDeclineMusic   http://www.thedeclinemusic.com/

RingMaster 03/08/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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The Amsterdam Red Light District – Gone For A While

PHOTO HD Promo3 TARLD

With a mouthful of a name and a flavoursome depth to their captivating sound, French rockers The Amsterdam Red Light District unleash their new and highly anticipated album Gone For A While. It is a striking encounter which intrigues and pleases at every turn, the band’s mix of alternative rock in a fusion of melodic punk and hardcore, ensuring a persistent drama and vivacity to each and every track. That it does not ignite the passions as rigorously as it maybe should have is a mystery and probably a personal thing, but certainly the eleven track proposition provides a tasty stomp for ears and imagination to invest a real appetite in.

Seemingly with members based in Lyon and California, The Amsterdam Red Light District since forming in 2005 has earned a potent reputation and recognition for their sound and live presence. Employing inspirations from the likes of Refused, The Bronx, The Ghost of a Thousand, and The Bled into their own distinct ideas and invention, the band has made striking marks through debut album Dear Diary in 2010 and the I’m Not Insane EP two years later, their success backed by a live presence which has seen The Amsterdam Red Light District play all over Europe with great regularity, feature at festivals such as Groezrock, Mair1, Resurrection, Sylak and Rockstorm, as well as play with bands such as Refused, Anti-Flag, Thrice, 36 Crazyfists, Comeback Kid, and Slayer. In July this year the band set about recording second full-length Gone for a While, its release like the first with Red Light Records, now upon us and likely to only intensify the spotlight on the band.

Opener Time Flies swiftly has ears and feet involved in its feisty stomp, riffs and rhythms an immediate frenzy bound in enticing grooves. Vocalist Elio Sxone is a commanding presence within the raucous persuasion from his first syllable, whilst guitarist Maxime Comby is soon complimenting his caustic riffs with sonic enterprise. Arguably there are no real surprises within the song but equally it is a refreshing and magnetic offering with real power to its energy and persuasion capped by the great Red Tape like vocal roars alongside the velvety shadowed tones of bass provided by Gregory Clert.

The attention grabbing start is surpassed by the fascinating Just Have A Good Time, its initial Southern rock/Cajun twang the lead into a ferociously fiery and impressive incitement. Swiftly the_amsterdam_red_light_district_hb_251114revealing more of the depths and diversity to the band’s sound, the heavy rock fuelled track stomps with contagious and aggressive intent driven forcibly by the imposing skills of drummer Julien Chanel. The song though is still as welcoming and catchy as its predecessor, whilst the blend of raw and melodic vocals work a treat across song and subsequently the album, their union as bracing as the contrasting sounds igniting the beast of a song.

   Million Miles Away is no slouch in getting the blood running hungrily through band and listener either, its on-going charge littered with spicy hooks aligned to harsh and melodic elements of punk. Fuelled with a torrent of barbed and addiction forging twists, with further outbreaks of chunky riffing and virulent grooving piling on the temptation, the song keeps the album flying high before handing over ears and emotions to the similarly compelling and voraciously sculpted A Chance To Change. Its energy is as full and insatiable as in its predecessor, and with a thick melodic tempting to its rigorous tenacity, provides another weighty slab of punk hunger and irrepressible contagion.

The brief evocative presence of Final Boarding Call is underwhelming, the track seemingly an intro into the album’s following title track but lacks anything to halt the urge to simply move straight to Gone For A While, itself a song lacking something compared to the first quartet of encounters but reinforcing the craft and imagination surging through the album with ease, if not the earlier adventure shown. Its gentler caresses definitely make for a satisfying companionship before Behind Your Sunglasses unveils its fiercer presence and emotion. Still missing that spark of bold inventiveness, the track impresses as it bawls and croons simultaneously, the vocals especially gripping within the tasty web of chords and hooks.

Both These Kids That Your Parents Warned You About and Come Closer leave ears and appetite full of lingering pleasure, the first with gnarly bass tones and bordering on hostile rhythms, a grouchy and thrilling protagonist. Its growl is wholly infectious, as is the return of that bolder inventiveness which marked the start of the album as the track shows itself to be another lofty peak in the landscape of the release. Its successor is built from the same template, a hearty snarl coating every predatory note and heavily swung beat, not forgetting the raw vocal side of the band, whilst grooves and hooks find their own unique venom to infest the imagination.

The two songs has body and thoughts back hungrily engaged before making way for the addiction causing Set The World On Fire, the track one of those anthemic stomps which only a loss of hearing can deter. Its muscular brawl of a seduction is followed by closing track Waiting For So Long, an encounter featuring Justin Schlosberg from Hell Is For Heroes. A final blaze of rugged and melodic punk vitality which maybe misses truly lighting the passions, it nevertheless gives the album a furnace of a send-off whilst egging on the urge to dive right back into the heart of Gone For A While.

At the start we said that the album did not inflame the strength of ardour that it probably should have. It is hard to define why, certainly there is not an abundance of surprises but there is plenty to enthral and spark a greed for more. It is easy to expect Gone For A While to be a major trigger for the passions in a great many though, and for the rest of us it has to be said The Amsterdam Red Light District has placed a strong enough grip with the album that anticipation for their next endeavour is unavoidable.

Gone For A While is available now via Red Light Records, digitally @ https://itunes.apple.com/fr/album/gone-for-a-while/id918599363 and on CD @ http://tarld.bigcartel.com/

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RingMaster 26/11/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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The Menzingers – On The Impossible Past

As much as the likes of Bad Religion and Brand New continue to create essential punk sounds and offer insightful thoughts and incisive with their releases there seems to be a reached pinnacle. Their new material always engages and pleases but the element of surprise or boundary stretching has diminished, they are not predictable but you know pretty much what you are going to get. With Philadelphia-based punk rock band The Menzingers, though they bring a blend and attitude that incorporates elements of both bands they infuse it into their own heart spawn sensibility and fresh energy to give a variable and distinct engagement to light up the senses, something their influences used to do but now seem less able to.

The Philadelphia based quartet of Tom May, Joe Godino, Eric Keen, and Greg Barnett release their third album and their debut on Epitaph Records, in the expressive shape of On The Impossible Past on February 20th. Their previous two albums, released via small indie labels, gathered strong acclaim as did their dynamic lives shows and supports for the likes of Anti Flag and Against Me! All this led them to the attention of Epitaph founder and President Brett Gurewitz who has commented about The Menzingers that “These guys play the kind of pure punk rock that I grew up with. They are seriously talented songwriters and I’m happy to welcome them to the Epitaph family. “He is not far wrong about the band being talented songwriters as the songs that bristle and grab attention within On The Impossible Past are insightful, emotive and easily register on a formidable personal level.

The album does not attach itself with easy to digest hooks and obvious simple melodies but eases its way deeper through personal, reflective and emotive understanding that one can relate to instantly. The album saunters in on the opening subdued mix of guitar and voice at the beginning of  ‘Good Things’ before bursting into a strident clash of guitar and raised emotive vocal delivery from May. As the whole album proves to be, the song hits home without thrills and spills, a direct and compact piece of good punk rock that lets its energy and attitude give all the impressive enjoyment. It carries a combined Bad Religion and Stiff Little Fingers mix that is far more satisfying than the pop influenced flavours that come as part and parcel of most contemporary punk sounds.

This is not to say The Menzingers neglect or ignore melodies and pop accessibility as tracks like the inspiring ‘Burn After Writing’ and the brilliant ‘Gates ‘show. These songs swing upon the ear with ease and instantaneous appeal but are well crafted with defined skill and creativity a strong feature of the band’s music. The latter of the two is a wonderfully written and crafted song, a track that relates on many layers and lingers emotionally and aurally after its departure, helped not only by the emotive melodies and lyrical intent but also the vocals from Barnett. It is a song that epitomizes the bands passion and ability to touch the listener far deeper than the ear.

It is impossible to point out a weak song upon the album, and whether their music or release works for you or not there is no denying the skilful and cultured song writing on show. The album is also one of those rarities that is not only has an immediate attraction and lure but evolves into a stronger and more inspired release the more one shares  time with it. For all its high consistency though some tracks really stand out. ‘The Obituaries’ is a raucous anthemic track with scorched melodies, driven riffs, and an emotion that all can relate to. It is one of those tracks that you cannot resist joining in with no matter how much you try but the difference here it is not just a chant song, its passion to the fore throughout making it a special treat.

Songs like the stunning ‘Sun Hotel’ that carries a Midnight Oil feel at their bitter best and the irresistible ‘I Can’t Seem To Tell’ are of equal quality and take the album into essential listening territory all on their own. The second of these two is an amazing concoction of discordant acidic riffs and melodies, eager rhythms, and a moody bassline to drool over, a classic.

On The Impossible Past is one of the best punk albums heard in a long time and a refreshing and satisfying alternative to the easy and at times heartless pop punk that fills the genre currently. That is what The Menzingers have to their music, heart and that makes for a release that should have your attention.

Ringmaster 03/02/2012

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