Johnny Wore Black – Walking Underwater Pt 2

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Anticipation for the second part of his absorbing album has been as excited as it has been impatient, but Johnny Wore Black has rewarded the wait with another proposition which stops you in your tracks and immerses ears and imagination in an evocative embrace. The hunger for Walking Underwater Pt 2 comes from the strikingly impressive Part 1, an emotional canvas drenched in poetic melodies and fiery textures. Its release came in March of this year but such the appetite it bred the months between seemed like years. Its successor is here now, released on November 26th, and with even closer intimacy and impassioned imagination re-confirms the band as one of the UK’s premier melodic rock provocateurs.

Johnny Wore Black is the brainchild of London based songwriter/producer and stuntman (Les Miserables, The Dark Knight Rises, Fast and Furious 6, Fury ) who prefers to just be known as Jay. As renowned for his collaborations as well as his own work, Jay released a host of attention grabbing and riveting singles as the band before the first part of this debut album. Many of the songs were bred from a gripping collaboration with Megadeth bassist David Ellefson, and as on Part 1, the pair has linked up again on Walking Underwater Pt 2 with Ellefson co-writing a trio of tracks for it and playing bass across the bulk of the release. The band line-up is completed by drummer Simon Hutchby alongside guitarists Pete Mathers and James Coppolaro, the latter mixing much of the album with other tracks mixed by Grammy Award winning producer David Bottrill. Produced by Jay, the release takes little time in re-igniting the pleasure and emotions which were stoked by its predecessor, leading them into rich emotion fuelled reflections and sonically coloured atmospheres.

Opener Firefly sets things in motion and from the first electro influenced moment has the imagination engaged and then fired up as rich hooks and rugged riffs embrace ears. There is an immediate infectiousness which transfers to the potent vocals of Jay and the crisp rhythmic persuasion which guides the inventively spicy song. The song’s delicious throaty bassline aligns to sonic scythes and persistent grooves from the guitars as the song expands whilst the vocals smoulder harmonically and expressively as they colour the provocative narrative of the song. It all combines to provide a thick and potent stroll of anthemic rock ‘n’ roll coated in creative drama and emotive intrigue.

It is a potent and impressive start continued by recent single A Cut Above. From a charming melodic coaxing the song unveils its rhythmic muscles and raw riff led provocation. It is an walkingunderwaterpt2imposing presence tempered though by the increasingly mesmeric tones of Jay and the weave of sonic enterprise which wraps the brewing unrest in the belly of the song. Again Ellefson lures a heavily shadowed voice from his bass to menace and enthral whilst elsewhere everything merges in a portentous tempest which threatens more than assaults but leaves thoughts rampant and satisfaction basking. Again the track is an anthem, not one which charges with nostrils flared but an incitement which rouses the passions as it explores dark intense scenery.

Both Comfy Slippers and Fallen Angel explore different shades and depths, the album just as the previous full-length, a web of distinctly unique and imaginative explorations in sound and premise. The first of the two swiftly presents a pungent almost stadium rock texture to its emerging temptation, beats and hooks thick yet rapier like in the less condensed climate of the song. There is a warm radiance to the rock pop spawned encounter too which transfixes as it envelops and helps spark further hunger in an already greedy appetite for the album. The song pulsates in its melodic glow before making way for the scintillating drama of its successor. Every note and syllable has a sinister air and touch here, a haunted feel which is simultaneously sultry and alluring. As already proven Jay has the knack and skill at making dark and intense situations musically and lyrically seduce like a unashamedly flirtatious temptress, at making loud and subtle extreme collude for an inescapable web of aural theatre and no example any finer than right here.

Gift of Desperation steps up next and takes little time in absorbing ears and thoughts with its pulsing electronic courting which itself is soon wrapped in emotive resonance as vocals and slender but striking melodies entwine the sinew sculpted heart of the song. It has a dark and imposing presence which never drifts too far away from predacious heaviness and a destructive emotional theming, but it also expels blazes of sonic and harmonic passion courted by tempestuous tenacity and intensity. The outstanding track is unrelenting as it flares and traps the passions with stormy beauty, creating a consuming shadowed majesty which I Do Dissolve has to follow. It does in fine style, its vivaciously shimmering electro flooded entrance equipped with another irresistible vocal bassline and the grippingly expressive tones of Jay. It is just the initial lure though as a funky swagger infests the song to inspire a sturdy bounce which in turn seems to ignite the richness and theatrical elements of all corners of the song. For some reason the track at times reminds of Ugly Kid Joe, though it is a fleeting thought in the expansive enterprise of the fun.

The brilliant Noise carves another pinnacle, of which admittedly there are many, in the album, again dramatic suggestiveness coating every sway of notes and swing of strings. Challenging modern social habits online and beyond, the song is virtually smooching with ears and emotions from its first melancholic kiss and caress. To this tempting, crescendos of raw expression and ferocious sonic endeavour bursts in, hooks and riffs as antagonistic as the melodic heart of the track is tenacious. Seriously anthemic and the heaviest encounter on the album, the track is rock at its most instinctive and incendiary.

Featuring Croatian singer Sara Renar alongside Jay, Shine On glides in next to cup ears in enchanting melody seducing balladry. As expected there is still a dark edge to the song, a shadow which watches as the beauty colours senses and imagination. Though a slow burning persuasion in relation to other tracks, it soars into the emotions and memory with ease, its sonic flair and emotive tempting a lingering affair even after making way for the outstanding Whose Children. This is another song where hooks and grooves entrench in the listener with swift efficiency before flavoursome diversity in voice and sonic invention tango together in a compelling and ingenious design of suasion.

From that highlight the album leaves on another in the engrossing shape of Winter in July. A cover of the Loretta Heywood song, it also features the soul singer alongside Jay and as it soars and glides over the senses with a haunting elegance and harmonic grace, there will be few duets as powerful and thrilling as the album’s final track.

There were obviously high hopes and expectations for Walking Underwater Pt 2 because of its predecessor but also a wonder and maybe doubt whether lightning can strike twice in the same place in such a short time. Not only can it but it proves to be with greater scintillating success. The UK has numerous potential soaked melodic rock bands emerging, but with their promise realised and pushed on again, Johnny Wore Black is leading the way.

Walking Underwater Pt 2 is available digitally and on CD from November 26th via Dark Cherry.

For more info check out http://www.johnnyworeblack.com

RingMaster 13/11/2014

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Johnny Wore Black – Walking Underwater

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     Having richly impressed with a quartet of singles which were as emotively potent as they were compellingly crafted, UK rock band Johnny Wore Black finally release debut album Walking Underwater to complete the seduction and seal the long term capture of the passions. We say finally as it seems like it has been a long time in making, though maybe it is just the greedy anticipation which was bred from the first single that made it seem so. The ten track release is a mouthwatering and enthralling evocation of melodic rock with tinges of metal. At times it simmers and coaxes with lively emotional embers and in other moments blazes with sonic flames and vivacious endeavour, searing the hairs lining the ears. Whichever the character of songs, each one engages and absorbs senses and thoughts with a suggestive spark and provocative texture for a quite mesmeric and thrilling adventure.

     Johnny Wore Black is the solo project of former Hollywood stuntman Johnny Jay (Jay Coen). The former leading force of The Jay Harley Band, the London based songwriter/producer has carved an invigorating and eagerly accepted presence with his refreshing sounds, in the last couple of years especially with the release of exciting singles which sparked a greater acceleration in his rise within the British rock scene. Jay has equally built a strong reputation with his collaborations, one which has specifically been spawned through Johnny Wore Black being a union with David Ellefson from Megadeth. Walking Underwater again brings the writing and musical skills of the pair together, their union ripe with organic power and commanding suasion. Produced by Grammy Award winning producer David Bottrill and featuring clips from his Jay’s father’s seminal 1960s documentary The London Nobody Knows, the March 28th released Walking Underwater is Part 1 of a bigger entity, with the second 10 song part scheduled for this coming autumn, each containing two of the four outstanding singles which have already marked out the project for hungry attention.

     The encounter opens with Different Shades which bursts into the ears after the first of the evocative samples taken from the coveraforementioned film, each splice of cinema making a highly stimulating impact and link between songs. The track initially entices the ears with a single melodic dance on the imagination before further guitar caresses gently add their stroking alongside a velvety dark bassline aligned to firm beats. It is an instantly riveting beckoning which increases its lure as the strong and expressive vocals of Jay weave in with the lyrical narrative. That earlier mentioned smoulder is at work from the start of song and album, its mesmeric touch and seductive breath permeating thoughts and feelings whilst brewing up to a muscular finale with an almost accusing edge to its passion.

    It is a magnetic start to the release soon matched and surpassed by All the Rage. The song is the first of the previous singles from Johnny Wore Black, the debut release which was originally released in conjunction with Help For Heroes to raise funds for Help for Heroes and Combat Stress. Once again the entrance is restrained and poetically alluring, a sonically crafted melody and evocative atmosphere wrapping the senses before the vocals and fuller breath of the track encloses the ears. As throughout the album there is a melancholic feel to the track but one which never snuffs out the light and hope of the song or its ambience.

    Up in Flames, another previous single follows next, it a slice of rock/metal excellence which still makes the strongest persuasion even after a horde of listens. Riffs and rhythms make a firm and compulsive frame for the contagious draw of excellent vocals which combine with the melodic weave of imagination, glowing feisty bait poised to erupt with its metallic sinews and infection soaked energy across the resourceful and flavoursome stroll of rock ‘n’ roll. Everything from the bordering on sombre initial coaxing to the climactic eruptions is perfection; the track one of the best heavy/melodic rock compositions in recent years.

   Both So Dusted and The Battle continue the impressive temptation, the first an atmospheric reflection of shadows with a warm melodic breeze for company and the second from a shimmering summoning of the imagination, evolves its shadowed heart and sonic portrait into a darker unleashing of fiery passion. The pair though very different in appearance, share mutual melancholy which coats every note and seeps from each syllable offered by the heart bred tones of Jay.

   The acoustically shaped One & the Same steps up next to seduce and spark the listeners thoughts, the gentle sway and gait of the song lapping the imagination like waves on a lonely beach, one left in a shadow draped view with hypnotic aural scenery. Its slow pervading beauty is succeeded by the similarly chilled atmosphere of Cold Water, though as with all the songs there is enough warmth and melody spawned adventure to inspire hope to temper the lyrical dark. Though the pair of songs takes a little longer to secure the lingering ardour bred by other songs, the outcome is just as powerfully the same.

     The intrigue and mystique brought by What I Am entrances next, its noir almost sinister climate a deliciously rich hue to the pictorial mix of vocals and floating melodies. One more the contrast of shadows and light, emotionally and musically, is an open canvas for the listener to reflect and imagine within, the word alchemy applicable to the depth and power in his songs Jay achieves with the blend again gloriously shown in One Love Song. The track seduces from first breath to its last, a catchiness spawning from its chorus complementing and tempering the almost invasive dark eloquence and reserved yet potent drama of the song. It is a beautiful song if not stealing best track honours certainly sharing them.

    The closing Outside Looking In unleashes the sinews which have had to play second fiddle for the most to the scintillating melodies and inciting evocative textures which predominantly breed the album, not that the track lacks any of their fascination either. The song is a galvanic stride of energy and power with sonic captivation and melodic ingenuity. It offers a tremendous end to a scintillating release, one which gives melodic rock a new spellbinding creative fire to embrace. With essences comparable to bands such as A Perfect Circle, Deftones, Tool, and Porcupine Tree but sounding very little like any of them, Walking Underwater and Johnny Wore Black are one of the must investigations of the year now and ahead. Roll on Part 2 is all that is left to say.

http://www.johnnyworeblack.com/

9/10

RingMaster 27/02/2014

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Final Trigger: Skrap Metal Vol II

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Imagine the attitude of Hed (PE) merged with the funk devilry of Infectious Grooves and the rap metal aggression of Motown Rage fused into the swagger of The Union Underground, then those essences instilled into a vat of punk rage. What emerges from the toxic fumes of that volatile alchemy is an unpredictable and riotously contagious force, or to give it a name, Final Trigger. Formed in 2006 and hailing from Toronto, the band maybe is not a name yet instantly recognisable but with the release of the excellent Skrap Metal Vol II you can only suspect wider recognition is just around the corner.

The new release follows Skrap Metal of 2009, both coming through Boonsdale Records. The debut received strong acclaim with its single Start A Moshpit gaining particular attention across Canada and the US. Following years has seen the band play alongside the likes of Suicidal Tendencies, Marilyn Manson, Dillinger Escape Plan, Protest The Hero, Baptized In Blood, Hail The Villain, Threat Signal, Slaves On Dope, Agent Orange, Blaze Ya Dead Homie, Boondox and many more,  as well as them supporting Mushroomhead on a tour across the States. Now with the release of the David Bottrill (Tool/Mudvayne/Stone Sour/Godsmack) mixed Skrap Metal Volume II, the quartet of J-Roc (vocals/guitar), Fazio (bass/vocals), JJ Tartaglia (drums), and Profit G (DJ/vocals/keys) may just be looking at a new world hunger for their distinct and insatiable musical devilry.

The seven track release attaches itself to the senses firstly through the single Face It. Guitars entwine their fiery sonic tendrils Skrap Metal Vol II Album Cover 1600x1600around the ear initially, tempting the passions to take a look before the tumbling heavy muscled rhythms make their play for the affections. In reality as the sounds rubs eagerly over the senses and the vocals begin their tempting squalls it is the whole combination which provides the irresistible hook, the barbs of which become impossible to refuse once the grooves twist and writhe insidiously and the vocals and sound take on a Suicidal Tendencies like punk beckoning. With a deep bark to the chorus and Five Finger Death Punch like rabidity to the riffs adding to the persistently shifting stance, the song is a dynamic and explosive introduction and platform for the album to spring from, which it does in varying degrees.

Through The Darkness and Knock Somebody Out follow up with their own distinct personalities, the first a metal forged encounter which sonically claws at the ear whilst the range of vocals, growling and rapping take their bite at the senses with equal belligerence. It is a relatively straightforward track which without the continual and wealthy mix of flavours employed in its predecessor pales in comparison if still a song which energises the appetite. Its successor similarly sticks to the muscular metallic intent of the band but digs deeper to expel some tight flavoursome grooves and find an intensive confrontation which would feel at home in any American Head Charge or Static X fury.

Things leap back to the opening heights with next up Just A Freak, a track which stomps through the ear with the delicious salacious devilment of Hed (PE) and the charged schizophrenic energy of early Mudvayne. Prowling and leaping around with a thrilling mix of hip hop, metal, and tantalising anthemic urgency, the song is a virulently contagious call to primal needs and energy expelling participation, which like the first track leaves the listener breathless and hungry for much more, especially for the dramatic and potent drums and scurrying weave of incendiary riffs.

Time I’ve Wasted opens with an evocative melodic persuasion which is almost Breed 77 like before fusing in samples and dub lilted invention before the brewing storm. Into its stride the tempest is again unpredictable, an undulating intensity and energy in league with a constantly evolving vocal display. Eventually though the senses flattening might of the track wins through even though the rampant and fluid mix is still allowed to shape the direction of the excellent track. It is a song which dangerously veers towards the edge of chaos and disaster but the band managed to ride the rougher less impressive moments to create another convincing treat.

The Kottonmouth Kings sounding Everyday with its mesmeric mystique and the predatory T.H.C. impressively complete the release, both outstanding and diverse offerings with the second especially throwing the senses and passions around with the rapaciousness of a hurricane. Skrap Metal Vol II is a great release which installs Final Trigger as one of our regular playlist newcomers, something the band will achieve with a great many we suspect.

www.Facebook.com/FinalTriggerMusic

8.75/10

RingMaster 08/07/2013

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Johnny Wore Black – Noise

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     Having already captured the imagination and emotions through previous singles All The Rage and Up In Flames, UK rock band Johnny Wore Black unleash a new fire of rock fervour in the stirring shape of Noise. The new single taunts and persuades with a might of intense passion and instinctive craft which easily commands the ear to leave a lingering grip and rich satisfaction long after its parting.

London band Johnny Wore Black is the brainchild of songwriter/producer Johnny Jay, the former leading force for The Jay Harley Band. Debut single All The Rage, a track released in conjunction with Help For Heroes to raise funds for Help for Heroes and Combat Stress, was an immediate provocation to awareness and critical acclaim for the project, with the equally imposing and incendiary Up In Flames further raising the temperature around the band and its powerful sound. Jay is renowned for his work with musical collaborators and the previous singles featured the skills of  David Ellefson from Megadeth in their striking presences. Noise has been mixed by David Bottrill (Stone Sour, Muse, Tool), with a video produced by Paul Solomons to accompany it, and comes with all the weaponry to take the band on to the widest recognition.

The song is about social networking and its impact on modern society. Regarding the track Jay revealed it was, “an awareness of how we seem to be losing the ability to communicate with each other in ways that were once most natural.” He continues to say “I was sitting in a cafe watching two people arguing about the fact they weren’t paying enough attention to each other as they were too busy focusing on their mobile phones, and the song developed from there.”

The track opens with a delicious wash of emotive and melodic elegance. It soon sees the guitar caressing the  listener with thoughtful cover_design1400enterprise whilst the bass adds its individual textured shadows to walk alongside. Once the song is settled upon the senses the vocals of Jay begin the narrative with inviting warm expression and sinewy tones which lead into a chorus which is as anthemic as it is emotionally antagonistic. A brooding breath stalks the song throughout with the melancholic strings offering a sinister yet vibrant and inviting temptation to match the muscular lure of the song. Though in sound the bands are apart, the song finds that compelling persuasion and depth which marked Metallica’s Black album so impressively, and also suggests that something promising those heady heights from the Brits in the future is not beyond the realms of probability.

Though it never explodes into a blaze of fire, the track is a prowling and inciting presence which ignites the passions and sets itself up as one of the most addictive and potently lingering tracks to emerge this year so far. A kind of a cross between Stone Sour and Soundgarden, Noise is an outstanding gateway into an emerging creative force in UK rock, the exciting Johnny Wore Black.

http://www.johnnyworeblack.com/

8.5/10

RingMaster 06/04/2013

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