Though seemingly tagged as metalcore, Canadian fury Lucid Skies has a presence which primarily forges ferocious hardcore with metallic spite and melodic enterprise, the resulting sound which not only grabs attention but gives it an exhausting uncompromising examination which veers from imaginative seduction to unbridled and bruising antagonism. The Hounds EP is the impressive second release from the Edmonton quartet, following the Grudge Match EP of last year, and though it is not faultless it is promise soaked and strikingly invigorating.
Formed in 2009, Lucid Skies took little time in drawing notice their way with a sound inspired by the likes of Hatebreed, Comeback Kid, and Holly Springs Disaster. Started by guitarist Jesse Berger, the band was soon at full complement as Berger enlisted vocalist Nick Ogden, bassist Sam Jackson, and drummer Justin Smith. With impressive live performances seeing the band share stages with bands such as with Fall City Fall, Blind Witness, Fall In Archaea, and Breaking Fourth Wall, the foursome has continually enhanced their reputation, the debut EP sparking additional keen attention which Hounds can only accelerate as the band continues its emergence.
The self-released Berger produced EP, opens with Shotgun Mouthwash and immediately has ears and senses up for its raucous confrontation. A guitar grazing behind a vocal sample makes the first move before expelling a sonic breath around inviting crisp rhythms and the snarling vocals of Ogden. Group shouts pounce to back up the frontman to great effect and with riffs grilling the senses and rhythms building their punchy commanding presence the track sears the air with metal bred sinews and punk spite. Musically the song sees the band play with their intent and ideas to make for an appealing if restrained adventure, certainly compared to other tracks on the release, whilst the breakdowns and predacious attack of the riffs only add to the lure of the strong if unspectacular starter.
As soon as Left Hook makes its presence known you sense that something extra is at work, an indefinable essence maybe but one which adds an experimentation and bravery absent from its predecessor. The artillery of drum invention from Smith is an instant contagion whilst the grazing riffery only adds to the developing drama and intrigue. Into its muscular and provocative stride, grooves mark the heavy charge of the song whilst the vocals bring the expected venom with relish and power. The bass of Jackson is a throaty bestial stalking within this mix adding to the impressive incitement, though the breakdown to the back end of the song is clumsy but as the promo used was digital one wonders if it might have been a glitch in the transfer. Nevertheless the closing straight hardcore rage brings a great track to a healthy finale and a certain hungry appetite awoken for the EP.
With Eyes is the best song on the release and the most inventive, its body a continual movement of ideas and bold design. Its opening is straight forward enough, a decent hardcore raging but once it drops into a djent inspired prowling of the senses with the guitar a savage provocateur it ignites, grooves and hooks taking us on a keener escapade. Like in the previous songs things wait until the second half to whip the ground from under the feet and light up the imagination with unexpected skilful quests of exploration. The bass is unleashed to intimidate the ears alone, apart from the corruptive influence of the excellent beats of Smith, it developing a delicious groan to its notes which is matched and accentuated by the guitar to addictive effect, so much so that as the track returns to its initial fiery foraging of the ears it is at first a disappointment, but one soon forgotten as the track unloads the rest of its excellent bruising.
Hounds does not venture into the unknown or the band’s imagination enough for personal tastes, that shown up by the third track and its success when doing so, but also the vocal delivery of Ogden is something needing some enterprise too. His attack is excellent and tones as nasty and corrosive as you would wish but also needing some variation to really shine. It is a genre thing, hardcore and metalcore, to unleash one directional squalls so it is hard to be too critical but it is no accident that the best bands do find a vocal diversity to join a musical variation, something Lucid Skies certainly owns.
Completing the EP is Count Me Out, a track with mountainous rhythms and a spiralling sonic beckoning which is soon badgering the ear with intensive and merciless voracity. A metal seeded antagonist with a tempestuous appetite and combativeness, the song like the opener does not sparks the fires as the other two making up Hounds but undoubtedly continues the marking out of Lucid Skies as a stirring force to keep a close eager eye upon. The potential and existing promise of the band is impossible to ignore and their suspected ascent one which will have a hungry audience in times ahead with the Hounds EP, a name Your Own Price release at the band’s Bandcamp profile, an excellent place to climb on board the ride.
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A stormy affair which leaves the senses rubbed raw but glowing with pleasure, Idiokrati the debut album from Norwegian hardcore rockers Man The Machetes, is an undeniably formidable and captivating onslaught. Fusing varied essences from rock and metal into their abrasive hardcore confrontation, the Bergen/Oslo based quintet has unleashed an album which is challenging and takes some intensive focus to discover all of its masterful elements but rewards richly for the effort. The album squalls with sounds drawn from the same caustic wells as a Cancer Bats or Ghost Of A Thousand but throughout sends shards and veins of melodic rock and punk which captures the breath of a Billy Talent or Red Tape. It emerges as a distinct and original sound which sets the band apart from most, and though they brew a similarity of sound and attack across much of the release it has plenty of variation to captivate fully throughout too.
Released through Indie Recordings, Idiokrati is the accumulation of two years of hard work and a likely trigger to widespread recognition beyond their homeland. The band has risen from playing small Norwegian venues to lighting up festivals such as Pstereo and Hove as well as supporting the likes of Gallows and Kvelertak. The five friends who began playing music they loved in an old German bunker, have been on a forceful rise to date with the band travelling to Toronto In August 2012 to work on this their debut with producer Eric Ratz (Billy Talent, Cancer Bats, Comeback Kid). The album which emerged after four weeks of intensive work is a stirring and impacting bruising which ripples with infectious lures and irresistible melodic teasing. It is an uncompromising abrasion but one which employs skilfully crafted and engaged melodic flames.
From the moment opener Sluk Det Rått barges through the ear with a welcoming groove to the sinewy rhythms and riffs offered there is an immediate compelling draw to the release. The song is a grazing instigator through the barbed beats of drummer Per Christian Holm and the coarse vocals of Christopher Iversen but tempers their harsh rasping with magnetic melodic flares from the guitar and an imaginative sonic teasing which borders on sirenesque. Leading straight into second track Sjelsvrengt, the song is an impressive start equalled and continued by its successor. Again the melodic sonic magnetism is to the fore in the second track with the guitars of Morten D. Carlsson and Erlend N. Sætren irresistible in their invention and the bass of Erik A. Larsen a beast of muscular yet wanton contagious dance. The scorching presence of the song is less instantaneous than what came before but provokes an emotive response which is just as powerful.
Idiokrati continually does nothing less than impress, the likes of Mageplask with its mesmeric groove, the punk coated Slagen, and the intensive tempest Maktesløse encounters which ignite and energise the passions and primal instincts. The release has a fluid gait with many tracks evolving into the next seamlessly and with sonic skill though it too offers the only real downside to the release, a returning similarity across parts of the album. It is not a major negative but does defuse some of the invention underneath the surface scathing and occasionally make songs merge into one which an arguably over needed focus is required to differentiate.
Other than that the album is a tremendous debut and when tracks like the deliciously intimidating Deltidsidiot with its ‘celtic’ toned groove and the senses sizzling Hjemkomst lay their exhausting presence across the ear the release is exceptional. Man the Machetes offers strong emotions of much more to come too which really inspires Idiokrati to provoke immense anticipation for the band and their releases in the future. If you want something different then check out this impressively promising brawl of a band.
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Less than twelve minutes in length yet thirteen songs in content, Selfish Act 1 from Irish hardcore punk band Only Fumes & Corpses is definitely not a blink and you miss release. It is an abrasive and cutting assault of violent energy and brutal intensity which no one could possibly ignore. The songs charge and bristle with an uncompromising intent and destructive nature brought through challenging punk rock at its most caustic.
From Galway, the band formed in 2005 and become renowned as one of the hardest working and determined hardcore bands in Ireland. They have toured relentlessly throughout Europe as well as their homeland, sharing stages with the likes of Sick Of It All, Glassjaw, Bane, Comeback Kid, Capdown, Set Your Goals, Sonic Boon Six, Agnostic Front, and No Trigger, continually garnering acclaim along the way. Their releases similarly have made strong impressions; their self released four track demo, the eight song Read What Is In Between EP, and debut album Who Really Cares, What Really Lasts on Lockjaw Records, marking the band as one to firmly watch. With a new line-up, the quintet has released the first of two EPs in the shape of Selfish Act 1, again through Lockjaw, to surely ignite a mightier horizon for the band.
The title track distorts the air first, the blistering instrumental a scouring breath upon the ear with a restrained energy which sets things up powerfully for the impending rush of violence. The following Blinded screams at the senses in vocal and sonic breath, whilst within its 30 second fury it pulls an anthemic lure out of its brusque heart.
Tracks like Lost Generation with its squalling vocals and scything guitar sonics continue to ignite the senses whilst other rages such as the initially prowling Towers Fall with its defiant breath and the raging Won’t Come Back enflame the passions with their swift yet potent spite and intent.
The epic Full Circle, well at a minute and a half and compared to other songs feels like a giant piece of adrenaline fired animosity, is a ferocious pummelling from rhythms and churning riffs. The gang shouts combine with the vocals to agitate the senses further whilst the track as a whole is a wall of challenging and emotive energy. As this track confirms, each song despite their brief life always feel complete and even when there are moments where you wish there was a longer presence the tracks are rounded and wholly effective in their mission and success.
Further standout tracks include Smile Forever, the explosive We Were Heroes, and the captivating two parts of The Lush, arguably where the band explore their songwriting and individual abilities the most openly.
Selfish Act 1 is an excellent riot of hardcore punk brought with skill, expression, and most of all passion. It offers all the destructive antagonism and will you could require in a release whilst giving it individuality to set Only Fumes & Corpses apart from most other similarly driven bands. Angst has never been so slight yet so impactful.
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As bruising and titanic as ever, As I Lay Dying unleash their rampaging sixth album Awakened to show why the band are still one of the formidable benchmarks aspiring bands look to emulate. Never less than destructively venomous and a creative explosion of intrusive intensity, the San Diego quintet have brought a towering presence of freshness and inspiring energy to metal over the past decade but with the new album arguably they have dug deeper for even more power and keenly shaped aggression. Awakened may not see the band at the height of their groundbreaking powers but it is certainly is one of the most spiteful, barbed, and muscularly satisfying albums of the year and shows the band rippling with even greater personal invention and merciless intensity.
Released September 25th via Metal Blade Records, the album is the first recorded with The Descendents drummer and acclaimed producer Bill Stevenson (Rise Against, Comeback Kid, NOFX). Looking for someone outside of metal with different ideas and ear to understand and compliment their own evolved shift in direction with the new material, the choice of Stevenson it has to be said was inspired, the sound on the album crisp without distilling the overwhelming intensity the band always erupts with whilst bringing a sharpness and incendiary presence to the streams of melodic imagination which flare up magnificently throughout the songs. Musically and lyrically the band has ignited deeper wells of vitriolic urgency and energy whilst leaving their previous levels of aggression as the weaker brother to this, possibly their best album to date. As mentioned, strong melodies are rife throughout the release, their addictive radiation brought with immensely skilled craft for a fully sparking and inciteful effect, its fusion with their natural anger and aural violence immediately and persistently impressive.
Some reviewers as the new album nears its arrival have accused Awakened as lacking the passion found in earlier albums, something which is hard to agree with from the opening track Cauterize alone, the song a riot of guttural bile from Tim Lambesis and bone crumbling riffs which insistently spray anger and emotion from its dark heart. An unrelenting onslaught with the ever outstanding bass of Josh Gilbert snarling with the menace of a pack of wolves within the overwhelming guitar skills of Phil Sgrosso and Nick Hipa, the track leaves one breathless and sets one up eagerly for the even better violations to come. Maybe the fine melodic veins, especially the warm vocal harmonies alongside Lambesis, distil some of the barbaric acrobatic sounds for some, but truly they only enforce the acidic nature and manipulative skill of the band even further.
The stunning A Greater Foundation pounds on the already emerging wounds with magnetic and perpetual excellence, its spine of rifling rhythms and corrosive riffs layered with blistering sonics and vocal caustic tones. It is an irresistible corruption which in every aspect leaves the senses smarting and grinning from the given trauma. The annihilatory drums of Jordan Mancino show no qualms about snapping synapses in to splinters with his beats though it is offset by the great combined vocals, the clean vocals of Gilbert more prominent than ever on the album, bringing a Billy Talent like feel to the insatiable outrage.
Tracks like the wonderfully sizzling Wasted Words with its predatory groove and belligerent riffs, Whispering Silence with a whisper of U2 to its melodic opening and sonic scorching, and a bear of a track in No Lungs To Breathe, find the band further exploring their new evolution of ideas successfully and impressively. These and to be honest every song on the album are impossible to offer any real obstacle up against to deny full acclaim upon them, yes maybe other bands are also producing similarly fuelled and quality material not to far apart in sound but it is hard to think of any releases as dramatically striking.
The hungry and ferocious Defender is a further peak on the album, the bass finding an even deeper growl to its breath whilst the guitars burn with a furious fire in their belly and sheer strength in their play. Not the most barbarous song on the album to be fair it is still as powerful and piercing as any other with its razor sharp invention and gnawing riffing.
Awakened is without doubt one of the highlights of the year, an album which even the diehard fans who may have been wary of the newer melodic feel will devour with ease and greed. As I Lay Dying is still showing all how it is done and keeping that bar of excellence very high.
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Raw, abrasive, and deliberately confrontational, Irish post hardcore band Milestones is already well on the way to making a dent not only in their homeland but further afield, something their new release can only reinforce. Their new EP Entropy is an impressive swipe of aural brutality, one bruising bully to endure but be fully rewarded by. It leaves one clutching a support under its onslaught but full of complete satisfaction from its violent presence.
The quintet from Dublin rose from the ashes of Out of Nowhere in April 2011. With the band name came the Blood demo, a three track release which marked the new direction and set in motion the growing attention and power the band has since triggered. Two tracks The Boats and Gone With The Wind followed, each pulling further acclaim, whilst the band consistently destroyed stages alongside the likes of US band Bury Your Dead, Betrayal and Stick Around. Entropy is evidence of the band growing quickly and finding a depth to their music within songs of sheer towering intensity and undeniable quality. Released as a limited tape cassette via Savour Your Scene Records, just 100 units available, and as a download, the six track release is one to rupture senses and fry thoughts whilst igniting both into action just as equally.
Still Organs scrapes raw from its opening graze upon the ear and is soon probing the wound with a fury of tumultuous riffs and spiteful vocals. The delivery of Peter Kealy, backed by Jack Marmion and Rafino Murphy, simply crushing notes into being with plaintive cries and earnest shouts to match the inciteful guitar play of the other pair. The track is barely in excess of a minute but is a corruptive and stirring beast.
The following Premonitions carries the great start to even more intense heights. Again vocals and guitars strip flesh with their caustic might whilst the drums of Keith Davis rifle and plunder the ear with strong challenging beats and the bass of Keith Fish is a predatory stalker within the sonic violence. Again short, the song is an impact which leaves lingering marks to satisfy all with its extreme musical vehemence.
Needing an extra focus to delve beneath the surface acid, the EP is a varied and intelligent piece of songwriting. It is not an easy listen at times admittedly, and probably too harsh for some, but given time it unveils some of the freshest and more invigorating music to emerge in post hardcore for a long time. The outstanding Old Hands and arguably even better Graveside, leave the air sizzling as their venom is squeezed out through confronting rhythms and incendiary melodic enterprise all brought within a tight sonic whipping. There is a definite punk vein pulsating throughout, especially in the second of these two songs, which adds to the temper and cantankerous attitude of the music and rubs that little bit harder on its target.
Entropy ends with the riveting manipulative tones of Pound OF Flesh, a track which takes a different though no less intense journey than before and the brawling nasty Ladders. The second is a concussive blistering which takes its time to emerge out of an initial chaotic storm to evolve into an infectious and compulsive weave of emotion and expressive rock.
Influences for the band come from the likes of Comeback kid, Defeater, Everytime I Die, and Lower than Atlantis, and to that elements of bands like Gallows and Ghost Of A Thousand also emerge as the EP plays. Milestones has a distinct energy and sound which with Entropy sure to recruit more and more wasted contented ears, pretty much means there will be no stopping them.
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From a good but underwhelming start the self titled debut album from Swedish band A Silent Escape digs deep to unleash a series of diverse and imaginative tracks. It is a release which one can argue about in regard to its originality and uniqueness with at times some songs merging into the sea of similar fuelled and sounding songs elsewhere. What is not in doubt is the promise offered up and the skilled and intense imagination deployed when the band expresses and extends itself.
The band formed in 2010 though the seeds of the band can be said to have been planted further back in a band Union Square where A Silent Escape vocalist/bassist Patrick Stenborg, vocalist/guitarist Joel Nilsson, and drummer Nic Antoni Londqvist played together. On the demise of that band the trio linked up with guitarist and friend Eddie Hansala and A Silent Escape was born. June 4th sees the release of their debut as the band look to waking up the UK and beyond to their Comeback Kid/ In Flames/ Millencolin influenced and blended sounds.
The band slaps the senses around from the off with Blackhole Gravity a song of thumping rhythms and insurgent riffs. The track is punchy with a striking melodic grip upon the ear whilst being openly infectious and proudly eager. It does everything right especially with the reserved enterprising moment mid song but just misses lighting up the fires with any distinct individuality. The following Final Chapter is the same, though another good song which is impossible to feel anything but pleasure from it just does not inspire anything stronger, nevertheless both tracks unveil striking elements to ignite sure promise whilst easily entertaining whilst the senses in their presence.
Things truly lift though when From Words to Beating steps forward to ignite the senses. A melodic warmth permeates from it making a smooth yet bristling experience for the ear, the Avenged Sevenfold toned vocals a fine companion for the expressive sounds. From this definite lift to the album things truly explode with best track God’s A Liar(feat. Richard Sjunnesson from The Unguided). From the opening taunting and intimidating riff breakouts on the ear alongside punchy rhythms the track takes a hypnotic hold. Melodic wraps cover the metallic spine and contrasting venomous growls explore and illuminate the song alongside a great clean vocal delivery bringing the most compelling contrasts and startling interplay. The track is mighty and easily the major highlight of the album.
The album is in full flow now unleashing a series of undeniably impressive tunes as the following melodic metal Ticket Back and catchy hook luring Can’t Be The End show. The second of the two is almost like Bullet For My Valentine does pop punk but is not only far better than it sounds but is a captivating slice of infection. Both songs are powerful and easily accessible without resorting to easy tricks and avenues. Again one could not claim they were breaking into new directions with truly unique sounds but one can easily state not many other releases bring as much fully appreciated pleasure.
The blistering attack of Bullets takes the album down another detour, its electronic spicery a great twist to the growing intensity, whilst Smalltown Outcast peers into the creative well of the likes of Silent Descent with great effect. Ending on another slab of intensity in Goodbye Mr Pig the album is an enjoyable creature with possibly more promise than realisation still upon its breath. The signs are all there and only time will tell if they can cultivate their own distinctive and even more striking sound but right now A Silent Escape, album and band leaves one more than merely pleased and satisfied.
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 @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2012/04/23/villa-rise-wastelands/
The Ringmaster Review 05/05/2012
Classed as a hardcore/punk band in their own bio Australian band Villa Rise are one of an emerging breed that do not neatly fit in any department, this quintet alone veining their creations with a varied and flavoursome array of ideas and sounds. It makes for an intriguing and in some ways an initial undefined direction from many bands though one cannot say that about Villa Rise. As their debut EP Wastelands shows this is a band with clear ideas and thought as well as a craft and ability to achieve them.
Coming from Sydney the band took the decision to relocate to the UK not so long ago to hit the music scene here, making Brighton their base. Whether simply a confidence in their sound, the wish to try new pastures, or a statement about the scene in their homeland it was a brave move for a young band to undertake, though going on the evidence of Wastelands and the high profiled gigs on the horizon, they could and should find big rewards for doing so.
As mentioned they are classed as hardcore but the tracks with the EP reveal veins of metalcore and tech metal to same just two, the songs bursting with aggressive intensity, dark bulging riffs, thoughtfully crafted melodies, and a wonderful discordant touch that always hits the spot. There is also intelligent attention given to their lyrical side, the EP offering the thought that happiness is a state of mind as it brings the story of ’a young man who descends into madness, because of his inability to accept the positives and in his life.’
From the brief opening track Fracture and its sampled disaster broadcast the release erupts fully with the following Keeper. With a breathless assault from the first note the band thrusts through the ear with towering riffs and incisive melodic guitars from Ben Clink and Brendan Farneli whist the vocals of Jarrod Martin scowl and rage perfectly, his attack dripping anger and venom. The song twists and turns with a seamless flow and success as group vocals, stirring rhythms from drummer Alex Wood, and belligerent riffs from bassist Kyle Usher punctuate the great searching melodic manipulations.
Blindeye and the title track take over next, both impressive and deeply striking tracks though the latter of the two has an easier gait to been drawn to despite being further down the descent to disengaged sanity. Though each track can be taken singly very effectively there is a definite connection and bond that can only be felt and appreciated between the songs when taken as a whole, a provocative and thought inspiring package.
The EP is completed by Villains and Shadows. Again two songs as equal in quality and enterprise as those before them. In a parallel to the subject they are investigating the songs and EP become more challenging as it nears its end though never losing its firm creative grip and imaginative use of melodies, diverse sounds, and unpredictable invention.
Wastelands is also a grower that starts with an appealing and impressive first introduction but the more time spent in its company the more one finds its depths and creative treasures. Taking influences from the likes of Defeater, Alexisonfire and Comeback Kid, Villa Rise release the EP on April 30th via Monarch Records and as a free download. Already the band is proving a worthy new addition to the metal scene in the UK with Wastelands suggesting there is still much more to come.