Having been more than impressed by his previous projects, their distinctly different sounds lighting some potent passion, vocalist James Scott-Howes has stepped forward again with another unexpected but equally intriguing project in the shape of The New Sheriff. From the soulful mischievous hip hop enterprise of Great Imitation through the startling experimental haunting adventures of Shrikes, Scott-Howes and his lyrical prowess has engaged and pushed the envelope of himself and listener but the post hardcore squalling intensity of The New Sheriff may just be his most disruptive and challenging moment yet. The Leicester based band is not all about him though, the frontman joining the accomplished and imaginative skills of guitarist Tom Whitmore, bassist Ollie Jones, and drummer Mark Abbott for a combined force which ensures attention is all theirs whilst they bruise and intrigue thoughts and senses.
With influences taken from the likes of Touche Amore, Pianos Become The Teeth, Defeater, La Dispute, At The Drive-In, and Refused, the quartet create they own abrasive confrontation which takes its debut upon the BlackSwanSongs EP. The four track tempest of emotion and sonic spite is a raw and uncomfortable listen but a richly compelling and provocative one, and in no mood to take it easy on the ear from its very first tempestuous breath. Opening track Pinky Swear approaches with strokes of jangling guitar before big boned rhythms thump out their intentions alongside the dark growling bass. The combination has no problem in sparking the appetite as they set the platform for the caustic scowling attack of Scott-Howes to work senses and thoughts. As expected his lyrical stance and stylish script is magnetic but his delivery initially throwing assumptions off balance. Being used to his rapping and word crafted explorations the acidic and abrasive vocals shock and take a while to get used to but soon make the strongest persuasion. The song itself swipes and intimidates the ear yet within its full intensity, the sonic colours of the guitar casting a rich tale upon the muscular satisfying canvas.
Eternity Means Eternally steps forward next, well barges forth, with again a forceful almost rabid hunger. There is a punk grazing to the provocation especially in the group chorus which breaks out whilst the grizzled bass voice is a ravenous predator within the welcomingly wearing assault of guitar and vocals. The drums of Abbott cage and pummel the listener with excellent maliciousness especially entering its climax, and overall though the track is firmly seeded in post hardcore there is more than a whisper of the punk hardcore assault of Amen to its threatening lure.
The following Bitter Magicians restrains some of its intensity for an evocative weave of expressive guitar sculpting and less confrontational but more potent vocal suasion, the hard spoken delivery of Scott-Howes offering more clarity which certainly has essences of his previous band without losing the already in place spite or venom. As with all the songs there is no escaping or hiding from the power and intensity of the band which the EP closer In Heliotrope We Burn equally ensures. Moving from where its predecessor left off, the slower clear tones of sound and voice welcomes the ear into the impending storm of corrosive emotion and sonic spleen bred creativity, the track an inciting finale to a strong and impressive first encounter with The New Sheriff.
BlackSwanSongs suggests the band is still in the process of evolving and defining its sound and unique voice to stand out amongst a torrent of emerging post hardcore band but it is rife with promise which ignites real anticipation for their future creativity…a band to keep a close eye on indeed.
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
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Raw, abrasive, and deliberately confrontational, Irish post hardcore band Milestones is already well on the way to making a dent not only in their homeland but further afield, something their new release can only reinforce. Their new EP Entropy is an impressive swipe of aural brutality, one bruising bully to endure but be fully rewarded by. It leaves one clutching a support under its onslaught but full of complete satisfaction from its violent presence.
The quintet from Dublin rose from the ashes of Out of Nowhere in April 2011. With the band name came the Blood demo, a three track release which marked the new direction and set in motion the growing attention and power the band has since triggered. Two tracks The Boats and Gone With The Wind followed, each pulling further acclaim, whilst the band consistently destroyed stages alongside the likes of US band Bury Your Dead, Betrayal and Stick Around. Entropy is evidence of the band growing quickly and finding a depth to their music within songs of sheer towering intensity and undeniable quality. Released as a limited tape cassette via Savour Your Scene Records, just 100 units available, and as a download, the six track release is one to rupture senses and fry thoughts whilst igniting both into action just as equally.
Still Organs scrapes raw from its opening graze upon the ear and is soon probing the wound with a fury of tumultuous riffs and spiteful vocals. The delivery of Peter Kealy, backed by Jack Marmion and Rafino Murphy, simply crushing notes into being with plaintive cries and earnest shouts to match the inciteful guitar play of the other pair. The track is barely in excess of a minute but is a corruptive and stirring beast.
The following Premonitions carries the great start to even more intense heights. Again vocals and guitars strip flesh with their caustic might whilst the drums of Keith Davis rifle and plunder the ear with strong challenging beats and the bass of Keith Fish is a predatory stalker within the sonic violence. Again short, the song is an impact which leaves lingering marks to satisfy all with its extreme musical vehemence.
Needing an extra focus to delve beneath the surface acid, the EP is a varied and intelligent piece of songwriting. It is not an easy listen at times admittedly, and probably too harsh for some, but given time it unveils some of the freshest and more invigorating music to emerge in post hardcore for a long time. The outstanding Old Hands and arguably even better Graveside, leave the air sizzling as their venom is squeezed out through confronting rhythms and incendiary melodic enterprise all brought within a tight sonic whipping. There is a definite punk vein pulsating throughout, especially in the second of these two songs, which adds to the temper and cantankerous attitude of the music and rubs that little bit harder on its target.
Entropy ends with the riveting manipulative tones of Pound OF Flesh, a track which takes a different though no less intense journey than before and the brawling nasty Ladders. The second is a concussive blistering which takes its time to emerge out of an initial chaotic storm to evolve into an infectious and compulsive weave of emotion and expressive rock.
Influences for the band come from the likes of Comeback kid, Defeater, Everytime I Die, and Lower than Atlantis, and to that elements of bands like Gallows and Ghost Of A Thousand also emerge as the EP plays. Milestones has a distinct energy and sound which with Entropy sure to recruit more and more wasted contented ears, pretty much means there will be no stopping them.
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
Making the long journey from Sydney Australia to relocate in England, hardcore/punk band Villa Rise has immediately marked their arrival with the release of their mighty and impressive debut EP Wastelands. It is a release consisting of songs that burst with aggressive intensity, dark bulging riffs, thoughtfully crafted melodies. It also shows a band with a full confidence in their sound and skilled in bringing forth a varied and flavoursome array of ideas and sounds. We had the fortunate chance to talk to the band to find out more about Villa Rise, their EP, and reasons for moving thousands of miles?
Hi and welcome to The Ringmaster Review. Thank you for talking with us.
Firstly would you introduce the members of the band?
Yeah, we have Jarrod Martin on Vocals, Kyle Usher on Bass, Alex Wood on Drums, Ben Clink and Brendon Fameli of Guitar.
How did you all meet and what inspired you to start the band?
We all grew up in the same town, and knew each other from school or gigs. Basically we started the band out necessity really, we just knew we wanted to play music.
You recently moved to the UK, a bold and some would say brave move, what was the reasoning for this?
We basically just all came to a point in our lives where we wanted to experience new things and see the world. We were really lucky that all of us wanted to do this sort of thing at the same time, and so naturally the band continued and we were able to bring it with us.
Does the move reflect or say anything about the state of metal back in Australia for new bands?
Well, I guess you can interpret it that way and we’re sure a few people have, but the Australian music scene was really great to us and there are a lot of really talented bands and people doing great things. Being so isolated and so large are unique problems for Australian bands, but we wouldn’t say that that was the real motivation for moving, even if it did play a part.
Nothing really, we expect a lot from ourselves and we have a pretty high standard of how we try to go about things, but whenever someone says they dig what we do, or whenever we get great opportunities like touring with Silent Screams or playing Ghostfest , it always comes as a bit of a surprise to us, we’re very grateful.
How do you think being here will help or inspire your music?
Well living together and having the freedom to write music at all hours has definitely made an impact, and being here has pretty much changed our lives, so naturally our perspectives on certain things have changed a little too. Hopefully for the best!
Do you fear losing your Australian fans by making the move?
No, we’ve had a tonne of support from back home since being here, we’re more focused on anyone appreciating what we are trying to do moving forward, whether they’re British, Australian, Chinese, whatever.
So far what has been the surprising positives being here and the negatives you were not expecting either musically or personally?
As we said before we never would have imagined we’d be playing such great shows so quickly, and we really have to thank Tom from Kings Agency for that. As far as negatives are concerned; sausages here are terrible, vegetables are expensive, and it’s hard to earn money to afford to buy any nice food at all.
You are just about to release your excellent debut EP Wastelands, so it must be an exciting but equally busy time for you guys right now?
Absolutely, we’re really looking forward to getting the EP out on this side of the world and seeing how it goes down. We’ve been working really hard to put our lives back together, and now that we’re about to really start playing some great shows it seems like it is about to pay off a little.
You are releasing it as a free download, what is the thinking behind that?
We just want people to hear it, as many people as possible. If 1 out of every 10 people who download it for free like it and come to a show, it will probably be more than if we were trying to sell an EP to an audience who have never heard of us. We don’t have much money to buy music these days, so bands that release music for free feature pretty heavily on our iPods.
Tell us about the concept/theme that runs through the release.
It is pretty loose based really, and it all comes down to the idea that there can be happiness in everyone’s life if they are able to see it and appreciate it. Obviously some people have problems with that and depression is a serious issue, and that’s not really something that we’re trying to comment on as such. But for the greater part we believe that happiness is a state of mind, and it can be within your control. Wastelands is pretty a story about a guy trying, and failing to come to terms with that.
For a first release it is quite an intensive project what inspired the idea and how much work went into planning how it would work?
We’d spent a really long time writing this, and the idea had developed over a long period of time. Concept records and bands like Defeater and Coheed & Cambria and blown us away, so some sort of concept wasn’t a conscious decision as such, it was just seemed appropriate at the time. We were writing those songs from a pretty frustrated place, and that’s where a lot of the abrasion in the sound comes from, but the idea itself isn’t meant to be a negative or angry thing at all. We also spent a long time producing this record at Def Wolf in Sydney and that gave us a bit of freedom to develop the sound.
The songs and the theme pretty much grew together. We had a few instrumental tracks written before we really started working out the details of the lyrical content, but we had a pretty solid idea of where we were heading when writing it all.
The release and your music is a varied animal with many distinct flavours, what are the main influences that have inspired you?
Our main influences as a band are groups like Defeater, Comeback Kid, Alexisonfire and mewithoutYOU, but at the time of writing this record we were still interested in big sounds that band like Underoath do really well, and I think that comes across too.
Your bio labels you as a hardcore band but is that not too limiting a tag for your sound?
We don’t really try to get involved with genre tagging much, we’ve written 10 songs for an album later this year and they are very different songs to the ones on Wasteland. We write music that represents our state of mind at the time – and this varies, so Hardcore seems like an appropriately broad tag.
How does the songwriting work within the band?
We spend a lot of time writing music and doing a lot of preliminary demos so that we can go back and adjust things over time. The songs grow with us that way, and we think that it is the most honest way that we can write music, as opposed to trying to pick something in advanced that will unify any songs that we write for any particular release. We all get involved in writing as much as possible.
You have some big gigs coming up I believe?
Yeah, we’re about to head out on tour with Silent Screams & Our People Versus Yours for our first proper UK hit out, we’re so stoked for this. Then we have some other tours in the works, and of course Ghostfest at the beginning of July is something that we still can’t quite believe we’re lucky enough to be a part of.
We’re working on an Album for later this year, so hopefully all goes well and we can get it out and play some rad shows off of it.
Again many thanks for sparing time to talk with us.
Thanks for having us!
Would you like to say something to your new fans in the UK?
Thanks for showing us any support so far! We look forward to getting out there and having a rad time at a gig with you all.
And lastly we have to ask what are you missing most about Australia other than family and friends?
Sausages. Haha. Kyle and Jarrod miss tofu and watermelon, they don’t eat meat.
Read the Wastelands EP review @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2012/04/23/villa-rise-wastelands/
The Ringmaster Review 05/05/2012
Classed as a hardcore/punk band in their own bio Australian band Villa Rise are one of an emerging breed that do not neatly fit in any department, this quintet alone veining their creations with a varied and flavoursome array of ideas and sounds. It makes for an intriguing and in some ways an initial undefined direction from many bands though one cannot say that about Villa Rise. As their debut EP Wastelands shows this is a band with clear ideas and thought as well as a craft and ability to achieve them.
Coming from Sydney the band took the decision to relocate to the UK not so long ago to hit the music scene here, making Brighton their base. Whether simply a confidence in their sound, the wish to try new pastures, or a statement about the scene in their homeland it was a brave move for a young band to undertake, though going on the evidence of Wastelands and the high profiled gigs on the horizon, they could and should find big rewards for doing so.
As mentioned they are classed as hardcore but the tracks with the EP reveal veins of metalcore and tech metal to same just two, the songs bursting with aggressive intensity, dark bulging riffs, thoughtfully crafted melodies, and a wonderful discordant touch that always hits the spot. There is also intelligent attention given to their lyrical side, the EP offering the thought that happiness is a state of mind as it brings the story of ’a young man who descends into madness, because of his inability to accept the positives and in his life.’
From the brief opening track Fracture and its sampled disaster broadcast the release erupts fully with the following Keeper. With a breathless assault from the first note the band thrusts through the ear with towering riffs and incisive melodic guitars from Ben Clink and Brendan Farneli whist the vocals of Jarrod Martin scowl and rage perfectly, his attack dripping anger and venom. The song twists and turns with a seamless flow and success as group vocals, stirring rhythms from drummer Alex Wood, and belligerent riffs from bassist Kyle Usher punctuate the great searching melodic manipulations.
Blindeye and the title track take over next, both impressive and deeply striking tracks though the latter of the two has an easier gait to been drawn to despite being further down the descent to disengaged sanity. Though each track can be taken singly very effectively there is a definite connection and bond that can only be felt and appreciated between the songs when taken as a whole, a provocative and thought inspiring package.
The EP is completed by Villains and Shadows. Again two songs as equal in quality and enterprise as those before them. In a parallel to the subject they are investigating the songs and EP become more challenging as it nears its end though never losing its firm creative grip and imaginative use of melodies, diverse sounds, and unpredictable invention.
Wastelands is also a grower that starts with an appealing and impressive first introduction but the more time spent in its company the more one finds its depths and creative treasures. Taking influences from the likes of Defeater, Alexisonfire and Comeback Kid, Villa Rise release the EP on April 30th via Monarch Records and as a free download. Already the band is proving a worthy new addition to the metal scene in the UK with Wastelands suggesting there is still much more to come.