Kabbalah – Spectral Ascent

For everyone there are certain encounters which forge an instinctive union with personal tastes; records which more than most tap into the creative imagination. We have come across a great many over recent years, having the privilege to listen to and assess a constant flood of offerings, but few have made the immediate lustful impact as Spectral Ascent, the new album from Spanish psych/doom trio Kabbalah. The release is a siren for the senses, an enchantress for the imagination, and one of the most desirable proposals heard in recent times.

Kabbalah is the creation of Carmen and Marga, former members of Pamplona rock band Las Culebras. 2013 saw the well-received release of their self-titled debut EP, its success followed and backed by the Primitive Stone EP fourteen months later. Both lured keen attention towards the band’s fusion of occult rock, 70s retro, and classic heavy-psychedelic sounds of the late 60s; a mix creating a cauldron of temptation and dark suggestion, a snarling trespass of predacious uniqueness nestling often irritably under the beauty of alluring vocals and swarming harmonies. With Alba completing the current line-up in 2015, Kabbalah sound has blossomed again for Spectral Ascent, hints of its fascinating evolution coming in the 2016 single Revelation and earlier this year its successor Phantasmal Planetoid, both prominent lures within nothing but across the album.

Spectral Ascent quickly coaxes attention with its opening title track; a short intro of melodic flirtation with a shadowy undercurrent which plays like a music box enticing entrance to an alluring dark realm. It’s elegant if sinister coaxing leads into the equally beguiling lure of Resurrected where from the heavy throb of bass and the magnetic pull of vocals the song has ears and appetite swiftly engaged. Guitars similarly draw the senses with their melodic sparkling, teases leading into the more formidable and imposing heart of the track. Never deviating from its seductive swagger though, the song twists and crawls through ears right into the psyche, moments of almost carnal intensity and calmer flows of romancing melodies igniting the imagination and body like few other encounters.

The sheer drama of the outstanding proposition continues through next up Phantasmal Planetoid. Its climate is instantly darker and more formidable as the bass snarls, never losing its heavy trespass as the song moves on to court a boisterous gait with turns of tetchier growls. It is masterful stuff, stoner and doom essences colluding with those earlier mentioned flavours as vocals and harmonies soar. No lightweight on addiction loaded hooks either, the song is manna for ears and instincts, a consuming persuasion also bred in the voracious antics of The Darkest End and immediately after within The Reverend. The first of the two aligns carnivorous riffs and bass irritability with spell spun grooves and the ever bewitching vocal union across the band. It resembles a fusion of Blood Ceremony and Jess and The Ancient Ones, yet is as individual to Kabbalah as you could wish for. Its successor is almost punk like at times, an underlying crabby edge flaring up across its psych and post punk spiced tapestry like a hybrid growth from a union of Au Pairs, Cradle, and Deep Purple.

Following their triumph, The Darkness of Time offers a funk fuelled swing of psychedelic rock, its body a web of heavy and classic rock honed enterprise which might miss the more predatory traits of its predecessors but has body and spirit wrapped up with ease. Its occultist lure only adds to its relentless charm; bait which is taken to more threatening places within the outstanding Dark Revelation. Its first breath has a garage punk taste, the subsequent canter more of that Au Pairs like post punk tempting before Kabbalah turns it all into a compelling and virulent, almost unruly, tango of creative flirtation.

The Shadow slinks up to ears in its own inauspicious way, tempting and warning with portentous charm before its fires break from an initial smoulder into a white hot rock ‘n’ roll stroll while the album closing Presence shares a calmer though no less heated weave of retro and modern nurtured adventure to further enthral. The dancing prowess of the drums, not for the first time, is almost consuming in its rousing and resourceful drive of the magnetic sounds bringing the album to a masterful conclusion.

The need to go again is controlling as Spectral Ascent drifts away, and the pleasure in doing so ever rewarding. The album is immense and rich food for a passion for psych/doom infused rock ‘n’ roll. Some bands feel destined for greatness from their first moments; Kabbalah is one and their new offering commandingly intensifies that belief.

Spectral Ascent is out now via Twin Earth Records and available @ https://kabbalahrock.bandcamp.com/album/spectral-ascent

https://www.facebook.com/Kabbalahrock/

Pete RingMaster 12/07/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Monster Truck – Sittin’ Heavy

pic by Brooks Reynolds

pic by Brooks Reynolds

Yet again Monster Truck lives up to the suggested weightiness of their name with their sound in new album Sittin’ Heavy. The eleven track encounter is a rousing rock ‘n’ roll roar embracing a landscape of bold styles and flavours. It is an adventure the Canadian band’s fans have become accustomed to and helped lead their Juno Award nominated debut album Furiosity to rich acclaim and hordes of new appetites two years or so back. Sittin’ Heavy carries on the muscular work of its predecessor, unleashing broad and robust rock ‘n’ roll you can only give full attention to.

The Hamilton, Ontario hailing Monster Truck quickly began stirring up local attention and support when emerging in 2009, backing it up with the release of their Gus Van Go and Werner F (The Stills, Priestess, Hollerado) produced self-titled EP the following year. The band linked up with producer Eric Ratz (Billy Talent, Cancer Bats, Three Days Grace) for its successor, The Brown EP in 2011, with surrounding singles pushing the band into the Top 10 on Canadian Rock radio. That initial live success has only accelerated and grown across the years too; tours across North America and Canada as well as supporting shows and festival appearances seeing the quartet sharing stages with the likes of Slash, Deep Purple, Guns N’ Roses, The Sheepdogs, Alice in Chains, ZZ Top, Buckcherry, Rival Sons and many more.

Furiosity put Monster Truck on bigger heavy rock/metal maps with its release in 2013, something the again Ratz recorded/co-produced Sittin’ Heavy will surely stir up and exploit further. Their first offering since signing with Mascot Records, the album charges at and through ears with opener Why Are You Not Rocking. Jabbing beats instantly grip attention before being quickly joined by fiery grooves around hungry riffs. Hitting its rousing stroll in moments, the track is a contagious stomp with the lead vocals of bassist Jon Harvey growling and enticing from within the busy web of Jeremy Widerman’s grooves and the seriously coaxing organ lures of Brandon Bliss. With drummer Steve Kiely inciting further involvement through his rapier like swings, band and song has hips, appetite, and energies ablaze with ease.

art_RingMasterReviewSittin’ Heavy is off to a mighty start which continues as Don’t Tell Me How To Live steps up next; its blues spiced grooves and tenaciously pressing riffs offering potent bait as they crowd the robustly snarling tones of Harvey. The song’s air is almost woozy with the melodic liquor fuelling the richly enticing grooving, their flirtation the lead into the suggestiveness of Widerman’s sonic endeavour and imagination. As the first, the track is a magnetic affair pleasing and simultaneously setting up the emotions and appetite for the even thicker weave of spicy textures and sultry invention that is She’s A Witch. As its predecessor, the song has a groove built net which quickly envelops ears as hips and feet are tempted and urged by the funk infused hooks and flighty flames of blues resourcefulness.

A southern seeded celebration is laid out by For The People next, its character and sound a familiar persuasion yet distinctly sculpted with Monster Truck invention and passion whilst Black Forest allows a rest for the body and inspiration for the imagination with its mellow yet still slightly tempestuous air and reflection. As with the last song, there is a sixties/seventies scented essence to the song; hues which align to a modern heartfelt blues seducing before having to make way for the wonderful discord twisted introduction of Another Man’s Shoes and subsequently its muscularly imposing and evocative body. The track is rock ‘n’ roll at its feverish yet controlled best, another skilful tapestry of textures and energies which Monster Truck, in this album alone, show themselves so accomplished at weaving.

From one pinnacle to another as Things Gets Better strides in with a keys sparked swagger that infests every aspect of the song. There is no escaping the unrelentingly persuasive and anthemic prowess of a song which never breaks into a riot of energy and sound but has the senses and spirit as aroused as if it had. The track also adds more of the flavoursome variety that makes up the album. As great as it is though, it and every song making up Sittin’ Heavy, gets outshone by the sensational incitement of The Enforcer. Straight from the big swinging rhythms which bound in under the control of Kiely, submission to its fiery charm is inevitable and even more assured as the soulful fire of sound and harmonies unite to seduce and stir the spirit. Grooves are almost toxic such their winy intoxication whilst the vocals of Harvey, backed by the rest of the band, simply provide virulent bait. Add biting riffs, piecing hooks, and more creative swing led by the bass revelry of Harvey, and you have one of the most incendiary tracks you are likely to hear this year.

To The Flame takes ears into a tantalising mix of sludge and stoner-esque adventure next. The track almost crawls over the senses whilst leaving a glaze of volcanic seduction, led by Widerman’s sonic lattice and the smothering allure of Bliss’ keys. Compelling the listener into full involvement, the track’s sweltering landscape adds another peak to the lofty range of the album, its success matched and surpassed by the devilishly creative and expressive throes of New Soul. The song has all the hectic and inflamed elements that makes the Monster Truck sound; elements which collude with individual craft and anthemic mastery for lusty rock ‘n’ roll to get hot and sweaty to.

Completed by the gentle, in relation to other songs, emotive embrace of Enjoy The Time, the irresistible Sittin’ Heavy is a band revelling in the varied strains of rock ‘n’ roll and their imagination in uniting them with their own invention. That in turn has ears and emotions similarly making feverish merry to the results.

Sittin’ Heavy is out now via Mascot Records, available digitally as well as on CD and Vinyl (which includes bonus track Midnight) across most online stores.

http://www.ilovemonstertruck.com/   https://www.facebook.com/ilovemonstertruck   https://twitter.com/monster_truck

Pete RingMaster 07/03/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/

Desert Suns – Self-Titled

Desert Suns band photo_RingMaster Review

Released in the Autumn of 2014, the self-titled debut album from San Diego quartet Desert Suns gets its deserved official worldwide re-release this January through a special collaboration between Ripple Music and HeviSike Records. For those missing that original limited run of 300 copies on vinyl through Birmingham-based HeviSike , its return is the chance to grab one highly flavoursome slab of stoner bred rock ‘n’ roll.

Formed late 2013, Desert Suns quickly drew attention with their first single Burning Temples which was released in the January of the following year. Seven months later and their six track debut album confirmed the initial potency of sound and imagination within that early single in a fiery and immersive blend of stoner and heavy metal, psyche and blues rock. The band’s sound, as at times their lyrics and song themes, demands attention without the heavy weight of it ever becoming invasively imposing, and within the Tony Reed (Mos Generator/Stone Axe) mastered album provides a powerful invitation to the listener, if without really wanting to take no for an answer.

DESERT-SUNS---DESERT-SUNS_RingMaster Review

Artwork-Jimmy Ovadia

Burning Temples starts things off, an initial sonic static the bed for heavier rumblings and clamorous energies before one hefty groove grows from within the low key tempest. It relaxes with an elegant shimmer to its lure and melodic spice to its touch as the dark bassline of David Russell aligns to his quickly alluring vocals though the forceful and agile beats of drummer Ben McDowell subsequently raises the intensity as the guitars of Woogie Maggard and Anthony Belluto twist and turn with magnetic grooves and riffs. As the track becomes a contagious blaze enslaving hips, ears, and imagination, it is easy to sense Black Sabbath and Deep Purple inspirations at play, the music masterfully and voraciously ebbing and flowing in energy whilst providing a continuous full-on sultry temptation.

After the incendiary climax of the first song has ignited ears and keen involvement further, the following Space Pussy shows it is even more ferociously enflamed with quick sonic and melodic intoxication. Raw and seductive flames soon live up to the suggested salacious exploits and skills of the song’s protagonist, their intensive heat casting a vociferous smoulder in sound and atmosphere which almost has the senses woozy, though sinew swung rhythms and a great gnarly bass tone provides a rapturous temper to that cosmic inebriety smothering ears.

The blues infested rock ‘n’ roll tempest of Passing Through gets ears excited all over again, its feisty swagger courting a virulent catchiness driven by tenacious rhythms and swinging grooves matched by the Ozzy-esque vocal temping of Russell. The track is irresistible, taking a great first impression of the album up another notch with its flirtatious enterprise and anthemic dexterity of music and craft. As across the album, there is something familiar to the Desert Suns sound but a hue only adding to the lure of its bordering on mischievous revelry.

A breath is allowed to be taken by the blues croon of Ten Feet Down as ears feast on a new twist in the landscape of the release. Blues and country rock merge to serenade as harmonica and guitar colour a salty portrait of suggestiveness around it, all colluding for a magnetic encounter before Memories of Home portentously pulsates into view and unfurls a lumbering beast of a stoner/heavy metal fuelled proposition. A scent of Fu Manchu meets Electric Wizard meets Kyuss looms up within the tantalising proposal, whilst mellow and soporific textures unite with the ravaging torrents stirred up by grooves and a hungry energy to create another hard to resist confrontation.

Run Through My Roots brings the album to a compelling close, its atmospheric soundscape and pungent rhythmic suggestiveness the prelude to another forceful and heavyweight enveloping of the senses. Once more romancing calms are seductive oases amidst increasingly volatile eruptions and predacious outbursts, their mesmeric caresses breaking ravenous outpourings of sound and emotion as the track offers a fascinating end to a thoroughly enthralling and enjoyable release.

Second time around, Desert Suns is not to be missed and already thoughts are eagerly turning to what comes next from the band, where they have imaginatively ventured since the creation of their album two years ago.

Desert Suns is out now through Ripple Music in North America on CD and Royal Blue vinyl and on Beer Brown vinyl in the UK through HeviSike Records with digital copies @ https://desertsuns.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/desertsunssd  http://www.desertsunsmusic.com/

Pete RingMaster 20/01/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/

Heartbreak Remedy – Midnight Groove

Heartbreak Remedy Promo _RingMaster ReviewShot

Embracing a host of flavoursome flavours in their energy loaded sound, UK quartet Heartbreak Remedy create rock ‘n’ roll which just rolls with the instincts to party. The weight of proof comes in their self-released debut album Midnight Groove, a collection of tracks which may have found variable success with personal tastes at times but all left an appetite for more of their feisty enterprise.

Hailing from Cumbria, Heartbreak Remedy emerged in 2013 with the intent of merging LA’s classic rock sound with seventies bred grooves. The band’s founders, vocalist/bassist Matty Penn and drummer Stephen Jackson soon linked up with guitarists Callum Glynn and Luke Blair, that union the springboard for Heartbreak Remedy and a live presence which began with a debut show at Trillians in Newcastle playing alongside Enuff Z’nuff. 2014 saw the band playing across the UK, their own potent gigs beside support spots with the likes of The Quireboys, The Electric Boys, Kory Clarke/Warrior Soul, The Burning Crows, Bad Touch, Falling Red, and Knock Out Kaine. A full UK tour with The Last Vegas only added to their emerging presence and reputation whilst with two well-received EPs also under their belts, the band more recently has shared stages with Hardcore Superstar, Keri Kelli, and Brad Gillis, and played the Hard Rock Hell Road Trip in Ibiza. Now with its national release, it is the turn of Midnight Groove to awaken new ears.

Heartbreak Remedy seemingly gets referenced to the likes of Mötley Crüe, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Deep Purple most often, something relatively understandable as the opening track of Midnight Groove erupts in ears. There is certainly something familiar to their sound and seemingly no real intent to be dramatically adventurous but for heart bred rock ‘n’ roll there is little to dismiss the album over or first song Convoy. As soon as a single groove entangles ears attention is awake and seriously intrigued, especially once increasingly anthemic rhythms pave the way for a vocal bellow from Penn and the riff driven stroll it sparks. The beats of Jackson become even crispier bait as the bass of Penn offers a great grumbling lure whilst with acidic hooks and sparkling guitar endeavour wrapped in blues rock hues dancing in ears, the track gets more adventurous and compelling with every passing minute.

Heartbreak Remedy Cover Artwork_RingMaster Review  The following Already Gone is a slightly mellower proposition energy wise and in tone, and maybe because of this lacks the same spark as its predecessor, though the guitars again potently entice with their melodic narrative before Cocked and Loaded from a great devilish bassline emerges as another fiery slice of blues/hard rock. Vocally Penn is a touch wayward at times but equally more expressive as the track dangles spicy grooves and magnetic bait from the bass in ears.

Things really pick up with Tell Me Why, the track a sonic floozy of southern grooves and seventies seeded funk ‘n’ roll. Rhythms add a dark edge to the encounter, the muscular tones of the bass aligning to jabbing swipes from Jackson as the guitars of Glynn and Blair weave a contagious temptation of sultry grooves and riffs. Quickly establishing itself as a major highlight of the album, it seems to ignite something in the release as the following pair of All You’ll Ever Be, with its tangy lining to a nest of writhing grooves, and the pulsating Girl At The Bar keep the new plateau of good times rolling. Both tracks enjoyably explore contrasts and essences of discord, with the latter also slipping into something more eighties glam rock coloured to pleasing effect. The fact that there is a constant raw almost punkish surface and inner flame to the band’s sound only adds to the potency of indeed all three tracks and those to follow.

The skittish beats and southern seducing of Heartbreaker provides feet and imagination with the base for a good time which the southern/seventies hard rock textures of Southside recruit in its own dusty stroll before Rose clams things down with its soothing melodic croon. Guitars cradle ears with their tantalising melodies and evocative reflection whilst Penn almost mesmerises with his emotive croon. The song reveals more of the depth and diversity in the band’s sound, than arguably all the previous songs added together, simultaneously adding another high point to the release.

Next up Perfect Crime reveals more of the punk essence which lies within the band’s sound, fusing it with a dirtier hard rock proposal before its successor Thrill Me. Kill Me musically snarls around more restrained but nicely diverse vocals and Ice Queen sizzles in a bluesy climate, its guitars a sonically bubbling and hazy protagonist around funky rhythms and plainer vocals. It is a slim yet rich fusion of contrasts which works a treat though is over shadowed by the album’s closing triumph it is fair to say.

Like Rose earlier, Far Away is a captivating ballad with Penn really coming into his own as acoustic guitars embrace every syllable and escape of emotion. An increasingly impressive treat, it is a fine end to a rather enjoyable proposition from Heartbreak Remedy. Midnight Groove suggests at times that maybe the band’s sound is more potential than realisation right now, but to that offers the promise and excitement of bigger and bolder things ahead.

Midnight Groove is released on Friday 11th September through all stores.

Pete Ringmaster 10/09/2015

The Datsuns – Deep Sleep

10625106_10152409515996245_1143564568258594079_n

The press release accompanying new album Deep Sleep contains the quote from Dolf de Borst, the vocalist/bassist of New Zealanders The Datsuns, which states that “We’re not fucking around. We’re all conscious of the fact that we don’t live close to each other and we’re getting older and people have families, so, if we’re together, we’re going to make records.” It suggests a passion, urgency, and intent to pour everything they have into these creative opportunities and it is fair to say that the bands sixth full-length is a compelling and feverish bloom bred from the ten days the band took to record it whilst for a rare moment being in the same place at the same time. The release is a transfixing adventure which does not ignite a raging fire in sound and emotion but smoulders with persuasive persistence to emerge as one hot and lively simmering vat of rock ‘n’ roll.

Taking their energy fuelled voracious rock sound into a new sultry sonic landscape employing the richest essences of bands like Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and Blue Oyster Cult and similarly essential sounds of the seventies, The Datsuns have created a mesmeric tempest of insatiable rock ‘n’ roll which relishes either charging with flared nostrils or crawling over the senses and imagination with seductive menace. Deep Sleep also takes a healthy dose of inspiration from 1970s French comic Kris Kool which was created by cult psychedelic artist Caza (Philippe Cazaumayou), whose work also covers the captivating release. Summoning “images of 1970s cult film super-villains” with its darker inflamed sonic The-Datsuns-Deep-Sleep-Cover-400x400proposition, though we would suggest it suits even more so the folk darkness of a Wicker Man or a Blood on Satan’s Claw, Deep Sleep is a thrilling blaze of sound and intensity which just gets bigger and better with time.

The album opens on a moody tone as first track Caught In The Silver begins with a shadowed breath of riffs and atmospheric keys. A shimmering crystalline resonance swiftly joins the brewing climate of the song, guitarists Philip Somervell and Christian Livingstone casting haunting and elegant melodies around a pungent bass line and rhythms which appear to be just waiting for the right moment to expel their intimidation. It comes once the distinctive and varied vocals of de Borst unlock the heart of the song, everything erupting in a thick, muggy, and gripping wash of sound and intensity. The song proceeds to rumble and rampage as well as engage in a psychedelic radiance especially ablaze through the riveting solo commandeering attention.

   The potent start is powerfully backed by the heavy swagger and contagious swing of new single Bad Taste. Grooves make an inescapable web from virtually the opening seconds whilst Ben Cole’s rhythmic persuasion provides an imposing cage within which the excellent vocal calm and melodic flames explore ears and imagination with inventive revelry. The track is a delicious enslavement which the heavier footed and toned Claw Machine emulates straight away. It is another dramatically infectious proposition which with ease goes from a restrained yet vivacious stroll into expulsions of sonic fire, grooves and vocals soaring through the heated climate of the song with their melodic and ridiculously catchy flames. The album is at its most thrilling pinnacle at this point, the opening pair of tracks and this, joined by the glorious majesty of Shaky Mirrors and 500 Eyes to light a lustful hunger in appetite and emotions. The first of this pair is an incendiary groove fest with a tenacious energy and predacious attitude to match. Cole unveils a merciless bait of rolling and agitated rhythms which only seems to inspire the toxic lure of the guitars and throaty enticing of the bass whilst vocally de Borst roars with harmonic devilry. The song is instinctive in its temptation and ingenuity, purposefully preying on the submissive ardour already inspired by the album. Its unrestrained anthemic lure is matched by its completely different but no less predatory successor. 500 Eyes is stunning, a slow stalking of ears which slips tenderly over the senses with dark drama and portentous vocal temptation. It might just be the most evil and seductive song in existence, the band in full flirtation as they feed and devour the psyche, every aspect of the track parading a spellbinding voracious croon and sonic irreverence.

It would be unfair to say that Deep Sleep slips a gear from hereon in but such the alchemy driving the first clutch of triumphs, the likes of That’s What You Get and Creature Of The Week struggle to match their glory. To qualify that though, the first of these is a raging rock ‘n’ roll fire which is as ferocious in its sonic roar as it is infectious in its psych pop bullishness whilst the second of the two is a theatrical stroll with sinister drama and dark shadows draping every heavy rock and psychedelic enterprise making up its intriguing presence. Both tracks provide plenty of enjoyable food for thought and pleasure before making way for the bluesy rampage of Looking Glass Lies, a bruising and boiling slice of virulent energy and raw thrilling enterprise. The outstanding song is another anthem for feet and soul, a cauldron of sonic and melodic passion sculpted with enviable craft and flair.

Deep Sleep is completed by the mellower embrace of Sun In My Eyes, a warm breeze of melodies and radiance cored by a hungry stride which just gets more addictive with every listen, and finally its title track. The closer is a fuzzy wash with a dirge like breath and funereal intensity yet shines and shimmers with an absorbing beauty and irresistible charm.

It makes for an enthralling close to a breath-taking release. The Datsuns though admired, has never really brought our ears and emotions to a stop with their previous enjoyable releases. With Deep Sleep they have ignited a fire which can only be quenched with more of the same ahead please.

Deep Sleep is available via HellsquadRecords digitally @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/deep-sleep/id907118759 and on vinyl, CD, and cassette versions.

http://thedatsuns.com

RingMaster 08/10/2014.

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

http://audioburger247.webs.com/

 

 

 

 

The Milestones – Higher Mountain-Closer Sun

Photo by Pasi Rytkonen Photography

Photo by Pasi Rytkonen Photography

We cannot say we have a natural appetite for southern and classic rock, nor an over attentive interest, but occasionally something hits the right spot and sparks a thorough investigation. The recent impressive album from Norwegian blues rockers Electric Woodland has been one and the legendary Bad Company in the past another to light a fire of interest and pleasure. Now with new album Higher Mountain-Closer Sun, Finnish southern rockers The Milestones have lit another potent appetite with their hot sultry sounds. Another reason for mentioning the first two bands is that this album comes with a healthy soak of blues/hard rock to its southern sonic climate which brings potent comparisons in many ways to the enticing sounds of those two bands. Higher Mountain-Closer Sun seems to soak up those essences and many more flavoursome spices to create its own feistily simmering proposition, an offering which seduces even our more aggression wanting tastes.

Twenty years since taking its first steps and with now four albums under the belt, The Milestones has earned a strong presence within world hard rock since the release of their debut album Vol. 1 in 1996, an album seeing a re-release later this year. Acclaimed and drawing strong interest in the States, its success and the band’s live presence led to them traveling to New York to record second album Souvenirs of 1999. This proved to be nowhere near as successful in sound and impact as its predecessor and as the promo sheet accompanying the new album states, “Ultimately it would take ten years for The Milestones to heal the wounds.”

That was when album three emerged, Devil In Men in 2009 pushing the Helsinki quintet back to the stature and acclaimed attention enjoyed before on a global scale. It was followed by tours around Scandinavia, Central Europe, and the US the band supporting the likes of Whitesnake, Deep Purple, Black Stone Cherry, Gary Moore, Raging Slab, and D.A.D. along the way. Now they uncage Higher Mountain-Closer Sun through Listenable Records, a magnetic and fiery romp of instinctive rock ‘n’ roll taking body and passions on a fevered stomp.

From the first track the album seems to have a hook deep into thoughts and emotions, the opening Walking Trouble instantly smothering ears in a blaze of sonic and melodic haze with the guitars of Tomi Julkunen and Marko 10301540_10152415122872560_6266331794037874146_nKiviluoma a seductive graze on the senses whilst the bass of Veli Palevaara roams with equally captivating enterprise and swagger. Completed by the firm beats of drummer Tommi Manninen and the dusty vocals of Olavi Tikka, whose harmonica flair also ignites a twinge of hunger, the track is a storming romp to start things off and get the listener to their feet.

Both the smouldering heat of Shalalalovers and the tarmac stomping Drivin’ Wheel keep the impressive start heading along the same plateau. The first of the two merges a great sultry climate over verses with an almost too easily accessible chorus, its lure predictable and over familiar yet irrepressibly addictive. The union works a treat with a soft spot for the harmonica well fed again before the song’s successor pulls on a Stones like blues colouring to wrap its southern bred adventure. Again there is a simple but inescapable virulence to the chorus which makes a great contrast to the more intensive creative tenacity before and after their expulsions. Both tracks incite full engagement physically and emotionally before allowing a breath to be taken with the evocative southern rock heated scenery of Oh My Soul. With a breath of gospel passion and ‘red neck’ causticity, the track is a sizzling temptation which increases its strength with every listen.

The acoustic ballad Grateful is a pleasing encounter but lacks the spark of previous songs, though that is probably more down to personal preferences for feet sparking revelry. To be fair it is a vocally and musically accomplished song which at times sounds like a mix of Elvis Costello in his country era and Bon Jovi. The following Sweet Sounds does have the body moving with intent next and again apart from its stirring chorus is another enjoyable but underwhelming offering when up against songs like the brilliant It’s All Right. The track is an insatiable rocker from start to finish, grooves and hooks as eagerly tenacious as the increasingly impressive vocals of Tikka and the addictive rhythmic bait. As with all the songs on the album, you feel you already know this bruiser of rock ‘n’ roll devilry which only adds to its invigorating and refreshing presence.

Such the strength and tremendous pull of the track it gives the likes of the energetically fevered You and the melodically and vocally reflective Looking Back For Yesterday a stiffer task to match up to, but both without quite lighting the same fire still treats ears and imagination to exciting endeavour and enflamed melodic sounds. Their success is taken to a new level by the raw and gripping drama of Damn. Again ridiculously compelling hooks and grooves vein what is a darker and sonically fevered canvas to the song. It makes a slow initial impression but emerges as another evolving into a big highlight within the album.

The scintillating Fool Me brings the main body of the album to a tremendous close, the guitars of Julkunen and Kiviluoma bordering on sonic eroticism such the potency and spellbinding strength of their grooves whilst vocals and rhythms dance with impassioned devilry around them. It is a stunning track, a show stealer on any other album.

The CD version of Higher Mountain – Closer Sun is finished by a couple of bonus tracks in Call Of The Wild and Quicksilver which sadly our promo did not contain but such the quality of the rest of the album it is easy to assume they only add to the fun. The Milestones may have taken ‘ten years to heal the wounds’ but there is little to stop them now with releases like this.

Higher Mountain – Closer Sun is available now via Listenable Records @ http://www.amazon.co.uk/Higher-Mountain-Closer-The-Milestones/dp/B00ILWB4VS and http://www.levykauppax.fi/artist/milestones/higher_mountain_closer_sun/#cd

https://www.themilestonesmusic.com

RingMaster 30/09/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

http://audioburger247.webs.com/

 

 

Singing forest bred blues: an interview with Electric Woodland

Electric Woodland

    Weaving an inescapable and thrilling lure of blues, heavy metal, and classic rock into something organically unique, Norwegian rock band Electric Woodland has been earning eager attention and acclaim through their stunning debut album Potrero. It is a rigorously tantalising encounter which seduces the passions through its skilful infectiousness and riveting old school bred and modern fuelled enterprise. The quartet is making rich marks with their sound and now release so we had to find out more. Thanks to guitarist Christian N. Olsen-Ruud, we explored the origins of Electric Woodland, the making of its first full-length release, opportunities for band in their homeland and much more…

Hi Christian and welcome to the site. Thank you for sharing your time with us as we explore all things Electric Woodland.

Firstly can you tell us about the beginnings of the band, how you all met etc.?

Well, Peder (vocals, guitar) and Emil (drums) are brothers, and Marius (bass) is their cousin, so they didn’t have much of a choice. I (Christian, guitar) first got to know Peder when we both went to the same secondary school and started hanging out. The band started when a mutual friend had built a porch, and asked Peder and I if we wanted to bring a couple of acoustic guitars over and break it in. All of a sudden people started to say that they wanted to come as well, and before we knew it, we had 150 people who were going to show up. We built a stage, Marius and Emil joined, and since every festival around seemed to have closed, we started both the band and a festival called Runerock (Rune is the name of the guy with the porch).

How did the great band name come about?

We come from a place called Skogbygda, which sort of translates to Woodville or Wood village. Growing up in rural Norway and Skogbygda has had a great impact on us, so I guess we wanted to give it a little homage. The other half of the name is from one of our other passions, classic rock, blues rock, and one of the great masters, Jimi Hendrix. As well as giving homage to Skogbygda, we thought that mixing Electric Ladyland in there would sort of define what we wanted to do. Down to earth hard blues rock from the Norwegian forests.

Is Electric Woodland the first musical endeavour for you all?

We’ve all had more or less serious bands before, but Electric Woodland is the first band where we’ve really worked with song writing and recording in the way that we’ve done now. The EP was also the first real studio work we’ve done, but luckily we’ve had great people working with us for both the EP and the album, who have helped us out a lot.

Your music is boldly flavoursome with numerous essences of different styles adding to the mix. What are the predominant inspirations for the band and you as musicians?

As you say, our inspirations are many, and it’s a mix of everything from Robert Johnson, through 70s classic rock, to newer stuff like Queens of the Stone Age. In essence it’s a mix of everything we’ve loved when we grew up. When we get asked about this we usually go with the big bands that everyone knows like Queens of the Stone Age, The Doors, Deep Purple, etc., but our biggest influence over the last couple years has probably been a local artist called Amund Maarud. He’s not only helped us out a lot while recording and through Snaxville records, but he’s got a lot of the same influences as us and blends them together into some really cool stuff.

You recently released your debut album Potrero which follows your well received self-titled EP of 2009. How do you see the progression in your sound and songwriting between the two releases?Electric Woodland cover

The four songs on the EP were basically the first four songs we wrote as a band. When it came to Potrero, we wanted to use a bit more time to develop our own sound. While both have a lot of the same influences, Potrero is a bit darker, and both a bit more bluesy and heavy at times.

The album feels a confident and mature collection of songs but with plenty of potential for even greater heights; is that how you feel about it now it is out there drawing in acclaim and new hearts?

Definitely… Although we started to experiment with our own sound on Potrero, it was still only our second recording ever. I do feel we are gaining momentum as song writers and as a band. After recording Potrero, we kind of know more of what we enjoyed recording and what we enjoy playing, so the next album will hopefully reflect that and show some more progression.

Tell us about the recording of Potrero, I believe it was recorded onto analogue tape?

We recorded it at Snaxville Studios in Skogbygda, with the help of Amund and Henrik Maarud. It’s a top, modern studio, but they record everything on analogue tape before any modern technology touches it. We did it in a couple of sessions with some time in between, so that we could think about what we had done and do adjustments in the song writing for the remaining songs if they needed it.

What was behind the decision which it has to be said works a treat in defining the album’s sound.

Again, a lot of our inspiration comes from old blues artists and 60s and 70s rock, so to get that genuine dirty and gritty old school sound, this was what we had to do. The general feeling of recording on tape just felt right as well. You don’t get a million takes when recording on tape, and I think that is a good thing. Each take gets more focused. In a way, it’s also what you always imagined a studio to be. Not just plugging the instruments into a laptop and there’s your album, but you get the whole studio ritual that gets you ‘in the zone’.

Did you go old school/vintage in other aspects of the recording and creating of the album?

A lot of the equipment we use is either vintage or new but made to sound vintage. Some of the pedals we use are clones of old legendary pedals that people like Hendrix, Gilmour and Iommi used, and that’s sort of where we want to go. In addition, a lot of the other equipment in the studio was vintage, form old 70s tape delays to microphones that were used by the BBC in the 60s and 70s.

Is this something you will look to do again or have you already new ideas to explore with the next release?

I think it is important to try to evolve the sound in some way, but in our case it will probably be to try to dive even deeper into that way of working. We really enjoyed it, and really like that type of sound as well. We just need to push it one step further.

There is a raw and gritty texture to the songs on the album, was this deliberately sought or an organic success which just happened?

It was definitely on purpose. We listened to different stuff before recording, and decided that this was what we wanted to do. It’s the sound that we felt the songs needed.

How does the songwriting work within the band?

Usually Peder does most of the writing. He often comes to rehearsals with riffs and lyrics, and we arrange it together into finished songs. Peder and Emil tries out a lot of stuff when they’re both home as well (we rehearse in their old hen house!).

Bad Shoe and the song Electric Woodland steal top honours on the album for us amongst only great tracks. Give us some background to the pair.

They’re two very different songs that’s for sure. Bad Shoe is a rather happy-go-lucky, straight forward, feel good song, where Peder wrote most of it and just brought it to a rehearsal. Electric Woodland is a lot grittier and heavier, and a lot more jam based. It is also without a doubt the song that has evolved the most of all our songs. Some of it was actually some of the first material we produced, and it was almost on the EP as a very straight forward rock song. We started working on it as a band, and suddenly we had new riffs, parts and vocals that took it in a completely different direction.

Is there a particular moment on the album which gives you an extra satisfied tingle inside?

One of the things I’m most pleased with in the response to the album is that everyone seems to have a different favourite song on it. I think that Electric Woodland is probably my pick of the bunch. It’s one of my favourite songs to play live, and the way we just jammed to make it into what it became was a great moment for us as a band. It also has great energy.

Electric Woodland 2Obviously Norway is your home, a place where different music seems to find a place but black metal and folk based styles seem to be what people most assign to the country. What is the reality as a band from there and have you found a ready appetite there for your blues seeded sounds?

There’s a lot of melancholic music in Norway. Maybe it’s the long, depressing winters, but if it’s pop, rock, blues or black metal, there’s often a hint of melancholy in there somewhere. It’s certainly true for Norwegian folk music and black metal, and of course, for blues as well. A lot of people also like a bit of rock and classic rock, so I think we fit in nicely!

We get the feeling that across Europe and now starting in the UK recognition and attention is awakening to your presence, how are you seeing this now Potrero is out?

We do feel we’re starting to build up steam. You feel that gradually things are beginning to move, with an interview here and there, some radio plays here and there, gigs at a bit bigger venues, etc. We’re in this band because we love creating and playing music, but getting some recognition and that people enjoy what you do feels great. It’s something we spent a lot of time and effort on, and take a lot of pride in, so that people don’t think it’s just bullshit really helps!

Is Electric Woodland an active live proposition at home and what are the prospects of seeing you tour across Europe and the UK at some point?

We’ve been a bit unlucky with some health issues in the band this year, so we haven’t been able to do as much as we’ve wanted to, but we’ve still managed to get quite a few gigs under the belt. All of us have other jobs, so we try to do a gig whenever we find the time. We hope to do a bit more though, and a tour of the UK and Europe would be great at some point. So tell your local promoter!

For all bands the internet has been full of pros and cons for their musical journey, how have you found it so far?

When four guys can sit and play what can be pretty introvert music, in a forest in the middle of nowhere in Norway, and suddenly have about 200 fans on Facebook from India, you see what a powerful marketing tool the internet can be. It also makes everything so much easier and gives you so many more options when it comes to producing and publishing records. Bands no longer need a record label’s financial backing to be able to produce something, which can mean that you get a bigger variety of bands out there for people to listen to. You get music in all shapes in all shapes and forms, which can be both good and bad, I guess.

What is next for Electric Woodland and across the rest of 2014?

Hopefully, we’ll get the time to write some more music. We’ve got a couple rough drafts of songs for the second album that we want to keep working on, as well as doing a few more gigs this year.

Thanks again for taking time to chat with us.

Any last words you would like to leave us with?

If you get the chance, check us out on Spotify, give us a like on Facebook, and tell us what you think!

And lastly putting yourself in the place of an interviewer what question would you most like to ask to who?

Black Sabbath and the question would be if they needed an opening act!

www.electricwoodland.com

Read our review of Potrero @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/12/07/electric-woodland-potrero/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 25/09/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

http://audioburger247.webs.com/