Hampered – Asylum

Formed in 2013, French metallers Hampered have just uncaged their debut album and one attention grabbing beast it is. Maybe not the most unique in sound Asylum more than makes up for any familiarity with creative imagination and suggestive drama, attributes blossoming into one richly alluring and enjoyable proposal.

The Toulon quintet consists of vocalist Germinal “Germi” Leullier, guitarists Romain Sanchez and Guillaume Frendo, bassist Fares “Fafa” Petit, and drummer Stephane “Stef” Kokot, though upon Asylum Satanus is listed as swinging the rhythmic sticks. Nurtured in metalcore, their sound embraces an array of other flavours and metal bred textures in its roar and a first full length which takes a firm hold from its first breath.

Asylum is inspired by movies such as One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Shutter Island and relating a complex tale of a disillusioned hero finding himself plunged into the den of a psychiatric hospital, looking at “the grip of man by man, the mind on the body, for the conscience of our own freedom” where “the only “barriers” are the choices we make that make us believe we don’t have any

Opening with its French language spoken, scene setting Intro, the album soon has ears and appetite aroused as the following I’m Alive teases both with its opening initial sonic lure; rich bait soon spawning a rousing incitement of richly enticing grooves and rhythmic predation. Germi is soon in its midst with his similarly potent growls, captivation brewing by the second. The track mellows a touch as a great blend of his and Frendo’s calmer backing vocals collude but still retains its threatening character in sound and tone. Every hook and groove intensified the power and addictiveness of the track, each rhythmic swipe and grumble increasing its sonic paranoia superbly.

The excellent start only continues as The Project follows, its electronically hued entrance easily stirring keen attention before opening up into a rapacious almost carnivorous prowl. Metalcore meets groove metal as things intensify, many more strains of sound adding to the menace and imagination seizing trespass. Something akin to a fusion of Poison The Well, As I Lay Dying and Devildriver, the track gnaws and increasingly pleasures the senses, a success only escalating as the funkier throes of In My Jail tease and invade next. A beguiling web of styles and flavours, the track alone reveals the bold invention at the heart of Hampered and the expansive hunger in their sound which does not always get the chance to blossom as it might across the release. Here it is in full bloom, plaintive vocals and hungry sounds uniting in a ravenous assault of irritable yet severely infectious and predatory enterprise.

Stop That follows with a raw and cantankerous proposal but one just as adept at embracing melodic and harmonic twists as it questions and challenges while successor Conspiracy Theory launches a similarly choleric confrontation infused with citric melodic veins and driven by rhythmic rock ‘n’ roll. Both tracks hit the spot, the second especially sparking tenacious responses as the album continued to impress.

Through the bullish defiance of Each Other, where grooves just infest the psyche, and the raw emotional blaze of Avenge Your Memory, Hampered continue to explore their invention. Neither song quite matched the potency of those before them yet each created a tapestry of lyrical and musical drama which firmly held attention and richly satisfied before Blast (Bridge Refrain) entangled some tinges of heavy metal and strains of Avenged Sevenfold-esque catchiness into its lively swing. Again personal tastes were not quite as ignited as by the albums earlier tracks but were thickly involved in satisfaction from start to finish and especially in its great bedlamic finale.

Asylum concludes with The End, a track featuring Maxime Keller, vocalist with fellow countrymen Smash Hit Combo and Boars. The track is superb, a jungle of metal bred punk infused antagonism with tantalising melodic scenery bringing the album to a mighty close matching its tremendous start.

Asylum is a proposition which will inflame the passions of many and lure the attention of hordes more as it announces Hampered as another very promising and already rather striking proposition on the metal landscape.

Asylum is out now @ http://hampered.bigcartel.com/

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Pete RingMaster 21/03/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Redeemed – Obscured Misery

The sign of a really potent introduction is that it is still grabbing new attention and support months after its initial release, and that is exactly what Obscured Misery, the debut from UK thrash metalcore outfit The Redeemed is making a success of. Offering three slices of imposing and magnetic ferocity forged metal, the EP is an ear pleasing, appetite breeding assault from a band swiftly revealing the potential for great things.

The quintet comes from the heartland of Surrey with its seeds sown with the coming together in jam sessions of band founder Anthony Wiseman with fellow guitarist Ben Newton back in 2013. A mutual love for bands such as As I Lay Dying, August Burns Red, Inflames, and Caliban cemented their creative link, songs soon emerging from the pen of Wiseman and expanded with the lead guitar prowess of Newton. Subsequently after a few misses, a stable full line-up emerged with the addition of bassist Josh Lightfoot and drummer Steve Dun, eventually vocalist, once of Piss Viper, completing the band. Obscured Misery is the band’s first onslaught and one, with its creative web and striking dexterity, relentlessly making an impressive invitation to new attention.

The EP’s title track opens things up, Obscured Misery entangling ears in a maze of Newton’s creative tendrils, his guitar spewing sonic vines with skill and ease as a rhythmic intensity rumbles and then bursts. The throat raw tones of Fletcher are just as quickly surging through ears, growling with discontent as bass and rhythm guitar almost swing in attitude and enterprise. The song’s emerging landscape is a tapestry of twists and turns, never taking a moment to relax as neither can the listener as torrents of imagination loaded textures and eventful dexterity enjoyably impose. Forged on a host of metal bred styles, the track is a striking start displaying the individual and united zeal forged skills of the band but equally a maturely inventive composure.

The Concept follows and equally strikes a chord with ears and appetite in no time especially with Lightfoot revealing his clean vocal strength for a great contrast and complement to the rasping tenacity of Fletcher. As ravenous in character and tone as its predecessor, the song also slips into calmer waters with fluid adventure though never settling there too long before its volcanic heart and creative blaze resurfaces and drives things on again with Newton’s prowess exceptional throughout.

The EP is completed by Last Mistake; itself a skilfully bred maelstrom of craft and creative attributes leaving already impressed ears greedier. Certainly it lacks something indefinable compared to its companions on personal tastes but only accentuates and reinforces the real pleasure of being surrounded by the EP’s creative tempest with only its fade out something to grumble at and that is just a personal bugbear of any song.

Together the trio of tracks declare The Redeemed as a band attention is a forgone conclusion for with the promise of bigger and bolder exploits ahead breeding just as strong anticipation for those things to come. The UK just might have a new major force in the making.

The Obscured Misery EP is out now @ https://theredeemeduk.bandcamp.com/releases

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 Pete RingMaster 26/07/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Cleanse The Hive – From The Depths EP

Photo Credit - A D Zyne

Photo Credit – A D Zyne

If you have not head the buzz around Scottish metallers Cleanse The Hive yet, there is a pretty good chance you soon will as the band’s debut EP explodes in more and more ears. An irritable and dynamic fusion of death and groove metal with ravenous metalcore, the band’s sound shows all the qualities of a someone taking their time to evolve and hone their craft and imagination; a intent which here ensures the From The Depths EP is an introduction which not only grabs attention, it demands it!

Formed in 2011, the Aberdeen hailing Cleanse The Hive, as mentioned at the start, have not rushed to the moment to broadly unleash their inventive exploits though live the quintet has been a hungry incitement soon becoming eagerly followed and praised. Drawing on inspirations ranging from Lamb of God, As I Lay Dying, and Whitechapel to Periphery, Pantera, and Cancer Bats, Cleanse The Hive has earned a potent reputation for their explosive live shows and reputation building tours alongside bands such as Heart of a Coward, Nexilva, Carcer City, Exist Immortal and many more. Now they are ready to wake up a national, if not larger, spotlight upon themselves, a success already expected with the immense roar and persuasion of From The Depths alone.

The EP hits ears straight away with a wall of intimidating and prowling sound; riffs and rhythms colluding in predatory relish as a vocal growl erupts from the throat of Callum Hutchinson.  Taking a further moment to compose itself, Eviscerate then springs with greater zeal at ears, the guitars of Jordan Pacitti and Glen McMillan casting surges of ravenous riffs and sonic dexterity as Hutchinson’s vocals share varying shades of hostile and venomous squalling. In no time ears and imagination are gripped, further enthused by the broadening enterprise of the guitarists amongst the brutal swings of drummer Greig Hadden and alongside the pestilential encroachment of John Campbell’s bass riffs. Lamb of God is easy to offer, Cryptopsy too, as a hint to the maelstrom of craft and sound assaulting and exciting ears yet already something individual to the band is emerging and continuing in its successor.

cleansethehive large_RingMasterReviewCities Of Gold is arguably even more primal and inhospitable than its predecessor; vocals spewing malice with every syllable and the instantly captivating grooves spreading toxicity with very swing of their body within another tempest of emotional and aural animosity. To that though, a perpetually virulent infectiousness flows and in time, a melodic seduction from keys and guitar which is as bracing and invigorating as the animus of confrontation surrounding it. The opener grabbed ears and appetite, its successor trapped both, and by The Reign Of Tyrants, it is fair to say that band and EP had these ears enslaved. Thrash metal is never too far from the textures of death and extreme metal, and drives the third track with open eagerness, though things soon become a part of A thick tapestry of flavours and rabid intent as unpredictable as it is enthralling. Compared to the previous pair, it also has less urgency to its devouring; a more reserved violence to its assault that only makes it more dangerous and captivating.

The EP’s title track descends on the listener next, it too a less vicious attack initially, preferring to build its intensity and savagery over time as grooves and melodic acidity vein its evocatively volatile landscape. As the previous song also, it does not quite make the same impact as the more boldly eventful trio of tracks starting things off though its adventurous nature, as melodic mystique coats guitar imagination, only leaves a want and appetite for more in place.

The dramatic dance and intimidating theatre of Terror Rising brings the release to an impressive close. Again a siren-esque hue wraps melodies; their middle eastern scent a masterful temper to the cantankerous invention and resourcefulness soon driving riffs and rhythms. Emerging as the most imaginative and diversely sculpted track on the EP as even more metal bred styles are included in its emprise of sound and invention, Terror Rising alone provides plenty to use as a reason to get excited about Cleanse The Hive and for the UK metal scene ahead with them in it.

It is hard in modern metal to make a mark on your debut powerful enough to pull attention away from all the other emerging bands do the same thing, but take it from us, Cleanse The Hive have done so and how.

The From The Depths is out now @ https://cleansethehive.bandcamp.com/releases and across other online stores.

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Pete RingMaster 20/04/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Anti-Clone – The Root Of Man

Anti-Clone_RingMasterReview

If asked at the start of the year which was the one release we were most anticipating in 2016 there would have been no pause of thought involved in saying the debut album from UK metallers Anti-Clone. They had us addictively hooked into their own distinct nu-metal bred, psyche twisting sound from the outstanding Hands Sewn Together EP, which had its highly successful national release back in 2014. Its tracks were a regular part of our podcasts too, finding the same eagerness across a horde of other shows and stations with the mainstream media soon waking up to the band’s emergence in turn. Now two years on and quickly following reputation cementing and pushing performances supporting Mushroomhead and Sanguine on certain dates of their recent UK tour, the Boston hailing quintet are poised to unleash The Root Of Man.

The question was never going to be would the album live up to expectations seeded in the last EP and the hefty fuss around the band, that just seemed to be a given in thoughts, but would their music have grown and evolved enough to make them a real contender to stir up the metal scene beyond the UK as earlier songs suggested. Well, the answer is found within the first few tracks of the eleven song incitement alone. Together they give a rousing confirmation with their creative roar, only being forcibly backed by the rest of an album which in some ways continues where the Hands Sewn Together EP left off but immediately shows a craftier and imaginatively more exhilarating, not forgetting broader, weave of styles and flavours in its boldly sculpted songs. The Root Of Man is Anti-Clone on a new mature imagination drenched plateau from songwriting to sound to presentation. There is inventive confidence and fierce adventure at every turn as the scent of inspirations from the forefathers of the nu-metal scene are again embraced, twisted, and honed into openly fresh textures within the band’s own fascinating experimentation.

art_RingMasterReviewFormed in 2011 but really finding its creative mojo once the current line-up was in place a couple or so years later, the Lincolnshire band soon sparked a hungry and swiftly growing fan base for their dramatically addictive sound which reached its first pinnacle in the Hands Sewn Together EP. Live too, the band has grown to be one of Britain’s prime incitements, sharing stages with the likes of American Head Charge, Kindred, ESO, Breed 77, Sworn Amongst, Maplerun, Evil Scarecrow, and Bloodshot Dawn amongst many along the way. Linking up with EP producer Matt Hyde (Machine Head, Trivium, Fightstar, As I Lay Dying and Slipknot) again for The Root Of Man, the quintet of brothers Drew (drums/ programming) and Peter ‘Mr Clone’ Moore (vocals), Conor (guitar) and Liam Richardson (guitar), and Mike Bradbury (bass) are seemingly poised to set their place at the head table of the UK and indeed European metal scene.

Dually looking at “the beginning of the human race, starting with Eve committing original sin which resulted in us being cast out of Eden” and symbolising the band’s beginning as a band; “These are the roots that we are planting to fully establish ourselves as our own entity, to establish ourselves as Anti-Clone“, the pledge music funded The Root of Man immediately grips ears and imagination with its title track. It is a brief but inescapable lure into the album, an as expected apocalyptically ambience clouded scene setter which is soon crawling portentously over the senses as steely bass and toxic grooves wrap the enjoyably familiar tones of Mr Clone. Its dark tempest rolls straight in to Deracinated which seamlessly draws ears into its own animus of intent and creative rapacity. Straight away an industrial toning merges with the schizophrenic nu-metal prowess which flows from the band, Society 1 meets Mudvayne like essences adding to the imposing character and trespass of the fearsome magnetism on offer. Ebbing and flowing in raw confrontation, the track bewitches ears and stirs up the appetite, setting them in an unfamiliar and disorientating yet welcoming blend of old school aired modern imagination for a seriously rousing slab of predacious incitement.

SwitchBlade growls at and brawls with the senses next, vocals from Mr Clone and the Richardson brothers almost pestilential in their psyche invading animosity as the sounds around them rise and fall with constant inhospitable adventure. Melodic calms and percussive invention are just as potent lures in the agitated imagination and landscape of the song; all colluding to savage and spellbind before A Sight For Sewn Eyes prowls ears with Fear Factory/Spineshank tinged ingenuity. As replicated across the whole of the album, every moment of the song brings greed breeding drama to the listener, Mr Clone showing his clean melodic tones are as fiercely agreeable as the rawer psychosis fuelled side of his vocal character. The song persistently twists and turns from the start before reaching a bedlamic crescendo that never truly departs once erupting as the song leaves on a groove bound web of suggestiveness.

With a constant range of peaks across its landscape as momentous and memorable as the Alps, B9 adds another with its Manson-esque textured slice of predatory heavy metal whilst Twisted Neck entangles ears in the intoxicating vines of toxic grooves which wrap a calmer melody hued serenade beneath a thickly tempestuous and predatory climate of sound and personality. Both tracks present a tapestry of styles and textures, the first also flirting with steampunk like elements where, not for the last time, Anti-Clone have a touch of the now sadly demised Shanklin Freak Show to them. Its successor flirts with a colouring which is more 6:33 meets Dog Fashion Disco though as always, it is hard to pin down a flavour such the Anti-clone ingenuity as they align spices to their own enthralling ideation.

A great punk metal hue seeps into the riveting and mercurial soundscape of Mechanical Heart, the track as welcoming as it is fearsome with sinister keys and avant-garde devilry lining another almost rabid mix of nu and industrial metal carrying at times more than a whisper of death metal to it. Compelling to the extreme, the track simply wants an apocalypse based Hellraiser movie to grace to see its majesty totally fulfilled, though fair to say there is no time to linger in thought with any song during the album as here Feed The Machine steals attention instantly with its vocally anthemic and physically bracing proposal. Repetition in word and sound within the track is a glorious igniting of instincts; that simplicity employed in another rich weave of roving grooves and a cantankerous rhythms skilfully sewn into an irresistibly unpredictable but dramatically galvanic onslaught. Like early Korn in some ways and Slipknot in others, the track still stands distinctively tall as another unique Anti-Clone ravaging of the senses and passions.

ComaSpace brings a moment of relative calm and the chance to catch breath next though unsurprisingly it too has irritability to its tone and dark imposing edge to its atmosphere. Vocally Mr Clone entices ears with a clean delivery as melodies merge acoustic and more aggravated hues into the Deftones spiced offering. Again the band has ears and appetite enthralled, though even being another impressive moment within The Root Of Man, it gets overshadowed a little by Astaroth. The band’s new upcoming single, the song is sonic slavery; the reason mosh pits and lustful reactions were bred into life. As barbarous as anything on the release and the most virulently contagious assault too, the track has everything you need to know about Anti-Clone and whether they are the tonic to your personal musical passions.

Completed by the grisly presence and voice of Sentinel, a sonic inferno of psyche burrowing riffs and grooves amidst an insatiable and concussive tempest of sound and attitude, The Root Of Man is the declaration of a new major force in UK and undoubtedly European metal. Anti-Clone is set to be one of those guiding their journeys over the following years whilst with this superb release, the band has placed themselves right there in stature alongside a great many of those who have inspired their adventure to date.

The Root Of Man is released 29th April  via PHD (Plastic Head Distribution) with more information @ http://www.anticlonehq.com

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Pete RingMaster 04/04/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Idols Of Apathy – Life Lessons

Idols Of Apathy Promo Shot_RingMaster Review

Truly standing out in the vast horde of metal bands with a hellacious bully of a sound seems to get harder and harder with every passing year and diversely brutal release. Originality is a premium numerous touch upon, often impressively, and few rarely blossom to something which really does stand alone and become the inspirer rather than the inspired. British extreme /tech metallers Idols Of Apathy fall into the former with their sound, but equally strongly impress with their five track tempest of fury and raw ingenuity, the Life Lessons EP. The release is a volatile and skilfully invasive proposition which never leaves a moment dulled by a lack of imagination and passion, qualities woven in with recognisable hues to suggest that influences breed as much of the band’s invention as their own explorations. At the same time though, the highly enjoyable Life Lessons leaves ears and appetite fiercely attentive as a rich fuel of potential hints of even bigger and individually bolder things ahead as Idols Of Apathy evolve.

Idols Of Apathy Cover Artwork_RingMaster Review   Bursting from the Essex landscape in 2013, Idols Of Apathy were soon stirring up a potent local fan base, spreading further afield once they swiftly released debut single Deceiver. Its success was backed by first EP Unheard Words, which was recorded by Dan Keer. Picking up strong national and media recognition, it was the spark to the band sharing stages, to continuing acclaim, alongside the likes of Climates, Canvas, Lock & Key, Shields, Sworn In, Continents, Create to Inspire, Carcer City, and Falling With Style amongst many more. It is easy to see similar and bigger responses to the release and persuasion of Life Lessons coming up, and though it might not roar from that plateau of major originality it powerfully gives the already strong reputation of the band a new shot in the arm.

The release opens with Bipolar, a song inspired by vocalist Jack Dervish’s own condition and living up to its title in sound and character from its first evocative breath. In no time the inviting coaxing is an anger driven and heart spawned tearing of the senses, with a sound seemingly drawing on the savage intensity and hues of a Slipknot, Devil Driver, or As I Lay Dying. The lethal swings of drummer Stuart Roche resonate like masonry through ears and bone whilst the raw vocal invasion of Dervish, backed as strongly by guitarist Dean Chignell especially with his eventful clean tones, abrase and entice simultaneously. It is the web of invasive grooves and technical imagination from Chignell and fellow guitarists Tom Johnston and Joe Gregory that majorly helps turn a very decent track become a striking offering, their entwining enterprise helping the EP get off to an immense and impressive start.

The great creative irritability and hostile dynamics of the first song continues in the following Addiction, its trespass an insatiable incursion into the senses but bolder in its embrace of provocative ambiences and ‘mellower’ textures led again by clean vocals. The song itself jerks around at times like it has creative Saint Vitus Dance, twisting and lurching from idea to carnivorous intent with seamless and eventful prowess. The bass of Elliott Black is a predator in the mix, his lines and lures bestial, and though not always as open in the mix as in the first song are always there tempering or inciting the calmer and fiercer moments.

Once A Cheat / Always comes next, smothering ears in an atmospheric angst around similarly driven vocals before spilling its own animus of sound and emotion. The scything strokes of one guitar collude with a net of off-kilter sonic from another as the track blossoms a turbulence which merges moments of rich catchiness with winds of blustery causticity; the technical craft and ideation of the band from all angles ensuring predictability is an unused issue.

The scent of Whitechapel meets Revocation of the track merges with the rancorous intensity of the following Backstabber too, lining the melodic expression lighting up a track which maybe does not make the same initial impact as earlier propositions within Life Lessons but comes into its thrilling own over time and listens. It is an increasingly virulent tapestry of crippling rhythms and spiky guitar intrusiveness bursting with resourceful vitality and physical tenacity from across the board before leaving Lessons Learnt to bring the EP to an imposing like-minded and pleasing close. As well as essences which savage as old friends, there is an element of similarity between songs in certain areas but always saved from dominating things by the turbulent adventure the band builds each track upon. Whereas its predecessor’s assault was sonic and lyrical venom, the final track feels like it is an understanding incitement, melodic and harmonic essences a hug around the shoulder giving a reassurance echoing the words shared, though it still snarls and bites like a rabid beast too.

Idols Of Apathy is a band destined to more and greater attention, a suggestion hard to resist making on the evidence of the excellent Life Lessons, and if they can find that real element of originality too, the real potential of big things ahead.

The Life Lessons EP is available from December 4th.

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Pete RingMaster 04/12/2015

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Never Found – Sorrow And Cyanide

Never Found_RingMaster Review

It seems Welsh band Never Found has been thrilling fans for quite a while now, but that potent knock on the broadest attention and success has yet to be made. Until now anyway as the band’s debut EP Sorrow And Cyanide is the kind of persuasion to give the British rock scene a mighty nudge. A gripping fusion of punk, metal, and riotous rock ‘n’ roll, the four-track encounter is a warts and all incitement that easily grips ears. Comparisons to the likes of Bullet for My Valentine and Aiden have been already and frequently sent the way of Never Found, but as proven by the EP, that reference only tells part of a flavoursome tale.

The seeds of Never Found began with vocalist/guitarist Daniel Barnes and bassist James Sweeten, their vision of a band starting its first steps back in 2009, though it was three years later when things began to really escalate in purpose and sound. That was the year drummer Kieran Ivey joined up to give the band its missing heartbeat. Since then Never Found has become an eagerly followed live proposition, playing with bands such as Fearless Vampire Killers, Ashestoangels, and William Control amongst many along the way. With their line-up more recently completed by guitarist Sam Redmayne, they are now ready to make a big statement towards bigger spotlights; Sorrow And Cyanide the first potent line in that creative declaration.

Artwork_RingMaster Review   It opens with Just Like Hollywood, a track careering through ears from second one upon a charge of punk riffs and battering rhythms driven by the instantly strong tones of Barnes. As Clash/Sex Pistols like chords and ferociously lined punk roars erupt in sound and voice, the song quickly brews an aggressive virulence with its own line of contagious hook littered enterprise, and an adventure unafraid to embrace hardcore and harsher metallic spicery. Tenaciously and bruising, the track provides a gripping and thrilling start to the EP, but sound wise, it is just one shade to be discovered within Sorrow And Cyanide.

The following Choking Me stalks and rises up against the senses with a much more metal leaning, barbarous rhythms and acidic grooves entwining ears as Barnes vocally and enjoyably carries on employing a punk seeded incitement. With the bass of Sweeten a grouchy and bestial stalking at the heart of the growing infection too, the track springs a confrontation as antagonistically grouchy and spikily catchy blend of As I Lay Dying and Lost Prophets to entice and impress.

King Of Nothing follows a similar if less intensive pattern as its predecessor, and maybe loses some of its predecessor’s spark and potency because of it, but with more great vocal enticing and strong muscular enterprise walling in spicy adventure through the guitars, the track leaves satisfaction only full.

Fair to say it is swiftly outshone by Take Me Away though, the EP closer enticing hues of grunge cored rock ‘n’ roll into its volcanic landscape of metal voracity and punk rock rebelliousness. Almost like Green Day meets Gruntruck and Reuben, with the results stirred up by Skinlab, the track is a powerful and favourite dynamo to end the excellent EP.

Demandingly we are now expecting big things next time around from Never Found just because of the impressive introduction offered by Sorrow And Cyanide, but to be honest more of the same would not be a major disappointment either, as long as some of the promise oozing through this great release is intensified.

The Sorrow And Cyanide EP is out now @ http://www.neverfound.bigcartel.com/category/cds

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Pete RingMaster 02/11/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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New textures and explorations: talking Wovenwar with Josh Gilbert

Wovenwar 1

The background and events leading up to the creation and emergence of the San Diego quintet Wovenwar have been well publicised as since has also been the might and thrilling adventure of the band’s self-titled debut album which was unleashed by Metal Blade Records a few weeks back. It has been a busy time for the band but kindly bassist Josh Gilbert took time out to talk with us about all things Wovenwar including its first steps, the excellent new album, and responses from fans of their previous band.

Hi Josh and welcome to the site, thanks for sparing time to talk with us.

Before we talk about your new album but without going into the well-publicised controversy around your former band mate in As I Lay Dying, can we look at the beginnings of Wovenwar and the decision the rest of you had to make about your musical horizon thereafter? Was the continuing of the four of you from As I Lay Dying in some form a no brainer with only the decision in what direction to be made or was there a serious chance you all would have gone your separate ways?

About a month after Tim’s arrest, we all got together to discuss what our future would be. The decision was unanimous that the four of us wanted to continue on, specifically as a new band. Most of us joined our previous band directly out of high school, so it’s the only thing we know how to do…write music and tour!

How long did the talks and decision to form Wovenwar go on between you all?

It was a one day thing. We met at Phil’s place to hang out and talk about the future and the decision was made that day.

This was obviously an intensive and turbulently emotional time for all concerned, do you feel that has brought something extra to the songs and sound of Wovenwar in some way?

Maybe not the sound in particular, but I think the writing process for Wovenwar allowed us to take our minds off the present in a productive way. We didn’t have to dwell on the past, only look to the future.

Once you made the step and set about working on songs and your debut self-titled album, was there a sense of freedom in any way to starting afresh and making music different to your very Wovenwar2successful former guise?

I think the sense of freedom came from knowing our new project had no boundaries in terms of the places we could go musically. We didn’t have a singer yet, so the process began with the 4 of us writing music only for us, no vocalist in mind yet

Musically did you simply see where ideas took you with songs and their sound or did you have some thoughts and intent already waiting to be uncaged which would not have worked with As I Lay Dying?

I think a mixture of both. In the past, there were parts we’d have to shave off or cut out completely due to our previous singer’s style. With Wovenwar we were able to see those ideas through a little more clearly.

For us the band’s sound is very different throughout, though you can obviously find essences which are familiar from AILD just because of the four of you being a perfect fit with each other creatively and musically. Was there any deliberate effort to cast a completely unique proposition or has it all been an organic emergence?

I think the organic emergence came once Shane was in the picture. We had written about 5 songs musically and had given them to him to see what sort of ideas/songs he gravitated to more than others. Once we saw what was and wasn’t working, it gave us a better idea of the direction to head in that complimented both the music and vocals the most.

Some see Wovenwar’s sound as a continuation of the last AILD proposition but forging new territories; we feel it is a wider gulf between the bands than that. How do you see the differences aside from the obvious vocal one?

I think the biggest difference would be in the dynamics. With AILD, we pushed the envelope of speed every album. We were at 110% at all times in terms of tempo, and heaviness. In Wovenwar, we wrote for the song. We weren’t afraid to take the verse down to 50%, only to build up the chorus dramatically and make it feel huge. It definitely allows us to take the songs on more of a ride than we were previously known for.

How did the link-up with vocalist Shane Blay, formerly of Oh, Sleeper, come about and was he an immediate target to recruit?

Shane and Nick have known each other for 15 years, and played in a band together when they were younger. We hadn’t really officially approached anyone to sing when Nick brought up the idea of having Shane come out and jam with us. We sent him a couple of demos and he began writing to them. Once he was here and we heard his ideas we knew it was the perfect fit.

Wovenwar liveHis stunning tones are very much unique from those of Tim, has this made you look at or affected your songwriting in any different way, to help embrace and employ his great voice to full effect?

I think we just made sure that our music fit the spectrum of his abilities, and vice versa.

Give us some idea of the first times you all sat down to write and work on songs or their seeds. Did you take the determined opportunity to try new things and explore new styles/flavours or again was it just a see what comes out type scenario?

We really just sat down and let ideas flow. No preconceived idea of what we wanted, or to venture out specifically, we just let the music write itself and it flowed out pretty naturally.

How has the songwriting process emerged within the band?

Usually a single person brings a riff or collection of riffs to the band and from there, we decide which songs everyone seems to be interested in and we focus on those collectively. 4 separate members wrote songs on the record, which is a first for us.

What are the major inspirations behind the songs and their themes, and does some of it stem from the months between the two bands?

Well, Shane wrote most of the lyrics this time around, but they cover a variety of topics….personal redemption, unfaithfulness, being jaded by the music industry, etc. They cover a lot of ground.

Did you enter the recording of the album and the studio aspect generally any differently than your AILD releases previously?

Not really. Songs were about 95% there already, as we had demoed the entire album before Bill arrived. I guess the biggest difference would be in the sheer amount of time spent on clean vocals. They take longer, and far more effort and nuance to record as compared with screams.

How have AILD fans taken to the album generally?Wovenwar cover

It’s a mixed bag. Most are positive, and have been amazing throughout the transition. We couldn’t be more thankful to those who have stuck with us. There are a few who don’t know what to make of the vocal change, but we think we’ll win them over. They just have to realize that this isn’t AILD pt. 2, and that it’s a new band. With that perspective, I think a lot of them will be able to appreciate it for what it is, and not a ghost of our former band.

You recorded the album with producer Bill Stevenson who worked on the last AILD album too. Was this one of the easier decisions in regard to the album, bringing Bill on broad and what is it about his work and presence which stimulates you guys musically?

Bill was the only producer we approached, due to Awakened turning out so well. We love the fact that Bill cares more about the structure and how the song builds than the solos, riffs, etc. He helps us keep that in perspective. He also just a great person to work with and it keeps the mood light.

Not only us but seemingly across the board, the album has made a massive impact and reaped deserved acclaim. Has its initial success outpaced your own hopes for its welcome?

We honestly had no idea what to expect! What I can say is that the reaction definitely surpassed our expectations and we’re grateful for that. We know it’s time now to get out there on the road and earn it.

Once again a big thanks for taking time out to chat with us. Have you any last thoughts for the readers?

Thanks so much for checking out the record and we hope to see you crowd surfing at our next show in your town!

Read the review of Wovenwar’s debut album @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/08/08/wovenwar-self-titled/

http://wovenwar.com/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review

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