Healthy Junkies – Box of Chaos

HJ_RingMaster Review

It was September 2013 when we last had Healthy Junkies igniting ears with a release; that being their impressive second album The Lost Refuge. One of our parting lines then was that the UK had “come of age and you only sense they will get better.” It was partly right as the London quartet has only gone from strength to strength on the live scene and now with third album Box of Chaos. Their coming of age back then though might have been a touch premature for the riveting and dynamic fourteen track punk ‘n’ roll stomp from the band firmly outshines its acclaimed predecessor.

Emerging from a meeting between founders, guitarist Phil Honey-Jones and Paris hailing vocalist Nina Courson at the venue Punk in Soho in 2009 and their creative bonding over mutual loves and influences, melodic punks Healthy Junkies took little time to start leaving their stamp on the UK punk and rock scene. Making their live debut at an all-day punk festival in Brighton in 2010, the band has become a rousing roar around the UK moving into Europe and one of London’s most exciting and prominent live attractions with their self-hosted monthly night at The Unicorn in Camden a regular treat. Debut album Sick Note awoke a broader attention on the band when released, a success forcibly backed up by The Lost Refuge. Throughout the time line-up changes have only seemed to refuel the band at various times too, the latest coming since the recording of Box of Chaos with bassist Ivan Baragone replacing the departed Dave Renegade alongside Courson, Honey Jones, and drummer Tony Alda.

HJ(1)_RingMaster ReviewWhilst The Lost Refuge was a rousing tempest in ears from the first roar, Box of Chaos takes its time to build and entice even greater greedier reactions. Certainly its first play and touch is a potent lure but each listen reveals greater depths and imagination at the heart of the release which only adds to its strength and drama. There is also seemingly richer old school punk and rock ‘n’ roll hues this time around, essences no doubt bred from inspirations to Honey-Jones and Courson such as Sonic Youth, Hole, Sex Pistols, Bauhaus, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Iggy and the Stooges, and David Bowie. One band which our thoughts most leaned to as a reference across the new album though is Penetration; a similarly evocative nature and tone to the great County Durham band spicing the band’s adventurous sound from the off with both Nice n Sleazy and its successor Never Want It Again. The opener emerges on a sonic shimmer with waiting riffs quickly stirring into predatory life as ears continue to be enveloped in that initial mist. Rhythms are soon just as pressing as Coulson’s magnetic voice seduces, her tones a smouldering caress within the rising fiery heat of the song. It is an increasingly virulent protagonist grabbing swift involvement of the listener, setting them up for more riotous stroll of Never Want It Again. It is a tenacious canter though superbly twisted with ska/like asides as rhythms and vocals flirtatiously swing with mischievous intent within the otherwise busy attitude loaded rock ‘n’ roll of the song.

Danny Trash keeps the potent start to the album in top gear, its catchy canter and haunted atmosphere soon enslaving hips and imagination respectively. As expected and already shown, Health Junkies produce choruses and anthemic moments which are inescapable; voice and body soon on board with a track which is a maze of evocative sounds, pungent emotion, and creatively boisterous exploits.

The following Hypocrite is the opposite but just as glorious, its punk rock fury offering one minute fifteen seconds of cantankerous rock ‘n’ roll with raw riffs and repetitious brawling spawned from delicious old school incitement before I Don’t Give a Damn springs with a similar aggressive heart into ears. It is soon casting another prowling proposal with addictive hooks and gripping rhythms; both swift slavery as the guitars weave a melodically provocative narrative for thoughts to get wound up in as successfully as the body is lost to the anthemic prowess of the encounter.

The more hard rock meets punk ‘n’ roll tempting of Je Suis Free is an inviting and again contagious defiance next whilst Watch Out has a blues rock lining to its infection loaded, roister fuelled smoulder. Both tracks lead the listener into energetic and galvanic ways before Rebellion, with presumably Honey-Jones standing toe to toe with Courson in duet, stirring up another urge to take a stand and lose inhibitions in voice and deed. The track is Healthy Junkies at their rock ‘n’ roll best, direct, lyrically potent, yet igniting the want to fling the body around.

The confrontational rock pop enticement of Just a Fool steps up next, it too quickly sparking total involvement before the outstanding creative theatre of Runaway Devil infests ears and psyche. There is no escaping a Siouxsie and the Banshees air to the song, keys running their melodic fingers over the senses as Courson’s ethereal tones enchant seductively around the darker touch of rhythms. In short time the track is soon a fiercely bubbling and intimidating tempting, reminding of fellow Londoners The Duel, but still with that early coaxing a rich lure.

There are numerous peaks in the landscape of the album, that one pinnacle almost matched by the dirtier rock ‘n’ roll of Hustle Street straight after and indeed the twin tempting of the melodically mesmeric Captive with its dub shimmer and the robust swagger of Don’t Give Up where scything beats, bass rumbling, and scuzzy riffery crowd around the ever alluring tones of Courson. Reggae seeded turns and again dub spiced inventiveness only increases its grip on ears and appetite, Ruts DC like imagination leaving satisfaction bulging.

Closing with D7, another spellbinding mix of evocative calms, atmospheric haunting, and vocal seducing in a case of antagonistically anthemic rebel-rousing, Box of Chaos is a thrilling blaze for the ears and manna for the spirit from a band looking at their most successful and surely acclaimed loaded year yet.

Box of Chaos is released February via STP Records.

http://www.healthyjunkies.co.uk   https://www.facebook.com/healthyjunkiesband/   https://twitter.com/HealthyJunkies

9/10

Pete RingMaster 01/02/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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This Burning Age – Desolation

this-burning-age-ep3-desolation-band-photo-5th-day-records-2015_RingMaster Review

It has taken a while to get here but now inciting ears and emotions, Desolation proves the wait was more than worth it. The new EP from British electro rockers This Burning Age is the third in a four EP cycle which began last year. The three track encounter is a rousing and forcibly provocative proposition proving that whatever has happened and evolved in the time between releases, the This Burning Age songwriting and sound has potently grown through it.

The EP’s songs feel physically and emotionally fiercer than ever but equally more inventively woven from the depth of sound and flavours which have always marked the band’s sound and releases. Originally a solo project for vocalist/songwriter/guitarist Friday, the Birmingham band emerged on the live scene as a full line-up after the release of debut album A Muzzle for the Masses. Wanting to take its heart and success to live venues, Friday enlisted guitarist/keyboardist Jon Farrington-Smith, bassist Davey Bennett, and drummer Christian Jerromes (since replaced by Jack Josypenko) to the band, with the years since seeing This Burning Age play with the likes of Fearless Vampire Killers, William Control, Heights, and Hundred Reasons amongst many.

this-burning-age-ep3-desolation-5th-day-records-2015_RingMaster Review   The band’s sound fuses essences of post-punk, industrial, Synth-pop and post-rock to really simplify its tapestry, with influences arising from bands such as NIN, Interpol, Rammstein, Sonic Youth, and Smashing Pumpkins. It is a fusion which potently gripped attention through the first pair of releases in the four EP project. Both Supplication and Devotion revealed an evolution in the band’s sound with a fresh thick web of textures to that within the band’s album, whilst exploring the theme of love and sex in their destructive form across their songs. That growth has continued with Desolation, its tracks inspired by a look at death and the human condition. As to the timeline of songwriting between the EPs we cannot say but there feels a new maturity to the band’s latest EP which not only seriously ignites ears but offers the potential of even bolder and deeper things ahead.

First song up on Desolation is Tatterdemalion, a quickly voracious and rousing proposal but one just as quickly slipping through an unpredictable and tempestuous landscape of intensity and creative resourcefulness. From its initial fuzzy flame of riffs, imposing rhythms stir the blood with just as potent scything grooves getting involved. The song hits a commanding stroll before relaxing into a prowling gait lit by a great steely twang of the bass. This ‘restful’ passage in turn welcomes the distinctive tones of Friday, his expression and emotion as open as ever as keys glow with simmering but bright temptation around him. Fiery expulsions of energy and heart then drive the soon to break chorus, its ferocity lingering to add richer hues to subsequent melodic and slightly restrained moments. For the main though, the track is a cauldron of inventive twists and turns, an array of styles colluding in a striking blaze which at times pokes thoughts of bands like Joy Division, in others of the likes of Pitchshifter and Smashing Pumpkins or Trent Reznor and Anti-Clone.

The outstanding start makes way for Drown In Silence, a song which leans more or certainly quicker to its industrial and electronic rock side as lively cascades of punchy rhythms and suggestive synths fall upon ears before dissipating for the emotive reflection of voice and atmospheric melodies. Calm before the storm, the track is a furnace of emotive energy and heart but again thick intense shafts which share time and the imagination with increasingly volatile and ferocious crescendos, all these keen essences uniting in an explosive and dynamic climax to another increasingly contagious persuasion.

As striking and irresistible as they are, the first two songs are slightly over shadowed by the closing Ab Aeterno (From Forever), a mesmeric introspective unveiling from Friday in voice and emotion. A crystalline twinkle of keys light a creeping mist of evocative melodies from the song’s first breath, the vocals emotionally raw as guitars and stirring beats add their weight to the unfolding intimate drama. Like a mix of Bauhaus and very early U2 embraced by the dark ethereal craft of Nine Inch Nails, the song glows with charm and shadows, eventually igniting in a searing fire of sound and suggestiveness.

It is a transfixing end to a breath-taking release from This Burning Age, the band’s finest hour without doubt though you get the feeling even now that we have seen nothing yet.

The Desolation EP is out now via 5th Day Records @ http://thisburningage.bigcartel.com/

http://www.thisburningage.com/   http://www.facebook.com/thisburningage   http://twitter.com/thisburningage

Pete RingMaster 05/10/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Band Of Holy Joy – The Land Of Holy Joy

BOHJ_A_RingMaster Review

This past year, two singles from Band Of Holy Joy have sparked expectations of something special from their new album The Land Of Holy Joy, simply because of their own enthralling quality. Fair to say the UK band’s new release not only lives up to hopes and assumptions but leaves them looking rather inadequate. The nine track adventure of urban folk and indie rock is a blaze of ear thrilling and imagination igniting tracks ripe with unpredictable invention and the social commentary and honesty we have come to expect from the London band. Admittedly over their three decades of undeniably helping shape the British indie scene, we have not had the pleasure of devouring all of their eighteen previous albums here but of the fair few we have, Band Of Holy Joy have definitely eclipsed all with their finest moment in The Land Of Holy Joy.

The album gets off to a stunning flyer with its title track, the opener an instantly bewitching enticing of off-kilter guitar melodies from James Stephen Finn. Their discord lined twang has ears alert, whilst a swift healthy appetite licks its lips almost as quickly after as an exotic seducing from Peter Smith’s keys, matched by the flirtation cast by the bass of Howard Jacques, dances with the imagination. Like Eastern sent cosmopolitan sunshine over harsh realities hinted at by the plainer, distinctive tone of vocalist Johny Brown, the track is sensational; a provocative soundtrack perfect for the crisis felt right now by thousands upon thousands of people and Europe.

The outstanding beginning continues with the band’s last single Isn’t That Just The Life. The song enthrals like a sixties kitchen sink drama with, still for these ears, a female centred alternative to The Smith’s This Charming Man. With wistful keys, flames of sax from Smith, and great dourly resourceful harmonies, the song is an expressive croon with a swinging canter to its shadowed wrapped but surprisingly warm body, and also irresistible.

Street bred melancholy lines the following All The Girls Are Wearing Desert Boots Of Pale And Subtle Shade. It is a track which from its initial potent and gentle embrace of sombre air and emotion lifts in energy through emotive brass textures and an increasingly rousing incitement thrown by the craft of drummer William Lewington. Maybe a slow burner compared to its predecessors, the track easily has ears and thoughts hooked before making way for the funky carnival-esque theatre of Men Who Display A Different Kind Of Pain. Keys drizzle temptation and festival like drama over the senses in league with a similarly thick and colourful enticing from the guitar, whilst Brown adds rich vocal and lyrical openness in his ever pleasing mix of raw crooning and spoken narrative. More inventive and compelling with every passing minute and certainly each listen, the song is revelry of sound and honest drama coated with eighties warmth.

Another album pinnacle arrives with the brilliant Violent Drunken Strangers. Its entrance sees skipping beats aligning with a moodily captivating bassline and sultry tendrils of guitar which just seep into the psyche as Brown again varies his delivery to fine and impacting effect. The post punk like stroll and tone of the track is delicious, as too the emerging eighties funk kissed guitar and a vocal union which just ignites the passions. There are essences of bands like Bauhaus in atmosphere, Josef K in guitar jangle, and Original Mirrors to its lively revelry, and along with the title track, the song steals the show though great times simply continue as first the reflective melodic caress of Discredited Art Form cups ears and thoughts and straight after, A Good Close Friend offers its own elegant seduction and tenacious sixties fired enterprise up for eager attention. Both songs provide thoroughly enjoyable proposals whilst stirring thoughts, the second eclipsing the first but only by a spicy whiff of keys and one lively step.

A Place Called Home is another track which smoulders in ears and thoughts rather than quickly stirs them but with superb harmonies between Brown and a female vocalist, and a brass breeze which as the song has a shade of The Walker Brothers to it, lingering persuasion is the ultimate and successful result.

Closing with I’m Crass Harry, a bluesy look at a character which never gives up the fight despite enduring a constant tide of adversity, the album ends with a mighty finale. Merging spices found in the likes of reggae, punk, jazz, and other absorbing flavours into its musical tapestry around that tale of defiance, the song is Band Of Holy Joy at their best, what creatively they are and have always been about and another slice of proof as to why we say The Land Of Holy Joy is their greatest moment yet.

The Land Of Holy Joy is out now digitally and on CD via Stereogram Recordings and the Band Of Holy Joy Bandcamp.

Pete RingMaster 22/09/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Le Butcherettes – A Raw Youth

photo credit- Monica Lozano

photo credit- Monica Lozano

Contagious and fierce, diversely imaginative and aggressively bold, A Raw Youth is punk rock at its best. In sound it might not always seem so but in attitude and uncompromising nature it is a rebel, a confrontation to match its theme, which is best described by the words of Teri Gender Bender, “The focus of the album is the recurring conflict between minorities (the raw youths) and society: The oppressor and the oppressed,” the vocalist adding “Each song is a different story of a youth from a different time era. Some of them want to die because their faith in humanity has ended, some want to fight the authority, think outside themselves.

The new album from Mexico based Le Butcherettes also roars with a celebratory air and rousing enterprise, a quality ensuring each track not only hits the spot musically and lyrically but leaves a lingering web of temptation for body and emotions. That will not really be a major surprise to fans of the band, their previous albums Sin Sin Sin of 2011 and last year’s Cry Is For The Flies especially, bulging riots of gripping sound and middle finger combat, but fair to say the trio of Gender Bender, drummer Chris Common (These Arms Are Snakes) and bassist Jamie Aaron Aux have pushed the creative intensity and adventure on again with A Raw Youth. The band’s third, and as its predecessors, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez produced, the album is their finest incitement yet, a rebel rousing slice of primal, thought provoking rock ‘n’ roll.

It all begins with Shave The Pride, a growling punk bred encounter quickly availing ears of grouchy riffs and the ever appealing tones of Gender Bender. Common’s beats frame the union with zest whilst Aux’s bass just snarls its way into the passions. The song itself never meanders from a cantankerous tone and infectious stride through ears, leaving greater adventure to those to come but easily makes for a stirring and anthemic start which has ears and appetite wide awake and ready for tracks like My Mallely which follows. Discord kissed melodies from keys opens up the swift attention grabber, bass and guitars again adding their irritable bait before the compelling and ever distinct tones of Gender Bender enrich ears. The infectious swagger of the song, driven by the excellent addictive nature of Common’s rhythms, has a 4 Non Blondes feel to it backed by warm keys which just slip over the senses with emotive temptation.

Le Butcherettes A Raw Youth Cover_RingMaster Review   From one major highlight to another pair in Reason to Die Young and La Uva. The first seduces and bellows like a blend of PJ Harvey and a restrained Lene Lovich, voice and sound effortlessly inciting body and emotions with its tempestuous yet wholly virulent, slightly No Doubt like, blaze. Within it that an off kilter enticing adds a great unpredictability which is fully explored more in its successor. The fourth track on the album is a maze of textures and inventive sound entwining with and bouncing off the superb vocal union between the siren-esque harmonics of Gender Bender and the dark, lordly tones of guest Iggy Pop. Like De Staat meets Bauhaus with the devilment of a 6:33 infused, the track is a gloriously sinister and gripping fascination; a union of dark and light, warped power and innocence.

The outstanding Sold Less Than Gold keeps the lusty emotions inflamed again with its sixties pop meets indie revelry. A song looking on women who are sold into marriages or sex slavery, it is an invigorating flame of catchy rhythms, warm vocals, and bracing horns within a bouncy canter and energy in which potently reflects the resilience in the spirits of those enslaved.

Tantalising tones over a fuzzy landscape provides the next recruitment of feet and imagination in the shape of Stab My Back, its punchy touch and defiant nature ebbing and flowing with greater voracity across its four minutes before the aggression of They Fuck You Over ensures things get even scuzzier and antagonistically fiercer. A storm of punk and garage rock, it brawls with the listener yet has them on the dance-floor too. It with raw zeal uncages a contagion of addiction which in its own distinct way is matched by Witchless C Spot. Atmospherically immersive and haunting, the track wraps the senses like a dry mist initially, the voice of Gender Bender hypnotic in presence and word, before stalking textures and suggestiveness boil over in a fiery but controlled crescendo. It is a tempting repeating again, with the calm after holding more spicy additives second time around.

The Hitch Hiker is a riveting duet between the two protagonists within the narrative of the excellent encounter, Gender Bender taking both sides against saucy keys with an Oingo Boingo essence to them, and the ever welcome trespass of bass and swinging beats. Again the band has bodies out of their seats with ease whilst inciting thought, the lyrical writing and prowess of the vocalist as cutting and potent as the sounds relishing their input. It is a quality of course shown again in the transfixing Lonely & Drunk, a song far more hard hitting than on first appearances and increasingly magnetic with its golden melodies and predatory rhythms.

A favourite moment of the album comes with Oil The Shoe If The Critter Knew Any Better, a funk punk stroll of garage rock tenacity and psych rock hues which is as masterful prowling the imagination as it is venting its full energy and rapacious intent. The track just hits the spot leaving closing song My Half a tough job to match. Fair to say it does not quite find that success yet with the featured John Frusciante bringing his majestic fingers on steely strings to the bluesy/psyche mix, the album is provided with a thoroughly enjoyable and impressive end.

Le Butcherettes continue to burn the imagination and the issues of the world with their ravenous maelstrom of rock ‘n’ roll and A Raw Youth is their latest plateau of craft and imagination. There is always a smile when something new from the band arrives and their new album shows exactly why; one highly recommended proposal for you all.

A Raw Youth is available via Ipecac Recordings from September 18th via through all digital platforms.

Pete RingMaster 18/09/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Blacklist Union – Back To Momo

blacklistunion_RingMaster Review

A few short weeks back, US rockers Blacklist Union unleashed their single Alive N Well Smack in the Middle of Hell, a magnetic stomp of a song providing an inviting teaser to the band’s new album Back To Momo. If you too took up its enjoyable invitation to rebel rouse let us tell you now, as good as it actually was, it barely touched on the might and enterprise flooding the band’s fourth full-length. It is persistently rivalled and at times just outshine by the thrilling incitements offered by Back To Momo, which tells you just how outstanding the album is.

Formed in 2004 by frontman Tony West, the Los Angeles hailing Blacklist Union was soon stirring up attention, especially from the 2006 release of debut album After The Mourning. The band’s reputation and stature continued to grow as the band emerged on the US rock scene, second album Breakin’ Bread With The Devil two years later luring keener fan and media focus which its well-received successor Til Death Do Us Part in 2012 pushed much further. Now it is the turn of Back To Momo to try and breach the broadest spotlights, a success hard to bet against such its rebellious and anthemic might.

BLU-Momo-Cover-smBlacklist Union - Back To Momo   With guitarist/bassist Todd Youth and drummer Matt Starr alongside West, Blacklist Union opens up Back To Momo with that aforementioned single, Alive-N-Well Smack in the Middle of Hell. A lone guitar stirs the air first, it’s coaxing soon pierced by a vocal shrill and joined by tangy grooving. Part hard rock, part punk ‘n’ roll, the song hits its stride with a swagger and a closet full of irresistible hooks and sonic enterprise from the guitars. Addiction is the order of the day with the song and as it has feet and emotions fully involved, it is easy to think rock ‘n’ roll does not get much better than this, but oh yes it does, and often across Back To Momo.

The following Shake It Off has a more restrained canter to its blues washed hard rock, and a sense of familiarity which is only enriched by the excellent delivery and vocal attitude of West. Expectations are fed a touch by the song, surprises less bold than on tracks around it but again it has ears and enjoyment settling into a keen appetite before the outstanding Mirror, Mirror on the Wall turns the creative heat up. Erupting in a surge of rhythms and sonic flames, the track quickly swings boisterous hips and frees contagious resourcefulness as an equally riveting vocal adventure jumps in. The track is glorious, a rousing blend of The Stooges, Turbo Negro, and Jane’s Addiction with just the right amount of glam metal, and easily the best incitement upon the album, and the next single surely?

Both the actual upcoming single Evil Eye and Superjaded keep things fiercely bubbling. The first is a scintillating swamp of prowling beats, nagging riffs, and blues bred hues with again an irresistible vocal tempting from West whereas its successor merges the infection of rock pop with the tenacity of punk and the revelry of hard rock, it all contained in a vibrant but restrained embrace which only seems to intensify the invention of the song. Both tracks come with a wealth of flavours and styles, another great feature across the rock ‘n’ roll of the album, and maybe it is no surprise they do given inspirations to the band range from Guns N’ Roses to David Bowie, Bad Brains to Bauhaus, T Rex to The Mission and The Ramones, to name a few.

With a title like Rock N Roll Outlaw you pretty much have an idea of the type of sound on offer and true to pleasing form, the song is an enticing blend of southern and classic rock coated in that twang that gets the taste buds grinning. The music itself does not hold the biggest key to the song’s success, as flavoursome as it is, but the invention and mischievous twists the band put into it is what excites the imagination most before the album’s title track uncages some more punk lined rock ‘n’ roll which simply radiates belligerence within a anthemic blaze. With a skeleton of pulsating rhythms within melodic and infection oozing creative flesh, the song entwines echoes of Alice in Chains, New York Dolls, and Shark Tape.

We Are Not Saints, as It’s All About You right after, flirt with some invigorating strains of garage rock for their individual designs, the former twisting it into a predatory prowling of the senses and serious ignition of the instincts to rock ‘n’ roll whilst the latter, taking an even richer dose of sixties/seventies garage ferocity, weaves a tonic for body and soul bristling with sonic tendrils, sparkling hooks, and psych rock breeding. The rhythms from both bass and drums are wicked seduction whilst West again shows he is one of the most magnetic and dynamic frontmen/vocalists in rock right now.

Things remain infectiously hot with the enthralling Meet Me on Zen Street, a song veering on the brink of horror punk at times, and again through the dirty scuzz lined Graveyard Valentine. Rock ‘n’ roll needs a healthy dose of filth and attitude, and there is plenty on show in voice and sound in this irresistible proposal, the grouchy deep throated bass leading the way. Punk again rears its welcome head, and not for the first time on Back To Momo, there is a touch of Canadian duo The Black Frame Spectacle to the thrilling stomp.

The album is completed by firstly the niggling temptation of Wined, Dined, & 69’d, the song simply classic bred, glammed up rock ‘n’ roll, and lastly Read Between the Lines, a track which again prowls the listener with dazzling lures and spicy enticements. It does not quite live up to earlier peaks yet as all songs, only leaves a licking of lips and want for more.

Back to Momo is not bulging with sounds that are unfamiliar yet from start to finish it is commandingly fresh with an insatiable spark sure to ignite any day. The single Alive N Well Smack in the Middle of Hell was and still is a mighty way to join the Blacklist Union, whilst the album shows it has much more to thrill and incite with. . After this if the band has not breached major attention then world rock is a fool.

Back To Momo is available now via BLU Records.

Ringmaster 13/08/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

KEN mode – Success

photo Brenna Faris

photo Brenna Faris

Predictability has never had a presence in the sounds and imagination of Canadian noise wreckers KEN mode, though that in itself is something to be expected. Their caustic and furious brews of post-rock, hardcore, metal, and noise, to mention just some of their flavours employed, have ignited ears and imaginations with a tempestuous almost petulant creativity ensuring the band’s propositions are some of the most persistently and highly anticipated treats. The Winnipeg trio’s new album Success is no exception but this time it has taken a detour which definitely takes assumptions by surprise.

The band has gone back to explore the sounds and invention which were fermenting and fuelling the late 80s/early 90s when KEN mode began to sow its own sonic explorations. The album’s press release lists the album as paying homage to “both their Canadian Prairie roots, and a time when they first started to care about making music; the burgeoning grunge; and Touch Go/Dischord scenes of, with bands like Nirvana, Big Black, Cop Shoot Cop, The Cows, Circus Lupus, and Drive Like Jehu warping their teenage minds.” Listening to Success though you can go back further and find the seeds in predominantly post and noise punk with the album persistently sounding like a primal version of Gang of 4 on steroids. It is the band as raw and aggressive as ever, probably even more so at times, and still lyrically stirring up thoughts and emotional involvement, but it shows a new character and new compelling designs from the band which might not quite work for all but here is being greedily devoured.

KMSuccessCover_Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review     Recorded with Steve Albini (Nirvana, the Jesus Lizard, PJ Harvey) and recorded as a fully live and analog session, KEN mode’s sixth album opens with Blessed, a track which from its initial sonic whistle turns into a heavy bestial prowl. Simultaneously a swagger emerges in the grizzly tones of Scott Hamilton’s bass as magnetic jabbing lines the beats of drummer Shane Matthewson. Intimidating restraint replaces their predacious aggression at this point, the vocals of guitarist Jesse Matthewson crawling syllable by syllable with open ire over the addiction igniting web now in place. The song’s volatile instincts soon return to take rein though, almost insidious discord and hostility invading whilst binding excited senses in inventive and mischievous rancor.

The outstanding start kicks up another notch with These Tight Jeans, a song which roars and excites like an illicit union of Nirvana, Black Flag, and Pretty Girls Make Graves. Of course that is a mere hint to something unique to KEN mode, the track a rumbling, grumbling contagion of wiry hooks, spicy grooves, and rhythmic badgering. As ever the song is driven by fury loaded vocals but this time assisted by the excellent punk lures of guest Jill Clapham who just adds richer colour to the slimline unbridled furnace on the senses.

The Owl… follows the brilliance of its predecessor with its own gripping dark beauty. A sinister noir lit intrigue escapes the growling bass groove, its drama escorted by the similarly potent landing of drum sticks as vocals dangle their raw tone and narrative over the imagination. An air of Bauhaus wraps the absorbing lure and agitated swing of the song as guitars and bass spring an inescapable menace of a flirtation which only gets darker and more imposing as the emotive intimacy of cello from Natanielle Felicitas returns after first gracing the opener. The solemn gentle passage hugging her enterprise is soon a brawl of noise and intensity again before regaining control in a mesmeric finale which leaves ears and emotions in lustful bliss

The grungy turmoil of I Just Liked Fire explodes next, it too a rebellious blaze for ears and appetite to get lustful over as twisted discord and carnal noise collude to abrase and infest the senses whilst its successor Management Control, with greater restraint crowds ears with a thick resonating bassline and a tangy vining of guitar endeavour. The beats of Shane once again provide disorientating yet anthemic bait aligned to the predatory and contagious groans of bass but sonically the song is more involved and less instant with its catchy hooks and grooves. This is not to say the track is any less virulent than the previous songs, just a more intensive exploration with layers of waiting rewards.

There is a feel of Psychic TV to the following A Passive Disaster as its carnivorous basslines and caustic bellow gets right under the skin and into the psyche whilst Failing At Fun Since 1981 straight after, is punk belligerence at its blisteringly sonic and primitively rhythmic best. Both songs are a jungle of menace and bracing invention, individual noise riots to thrill and linger though they get outshone a touch by A Catalog Of Small Disappointments and in turn closing song Dead Actors. The first of the final pair is an uncompromising persuasion, its stalking rhythms and vocal angst entwined in the rabid theatre of guitar and lyrics. The track enslaves body and emptions with ease, threatening and seducing with every snarl and raw fingering of the senses before its successor takes over with a psychotic and darkly elegant Gang of 4 meets Wire like meander of sound and distress lined emotional reflection. The song is spellbinding, a long term journey taking itself and the listener on a traumatic and turbulently fascinating adventure.

It is hard to say yet if Success is KEN mode’s finest hour such its big enough departure to previous encounters reveals something openly and strikingly different but the seriously thrilling encounter is definitely a contender.

Success is available via Season Of Mist now @ http://shop.season-of-mist.com/predefined-search?id_list=102, http://kenmode.bigcartel.com/, or https://kenmode.bandcamp.com/album/success

http://www.ken-mode.com/

Upcoming KEN mode dates with Fight Amp

June 16, 2015 – Toronto, ON @ The Shop (Parts & Labour) w/The Great Sabatini

June 17, 2015 – Montreal, QC @ Turbo Haus w/The Great Sabatini

June 18, 2015 – Brooklyn, NY @ St. Vitus w/Pyrrhon, Couch Slut

June 19, 2015 – Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie

June 20, 2015 – Columbus, OH @ Ace of Cups w/Lo-Pan

June 21, 2015 – Chicago, IL @ The Burlington w/GOBO’S CVIT

June 26, 2015 – Winnipeg, MB @ The Goodwill w/Pop Crimes, Teethmarks *no Fight Amp

RingMaster 16/06/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://www.reputationradio.net

Kobadelta – Open Visions

Photo by Daniel Robson

Photo by Daniel Robson

Blending the rousing elements of their second EP and the mesmeric seducing of their last, UK psyche rockers Kobadelta unleash their finest moment yet in the hauntingly irresistible shape of Open Visions. The EP provides a feast for ears and imagination to contemplate and devour in their individual ways, its clutch of songs almost hex like in their immersion and seduction of both. Within its arcane charm the band also reveals a greater maturity and inventive lust in songwriting and sonic explorations, Open Visions the simply irresistible dark side of the band’s creativity and the listener’s psyche.

Newcastle bred and formed in 2010, Kobadelta did not take long to arouse a potent following and local clamour for their sonic swelter of a sound and matching live presence. 2013 Debut EP Ritual (Time Flies) lit more than a few fires in ears and thoughts, which the following year its successors Hidden Door and Remain Distracted, took to stronger and broader levels with their compelling sounds. It is fair to say that 2014 was a big year for the band in general. The release of the two EPs surrounded by further successes with Kobadelta being invited to perform a live session for BBC Introducing, headlining the Tanners stage at Evolution Emerging Festival in Newcastle, and playing events like Stockton Weekender alongside artists such as Peter Hook, Public Enemy, and the Happy Mondays as well as the Split Festival with the likes of The Cribs, Maximo Park, and Dizzee Rascal. Support slots for bands such as Temples, Allusondrugs, We Were Promised Jetpacks, Demob Happy, Splashh, The Temperance Movement, The Weeks, Lola Colt, and The Voyeurs, amongst many more has only increased their reputation and stature too. Now it is the turn of the Open Visions EP to push the Kobadelta cause and as we say, it is irresistible.

a0352850419_10   Even The Odds (They Mean You No Harm) is the first track on the release and immediately brings a raw and fiery proposition to bear on ears and thoughts. Guitars and rhythms make a formidable invitation which is easily accepted, even more so when an underlying melodic lure is given clarity as the initial tempest relaxes and the expressive tones of Dom Noble come in. There is still a muggy air to the song, and a siren-esque shadowing to the track which with the exotic enterprise arising from the guitar of Alex Malliris and the keys of Jordan Robson, entices like The Doors meets The Birthday Party. The song continues to immerse and swallow the senses with its sultry almost erosive beauty, increasing its glamour as it heads towards the moment it slips seamlessly into the following Blame It All On Me.

The second track is simple bewitchment from its first caress, smouldering melodies flirting with ears whilst being stalked by the throaty bassline of Jon Marley. The ticking percussive framing and rhythmic probing of drummer Chris Malliris adds intimidation to the dark premise of the song but it is the flowing melodic seducing of the keys and more unsettling designs cast by the guitars which shape the compelling drama emotively coloured by the distinct tones of Noble. There is a touch of Bauhaus to the post punk essences swimming within the psyche rock contagion whilst the gothic rock shading again springs hints of Nick Cave and co.

A fresh shimmer flows across Maskirovka next, keys and guitars a floating haze of sonic suggestiveness whilst bass and drums create a more formidable incitement which erupts with greater intensity around the climatic crescendos posing as choruses. There is something occult like in the dark rock toxicity oozing from the walls of the song and imagination of the band, an essence breeding encroaching shadows which infest and linger in ears and psyche.

The infectiousness kicks up another level with Watch What You’re Doing, its open caress of guitar the seeds for another compelling bassline and crisply landed beats to work their addictiveness as vocals and keys bring a haunting colour. Once into its magnetic stroll, the song shows itself to be as much pop rock as it is dark rock ‘n’ roll, its catchiness as captivatingly accessible as its soaring sonic enterprise is celestially provocative and darkly fascinating.

Ithaca ventures into an even heavier soundscape but swiftly tempers some of its daunting air with an echoing effect on the ever alluring vocals and backing harmonies, whilst guitars and keys sway and smother the rhythmic spine of the song with the dance of a sonic temptress. The song is pure mesmerism but with an underlying danger which seems to incite richer flames and piercing textures to emerge in the invention of Alex Malliris and Robson.

Final track Black Pyramid, like the first, accosts ears with a slightly caustic and hazy roar of sound but is soon casting an invasive exotic atmosphere through guitars and keys. Eruptions of energy and intensity only add to the sweltering air and impact of the song, whilst melodically and vocally, there is again no escaping a reference to the Jim Morrison’s led band.

If like us you fell in love with Kobadelta’s last EPs, then lust is the outcome with Open Visions, the pinnacle of the band’s sound and invention to date. If new to the transfixing world of the band, then a wealth of dark sultry treats await.

Open Visions is released on May 1st and available via http://kobadelta.bandcamp.com/album/open-visions-ep

Upcoming Kobadelta shows, including EP launch…

Friday 1st May – Think Tank? Newcastle (‘Open Visions’ EP Launch)

Saturday 30th May – ‘Sonic Union #2’ at The Sun Inn, Stockton (with TOY)

Saturday 11th July – Corbridge Festival 2015 (Acoustic Stage)

Friday 24th July – ‘Double Denim Live’ at Verve Bar, Leeds

https://www.facebook.com/Kobadelta

RingMaster 27/04/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://www.reputationradio.net