Raw colours and unsettling hues: an interview with Jérémie Ruiz of Drawers

drawers bassist

Jérémie Ruiz

The new self-titled album from French band Drawers is an encounter dripping testosterone riff and rhythm, a dirt encrusted slab of sludge rock voracity which overwhelms the senses with a metal bred intensity and ferociousness. The band’s second album, it is a raw attention gripping adrenaline fuelled encounter with irresistibly barbed hooks and lingering grooves to feverishly hunger for. We did not need to be asked twice to take up the opportunity to find out more about the band and album with bassist Jérémie Ruiz, with whom we talk band history, sound evolution, live prospects and more…

Hello Jérémie and thanks for joining us at The Ringmaster Review

First up please tell us about the beginnings of Drawers and its members backgrounds.

Drawers started in a garage in 2006 with Olivier (drums) and Alex (guitars) and I (Jérémie / bass). Each of us already had a band and our goal was to play slow, loud and low-tuning metal. We were friends since college and we wanted to play together for a long time. It was supposed to be a side project for us, nothing serious, just playing together and write some heavy riffs.

Then our first singer and Laurent (guitar) joined the band and we started to play live and think about recording an EP.

What was the core thought and intention in the initial direction and presence of the band?

The idea to write spontaneous and heavy music is the main direction since the beginning but the band has grown and some parameters have changed. Drawers is now our main music project and we have to take some things more seriously. We rehearse more than before as we planned to tour and to write some new stuff, beside taking care of merchandizing or searching for a van to tour…

You have just released your excellent and dramatic self-titled second album, how has early receptions been?

Reviews are very good so far. We were very curious about how it would be reviewed because many things have changed since the previous record. We are now very satisfied and we hope this album will help us to tour a lot.

As mentioned it is self-titled and comes with a seeming shift in your sound or its intent, is this so and is the title suggesting the start of a newdrawers chapter for the band or are we reading too much into it?

I think this is more and evolution than a shift. I imagine it can be brutal from the outside and obviously many things have changed since our last recording (on the split with Hangman’s chair, the track Tears never come alone). But our influences did not change that much. We just tried to find a different colour and to use different side of these influences. We have not started to write new songs yet but I think the next ones will be more like Drawers than All Is One. Some elements will always be here, like guitar sound, some drums patterns or Niko’s voice but the next album could be totally different again. We’ll see…

Your first release, the This is Oil EP came out in 2008 to strong responses which were certainly increased with your debut album you just mentioned, All is One three years later. How do you see those releases in relation to what the new album unleashes?

In fact, when we started Drawers, the band was a side project and it was a really good way to play the music we like in a totally brain-free way : we played what we liked and we didn’t think about how it was good or not. That’s why the EP is a big melting-pot of a lot of different kinds of metal. And a lot of friends of us came to make a vocal featuring, despite there being only four tracks! Things became more serious after this EP and a few shows; then we started to write All Is One which is a lot more coherent as an album. After that, I think we can say that our new album Drawers is the result of the same will. We try to do one thing as good as we can, a compact album, right to the point, short and fast!

Right there in the inside of your creativity how do you see your sound has actually changed over the past five years?

Well, seriously our sound didn’t change at all. We use exactly the same gear as our beginning, and we didn’t add or remove a single thing of that! This sound is part of Drawers, we build the band on it so it would be strange to change it now.

Drawers the album, has a power and almost predatory breath which roars at the listener as if there in the room with its physical form. How did you achieve this intensity, was it just down to recording the album live in the studio?

We wrote some short songs, within a short and compact album. Recording live was the logical choice to make to keep this rough and tense atmosphere. This way we kept all the groove and anger from guitars and drum (only guitars and drum were recorded live). Then bass was recorded separately to have a clean, loud shape among all the instruments.

What inspired the shift to this ‘attack’ for the recording process?

We worked with Luc Ferré on the split’s recording (2012) and we wanted him on the new record. We like his way of working but we wanted to try something new especially on the drum. We were after something much more groovy and colored. So Luc asked our friend Amaury Sauvé if he wanted to participate as a “drum recording specialist”. We had known him for his live recording and we were seduced by this process. We are fully satisfied of this method and I think our next studio session will be live.

Is there a specific theme or connection between the songs upon the album and what inspires the lyrical aspect of the band predominantly?a2694686389_2

Lyric topics are very different from a song to another, no obvious links between tracks, except us and our experiences. Niko’s life remains the main inspiration for the lyrics.

We tried to make All Is One a kind of a concept album. Tracks were related to each other and a whole story was told along the lyrics.

Here, there is no such thing. We wanted this album to look like us, we wanted something simple and efficient. The lyrics are about our lives, about what we wanted to say.

How does the writing process work within the band?

We usually write songs together, live, during rehearsals. Sometimes someone comes with an idea or a riff and we build a song from this idea together, adding instruments, one at the time. Then we add the voice and modify the structure if needed. It is pretty simple but it can take weeks for us to write a single song.

For us the new album brings a distinctive presence and sound to you the band whereas previous releases maybe showed your influences more, is that how you see it now you can look back at the finished results?

Yes definitely, we tried to do something more personal. We know that our previous album is showing our influences, at least the ones of the time, and this is something we really wanted to fix. I don’t know if it worked for the new one, but for us it’s a lot more original than before… Only time will tell us if we’re right. Or maybe the next album!

What have been your biggest inspirations as a band and personally?

When we started we tried to make a kind of metal that almost no band in Europe played, even today. A kind of fat sludge southern metal like Crowbar, Eyehategod, and Down. In France there was a sludge band in Paris called Es La Guerilla, and it was the first band we tried to sound like. This band was and remains the only Sludge band in Europe… Well in France there is a lot more Stoner-like music, but not so much dirty fat Sludge…In fact there is nothing at all. Anyway, that’s why we wanted to play this music : nobody plays it here. Besides this, we listen to a lot of different music: old black metal, synth-kraut music, death metal, post-hardcore, almost everything in fact.

It is hard to settle on a favourite track upon the album, it changing with every listen, but Detour always leaves a major persuasion. Can you tell us about the track and its breeding?

We wrote this one in the middle of our writing process, I think it crystallized all we wanted to put in a song : heavy riffing, a bit of blast beat for the aggressiveness, a lot of low chords, and a catchy chorus. Rock music.

Is there anything in particular on the album, a song or just a moment, which gives you a bigger tingle of pleasure?

Mourning has something special for me. All the songs are about some important part of our lives but this one corresponds to a sad moment of Niko’s.  Recording this one was a tough moment for him and I got goose bumps every time I listen to it.

drawers2You are renowned for your live performances, the energy unleashed, and simply your hunger to play shows; we can assume 2014 will be a non-stop torrent of gigs in support of the album and beyond?

We wish it would be a non-stop torrent of gigs, but unfortunately it is not that simple to tour a lot yet. Our goal is to play a lot, especially outside France and we are still looking for contacts and gigs.

We will start with a French tour for the album’s release, then we will play in a few festivals and we may be touring again around September/October.

Any specific plans or prospective shows you can reveal here?

We start a tour in France tomorrow (3/16) for a few gigs, one in Paris with Corrosion Of Conformity. After that we’re going to play with Crowbar in Toulouse! We’re very excited about those gigs! We play as much as we can, and we’re always looking for shows.

Thanks again for sharing your time with us.

Thanks a lot to you Ringmaster!

Any thought you would like to leave us to consider?

Louder is better.

Read the review of Drawers @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/drawers-self-titled/

http://www.facebook.com/drawerskvlt

Pete Ringmaster

The Ringmaster Review 28/03/2014

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The Lumberjack Feedback – Hand of Glory

The Lumberjack Feedback 2013 - © Mathieu Drouet

Dramatic and compelling, the Hand of Glory EP from French instrumental metallers The Lumberjack Feedback is a masterful journey through cavernous shadows and depths, a tension packed encounter of doom and sludge metal. Consisting of two tracks lasting seventeen minutes between them, the EP is a stunning debut from the Lille based quintet, a provocative apocalyptic soundscape exploring its own darkness and that of the listener.

Consisting of the twin dual attacks of guitarists Simon Herbaut and Arnaud Silvert plus drummers Nicolas Tarridec and Christopher Poirier, with bassist Sebastien Tarridec adding his terrific presence into the mix, The Lumberjack Feedback has earned strong praise for their live performances which has seen them alongside bands such as Crowbar, Gojira, Kylesa, The Oxbow, Wolf Eyes, Spacemen 3, Grey Daturas, Acid King, and Hangman’s Chair. It will be their first release though which will undoubtedly set them as a potent fixture in the acclaim and vision of the widest audience such the power and creative might of the Kaotoxin Records released and Billy Anderson (Neurosis, Cathedral, EyeHateGod, Cattle Decapitation) produced EP.

Opening track A Whisper to the Thunder takes mere seconds to entice the ear with a guitar beckoning soon joined by that 760137002529_TOX025_The-Lumberjack-Feedback_Artwork_600x600-72hypnotic twin drum assault, their craft and temptation measured yet instantly enslaving. There is an energy and hunger to the beginning of the song which makes for a contagious sludge drenched call, riffs carving out a virulent persuasion whilst rhythms and bass define their own enthralling menace to combine for a primal seduction wrapped in a fluid evolution of imaginative and evocative melodic and sonic narrative. Thoughts of bands such as Neurosis and Sunn O))) come to mind but as the piece moves through a piercing sonic tunnel into a heavily weighted and rapaciously intensive dark doom landscape the sound takes on something distinctly unique to the band and visually provocative. The skies have a villainous hue over the track at this point as it lumbers purposefully with a predatory stalking and proceeds to claim any thoughts of escape as it climaxes with a simple but intrusive and lingering sonic breath.

It is an immense start soon matched and evolved further by second track The Dreamcatcher.  Again riveting rhythms from the drums make an earlier invitation which is instinctively impossible to resist, their sinews pacing along the developing wash of guitar brewed sonic mist and the continually thrilling bass provocation. As with its predecessor there is not theatrical invention or awe inspiring technical wizardry going on but the atmospheres and imagery spawning textures as well as melodic emotional painting being created by every skilful and clear but connecting aspect given clarity by each member is scintillating and impossibly powerful. The mesmeric stroll of the first third of the song comes to a point where the brewing climate entices an unleashing of intensive sonic flames and mutually fierce rhythms before flexing even further muscle in an even paced and exhausting investigation of its deepest corners and those of the listener too. The climatic conclusion to the piece towers over the senses, first marked by a flurry of striking punches before closing on one last enriching fire of intensity and sound, and leaves thoughts and passions suddenly alone within their own stark dark world.

Hand of Glory is an outstanding debut and release, but one which in some ways even at its length does not offer enough to really get the teeth into. This is because you only feel you are getting part of a much larger and incredible story or journey. Whether these are teasers to a full length time will tell but as impressive as it is the hunger and expectations on an album will be excited and demanding. The EP is a daunting adventure which inspires without ever using demanding intimidation and as such makes itself a must investigate introduction to a band we will be hearing much more of and one suspects fawning over in the future.

http://www.thelumberjackfeedback.com/

9/10

RingMaster 04/07/2013

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King Hiss: Snakeskin

King Hiss

With nostrils flaring and muscles flexing to their limits Snakeskin, the debut album from Belgium rockers King Hiss, is a mountainous terrain of thunderous rhythms, voracious riffs, and exhausting energy.  It is  a powerhouse of a release which draws the potent essences of melodic metal, hard rock, and stoner rock, not forgetting at times a caustic breath of hardcore, into a confrontation which leaves the senses ignited and passions soaring. Consisting of seven tracks feeding off  inspirations from the likes of Red Fang, Black Tusk, Corrosion of Conformity, Down, and Clutch, Snakeskin is a powerhouse of an album, one injecting new blood and predatory strength into rock music.

As soon as it emerges from a sonic mist and finds its feet, the opening title track launches into a tirade of contagious riffing and a4123523464_2rhythmic barracking, a tight beckoning groove winding the passions around its call within moments of its appearance. The vocals of Jan Coudron begin their impressive narrative next, his voice having an excellent grizzled tone and a melodic power which sends every syllable to its target with purpose and appeal. It is an instantly enthralling encounter rising to greater temptation with the ridiculously catchy chorus and further seductive grooves amidst a tempest of rhythmic provocation from drummer Jason Bernard and bassist Dominiek Hoet. Such its immense presence there is a slight suspicion the rest of the alum will struggle to match its heights but its successor soon dispels any doubts.

    Into The Mountains opens with a carnivorous bass groan and rolling drums, their jabbing persistence hypnotic and persuasive alongside the predatory lines of Hoet. It is another irresistible start taken to greater heights when guitarist Josh Fury unleashes sizzling melodic flames and air carving craft. It is an absorbing blaze soon taking on an intensity and raw almost muggy encroachment which sears flesh and soars across the senses raining down sonic adventure alongside further vocals persuasion. The track easily matches the opener and though across the chorus there is something familiar, though impossible to pin down, it is another refreshing and impacting treat, especially the blues lined solo leading to a riotous climax.

Both D&F and Endorphine swagger and stroll through the ear to equally impressive effect, the southern rock whispers in the sound heated and sinewy, especially in the towering hard rock embrace of the first of this pair whilst the second reveals sturdier textures and dramatic fires within its Mastodon meets Kyuss like invention. Again grooves dangle pure irresistible temptation from their lures whilst vocally the group harmonies find an emotive heart not lacking in previous songs but given a clearer canvas to lay out their rich feelings here. Though both tracks just miss grabbing the plateau set by their predecessors they still capture the imagination and compel the passions to greedily accept them.

    Rollergirl though is not happy to accept second best and from her opening crescendos of fire bred sonics and tsunami tall rhythms rampages with high octane energy and virulently compelling infection loaded riffs and hungry drum enticement, the bass groaning with primal rabidity whilst acidic melodic fascination from the guitar scorches ear and beyond with skill and imagination. It is another bruising triumph which colours the passions until full but still lustfully wanting more.

The final pair of tracks ensures there is not one ounce of dissatisfaction or unfulfilled appetite, The Greater Good an ear burning, senses tearing juggernaut of hard rock and classic metal spicery wrapped in the passionate muscle bound vitality that is King Hiss whilst the closing Word Made Flesh, from its opening bass devouring of the ear, is a scintillating rapacious consumption from a delicious and insatiable rhythmic ravaging and sonic scalding. Like Crowbar meets The Sword it is an epic and towering conclusion to a staggering album.

Whether Snakeskin offers anything new can be debated but you know when something sounds this good and raises passions and energy to such heights, who really cares. King Hiss is a force of the future, hell they have already made a deep branding am mark with this, one of the albums of the year.

http://www.king-hiss.com/

10/10

RingMaster 27/06/2013

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Howl – Bloodlines

pic Andrew Fladeboe

pic Andrew Fladeboe

 

Following their for the main impressive debut album Full Of Hell of 2010, anticipation for the follow-up release from US metallers Howl as they hopefully built on the promise ignited with the first record was certainly fuelled by a level of eagerness. This was a band which showed a sludge/stoner/doom mentality and strength which suggested major things from them ahead. The release of Bloodlines via Relapse Records, certainly shows the Providence, Rhode Island band as having evolved and expanded their sound though maybe to the detriment of real clarity of their direction but then predictability has no place in music so there is no problem with the stance of the new album in that respect. It does though leave a sense of missing its target. Bloodlines ravages the ear with accomplished potently sculpted aggressive sounds and an undoubted passion but it fails to ignite the passions and fervour their earlier promise suggested possible,  it is simply a release which just has not anything truly new to say.

It should be said right away that Bloodlines is a thoroughly enjoyable and commanding confrontation, the release showing the band evolving and honing their immense power through their relentless touring ethic which has seen the band alongside the likes of Saint Vitus, Kylesa, Pentagram and numerous others. Recorded with producer Zeus (Hatebreed, Crowbar, Terror), the album is a muscle bound predator with intimidating rhythms, malevolent riffs, and devious sonic acid combining to be an undeniably satisfying aggressor. It has hooks which carve lingering moments and a prowling snarl that has the measure of the defences and appetite yet at no moment does the album light a fire, something its predecessor was more successful at.

Opening track Attrition makes a rich and attention grabbing entrance, the early flames of guitar a sonic beckoning upon chewing 4pnl_folderurgent riffs and firm rhythms. Into its stride the track prowls and stomps with sinews pressing the ear and vocals scowling like a bear in heat, Mastodon and even more so Black Tusk references rearing their head quite soon on. Bass and drums provide a sturdy cage around the enterprising guitar teases and sonic cuts, and by its departure the song has lit a definite appetite for the release which the following Midnight Eyes with its rampaging drums and scything melodic blades alongside persistently niggling riffs has the fight for. A carnivorous death metal breath marks its charging metal gait whilst the song twists and turns on its feet, a thick stoner persuasion emerging from the savage intensity before changing into a doom lined finale.

The Devildriver like Demonic leaves an exhausting and enterprising if familiar onslaught upon the ear with a sonic wind from the guitar spiralling within the brewed raptorial intensity, whilst the likes of the excellent Down So Low and the equally impressive With A Blade reach higher pinnacles for the album. The first of the two emerges from a chilling sinister ambience, a heavy malevolence in vocals and energy wrapping its leering presence around the ear with devilish intent within a mesmeric yet muscular stoner embrace. The track soon brings thrash elements in to press thoughts and emotions to their limits before returning to the almost crawling insidious invidiousness. The second of the two again finds a compelling union of nastily aggressive intensity and a melodic touch which sears with acidic might and craft. The tracks standout with their inventive intent and ready to shuffle up their pace, energy, and directions, though again neither dramatically or effectively unveil anything new of enough potency to open up ardour or feisty passion. Of War is one song though which is close to doing both things, and though it like the others is delivering recognisable weaponry, the track is an anthemic and contagious storm from which its Lamb Of God toned voice makes a familiar but tempting call.

The Mouth of Madness with its vindictive bass sound and the closing rapacious Embrace Your Nerve complete the album with strength and notable craft if failing to find the lure of the bigger triumphs on Bloodlines. Maybe it is being unfair to expect the band to immediately fulfil the promise previously suggested and without doubt the album is one which gets the job done and makes for a pleasing hour or so but the feeling of a lost opportunity and a tinge of disappointment does accompany the release. With emerging bands such as XII Boar and especially Desert Storm finding original and far more heady heights with their new album, Howl have some evolving still to do to persuade ears and passions to go their way.

https://www.facebook.com/HowlHeavyMetal

7.5/10

RingMaster 30/04/2013

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Fuck Hammer: Hammered To Fuck

As subtle as a house brick between the eyes and at times just as painful, Fuck Hammer is a quartet from Northern Ireland who twist their brand of death metal into a grind, crust, and sludge veined corruption. It takes no prisoners nor wants to make friends, but just consumes and blasts every atom, with venom and festering intensity.

Hammered To Fuck is the first EP from Fuckhammer and was originally self released as a limited quantity CDR. The release found a great response and reviews within the local scene and caught the attention of the young Northern Ireland death metal label, Grindscene Records who has now given it a professional re-release. Musically it is a pit of noise with flavours from the likes of Crowbar, Eyehategod, Iron Monkey, and Carcass. The production is not the best it could have been but offers a rawness which adds to the violating tempest which assaults from every angle whilst the sound, as well as the vocals, brings an abrasive consumption with no respite.

The opening Born Of The Ass immediately goes to work on the senses with a delicious greedy groove which winds and grinds its way deeper and deeper.  As the bile spewing serpentine vocals come in the riffs flare up before returning to that persistent destructive groove. The song in many ways is repetitive but it works great and to be honest when the track does venture slightly away from its sonic shaft one wants that irresistible groove back to rub the wounds it caused even more. The track, like the whole release, does not have any designs to restyle or invent its core sounds but just unleashes the intent to wring every essence from them for the best results.

The following Drone mixes things up with flurries of tempos, beats, and crunching riffs. The twists and turns all brought with the fullest intensity make for two minutes which do not reflect the title at all but still offer a thick sludge oppression to admire. The guitars and drums crush and dispose of any obstacles within the senses with undeniable strength and craft so for even in its brief assault the song is a thunderous enjoyable confrontation.

The remaining Hillbillies and Abortion Addict vary things again, the first with a stoner swagger to its death spawn vocals and conspiracy of insatiable grooves and thrash tinted riffage, whilst the second is a grindcore/death metal avalanche of towering riffs and abusive rhythms. Their hunger is different in intensity too with Hillbillies chewing on the senses with a southern greed and incestuous appetite whilst its successor gnaws and consumes with a rabid vehemence, the release again creating a varied violation to be endured and ultimately enjoyed.

Fuck Hammer is a band still in its informative years musically one feels and as such Hammered To Fuck is not drenched in any really distinct originality, its sounds heard elsewhere though dished up in a different and energized way. Vocally too some diversity would have been a good additive. The delivery and spiteful aggression works well for the most part but do diminish and distract from the effect of some aspects of sound like the tighter grooved parts without a complimentary variation.

For all that though the EP is an enjoyable release giving plenty of promise for the band and an anticipation of what will emerge when they are given access to a proper studio and production set up.

www.myspace.com/fuckkhammer

RingMaster 30/08/2012

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Goatwhore – Blood For The Master

It really is impossible to imagine a metal fan that will not be swept up and carried away by the impressive and powerful onslaught that is Blood For The Master , the new album from Goatwhore. The release is a brute, an insistent merciless tsunami of sound that will not be denied. Ok the album may not be strong on originality, certainly from the band’s existing catalogue, but very few bands can create intense and creative sounds as essential as Goatwhore nor deliver them as wonderfully.  Though not particularly a fan of the band nor having any negative thoughts about them, they are unquestionably respected and recognised for their presence and influence on metal since their arrival in 1997, given birth by the guitarist Sammy Duet (ex Acid Bath/Crowbar ).  Credit where credit is due and they have earned plenty across their years so far, Blood For The Master rocks like a dog after a bitch on heat. It is relentless, insatiable and will have its way.

Since forming and through various line-ups New Orleans based Goatwhore has laid down a deep mark on metal, their fused blackened death come thrash metal devastating and constantly pulling in formidable acclaim and continually increasing loyal fans. From the demo Serenades To The Tides Of Blood in 1998, through debut album Eclipse Of Ages Into Black in 2000 onto 2003 follow up Funeral Dirge For The Rotting Sun, the band drew unwavering positive responses, each release showing more of the band and their varied ideas and evolution. All powerful and brutal but brought forth with a progressively evolving sound.

The band has held misfortune by the hand more than once over the years too, the near fatal van crash that left vocalist Louis B. Falgoust II temporarily paralyzed and the band unsure of its future and the escape from the catastrophic floods of Hurricane Katrina just two examples. This has seemed to add more iron and intensity to the band’s sound as subsequent albums A Haunting Curse(2006) and Carving Out The Eyes Of God (2009) showed. New album Blood For The Master is made from the same brute force and stylish creativity and if sound wise is not a major departure from its predecessor has an even more defined authority and depth to it.

Opening up the charge and turbulent engagement of the senses ‘Collapse In Eternal Worth’ is a violent and incessant attack, with  uncompromising rhythms and riffs violating every inch of the ear and beyond.  The guitars of Duet twists nerves around their spiky fingers stretching and turning them throughout whilst Falgoust scowls and unleashes his coarse spite vocals to great effect. An impressive start soon swiped away by the even more masterful ‘When Steel and Bone Meet’. It is an unstoppable trash powered sonic train hammering on the ear, drummer Zack Simmons and bassist James Harvey fuelling the drive with eager vindictive rhythms.

This is just the start as the next duo of tracks ‘Parasitic Scriptures of the Sacred Word’ and ‘In Deathless Tradition’ hold dominion.  The first swings with a scorched groove that mesmerises as the intensity is raised even higher behind. The track is confident and arrogant in its knowledge it has you hooked and deliciously glorious because of it. Ferocious and a maul upon the senses it is the biggest highlight on the album. The second of the two is in some ways even more intense, its heart blacker and malevolent and carries another irresistible groove veined by corrosive melodic manipulations. Each track upon the album feels like a living entity, each with a distinct unstoppable corrupting mission and directive.

Tracks carry on stimulating and provoking, each laden with an artillery of venomous riffs and barbed melodic intrusions. The likes of ‘Judgement of the Bleeding Crown’, ‘An End to Nothing’, and ‘Death to the Architects of Heaven’ impressively adding to a fulfilling and satisfying menu to feast upon. This is metal as it should be, furious, hostile, and  overwhelmingly heavy. Blood For The Master is a pleasure, it may not be ground breaking but very few releases match the enjoyment it and Goatwhore give.

Blood For The Master will be released in Europe Feb 10th, UK Feb 13th, and  North America on Feb14th

RingMaster 07/02/2012

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XII Boar – Split Tongue, Cloven Hoof

When reviewing the debut EP XII from UK sludge/stoner metal band XII Boar last year, I ended the review with the lines ‘For their debut release XII Boar show great promise and I for one will be eager to hear more’ and ‘XII Boar will be around for a while and producing some memorable music in the future of that I have no doubts.’ The band’s brand new release Split Tongue, Cloven Hoof not only confirms those thoughts but makes them feel like great big underestimations. The new EP is immense, a true mighty giant of sound and stature. Show great promise? XII Boar have taken that promise and raised it to staggering heights and made music that reaches deeper than just the memory. Split Tongue, Cloven Hoof is an essential listen for all metal/rock fans, with crushing lively riffs and scorched eager melodies the release is a beast.

The trio from Aldershot have really taken their already impressive sound to expand and stretch it to the limits, creating an EP that is as near to a perfect blend of aggressive demanding riffs and razor sharp red hot melodies as one can get. All the muscle and heaviness of their debut is there but with even more incisive interplay with melodies and intensity. The production too is first rate, the muddiness that hindered the previous EP slightly removed without losing the mass of the band’s oppressive sound.

Smokin’ Bones’ starts the rampaging feast of sound, its thrusting riffs and irresistible swinging groove as eager and boisterous as a dog in heat. The song brings in smouldering melodies whilst subduing the pace from time to time, whilst the guitar solo from Tommy Hardrocks throws off sparks with its sonic heat, but underneath the rampant intensity is always there waiting to burst forth again. Hardrocks’ vocals are gruff and forceful, his great delivery coming through a thick sweat filled bar like atmosphere, smoke and alcohol dripping off every word. As the song evolves it turns to darker tones, menacing the senses with mischief that is wonderfully powerful and satisfying.

The venomous ‘Hellspeed Viper’ comes next, more intense and with a tighter squeeze on the ear then the opener the track is a brute of might and sonic intrusions. The bass of Bad-Dog Williams rumbles throughout like a bad tempered animal whilst the drums of Dave Wilbraham wake up primal instincts to ensure a deep connection. His always stirring rhythms are especially hypnotic in the other tracks on the EP, ‘Slamhound’ and ‘Triclops’.

Slamhound’ swaggers in with conceit and an unbridled lustful attitude, its riffs and heated guitar determined to manipulate and inflame the senses, which they do with ease. As with the opener the track swings its lead to mesmerise and enthral, XII Boar creating rock ‘n’ roll’ as it should be, dirty, heavy and ruthless. The band opens up last track ‘Triclops’ with further hypnotic beats from Wilbraham, his rhythms grabbing complete attention whilst the caustic guitar of Hardrocks nips at the ear. It is a call to arms, a start that riles up the heart whilst riffs and energy rage as the song expands. The song is predatory, pacing and intimidating it never explodes into the rampant aggression and charge of ‘Smokin’ Bones’ but lays its heavy bulk upon the senses to offer a darker intensity. The song is impressively created, its combination of pounding rhythms, marauding riffs, and sabre like blues spiced guitar is well crafted and evidence of the levels XII Boar have grown to.

Split Tongue, Cloven Hoof is stunning and puts the band at the fore of UK sludge and stoner metal, hell UK metal on the whole. XII Boar have reached the heights one anticipated previously very quickly and left them in their thick dust as they have evolved onto a far higher and impressive plateau. If you have an ear for a Motorhead, Down, Crowbar or Eyehategod, not forgetting Black Sabbath then XII Boar is an essential band for you.

Get Split Tongue, Cloven Hoof for free from http://xiiboar.bandcamp.com/album/split-tongue-cloven-hoof or @ http://www.mediafire.com/?dob23a91lc7897k

http://www.xiiboar.com/

RingMaster 01/02/2012

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