Virtual Symmetry – X-Gate

The new EP from Italian progressive metallers Virtual Symmetry, X-Gate is quite simply a theatre of sound, craft, and creative storytelling which keeps ears and imagination greedily engaged from start to finish. Simplicity though is not a feature of the release with every song a kaleidoscope of flavours and styles, each encounter a lure into surreal realms and adventures woven with individual and united craft which alone grabs attention.

Founded by guitarist/ multi-instrumentalist Valerio Æsir Villa, Lugano hailing Virtual Symmetry potently build on the creative landscape and progression of their well-received debut album Message from Eternity of 2016 with X-Gate, creating a web of enterprise and imagination which ensures fascination is an equally lively reaction. There are moments when things settle into a calm temptation, a low key seduction and other times when the EP ignites a real zeal for its dramatic body of sound and invention but always attention is firmly hooked.

X-Gate opens up its exploration of man and its evolutionary possibility, which starts with its artwork, with Eyes of Salvation. Instantly guitars coax the listener with a fiery glaze to their lures before a portentous calm is accompanied by poetic strains of piano from Mark Bravi. Swiftly his additional keys flame up as the rest of the band unites their essences in a rising tide of sound and suggestion. Vocalist Marco Pastorino walks alongside the piano in another mellow passage, his potent voice matched by others within the outfit, before that fire erupts once again with the rhythmic rapacity of bassist Alessandro Poppale and drummer Davide Perpignano driving things. From its first breath, the track is a web of enterprise and thought, a myriad of textures and layers explored better over subsequent listens though its infection loaded chorus is a swift recruitment of ears and involvement. Across its seven plus minutes, the song continues to tease and tempt whilst weaving a fluid collage of styles and theatrical imagination.

It is a great start which has ears and appetite hooked for that to follow starting with the epic flight of Alchymera. For almost a quarter of an hour, the song is a magnet for the senses and thoughts; its celestial and emotional journey especially blessed with keys carrying a definite  Bill Nelson vibe whilst the guitars give Steve Vai like scents to their endeavour. An eighties new wave/synth pop essence also simmers within the track, seductively caressing its more irritable traits while Villa alone brings an emotional drama and moodiness to the track which is absorbed and emulated in the atmospheric climate spreading across the mercurially alluring and skilfully woven landscape.

Elevate completes the release, the track notable alone for the union of Pastorino with the radiant voice of Diane Lee from Swiss melodic progressive metallers Lost Journey. The pair is surrounded by a serenade of sound with volatility in its nature as potent as the emotional drama and invention loaded imagination baring their qualities. The song almost swarms the senses with its charms and fiery heart, breaking into more tempestuous moments throughout to only increase its pull.

It is fair to say that though its strong first showing, X-Gate simply escalates in depth and persuasion over time. Virtual Symmetry is a richly intriguing and tempting proposition from the outskirts of the progressive metal landscape but a prospect increasingly coming to the fore with each offering they make and though the EP might not end up on the year’s best lists come the New Year, but could for many, as one of the most enjoyably fascinating propositions X-Gate is right up there.

The X-Gate EP is out now.

https://www.facebook.com/VirtualSymmetryOfficial    https://twitter.com/virtualsymmetry    https://www.instagram.com/virtualsymmetrypjct

Pete RingMaster 25/07/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Roddy Hart & The Lonesome Fire – Swithering

RHLF_RingMasterReview

With its Scottish meaning of uncertainty about things a contrast to the decisiveness ears and passions find for its imagination bred proposal, Swithering is quite simply an album glorious in every essence. The new full-length from Roddy Hart & The Lonesome Fire, it is a kaleidoscope of flavours and inspirations hinting at  some of Scotland’s most potent bands and more besides yet any influence feels a coincidence rather than a drawn spark for a release eclectic, unique, and increasingly irresistible.

Embracing the songwriting craft and class of vocalist/guitarist/pianist Roddy Hart, the Glasgow hailing septet band is completed by bassist Scott Clark, guitarists John Martin and Gordon Turner, drummer Scott Mackay, pianist/organist Geoff Martyn, and keyboardist Andy Lucas, with pretty much all also offering vocals and harmonies to the album as captivating as the melodies and lyrical adventures helping shape it.

With their critically acclaimed 2013 released self-titled debut album nominated for the Scottish Album of the Year and sparking US TV host Craig Ferguson to invite the band to perform on The Late Late Show on CBS that same year, that leading to a 5-night residency playing to a combined audience of over 12 million viewers, Hart and co had already plenty to live up to with their next move. A Scottish Variety Award for International Breakthrough Artist of The Year and a nomination for Best Band at the Spirit of Scotland Awards were followed by the band performing at the opening party for the Commonwealth Games and a celebrated show with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.

Their reputation as a mighty live proposition was quickly established alongside their successes and relentlessly cemented by each further show and their yearly self-curated Roaming Roots Revue for Celtic Connections. For most of 2015, the band predominately concentrated on writing and recording songs now making up Swithering, a release co-produced by Paul Savage (Mogwai, Emma Pollock, Admiral Fallow) about whom Hart says, “He was key to adding a sense of perspective – and calm – to it all, allowing the madness of this new working relationship forming between us to unfold in the most creative way possible.”

art_RingMasterReviewIt is a creativity which looms impressively upon ears and thoughts from the opening strains of first track Tiny Miracles and persistently blossoms to greater heights across song and its subsequent companions. The opener flirts with the senses instantly, its initial guitar melody soon holding hands with Hart’s alluring tones and the rising caress of atmospheric keys. Quickly the track is strolling along with the darker shadows of bass riding the anthemic lure of drums as melodies and harmonies seduce from all angles. It’s controlled but enthused liveliness is as insatiable as the hunger of ears to devour it, an essence of Lightning Seeds coming to mind as the song grabs hips and imagination with consummate ease.

The diversity of Swithering is quickly established as the colder haunting charms of Berlin closes in on the senses. As Hart expresses his thoughts, the song reveals the city is much more than just a destination vocally and emotionally for the songwriter’s heart. There is a persistent eighties flavouring across the album, here the band creating a provocative flight through a Thomas Dolby meets James Cook tempting with Thompson Twins like revelry to its rhythmic enticing. The song is entrancing and again infected with a catchiness which takes a growingly incisive hold, a quality just as open and commanding as that shared by the Talking Heads spiced Low Light, a song also prompting comparisons to Bill Nelson as it dances provocatively in ears.

Again though, as those around it, it emerges as something distinct and individual to Roddy Hart & The Lonesome Fire, a trait only backed by the melancholic beauty and drama of No Monsters and recent single Violet. With keys and piano alone conjuring a palette for the imagination to conjure with, backed by the sweltering sighs of guitar and the vocal hug, the first of the pair gently but firmly bewitches before its successor with its own mellow countenance entices with an increasingly infectious swing.

Next up Dreamt You Were Mine is another song with a deceptive virulence which grows and breeds a welcome trespass loaded with an abandon which only consumes and inspires the listener while straight after Faint Echo of Loneliness shows Josef K invention in its indie pop/post punk like character. Both tracks broaden the creative landscape of the album while binding ears and appetite closer to its adventurous intent, though they are soon eclipsed by the majestic roar of In the Arms of California, surely a highly tempting single in the waiting with the suggestive flair of Pete Wylie and raw pop allurement of Orange Juice in its melodic serenade and impassioned blaze.

Through the haunted climate and reflective release of I Thought I Could Change Your Mind, a song slipping under the skin with every passing imaginative minute and in turn the climactic Strange Addictions, the album pours on the instinctive variety and invention within its creators. The latter is a tempest of emotion and sound as forcibly contagious as it is rousingly evocative and sublimely tempered yet complimented by the more composed but just as catchy canter of Sliding. Like so many of the tracks within Swithering, it almost instantly has highly persuasive claws into the listener, gripping tighter as it brews even bolder catchiness in its imposing intent.

Concluded by the dark, almost melodramatic carnival folk flavoured We’re the Immortals, a song musically and lyrically as intimate as it is majestically radiant and suggestive, Swithering is an adventure and event for body and spirit; a success epitomised by that final treat of a track. Roddy Hart & The Lonesome Fire are no strangers to attention and acclaim but nothing to what Swithering will surely spark.

Swithering is out now across most stores and on all formats, including limited edition 180g vinyl, through Middle of Nowhere Recordings.

http://rhlf.co.uk/   https://www.facebook.com/RoddyHartandtheLonesomeFire/   https://twitter.com/RHLFband   https://twitter.com/roddyhart

Pete RingMaster 13/12/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Zoner – Euharmonic Elevation

Cover

Here we have an album which if in the mind to, you could pick at and suggest a few deficiencies but there is no escaping it is also one compelling and enjoyable proposition. The release in question is Euharmonic Elevation, the second album from rock/metal band Zoner. That is a simple description for a proposition with a sound which draws on a myriad of styles and flavours in its almost deranged invention. Release and band are a one of a kind, though each also draws on open inspirations which we will come to shortly. It all results in a collection of songs which hold few major surprises yet are one big and riveting surprise.

Zoner is the solo project of Antonis Demetriou, a musician and songwriter hailing from Nicosia, Cyprus. His music as mentioned is bred from a vast array of spices across numerous decades, and his band as described by Demetriou himself, “a rock/metal band with influences ranging from ‘ABBA to Zappa’ via all the VERY best in pop, rock, prog, punk, funk, disco, hard, heavy and thrash!” 2012 saw the release of debut album Spectraphonic Deviation, and now the artist returns with its successor, again a self-released, recorded, and produced offering, deserving of intrigued attention.

As opening track In the Name of Creativity establishes itself in ears, the first thing with captivates about the sound is its strange similarity to Bill Nelson, well his Red Noise guise certainly. Zoner is a more voracious and heavier proposition but from vocals to the sonic invention, there is a definite if coincidental feel of the ex-Be Bop Deluxe man to proceedings. The first track strides with muscular rhythms and stirring riffs from its initial sonic invitation, swiftly settling into a heavy rock and classic metal fusion. Vocally Demetriou is engaging and though he is arguably not a natural vocalist, any weaker moments are more than compensated by his inventive expression. The song itself continues on to explore new progressive and melodic textures, its technical intricacies as potent as the simplicity in which everything successfully fits together.

The enjoyable start is swiftly continued by the stronger lures of Hail Rock ‘n’ Roll, a rock ‘n’ pop romp living up to its title with hook laden riffs and an equally addictive bassline. Thumping beats only add to the contagious drama whilst the swing of the song forms the lead into a catchy chorus as flirtatious as the intrigue wrapped guitar work. Its finale of persistent title chants is irresistible and sets ears and imagination up nicely for the melodic elegance and croon of Patience of a Saint. A smouldering landscape of sonic enterprise, the song is an easily endearing encounter. The vocals are similarly mellow and it all makes for a partly mesmeric offering until it unlocks its heart of classic rock tenacity. It loses some of its grip from this point but still holds attention with unpredictable twists and keys sculpted tempting.

Politics of Modern Love steps in next and soon steals top honours on the album. The song makes a low key start, coaxing the listener gently before revealing a predatory prowl of riffs and dark toned vocals. It is a transfixing and thrilling turn, a post punk/ experimental adventure with a minimalistic air leading to a full blaze of striking imagination and creative exploration.

Both A Wasted Life and Are You the One keep ears and appetite satisfied, the first again bringing an eighties new wave/ post punk tempting to its theatrical hard rock canvas. As its predecessor, the track is riveting scenery of pungent sonic interplay and tenacious enterprise, an enthralling dance with recognisable flavours and expectations defeating invention. Its successor is equally unpredictable but does not have the same success with personal tastes. At times it is a stirring and invigorating exploit but in other moments, especially its start, leaves emotions flat. When it does hit the mark though, primarily when it unleashes its aggression, the song is a feisty enjoyment ending on a much loftier peak then where it started.

Early thoughts and expectations of The Sabbath Waltz arising from its name alone are soon confirmed by its muscular riffs and heavily landed rhythms. It is heavy metal with a sinister tang and melodic flaming, but again reaping spices from previous decade in its colourful web of sound and creative thought. Imposingly magnetic, the track crawls over senses and psyche, leaving another lingering lure easy to want to hear more of.

The closing Turning Point of No Return is an acoustic crafted ballad with Latin bred drama and character, another which misses our appetite but easy to see being a rich pleasure for others. It is a decent end to a release which keeps luring attention back its way. It has shortcomings; the production in certain areas shallow and not helping vocals at times but Demetriou himself has admitted that he is not really an engineer/producer but handles these tasks out of necessity. It cannot defuse the core quality, passion, and invention of the music and songs though. There are also other elements which at times you might wish for something different or for them to be tweaked but it is all relative to taste and again only increases the weight of the potential of the artist and sound, suggesting that given the chance to record with the right people and circumstances, Zoner might just have something very special lurking inside.

Euharmonic Elevation is available now on CD and across most digital stores.

http://www.zonermusic.com/   https://www.facebook.com/zonermusic

RingMaster 17/03/2015

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://reputationradio.yooco.org/

Tim Paris – Dancers

TP

Dancers is the ideal title for the debut album from London based Parisian Tim Paris, each of its tracks whether an open flirtation or a more chilled proposition, a vibrant adventurous waltz. Better known as one half of It’s a Fine Line with Ivan Smagghe, Paris has sculpted songs which pull the imagination into unpredictable and vivacious soundscapes. Each one is distinct and stands alone in the tapestry of the release but have a symbiotic union which provides one refreshingly inventive landscape for senses and emotions to bask in. Dancers ebbs and flows in success across its body it is fair to say but only to waiver within a constant magnetic seduction which never relinquishes its strength.

As renowned for his remix invention which has seen him reinterpreting invention from the likes of The XX, Femi Kuti, Battant, Au Revoire Simone, Ewan Pearson, and Tiga, the DJ, producer, and musician now unleashes his own electronic alchemy through the album, merging the purest essences of synth pop, new wave, post punk, electronica, disco, house, and much more for transfixing and evocative aural climates. Dancers provides insights into richly flavoursome cinematic scenes but also ones which have an intimacy which goes beyond voyeurism to draw the listener emotionally into the imaginative investigations. Featuring a wealth of guests, the album is also a collaborative affair embraced by the creative ingenuity of Paris.

Opening track Golden Ratio strides boldly in on punchy beats and an electro tinkling which reminds instantly of Love Cats by The Cure Tim Paris - Dancersthough it takes little time to show its own distinct tease to the coaxing. The song then infuses intriguing melodic lures which do not nestle easily within the established pulse of the song but only accentuates the awakening potency. Featuring Georg Levin of Wahoo, the song opens up warm arms of melody bred enticement and smooth vocal expression which are themselves veined by intriguing twists of enterprise and electronic investigation. The post punk strict rhythmic heartbeat steers the journey allowing thoughts to take in the radiant sights and absorbing atmosphere. It is an adventure which midway takes a breath to return with an even more masterful hold on the appetite, a case of absence making the heart grow fonder.

The enticing start is matched by Rain which sees the guest appearance of Coco Solid of the Parallel Dance Ensemble. The song drips slightly chilled riffs down upon the ear whilst a rhythmic shuffle hurries across the senses. It is another alluring start given extra drama by the skirting dark throated bass, the combination building a striking premise which is enriched further by the cyber kissed vocal narrative. The repetitive spine of the track bewitches constantly; the stark core holding Joy Division/Bauhaus like predation around which the elegant and mesmeric call of the song spreads and croons.

The metallic breath of Outback, Stones & Vinyl soaks the ears next, the initial caress of the song courting a John Foxx essence which never leaves the infectious persuasion. As the track explores its seductive canvas, building and colouring the imagination with inspiring textures, the instrumental toys with the senses further, stretching its provocative enveloping with an additional Bill Nelson like invention. Like standing on a heaven lit cliff top whilst warm winds and sights wrap rivetingly around the senses, the song puts the listener in a hypnotic almost meditative emotional trance.

The following Minireich which features Sex Judas and Rupert Cross and Disco Ellipse both create a transfixing dancefloor bred temptation, though the pair tantalise and shimmer in their enticement rather than leap upon the eagerness of feet. The first has a definite Yello feel to its mischievous invention, vocally and in the devilish temptation offered whilst its successor is a cybernetic tango, flashing sonics and dazzling electronics spraying their bait around before the emotive weave of distressed melodies and restrained bedlam make their play successfully for the passions. Those nor the next up Unsung Deaf Hero fire up the same intensity of hunger and thrills as the opening songs but all captivate and refuse to release the album’s hold, the third of the trio a smothering wash of thick ambiences and funk spawned vocals casting a dark dance of inciting suggestiveness and mystery.

Dancers is back to dominating senses and mind with the outstanding drama of The Grip. With Ben Shemie, Paris lays a noir bred sinister atmosphere within which guitar and rhythms stalk the imagination, the encounter a soundtrack which could easily grace any caped crusader or futuristic darkly shadowed enigma. All the tracks allow the mind to run riot with their aural paint but this more than most conjures up stories and emotions to intoxicatingly bask in.

You’ll Never Know also creates a tenebrous encounter to immerse within, it’s again noir crafted riddle an imposing and incendiary fuse for an adventurous mind to run with whilst ears welcome the varied vocal hues and electronic weaves. It is a blend which is just as alluring in the slightly lighter Extreme Nails, its celestial stroll within a heavy but slow rhythmic frame a beacon for the listener to explore in their own design. Shadows as across most tracks are never far away with their tempering relish though they have to take more of a backseat within the fruity exploits of Heaven Parking which again sees Sex Judas involved. There is a subdued but visible lunacy to the song which brings thoughts of the eighties Martin Atkins band Brian Brain. It is a thrilling revelry which steps aside for the equally delicious Backseat Reflexion to close the album. The song sees Forrest joining Paris in a last irresistible seduction, electronics and melodies aligning within a shadow built emotional seduction.

It is a masterful end to a similarly consummate release, Dancers offering a collection of emotive and provocative vignettes which absorb thoughts and passions like a sponge for exhilarating experiences and adventures. Apart from the length of a few tracks stretching their staying power to clutch at straws in an attempt to temper the enthusiasm, Tim Paris has provided his finest hour with his own solo release, the first of many we hope and suspect.

Dancers is available on 2 x 12″ vinyl, CD, and download right now via My Favorite Robot Records.

http://www.facebook.com/djtimparis

9/10

RingMaster 12/04/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

http://www.audioburger.com

 

 

Baddies: Build

After being completely infected and charmed by their debut album Do The Job, the review of the Baddies follow up Build was never going to be anything less than enthusiastic in their direction though there was still a part ready to chomp down on any deficiencies found.  The first single from the new album Bronto indicated at the beginning of the year that things had moved forward with their sound but now we have Build to prove if it was so. The answer is that the instigators of kinky hooks, beautifully erratic rhythms, and melodies that play hop scotch on the ear have not only returned with another stunning release but taken their sound into depths and risen to heights that exceed already enthused hopes and expectations.

After the deserved and almost crazed response to their 2009 debut form a great many, and the UK band embarking on a schedule that took in an arduous tour schedule of 180 shows in 365 days across the world which included taking in 32 major European festivals, the quartet not so much took a break but slowed things considerably as they went into thinking about and creating the successor to their successful debut. Using Pledge Music to help raise finances for the release whilst remaining strongly independent and reaching closer to their eager fans, Baddies release Build on March 5th and surely destined to ignite an even bigger response, acclaim and adoration.

Do The Job was marked for the direct and spiky hooks and addictive prickly melodies within its songs with the likes of Battleships, Open One Eye, and We Beat Our Chests uncompromising in their intent to infiltrate and control limbs and senses, turning them into thirsty marionettes. Build continues this incisive attack, bringing more additive voracious lures and instinctive harmonic essences but now with a more refined and rounded shape that  is as effective but even longer lingering and insatiable. Basically the Baddies creativity, songwriting and sound has grown, spread and dare one say matured into an even more vibrant and impressive creature.

Whereas their previous album was riotous, Build consumes in waves of gentler expressive sounds but to no less effect or impressive wonder. Do The Job threw  grating quirky crunchy guitar jabs and punchy rhythmic kicks to the ear but Build whilst taking the best of those elements fuses them into soaring electronics and graceful harmonies with a flair that is musically poetic and steamy. The album bursts into life with the slightly familiar sound and territory of the excellent Rewire. A sweeping synth cradles one in the songs arms before the guitars leap upon and bounce incessantly around the ear. Vocalist Michael Webster and fellow guitarist Simon Bellamy litter the senses with kinetic and contagious stabs whilst the futuristic inspired electronic sounds dazzle and sparkle around them.

The stunning start continues with the Frankenstein Man Made Man, another song that simply whips one into a frenetic ball of enthused hunger for more and more. The track weaves between excited agitation and a laid back melodic sensual symphony to create something glorious yet an unbridled aural solicitation. The first two songs bring older Baddies into a new expansive version that is irresistible, the man and science theme of these and the album intriguing and pleasing.

Every song within the album is without exception pure quality, from the sparkling yet provocative Mind Machines with a Thomas Dolby like flavour, to the big pulsating rhythm punch of The Lightmen. The latter of the two with its tingling electrified flow driven by the roaming throaty bass of Danny Rowton, who is imperious throughout Build, and the inspired mountainous rhythms of drummer Jim Webster, has a Colin Moulding written feel of XTC as well as of Young Knives. The swell of great vocal harmonies, expressive lyrics and their delivery an expansive gorgeous journey.

The XTC sound appears again in Excess Energy to great effect, but despite these references Baddies are undeniably and wonderfully unique. They also are distinct in the diversity within their music, something openly obvious in the likes of the album’s forthcoming single Talk To Me Germany, the stunning Centurion, and the stirring These Animals. The first is a stoked burst of punk pop joy whilst Centurion is a pulsating electronic mesmeric light brought with a slight John Foxx/ Bill Nelson touch in its scintillating sparkle.

Bronto like the opener is the perfect connection between the older sound and the new hypnotic direction the band has spread in to. The song is as virulent as any song you are likely to hear anywhere, its electronic punked venom impossible to deny as it firmly grips with its hot thirsty urgency. It has a chest beating defiance that can only inspire one to join its intent and chorus in emotion and voice. Do not be surprised that once having heard the song it reappears in your head at numerous and any time, it is an infection with no known cure.

Closing on the captivating Star Surfing and its celestial majesty, Build is simply magnificent. Baddies have once more revitalised and given a new rousing energy to not only alternative indie music but music in general. If craft, originality, and inventive music which inflames your every day with warmth and rampant fun is the juice for your thirst, than Baddies is your first and essential option.

RingMaster 26/02/2012

MyFreeCopyright.com Registered & Protected

Photobucket

The best and easiest way to get your music on iTunes, Amazon and lots more. Click below for details.