Greyhaven – Breathe EP

A year and a handful of months ago, British alt-rock quintet Greyhaven aroused rich praise and attention with their EP, State Of Mind. It suggested a band with the potential to become a rich part of the British heavy rock scene. Now the London hailing outfit are ready to release its successor in Breathe, an EP which maybe does not quite realise its predecessor’s promise as anticipated but only confirms thoughts that the quintet has a potent future.

Emerging in either the autumn of 2014 or early 2015 depending where you read, Greyhaven quickly whipped up local support and following through their live shows and debut EP, The Flood. The following State Of Mind, produced by Daniel Kerr (Shields, Create To Inspire, Despite my Deepest Fear), was the moment broader attention was lit, the release sparking praise and coverage with the likes of Scuzz TV and Kerrang, as well as finding a place on one of Metal Hammer’s front cover CD. Since then the band has experienced changes in its line-up and as a momentary foursome uniting once again with Kerr to record Breathe.

Truth opens the release up and quickly has attention in its grasp with a tempting shuffle of beats and a rapacious lure of riffs. It is an opening hinting at a furious expulsion but instead is followed by a calmer if still slightly volatile breath allowing the strong vocals of Sam Paterson to step forward into the already woven web of melodies. Harmonies soon wrap the frontman’s potent tones, the rhythms of drummer Connor Tate and brooding texture of Jack Hudson’s bass a dark almost portentous echo of the song’s emotional heart fuelled angst. With the guitar of Alex Hills as suggestive as it is sonically wiry, the song makes a fine introduction to the EP though for personal tastes is soon eclipsed by its companions.

When We Divide is next, bringing its own tempestuous air and drama to bear on ears and imagination. Great nagging riffs accompany Paterson’s ever tempting voice, rhythms just as thick a welcome trespass as the song mixes sharp hooks and sonic enterprise with emotive energy. Whereas its predecessor, though sounding fresh, held few surprises, the second track is rich with twists and unexpected turns which if anything it does not fully exploit.

Nevertheless, the track is a magnetic persuasion soon matched in almost similar success by the following Crows. There is rawness at its core which enjoyably contrasts the lively shimmer of keys and melody, the song evolving through mellow and crystalline climes but always one sigh away from its tempestuous instincts.

The EP’s title track brings things to an end, the song rising on a caress of keys with a jangle of guitar flanking its move into poppier rock exploits. Temptingly catchy and vocally alone magnetic, Breathe strolls along with a confident smile, its inner fire catching further along to flame with increasing intensity and attraction.

It is hard to say that the Breathe EP has managed to be as richly memorable as State Of Mind before it but it is more of a grower and with every listen impresses and increasingly satisfies and if you have an appetite for bands such as 30 Seconds To Mars, Don Broco, and Alexisonfire, it is an encounter which really should be checked out.

The Breathe EP is released January 12th through Outsider Records.

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Pete RingMaster 10/01/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Fortify – Valhalla EP

Unleashing five reasons why closer attention is warranted and deserved by Essex quintet Fortify, the Valhalla EP shows that British pop infused rock is still one lively temptation. The release is maybe not the most unique offering, the band’s sound embracing recognisable and familiar essences, yet it is hard to suggest there is nothing fresh and of individual character about each and every song within Valhalla.

Emerging in 2015, Fortify have increasingly earned support and praise through a live presence which has seen them play with the likes of Chapter And Verse, Create To Inspire, and TheCityIsOurs as well as debut single Emergency Exit which came out last year. It hinted at a power and creativity within the band’s sound and songwriting now loudly vocal within Valhalla, itself also fuelled by a potential which adds to the anticipation of their future creative horizons.

In many ways creating something akin to a fusion of A Day To Remember, Paramore, and We Are The In Crowd, Fortify quickly lure ears with opener What About Us. Swiftly the guitars of Kieran McLoughlin Spink and Charlie Fallows entangle ears in spicy tendrils and rapacious riffs as the swinging beats of drummer Jamie Smith bite. Each, with the heavier darker tones of Billy Byford’s bass as rich, enticing the imagination until the magnetic voice of Anna Louise comes forth to momentarily steal attention. With an organic power and expressive dexterity to her presence, she adds greater fire to the catchy and smartly crafted song, sizzling away even when the encounter slips into mellower waters.

Next up, Survivors saunters in on a more reserved energy but one as the sounds it drives, bubbling with intensity which subsequently ignites in rising crescendos across the melodic landscape. As with the first, there is certain imagination and invention at work, an enterprise which lures keen focus and a continuing relationship between music and listener as much as the individual prowess of the band and Anna Louise’s magnetic tones.

As potent as both songs are, each blossoming with every listen, things are taken up a notch with Rumours. Looming in from a distance, it leaps upon ears with relish and a muscular boisterousness, riffs and bassline a rapacious attack speared by the intensive and dynamic rhythms of Smith. Everything from the infectious rock ‘n’ roll of the opener to the plaintive alternative rock of its predecessor is embraced and escalated within the third track and its own tapestry of invention and drama around the vocal melodic roar.

It is immediately challenged for best track status by Emergency Exit though, the song showing why it drew high praise as a single previously with its blaze of melodic and sonic endeavour. Unafraid to draw on metal bred essences within its fire, the song sizzles and burns as it hits the sweet spot; inventive ideation lining every twist and turn.

The EP is completed by Strangers, another cauldron of sound and emotive energy driven by the predacious rhythms of Smith and Byford. It comes bound in the similarly hungry riffs and grooves of McLoughlin Spink and Fallows with Anna Louise captivatingly roaring away. It has everything about the Fortify sound which marks them put as a band to eagerly watch with a lining of originality which defuses any familiar aspects which arises in their music.

It all makes for a thoroughly enjoyable and increasingly magnetic first multi-track listen to Fortify, a band sure to be tempting bigger spotlights very soon.

The Valhalla EP is out now on iTunes.

 

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Pete RingMaster 31/10/2017

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Dream Awake – Don’t Hold Your Breath

An encounter which persists with its persuasion after making a pretty strong first impression, growing in thoughts and enjoyment all the time, Don’t Hold Your Breath is the sophomore EP from Northern Ireland melodic metalcore quintet Dream Awake. The successor to their well-received debut of a couple of years ago, Pathfinder, the five track offering is a potent new step in the ascent of the Belfast band.

Recorded with producer Daniel Kerr of Avenue Studios (Our Hollow Our Home, Create To Inspire, Shields), Don’t Hold Your Breath certainly provided an attention grabbing first listen initially though its real strengths taking it out of the crowd were not so imposing. Subsequent outings with its melody rich and threateningly aggressive enterprise gave the time to discover a real depth in adventure and creative resourcefulness. There are moments in which the EP fails to escape familiar traits among genre companions but even those times are built with a potential of greater and bolder individuality.

It begins with the ear grabbing The Weathering, a track featuring the guest talent of Napoleon vocalist Wes Thompson. Its atmospheric opening is soon vined by Chris Byrne’s suggestive guitar and subsequently immersed in the volatile tide of rhythmic thunder and vocal causticity. The raw throated roar of David Houston is in turn replaced by the excellent clean tones of guitarist Conor Kelly, a calmer presence in the growing tempest where the bass of Craig Leetch springs a bassline which swings around ears and appetite while the beats of drummer Daniel Kelly manage to share the fierce touch of the song’s irritability and the tempering touch of melody. Even Kelly’s warmer delivery has a fire in its belly at times and put all together it is a magnetic affair which only further impresses with every listen.

The following Mind’s Eye tempts with a melodic enticing before its wave of adventure surges through ears; again warm and harsher textures colluding in the persuasion. As Byrne’s strings dazzle, Kelly’s voice is a magnet with the dirty throat grazing of Houston a predacious element in the fire. Swiftly the track outshines its predecessor, finding uniqueness in craft and magnetism which was a touch more latent in the song before. Its roar continues to seduce and challenge bringing a greedier appetite to the fore for the EP’s tempting before Cataclysm comes at ears from a distance with gusto and a web of sonic intrigue. The guitars cast a web of suggestiveness as rhythms prowl, the scowls of Houston lyrically and emotionally scar the senses and as keys add their grace, a Linkin Park like tempting blossoms to lace the arising metalcore tempest with further imagination; the track, as the last outshone the first, out burning the second.

T.O.D. descends on the senses with rapacious intent and tenacity next, guitars and vocals offering a flavoursome mix of design and intensity with the guest vocals of Christina Rotondo bringing extra beauty to the seduction. Though arguably not as bold musically as the songs before it, the track sizzles on the ear before making way for the concluding throes of Heavy Heart. Again an atmospheric, almost haunting start has the imagination swiftly engaged, its suggestiveness continuing as a volatile climate erupts. For personal tastes, the track does not build on its great start as successfully as it might though there are certain moments where it is a magnet. Nevertheless it makes for an enjoyable end to a release as suggested grows with every listen.

Dream Awake has not quite established their full individual character of sound yet but the potent signs are there within their new EP. With a bolder adventure in the writing and maybe greater diversity in the still pleasing attack of Houston, you can expect the five-piece to turn their undoubted potential into genre pushing success and hopefully with plenty more fiercely pleasing outings like Don’t Hold Your Breath along the way.

Don’t Hold Your Breath is released August 18th

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Pete RingMaster 15/08/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Greyhaven – State Of Mind

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Finding an inventive and commanding middle ground between the raw intensity of metal and the anthemic infectiousness of alternative rock with a firm dash of post hardcore involved, British quintet Greyhaven recently uncaged their new EP State Of Mind. It is an encounter which roars and serenades ears and imagination in equal measure; bullying and seducing the senses with seven explosive and imposingly compelling proposals.

London based, Greyhaven formed early 2015 and soon earned a potent reputation for a live presence which has seen the band play alongside the likes of Create To Inspire, Idols Of Apathy, Vera Grace, and The Afterparty. Their first year also the release of debut EP The Flood, a well-received introduction which solidly set the band out as one to watch. State Of Mind suggests much more as it reveals Greyhaven taking new strides in songwriting and sound with riveting results.

Recorded with Dan Kerr (Shields, Create To Inspire, Despite my Deepest Fear), State Of Mind is a tempest of anthemic intensity and sound aligned to mellower moments of melodic intimacy. From opening suggestive instrumental Sinners a sense of creative and emotive drama blossoms in ears, the track growing in predacious shadows and poetic charm before it eventually drifts into the waiting jaws and rousing tempestuousness of Hexes. As guitarists Alex Hills and Jim White weave a tapestry of descriptive riffs and melodic tendrils in tandem with similarly potent keys, the raw throated growl of bassist Edd Kerton explodes to be subsequently replaced by the impressive clean and emotive tones of vocalist Sam Paterson. Tapestry is the best word for the song, so many elements across the band bred with imagination and interwoven in a proposal which never stops revealing new essences and shades of tone in every listen.

greyhaven_cover_artworkCopyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyrightIt is a craft and prowess which applies to all songs within the release to be fair, the following Darkest Hour swift confirmation as a great growling bassline from Kerton and the merciless swings of drummer Connor Tate link up with the harmonious delivery of Paterson and the emotive melodies which embrace ears. A fiery solo only adds to the imposing yet captivating drama shaping the song, again each minute a cauldron of enterprise breeding new adventures with every encounter.

There are familiar elements to the Greyhaven sound which suggest inspirations from the likes of Architects and Alexisonfire, and maybe are most openly apparent within the excellent On & On, though they are spices quickly engulfed in the band’s own eager imagination. The source of the band’s new video, the track leaps around and burns like a sonic fire, the guitars licking at the senses with melodic heat as rhythms crackle at the core amidst vocally coloured flames.

From one powerful persuasion to another as the highly infectious Our Stand steps forward next, its proposal bruising and magnetic as Paterson shines within another storm of metallic predation and emotionally inflamed contagion as savage as it is rousing as it is pop lined infectious. That lighter air also frequents successor Brother, though again Greyhaven infuse it into a creative and musical ferocity which almost venomously snarls. The song adds another shade to the sound and songwriting of the band, its catchiness an inescapable lure perfectly courted by a barbarous intent headed by Kerton’s toxically grouchy growls.

Closed by a thoroughly enjoyable acoustic version of The Flood, the title track of that first EP, State Of Mind proves and further suggests that Greyhaven is heading towards becoming a potent part of the British heavy rock scene. Already they have provided two releases no one should ignore.

State Of Mind is out now via Outsider Records across most online stores.

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Pete RingMaster 08/09/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Create To Inspire – Home Is Where My Heart Dies

 

CTI_RingMasterReviewBuilding on the success of their debut EP, British melodic hardcore quintet, Create To Inspire, are poised to release its successor in the rousing shape of Home Is Where My Heart Dies. It is the band’s first offering since signing with Basick Records at the turn of the year; a pungent roar of emotion and imposing sound showing potent depths of invention and imagination beneath its impressing surface.

There are no major ground-breaking moments in the band’s new EP, the release more of a confirmation and expansion on the potential already offered by predecessor Halfway Home, yet predictability is noticeable by its absence while freshness in confrontational textures and accomplished craft is a persistent persuasion. From emerging in 2012, it is fair to say that the Essex hailing band has perpetually and increasingly drawn attention and praise their way; a success, it is easy to expect, set to reach another pinnacle with their latest release.

2014 saw the band win the Red Bull Studios Live At Download competition, subsequently playing alongside the likes of Aerosmith, Linkin Park, Avenged Sevenfold, and more, before the Halfway Home EP really stirred up ears and appetites. Since then they have toured alongside While She Sleeps and Giants, they particular highlights of a busy 2015, and following the release of Home Is Where My Heart Dies, Create To Inspire are set to make their debut tour into Europe in support of Skywalker, before returning to again hit the road with While She Sleeps. 2016 is looking another eventful year for the band starting here with Home Is Where My Heart Dies.

art_RingMasterReviewThe EP opens up with History and immediately has ears under a rhythmic cosh with predatory riffs for company. Thereafter the song uncages a tide of hungry riffs amidst the vocal ire of Sean Midson, subsequently expanding and blossoming its catchy rhythms and melodic endeavour with every lyrical snarl and sonic scythe.  The hefty swipes of drummer Luke Taylor continue to punctuate the track whilst inciting ears alongside the similarly intrusive tones of Dan Fuller’s bass. They also make a forceful impact on the senses whereas the imagination is held by Midson’s potent mix of attack and the web of enterprise cast by guitarists Jack Morris and Connor McLeod. The track is a potent start to the release; an ear grabbing proposal lining familiar hues and flavours with the band’s own stirring invention.

Counting Days steps forward next and instantly reveals its punk origins with its hardcore bred opening, a bracing bellow of voice and sound. Forceful as it is, the song also keeps one hand on the reins so melodic endeavour can flow seamlessly from within its brooding tempest. As aggressive and abrasive as it is melodically and harmonically infectious, the track is a striking roar of volatile and emotive intensity, and the EP’s strongest moment.

A gentle melodic caress brings Don’t Let Go into view next, its melancholic charm joined by the rawer expression of Midson’s vocals as beats land with determination. It is a highly suggestive start which is only accentuated by the infectious hooks and swinging energy which follows before the process is repeated with an even more irritable air coating the song’s subsequent energetic expulsion. It is another memorable encounter, maybe the one which lingers most from the EP though it’s title track has plenty of creative and catchy moments to its storm that hang around in thoughts and enjoyment.

It is another inflamed proposal of sound and emotion which masterfully shows off the vocal variety and sonic resourcefulness of the band , and the rhythmic imagination which steer the songs. As the EP generally, the closing track is not rich in ear catching surprises but has a multitude of alluring sounds and ideas in its equally pleasing body. Home Is Where My Heart Dies as a whole is an impressive continuation of the first Create To Inspire EP and confirmation that this is a band with the potential to make great strides within the UK music scene.

The Home Is Where My Heart Dies is released March 25th via Basick Records.

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Pete RingMaster 23/03/2016

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Idols Of Apathy – Life Lessons

Idols Of Apathy Promo Shot_RingMaster Review

Truly standing out in the vast horde of metal bands with a hellacious bully of a sound seems to get harder and harder with every passing year and diversely brutal release. Originality is a premium numerous touch upon, often impressively, and few rarely blossom to something which really does stand alone and become the inspirer rather than the inspired. British extreme /tech metallers Idols Of Apathy fall into the former with their sound, but equally strongly impress with their five track tempest of fury and raw ingenuity, the Life Lessons EP. The release is a volatile and skilfully invasive proposition which never leaves a moment dulled by a lack of imagination and passion, qualities woven in with recognisable hues to suggest that influences breed as much of the band’s invention as their own explorations. At the same time though, the highly enjoyable Life Lessons leaves ears and appetite fiercely attentive as a rich fuel of potential hints of even bigger and individually bolder things ahead as Idols Of Apathy evolve.

Idols Of Apathy Cover Artwork_RingMaster Review   Bursting from the Essex landscape in 2013, Idols Of Apathy were soon stirring up a potent local fan base, spreading further afield once they swiftly released debut single Deceiver. Its success was backed by first EP Unheard Words, which was recorded by Dan Keer. Picking up strong national and media recognition, it was the spark to the band sharing stages, to continuing acclaim, alongside the likes of Climates, Canvas, Lock & Key, Shields, Sworn In, Continents, Create to Inspire, Carcer City, and Falling With Style amongst many more. It is easy to see similar and bigger responses to the release and persuasion of Life Lessons coming up, and though it might not roar from that plateau of major originality it powerfully gives the already strong reputation of the band a new shot in the arm.

The release opens with Bipolar, a song inspired by vocalist Jack Dervish’s own condition and living up to its title in sound and character from its first evocative breath. In no time the inviting coaxing is an anger driven and heart spawned tearing of the senses, with a sound seemingly drawing on the savage intensity and hues of a Slipknot, Devil Driver, or As I Lay Dying. The lethal swings of drummer Stuart Roche resonate like masonry through ears and bone whilst the raw vocal invasion of Dervish, backed as strongly by guitarist Dean Chignell especially with his eventful clean tones, abrase and entice simultaneously. It is the web of invasive grooves and technical imagination from Chignell and fellow guitarists Tom Johnston and Joe Gregory that majorly helps turn a very decent track become a striking offering, their entwining enterprise helping the EP get off to an immense and impressive start.

The great creative irritability and hostile dynamics of the first song continues in the following Addiction, its trespass an insatiable incursion into the senses but bolder in its embrace of provocative ambiences and ‘mellower’ textures led again by clean vocals. The song itself jerks around at times like it has creative Saint Vitus Dance, twisting and lurching from idea to carnivorous intent with seamless and eventful prowess. The bass of Elliott Black is a predator in the mix, his lines and lures bestial, and though not always as open in the mix as in the first song are always there tempering or inciting the calmer and fiercer moments.

Once A Cheat / Always comes next, smothering ears in an atmospheric angst around similarly driven vocals before spilling its own animus of sound and emotion. The scything strokes of one guitar collude with a net of off-kilter sonic from another as the track blossoms a turbulence which merges moments of rich catchiness with winds of blustery causticity; the technical craft and ideation of the band from all angles ensuring predictability is an unused issue.

The scent of Whitechapel meets Revocation of the track merges with the rancorous intensity of the following Backstabber too, lining the melodic expression lighting up a track which maybe does not make the same initial impact as earlier propositions within Life Lessons but comes into its thrilling own over time and listens. It is an increasingly virulent tapestry of crippling rhythms and spiky guitar intrusiveness bursting with resourceful vitality and physical tenacity from across the board before leaving Lessons Learnt to bring the EP to an imposing like-minded and pleasing close. As well as essences which savage as old friends, there is an element of similarity between songs in certain areas but always saved from dominating things by the turbulent adventure the band builds each track upon. Whereas its predecessor’s assault was sonic and lyrical venom, the final track feels like it is an understanding incitement, melodic and harmonic essences a hug around the shoulder giving a reassurance echoing the words shared, though it still snarls and bites like a rabid beast too.

Idols Of Apathy is a band destined to more and greater attention, a suggestion hard to resist making on the evidence of the excellent Life Lessons, and if they can find that real element of originality too, the real potential of big things ahead.

The Life Lessons EP is available from December 4th.

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Pete RingMaster 04/12/2015

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I Cried Wolf – Hollow Heart

Lamp Shade Press Shot _RingMaster Review

Real uniqueness in music is a long sought after and if we are honest rarely found aspect in the current music scene. But there are always a few exceptions and many more which come pretty close to finding that clear originality, and one such incitement is UK post-hardcore/punk ‘n’ rollers I Cried Wolf. The band is poised to release their new EP Hollow Heart, and it is a rousing roar of fierce invention and raw intimacy which sets the case for the Banbury quintet being the next big thing in certainly the British hardcore scene, if not its rock ‘n’ roll landscape, whilst creating an incitement which sets ears aflame and the band well away from the crowd.

Hollow Heart is a diverse and unpredictable encounter which you can at times reference to the likes of Dillinger Escape Plan and Every Time I Die as well as others such as Pantera and Reuben in certain moments and aspects, but an invigorating trespass on the senses and imagination which has a character and invention of its very own. The EP is the work of a band formed in 2012 and becoming quickly renowned for their ferocious live presence which has in turn garnered an increasingly potent and loyal following. The past couple of years or so has seen I Cried Wolf share stages with the likes of Bleed From Within, Hacktivist, Create To Inspire, Let’s Talk Daggers, Red Seas Fire, Bad Sign, and Surrender The Coast around the UK. Recorded with producer Sam Winfield (Bring Me The Horizon, Dry The River), Hollow Heart is the band’s broadest wake-up call for the country yet and one hard to imagine being ignored by very many.

Lyrically relating to the life of vocalist Harry Davies, “his reluctance to let go of the past….Of loss, lust, and betrayal”, Hollow Heart opens up with Scratching My Head With Ink and a scratching of riffs before exploding in a howl of sonic turbulence and vocal angst. To that though, is an immediate swing and volatile stroll bursting with imagination and quickly gripping hooks. The guitars of Louie Hodgson and Alex Gibbons cast raw smog of irritable riffs and gripping grooves whilst the drums of Oli Hampshire ransack the senses with their rugged yet rousing incitement. It is a thrilling and bracing proposal enhanced by the roaming throaty bassline spread by Jacob Rudman and the impassioned squalls from the lungs of Davies. That alone would be enough to provide potent bait for the appetite but it is the unpredictable nature of the song which makes a great song something special. The grooves just get heavier and spicier whilst Davies as he digs deeper into his emotions discovers a gripping Anselmo like grizzle to his delivery, whilst the song, well that just bristles punk attitude and heavy rock tenacity as it twists and turns.

ICW_Hollowheart_EP_RingMaster Review     The outstanding start is not let down by its successor, Massokiss Me an agitated swarm of toxic riffs and rhythmic rumbling from the off only breeding keener grooves, greater vocal diversity, and serious invention as it explores a host of flavours all bred in rock ‘n’ roll of some design. That subsequently leads into an impassioned post-hardcore seeded outpouring of melodic and vocal emotion, the track evolving within ears with broader and bolder enterprise before making way for the enthralling It Takes A Slave. It starts with a swing which is best described as blues meets ska punk meets jazz rock where Davies uncovers a dusty growl to his tones as the guitars weave a sultry enticing and the bass a funky lure behind him. It is an entrance which eventually expands into another fascinating and exciting entwining merger of diverse flavours, Faith No More a suggested hint to the ingenuity at play. Each song in a way is ordered bedlam, a vat of individual textures and styles twisted and aligned for songs which, as here, smash expectations and leaves a lingering and inescapable intrigue which simply draws ears keenly and swiftly back into its midst for more exploration.

Kensopia is a spiral of melodic revelry and suggestion from the off next, guitars almost duelling with their individual exploits as rhythms tenderise ears ready for the vocal prowess of Davies and band. Jagged riffs bring another new shade to the sound and release whilst an air of bands like Bring Me The Horizon comes forward briefly as the track moves on to pastures new and old in the strike of a chord or swing of a stick. It is another enjoyable aspect to the I Cried Wolf sound, it never stands still, always in creative motion meaning ears and thoughts have to be lively and willing to rerun the bruising fun again, and again to grasp all the rewards.

Sharkfeet brings Hollow Heart to its close, the track another cauldron of emotion and mouth-watering revelry in songwriting and a tenaciously uncaged tempest. Sonically burning, rhythmically intimidating, and consistently engrossing, the song simply boils over in adventure and almost psychotic invention yet, as all songs, manages to find a coherent and fluid passage across the whole of its explosive passage.

Impressive on the first listen and increasingly impacting and thrilling thereafter, there is only one word for Hollow Heart…remarkable!

Hollow Heart is digitally available from September 11th via Crooked Noise Records.

Pete RingMaster 11/09/2015

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