Ferocious Dog – Slow Motion Suicide

Ferocius Dog pic 3_RingMaster Review

There is no denying that Ferocious Dog is known for breeding a snarl in their traditional Celtic folk inspired rock which lives up to the band name but if you need further proof then go grab the band’s new single Slow Motion Suicide. Taken from the bands new and second album From Without, the single is simply a stirring proposal of lyrical and musical incitement, a “working class hero’s anthem’ as punk as it is melodically tempting.

Consisting of vocalist/acoustic guitarist Ken Bonsall, fiddler Dan Booth, lead guitarist Les Carter (from Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine), bassist John Alexander, drummer Scott Walters, and mandolin/banjo player Ellis Waring, Ferocious Dog come off a successful Glastonbury appearance with their new pair of releases, a performance at the festival on the Avalon Stage pulling the third biggest crowd of the whole weekend. The unveiling of the single and album are to be followed by a country wide UK tour ensuring the rest of the year is definitely going to belong to the rock ‘n’ roll hounds.

Guitars open up the lures within Slow Motion Suicide; their raw punkish air quickly joined by the potent vocals of Bonsall and in turn the prowling and eager rhythms of bass and drums. The rest of the band is soon in collusion as the song brews Irish familiarity and bracing intensity of emotive and creative drama. There is no escaping a Flogging Molly essence to the song, a welcome hue at any time, or the street punk breath which lines its honest and straight edged core, but fair to say it is the poetic persuasion of the fiddle, strings, and voice which taps into the imagination most engagingly, as they share the track’s heart for aural fascination.

Taking a look at the band’s album is our next intent; we suggest you do too after enjoying the intimate roar of Slow Motion Suicide; maybe add a show to your end of year treats too?

Slow Motion Suicide is out now.

https://www.facebook.com/FerociousDog   http://www.ferociousdog.co.uk/  https://twitter.com/FerociousDog

Upcoming Ferocious Dog Live Dates.

Upcoming Ferocious Dog Live Dates.

Pete RingMaster 29/09/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Serpentyne – Myths And Muses

Serpentyne band photo Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review

Listening to Myths And Muses, the new album from British Neo-Folksters Serpentyne, you initially come up with the idea that such its unique sound and individual character it is destined just to appeal to a certain segment of the music world. Yet as each bewitching piece of music spreads its irresistible seduction, there is nothing but a wealth of temptation for varied rock and folk fans through to dance and pop enthusiasts. The release is a spellbinding treat building on an already potent reputation earned by the band but taking everything from creativity to temptation to a whole new level.

Hailing from London and formed in 2010 by Maggie-Beth Sand (vocals, cittole, bouzouki, harmonium, nickelharpa) and Mark Powell (hurdy-gurdy, cittern, electric guitar, vocals), Serpentyne take inspirations from traditional music as well as folk, Celtic, world, and rock onto their own tapestry of adventure. Debut album Stella Splendens in their first year awoke keen attention and acclaim, their fusion of traditional tunes with modern atmospheric and ambient enterprise alongside dance bred vivacity drawing comparisons to the likes of Faun, Blowzabella, Steeleye Span, Gryphon, and Blackmore’s Night. As suggested Myths & Muses is another plateau in imagination and invention for the band with the creative differences between their two albums best offered by Sand, “On our first album, Stella Splendens we took traditional songs and texts in old languages such as Latin, Occitain and Old English, and arranged them in our own way. On our second album Myths and Muses apart from including some new-found traditional songs and tunes, we added original lyrics and music which are sometimes combined with the old tunes. I was particularly interested in writing about women warriors, and other muses that have inspired men and women through history.

CDDF-4P2V-001

CDDF-4P2V-001

Fair to say our knowledge and experience of mediaeval and traditional folk/ethnic sounds is as limited as honesty in government but there is no escaping what we like and it is a done deal between ears, pleasure, and Myths And Muses from the moment opener Boudicca pulsates into view. Its techno seeded start is swiftly a festive saunter of melodic gaiety and more shadowy rhythms. A rest drops in as Sand unveils the first tempting of her magnetic tones and the narrative but soon the song is swinging infectious hips, physically and melodically as an array of instrumentation and vibrant vocal enterprise breeds a riveting dance nicely tempered by the darker tone of keys. A celebration with tribal fuelling rather than maybe the war chant offering you might expect from the title, the track is simply incendiary to body and imagination, and a stunning start to the album.

There is no diminishing of quality and success either as Alexandria takes over, the song again spawned from a tribalistic seed but sauntering down a Middle Eastern landscape within the swish of a camel’s tail. Sultry and elegant, oozing mystique and warm temptation with every spicy melody, the song is as captivating as its predecessor and indeed the following Valkyries. As you would expect from its title, the track has a more urgent and robust nature which drives certainly its techno revelry and as its swings along with virulence, there is a feel of Landscape meets Arkona to the infection, veering more towards one or the other as it continues to entice ears and passions like the Pied Piper.

The medieval song of praise Gaudete is given the Serpentyne embrace next and initially is slightly reminiscent of the famous Steeleye Span version. It is a kiss on the senses eventually evolving into a bolder and busier chant again ripe with the band’s irresistible shamanic enterprise. Its beauty makes way for Hymn To Cynthia, an enslaving and hypnotic interpretation of the Ben Jonson poem of the same name. There is thick drama to the song, the music and vocals pure theatre alone and reinforced by the force of the words; thick forests and boisterous nature the scenery flooding the imagination. The track is sensational, surely destined to be used in a cinematic affair somewhere and when.

The Parisian chanter that is Je Vivroie Liement has senses and emotions basking in tradition and smouldering festivity next whilst the flirtation of Douce Dame Jolie is a romance on the senses with again a more cosmopolitan essence to the music. Both are enthralling interpretations of 14th century songs by French composer Guillaume de Machaut and sheer mesmerism for ears and passions.

Freya’s Firedance is as warm and sultry as its title suggests, a hymn of mystical suggestiveness and beauty crooning the senses before the poem/song A Rosebud In June is hugged and lit by the band. There is another definite Steeleye Span feel to the encounter, Serpentyne being possibly inspired by the formers’ own recording, yet as with all tracks there is little passing time before things develop their own personality and originality.

Myths And Muses is brought to a close by firstly Pastyme With Good Company, an English folk song written by King Henry VIII in the beginning of the 16th century, and finally the medieval sounding Les Garcons De Montagne. Both proposals separate reality from attention with a mystique of the sounds as the joyful and resourceful imagination of Serpentyne soaks every melody, rhythm, and inescapable incitement.

Myths And Muses is pure delight, a proposition everyone should disregard any inbred reticence over, ignoring any assumptions of sound and their seeding. It is basically a rock album from across the ages and without doubt one of the most enjoyable and thrilling encounters we have come across this year.

Myths And Muses is out now digitally and on CD through http://www.serpentyne.com/#!buy-cds/c2267

http://www.serpentyne.com/   https://www.facebook.com/Serpentynemusic

RingMaster 08/06/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Turning on the future: an interview with Mike Scalzi of Slough Feg

Mike Scalzi

As numerous impressive releases find them drenched in acclaim already this year, the outstanding Digital Resistance from Slough Feg stands on the frontline as one of the more imaginatively incendiary and virulently contagious adventures. Stretching and pushing their unique blend of Celtic folk and traditional metal with an array of additional potent flavours for  release which triggers a new thirst for the band’s sounds past and present, Slough Feg show themselves to be a force which continues to evolve and impress adding something special to the world of metal. Seizing on the opportunity and pleasure to delve deeper into the band and new album with vocalist/guitarist Mike Scalzi, we explore Digital Resistance, home town prejudices, technology and humanity, Slainé and much more…

Hi Mike and many thanks for sparing time to talk with us.

Before we get to your new album Digital Resistance can we ask about the band name… it comes from the Slainé story strip in UK comic 2000 A.D., a publication I have boxes of around the office I must admit. You are comic geeks or just this one character captured the imagination?

I was never really that into comic books—- except when I was pretty young and into Marvel stuff. The Slainé comics I just came across kind of by mistake and liked the “Warp-spasm” idea a lot, and thought it would be cool to write heavy metal songs about that. They came out with a 2000 AD hard-cover book recently featuring all the old cover art from the original Slainé comics and allowed me to write some of the liner notes—– really great. I was really happy about that.

As mentioned you have just released your new album, Digital Resistance, a release which marks a new strength of adventure in the band’s sound?

This is more of a statement than a question. But, here’s what I think:

We’ve done concept albums and albums that were taken to be concept albums that were not. This one I would have to say, is a concept album in the sense that the Beatles Sgt. Pepper is a concept album— it has somewhat of a consistent lyrical theme that runs through several of the songs, but not every song— it is not a concept album in the sense that our Traveller album is. I used to like technology, and still do in a poetic/literary sense, but the reality of it is becoming quite frightening. This theme then expanded to the role of technology in human evolution, etc. I am a teacher, and I watch students’ mindsets changing on a yearly basis—let’s just say I can’t say they are becoming noticeably smarter, with the advent of all this technology at their fingertips.

Did you musically have any clear intention with the direction of Digital Resistance or has it been primarily an organic coveremergence of ideas?

It’s just whatever we felt like writing at the time, no real preconceived ideas. Whatever inspires us at the moment is what we write. I tried to accomplish some different types of sounds on this album— some organ, some more rock songs, some more traditional, simple songs as well.

Your sound seems to be tagged as a merger of Celtic folk and traditional metal, something the new release certainly supports but there is plenty more flavours working away from within suggesting that if not inspirations your own personal tastes in music are potently wide and varied. How would you describe Digital Resistance to newcomers to really nail its presence?

I don’t know if I can. When someone asks me what the band sounds like, that is someone who has never heard it before, I say it sounds like Maiden, but older, with more traditional music influences, even stuff from Broadway musicals. I just write songs, and listen to different types of music, not just metal. In fact I don’t listen to too much metal these days— more traditional songs, like Frank Sinatra, and older rock stuff like the Beatles and Yes and even the Police, lately. These influences find their way into the music.

At times the album sparked up thoughts of bands such as Horslips as well as Thin Lizzy, Helldorado, and Hammers of Misfortune as additional loud whispers in an overall unique sound and adventure. Are there specific inspirations which have actually flavoured your invention over the years would you say?

Well, the stuff I mentioned above. Horslips was an influence at one point for sure; we covered Dergid Doom from their Tain album on Hardworlder. But that’s the only Horslips album I’m familiar with.

As you referred to earlier lyrically Digital Resistance looks at technology and how it impacts on all aspects of life, can you expand on its theme and how personally you have seen that ‘invasion’ coming into your lives?

Some of the songs are interconnected just because they have the same theme—resisting technology, or at least what it’s doing to the human mind— making it lazy and ‘flabby’. Some of the songs though are not about this— they are just about growing up and becoming middle-aged in a world you do not understand. Very simple—- many people go through this— especially today when musicians in particular don’t want to grow up— they want things to stay the way they were when they were younger— when you get older  you tend to think the world is getting older, or dying with you. It’s hard to accept the changing world. I am no exception. I don’t understand what’s going on in the mind of most Americans, it scares me. SO I write songs about it, like Warrior’s Dusk and Magic Hooligan.

Society is leaning on and allowing technology to infiltrate their daily lives more and more, how long do you see it before cyber implants and upgrades become as common place as tattoos and breast enlargements?

No long at all. That’s some of what the record is about. It’s not going to be long before the cell-phones are not outside of our bodies anymore— now people’s eyes are glued to them. Soon they won’t have to stare at them; they’ll already be in their brains!!

..and until the species becomes ‘stupid’ as machines make our decisions for us?

It’s already happening.

Back to the album, how have you approached Digital Resistance in its creation and recording which was different from previous releases?

Not really any different. It’s the same basic songwriting and recording process.

SFHow does the songwriting play out generally within Slough Feg?

Usually I write guitar or now organ parts at home, and then bring them down to the band to see if they sound good with everyone playing their own parts. I let the other guys do whatever they want to do over my riffs– unless it doesn’t sound right and then we all throw in our 2 cents. Generally we agree on what sounds good. Songwriting is really mostly editing. Coming up with the parts and melodies is not the hard part—- ask any songwriter– it’s putting it all together that is challenging— making it all sound like a song.

Having numerous albums under your belts, does each new adventure become easier to immerse within and bring to fruition or are there always new questions and obstacles to engage in which each journey into the studio?

Usually the latter… It is actually becoming very difficult trying to find a new way to do things, so that things continue to sound ‘fresh”. I always worry about putting something out that sounds just like the last thing we did— bands should be more concerned with this, because how many albums have you heard that sound just like the last one the same band put out? Bands need to try to break new ground, but they are often scared to do this because they may lose their audience. But I think they run a higher risk of losing their audience by doing the same thing over and over again.

How has that processed change most dramatically for you over the years?

It was not different than any other album, other than the fact that I used some organ on this one, but really it was just the same.  The songs were written with the band in the rehearsal space just like our other albums- etc. And the singing took forever because my voice is getting old and decrepit, and was never really suited for metal in the first place. I have a crooners voice, or if I’d worked at it a little maybe a choir voice, but not a high pitched metal voice– but I love metal, so I try to sing like Freddy Mercury and fail- and end up sounding like Neil Diamond on steroids. What can I say?

Pretty much the process remains the same—and I’m not actually that happy about it—I write guitar riffs, or now sometimes piano parts, and then bring them to the band and we work out arrangements, transitions, etc. But honestly, after a while that gets a little old, I’d like to do it a little different in the future— maybe if we had more money we could go into the studio and write a lot of the stuff in there and get a more spontaneous feeling for the record— we did some of that on Twilight of the Idols and some really interesting songs came out of that approach. But that takes a lot of time, which means money that we don’t really have right now.

I have noticed in previous interviews you are a band which looks back at your older releases and are quite honest in what worked and just as openly did not work. How soon after a release does hindsight lead you to these observations, when does the cold light of day sink in?

It usually happens in waves. I get pretty critical of the album right after we’re done with it, and then later on after listening to it a bunch I start to like it. But then I start to get critical again in a few months and after a few months I decide I don’t like the record. Then later after a year or so I start to like it again!!!!! It drives me insane!!!

Digital Resistance is released through Metal Blade Records, how did that union come about?

They asked us to do an album with them and we said ‘yes’, that simple. We negotiated a contract and went with it. What do we have to lose?

Mike you are a philosophy teacher, and I was wondering is there a comparison or similarity between that profession and music itself for you, in its content and presentation especially?

Yes. It’s almost exactly the same lecturing in front of kids and performing music in front of them. You have to use gimmicks to sf2keep them interested, and you have to write out content that is interesting and valuable. Doing a philosophy lecture is just like playing a metal show. It has to have peaks and valleys, heavy parts and light parts, a good intro and outro—– you have to keep them engaged just the same!!!

Slough Feg and its sound is not a typical San Francisco band I suspect, how have you fitted in your hometown’s scene over the years?

They hated us for the first 10 years. Hated us, in fact I think we stayed together just to spite everyone here. This was during the 90’s when everyone hated metal, and they hated us a lot. It wasn’t until the late 90’s and early 2000’s that people started to appreciate us. We don’t fit in here, never have. But now we have fans here and it’s cool, but I think we do better in a lot of other places.

What is next and across 2014 from Slough Feg?

A European tour in late May/early June, a couple of local shows and then in July shows in the Midwest– Chicago!! We did a movie soundtrack recently, and a few other projects. Just the same stuff——writing music, recording and playing rock and roll!!!!!!!

Thank you again for sharing time with us.

Thanks!!

https://www.facebook.com/sloughfegofficial

https://twitter.com/slough_feg

Read the review of Digital Resistance @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/02/18/slough-feg-digital-resistance/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 05/03/2014

 Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Slough Feg – Digital Resistance

slough-feg

    More an acquaintance in name than sound in the ears here at The RR, Slough Feg has been a presence tempting attention over recent years but never quite drawing it their way. That has now certainly changed with the band’s new album Digital Resistance; the release an irresistible charge of rock and metal which has triggered our thirst to truly investigate previous encounters leading up to this latest triumph. With songs taking a look at technology’s effect on society and life, the Metal Blade Records released album again explores Slough Fegs’s unique blend of Celtic Folk and Traditional Metal with magnetic potency. There is admittedly a constant familiarity to the sounds which rather than disappoints simply coaxes out a greater appetite for the propositions, but holding an energy and adventure which easily fires up the imagination and emotions, the album is one virulently contagious endeavour.

    With a name derived from a character in ancient Irish mythology brought to life via UK comic 2000AD, the Central Pennsylvania hailing and since San Francisco based Slough Feg has consistently lit up the metal world since certainly their debut self-titled album of 1996. Under the moniker The Lord Weird Slough Feg at first, until 2005 when they shortened the name for fourth album Atavism, the band continued to evolve their sound and reputation with albums such as Hardworlder in 2007 and Ape Uprising! two years later. It is easy to suspect that the band has never been a towering enticement for every metallic taste, ours alone finding excuses or distractions to never really immerse in their undoubted excellently crafted and passionate sounds, but as the successor to the acclaimed 2010 album The Animal Spirits rampages with incendiary might in the passions, you realise it was to our certain loss.

     Recorded with Justin Weis, who co-produced the release with vocalist/guitarist Mike Scalzi, Digital Resistance immediately SloughFeg-Digital Resistancestirs up thoughts and excitement with opener Analogue Avengers / Bertrand Russell’s Sex Den. Instantly the impressive vocals of Scalzi are invading the ears alongside imagination tempting keys and guitar speared by energy inciting rhythms. It is a romping temptation which within seconds brings thoughts of Horslips to the fore though with a more subtle Celtic wrap to its thrilling invitation. The song continues to run with the senses until seamlessly slipping into a slower emotive embrace which grips just as enthrallingly, keys and guitars crafting a melodic web to wrap the rich rhythmic bait. It is a riveting and exciting start soon elevated with the fiery dynamics of the title track. Once again, and to be honest within every track, the rhythmic patterns, skill, and temptation provided by drummer Harry Cantwell is scintillating with a virulence for the passions which is immeasurable  and alongside the darker throaty tones of bass from Adrian Maestas, the pair provide the strongest exploratory heartbeat and shadows to drive the persuasion of songs. The track itself weaves around the imagination with a rich fascination sculpted by the guitars of Scalzi and Angelo Tringali, their sonic and melodic designs seductively clasping the lyrical and vocal narrative.

    The outstanding start to the album continues with the excellent Habeas Corpsus, its opening sultry Western climate around an imposing rhythmic provocation drawing thoughts to imagine dust filled climes and black dressed undertakers waiting for their next gunslinger sparked job. The melodramatic intensity to the song brings a mix of Helldorado meets Hammers of Misfortune to thoughts whilst the almost smothering production to the song, especially around the vocals, just intensifies the thick breath of the solemn scenery.

     Both the Thin Lizzy-esque Magic Hooligan with again a healthy dose of a rawer Horslips adding to its irrepressible bait and Ghastly Appendage with its delicious gothic theatre, keep the passions raging with greed and pleasure whilst the heavy metal/hard rock merger of Laser Enforcer brings another lick of the lips around an eager appetite even if with not quite the same intense reactions found elsewhere on the album. As always though even when songs slip a little below the early pace and level the quite dazzling rhythmic alchemy of Cantwell steals an ardour its way whilst bassist Maestas, most notably in the third of this trio, unleashes a presence and snarl to his invention which instinctively stirs up a pleasure to stand tall alongside the satisfaction cast by the guitars and vocals.

    The Price Is Nice is another striking highlight of the album, the song pushing recognisable yet indefinable lures and hooks in its stalking presence as Scalzi deliver words with his excellent dusty almost growling tones. As with many songs either rhythmically or in riffery, there is an ensnaring repetition to the song which in other’s hands may seem limiting but from Slough Feg only increases the creative mesh to get caught up in. The following Curriculum Vitae is the same, a pulsating unrelenting torrent of rhythmic pressuring often a singular surge of intent but as magnetic as the sun. The song as its successor The Luddite, does not impact on and raise the emotions as potently and forcibly as previous tracks, though neither do the pair leave satisfaction and fun lacking a square meal, but there just is not the fuse to the imagination and passions as offered from the rest of the album even if musical craft and invention is as undeniable as ever.

   The closing Warrior’s Dusk unveils another Western twang to the guitars to intrigue thoughts within an otherwise full bodied presence with medieval folk adventure and melodic flames all brewed in a heavy metal vat. It is a fine finish to an excellent album, one which maybe was unexpected due to our poor attention to the band previously but a release providing one of the most enjoyable and easy to recommend albums this year so far.

https://twitter.com/slough_feg

9/10

RingMaster 18/02/2014

 

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