If their self-titled debut album is a sign of things to come, UK rock band Emperor Chung is going to be one impressive and incendiary proposition for British rock music. The eleven track release is a riveting introduction to a band which has been causing quite a stir with their fresh and diverse sound. It is an album which does miss the opportunity to be an instant classic but as a reservoir of promise and the seed of expectations of big things to come, it is a striking and potent triumph.
Coming from Ilkeston in Derbyshire and formed in late 2011, Emperor Chung has taken little time in making their mark locally and further afield with a sound which has drawn comparisons to those such as Queen, Thin Lizzy, Coheed & Cambria, and Alter Bridge in various ways. Consisting of vocalist Martin Jackson, guitarists Danny Beardsley (formerly of Isolysis) and Richard Shaw (also of NG26), bassist Dan Hayes, and drummer Eddie Hodgkinson (formerly Eight Idle Hands), all bringing strong experience from their previous exploits, Emperor Chung has been on a rapid and impressive rise which their album is sure to accelerate. Their performance at Download earlier this year set the country’s rock scene on full alert, which the album creatively reinforces and with appearances at the YNOT festival with The Darkness, Macmillanfest with Tesseract, and numerous other shows taking the year into the next you can only feel their ascent is picking up speed.
The wintery scene to the start of I Vow This Day brings in instant drama and menace which has thoughts licking their lips, especially when a tight inviting groove from the guitar beckons. The impressive vocals of Jackson soon make their appealing mark also and when the chorus with Beardsley adding his strong tones moves over for an even greater lure to that original groove, the track has full eager attention. From there it does not exactly hold its grip but with good sonic displays and feisty rhythms perpetually nagging the ear, it is a pleasing if not striking start to the album.
The following To Bring Justice and Downpour soon raise levels as the band and release begins to stretch their creativity and adventure. The first is a smouldering heat of strong vocals and melodic imagination which from its stirring opening flexing of sinews and emotive intensity evolves into a tantalising weave of progressive rock and evocative colour crafted by the guitars and veined by the throaty call of the bass and the snarling riffs. It is the first pinnacle of the album and does makes its predecessor look a little pale. The classic rock sculpted build of its successor provides a muscular and equally warm sonic blaze. The track creates a contagious web around the ears but as a few times on the album just does not take that final step or bite to secure a lingering slavery of the passion; nevertheless the song as the album is a richly appetising encounter which leaves satisfaction full.
The album is themed by a story of an Emperor Penguin, Chico Chung who is hunting down the members of the Chinese zodiac who murdered his father. It sounds a little Kung Fu Panda like taken out of context but the wrap of the bands enterprise, which starts with the outstanding artwork around the album to the lyrical fun and craft not forgetting gripping sounds, brings the premise successfully within the potent persuasion of tracks, like the next up My Next Foe and Pyramid. Both tracks in their individual landscapes paint an evocative progressive/melodic narrative which explores the imagination, and though neither grips the plateaus of some of the other songs they leave a brewing hunger in their wake for more, which the likes of No Mercy and the band’s first single The Bloodline supply with accomplished craft and inventive temptation. The first of these two has a familiarity to it and often reminds of Coheed & Cambria whilst the second offers a slowly building melodic caress from guitars and vocals which takes little time to seduce attention and thoughts. It is an obvious lead into the album for newcomers if not the best track on the release.
That honour belongs to Our Weaknesses, a scintillating track which from its intriguing guitar mystique at the start soon expels a technically teasing and invigorating fire of intensity and invention which reminds of Tesseract though across the enthralling song and not for the first time on the album, there is also a strong breeze of Manic Street Preachers coating its irresistible flames. It is the best thing on the album by far, which considering the strength of all songs gives an idea of its majesty, guitars carving out an addictive entrapment which the great rhythmic predation and snarling vocals stalk and ignite further.
The impressive Victory’s Calling and the mouth-watering Apex bring the album towards an intensely enjoyable close leaving Free At Least and its melodic yet rapacious suasion to conclude a thoroughly thrilling and impressive release. As impressive as it is you do feel there is an element of a lost opportunity with not enough songs fulfilling their open potential but with all drenched in unmistakable and infectious promise it is only a matter of time before Emperor Chung do create a ‘classic’ you feel. For now their debut is a wholly enterprising and hunger sufficing treat from a band destined to major things.
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
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Making the long journey from Sydney Australia to relocate in England, hardcore/punk band Villa Rise has immediately marked their arrival with the release of their mighty and impressive debut EP Wastelands. It is a release consisting of songs that burst with aggressive intensity, dark bulging riffs, thoughtfully crafted melodies. It also shows a band with a full confidence in their sound and skilled in bringing forth a varied and flavoursome array of ideas and sounds. We had the fortunate chance to talk to the band to find out more about Villa Rise, their EP, and reasons for moving thousands of miles?
Hi and welcome to The Ringmaster Review. Thank you for talking with us.
Firstly would you introduce the members of the band?
Yeah, we have Jarrod Martin on Vocals, Kyle Usher on Bass, Alex Wood on Drums, Ben Clink and Brendon Fameli of Guitar.
How did you all meet and what inspired you to start the band?
We all grew up in the same town, and knew each other from school or gigs. Basically we started the band out necessity really, we just knew we wanted to play music.
You recently moved to the UK, a bold and some would say brave move, what was the reasoning for this?
We basically just all came to a point in our lives where we wanted to experience new things and see the world. We were really lucky that all of us wanted to do this sort of thing at the same time, and so naturally the band continued and we were able to bring it with us.
Does the move reflect or say anything about the state of metal back in Australia for new bands?
Well, I guess you can interpret it that way and we’re sure a few people have, but the Australian music scene was really great to us and there are a lot of really talented bands and people doing great things. Being so isolated and so large are unique problems for Australian bands, but we wouldn’t say that that was the real motivation for moving, even if it did play a part.
Nothing really, we expect a lot from ourselves and we have a pretty high standard of how we try to go about things, but whenever someone says they dig what we do, or whenever we get great opportunities like touring with Silent Screams or playing Ghostfest , it always comes as a bit of a surprise to us, we’re very grateful.
How do you think being here will help or inspire your music?
Well living together and having the freedom to write music at all hours has definitely made an impact, and being here has pretty much changed our lives, so naturally our perspectives on certain things have changed a little too. Hopefully for the best!
Do you fear losing your Australian fans by making the move?
No, we’ve had a tonne of support from back home since being here, we’re more focused on anyone appreciating what we are trying to do moving forward, whether they’re British, Australian, Chinese, whatever.
So far what has been the surprising positives being here and the negatives you were not expecting either musically or personally?
As we said before we never would have imagined we’d be playing such great shows so quickly, and we really have to thank Tom from Kings Agency for that. As far as negatives are concerned; sausages here are terrible, vegetables are expensive, and it’s hard to earn money to afford to buy any nice food at all.
You are just about to release your excellent debut EP Wastelands, so it must be an exciting but equally busy time for you guys right now?
Absolutely, we’re really looking forward to getting the EP out on this side of the world and seeing how it goes down. We’ve been working really hard to put our lives back together, and now that we’re about to really start playing some great shows it seems like it is about to pay off a little.
You are releasing it as a free download, what is the thinking behind that?
We just want people to hear it, as many people as possible. If 1 out of every 10 people who download it for free like it and come to a show, it will probably be more than if we were trying to sell an EP to an audience who have never heard of us. We don’t have much money to buy music these days, so bands that release music for free feature pretty heavily on our iPods.
Tell us about the concept/theme that runs through the release.
It is pretty loose based really, and it all comes down to the idea that there can be happiness in everyone’s life if they are able to see it and appreciate it. Obviously some people have problems with that and depression is a serious issue, and that’s not really something that we’re trying to comment on as such. But for the greater part we believe that happiness is a state of mind, and it can be within your control. Wastelands is pretty a story about a guy trying, and failing to come to terms with that.
For a first release it is quite an intensive project what inspired the idea and how much work went into planning how it would work?
We’d spent a really long time writing this, and the idea had developed over a long period of time. Concept records and bands like Defeater and Coheed & Cambria and blown us away, so some sort of concept wasn’t a conscious decision as such, it was just seemed appropriate at the time. We were writing those songs from a pretty frustrated place, and that’s where a lot of the abrasion in the sound comes from, but the idea itself isn’t meant to be a negative or angry thing at all. We also spent a long time producing this record at Def Wolf in Sydney and that gave us a bit of freedom to develop the sound.
The songs and the theme pretty much grew together. We had a few instrumental tracks written before we really started working out the details of the lyrical content, but we had a pretty solid idea of where we were heading when writing it all.
The release and your music is a varied animal with many distinct flavours, what are the main influences that have inspired you?
Our main influences as a band are groups like Defeater, Comeback Kid, Alexisonfire and mewithoutYOU, but at the time of writing this record we were still interested in big sounds that band like Underoath do really well, and I think that comes across too.
Your bio labels you as a hardcore band but is that not too limiting a tag for your sound?
We don’t really try to get involved with genre tagging much, we’ve written 10 songs for an album later this year and they are very different songs to the ones on Wasteland. We write music that represents our state of mind at the time – and this varies, so Hardcore seems like an appropriately broad tag.
How does the songwriting work within the band?
We spend a lot of time writing music and doing a lot of preliminary demos so that we can go back and adjust things over time. The songs grow with us that way, and we think that it is the most honest way that we can write music, as opposed to trying to pick something in advanced that will unify any songs that we write for any particular release. We all get involved in writing as much as possible.
You have some big gigs coming up I believe?
Yeah, we’re about to head out on tour with Silent Screams & Our People Versus Yours for our first proper UK hit out, we’re so stoked for this. Then we have some other tours in the works, and of course Ghostfest at the beginning of July is something that we still can’t quite believe we’re lucky enough to be a part of.
We’re working on an Album for later this year, so hopefully all goes well and we can get it out and play some rad shows off of it.
Again many thanks for sparing time to talk with us.
Thanks for having us!
Would you like to say something to your new fans in the UK?
Thanks for showing us any support so far! We look forward to getting out there and having a rad time at a gig with you all.
And lastly we have to ask what are you missing most about Australia other than family and friends?
Sausages. Haha. Kyle and Jarrod miss tofu and watermelon, they don’t eat meat.
Read the Wastelands EP review @ http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2012/04/23/villa-rise-wastelands/
The Ringmaster Review 05/05/2012
City Of Ghosts the debut EP from UK post-hardcore band This Vicious Cabaret is a fresh and exuberant burst of rock that pounces upon and feeds the ear with accomplished ease and lingering satisfaction. The four track release is a rewarding energetic introduction to a band that one feels has even more promise and quality within them than shown on what is a thoroughly pleasing first release.
From Watford This Vicious Cabaret has built up a fine reputation for their highly charged live shows since forming in 2009, their creative blend of aggressive hardcore and catchy melodic rock sounds drawing in an ever increasing following and support from media, radio and fans alike. From the evidence on City Of Ghosts it is no surprise how they are growing in stature and one assumes rapidly as the songs here have no intentions other than to please, thrill and entertain their audience, simply put to give all a good time.
The opening title track tells you all you need to know about the band, energetic with thumping rhythms, stirring riffs and a bassist in Lex Mead to mesmerise with ear grabbing basslines it is instantly enjoyable. Vocalist Jason Thorn’s emotive delivery is impressive giving the song a different vein of strength to power it easily through the ear. Alongside fellow guitarist Joe Davis, the duo spread the song to its limits with crashing punk energy and thoughtful engaging progressive play framed by formidable drums and direction from Radman. An impressive start continued by ‘New Disease’.
Toying with the senses the track is an intense yet playful beast that scoops one up in its forceful grasp to explode in the ear. The mix of power and carefully crafted impassioned melodies is impressive and inspiring. Many try and leave one thinking it would be better if they had gone one way or the other but This Vicious Cabaret have melded a perfect fluidity that keeps the tracks in full rampant mode whilst exploring their obvious creativity of sound and melodies.
As the EP plays it gets better and better with ‘Entry Points And Exit Wounds’ lifting things even higher. Punk infused the song is immense and the more one listens the better it gets. Another insatiable grumbling bass attack from Mead ensures full attention whilst the blistering guitars eagerly dance all over the ear. As the track progresses it feels as if the pace is going to veer out of control, the song teasing with suggestions of chaos but the band’s firm hand and skill keeps it perfectly reigned in.
Not to let the sequence go in decline final track ‘The Fall Of Icarus’ finishes things off by unleashing more red-blooded riffs and vigorous rhythms. The sudden slow down and emotive climax to the song is the only time the EP did not quite work but that is more a personal thing as there is nothing particularly wrong with it, Thorn as throughout delivering great vocals and passion with the lyrics, but it just felt out of kilter with the robust song and usual seamless switches elsewhere in tone and pace.
The band openly list influences as the likes of Funeral for a Friend, Alexisonfire, Finch, and Coheed & Cambria and if you have a liking of those This Vicious Cabaret is definitely a must hear for you. As the final track played it dawned as to another they have a similar flavouring to, Rocket From The Crypt certainly in the energy they produce and the vocal department.
City Of Ghosts to be honest may not be the most ground breaking release but for a debut it is deeply impressive and the more you listen the more it connects. It is a must check out and as the band have it as a free download on their Bandcamp profile there really is no excuse not to, besides any band that lists Reuben under influences has to be special right?
Get ‘City Of Ghosts’ @ http://thisviciouscabaret.bandcamp.com/