Firelord – Hammer Of Chaos

Georgette Pavanati Photography.

Georgette Pavanati Photography.

     Firelord seems like a name more than recognisable but truth is the band’s new EP Hammer Of Chaos is for us our first encounter with the Italian trio, and a long overdue meeting it is too. Fusing stoner-esque hues in rousing metal and heavy rock aggression, or as the band tags it, Doom ‘n’ Roll; the five track inferno of rock ‘n‘ roll is one of those propositions which energises body and emotions with ease.

The Turin hailing trio emerged in 2007 from the ashes of doom metal project named Saint Judas, which was also founded by Firelord vocalist/guitarist Mario E. Bussini. Initially a quartet with the addition of Beppe Tozza, Daniele Biffaro, and Giulio Buscaglione, the band drew on inspirations from the likes of Black Sabbath, Count Raven, Gates of Slumber, Earthride, and Saint Vitus as they developed their own sound. Line-up changes came with the subsequent years before some stability brought the release of the band’s debut EP, The Burning. Another shuffle happened before their well-received first album Among The Snakes was uncaged in 2013 whilst current line-up of bassist Alessandro Ferrari alongside Bussini and drummer Buscaglione, was in place earlier this year and is the creative force behind the thickly enjoyable Hammer Of Chaos.

Coverartwork by Randy Ramdhani _RingMaster Review

artwork by Randy Ramdhani

The EP opens up with A Good Way to Die, instantly smothering ears in a tirade of riffs as Ramones like as they are heavy rock bred. Against them the beats of Buscaglione resonate with every swing as Bussini brings his sandy roar to the mix alongside the punk scented prowling of Ferrari’s bass; all essences weaving their raw prowess into a blend of ravenous southern toned stoner and sludge thick rock ‘n’ roll. It is gripping stuff, not necessarily boundary worrying but with addictive grooves and fire spewing hooks, the song feeds all wants and needs from a slab of heavy rock.

The following Dancing on Your Grave is the same, originality maybe one of the more slimmer aspects but with fierce ear entwining grooves, hungry riffery, and rhythms that border on bestial, the song stomps along with irresistible attitude and an incendiary presence easily and swiftly recruiting full attention and involvement. At times the song, as the EP, has a feel of French rockers Face Down to it as well as some of those influences earlier mentioned, but all are spices adding to the highly agreeable devilry confronting and pleasing ears.

Devil’s Wonderland comes next with its own bruising intensity and tenacious tempest of forceful riffs and rampant rhythms amidst a trespass of dirty grooves. It is only possible to get involved with and hungrier for the band’s sound especially once confronted by the EP’s title track and its apocalyptic suggestiveness which leads to a gloriously hellacious maelstrom of intoxicating temptation in sound and ideation. Buscaglione crafts a persistently shifting torrent of rhythms, their stampede or more deliberate stalking each unpredictable involvements for ears and as anthemic as anything within the tremendous incitement. They are certainly matched by the searing flames of guitar and cantankerous bait of the bass too whilst vocally Bussini is an alluring wind of expression and matching incitement.

The track is an outstanding and increasingly inventive and galvanic encounter which would be a mighty end to any release, though Hammer of Chaos, song and EP allows that task to fall to a great cover of the SloBurn track Pilot of the Dune, Firelord turning it dirtier and punkish with resourceful zeal and strongly engaging enterprise.

For personal tastes, the name Firelord does not particularly entice but as we found the band’s music certainly leaves nothing on the table of persuasion as it takes ears and emotions on a thoroughly pungent and thrilling rock ‘n’ roll escapade.

Hammer Of Chaos is out now on CD through Sliptrick Records and digitally at

Pete RingMaster 28/10/2015

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Curse of the North – Curse of the North: I

COTN8_RingMaster Review

There are some releases where it is difficult to imagine anyone not being gripped by their proposals and such a triumph is the new self-titled album from US metallers Curse of the North. It is a beast of instinctive and addictive virulence that blends the ripest essences of heavy and classic metal with the muscular invention of modern rock ‘n’ roll. It is an encounter which seems to hone in on personal tastes, taps into the psyche to discover its deepest pleasures and then unleashes them across eight rigorously rousing encounters. Quite simply it is one of the most invigorating albums this year to set ears and passions alight.

Born in Seattle, Curse of the North currently consists of vocalist/guitarist Christiaan Morris, former 3 Inches of Blood member Nick Cates on bass, and Burke Thomas of McKagan’s Loaded and Vendetta Red on drums. Formed in 2010, the band has toured and shared stages with the likes of Red Fang, The Sword, Eyehategod, Destruction, Death Angel, Lord Dying, Valient Thorr, Kadavar, The Shrine, and Gypsyhawk whilst 2011 saw the release of their Matt Bayles (Mastodon, The Sword, Botch) produced first EP Revelations. A few line-up shuffles have also been part of the band’s growth which now unleashes Curse of the North: I. Produced by Morris and mixed by Kurt Ballou (Converge, High on Fire, Toxic Holocaust), with mastering undertaken by Ed Brooke, the album leaps on the listener from its first moment, the opening and every subsequent breath a roar of thick temptation.

Sleep While You Can is the first slab of persuasion, its start alone pure magnetism as Thomas creates a web of rhythmic arousal to set things in motion. Flames of guitar cross the compelling drum bait as the vocals of Morris spring their own enticing, a Glenn Danzig flavouring lining his tones and equally the shadows within the emerging tenacious metal canter of the track. Classic metal hues dance on ears too as a modern fusion of riffs and hook laded enterprise courts the imagination, the result being one terrific groove veined stomp.

COTN cover_RingMaster Review   It is a mighty start taken another level by Wheel of Swords, another track with an irresistible start to its creative alchemy. A great nagging from riffs as rhythms tumble vivaciously coaxes ears first, their lure replicated in varying tones as sterner grooves and muscular predation swiftly looms up with the again potent vocals of Morris at their helm. Like Black Tusk meets Baroness with a spicing of Sabbath and Clutch to it, the song has energy and pleasure in its hands with quick ease, handing over an exhausted and rapturous body to the following Into The Trees and its mellow climate around melodic prowess. Keys emotively caress as the guitars strokes the senses with elegant suggestiveness to match the melancholic voice of Morris. The first half of the song is wrapped in this mesmeric beauty, its second a rugged landscape of again incendiary rhythms amidst tangy classic metal/rock endeavour and striking vocals.

As good as everything is to this point, the best song on the album in The Tower eclipses it. Building up its intensity and hunger through early scythes of sound, the track quickly releases its handbrake and charges through ears like Therapy? on steroids. Its torrent of riffs and ravenous hooks storms the barricades like a transatlantic cousin to anything on Troublegum from the Northern Ireland trio, its contagiousness and vocal furor similar whilst creating its own uniquely irresistible tempest. The song is breath-taking, seemingly knowing where the personal sweet spot is and hitting it relentlessly, even when slipping into a dark theatre of sinister gothic intrigue.

Thomas is rhythmically imperious on the track, as everywhere to be fair, continuing his enslaving web of craft in The Electric Wall and especially the outstanding Blessed Burning. Morris and Cates are an equal incendiary match though as the first of the two tracks sees the band creating a High on Fire/Kyuss like mountain of creative tenacity and heavy rock ‘n’ roll seduction whilst its successor, from another hypnotic rampant rhythmic trap, strolls across Queens Of The Stone Age/ Mastodon toned terrain of sonic and vocal passion. The references given across all songs are mere colours in something distinctly Curse of the North, especially emphasized when as here the guitars spin a bluesy imagination as an intimate atmosphere soaks the song.

Oceans Rise lowers the intensity if not the emotive temperature next, well certainly for its opening moments as soon it too is a cauldron of thickly jabbing beats and sonic ferocity. Along its riveting length, the assaults and aggression ebbs and flows to fluid and powerful effect, the song an undulating roller coaster of a confrontation which, as the album, just gets richer and more imposingly enjoyable over time.

The album comes to an end through the sultry blues/surf rock seducing of Faceless Killers, a sonic and melodic bewitchment which too only blossoms to greater heights with every partaking of its sweltering, increasingly volcanic landscape. It is a stunning end to simply one of the major treats of 2015; a leviathan of rock ‘n’ roll to get seriously lustful over.

Curse of the North: I is out October 23rd via Static Tension Recordings.

Pete RingMaster 22/10/2015

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Bold webs of adventure: taking a Deep Breath with One Year Delay

OYD2_RingMaster Review

A sound hard to pin down always excites the imagination more than most and equally ears it is hoped. Greek hard rockers One Year Delay have such a proposition bursting from their imagination and craft and as proven by debut album Deep Breath it does give ears and thoughts a thoroughly enjoyable time. Offering seven songs entwining flavours such as nu and alternative metal, grunge and punk rock amongst many spices, the release is a roller coaster of invention and perpetual success. Wanting to learn more about One Year Delay and their ear catching proposition, we had the pleasure of talking with the band, exploring their origins, the spark to their diverse sound, and the recording of Deep Breath along the way.

Hi and welcome to The RingMaster Review, thanks for sharing your time with us.

For newcomers to the band can you give some background to the forming and early days of One Year Delay?

(Nick) One Year Delay started as a band of a few friends with the same goal. To write some music that we love and play as many gigs as we can, to express themselves and fulfil our need for creativity! To cooperate with your friends to a purpose like this, I assure you, it is not easy. And that’s because we all have different influences of all kinds of rock and metal genres. But the result is a good mix of all those genres. And the most important thing for the listener is to understand is the social and economic circumstances that we live in, and finally inspire us to our lyrics and music.

Was there a particular spark or intent taken into the band as direction or simply attitude in those first days?

(Nick) The spark was, in a way, the difficulties that we experienced as a nation the last few years, but also the personal problems that all people have faced through their lives. But I have to mention, that the expressions of your feeling such as anger, despair, terror etc. to another person, even if it is a friend, is equally difficult as dealing with it! And that’s another spark that boned us. The expression of ourselves; not feeling vulnerable!

Apart from member changes, how has the band changed in its ideas and thoughts in regard to making music if at all over the past three or so years?

(George)The main factor of changing the course of our compositions was the realisation that we have nothing to lose if we at least try to play anything we are fond of, following no linearity. We are all attracted to bands that are not afraid to experiment. Gradually it grew in us and we decided to establish this fusion of genres. The upcoming compositions will prove this even more, you can count on that!

OYD_RingMaster ReviewWe can confirm that great diversity to your sound, the embrace of numerous styles; so this has more evolved over time or was also a vibrant element at the band’s start?

(George) Like most bands in the beginning of their venture, we started in a rather tight musical frame. If you love music in general you don’t wanna focus on a particular influence I guess. The way I personally see it, it’s like entering a buffet restaurant and picking one dish! We are probably the guys that will fill their plates with a little bit of everything! Nevertheless we try to match our variable tastes as good as we can, being aware at the same time how difficult and risky it might be.

So it is fair to say that this strong mix of flavours has organically grown with band’s members individual and varied musical tastes or is there an element of intention fuelling it too?

(Stavros) Both at the same time…All members have got different tastes, with heavy sound as the joining point. Under this point of view we wouldn’t be satisfied with, for example, a 100% thrash or 100%hard rock sound. We use the style of sound in order to achieve contradiction and we don’t restrict ourselves in terms of genres. Everything has to do with matching and we could use more extreme combinations in case we thought it blends well. This is what we like and if you consider each song as a painting we like using lots of colours in the palette…

How would you describe your music to simplify it for newcomers?

(Stavros) Our music is based on the element of surprise. Our intentions are obvious through the blend of atmospheric/melodic parts to more metal sounds. You can spot this in the genres that vary in Deep Breath. Still the most distinguished part of our intentions to surprise is the bridge part of the songs that is not borrowing any structural element of the previous parts. Surely I cannot exclude the part we picked for the introduction to the whole album (Gunpoint intro)

Are there any specific and major inspirations which you would say have particularly impacted on the One Year Delay sound or invention?

(George) The gamut is infinite…Here is an attempt to include some names, though it still won’t be very representative: Korn, Deftones, Metallica, Alice in Chains, Nirvana, Tool, Black Sabbath, Slayer, Primus, Faith No More and the list goes on and on… Now as far as the influence is concerned there can be tiny parts of songs or a musician’s particular style that inspired us. The list definitely expands to a broader musical scale.

You are of course from Greece, where to us on the outside it seems it is the extreme styles of metal which predominantly occupy the thoughts of new bands and fans there. What is the reality and how has home grown rock fans taken to your adventurous sound?

(George) That is true. Greek metal fans mostly appreciate the archetypical elements of speed, heavy sound, groove, etc., although this not a rule. Younger generations are willing to embrace newer, more radical forms of music. It is kind of early to estimate the level of approval currently since our debut album has just been released. We are feeling optimistic but we know that Greek crowd is a difficult one to please…

You went over to the US to record just released debut Album Deep Breath. How did the opportunity to travel to Nashville come about and why that decision? deep_breath_oyd_RingMaster Review

(Jack) Everything started when the band decided to record the debut album. Then Pete said “hey guys, wanna contact a very well-known producer?” We said yes, of course; after that we started sending emails and stuff until one day we received an email from Toby which said, “guys, I would love to produce your band,” so we went to Nashville! That comes out because Toby lives Nashville, but on the other hand Nashville is like the Mecca of music. It’s definitely the hottest destination for every kind of musician. That city has music exhibitions even at the airport; I personally think that this place can make you a better musician only by visiting it.

As you just mentioned you recorded the album with the legendary Toby Wright. How was that experience and how much did he help shape or maybe re-adjust your ideas for songs in the studio?

(Jack) Ok, Toby is a great person and a really, really good producer. The experience of working with a producer like him is absolutely amazing. He can make you a better musician only by telling you a simple idea; he knows his job in and out of the studio. He helped us play our own songs better and get the best possible results from us. He has the ability to approach you as a friend and a musical expert at the same time. It is not a common thing for a music star to combine these two facts, is it?

Was there anything which came out of the recording of Deep Breath which surprised you or you discovered which will be a strong help in your next recordings?

(Orestis) We managed to handle a difficult situation. For example, we are a band that made pre-production and production of an album at the same time! Pre-production procedure was very difficult for us. We were in Greece and Toby in the States so we had to work all our ideas through email so Toby could hear it and send back his remarks. It wasn’t live at the studio like “play this or change that,” but I think in the end we have done a very good job as a band and Toby as a producer and we learned our lesson; next time pre-production time will be in the studio hopefully!

As far I remember that time while we were in the studio recording Deep Breath, we were focused on the album trying for the best possible result, so the answer to the second part of the question is no. However, we had a perfect idea before production time which we thought we might have the time to develop and place it as the outro of the album, but eventually it didn’t work. Despite that, this flawless idea will develop into a whole song for our next album. I sense that the new one is a progression or an evolution of our “5m9k song.”

OYD3_RingMaster ReviewNow the album is out there will you be taking Deep Breath to ears via live shows?

(Orestis) Yes, our main objective now is to provide our sound and material live across the country, also hope to support large metal /rock acts from all around the world when they come to Greece and hope that we will have the opportunity to navigate across Europe and then maybe the world, you never know!

And next for One Year Delay?

(Sotiris) I think that the next thing for O.Y.D. is, of course, live concerts around Greece, Europe and the U.S. (we must pay our bills first). At the same time we have new ideas for our next album which we are working on already, but mostly our aim is to become better musicians in every level and I believe it’s gonna be an interesting year.

Thanks again guys for talking with us, any last words you would like to share?

(Sotiris) Thank you for the interview and your fans for reading it …Make music and love…NOT war!

Read our review of Deep Breath @

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 20/10/2015

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Sexwolf! – Hangin’ With The Boys

Sexwolf_RingMaster Review

It has been digitally devouring the senses for a few months now but in the breath it takes one month to roll into another, Hangin’ With The Boys gets to physically violate the world. A fierce infestation of punk fuelled rock ‘n’ roll, the EP is the debut release from noise merchants Sexwolf!, an English quartet which has become recognised as one of the wildest and greedily devoured hardcore confrontations on the Birmingham, indeed Midlands rock scene. Going by Hangin’ With The Boys they are one of the most exciting too, a treat lovers of feeling something substantial in their hand which bites, i.e. a CD, will go wobbly over.

With inspirations from the likes of Every Time I Die, Cancer Bats, Black Sabbath, and Refused sparking their sound and sharing stages with bands such as He Is Legend, The Bastard Sons, Black Shapes, Black Art, and Heck (Baby Godzilla) amongst a great many more, under their belts, Sexwolf! go straight for the jugular with Hangin’ With The Boys and its opener, the band’s forthcoming single None Stop Body Rock.

cover_RingMaster Review   Guitars and drums respectively send a torrent and barrage of their finest ferocity down on the senses straight away, their bait leading the listener into a tempest of vocal antagonism and infection dripping grooves from within an already more hostile onslaught driven by the vicious beats of drummer Jenk. No quarter is given as the track continues to abuse and batter yet the guitar of Joe Lane conjures virulent sonic enterprise to temper his carnivorous riffs and those of bassist Dan Mogg, whilst together the band breed a contagiousness which is especially virulent in the rousing and ravenous chorus helmed by the raw squalls of vocalist Richard Phillips. As much as you might say the song and the band’s sound is living off essences heard often before, they become twisted and cultured in the ways of Sexwolf! to emerge with a fresh and fiery character of their own.

Evidence is swift as She Got Gold leaps from its waiting seat and tears a raucous hole in air and psyche. As it abrases the senses it simultaneously spins an addictive tapestry of noise rock hooks and impossibly catchy grooves matched by the diversity of the vocal attack. Like Shevils meets Gacy’s Threads with a splattering of Every Time I Die for good measure, the track is a glorious trespass of body and soul, a protagonist to a lustful appetite for more of band and sound. Guitars are bluesy, vocals unpredictable, and the rhythms, well they just beat an enslavement out of you with force and violent charm.

Nomesayin resourcefully uses its few gasps over a minute to unleash an hellacious bestial swamp of violent punk ‘n’ roll that just breed pleasure whilst Captain Bastard Face seems to have the scent of blood in its nostrils the way it explodes from the blocks and ravishes air and listener. It does have the invention to also share waspish grooves and hostile repetition across its sonic predation, an enterprise which seems to only increase the potency of its maliciousness and the emerging bolshie but mischievous swagger.

The final thrilling skirmish between band and ears comes courtesy of Fuklashnikov, a minute and a half of twang infested rancor and raging belligerence, and another tsunami of noise that just hits the spot. If hardcore in its full savagery is not for you then run, run away now but for the rest of us with a taste for spiteful invention and devilry, Hangin’ With The Boys is a must, especially now in its physical glory.

Hangin’ With The Boys is available on CD from October 31st and digitally now at the Sexwolf! Bandcamp.

Pete RingMaster 24/09/2015

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Black Inside – A Possession Story

blackinside_RingMaster Review

Initially starting out as a band playing Black Sabbath covers, Italian heavy metallers Black Inside have grown into a strongly accomplished and captivating proposition as evidenced by new album A Possession Story. Casting a classic heavy metal sound with numerous dark flavourings embroiled in doom toned imagination, musically and emotionally, the album is a potent step from a band looking forward to having a very healthy presence within the European metal scene.

Formed in 2009, the Napoli hailing quintet soon moved from playing other’s tracks to writing and performing their own mix of infectious classic, eighties, doom, and epic metal. Autumn 2011 saw the band release the Servant Of The Servants demo which down very well with fans whilst garnering very positive media reviews. Across the December of the following year and the January of its successor, Black Inside recorded debut album The Weigher Of Souls which also upon release via Underground Symphony Records, earned rich praise and attention. Recorded towards the end of last year, the Neil Haynes mixed and mastered A Possession Story pushes the band’s name and sound to loftier heights and easy to expect broader spotlights on Black Inside.

cover_RingMaster Review     The Red Cat Records released proposition opens with Man Is A Wolf To Men, a stirring slice of metal taking little time to awaken ears and appetite with its thrash lined riffery and ravenous mix of rhythmic and aggressive tenacity. There is a definite Metallica feel to the track, an inviting tone which is only accentuated by the guitars of Brian Russo and Eduardo Iannaccone, as well as the grizzly voice of Luigi Martino. Across its length, those same strings also spill tantalising sonic and melodic tempting and a dark drama which is carried deeper into the song by the bass of Vincenzo La Tegola. As you can say about the album overall, there are few major surprises with the encounter yet it has a fresh and powerful presence which only invites involvement.

The Siege Of Jerusalem follows and straight away has a heavier prowl to its gait and doomy air to its nature, guitars spinning a sinister web around the initially spoken vocals and portentous rhythms led by the spiky beats of Enzo Arato. Once setting the scene, the song twists into a more power metal bloomed canter, which maybe does not quite live up to the promise of its entrance but spins a captivating theatre of sound and words. Imagination is also a thick element of the encounter, slips into melodic caresses with impassioned vocals and a tapestry of skilled enterprise from the guitars for the main mesmeric.

The song Black Inside also makes a beguiling introduction, guitar seducing and dark vocals entwining before the song comes alive with sonic flames and a brooding tone of bass, all subsequently attributing to a heavy metal roar with a fusion of inventive unpredictability and sparkling melodic expression. It is a template continuing in both I’m Not Like You and King Of The Moon, though both cast individual and dynamic proposals of their own. The first has a spicy blues rock lining to its fiery rock ‘n’ roll whilst its successor, as in all songs to varying degrees, openly wears the band’s Black Sabbath seeding in its power balladry.

Things get heavier and more sonically flirtatious with Too Dark To See, tangy grooves and anthemic tendencies potent persuasion from early on and only increasing their temptation as the band evolves and twists them with further magnetic resourcefulness across its riveting body. The bass of La Tegola reveals a repertoire of sinister tones and invention alone, superbly and imaginatively backed by the theatre and adventure of the guitars. The best track on the album it is as good as matched by the album’s title track and its own haunted maze of sound and sinister imagination. It is almost imposing with its doom spawned breath and initial elegant collusion of instrumentation and resonating sounds, but it is also another which cannot quite keep its scintillating start consistently going across its whole adventurous landscape. Nevertheless the track is a cauldron of intensity and creative ingenuity which only leaves a healthy greed for more.

The mellow seducing of Forsaking Song with the excellent additional vocals of Sara Shade continues the by now hypnotic lure of A Possession Story whilst the creative stalking of Jeffrey from yet another irresistible introduction, swings into a lumbering beast of incitement. Its doom’ heritage’ is an open predation and persistently swaying the intent and tone of the track as it broadens its creative shoulders and thick mesh of sound with every passing minute and idea. Like Iron Maiden meets Candlemass, the song is eight minutes of provocative resourcefulness which every time it begins to labour in flavour or style manages to sculpt and whip out another thrilling and unpredictable twist.

The purest slice of classic metal rock ‘n’ roll on the album brings the album to a close, Pharmassacre an anthem to swing fists and vocal chords to, and though for personal tastes it is the weakest song, it still creates a lively and enjoyable close to a highly satisfying release.

A Possession Story is a grower too, a release sparking stronger pleasure as every listen reveals more of its more understated but potent qualities. It is fair to say that Black Inside is not ready to turn the heavy metal scene fully its way yet but their album certainly gives it a very inviting nudge.

A Possession Story is available now via Red Cat Records.

RingMaster 14/08/2015

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Against Evil – Fatal Assault

Against Evil_RingMaster Review

With a couple of strong singles already teasing attention since forming in October last year, Indian metallers Against Evil now reinforce their potent emergence with a nudge on broader attention with debut EP Fatal Assault. Offering six tracks of old school inspired heavy metal loaded with a fresh and more modern breath, band and release make a highly promising proposition. Not one quite ready to explode into the widest global metal scene, but certainly something to noticeably stir things up.

Hailing from Visakhapatnam, Against Evil consists of guitarist/vocalist Sravan, guitarist Shasank, bassist/vocalist Siri Sri, and drummer Noble John. Their sound leans on inspirations from the likes of Judas Priest, Accept, Megadeth, Black Sabbath and many more, but as shown by the Simone Mularoni mixed and mastered Fatal Assault, finds its own identity through merging further potent spices.

The release opens with brief instrumental Battle Call, the piece a sparkling melodic enticing which barely lives up to its name but blossoms an anthemic whisper which becomes more vocal as the music evolves into the rousing entrance of The Enemy Within. The second track is soon striding through ears with spicy riffs and commanding rhythms as vocals share the scenic text of the lyrical narrative. As the EP in many ways, there is little truly surprising about the song yet it still casts an enthralling air which only gets keener as impressive guitar enterprise spins solos and sonic imagination.

Final Art-small_RingMaster Review   The strong track is quickly outshone by Speedbreaker where initial contagious and snappy rhythms make the prelude to driving riffs and tangy grooves, all again wearing vintage hues on their persuasion to appealing effect. There is also a stronger snarl and intensity to the song from the off, which similarly incites the growling vocals, backed by great band shouts, and the web of thumping rhythms. There is something familiar to most songs upon the EP, a recognisable tone which only adds colour to the different characters within individual songs, here almost Motorhead like dirty rock ‘n’ roll tenaciously colluding with its heavy metal breeding.

Wings of Steel storms in next, its body sharing a Judas Priest meets AC/DC like tempest but one entangled with discord kissed grooves and fiery tempting from guitar strings. A more than decent incitement, it is also another surpassed by its successor, Bulletproof putting it in the shade. Sizzling hooks align with heavy riffs and beats to start the song off, they subsequently relaxing as the song flows through heavy melodic rock scenery into more ferocious metal aggression which in turn entwine as the song proceeds, their distinct differences becoming a pleasing creative blur over time. Though not quite as bone shaking as Speedbreaker, the excellent track stands aside it as the biggest highlight of the release.

Fatal Assault ensures a rampant close through War Hero, another pleasingly dirty and grouchy growl of a song with skilled and blistering exploits from the guitars around a powerful rhythmic spine and the ever compelling vocals. As all tracks it never truly feeds expectations despite its obvious influences and familiar textures. It is a trait which applies across the very accomplished and engaging EP, and helping provide a firmly solid base from which Against Evil can only spring to greater heights and spotlights.

Fatal Assault is available from July 20th @

RingMaster 20/07/2015

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Southern Badass – Raised In Blood

Raised In Blood cover_Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review

Over two years ago, French rock band Southern Badass impressed with debut album Born In Mud, a warts and all release revealing a rich sound and potential which lit ears and a keen anticipation for the band’s evolution. Now it returns with second full-length Raised In Blood, a dirtier, grittier proposal infusing an even broader array of styles and flavours to its core southern rock/stoner bred sound with the same pleasing success.

Southern Badass is the solo project of Perpignan hailing multi-instrumentalist Arno Bechet, who seemingly draws on the likes of Black Label Society, Down, Black Sabbath, and Corrosion Of Conformity amongst many for his blend of heavy metal, stoner, sludge, and southern rock. Debut album Born In Mud certainly awoke potent attention with is release in 2013, a focus sure to replicated and surpassed by the tighter, more mature and fiery Raised In Blood. Again it is a proposition unafraid to be raw whilst embracing any small issues it may carry, but is openly a sparkling step forward from its accomplished predecessor.

The album opens with its title track, Raised in Blood quickly spilling a mist of sonic incitement led by bulging rhythms and abrasive riffs. Grooves are never retired in the music of Bechet, and straight away a juicy one is encircling and enticing ears before the song settles into a thick and steady stride. The vocals are as raw and at times as strained as on the first album, sometimes pushing their limits too much and in other moments providing the perfect roar to the brewing intensity and persuasion of sound. Fair to say, Bechet may not be the best and most natural vocalist but his musicianship is a gripping affair, more grooves and wiry riffs in the song potent proof alone.

The enjoyable swaggering start to the album continues with Burn into Eternity as resonating rhythms and electronic beats provide the spark to flames of guitar and vocal expression, Bechet finding a stronger more consistent delivery on the quickly persuasive encounter. The track has an earthy dark groove as its temptress, its thick lure embracing the more volatile and imaginative elements of the song and only stepping back for a low key and captivating melodic passage just after midway. Ending on a pungent blaze of a finale, the track is followed by the sharp southern rock tang of When I’m Dead. A mix of heavy and hard rock, it begins the strong variety of sound also emerging across the album, though it still has that inbred stoner core to its strong stroll.

Both Under the Red Sun and Last One Standing keep things interesting and satisfying, the first of the two slowly growing from a shadow rich reflective croon of Guns N’ Roses coloured, blues kissed rock into a full and impassioned rock ‘n’ roll bellow. It still holds a reserved gait for the main though, the guitar craft and enterprise of Bechet again the attention grabber before its successor gets down and dirty with aggressive riffs and grouchy vocals. It too holds court on ears; grooves and rhythms especially dominate in the pleasing engagement, though both songs are outshone by the sultry tempting of La Marche des Morts. French sung, the song has the atmospheric heat of a Morricone composed landscape and the muscular threat of a Mastodon bred proposal, and is thoroughly riveting.

As good as the first half of the album is, from this excellent track on Raised In Blood seems to hit another level. House of the Swolen Goat is next and with Black Tusk like grooves and a new direction in vocals within a smouldering sonic glow, instantly stands above earlier songs, even its impressive predecessor. A rich and heated tapestry of rock tenacity, the track makes way for the dark country enticing of Down by the River. There is a haunting air to its dark shimmer and an incendiary impact to its subsequent volcanic expulsions of guitar and vocals, the song shadowed wrapped balladry to get greedy over.

   The Lesson is just as thrilling; its opening rhythmic bait and cantankerous bass moan anthemic might escalated by the driving charge of riffs which quickly bring feisty energy and magnetism to the excellent encounter. The track eventually spreads into a more controlled and expansively laid southern tinged rock ‘n’ roll, its potency and lure evolving rather than diminishing as Bechet lets his guitar craft also run a creative riot over ears and appetite.

Completed by Sphere of Io, a song which makes a messy start but turns into another sinew driven rampancy of heavy riffery and grooved slavery, Raised In Blood is another very enjoyable and accomplished slab of ravenous rock ‘n’ roll from Southern Badass. It has issues and as mentioned has a second half which leaves the first in the shade but if looking for some honest and organic heavy rock/metal this is definitely well worth a good hard listen.

Raised In Blood is out now digitally and as a double disc vinyl @

RingMaster 19/06/2015

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