Exes For Eyes – Of Strength And Sorrow

Since the release of their previous album in 2014, Canadian metallers Exes For Eyes have been on a hiatus of sorts but now they have returned with a new collection of tracks which not only enhance their established reputation but push it to a loftier height. Of Strength And Sorrow is a fury of bold adventure and eager enterprise, a release also relishing a greater diversity and imagination in the band’s sound whilst making for one striking encounter.

Ontario hailing, Exes For Eyes was borne from the musical vision and creativity of Dave Sheldon (ex. Man With Target, Annihilator) and the lyrical conception of vocalist Big James (Stab.Twist.Pull, Endast, Authors). Previous well-received releases proved an enticing cauldron of multi-flavoured metal endeavour with a progressive bent but the time between the previous Tongues Like Figure Eights and Of Strength And Sorrow has seen it grow, mature, and immerse in greater imagination without losing almost feral instincts.

Their new album opens with the outstanding Build, Work, Dream, Create; a track which if standing alone in major temptation would have brought the full-length strong praise. One of our favourite moments of the year so far, the song immediately launches itself with an irresistible groove within a barbarous but effortlessly contagious surge. It is eager enticement which continues to tempt and manipulate as vocals expel their intent and prowess with raw emotive discontent. The track is superb, groove and death metal essences colluding in its tempestuous roar, every second a cauldron of virulent enterprise and ferocity.

It is a thrilling start which Memories That Last follows and backs with its own inferno of rapacious sound and ear grabbing imagination. More uncompromising by the minute the track provided a quickly testing and swiftly rewarding proposal as imagination fuelled its every invasive throe before the song drifted away and the predatory presence of The Metal forcibly prowled. It was an initial stalking which subsequently erupted into a ruthless trespass, its stroll continuing to menace and bully as the band’s imagination flourished and shaped one enthralling assault marked with individual prowess.

Nothing Ever Satisfies in contrast provides a calm but just as enticing invitation, at least initially as the guitar’s melodic coaxing soon becomes a cyclone of resolute sound and voice around another irresistible collusion of grooves and hooks. A rival for the opener, the track continued to enthral and arouse as its turbulence fed off the mercurial volatility in its heart and roar; submission to its creative appropriation willing and inevitable.

Featuring Trey Xavier of In Virtue, The Fire Inside My Head entangled ears in another spiral of wiry grooves and rhythmic motivation straight after. It is an opening which intensifies by the breath, vocals adding to the attention grabbing pestering before the sonic wind drops and the bass brings its funk instincts to bear. That is just the invitation to a new progressive sigh of imagination laced with a slight Hed(PE) hue and another alluring aspect to the fascinating encounter. With keys providing perpetual intimation throughout, the song’s tempest ignites again; the cycle repeating with richer temptation.

Through the fierce yet melodically elegant Set It All On Fire and The Savage Self with its savagely contagious trespass, album and band only accentuated their expectation squashing prowess; both songs relishing the progressive bent in the songwriting and imagination of Exes For Eyes. It is also fair to say that both songs as most around them flourish with closer and continued attention, new textures and layers of enterprise emerging from within their masterfully sculpted furores, next up I Miss My Friends (Too Many Of Them Are Dead) reaffirming that quality as its solemn and melancholic beginnings inspire a melodic pyre of dexterity and guile within a voracious if mercurial landscape of uncompromising encroachment.

The likes of Hold On with its two chaptered proposal, the first as respectful and catchy as the other is invasive and confrontational, and the resourcefully animated True Self Reckoning ensure the album’s grip remained tight, their successor, Love, with Pepe Poliquin of BornBroken guesting matching their strengths with its own contemptuous strike, one which at times is melodically seductive and progressively illuminated.

Of Strength And Sorrow concludes with firstly Get The Fuck Out Of My Head which as keys haunt from its first sigh while rhythms simply enticed, both continuing to enthral as emerging drama and dark deeds rise, emerged another excellent track within the album. Methuselah follows one stirring moment with its own rousing presentation of invention and imagination, in many ways summing up the variety and adventure of the band’s sound in its own capricious multi-flavoured and dramatic body.

Though Of Strength and Sorrow had us hooked from the start it is right to say that the depth, layers, and expanse of its qualities and persuasion was only greater tapped with subsequent ventures into its increasingly and imposingly impressive body. Quite simply, Exes For Eyes are back and creatively deadlier than ever.

Of Strength and Sorrow is out now and available @ https://www.exesforeyes.com/

Pete RingMaster 20/08/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Ummagma – Compass

Though any Ummagma release is welcomed with eager intrigue and anticipation by us among a great many the recent Caravan single raised the ante for the band’s new album with its captivation soaked release. The fact, though we have had numerous singles and EPs between, that Compass comes a lengthy seven years after its same day released two predecessors only added to the excitement coated suspense. What the duo’s third full-length offers is their most eclectic and rousing collection of tracks and quite simply their finest most exhilarating moment to date.

The pair of Canadian Shauna McLarnon and Ukraine hailing Alexander Kretov embraces everything from shoegaze, dream and synth pop to electronic and rock driven imagination with plenty more in the abundant enterprise of their new encounter. it is a release and collection of songs though which still revel in the atmospheric and ambient dreamscapes the Ontario based pair has earned thick acclaim and a potent reputation for. The album’s first single suggested that the Ummagma sound had evolved to a whole new tapestry of adventure and diversity, a bold aural kaleidoscope now confirmed and taken across a compelling array of individually and uniquely fresh landscapes by Compass.

The album opens up with Rolling and instantly infests the senses with its animated funk incited rhythms. Hitting its joyous stride soon after, the track bounces along dragging the listener to their feet, Kretov’s vocals a ringleader to the boisterous escapade. With its Talking Heads meets Dalek I Love You like shuffle, the track gets the release off to a thrilling start, one more than accentuated by successor Caravan.

The second track similarly had attention and instincts alive with its rhythmic introduction alone, bold tenacious beats a tribal intimation within the suggestive sonic vegetation that surround them. With body and imagination swiftly enslaved, McLarnon’s ever siren tones warmly caress as the song expands its scenically melodic emprise while the alternating blend of the duo’s voices only adds to the cinematic lure and enticing climate of the exceptional encounter.

Otherwise is next up, the song sharing another individual clime of sound and flavour as Caribbean-esque hues gently but firmly trot within an evolving dream pop serenade. More than ever it proved so easy to sink into the soundscapes of Ummagma as within just three songs Compass had unveiled a new plateau of craft, imagination, and temptation; an enticement nagging at the senses as eagerly within the electronic ambience coloured LCD. With voices as much a lively texture as the sounds courting the same evocative space, the track swept across the senses to, if not quite to the same heights as its predecessors, strongly captivate.

Equally the dream nurtured pop of Elizabeth 44 proved a beacon of persuasion and manipulation, guiding hips and attention with a knowing smile as McLarnon again beguiled, while Blown straight after was swiftly under the skin through its opening indie strokes of guitar alone. As its atmosphere grew and thickened with crystalline synth tempting and a hazy breath the track only enhanced its hold especially as cosmopolitan shapes and melodic silhouettes came forth to dance with keen rhythms and conjuring imagination.

The following predominantly instrumental F-Talking is one of those Ummagma tracks which sparks a fresh inference upon the imagination with every listen, its ambient search and discovery enthralling and interpretation never concluded with successor Galicticon, a spatial float across an expansive melodic sky of equal intimation, just as potent on ears and thoughts.

The diverse character of Compass continues at pace with Lotus strolling in on a shoegaze swing as Kretov walks its wiry threads. There is a touch of Paul Haig to the excellent song which only adds to its rich presence as too a Cocteau Twins like seducing which makes for a similarly alluring essence within the pastoral summer of High Day that follows with matching fascination.

The pair of Colors II and Cretu ensures a fair share of the imagination is cast on their adventures too, the first a slice of indie rock with a folk meets post punk shading and the second an ambient glide across mercurial and unpredictable scenery, every instrumental second a dawning of new suggestive sights to captivate thoughts and senses.

The radiant Bouquet brings Compass to a mesmeric conclusion, its hug shadow clad yet brightly seductive and breath foreboding but rousing. It is an eagerly magnetic end to an album which charmed, tantalised and absorbed from start to finish with moments of creative rapture set in between. Ummagma just go from strength to strength, from bold adventure to striking imagination releases by release; Compass the indisputable proof.

Compass is out now via Leonard Skully Records; available @ http://ummagma.bandcamp.com/album/compass

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

Pete RingMaster 31/07/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Infrared – Back To The Warehouse

Pic By Gord Weber

The Back To The Warehouse EP sees Canadian thrashers Infrared releasing in their words “… the last of the old songs that we felt should see the light of day.” It comes as the band prepares to record a new album for an anticipated 2020 release and we can only agree that its 4 originals and one cover of an Iron Maiden song are certainly deserving of this rather enjoyable outing.

Ottawa hailing Infrared originally rose up back in the mid-eighties as the likes of Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax were shaping the attention on thrash metal. Embracing that Bay Area inspiration, Infrared released the R.I.P. EP in 1988 before going on an extended hiatus the following year. 27 years on the band united with original members in vocalist/guitarist Armin Kamal, guitarist Kirk Gidley, and drummer Alain Groulx recruiting bassist Mike Forbes to replace the other band founder, Shawn Thompson who had since those early days moved to Miami. A debut album in No Peace soon followed with its successor, Saviours, released last year.

Back To The Warehouse echoes that time when the Big 4 were driving thrash, the likes of Testament, Exodus, and SOD equally making an open inspiration to the tracks within it yet it has a freshness to its particularly individual nostalgia which is not out of place with anything new being cast by current thrashers.

The EP opens up with Meet My Standards and instantly hits its stride and groove as riffs and rhythms cast a familiar thrash incitement upon the senses. Its voracious swing just as urgently got under the skin, setting up body and appetite for the subsequent trespass of familiar yet as suggested freshly animated thrash enterprise. As arousing as its assault is there is also a predatory essence which particularly stalks the listener in certain moments before One Mouth Two Faces brings its own rapacious canter and character to the fore. Forbes’ bass particularly grabbed the appetite but no more than the insurgent riffs and intrepid wires of the guitars and Kamal’s potent tones, it all resulting in a track which easily splattered the spot.

Hate Today, Despise Tomorrow launches on another great rhythmic incitement from Groulx, his tenacious and galvanic dynamics sparking similar exploits in the exploits of Gidley and Kamal as the song expanded its infectious character and enterprise. With a Skids like tinge to its hooks and real individuality to the craft of the guitars, the song takes favourite track honours though it is soon seriously harassed for the title by the just as outstanding Animated Realities. With a punk-esque strain to its hooks and manic edge to its unpredictable nature, the song simply stirred the passions and a greed for more.

Infrared’s cover of Maiden’s Wrathchild is a sure and enjoyable proposition which fans of the latter will embrace with ease but against the prowess of the previous four songs just did not light the fires here. Even so it makes an alluring end to a great EP.

We admit Back To The Warehouse is our introduction to Infrared and we cannot help feeling that we have seriously missed out if the EP’s songs are the last of their arsenal deserving release.  As for the next Infrared album, it cannot come soon enough.

Back To The Warehouse is out now.

https://www.facebook.com/infraredmetal/   https://twitter.com/infraredmetal   http://infraredmetal.ca/

Pete RingMaster 21/06/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Ummagma – Caravan

This June sees the release of the first album in seven years from Ummagma and to herald its arrival whilst offering a rather delicious teaser the indie pop duo has just released the two track single Caravan. As ever the pair’s sound is as eclectic as it is evocative and as is the trend with atmospheric senses involving mastery the new single evokes and inspires the imagination to individual adventures alongside its own.

Emerging in 2003, Ummagma is the creative union of Canadian Shauna McLarnon and Ukraine hailing Alexander Kretov. Ontario based, the pair’s sound is an imaginative fusion of everything from dream pop and shoegaze to post-punk, indie, space rock and much more, it all immersed in a tapestry of ambient and electronic enterprise. The duo has regularly been compared to bands such as Cocteau Twins, Curve, and Daughter but as Caravan alone insists, references which only hint at rather than reveal the richness of the band’s music and imagination.

It is fair to say that our personal appetite to Ummagma’s music is constant but has flourished in varying strengths across their releases and ahead of that new album in Compass, has reached lustful greed courtesy of Caravan. The song instantly had ears gripped as drums set out their ridiculously hypnotic and rousing stroll. Atmospheric suggestion is just as swiftly at play with the imagination, its soundscape of warm wide plains blossoming with suggestive vegetation. McLarnon’s warm magnetic tones are also soon caressing ears as the song sweeps into a synth pop-esque canter, Kretov’s subsequent vocals just as tempting within the pair’s web of musical insistence.

The song is pure adventure, an intimate travelogue of intrigue, intimation, and craft which had the body bouncing and ears enthralled from start to finish.

Ty i Ya accompanies Caravan offering up its own individual temptation; one funk lined and eighties synth pop bred. There is something of Dalek I Love You to the song which only added to its quick appeal and it too brings an atmospheric cascade of enterprise and suggestion which mesmerised throughout even if with varying degrees of strength across its evocative landscape.  Ummagma is a band which is unafraid to push their boundaries and the imagination of others in unexpected ways, Ty i Ya proof it so often works a treat.

It is probably fair to say that any album, indeed release, from Ummagma is eagerly anticipated in numerous corners, Caravan ensures Compass will definitely be truly keenly awaited.

Caravan is out now through Leonard Skully Records; available @ https://ummagma.bandcamp.com/album/caravan with Compass released on June 21th also via Leonard Skully Records digitally, on black vinyl and on CD with artwork by Alexander Kretov.

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

Pete RingMaster 17/05/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Crawling and romancing the shadows with Gnostic Gorilla

Hailing from Toronto, Canada, Gnostic Gorilla is a dark electronic project which wears unpredictability as easily as imagination in its ear gripping sound. Recently we had the chance and pleasure to talk about the solo project with creator Dean Mason, exploring its origins and music amongst many things as well as picking at Dean’s thoughts about music in general.

Hello Dean and thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

Thank you. My pleasure!

Can you first introduce the project and give us some background to how it all started?

Sure. As a teenager, I began exploring the idea of recording music. I was of course a major day tripper…I mean…day dreamer. Hahahahaha! So I ventured out to record two songs, Dark Hallway and Golgotha for a single. I had some excellent musicians join me in the studio (Dave Davidson, Tony Bourdeau, Shaun Saunders and Chris Byrnes) and with the help of my parents I released the 45 rpm under the so called label name “Lonely Ghost Productions”. That was my first experiment with recording music. I left it at that and went to school to find some sort of career. In 2012, I returned to recording, as a hobby and recorded exclusively electronic music with a dark bent. (Gothic/Dark Wave/Industrial) I released a few singles on iTunes etc. and then in 2015 I released the first album (St. Basil’s Asylum) using the project name “Gnostic Gorilla”. Before that I was using the project name “The Lonely Ghost Project” but that changed once I learnt there was an American band called “The Lonely Ghost Parade”. I wanted to avoid confusion. So that’s a brief history of “Gnostic Gorilla”.

What inspired the name “Gnostic Gorilla”?

As I mentioned earlier, initially my project was called “The Lonely Ghost Project” but I changed it to “Gnostic Gorilla”. I had a song called Gnostic Gorilla (now renamed Eye for a Lie) and I decided to use that name for the project. The idea behind the name is a sort of convergence of two world views: the religious ‘creation’ story and Darwin’s theory of evolution. “Gnostic” means “knowledge” or “to know”. That is a reference to the “tree of knowledge”. Obviously, “Gorilla” is in reference to the idea that we evolved from some sort of ‘ape’ species (not specifically the Gorilla of course) and here we are. “Gnostic Gorilla” is not about Gnosticism as some may think.

Was there any specific idea behind the forming of the project and also in what you wanted it and your sound to offer?

In many ways a lot of it was allowing the creative process to dictate where I wanted the project to go and how I wanted to sound. I started off doing simply instrumental/soundtrack type recordings. Then I decided to try and do a complete song with lyrics/vocals. The first song I did as part of this new electronic music pursuit was a song called Requiem for the Prophet of Doom which was a tribute to Peter Steele of Type O Negative who passed away in 2010. There were two versions of that track. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEnSgqaI3JA & https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0N7Uxzg7ac

That was released under the name “Dean Mason of The Lonely Ghost Project”, as singles. Soon after this, I began to really become more interested in a sound that was more industrial and Gothic or Dark Wave and eventually after a few more singles I recorded St. Basil’s Asylum which is now rereleased by Cleopatra Records. Most of my music has been industrial or Gothic since then.

Do the same sparks still drive the project or have they evolved over time and equally since your early days, how would you say your sound has specifically evolved?

Sort of continuing on from the previous question…yeah…there was definitely an ‘evolution’ of sorts. I look back on what I did in 2012 and some of it doesn’t send me far, with the exception of Nietzsche’s Cyborg. I will always be proud of that song. It was a game changer. It’s on St. Basil’s Asylum even though it was recorded in the fall of 2012 and St. Basil’s Asylum was released in 2015 and then rereleased by Cleopatra Records in 2018. But back on track here, I guess for me, I became more interested in an abrasive and weird industrial sound. (Psalm for the Lost was actually more of a retro Goth/New Wave type deal though) My latest album, Freak’s Mind is in my opinion one of my strongest in many ways. The next album to be released by Cleopatra Records (Shaman Rave) will blow your socks off! Promise!

Has it been more of an organic movement of sound or more you deliberately wanting to try new things?

A bit of both… I don’t want to be boxed into a specific genre to be honest. So, I go through phases where I really like menacing and weird industrial and then other times I prefer a more velvety Goth or Doom Psychedelic type mood in my music. I have been inspired not only by other artists but also by some soundtracks like, the soundtrack for Sinister which is absolutely mind numbing! So sometimes I watch a movie like that or like Queen of the Damned and it gives me inspiration. So, yeah, there is an evolution of sorts but I never deviate too far from being a dark electronic act.

Presumably there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on your music but your approach to and ideas about creating and playing music?

Well, one of my first inspirations would be Gary Numan. I mean, I was a huge KISS fan when I was still in diapers hahaha …but Numan was the one that inspired me to consider doing my own thing in music. That said, I don’t write and record in the style of Numan. I owe more to Ministry, Skinny Puppy and Rammstein as far as recording style goes. I also am very much inspired by Peter Steele of Type O Negative and Jim Morrison of The Doors, especially for their unique lyrical style. Did you know that the first time the term ‘Goth or Gothic’ was used in reference to a rock band was when someone did a review of The Doors, the day after (or close anyway) that Morrison had met Andy Warhol? Anyway…I owe a lot of gratitude to Nash The Slash for being an inspiration as an indie artist as well.

Is there a certain process to your songwriting?

I usually begin a track with a general idea of the kind of mood/style I want to pursue. Then, usually, the song ends up being something totally different than want I first imagined. I usually start with either synth riffs/loops and/or beats/drum patterns and build from there. Kind of difficult to explain how a song evolves and usually I look back and think, “how did I even come up with this”?

… And where do you draw the inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs?

Many of my songs address the human struggle. I never write ‘love’ songs or ‘sex in the corvette’ songs…there are ample of those so …why compete right? I usually write in sort of ‘mystical’ story form. I use a lot of imagery and I allow the listener/reader (of lyrics) to decide for themselves what it means to them, even though I may have a specific idea in mind. I often use religious imagery and also imagery of ‘battles’ or ‘war’ but not in the sense that they are LITERALLY about armed combat. The imagery of ‘battle’ is more of an emotional/psychological journey of that inner struggle. I use a lot of religious imagery, but I don’t push ANY sort of religious point of view…for or against. Again, I let people decide for themselves what any song could mean. I address the issue of mental illness and depression and even the tendency for despair. I don’t encourage ‘despair’ but that experience of wondering where there is hope is quite universal. As well, I often, in veiled language, address the ‘tribalism’ that we humans seem to cling to. I have a real personal distaste for hatred of any kind and the world is full of that. Religious people bashing and rejecting others for being ‘different’ or of the ‘wrong tribe’ and all the bigotry and racism and all the phobias that still exist in a so called ‘evolved’ modern world. That ‘tribalism’ isn’t just from those of a religious persuasion but it also exists among ,many ‘atheists’ and ‘secularists’ who can be just as hateful towards those of the ‘other tribe’. We just don’t know how to leave each other be do we?! Hatred of any kind is for the birds. Wait…not even the birds want it!

Give us some background to your latest release.

The latest release is Freak’s Mind. It’s very abrasive and weird and even at times ‘gothadelic’ (a term coined by Peter Steele by the way). That album is the album that wasn’t supposed to be. I never really wanted to record anything new but one song at a time, and I ended up recording an album’s worth of dark wave/industrial/Gothic madness and I’m really proud of this album. It touches on all those subjects I mentioned earlier. Womb To The Tomb is one of my favourites on that album. It’s a strange combo of wild 60’s psychedelic with raging industrial sounds. Veil is a powerful song, which was recorded in 2013 actually. It’s a good album and I’m not the type that easily says things like that about my own music.

Could you give us some insight to the themes behind it and its songs?

Womb to The Tomb is about the cycle of life more or less, but also looks at the life of a corrupt village and all its citizens, including the powerful who take advantage and the victims who are taken advantage of. It’s kind of inspired by modern day events, without being specific. Chaos Frankenstein is sort of a ‘mystical’ telling of conflict and chaos and suffering and deception. Finally, (I won’t dissect every song) Freak’s Mind, the title track, is more or less about someone struggling with some sort of psychological or emotional turmoil.

Tell us about the live side to the band?

At present, Gnostic Gorilla is not planning on any live shows. I’d need to lasso a bunch of musicians to do that and I don’t see it happening. I don’t think so anyway…Maybe a one off someday.

It is not easy for any new act/artist to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it your neck of the woods? Are there the opportunities to make a mark if the drive is there for new bands/artists?

You’re so right. It’s not easy. I mean, as far as having an impact is concerned. It’s a different world… a different industry and there are many factors that make it very difficult to make a dent anywhere, even locally…especially if you’re in a bigger city. Technology and the age of communication (social media) make it so that anyone can set themselves up and do music and even videos and put it out there. It makes for a VERY clogged reality in cyberspace. There is SO much out there. Everyone wants to be considered the next big thing…Fair game. But here’s the thing, it’s all been done. After KISS and Sabbath, and Manson and Depeche Mode and Numan and NIN, Slipknot, Cradle of Filth, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Ice T, Eminem, Shaggy, Run DMC etc. …how does one come up with a unique style? I don’t want to be a pessimist but let’s be realistic. It’s VERY difficult to make a dent because it’s almost impossible to snap people out of an oversaturated “yawn…I’ve seen it all before” mindset. You can’t impress people easily. You can barely shock people unless you are involved in some sort of controversy or are pretty like a Barbie/Ken doll. Legends/pioneers are no longer being made and I know that would piss a lot of people off to hear that, but it’s true. As for my own situation, I must confess that as I proud Canadian, I am very unimpressed with the way I’ve been treated by the reps/labels in Canada. I have a label deal with Cleopatra Records (LA) for two albums, a deal with KL-Dark Records in Germany and Nowhere Now Records in Australia and have never even received a reply from the Canadian labels I sent music to. Kind of disappointing but I guess they’re all waiting for the second coming or RUSH or Justin Bieber or Gordon Lightfoot.

How has the internet and social media impacted on your project to date? Do you see it as something destined to become a negative from a positive as the project grows and hopefully gets increasing success or is it more that bands/artists struggling with it are lacking the knowledge and desire to keep it working to their advantage?

As I said before, the world has changed dramatically in more ways than one. The internet and social media have forever changed MANY things, not just music. Look at what it’s done to the world of politics! (not always for the better) Even the Pope has a presence on social media. Hahahaha. But more specifically related to the music industry…it’s a mixed bag I suppose. It’s great to promote one’s music/art but also you’re not the only one doing it. Millions are doing it. With regards to the reality of ‘streaming’ though, as an example…that too is a combination of blessing and curse. What’s happening is people don’t feel like buying music is even a concept. It’s not their fault. It’s the way things evolved. (There’s that word again…hahahaha) Younger people grew up knowing nothing else and so, even the concept of music as art is kind of challenged. It’s rarely seen as ‘art’ and just part of the regular noise and scenery of cyberspace all mixed in with the latest ‘app’. It’s like music is there for the taking the way fruit on trees is there for the taking…it’s just a part of the way life goes. It’s all there to snatch and rarely pay much more than a standard monthly fee or something and have unlimited music. Hey, I do it myself, so I’m not criticizing. Also, it needs to be said, with reference to struggling artists: there are also different organizations that promise ‘hi-fi mega stardom’ for a fee! Some of these take advantage of artists, even some of the big labels have jumped on that bandwagon. Don’t get me wrong, there are some decent, honest organizations that genuinely want to assist struggling artists, but there are also a lot of vultures out there cashing in on Wendy and Charlie’s dreams of “making it”. I guess in the end, like anything else, it’s what you do with it right? Maybe it’s just another challenge for artists to be creative, even with regards to promoting and marketing.

Once again a big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?

It is I who thank you! All I can say is that if you are a struggling artist…be true to the art, to being creative. I know that sounds like hippie bullshit, but it’s true. As soon as your goal is to become a ‘celebrity’ you’re setting yourself up for deception. Don’t dream about being a ‘star’. Instead, be creative and express yourself and be true to yourself…regardless of who does and who doesn’t approve. The rest will follow because in the end, authenticity speaks louder than the need to be ‘worshipped’. That’s what I believe.

Explore Gnostic Gorilla further @ https://www.facebook.com/gnosticgorilla/

Also grab your copy of the Various Artists Compilation album, Nowhere Now Volume 2 on Nowhere Now Records @ https://nowherenowrecords.bandcamp.com/album/nowhere-now-volume-2    featuring Last Call (Heed The Drones) by Gnostic Gorilla

Pete RingMaster 12/04/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Slug Comparison – When You Were Living Here

Definitely more a wave than a tingle of anticipation exploded when Dutch label, Rock Company, sent a bundle of their latest and forthcoming releases over to us for consideration. Pretty much the sole reason with respect to all artists put forward being the fact it included the new album from Slug Comparison, a proposition which had seduced ears and ardour so totally through a debut full-length and subsequent EP. There was also a tinge of disappointment at the realisation that we had missed a trio of subsequent EPs; investigation showing a combination of technology fail and not being sent them. It was a niggle swiftly dissolved as When You Were Living Here brings all four previous EPs together with new tracks to offer a festival of sound and beauty from one of the world’s most magnetic and rousing songwriters.

Slug Comparison is the solo project of vocalist/guitarist Doug Harrison of Canadian progressive rockers Fen. The release of his first album, the eagerly acclaimed Trails Out Of Gloom in 2014, brought an enthralling collection of tracks which seemed to knowingly tap into personal thoughts, experiences, and desires. That fusion of intimacy and an instinct for contagious imagination and enterprise was even more intense and seductive within the IIa EP of 2017. The new release reveals that the following EPs were just as rich and potent as too are the brand new tracks gracing the first truly majestic and irresistible treat of 2019.

The Slug Comparison sound is similarly nurtured within the progressive rock heart which Fen embraces but Harrison draws on a seemingly leaner but soon proving itself broader palette of sound. Acoustic and electric dexterity entangle with a craft and infectiousness which easily beguiles and invigorates. There is an energy and snappiness to his melody thick ballads and affectionate intimate warmth to tracks with eager boisterousness. As album opener, exactly what to do, epitomises, all songs with their instinctive catchiness share a confidentiality and affinity to creator and listener. The track swings in on a tenacious but controlled stride wrapped in instantly magnetic strands of guitar. The song’s lures only intensify as its rock ‘n’ roll welcomes the ever captivating tones of Harrison and his web of melodiously thick grooves and hooks. A grungy rapacity brings even greater flavour to the contagious theatre gripping ears and imagination, the track always a big favourite at The RR since its appearance upon the IIa EP blossoming further as the introduction to When You Were Living Here.

The following hyperslump arrives with its own individual swing, a trait all tracks carry in their particular gaits and guises. Again a melody just slips from the guitar like fine wine as vocals alluringly unveil the heart of song and writer. There is no escaping the virulent bounce infesting feet and hips, nor locking into its conflict of desire and obstacle as hook and melody ensnare with almost predatory prowess before let some light nestles in ears with acoustic tempting aligned to dark rhythmic intimation. Emotion clad reflection escapes Harrison’s throat just as suggestively, it all uniting in a masterful flame burning into a heated roar as the song’s chorus flourishes in perpetually infectious temptation.

Alone all three tracks make When You Were Living Here a fascinatingly essential proposal with the added guest contributions from the likes of guitarist Sam Levin (Fen), bassist Mike Young (The Devin Townsend Band), Randall Stoll (Congenital Fixation, KD Lang), Jeff Caron (Fen), Nando Polesel (Fen), Dave Young (Devin Townsend) and others add craft and spicing to these and other songs.

Drama lines every note and syllable of next up fine with it, but a theatre of the heart which smoulders within the track’s calm yet fiery rock breath while thoughts offers a relaxed stroll but with an edge to its tone and thought which comes from Harrison’s inner angst. There is an anxiety to each track which easily aligns to their contagiousness as epitomised in the second of the two, the track maybe relatively reserved but as virally catchy as a cold and with its predecessor alone showing that Harrison is as compelling a vocalist and musician as he is a songwriter.

Two tracks within When You Were Living Here are dedicated to the memory of Eric Rose, “Harrison’s former roommate, friend, and creative accomplice”, the first in the album’s title track coming next with the second, beings far away, coming a few tracks later. Both are pure beauty soaked in enchanting melancholy; when you were living here a haunting almost dream like embrace which just touches thoughts and heart, essences even more intense within beings far away, it too a ballad of pensive sadness bound in love and joyful respect  which incited a lump in the throat even before knowing its inspiration.

In between, the folkish canter of becoming seduced, its smouldering persuasion inescapable manipulation, and the raw edge rock ‘n’ roll of so ya got a great guitar aroused; both tracks a galvanic persuasion in their unique ways impossible not to lend one’s own exploits too. The latter has something of a Fen snarl to it but only a hue to Harrison’s own design and irritable release.

Bringing further fresh shades and temptation to album and ears, hold of you gently smooches with the senses next, its acoustic contemplation and musing Simon and Garfunkel tinged, whilst the closing pair of purple monkey and one more step respectively beset the imagination and appetite with unfeigned evocative beauty and stirringly animated enterprise amidst almost untamed rock adventure.

They conclude an album that simply aroused body, spirit and soul. The music got under the skin as the lyrical explorations sparked thoughts and heart as if Harrison was tapping into one’s own psyche. When You Were Living Here is simply intimate splendour with melodic nobility sure to be deserving of every ounce of attention and acclaim it will inevitably garner.

When You Were Living Here is out now through Rock Company and also available @ https://slugcomparison.bandcamp.com/

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

Pete RingMaster 20/01/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Living in the flames of Vaya

“Her spirit is screaming and blowing on the stage. She is the drums and her soul rises up through the sacred fire of music.”

This is a line from the Vaya biography on social media which sums up the creative and instinctive roar of the Canadian singer and band, and reason enough to find out more which we recently did with great thanks to the trio…

Hello and thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to how it all started?

Victoria VAYA: Actual VAYA’s members Raphael, Philippe and me have met through this project step by step. First I met “by hazard” Raphaël through a “next door” music shop, when I had just moved into this area. The people talked about him, he is a good drummer so I contacted him. And Philippe joined us when the album was recorded and when we need to build a team for the live shows. I think he just answered to the music call. It was written. Then we are managing the stage from one year sharing the same powerful feeling for the rock music and eclectic colours if it.

RAPHAEL: Hi RingMaster, Victoria VAYA learned that I played the drums from a music store in Gland (CH). One day, she called me to record the first drums of VAYA. I never left since!

Have you been or are involved in other bands? If so has that had any impact on what you are doing now, in maybe inspiring a change of style or direction?

Victoria VAYA: Yes I was. It was totally different. It was interesting but I was always feeling that is not my all expression in it. It was good experiences for the studio record part than the stage but I felt not complete. Now with VAYA, I really have so much pleasure to express all that animal and mystical energy through sounds and rhythms: it’s magic!

Philippe: Yes, actually I’m involved in 4 different bands: 1 funk, jazz, fusion band, 1 country blues folk band, of course Vaya and I’m starting a new jazz, salsa, samba band with another guitar player and we’re looking for other musicians too. 4 years ago, I played in a Celtic rock band and a blues rock band too. It’s very different than what I played in my former bands and in my actual bands but it’s interesting to combine those different styles and I always try to adapt myself in every situations.

RAPHAEL: I have been involved in many bands before. Now, I mainly focus on VAYA. Meeting other musicians with influences from all over the world has always been a positive and constructive impact on my drums’ play.

What inspired the band name?

Victoria VAYA:  AHAHAH I like this question. GOD? Or the Blow of it. As artists we just receive the flow of ideas around and translating it. So VAYA is the Legend of The White Wolf blowing on Earth. Ameridian people know more than us about the spirit of it but for sure it’s guiding and inspiring VAYA step by step. Something spiritual and for sure human.

Was there any specific idea behind the forming of the band and also in what you wanted it and your sound to offer?

Victoria VAYA: Specific Idea? I don’t know. We are guided between intuition, talent combined and lot of passion and work time. So our sound is colourful and the most important, authentic.

Do the same things still drive the band when it was fresh-faced and how would you say your sound has evolved over time?

Victoria VAYA: We are “Evolution” by defining human being. We are simply always bounded by sharing our musician souls everywhere in the world.

Philippe: Yes we evolved a lot, first we were more like a metal band, than we changed the style, we use more percussions and now we start by using keyboard and it brings a new sound of the band!

Victoria VAYA: OH VAYA has an interesting evolution and it’s probably why I’m stoked with it. 😀 The first step of the album was done with a French composer, then he has to quit and I have to continue. So arrived a Hungarian composer with a real good classical background and a good rocky spirit and he gave a lot of keys for the arrangements of VAYA tracks album. Then for the next step VAYA needed to find a powerful evolution to go on stage and it’s when VAYA met the volcanic Chilean blood of Sebastian, also with a real good academic background. So I mean VAYA is rich of differences and musicians souls

Philippe: When I was young, I was more inspired by hard-rock, heavy-metal, then I changed, I started listening, studying and playing jazz, after played more blues and now, I play so many kinds of music and I’m back to rock.

RAPHAEL: My drums are now stronger into the groove. I am happy about this, it is really for VAYA!

I have a nice memory of the recording of the first studio album. There was someone who directed the arrangements and told what I had to play. Sometimes, I had no idea what would be the final results! When I listened to this album, I was well surprised!

The live album is more representative of my own sound.

And that movement in sound and anything else has been more organic or deliberate?

Victoria VAYA: We still experienced things. No limits for music, it’s a big playground!

Philippe: Yeah, we always try to experiment new things, new sounds, new songs, new ideas, it depends in what mood we are!

Presumably across the band there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approach and ideas to creating and playing music?

Victoria VAYA: Poetry of Jim Morrison, visionary as David Bowie, psyche as Jimmy Hendrix, sensitive as Bjork.

Philippe: I always try to adapt myself, to play and compose songs depending of the different styles I play in every band.

Is there a process which generally guides the writing of songs?

Victoria VAYA: So I am actually on the composing roots. Could be change never know, I always send ideas and people catch it for developing it, that’s the sharing part. No process. Sometimes it’s a drum that will be the first step, sometimes lyrics or a guitar riff or a keyboard song. I am receiving it and managing it to put all together.

Philippe: I think when someone has an idea for a new song, he or she brings it to the band, then we listen to it, we talk about it and then we try to play it together the best we can and everybody’s free to give his own opinion to change something, or to improve it.

Where do you, more often than not, draw the inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs?

Victoria VAYA: Everywhere.

Philippe: Sometimes when I’m home and I try to find something good, or when I’m outside, in the street, in the train or wherever, it can happen anytime in any places

Give us some background to your latest release.

Victoria VAYA: WOW, it will take too much time, just listen and discover our double album it will connect you to your deepest part.

How about some insight to the themes and premise behind it and its songs.

Victoria VAYA: Oh my Dear. So the biggest thing who’s giving to you power what is it? The law of Nature :)))))) Then second is: Human experiences/observations. And you do a bridge between them.

Are you a band which goes into the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?

Victoria VAYA: Both of it. For sample Biscuit and Friends are born on studio record. The arrangement of My little curl too…So a mix of it.

Philippe: Actually, we went once to a studio to record altogether and now, we’re working on new songs for the next album, so right now if we have ideas for new songs, we record it on our own on the computer.

RAPHAEL: I’d rather prefer to go into the studio prepared to win some time (and some money). Sometimes it could be interesting to develop a song in the studio. The song BLOW is a nice example.

Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably a favourite aspect of the band?

Victoria VAYA: Absolutely: it’s being true and powerful for giving a real good travel to you guys! 😉

Philippe: The favourite aspect is when we’re on stage, with a good sound and with an enthusiastic audience, when we all have so much fun!

RAPHAEL: a live show that you will remember. The voice is so powerful, and without any light shows. I am always surprised that the audience is thankful and go back home with a smile.

It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found?

Victoria VAYA: I am always surprised people liked our live show. First in Switzerland where we met each other; the public there is really difficult to “ seduce” with a new way of expressing music; but they liked the spirit of the sacred fire. And such a lovely warm welcome into our last East of Europe tour. It’s growing step by step but because public is really welcome and is clearly a part of our music, VAYA is continuing with them. I would like to take that opportunity to say again thank you for all your encouragements everywhere we have played.

Philippe: It’s really hard for every new band to get known! You have to keep playing as often as possible in many different places. And Yes everything can happen, if you work very hard, if you focus and believe in yourself and the band, great things can happen!

RAPHAEL: I have worked for years in order to meet the good people in the music business to get the trust in my projects. This is paying now.

How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date? Do you see it ultimately as a negative or positive?

Victoria VAYA: So Raphael is probably the right person to answer to that question

Philippe: Sometimes things go right and sometimes wrong, it’s not easy!

RAPHAEL: One day, I put the band on Instagram and someone discovered us from Canada. Zolla Productions is now in charge of our booking in Canada. It takes a lot of time to manage the social media, but I think this is essential nowadays to show people the development of VAYA.

Once again our big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?

Victoria VAYA: Come and share the sacred fire with us. VAYA VAYA.

Thank you Ringmaster!

Vaya are:

Victoria VAYA: songs writer, singer, drums and keyboard

Philippe: guitar and bass

Raphaël: Drums &Percussions

https://www.facebook.com/VAYA.Official/   https://www.vaya-official.com https://twitter.com/VAYA_official

Pete RingMaster 07/12/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright