Stone Cold Dead – Lava Flows

STONE COLD DEAD _RingMaster ReviewPhoto 1

Lava Flows is one of those encounters which grabs rigorously, cuts off all forms of escape and in turn plies you with intoxicating persuasion which leaves you woozy and desperate for more. The heavy weight groove fest is the debut album from Greek metallers Stone Cold Dead, a band entangling the richest essences of groove and heavy metal with those of experimental and alternative rock. The result is a virulent form of predatory rock ‘n’ roll which leaves a thick greed for more as ripe as the outright enjoyment experienced from its thrilling introduction to a band destined to great heights.

Stone Cold Dead is the brainchild of former Rotting Christ and Nightfall guitarist George Bokos, a project which is not so much a solo adventure but one luring the talent of equally experienced and innovative guests. The Athens hailing Stone Cold Dead gave a potent hint of the quickly impressing sound fuelling the album a few short weeks back with the release of the single Hubrism, a teaser which awoke intrigue and anticipation with ease band now proven to be just the one facet of a triumphant beast.

The first inescapable seduction of the album comes through the union of Bokos’ glorious baritone guitar enticement with that of Charis Pazaroulas’ (ex-Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra) irresistible bowed contrabass temptation. Both aspects are a theatre of invention and controlled rabidity, of creative attitude and expression colluding to create bestial stomps of fierce rock ‘n’ roll with an unrelenting appetite to devour and incite ears and imagination. That ingenuity alone makes Lava Flows a must investigation but add the majestic and fearsome rhythmic bait bullying and igniting the senses throughout , and you have a proposition which is pure metal alchemy. Split into three sections; Stone, Cold, and Dead, which “unfolds along the Cosmic Tree, which connects three different realities”, Bokos has given the three tracks in each part to a trio of exceptional drummers to drive, twist, and elevate the nature and personality of each movement within the album. Yannis Stavropoulos takes the first section, to be followed by Dimitrios (Vorskaath) Dorian, the multi-instrumentalist behind Zemial, and Nile drummer George Kollias respectively. It is an aspect to the release that just adds further formidable drama to the provocative journey of the album, a potency which makes more of a thrilling impact than was definitely expected.

cover_RingMaster Review     The album opens with Climbing The Cave and straight away it is prowling ears with sonic craft as a rhythmic rumble builds into an anthemic addiction. As becomes the diverse mouth-watering norm across the release, riffs nag and gnaw on the senses as quickly enslaving vocals and the jungle of beats from Stavropoulos descend to seduce and ravage the body. Like a mix of Bloodsimple, Killing Joke, and Black Tusk, the track swings its bait whilst drilling deeper in to the psyche with every torrent of rabid riffs and web of insatiable grooving. It is probably right to say our passions were hooked from this point, a submission ensured by the contrabass seducing of Pazaroulas but only confirmed time and time again across Lava Flows starting with Cyclone Speaking.

Instantly the second song is more bestial in the tone of guitar and bass, and strolling with an antagonistic gait soon drawing in melodically enflamed roars of sound and voice. Rhythmically things are another maze to explore and be willingly trapped by as the melodic tenacity of Bokos flirts and explores new designs and instincts within the bruising rock ‘n’ roll climate. As with its predecessor, swift submission and a lusty reaction from body and thoughts are given, a success found again by the album’s title track. Lava Flows, as its title suggests, smoulders and crawls from its first breath but around an already keen burst of rhythms which provide the spark for a subsequent sludge bred swagger as volatile in energy and hunger as it is immersive in weight and ambience. Pazaroulas again bewitches with his bow on strings whilst Bokos and Stavropoulos entrance as they turn limbs and neck muscles into their puppets.

An apt colder steely hue flows through the album’s Cold section, Death Drive preying on ears with increasing intensity and energy as a punk ‘n’ roll attitude and irritability runs through the song’s pulsating veins. The craft of Dorian has a more rock ‘n’ roll energy and swing to its attack which is translated in the sound around it, that in turn creating another strain of alternative and groove metal united in stoner-esque toxicity to grip ears.

Both The Black Snake and Hubrism transfix with their individual invention and natures, the first emerging on a tribalistic, mystique clad trespass breeding a caustically flamed swing of riffs and incendiary grooves. The perpetual niggling quality of both continues to make the juiciest irresistible bait matched by vocals, rhythms, and that contrabass and bass ingenuity, manna throughout the album. Here it creates an emprise of colourful melodic and sonic mystique within a net of addictive creative voracity whilst its successor is a more sinister and disentangled weave of voices and atmospheric intimidation crowded by a great irritant of waspish grooves and robustly dynamic rhythms. Once more songwriting and sound infests and twists the listener this way and that with startling invention and imagination, and though many elements are familiar there is no doubting they are employed and evolved into something rabidly fresh and unique to Stone Cold Dead.

The exceptional Deconstructing The Architect is the first offering in the Dead segment of the adventure, Kollias sculpting a wonderfully intrusive and anthemically invigorating wall of rhythms as the guitars open up their own net of inimitable and irrepressible imagination and craft. The body becoming a puppet to the strings of band and album is nothing new at this point but certainly strung out and sent into their biggest frenzy yet as the song builds into its Torche meets Mastodon meets Trepalium emprise of sound and temptation.

A shamanic scent opens up with the entrance of Umbilical Cord next, the guitar again spinning a sultry and exotic coaxing before the track erupts into its muscularly predacious and erosive glory, which itself is never absent of unpredictable and smouldering flavours from distant shoes and cultures. The track, as all, simply engrosses and thrills, a tempting emulated in the closing extensive exploration of And The Tree Becomes A Sphere, a travelogue of sound and inspiring hues in its own right that has ears and thoughts as enslaved as the emotions amidst a massive greed for more.

Lava Flows is real heavy groove woven magnificence for the ears, and even if others find themselves to be not quite as lustful in reactions as we found ourselves to be, Stone Cold Dead are still a big reward all should give themselves a chance of getting excited over.

Lava Flows is out now via digitally and on CD via Volcanic Music @

Pete RingMaster 10/11/2015

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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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Sewer Rats – Money Maker EP

_RingMaster Review

Dirty, energetically angry, and sonically visceral; that is Money Maker, the debut EP from British psych rockers Sewer Rats. The band has a sound which more than lives up to its name and a release which is bred from the filthiest recesses of their grungy psychedelic lit minds. The five track encounter, unleashed by London based label Fluffer Records, intimidates and tempts in equal insatiable fashion whilst providing the potent seeds for a very healthy and musically carnal future for the band.

Consisting of vocalist/guitarist Luke Morris, bassist Iain Morrison, and drummer Dean Robbins, the Immingham in Lincolnshire hailing Sewer Rats has been brewing up plenty of keen attention through their fiery live presence and abrasive sound. Money Maker is sure to inflame matching success, its recent release already luring rich acclaim and hungry new appetites their way.

cover_RingMaster Review   It all begins with Skint and a swift caustic wind of guitar which in no time is part of a sonic lacerating of the senses as gnarly bass, scything beats, and raw intensity joins the mix. It is a blend weaving a sludgy swamp of stoner bred grooves and heavy, almost animalistic, riffs led by the scowling, Lemmy-esque tones of Morris. As thick and aggressive as that is, the scuzzy roar accompanying the sounds expelled ensures there is viciousness to the swing of the song and an irked belligerence to its bracing air. It is a superb start to the release, addictive hooks and grooves vocal throughout the tempest before it all makes way for Devil Blues.

The second track has a slightly more laid back approach to its bluesy filtered cauldron but still stirs up a blaze of scarring sonic trespass and anthemic hostility bound in more scorching grooves. Again this is a title which perfectly sums up its content; rock ‘n’ roll to open up hell and enslave salacious souls, and indeed leave the listener exhaustingly wanting more.

The psychedelic instincts of the band take centre stage with the instrumental Black Label Serotonin. It is a sweltering climate of sultry melodies and surf rock twisted enterprise, providing rich evidence that Sewer Rats can be as emotionally and sonically gentle as they are aurally ferocious. It is a bewitching hex which is swiftly a memory as the EP’s corrosive title track surges with toxic radiance and caustic energy straight after. Once more grooves collude with searing hooks and ever grouchy vocals to create a swagger to the sonic blizzard, and again feet and senses are treated to a rebelliously contagious and enjoyably punishing stomp.

Money Maker is concluded by So Far Away, the brutish Motorhead meets Black Tusk corruption of its predecessor replaced by a wash of psych rock acidity aligned to a southern kissed morass of aggressive invasiveness and inhospitable noise. It is a mighty end to a gripping release, though you can easily sense that Sewer Rats is only at the start of its evolution and there will be plenty more attention grabbing and mightier proposals forged ahead, certainly just as uncompromising ones.

If the likes of Bad For Lazarus, Converge, Mastodon, Unsane…well you get the idea, are your temptation check Money Maker out for sure.

The Money Maker EP is out digitally and on vinyl now through Fluffer Records.

RingMaster 14/08/2015

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The Bastard Sons – Smoke

The Bastard Sons _RingMaster Review

There is no escaping the buzz which has powerfully brewed around The Bastard Sons since emerging in 2011 and especially over the past couple of years, and no evading the reason why, once losing yourself in the riotous depths of the band’s debut album Smoke. It is a bulging sack of pure rock ‘n’ roll cast in a maelstrom of flavours showing exactly why the broad term rock ‘n’ roll is the best way to describe the band’s tenacious sounds. At times it is southern rock led, in other moments hardcore driven, and very often metal sparked; to be honest it is constantly all of those and far more, a beast of a stomp sure to incite the passions of fans to everyone from Down to Cancer Bats, Ghost of a Thousand to Black Tusk, Bloodsimple to Hellyeah, and Stone Temple Pilots to Stone Sour.

Around and since the release of their second EP Roads in the March of 2014, the British quintet has been a blur of activity drawing increasing success at the same time. A US tour with Throw The Goat pushed the band’s growing reputation stateside whilst praised appearances at Hammerfest VI and Bloodstock, a tour supporting hardcore punks Snot, and shows alongside ’68, the new project of Josh Scogin from The Chariot, and also Cavorts amongst many others has taken care of the appetites of British fans and media. Earlier this year the York hailing five-piece dropped a potent and quickly devoured teaser for Smoke in the shape of the single Release The Hounds, a dynamic hint realised and taken to greater plateaus by the album itself.

The Bastard starts things off, southern fried chords the initial lure, though for barely a squeeze of seconds as quickly the band with sinew loaded riffs and rhythms bursting set up a riotous stomp of energy and sound. Vocals, as the music, come in varied styles, hardcore and cleaner rock ‘n’ roll tones colluding in a tempestuous incitement with anthem tattooed to its gripping walls. There is a touch of Pantera, Motorhead, and Every Time I Die to the storm, but as repeated song by song, it is just flavouring honed into something unique to The Bastard Sons.

TheBastardSonsSmokeFrontCover_RingMaster Review  The earlier single comes next, and quickly Release The Hounds shows why it had so many feisty for the album, its opening grooves and vocal scowling within a rugged landscape enough to get ears smiling and appetite drooling alone. The heart of the track is unfussy rock ‘n’ roll, a balls to the wall roar coloured and constantly reshaped by flirtatious sonic enterprise and sudden compelling twists of unpredictability, musically and vocally. It is the seed design to all tracks within Smoke in many ways, but persistently twisted and taken down new and individual avenues as swiftly shown by Sobre La Muer… and before it A Lie Is A Lie. The third track rages and croons with incendiary textures and addiction forming grooves whilst its successor casts a sultry air more in Seether/Shinedown territory than anything else, yet with a predatory dark bassline and a steely touch to the guitars, it carries a constant intimidation which strongly expels its fury from time to time. Nevertheless it and the previous song are inescapable anthemic traps; the lure somewhere between Them County Bastardz and The BossHoss, and fiercely contagious.

Bottom Of The Ladder growls and sonically grizzles with scuzzy magnetism next, guitars and vocals a dirty incitement stirring up ears and soul whilst the group calls work, along with the thumping rhythms, on the body and primal instincts. As anthemic in intensity and roar as it is, the track also unleashes an agitated and gripping web of aggressive twists and belligerence toned creativity, its presence ready to brawl at the drop of a hook or scything beat.

The southern drawl of guitars brings I’m Only A Call Away alive next, the song once standing tall writhing like a barroom temptress with inescapable grooves amidst a volatile fistfight of rhythms and the ever fiery and impressive mesh of vocals. As already shown by their live history, The Bastard Sons has a sound which works with, and appeals to, a vast expanse of rock and metal styles, that diversity in no finer and pungent shape than on this fascinating riot.

Through the brief and hellacious, as well as uncompromisingly emotive landscape of the fiercely angry U.S Against Them and the classic metal lined rock ‘n’ roll of Listen Here, band and album keep the thrilling storm blazing whilst Cardboard Walls saunters in on a rhythmic confrontation bound in more of the sludgy southern wrapping the band breeds so invitingly. A suggestive hint of Crowbar appears at times within the fire of sizzling grooves and snarling riffing, but as you may assume the track, whilst being one of the more restrained adventures on the album, it simply layers more flavours and varied textures into one enthralling mix.

Like a sandstorm, vocals shower and scar Scene(ic) Root(s) next to thick success, but equally they slip into cleaner gaits with ease and power to match the similarly volcanic and pleasingly exacting sounds. The track burns on the senses, simultaneously exciting and bruising before Stay True spreads its warmer balm. Featuring Glamour Of The Kill vocalist Davey Richmond, the track is a shadow brewed serenade as atmospherically and vocally haunting as it is emotionally and physically mercurial, and quite mesmeric.

Smoke finishes with the equally potent but far more capricious and intrusive Exist-Distance, a track which kind of sums up band and album with its constant weaving of different flavours and creative twists within a perfectly coherently cultured body, and another song which stands individual in the cast list of easy to recognise Bastard Sons songs.

We gave a list of bands at the start which sort of gives a hint at who might find thick pleasure from exploring one of the year’s real treats so far. To simplify it though, if raw and passionate, imaginative and ravenous rock ‘n’ roll hits the spot than Smoke is a must.

Smoke’ is available from 7th August 2015 via Kaiju Records @

RingMaster 05/08/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright


XII Boar – Pitworthy

XII Boar - Photo Landscape 2

Trampled under the heavy booted sounds of their excellent self-titled debut EP four years ago, UK heavy rockers XII Boar have just got sonically fiercer and more virulently compelling over time. Subsequent releases have continued the ignition of a hungry appetite in the British underground rock/metal scene for their rampantly aggressive and virulently grooved sounds, though nothing before matches up to the thrilling Southern fried might of debut album Pitworthy. Bulked up with ten tracks of muscular temptation with a mischievous glint in their eyes, the album is a thunderous stomp of virulently primal and dirty rock ‘n’ roll.

XII Boar hail from Aldershot and first came to light in 2010. It was not long before their blend of voracious metal and heavily slung rock ‘n’ roll was breeding a potent and loyal local following around Hampshire and the South East of the UK. Growing increasingly more distinct and individual to the band over time, their sound takes the richest and most aggressive strains of stoner, doom, blues, and southern metal and turns it into one incendiary blaze of sound, imagine Black Sabbath and Corrosion of Conformity colluding with Motorhead and Black Tusk for an inkling. It is probably fair to say that their early days which included that first EP, the band musically was offering a familiar if exciting proposal but as the Split Tongue, Cloven Hoof EP of 2012 and especially the single Truck Stop Baby last year came and went, XII Boar showed they were breeding their own musical identity, a presence now grabbing the passions in Pitworthy. It still has an instantly recognisable flavouring but now from the band’s own open sound rather than having a thick feel of others, though ripe hints are still a welcome spicing.

Live XII Boar has continued to impress and lure acclaim too, shows over the years with Corrosion of Conformity, Crowbar, ASG, and Karma To Burn as well as appearances at Bloodstock, Desert Fest, and Hard Rock Hell adding to their rising stature. It is a live feel which also seems to vein the new album, its tracks rampaging with that edge generally stages only inspire and immediately adding extra potency to the creativity and energy of album opener Sharpshooter. The song is introduced by a wrestling/boxing match like ring barker, and its entrance lit by a flame of sonic coaxing from the guitar of Tommy Hardrocks. That initial expulsion is swiftly left behind though as grooves flirt with and immediately entice ears as the thumping beats of Dave Wilbraham begin the incessant and invigorating battering which charges up the whole album. With the great heavy throated lure of Adam Thomas’ bass snarling with bestial temptation within it all, the trio has attention and imagination gripped. Hardrocks vocally roars and growls as the music around him, but already there are unpredictable twists and adventures crawling through the song. With older tracks in many ways once established you knew where they were creatively going but in the first song alone, Pitworthy reveals a fascinating depth and exciting tenacity to pull Coverout the middle finger on expectations. Bottomline though is that the track is one commanding irresistible stomp, with all guns blazing and nostrils flared.

It is the same with the following Young Man, and to be honest the rest of the album too. The second song has a stronger blues spice to its fiery blood, toxic melodies and tantalising grooves providing the intoxicating liquor veining and flowing through the Down meets Desert Storm like shuffle. Rhythmically the track is a strongly enthralling and agitated groan whilst vocally it bellows and melodically it flames within a sultry climate embracing ears and emotions. It is compelling stuff igniting the air before the bruising weight of Crushing the P lumbers in and proceeds to press its own intensive and imposing bulk on the senses. Again though, grooves temper the rugged nature of the proposition, whilst inescapable infectiousness wraps the swing of rhythms and riffs. The song is an on-going predation too; every aspect increasing in magnetism until by its conclusion the crawling posture of the song is pure addiction.

The outstanding flirtation of The Schaeffer Boogie emerges out of those final throes of intensity, the track swiftly breaking into a robust and contagious slab of heavy temptation. Grooves swing with inescapable persuasion, casting an irresistible invitation for all to join their devilry, though we warn that their weighty movement will even worry young hips getting involved over long term exposure. Never taking a breath or allowing one, the song is sheer heavy rock majesty; not demanding, except on the body, and seriously exhilarating.

The grouchy tones of the album’s title track comes next, Hardrocks’ vocals a grizzly web of confrontation and attitude, and backed strongly by Thomas whose bass simply oozes cantankerous sounds and ferocity within the thick tapestry of temperamental and predatory sounds. The track is a tempest of drama and shadowed intrigue too, again every subsequent unexpected detour or twist in the nature and journey of the climactic offering surrounded by a rhythmic and riff sculpted catchiness which has feet and neck muscles exhausted.

The short Cajun aired instrumental Crawdaddy Blues is an ok interlude for the first couple of listens but to be honest ignored as appetite wants to dive back into the punk fury of Chicken Hawk again and again thereon in. The track is a brute of a companion, that punk seeded hostility and urgency a ripe tempting against the pungent heavy metal and ravenous rock ‘n’ roll it is aligned to. Pantera meets Converge yet different again, it is another major pinnacle of the already impressive release, a peak matched by Battle Boar. The rumbling rhythmic heart of the track is an anthemic call in its own right, and the fuse and detonator to a turbulent and hellacious conflict of intensive and insatiable energy. Riffs and rhythms collide with hostile intent, ridden by the equally abrasing and assertive vocals, whilst grooves are venomous and flailing in their scything enterprise. The track is a glorious sonic conflagration but too damn short at less than three minutes.

   Rock City is smoky and at times like sonic vapour on the taste buds, a fine musical whisky which slips across the senses with smooth ease before unveiling its bite and spicy tang. As you would expect grooves and riffs make a tapestry of tart and colourful temptation whilst vocals and the deliciously imposing basslines help spark the old school predation fuelling all classic slabs of uncompromising rock ‘n’ roll. Compelling and rousing, the song is another towering anthem setting emotions up for the closing Quint, an eleven minute savaging unafraid to explore every avenue of heavy rock and ferocious metal whilst painting it all with a sludgy stoner hue. Arguably over long for some, every minute of the track is a new scene to run with and imaginative corner to dive down.

XII Boar has had little difficulty impressing and exciting since their first release but have creatively and musically come of age with Pitworthy. It thrusts the band to the frontline of British rock ‘n’ roll with even broader spotlights potentially awaiting as their excellent album surely begins to lure in the world.

Pitworthy is available now digitally and on CD via

RingMaster 10/03/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Desert Storm – Omniscient

Photo by Matt Winyard.

Two years on from their acclaimed second album Horizontal Life, British heavy blues metallers Desert Storm unleash a new cauldron of ridiculously addictive temptation in the ravishing shape of Omniscient. Before listening to the new release we would have been ecstatic to announce that the album was an equal to its brilliant predecessor. But it is not; just like the last album was a fascinating and thrilling step forward from the band’s outstanding debut full-length Forked Tongue, the glorious Omniscient is a leap to new plateaus. Everything about the encounter is a gripping evolution of adventure and maturity; riffs are dirtier, grooves keener edged, and it has a contagion which borders on slavery, all without losing any of the blistering uniqueness and raw power which has always soaked Desert Storm’s sonic invention.

Where many similarly styled bands seem like servants to the riff, in that it predominantly consumes their songwriting, Desert Storm enslave that feature of their sound and twist it into a web of just as forceful and potent grooved and melodic exploration. As proven by their previous album it means each track has a distinct character and creative emprise of its own, and in Omniscient all songs come from an even broader canvas of imagination and craft. Since forming in 2007, the Oxford quintet has challenged and lit ears right through to the passions with their persistently gripping releases. Equally they have earned a formidable reputation for their live presence through shows and tours with the likes of Karma To Burn, Nashville Pussy, Peter Pan Speedrock, Honky (ft. members of Down/Melvins/Butthole Surfers), Orange Goblin, Red Fang, and American Head Charge, not forgetting igniting festivals like The Bulldog Bash, The Desertfest, Brisfest, and Roadkill. Their stature and reputation already goes before them but now with Omniscient global recognition and spotlight has to be on the cards.

The band’s fans are sure to break into a broad smile as opener Outlander instantly collides with ears through excited rhythms and imposing riffs. As spicy grooves swiftly join the revelry it is prime Desert Storm psych blues flavouring, intent on seducing senses and imagination with concussive beats and intoxicating sonic temptation. Already there is a sense of new adventure though, OMNISCIENT_FCbackground melodies and atmospheres adding their suggestiveness as vocalist Matt Ryan roars. His voice is as bracing and gruffly coated as ever but also seemingly carried on a new clarity and variety. As expected it is impossible to escape the lures of guitarists Chris White and Ryan Cole or their weave of sinew driven riffs and toxic grooving, every note spilling temptation and virulence to match the similarly seductive dark throated tones of Chris Benoist’s bass and the anthemic heavy footed swipes of drummer Elliot Cole. It is an enthralling and incendiary start to the album, body and emotions already aflame from its creative bait and blues spirit.

The following more predatory Queen Reefer is just as irresistible. The source of the band’s new video, it is a ruggedly charming temptress with bulging beats and acidic invention. Far heavier and threatening compared to its more devilish predecessor, it casts a darker more volatile demonic air in its breath around a corrosive touch. In saying that though, the song is still irresistibly catchy and commanding, and with a mesmeric slip into a gentle embrace of expressive melodies and low key drama cast by guitars and bass at one point, mouth-wateringly adventurous.

Horizon continues to spread thick almost doomy textures of intensity and emotion next, drums creating a clash of percussive disorientation which only adds to the power of Elliot’s swings and the tangy blues grooving binding song and senses. It is just one part of the track’s scenery though as halfway it explodes into an explosive rhythmic tango which in turn seems to incite greater energy and venom to flush through the brawl of vocals and sonic enterprise. The track never quite ignites into the fury you suspect it might but is the better for it, the relative restraint adding to the dramatic tension of the song, a scintillating theatre which again turns Sway of The Tides into a battlefield of hostility and contagion, and Home into a folk ballad of sheer beauty. The first of the pair comes with flared nostrils and a rhythmic blood lust as heavy metal and stoner-esque blues rock clash in ears. The song is breath-taking, especially when it switches to a folkish pasture of cleaner vocals and a simple but expressive melody midway. It only impresses more as the scene and sounds start building back up to another fire of intensive emotion and searing grooves. Its successor is even more tantalising and enslaving. Voice and guitar again align to create a mesmeric smoulder of blues folk and southern tinged melodic rock which simply delights. Whereas the last album had the transfixing unexpected melodic delights of Gaia, Omniscient has this absorbing treat to wrong-foot, surprise, and thrill.

Not that the album has a moment where it does not do all those things in varying degrees anyway, as proven by the boozy swagger of House of Salvation which stomps in next. The track with its bar room like blues grooving and abrasing riffery reminds of N Ireland band Triggerman in some ways, especially in the melodic toxicity veining the devilment and the magnetic flame of a groove which has the appetite licking its lips and body swerving in subservience. The excellent temptation is matched straight away by the funk nudged stroll of Night Bus Blues. Making the perfect soundtrack to those times after a show where the cold flirts as you wait for the over-due conveyance to take you home and that is only part of the recognisable drama, the track proves humour is never a missing ingredient in the recipes Desert Storm conjures. Obviously it is not lacking addictive sounds either, an adjective which perfectly fits both Bandwagon and Blue Snake Moan which follow.

The first revels in a seventies blues rock seeding, spawning its sonic tempting from a psychedelic scent as fresh as it is familiar. The song provides yet another shade of colour and striking originality to the album, Omniscient easily the bands most excitingly and enjoyably diverse and expansive offering yet. The second of the two bristles and bellows with the heavy rock ‘n’ roll sound that the band has always bred its imagination through. Again though, it is widely spiced and commandingly robust with an array of rock bred flavours inviting feet and soul to roll with its rigorous devilry.

The album closes with Collapse of The Bison Lung, a summing up of things in a way as ripe grooves and intimidating riffs collude with rampant rhythms and snarling basslines to bind attention and light fires in the passions. A masterful end to a mighty release it reinforces and confirms what Omniscient suggests and we declare, that Desert Storm should be mentioned in the same breath as bands like Black Tusk, Red Fang, The Sword, and yes maybe even Mastodon.

Omniscient is released worldwide via Blindsight Records on January 26th.

Following the album’s release Desert Storm will be going on a short European tour:

Fri 6th Feb – Antwerp Music City, Antwerp BE w/ Atomic Vulture

Sat 7th Feb – Rock Cafe Jinx, Zaandam, NL w/ Millstone

Sun 8th Feb – Bassy Club, Berlin, DE w/ Samsara Blues Experiment

RingMaster 22/01/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Twingiant – Devil Down

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There is smog like quality to the sound of US band Twingiant which invades every pore and corner of the senses with voracious appetite; within that thick immersion though the band infuses a searing melodic veining and smouldering enterprise to leave the imagination keen and appetite even hungrier. They describe their sound as simply loud and heavy, but as shown by new EP Devil Down, it is also bracingly flavoursome and rigorously compelling.

Devil Down is also uncompromising in its touch and intensity, Twingiant blending fiery stoner and heavy rock with imposing sludge richness for an inflammatory and predatory cauldron of sound. Formed in 2010, the Phoenix, Arizona based quartet drew keen attention with debut album Mass Driver two years later and last year’s Sin Nombre EP. Their success only backed and reinforced the band’s live stature which has seen them persistently impress and inflame audiences whilst sharing stages with the likes of Windhand, Pallbearer, Weedeater, Intronaut, Metal Church, Satan’s Satyrs, Guttermouth, Black Tusk and numerous more. Now with their self-released and produced Devil Down EP, the band look poised to awaken a more momentous spotlight upon themselves. May be it is not a release to ignite a explosive blaze within thunderous rock ‘n’ roll climes but it Devil Down is certainly a fierce proposition to firmly thrust Twingiant upon a broader landscape of attention.

The striking presence of the release begins with the instrumental Old Hag. Starting from a restrained and elegant flame of immediately enthralling enterprise and craft, the track grows within the ears as its melodic acidity and sultry charm creates a spark for the imagination to run with and explore. There is also a sinister edge to the invention and sonic beauty fuelling the track, the guitars of Tony Gallegos and Nikos Mixas providing a highly suggestive soundscape and narrative courted by raw shadows provided by the gripping rhythms of drummer Jeff Ramon and bass predation from Jarrod Le Blanc. It is a transfixing proposition which as it reaches its finale, digs into a new texture of aggressive tenacity and attitude.

The impressive start is followed by Dead To Rights, a track striding forcibly with a combative swagger from its first second. Loaded with just as magnetically swinging grooves it soon adds theDD Front Cover (1) coarse texture of Le Blanc’s vocals to the mix, his tones strong without blowing anyone away but with their generally minimalistic presence in the context of songs, they make the perfect incitement to the blistering tempests of around him. A brawling eruption of skilled endeavour and resourceful voracity, the song makes way for the carnivorously toned Daisy Cutter. From its first breath the bass growl is carnally bestial and soon matched by the thickly gravelled vocals. Heavy metal seeded grooves entwine the intensive weight and prowl of the song, at times taking over with their engaging flames and mouth-watering beauty, though the scuzzy hostility of the bass is a constant prowling intimidation ensuring every twist comes with its share of menace.

Through The Motions is another enslaving instrumental and with no slight on Le Blanc’s vocals, these are the tracks where the listener can really play and immerse into the creative emprise of engagements and release. They are a canvas for the imagination and emotions to dance freely, and this track a virulent persuasion weaving sizzling strands of sonic and melodic temptation with inventively rabid rhythms for a fascinating evocation, a tapestry for thoughts to cast adventures with.

Tiger Lily suffers a little being sandwiched between its predecessor and the next up instrumental, but still provides a feisty and aggressive enterprise of heavy footed riffs and spicy grooves to persistently enjoy. There is something missing though, a spark which evades even the enticing twists and shifting textures within the song, and whilst it is a potent companion it does not linger around as other tracks on the album, and especially like Under A Blood Moon. The third instrumental is the best, a sultry twang to guitars an immediate seduction which only grows as melodies and grooves embrace the flavouring for their own infectious web of wonderfully unpolished and organic temptation. Once more it is a piece which simply ignites ears and imagination into eager life, every diverse flavour and note seemingly a seed to expanding adventures, especially the dark beauty of strings at its conclusion.

Devil Down ends with its title track, a bruising prowl of heavy metal and sludge rapacity aligned to groove and noise rock causticity. It is a predator, an emotionally blackened stalking which lumbers and crawls with the varied creativity of the guitars its light and merciless rhythms its teeth. The song is an immense end to an outstanding release, where even though for personal tastes the instrumentals steal the show, every track is an almost primal incitement to want plenty more from Twingiant, a band whose stock and presence surely from this point will be infesting the world’s full awareness.

The self-released Devil Down is available on vinyl from 2 December @

A cassette version of Devil Down will be released via Medusa Crush Records on February 7th.

RingMaster 02/12/2104

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