Baby Godzilla – Knockout Machine EP


Thrashing the senses from pillar to post, UK noise activists Baby Godzilla build upon and thrust further forward their already rampant reputation with new release the Knockout Machine EP. Five tracks of raucous and lethal post hardcore /noise rock with voracious punk causticity recorded for the band’s legendary Black Heart Residency shows which they played in Camden, London this past summer, the EP has just been released for the first time and for free via the band’s Bandcamp profile. It is a mighty confrontation which is like being locked in a sonic spin dryer for thirteen odd minutes of pure imaginative ferocious, the release providing exactly what its title suggests.

The Nottingham quartet of Paul Shelley, Jonny Hall, Matt Reynolds, and Tom Marsh has garnered a massive reputation for their explosive live show, their stage presence being described as “death-defyingly brilliant”. Previous releases NPAG and Oche of 2010 and 2012 respectively have done them no harm either but it is easy to say that the Knockout Machine takes a deeper potent grip. With a sound bringing thoughts of Every Time I Die, Cancer Bats, and The Dillinger Escape Plan into play at times; the release one suspects provides a very powerful indication of what the band feels and sounds like live whilst treating the listener to an intrusive experience which juggles with senses, imagination, and ultimately the passions.

Opener A Good Idea Realised launches itself off of a lone abrasive stroke of guitar and an instantly biting sonic wind into a a1205978287_2maelstrom of manipulative rhythms and ravenous riffing. With caustically squalling vocals equally scarring the air as the riotous sounds, the track pounces on and dances with the senses like an aural raptor, searing flesh and igniting the passions simultaneously. With a virulently rhythmic core and addictive toxicity to its carnivorous sonic hunger, the song and band ferociously ravages with the mischief of the devil and the enterprise of a bedlam bred imagination.

The first brief tirade upon the ear is followed by an even swifter assault from the torrential scourge that is Trogloraptor. The track may be shorter than the patience of a bear awoken from hibernation and just as powerfully irritable, but with a deluge of barbarous addictive hooks and a just as infectious riffing under another tsunami of vocal spite it is an incredibly compelling and consuming treat which is soon matched by the weightier Whorepaedo. Finding a throatier predation to its sound, especially the bass, and a more intensive rabidity to its hunger and energy, the track twists and flexes a sonic invention and rhythmic muscle which is soaked in creative intrigue and devoid of all predictability, something applying to the whole release.

The senses stamping presence of A Great Idea Bastardised bruises and preys on the senses next; rhythms again a thunderous tsunami of intent and provocation goaded by acidic guitar sculpting and vocal scathing. Employing a dance of discord bred and disjointedly boned revelry which secures the strongest submission to its fury and invention, the track is a blistering rampage of primal fingering amidst a destructive sonic tapestry and sheer exhaustive pleasure.

The EP closes with In The Name Of Science And Progress, a scurrilous and feverish sonic pestilence spawned from the cutest annihilatory genius posing as a band. Lashing and slashing the ears like a single minded executioner within an avalanche of aural malevolence and acidic ingenuity, the concluding torment forges a storm of unbridled rabidly delivered animosity with an alternative lumbering oppressiveness to enslave and evoke the senses yet again. It is a masterful punishment to end a similarly vicious and triumphant release.

Giving extreme music and sonic animosity a new exultant breath, Baby Godzilla is poised to sculpt the future of noise and psyche rock, the beast to take extreme realms to unexplored depths and viciousness with the Knockout Machine EP holding all the potential and proof to support that anticipation. It is easily one of the best releases this year and a turbulent aural transgression to welcome and devour with greed.

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RingMaster 18/12/2013

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Death Mercedes – Sans Éclat


Like a creatively rabid merger of Cancer Bats and At The Drive In with plenty more intrigue and varied explorations in tow, Sans Éclat the new album from French hardcore band Death Mercedes is a masterful provocation which simultaneously invigorates the imagination whilst despoiling the senses in a sonic rage. The ten track fury is a challenging incitement and at times an uneasy companion with malevolent intent but one constantly rewarding perseverance and determination with an exhausting and thrilling passion clad tempest.

Hailing from Paris and containing members from the likes of Amanda Woodward, Cowards, and L’Homme Puma, Ravi, Death Mercedes since forming in 2011 has ignited eager attention with their striking presence and sound, their music a boiling brew of crust, scream, punk with plenty more rich spicery. Their seven track debut Du soleil refroidi two years ago marked the card of a great many to the potential of the band; a promise which it is safe to say Sans Éclat takes to a whole other level to provide a probing fuse to much greater awareness of and acclaim upon the band you can only suspect such its power and craft. Recorded with producer Francis Caste (Kickback, Comity, Hangman’s Chair), the Throatruiner Records released album sculpts short but deeply potent landscapes of sonic antagonism and melodic seduction shaped into tracks which test but even more so powerfully evoke and feed the senses with captivating abrasive adventure.

The album immediately opens with one of its peaks in the striking shape of Leurs Choix Désarment. The bass of Adrien Cadot and drums of Loïc Salmon instantly intimidate the ear with bulging hard hitting rhythms, their touch a persistent punch on the senses. Alongside them the guitars create a sonic lashing which is raw and acidic but composed enough to accentuate the menace in the air as vocalist Julien Henri unveils his coarse squalls, initially part spoken here and constantly across the album a presence soaked in causticity. With the lyrical narrative presented only in French throughout Sans Éclat, it is left to the music to represent the sentiment and passion behind the words for us less learned folk, which it does with ease as guitarists Bruno Chaouch and Antoine Goubard create a canvas of provocative and emotive depth and colour to support the expressive delivery of Henri. It is a dramatic start to the release soon backed by the rest of the album.

Borgne Et Aussi Aveugle from its first note next bustles and bruises the air with rhythms and sonic invention ruining any peace. Merging imaginative melodic hues with voracious vitriolic squalls, the track creates an enthralling and threatening short expanse of irresistible enterprise, hardcore at its best veined by a melodically bred sonic incursion which steals the imagination. The mixture is another incessant constant across the album, the likes of the predatory Chien Infidèle with its senses burrowing groove and vocal storm brought by Henri and Chaouch, and the angst loaded L’Inconnue De La Seine employing both extremes in exhaustive and inventive brawls upon the ears and emotions whilst Encore Et Encore traverses a transfixing violent path with exciting melodic hues and evocative calms along its less than two minute investigation.

There are admittedly times where tracks hold a surface similar to each other which only full concentration can filter out the nuances as with Eternel Gagnant Du Sans Eclat, a track which as expected is superbly crafted and thrust through the ears but lacks something special or arguably different to other tracks to spark up senses and passions. Next up Du Soleil Vert On En A Tous Bouffé and its successor Ta Fin Du Monde have no such issue, both immersing into a richer melodic exploration without letting the depth of spite and attitude dip. The first of the two provides contagious bait from the lumbering yet swinging tones of the bass alongside a groove which seizes a full submission from its first call whilst the second song opens with a delicious melodic enticement punctuated by the ever thumping rhythms of Salmon and the mordant delivery of Henri. Its passage becomes a fire of intensity and intrusive passion the further into its heart it searches but all the time there is charming warmth which entices from inside the brewed torment.

From one highlight Death Mercedes provide another with the following Trop Tard, a gentle melodic and sonic croon in comparison to previous songs, courted by again drama clad drums. Brief but lingering it passes the album’s finale over to Cafard De Bar, a closing sonic tsunami of passion and intensity which scorches and scars every aspect of the listener.

With a suggested need for more vocal diversity and an even more distinct surface abrasion between some tracks, Sans Éclat is not quite the finished article but as full in promise as it is in thrilling imagination. Death Mercedes has produced a confrontation which marks them out as a band going to lofty places and in doing so has uncaged one of the hardcore treats of the year.


RingMaster 13/12/2013

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Bleak Falls – The Grass Gets No Greener EP

Bleak Falls Promo Shot

If ever a name suited a band’s sound then Bleak Falls has it, one which sums them and their music up perfectly. The UK melodic hardcore band creates and passionately expels a stark and dramatically textured expanse of gloom soaked melancholic aggressiveness which permeates senses and thoughts with ease. It is a provocative and at times smothering encounter but one which continues the promise of the band set with their debut EP Another Rainy Day of last year. The Grass Gets No Greener EP is a strong successor, one to keep the band on track as they evolve and emerge further, if arguably without leaping major steps on from its predecessor.

Formed in 2011, The Worthing quintet has earned strong attention and praise for their first release and live performances which has seen them share stages with the likes of Landscapes, The Long Haul, Isolated, Honour Is Dead, If Heroes Should Fail, and Set Your Sails. With the inspiration of bands such as Cancer Bats, Deftones, and Nirvana adding thought to their invention, Bleak Falls offers a sound which brings potent flavours from other styles into their mix though still not enough to yet give them the separate pedestal of originality which you still feel is bubbling away awaiting realisation. Like the band’s first release the EP is not an instant persuasion though it makes a strong impressive straight off but with patient attention emerges as another richly promising and provocative confrontation from the band.

     Forever / Always starts things off, its emotive atmospheric embrace an angst fuelled consumption crafted by the imaginativeBleak Falls Cover Artwork and precise guitar play of Chris Shane and Luke Marshall. Punctuated by the intimidating beats of drummer Ben Vaughan aligned to the excellent dark snarling tone from the bass of Don Wainwright, it is a potent and imagination inspiring introduction. The raw caustic vocals of Rudi Ridgewell wrings out in fine style every ounce of emotion from every syllable to add extra drama and intensity to that already brewed within the song, though with limitations. On the earlier EP Ridgewell was a convincing ingredient to the sound but did distract from some of the inventiveness and subtle imagination around him with a singular form of attack, a one dimensional corrosive assault and it is predominantly no different upon The Grass Gets No Greener and with the same results. Nevertheless the track is a strong start soon matched by its successor.

The following ’95 has a more energetic stride to its narrative and a more intensive aggression as marked by the again excellent rapacious bass prowl and crisp rhythms. With richly appealing melodies and exacting riffs filling the menacing framework and the vocals scowling with rigorous intent, the song is another good if less than startling persuasion just as A Taste Of Change. The third song on the EP has the shifting drama and building intensity of the opener but also a want to explode into a charge of energy and excitement, which ultimately it does resist in the end. It sounds negative but actually the restraint brings an emotional exploration which only sparks senses and thoughts into a positive response.

A high point of the release comes with Deadlock, a dark shadow engulfed encounter which intrudes on ears right through to emotions with its intensive evocation. A slow exhausting intensive weave of sound invades for the majority of the track before ending on an elevated blaze of energy and intent which provides more evidence of the thought and imagination in the songwriting and its interpretation. The same applies to the closing Put Me To Sleep, it a heavily dark bordering depressive engagement but one which lifts the passions and satisfaction superbly to take best song honours on the EP. A stylish merger of an emotionally bleeding ballad and passion drenched, riotous defiance the track is an excellent inciting provocateur which pushes the promise and depth of the band further to reinforce the thought that Bleak Falls is a band destined to something majorly impressive ahead. The vocals debatably let the song down a little, that lack of diversity again defusing the heights it could have soared to but the final emotive fire is still a thoroughly compelling and enjoyable testing.

Bleak Falls is definitely moving in the right direction as The Grass Gets No Greener EP easily shows though expectations probably assumed the evolution would be greater or certainly swifter than it seems to be so far. The band though is one which has to be watched closely and their journey enjoyed which will not be a problem as the EP proves.


RingMaster 16/11/2013

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BLEAK FALLS set loose new EP’The Grass Gets No Greener’, on 18th November‏

Bleak Falls Promo Shot


Southern riff monsters ‘Bleak Falls’ lay assault to the UK with their new EP ‘The Grass Gets No Greener’, out Monday 18th November through all digital stores.

Encouraged by the likes of Cancer Bats, Deftones and Nirvana, Bleak Falls can be placed within the bracket of Alternative Metal/Melodic Hardcore with their barbarous and aggressive sound. Yet their ability to cleverly maneuver melody and mood set them apart from bands more captured by the genre.

Born at the end of 2011, the Sussex melodic hardcore crew express a sound that pitches sincere emotion and broody atmosphere bonded with ferocious power and unbridled energy; their songs will undoubtedly sweep you along for a belter of a ride.

During the past eighteen months, the south-coast five-some have steadily made waves through the UK scene. Along the way, they’ve been highly praised by Front Magazine and have shared stages with Landscapes, The Long Haul, Isolated, Honour Is Dead, If Heroes Should Fail, and Set Your Sails. Bleak Falls also nationally released their debut EP ‘Another Rainy Day’, which acquired strong national press coverage from Big Cheese Magazine and Powerplay, as well as extensive underground support.

The quintet now press on with their brand new EP ‘The Grass Gets No Greener’. The record starts with the moody groove of ‘Forever/Always’ before shifting gears and delivering an assault of hammering beats and immersing vocals to spectacular effect. The stomping punky sway of ‘95’ is next up, and it duly bashes your eardrums, before ‘A Taste of Change’ switches lanes, displaying the quintet’s increasing diversity and growing maturity with a superb slab of heartrending alt-rock. ‘Deadlock’ picks up dealings again with a gut-wrenching piece of ball-busting low-tuned skuzzy metal, and as the closer ‘Put Me to Sleep’ comes over you, you are left in no doubt that the five-piece have the energy, tunes and rage to be one of the chosen bands to break from the shackles of the underground this year, just watch them take off…..

Bleak Falls Cover Artwork

TRACKLISTING: 1. Forever / Always; 2. ‘95; 3. A Taste Of Change; 4. Deadlock; 5. Put Me To Sleep.
BAND MEMBERS: Rudi Ridgewell (Vocals); Chris Shane (Guitar); Don Wainwright (Bass); Luke Marshall (Guitar); Ben Vaughan (Drums).
FOR FANS OF: Deftones, Cancer Bats, Terror.

Dead Retinas : Gang Of Wolves EP

Photos by Kate Hatfield

Photos by Kate Hatfield

Having impressed with their previous pair of EPs, UK hardcore punks Dead Retinas return with their third offering and a new vocalist. The departure of previous singer Sam Hendo left some questions as to how they would follow his strong presence but the Gang Of Wolves EP shows it was with ease as new frontman Will Walkden slaps down his own identity and brawl upon songs. There is also a seeming shift in sound and band, an emerging maturity and you could almost say seriousness to their endeavours now which initially stops you in your tracks to consider the move and then finds you basking in its overall success.

Dead Retinas has over past couple of years stood tall as one of the most promising and best emerging punk bands in the UK, their riotous live performances, which has seen them alongside bands such as Four Short Of A Miracle, Landmarks, Falter, The City Divided, Zsilent Z and many more, and their pair of previous EPs, Dead Retinas vs. The World and Dawn Of The Dead Retinas. The new release only confirms the earlier stance of the band and thoughts left over them whilst still suggesting there is much more to come from the Manchester four-piece, especially with as mentioned this more business-like feel to their music. Gang Of Wolves contains a trio of songs taken from the earlier releases now re-recorded as well as three new ones and it is the older tracks which show the more ‘sober’ approach to a still rebellious middle fingered devilry.

The release opens with Snow, a track which is staring at the ear from its first rhythmic beckoning through to the creative casting of sonica0144321436_2 mist by the guitar of Jack Thompson and the prowling throat growling bass of CJ. It is a considered start and caress of the senses which is arguably new for the band and continues even as the angst driven squalls of Walkden score and scar the walls of the song. Expelling a fire bred intensity as it moves deeper into its compelling heart, the song brings a vehement climax to its recipient, evocative and fearsome but wholly riveting. There is a post hardcore breath to the track which also makes a fresh flame to challenge expectations over the band and helps makes a tremendous burn of an introduction to start things off.

The following Crowns On Hounds entwines tightly around the body next, metallic sonic flames of guitar in league with a gruff bass swagger that is instantly enticing within the ever crisp and challenging rhythms of drummer Lee O’Connor. Venturing in to Cancer Bats/Pinhead Gunpowder territory with a snarl and vicious sonic lancing of the senses to the fore, the track is a deliciously abrasive and distrustful beast of a song where the vocals of Walkden, backed as impressively by the additional badgering of Thompson and CJ, graze the synapses as potently and deeply as the sonic scything elsewhere.

The next three tracks are the revisited songs starting with Just Because You Drink Jack Daniels. Doesn’t Mean You’re Rock n Roll. A mighty mix of punk, hardcore, and noise, the track chews the ear with discourteous riffs and a rapacious bassline urged on by the still abusive rhythms of O’Connor. The guitar draws on a blues whiff to ignite thoughts further whilst CJ finds a bestial predation to his notes that sets the senses back on their heels whilst only having a hunger for more. Veined by an irresistible Dead Kennedys like groove with more hooks than a loan shark, the track twists the passions around its intrusive little finger to leave only greed for more in its wake. The track is as impressive as first time around but with a rein on the chaotic approach which marked its presence on Dawn Of The Dead, takes on a more potent presence, something which applies to the other pair of recharged songs. It has to be said though there is still a part of the heart that misses the no idea if the band would explode into bedlam unpredictably that endeared them previously.

Both LSD (Listen Smile Disagree) and Pure Gold exhaust the passions with their insatiable provocations and again the pair build on impressive first appearances to show an evolution in attitude, craft, and antagonism, as well as proving that Walkden is a worthy successor to Hendo. The first is a mix of predatory urgency and flesh peeling riffs stalked by the always hungry bass, the gang shouts an anthemic air punching draw which softens the senses before the finale of brain melting acidic sonics take their spiteful and thrilling place. Its successor is prime punk rock, a nostalgic air filtering through its hardcore badgering. Gallows meets Liferuiner, the song is a thrilling blaze of jagged riffs and concussively jabbing rhythms ridden by pure vocal hostility.

The closing title track is a thoughtful and thought provoking slice of caustic temptation which like the opener suggests the direction the band is moving towards. Still steeped in hardcore bitterness and punk gall there is a melodic hue to the rancor that sees the band expanding their sights and passions if still within their aural loathing.

Gang Of Wolves is a fine intriguing and exciting release, answering and suggesting more questions for the future. Like an end of a chapter whilst opening up a new paragraph for the band The EP leaves only eagerness to hear and feel the evolving force that is Dead Retinas, still one of the best emerging bands and now maybe just that much more impressive.

Get Gang Of Wolves as a name your own price download from


RingMaster 12/08/2013


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Feud – G.U.S.H

Feud pic

    Feud is a band you can never get tired of, a group of musicians that seem to pull out another gem with every new song and release they treat the ear to. New single G.U.S.H (Growing Up Seems Hard) is no exception and in fact is probably the best thing they have done yet, and with the potency and quality of the past trio of singles that is the mark of its height.

Founded by brothers Guy (drums/vocals) and Greg Combrinck (vocals/guitar), and a full on proposition when the pair moved to the UK from their home land of South African, Feud with Ian Harper (guitars/vocals) and Tom Syrett (bass/vocals) alongside the two has become one of the most vibrant and impressive rock bands in the country. Shows alongside the likes of Cancer Bats, Young Guns, Jettblack, and Days In December has earned their live performances strong acclaim whilst releases such as debut EP Out From The Inside, the album Waterdog, and the Singles EP has enslaved many hearts and their passions through the blend of alternative rock, grunge, and punk flavoured energy. G.U.S.H sets another bar for the High Wycombe based quartet, one that is not that adrift from previous releases in sound or invention but in maturity and craft exploits the promise already showed wonderfully.

Big bulging rhythms rattle the ear first whilst the moody deep throaty bass adds its cantankerous temptation to seal the deal between 128695-thumbhunger and song. As guitars flare up with sonic and melodic imagination, their flames spiralling through the sky of the track before settling into an almost pop punk swagger to court the excellent vocals of Greg, the song like so many of the band’s has a familiarity which comes with no obvious references, Feud accomplished in creating infectious and warmly inviting slices of honest and easily accessible rock ‘n’ roll. As it dances over the ear with its energetic romp thoughts of Bush and especially Everclear do come to mind but still the distinctive tones of the four stands to the fore.

As virulently addictive as watching Kelly Brook in Piranha 3D, go on try and claim you were not transfixed by her and it too I dare you, G.U.S.H is a riot of a single and yet one more reason why Feud should be on every one’s playlist. Accompanied by B-sides demos of Save Me and an acoustic version of I’ll Find You, the single and also all the bands previous releases are now available for FREE from

Why are you still here?


RingMaster 02/08/2013

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All Else Fails – Fucktropolis

AEf 2013 Promo Brightened-1

As Canadian metallers All Else Fails escorts the passions on a hungry and richly satisfying trip through new EP Fucktropolis, you soon realise that the eclectic R.I.Y.L. in the promo for the record was not merely casting a wide net to pull people in but actually an accurate call on the diverse sounds parading their sinews upon the release. Listed are the likes of Killswitch Engage, In Flames, Cancer Bats, and Five Finger Death Punch, and in the EP all those essences can be heard as rich spices within something which is not exactly drenched in originality but offers an intensively riveting encounter setting thoughts and emotions aflame.

Hailing from Edmonton, Alberta, All Else Fails has carved out a big reputation certainly in North America for their constantly evolving and vibrant sound and live performances which has seen the band alongside the likes of Protest the Hero, Cancer Bats, Dayglo Abortions, 3 Inches of Blood, Fear Factory, Threat Signal, Decapitated, Suffocation, and many more as well as numerous festivals. Their previous releases, especially 2011 album The Oracle, What Was, Is And Could Have Been, have equally earned strong acclaim whilst the band itself has garnered nominations at the Edmonton Music Awards for the past two years. Now the quartet of vocalist/guitarist Barrett Klesko, bassist/backing vocals Seedy Mitchell, guitarist Mike Sands, and drummer Shane Tym, return with was is claimed to be their heaviest and most expansive release yet. The Suicidal Bride Records released Fucktropolis is a tremendous proposition, one which though not quite flawless leaves a determined hunger to keep band and their releases entrenched within future horizons, with some retrospective investigation too.

First track AntiMartyr emerges from behind a vocal sample wrapped in musical drama. It is not long before riffs and rhythms add their Fucktropolis Cover High Resmenace to spark a smothering rise in intensity and immediately enterprise and temptation grip thoughts and senses. Soon the track takes full hold as guitars carve out a weave of sonic manipulation and a fury of riffs driven by ravenous basslines and now fully imposing drum volleys take aim. The harsh vocals growl and scowl with excellent lure and expression, reaping the aggressive sounds for further intent. It is not all about ravaging the ear though as equally excellent clean vocals and acidic melodies spiral around the muscular hulk of the song to offer a full range of rich flavour and variety. The technical strikes of the guitars jar and crack on bone with riveting relentlessness locked in compelling craft whilst the array of vocal delivery keeps things moving and evolving within song and thoughts.

The following Better Left Undead unravels a precise groove from the off, additional melodic flames searing the surrounding air before holding sway as the gruff vocals graze the surface of the lyrical narrative, soon replaced by again accomplished clean persuasion. They are a moving target which never settles in to a singular gait, much like the music, and it all adds to a continually intriguing and appetising proposition. The song itself is strongest when its rage is lit but the mellower and sultry washes within still leave hunger greedy to immerse its teeth into the emotive meal. As the intensive face of the song returns with a Bloodsimple feel to its caustic breath the song leaves the flight of the release as potent and enthralling as its predecessor started it.

     La Demencia Violenta  with its sultry mystique swirling behind the again rigid framed rhythms and steely riffs is a provocative wash of metallic bite and sonic colour, the smouldering heat of the vocals initially swapped for a full fire of sizzling syllables and spite coated words. There is an underlying lure to the song which calls persistently even when the track savagely bites at the ear, imagine Palms meets Five Finger Death Punch, and though arguably it is in the shadow of the rest of the EP, the track burns and lingers perfectly, especially its jabbing compelling riffs.

The final two songs are simply the pinnacles of the release. Firstly Obedience At The Altar of Sacrifice steps up face to face with the listener, its passion brewing from behind a mesh of brightly hued guitar sculpting and rhythmic building. Limbs and neck are soon in eager union with its rapacious energy and torrential gait, though again melodies and harmonies as well as descriptive keys all have a defined place in the brawling storm. It is a scintillating blaze of heavy and corrosive, one which simultaneously scars and seduces with skilful majesty, but one instantly challenged by the following triumph A Most Unwanted Reprieve. The track is just anthemic metal at its very best, group calls roping in the passions as riffs and drums set addictive trap after trap in the unbridled charge of howling invention and sinew clad imagination. The best track on Fucktropolis with its almost schizophrenic avidity, it is the perfect end to an outstanding release. Actually it is not quite the finish as there is the hidden track The Deep Roads, but as it is just a brief schizo reprise of the opening to the previous song, it is not really something to be discussed, though it did raise a grin.

Fucktropolis is simply great, a release which has limbs, senses, and passions leaping in tandem with its metallic adventure. If this is the direction and future ahead of All Else Fails, there will be exciting times as the band places themselves on the front line of world metal.


RingMaster 30/07/2013

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American Standards – Still Life


With a debut album planned for the latter part of the year we thought it was worth checking out the Still Life EP from US hardcore band American Standards. It may have been out a while but as possibly many, like us, missed its initial unveiling and it is so damn good there is no better time to catch up and fire up a hunger for the forthcoming full length release.

From Phoenix, Arizona, the quartet of vocalist Brandon Kellum, guitarist Brennen Westermeyer, bassist Corey Skowronski, and drummer Geoff Gittleson, has earned a strong reputation for their live performances and sound which though we called them a hardcore band takes in many more potent essences such as punk and noise rock. It is a riveting confrontation and at times borders unleashing disorientation with its passion bred intensity and creative maelstrom. The unpredictable and diverse imagination to its invention though is an easy capture of the imagination with band and sound having the depth and flavours to ignite the appetite of all fans from the likes of Cancer Bats and Every Time I Die through to those of Dead Kennedys and on to devourers of the kind of noise the likes of Coilguns, Retox, and Blood Brothers conjure. Since forming the band has toured extensively across the US especially through 2012, playing with bands such as Sick Of It All, Trial, Touché Amore, and Joyce Manor and making successful appearances at numerous festivals including Within These Walls, The Punk Rock Picnic, and inFEST. Since the release of Still Life, American Standards has signed with Victory Records for the new album and continued to explode stages with their devastating sound.

Released via indie label We Are Triumphant, the EP opens with the brief and irresistibly caustic Self (En)titled, the track coverinstantly attacking the ear with vocal venom and soon joined by an emerging rhythmic and sonic provocation. It is the perfect introduction to open up attention and set the wheels of intimidation and incitement in motion as it boils up into the following Raised By Wolves. Again the coarse vocals of Kellum seize the opening seconds, his delivery a harsh but excellent rub on the senses immediately wrapped in another fury of sonic and rhythmic challenge. There is an earthy groove soon in place to start a deeper contagion aided by group scowls and the enslaving beats of Gittleson but it is just the appetiser as the track explores veins of infectious alternative rock alongside rapacious riff greed to ignite greater flames of passion for its confrontation.

The close of the track also sees the bass of Skowronski develop a predatory throat to its growl which is scintillating and across subsequent tracks prowls and chews the senses and emotions with greater and more carnivorous glory starting with Bottom Feeder. A sonic tease comes with drum foot stomps to open up the fury, and is soon led into a jugular ripping primal assault, vocals and the guitar of Westermeyer scything through the air with acidic malevolence. The unexpected offering of clean vocals is another rewarding and pleasing element and tempers the sonic fire and bass/drum barbarity which threatens throughout.

Both Paradigm-Alt-Shift-Delete and Harvester continue drawing stronger impressed reactions to the release. The first is a tempest of metallic vengeance crafted by again excellent bass and drum vehemence further fuelled by the twisting guitar grooves and varied vocals which switch from seduction to antagonism note by note. With flames of noise rock and discord taunts, the song is a thrilling adventure of predacious design, senses and thoughts lured and exploited by the excellent enterprise and insidious invention of every element of song and band, especially that bass. Its successor is equally corrosive and eager to offload its sonic rabidity onto nerves and synapses, a ferocity driven by arcs of guitar sonically honed imagination, flesh searing vocals, and steel jawed basslines gnawing away from start to finish. Not for the first time American Standards take exciting detours from the assault, here vocal harmonies allowing breaths to be taken and passions to leap before the returning savagery brings a triumphant climax.

The release is completed by the fearsome punk goading of The Red Queen and the crawling intrusive primal chaos that is the title track, its opening lumbering gait evolving through oppressive washes of intensive rage vocally and musically and varying unpredictable pace changes. Again there is a constant flood of ideas and variations all successfully and seamlessly infused into the emotive furnace. The two tracks leave the richest impressions and satisfaction to confirm the release as something quite immense.

Rather than wait for, what on the evidence of the EP, will be an album to bring another striking and exciting provocation, we suggest the Still Life EP should be confronted right away and allowed to feast on thoughts and passions, and as a name your own price offer on their Bandcamp profile, American Standards have given an invitation impossible to refuse, especially when it one of the best hardcore releases to come along in the past year.


RingMaster 27/06/2013


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Beyond Description – An Elegy For Depletion


    Beyond Description is a band from Japan which has been going since around 1988, though we will admit to their new album An Elegy For Depletion being the first time they have come onto the radar of The RR. Originally a pure hardcore punk band,  the quartet over the years has evolved their sound into that of a hungry thrashcore/crossover metal assault which on the evidence of their new release is well worth strong attention.

The follow-up to Proof Of The Truth of 2011, An Elegy For Depletion offers up eleven rapacious thrash/punk tracks which have the urgency of a bullet Train and the belligerent attitude of a discontented society. It is not a release offering anything particularly new to be honest but for high octane attitude soaked rock ‘n’ roll this is an album to be digested as often as possible. Released via Italian label Punishment 18 Records, it presents brawls that fans of the likes of Biohazard, Municipal Waste, and Cancer Bats will devour eagerly as well as spark investigation in for their previous albums and EPs.

As soon as opener Absurd slaps its muscular rhythms and frame around the ear you know the ride you are in for musically and BeyondDescriptionCoverenergetically, and it is a mere breath in before riffs and drums proceed to rampage mercilessly upon the senses. The vocals of Hideyuki Okahara come with a raw Hetfield like grazing to add further immediate entrapment for the passions and through it is relatively brief attack, with ease the rhythmic might of drummer  Hiroshi Yoshioka and the bass lures of Yusuke Adachi stand out  alongside the vocals, all seizing moments to cage and provoke beyond the basic fury of the song.

Both Fossilize and Potential keep the fervent rage and storm going, their ravaging riffs and rhythmic debilitation a torrential incitement leading to potential whiplash and greater hunger, the first of the pair with the ever darkening predatory nature of the bass and riffs and its successor through a barbaric expanse of bitch-slaps masquerading as drumming.  Three songs in and the album is already making the strongest persuasion though as Bridge takes over you do sense an overall similarity certainly across the surface assaults which detracts a little from the strong enterprise and variety parading within tracks. With a potent acidic groove making a brief lure within the rampant stance of the song, Bridge marks a run of tracks which stand out more than most on the release starting with    Arbitrage which smothers the air with a blanket of carnivorous intensity and the following Provocation which does exactly what it says on the tin, prowling basslines and barbaric rhythms coring riff blazes from the continually impressive Yasunari Honda and punk vocals, all challenging and barracking the senses for a mighty intrusion. It is a splendid mesh of thrash rabidity and punk spite honed into a fevered furnace of metallic aggression.

The likes of the voracious Shut, even with its odd midpoint drum interlude, and the rhythmic tsunami Purpose keep things burning invitingly in the ear, though to be honest every track leaves a full satisfaction behind. It all makes for an album which sets the passions in motion, though maybe not to the fullest heat the release should have, and as Drip makes its final vociferous argument before the closing instrument Depletion, there is an eager intent to find out and hear more of the band, past and future bred. As stated you will not find anything new or previously un-mined in the genre but with that replaced by a passion and enterprise which makes the songs stir up limbs and energy, An Elegy For Depletion and Beyond Description are not to be dismissed or passed over.


RingMaster 24/06/2013

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Axecatcher – Sparks & Spears

Axecatcher pic

If in a rare moment of lucid insanity you wondered what standing eye to eye with an electric paint stripper would be like once its switch was flicked Sparks & Spears from Irish sonic aggravators Axecatcher gives you the most vivid representation of the effect. Caustically malevolent and abrasively determined, the four track EP is an impressive and inciting fury with addiction causing sounds to back up its unbridled passion.

Hailing from Limavady, the hardcore driven trio of vocalist/guitarist Ryan Montgomery, bassist/backing vocals Colin Wilson, and drummer Danny Kane, has taken no time since forming in late 2011 in recruiting an ardent and passionate following for their heavy, intrusive, and merciless sound with acclaim not far behind especially with the release of their first single, the seven minute senses aggressor The Odalisque in the July of last year. The track drew strong attention their way which Sparks & Spears will only build upon and accelerate with its recent release via the excellent Belfast label Savour Your Scene Records digitally and as a limited cassette.

From the opening scrub of guitar bringing Circle Pit Roller Derby into focus, there is a sense of animosity and belligerence in the axecatcher-coverair but also a feeling of irresistible compulsion soon reinforced by the expulsion of squalling acidic vocals from Montgomery, punchy rhythms, and a groove which gnaws at the ear with immediate contagion. Bass and guitar make a vociferous call within the fiery assault, their temptation relatively familiar but extremely potent whilst the vocals continue to leave a raw and uncomfortable challenge to accept or fall before. The track has a rich breath of punk to its harsh muscular ferocity, like a mix of Cancer Bats and early Therapy?, and leaves the appetite burning for more which is soon rewarded with the following Seismic Toss.

Thrusting intense riffs and again crisp enslaving rhythms at the ear, the song unleashes an additional sonic scarring as deep and rich as the corrosive vocals accompanying it, all within a sturdy but less predatory rock confrontation compared to the punk attitude of its predecessor. As the song expands its persistent grazing it moves shuffles its gait without losing any of the passionate intensity and flesh peeling almost feral hunger, the track initially charging at the senses like a downhill aimed sinew clad missile before emerging as a doom lined rapacious prowl both with the equal result of full submission to its intent.

Methuselah is the best track on the release, a twisted conspiracy of deliciously infectious sonic fuelled grooves and a cleaner but still confrontational vocal attack this time from Wilson. The track is so brief, too short to be honest with an audible groan expelled here as it finishes its impressive presence in under a minute, but again shows the extent of imagination and even greater promise within Axecatcher and their songwriting. The track leaves the strongest lustful greed in tow for the EP and further tempests from the band, its evolving presence and ridiculously persuasive enterprise alone a reason for marking the band in the centre of one’s attentive radar.

The final song Youfinder also reveals further strength in the creativity of the band, its sirenesque sonic entrapment wrapped in an intense wash of melodic temptation and aggressive passion fired up further by the searing scourge of vocals from Montgomery, his touch arguably going to be a do or die encounter for many but certainly as essential to the heart of the sound as the excellently crafted music itself.

Sparks & Spears is a strongly impressive announcement of a band which has all the potential and suggested weaponry to bring a new blood and breath to hardcore. Axecatcher will also not be taking any prisoners in their destined ascent as shown by this excellent EP.


RingMaster 10/03/2013

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