Pink Muscles -The Signal

There is no denying that 2017 has to date been a truly potent and exciting ignition of personal tastes and that success has just been given another lusty boost through the debut album from US noise punks Pink Muscles. Devouring the senses and imagination with raw hunger, The Signal is a psychosis of sound, an irritant of noise wrapped up in just as lustfully weird tales and quite irresistible.

Hailing from Seattle, Pink Muscles began as a solo project for guitarist/vocalist Marshall McLaughlin. Exploring his unique vision of sound and songwriting, he recorded the Upper Body Strength demo in 2014 before exploring the bringing together of a full line-up which saw the addition of guitarist Eric Elliott, bassist Lee Newman, recently replaced by Stuart Dahlquist (Goatsnake, Sunn O))), Asva), and drummer Janet Trares (Hell’s Belles) in 2016. Their uncompromising fusion of punk and noise rock with a cauldron of other fiercely rapacious flavours from hardcore to thrash and death metal soon found a powerful presence on the local live scene, the quartet having played alongside the likes of The Dwarves, Author and Punisher, Dayglo Abortions, and Nasalrod over the past year. Now they are setting out on trespassing and infesting broader landscapes with The Signal, bringing something unique and fresh to a punk scene which in so many ways no longer boasts those attributes.

Artwork by Cindy Hepler

A concept album in spirit with its 14 “mini-horror films” springing stories of inter-dimensional monsters invading earth to end humanity, The Signal opens with Resumption and a one minute attack of psychotic punk with exotic spatial tendrils and mass vocal causticity, all splintered with warped bursts of sax amidst sonic turmoil. It is beautiful chaos, as addictive as it is disconcerting and the spark for even greater cacophonic alchemy within Teenage Rainbows. With McLaughlin as good as bullying ears with his great vocal presence, the song swings and mentally comes apart within seconds, its creative turbulence bred on caustic guitar riffs and crazed hooks as strings are violently twanged and beats antagonistically swung in another swift off-kilter assault akin to Botch making out with The Locust.

Infestopus invades next, its earthy groove and bestial riffs making a barbarous invitation to a web of sonic loco and scuzzy goodness again as fleeting as a deep breath and just as rewarding before Star Grove unleashes it’s animalistic instincts; guitars and bass going on a murderous rampage as beats damage and bullish vocals arouse. There is a touch of Lightning Bolt to the song, a little bit Melvins too but a savaging individual to Pink Muscles as it corrupts and incites on its uninterrupted way to the waiting humans into insects pharmacy of The Man at the End of My Street. In many ways, the album becomes even more deranged and imagination gripping from this track on. Its thumping beats certainly leave the same scars as its predecessors, but there is a more abstract structure to the weave of colluding and contrasting textures making up the outstanding bughouse. The swarm of guitar trespassing ears is a toxic delight whilst vocals, as the nastily brooding tones of the bass, are a mix of predation and animosity, it all pure addiction sparking.

Black Market Tampons is next, a cosmic horrorshow of “demonic male pregnancy and magic tampons” seducing and corroding the senses. Imagine the dementia of Pere Ubu, the inspiring discord of The Fire Engines, and the punk ferocity of Today Is The Day, and you have a treat of a song if still not quite accurate of its ingenuity.

The haywire webbing of Battery Acid is even more exhilarating; guitars spinning a trap of sonic violation as rhythms tenaciously grumble and impose while vocals paint a giant arachnophobia fear fest. As all tracks, within the carnal exploits there is an infectious air which quickly steals the passions though offering its most virulent strain in this one of the album’s major highlights; a peak quickly rivalled by the visceral climate and drama of Party at Murder Beach. The track is a gripping slab of punk ‘n’ roll with a voracious swing and swagger which alone is a submission giving temptation while The Egg Lady infests and infects ears and imagination with its own certifiable bedlam and theatre of sound and invention.

I Wrote This Song With My Father’s Guitar stems from the instrument McLaughlin inherited from his late father, the inspiration to his exploration of music, and provides fifty odd seconds of insatiable punk rock which simply hits the spot before aurally venomous The Master and Officers of the Universe with its feral dynamics and textures hungrily ravage, savage, and ignite all over again. All three bring a new lust for the album to rise, Heaven is for Real backing them up with its cantankerous wall of sound and vocal ruthlessness; the track a real beast of a proposal.

Bringing the album to a close, Mouth House grabs favourite song honours though with its nefarious air and intoxication of flavours. Playing with the imagination like an aberrantly unhinged merger of Essential Logic, Boris, and Shellac, the track is intrusive bliss building up to a scorching cacophony leaving a lasting imprint on ears and pleasure.

The Signal is the announcement of a new noise punk treat in town and quickly showing that Pink Muscles have much more than that slim tag to their imagination and beef. Another must for 2017 we say.

The Signal is out now @ https://pinkmuscles.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.facebook.com/pinkmuscles/

Pete RingMaster 09/05/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Fashion Week – So Last Season

Like the fall out and indeed initial impact of the detonation of a nuclear device, the sound of US noise mongers Fashion Week is a ravenous inescapable scourge feasting on flesh and senses. Debut album Prêt-à-Porter was savagely enjoyable proof of the fact, its release on Solar Flare Records a testing and thrilling examination of body and emotions. Now two years after its scorching eruption, the band has released So Last Season. A coming together of rare and unreleased material, including Fashion Week’s first demo, two EPs, live tracks and a couple of covers, the album oversees the birth of the band and its growth in sound right up to that first inimitable album.

Founded in 2009 by vocalist/guitarist Joshua Lozano (Inswarm, Jarboe, Cobalt, Family, Shai Hulud, Vampillia), NYC hailing Fashion Week quickly drew eager attention with their diverse, melody tinged swarms of noise. Taking inspiration from the diverse likes of Unsane, Coalesce, and Botch through to Nirvana, Dinosaur Jr, Melvins, and Quicksand with plenty more embraced under their creative wing, Fashion Week soon sculpted their own distinctive dirty sound as evidenced by first EP, Applicator in 2011 and its successor Coextinction #11 two years after. Prêt-à-Porter was the wake-up call to broad attention which the striking re-emergence of earlier and rare material courtesy of So Last Season can now only reinforce.

The album opens with the three tracks which made up Coextinction #11, songs the band were invited to record for the internet label of Unsane’s Dave Curran, Coextinction Recordings. The raw, at times almost carnal assault of Heroin Chic is first. As nagging citric guitars and a gloriously grumbling bass instantly descend, an underlying melodic lure simmers and brews, subsequently taking its central spot in the grungy smog of sound. Warm vocals spring from within the addictive assault, welcoming yet as edgy as the intimidatingly voracious sounds around them.

Andrew Cunanan follows, its rural harmonica shared comeliness soon a tempest of hungry rhythms and greedy riffs with that snarling bass again addictive bait alongside the furnace of voice and guitar. As its predecessor though, melody and restraint get involved, hand in hand prowling the senses as the former laces seductively wiry grooves. The track is pure magnetism, a trait matched in strength by God Save McQueen. Its hardcore rapacity smothers ears before twisting them with a web of flavours all bleeding aural and emotional tartness.

The brief rabid attacks of both Fab and Smyze follow; two live cuts which infest body and psyche with their caustic holler and predatory sonic trespass with the second a beast of a proposal stalking the listener with its sludge bred intent. Their debilitating prowess is followed by a cover of the Helmet track, I Know. A calmer affair with harmonies instantly slipping their invitation into the more fractious draw of guitars and bass, the song flirtatiously twists and swings like a primal seductress, never moving out of second gear but only increasing its siren-esque appeal with each enterprising second.

The next three tracks come from un-released EP Little Black Dress which seemed to have been pushed aside as the band worked on Prèt-â-Porter. Lydian Hearst dances with discontent and melancholic charm first, melodies a sombre enticement and rhythms a truculent incitement though they too develop a vibrant if filth lined swing led by the ever gnarly bass. With Lozano’s vocals a plaintively bracing squall, a squall in time joined by a tamer presence, the track boils in touch and temptation before So Last Season unveils its abrasive grunge clad pop ‘n’ roll on the table. The song is a spiral of contrasts, like a maelstrom of Converge, Sofy Major, and Melvins, and as imposingly catchy as it is greedily corrosive.

The following Little Black Dress, featuring guest vocals from Dave Castillo, Kurt Applegate, and Tom Tierney, equally has infectiousness coursing irritable rock ‘n’ roll seeing bodies bouncing as the senses shrivel under vocal causticity and increasing sonic hostility, only to be re-animated by the spicy grooves entangling song and listener.

It would have been a crime if the EP had never seen the light of day, one of many major reasons to grab the album, a felony repeated if Rich Hallister, a song originally recorded for Prêt-à-Porter which the band eventually did not feel fitted, was not heard. It too is ferocity of noise and attitude with a virulent catchiness which enslaves ears and hips, rogue beats alone a busy temptation as vocals increasingly lose their grip on composure being matched by the growing bedlam of guitar.

With Vinny Signorelli of Unsane guesting on drums, Fashion Week takes on his band’s track Only Pain next. A potent mix of sample and keys draw the listener into the waiting doomscape of sound and emotion, Lozano searing it with his raw throated delivery backed by the equally apocalyptic and melancholic roar and melodic suggestion of guitars. It is a compelling take on a great track arguably giving an even grittier and rawer aspect to its emotionally decayed antipathy.

The digital version of So Last Season is completed by the re-mastered version of the band’s original demo, Applicator, which also comes as an additional 7” with a vinyl edition of the album. Beginning with the rusty hues of Fierce, the four tracks making up the release are the heart and seeds of Fashion Weeks’ current sound, the source of uncompromising intent and endeavour making up the impressive stature of Prêt-à-Porter. The track is undiluted sonic threat and emotional turmoil, a vat of creative rancor matched by that festering within the equally corrosive and catchy Heidi Klum and the hook wired Bryant Park, the second a web of guitar woven tempting and intrigue wonderfully sullied by Lozano’s flesh grazing vocal deliver and increasingly ruinous vitriol.

Completed by the hardcore scourge of Fabulous, the track pure venom in noise and presence, So Last Season is a must for newcomers to the band, for those who missed out on their earlier assaults and noise rock victims as a whole.

So Last Season is available now @ https://www.fashionweek.bandcamp.com/album/so-last-season

https://www.facebook.com/FashionWeekBand       https://fashionweeknoise.com/

Pete RingMaster 29/03/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

False Flags – Hexmachine

artwork_RingMaster Review

Casting belligerent revelry in a tempest of hardcore, punk metal, and noise rock within debut EP Hexmachine, UK quartet False Flags quickly suggest they are a raging on the ear that giving attention to can only be rewarding. It is a five track causticity loaded with noise infested hooks and discordance fuelled enterprise that snarls and gnaws on the senses with a combination of familiar and fresh ferocity. Major surprises are scarce, originality in some ways slim, but fair to say band and release stir up a very healthy appetite for their uncompromising persuasion of sound and intent.

Hailing from Leeds, False Flags emerged from the ashes of Red Stars Parade, Whores Whores Whores, and Year of the Man some when around 2011. Drawing on inspirations from bands such as Unsane, Breather Resist, Botch, and Coalesce, False Flags saw its members exploring new avenues for their hardcore bred ideation and adventure; better explained by guitarist Charles Pritchard, “after the break-ups of our previous bands in Leeds and all previously being friends from the DIY scene here, we wanted to form a band that took influence more from the noise rock / discordant hardcore end of the spectrum.” It was an aim soon finding success and a quickly growing following to a live presence which including sharing stages with the likes of Noothgrush, Narrows, and Envy. Long anticipated, Hexmachine is their first studio unleashing, a fierce roar on broader spotlights which more than lives up to the buzz their shows have bred.

The EP erupts with Earl Black, the opener emerging from a distant sonic haze in a brawl of thumping rhythms and caustic sonic violation. It is an assault bound in an infectious tenacity and lure too even though the vocals of Chris Jenkinson are throat raw, every syllable bearing the blood of his vocal chords as around him the guitars twist a mesh of flavours from punk to metal to heavy rock. Pritchard’s fingers keep song and imagination busy with his prowess on string as too the dark bass tempting of Mark Snellgrove, his prowling invention superbly aligned to the scything swings of drummer Mike McGoran. First impression of the track is strong, second great with it further impressing with each subsequent play.

The same applies to the following Last Screen Goddess. It makes a bolder entrance, beats badgering ears from its first breath as riffs and grooves entwine in a web of temptation. More predatory in gait and energy than its predecessor, the track is a cantankerous involvement which again only becomes more compelling over time. It is probably fair to say that it lacks the same imagination as the first song in the bulk of its body but saves that for a passage where everything twists around each other in a riveting and bruising noise infested trespass of the senses. Satisfaction is only left full across its bellow and filled again by the confrontation of Fate (Has a Driver). Like a blaze seeded in Sofy Major like rock ‘n’ roll and the scarring contagion of The Great Sabatini, the track heftily pleases; its grooves and bass rabidity especially incendiary sparking an even greedier appetite by this point.

Pet Wolf sculpts its barbarous infestation of air and ears from a similar canvas to the last song but turns it into a much more volcanic and volatile proposition veined by southern hued, sludge coated grooves. Bass and drum endeavour is as bewitching and punishing as the sonic incursion courtesy of the guitar, it all led by the harsh vocal and lyrical devilment. It is a great bullying which continues in the noise/punk inferno of Namedropper. Once more contagious hooks and flaming grooves join barbarous rhythms and vocal abrasion to create an assault as addictive as it is debilitating.

From one great track to another as Phone My Wallet brings Hexmachine to a rousing and brutal end, the track a bedlam of tasty repetitive grooves and intrusive hooks amidst a raging storm of voice, rhythms, and intensity. It sums up the False Flags sound in one invasive blow and ensures the EP leaves on a lofty plateau.

With a want for a touch more bold originality and diversity to Hexmachine the only slight wish of the EP it is an impressive and thoroughly enjoyable introduction to False Flags. With their pedigree and open talent, it already feels like the emergence of a unique character to their sound is on the cards; another reason to be confidently excited by the band.

Hexmachine is available from November 20th @ http://falseflags.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/falseflags   https://twitter.com/falseflags

Pete RingMaster 20/11/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Eleanora – EP

Eleanora

Fresh from their impressive appearance on a 10” vinyl split with Amenra this past April, Belgium quintet Eleanora unleash their own provocation simply called EP. Comprising two of the fiercest, sonically disabling, passion drenched incitements possible, the release reinforces an already feisty buzz around the band whilst unleashing another healthily gripping onslaught of their emerging might. It is raw and uncompromising, a voracious intrusion from the Ghent band’s inspiring recipe crafted from intensive sludge and hostile hardcore, and though not the easiest of listens undoubtedly an experience which leaves an invigorating impression.

Consisting of Mathieu Joyeux, Jeroen De Coster, Christophe De Ridder, Stijn Witdouck, and Robin Broché, Eleanora boils up a rage which has plenty to satisfy the wants of fans to the likes of the aforementioned Amenra and Amera through to others such as Converge, Botch, and Isis. Fifteen maelstrom driven minutes across two tracks, their release is prime lyrical and sonic causticity starting with the outstanding Mammon. From within a sonic veil which intensifies with swift hunger, guitars and vocals roar to score ears and graze senses. It is a brutal entrance driven by fearsomely antagonistic rhythms and quickly established acidic grooves which inflame the imagination and emotions. It is a tempestuous enticement but one with virulence pouring from every aspect of its bait, riffs and vocals a scourge upon the senses and the evocative grooving an ungracious but compelling seducing. As expected venom and bile oozes from the provocation, indeed flowing profusely from the vitriolic vocal squalls as syllables and raw passion burn with every outpouring. It is the hooks and grooves though which set the track apart, their similarly malicious intent and potency a tempering and psyche colouring temptation to the sonic and rhythmic violence. It is a tremendous fury and almost alone makes Eleanor a protagonist destined to be under eager scrutiny.

The second song on the release is Amenable, an equally bruising and breath-quenching assault. Its abrasing start flickers with sonic flames and portentous rhythms smothered in the heavy dark tones of bass. It makes for a dramatic and thickly emotive introduction which permeates ears and pores with a doom bred, sludge fuelled oppressiveness. Though not as enslaving and addictively attractive as its predecessor, the track instantly captivates the imagination and provides a torturous canvas for its ideation and invention to colour. A nagging repetitious crawl emerges early on too, its immoveable persistence adding to the tenacious enmity soaking every note and scathing vocal sprawl smothering the listener. Funereal in gait and ravenous in intent, the track is a masterful hypnotic persuasion, a pestilential predator bringing the EP to an impressive conclusion.

The release is sure to bring a new impetus and hunger to the acclaim already gathering around Eleanora and take the band into a sharper focused spotlight. It is early days but easy to predict that this is a band set to bring a new fire and appetite to [post] hardcore inspired intensive sludge rock/metal.

The Eleanora EP is available via Consouling Sounds and @ http://eleanoramusic.bandcamp.com/album/ep

http://www.facebook.com/eleanoramusic

8.5/10

RingMaster 20/06/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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The Great Sabatini: Matterhorn

The new EP from Canadian grind metalers The Great Sabatini leaves a dirty big permanent indentation on the senses and psyche that is as welcome as it is destructive and intrusive. Matterhorn is no release to get your quick fix of infectious and undemanding pleasures from for it is a crippling, desensitising, and cruel intrusion that is far more rewarding and extensively satisfying. The EP leaves one grasping for a safety point, a ledge to use for some resemblance of security but the  eight tracks that make up the release only whip  away the balance and sure footing time and time again. It is not an easy listen but it deeply exhilarating and worth every single violation it delights in swamping its recipients with.

Formed in 2007 the Montreal quartet of Steve, Sean, Rob, and Joey (Sabatini) create sounds that have found themselves drenched in or pulled from the combined might of grindcore, math metal, sludge, noise rock, and progressive metal. They then twist them into a precise yet seemingly chaotic and openly oppressive dehabilitating corruption or as they call it and themselves, “swamp trench arithmetic.” Their first year saw the release of their debut EP Burning Wilderness and plenty of shows plus a coast to coast Canadian tour the following year, early evidence of the band work ethic. First album Sad Parade of Yesterdays arrived late 2009 supported by a North America tour, the band all the while picking up a formidable underground following and acclaim. Over the past years they have supported the likes of Coliseum, Today is the Day, Fuck the Facts, Threat Signal, Psyopus, and Bionic gaining further momentum if not yet the breakthrough their sounds deserve. The 7” single Napoleon Sodomite of last year accompanied what is an insatiable gigging regime the band seems to have but it is with Matterhorn that one feels they might at last find their deserved place in the attention and thoughts of the bigger musical world to stand nearer to the likes of Unsane, Today Is The Day, Botch and Converge.

Released through No List Records, Matterhorn attaches itself to the ear with rumbling riffs and a predatory bass in the opening City Limits. Soon it sidesteps in pace and tone into a caustic and intimidating questioning of the senses. It is a thick and muggy assault that takes its time like a jabbing boxer, finding the weak spot and bruising it with a towering intensity and seismically sonic probing. The vocals are coarse and intrusive to combine with the not so much brutal but heavily demanding sounds.

Zacios follows with again an opening fingering and teasing of the already inflicted wounds. Once inside it quickens its energy with concussive rhythms and a groove that winds tighter and tighter around its victim. It is raw with the baritone bass licking its lips as it prowls the song and the guitars cutting through with direct and intrusive melodic acidity. Nothing is clear cut in sound or intent with everything coated in feedback and filth dripping distortion but nor is it impossible to hear and enjoy the individual elements that make up the tsunami of intensity, the production perfectly appreciative and understanding of the sound.

The band throws one off kilter a little with Invisible Door, or rather lulls one into a sense of relief with its ambient soothing and beautiful yet disturbed atmosphere. With an emotive piano leading the way with estranged sampled voices and a marvellous distressed sax in the background the song takes one to a back street world, a place of shadows which then suddenly lurch out from the brilliant Null And Void. The song is the highlight of the release, muscular, threatening and opposingly vibrant, the track a persistent aggressor that leaves a breathless and grinning wasted wreck in its wake.

The closing duo of songs Wagons and Sad Parade of Yesterdays finish things up just as impressively. The first introduces itself with an ethnic like beckoning before expanding into a scorched mesh of incisively cutting guitars and overwhelming impactful energy. The closing ten minute Sad Parade of Yesterdays is the most impressive if not the favourite on Matterhorn. The track reflects the EP title in its massive heights of quality and invention from the band. The most progressive and stirringly open song it brings all the impressive elements of the band to a full and breathtaking journey.

Matterhorn is accompanied by free digital release The Royal We EP produced by Topon Das of Fuck the Facts which offers more of the same excellent and challenging sounds. The Great Sabatini takes your senses and thoughts to leave them floundering, whimpering and enthralled not to mention deeply satisfied.

RingMaster 21/04/2012

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