X-Ray Life: Self Titled

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    Formed in 2011 by vocalist Mattia Briggi, Italian rockers X-Ray Life merge an appealing blend of hard rock, grunge, and blues into a release which captures the imagination and leaves behind strong satisfaction. Their self-titled debut album is an enthused and accomplished slab of rock which though it does not set any major fires burning certainly holds its own with skill and enterprise.

From Venezia, the quintet of Briggi, guitarists Corrado Ricucci and Giovanni Zanardo, bassist Matteo Rugliancic, and drummer Matteo Boranga, since forming has made steady progress within their homeland with their live performances winning many competitions and providing a song for a few compilation albums. Bringing essences from alternative rock and grunge to their own intent the band has a sound and style which combines nineties bands from Seattle and modern hard rock. Released via Atomic Stuff Records, their album has all the weaponry to further the presence of the band within Europe and beyond, its eleven songs keen and finely crafted slabs of honest rock n roll.

The punchy Machine Gun Kelly starts things off on the album with a combative edge to its energy and a fiery groove which copertinaengages immediately within the infection of grazing sound. The vocals also carry a boisterousness to match the sounds and though at moments their delivery is weaker than in other parts, The Stone Temple Pilots feel of the track allows the discrepancy to pass by and makes for a good start to the release.

The following Everyone is A Star and Coma Like A Dream soon raise levels with their compelling sounds. The first is a prowling taunt upon the ear with a sturdy attitude coated bass and a mischievously teasing groove whilst the second is a contagious stomp of irresistible bulging rhythms and choppy agitated riffs. Both tracks are flush with impressive musicianship and hypnotic lures which are irresistible in their raw and uncluttered form with Coma Like A Dream one of the stand out invitations upon the album, and since forming has been the first track to initiate bringing attention to the band. Hey is a further pinnacle on the album, its absorbing intimidating groove and rasping effect coated vocals a snarl within the riot tempting rhythms and guitar abrasion. It is an excellent track which can be described as Velvet Revolver meets Temple of the Dog with a core of punk to its deliberate aggressive intent.

The sizzling blues/stoner wash of Lay On You and the classic rock/garage edge to Devil On Earth both offer decisive variety within the album and though they do not reach the levels of passion as inspired by earlier songs they are full of enjoyable invention and energy. With also tracks like Sad and 665 Inside, the album does dip in from its initial height in its middle, though each track is still a rewarding encounter, but regains its rung with the excellent Charlie The Shepherd. The song is a brawling furnace of acidic melodies soaked up by adrenaline fuelled storms of riffs, guitar lashes, and rhythmic intensity; dirty and insatiable the track is a bruising rock n roll stampede of energy.

Though it ends with its weakest track The Last Song, the album is a thoroughly enjoyable and satisfying release with plenty of strong rewards, including a great cover of the Creedence Clearwater Revival song, Susie Q. X-Ray Life is a band who knows how to create potent rock sounds and how to use them for an exciting time, an experience we all have a liking for.

www.xraylife.com

7.5/10

RingMaster 05/03/2013

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Sin’ Sound: From The Underground

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Though taking a little time to make its persuasion, the first encounter with From The Underground held more than a passing hold on the senses, eventually though the debut album from Italian rockers Sin’ Sound emerges as a rather impressive and imaginative piece of rock n roll. Released through Atomic Stuff Records, who the band signed to after winning a competition arranged by the label, the album is a compelling and diverse brew of sound which masterly meshes hard rock, psychedelic 70’s-inspired rock, and funk into something unique and deeply satisfying.

The Brescia based septet formed in 2006 following the break-up of two popular underground bands, Casbah and Synaestethic Sound. A tremendously active band live with a strong reputation for their shows and energetic sounds, Sin’ Sound is set to emulate that reaction with this their first album. Released at the end of last year, From The Underground is record which is never close to being predictable or ever less than enthralling. The musicianship and sounds which flow from within are as accomplished, thrilling, and as mentioned strikingly diverse within the overall distinct presence of the band s you could wish. Arguably the variety of ideas and styles within the songs gives it a stance which ebbs and flows at times, the album having definite peaks which reach noticeably higher than in other moments but throughout the release is nothing but refreshing and openly impressive.

The album does not manage to capture the imagination with its first two tracks for personal tastes but both Celebration Of Apathy and Preparing The Journey are strong and skilled songs thought neither ignites a spark stronger than nodding appreciation for their charms. The first is a heated piece of classic rock with tight fiery riffs and a sonic gift which certainly leaves one impressed with the musicianship and heart of the track. The heavy persistent bassline from Flavio Meleddu is a real plus whilst the guitar invention of rhythm guitarist Enrico Rango and lead Marco Cavalli captivate but overall the song is a companion who is welcome without overly exciting. The second song is the same and like the first a perfectly presented and skilled composition. Fuelled by a jazz funk swagger and sultry brass caresses from Enrico Zoni (trumpet) and Stefano Verzelletti (sax), the song is a more than amicable encounter again without lighting fires.

From here on in the album just explodes onto another level starting with the muscular Introduction: From The Underground. From a slow and heavy prowl with great inciting rhythms from drummer Roberto Micheletti and provocative riffs alongside the expressive vocals of Francesco Zugno, the track erupts into a feisty surge of eager energy and lush intensity. Well into its presence the song intertwines this slower gait with an accelerated passion in its insistency and attack with the guitars sending flames of melodic enterprise across the ear throughout to match the easily evident impassioned lyrical heart of the track. It is an emotive song from words and atmosphere, and beautifully crafted to achieve the greatest effect and reaction.

This excellence is continued with A Bad Day, a song with punk urgency and mischief veining its explosive rock infection. At times the track reminds of Manic Street Preachers and other times thoughts of The Doors and Fatima Mansions are inspired, but constantly the originality of band and song is paramount.

Further highlights come with I Really Like You’re Back, Elisa and closing song Mr. Goodbye, though each track around them leaves one more than merely satisfied. The first of the trio has a slight eighties new wave feel to its vibrant bearing and tight melodic guitar wash which provokes a ‘lick of the lips mentally whilst Elisa is a seductive tease of suggestive brass and a contagious groove which is just irresistible within its brooding passion. This fascinating and bewitching weave coats  the track as it explores its deepest shadows, the restrained yet potent emotive smouldering the soundtrack to the aural scenery and sonic passion.

The final song on the album is again an unhurried walk through the ear, the gradual build of intensity and emotion through brass and guitar quite delicious and invigorating even with its wonderfully dare one say sluggish presentation. It is an outstanding end to an excellent album which initially takes its time to convince but does so with undeniable expertise. If you investigate one band this month you can do a lot worse than taking a listen to Sin’ Sound.

7.5/10

https://www.facebook.com/sinsoundfanclub

RingMaster 31/01/2013

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