Counterpoint – If Not Now, Why?

Almost demanding attention, UK rockers Counterpoint provide a thumping introduction to themselves with their debut EP. If Not Now, Why? offers five slices of rousing thickly flavoured alternative rock, tracks which has the body bouncing as eagerly as it has the appetite keen to savour plenty more from the Liverpool formed, Manchester based quartet.

Spawned from the ashes of their previous band, Operation: AEON, Counterpoint was formed by vocalist Dominic Lucock and guitarist Martin “Ted” O’Neil in 2015. Numerous ears were enticed by an early demo track in Borrow Your Past, Steal Your Future, including producer Jim Pinder (Bullet For My Valentine) who offered an interest in working with the band on their first release. Cementing a praise earning live presence since then, with a recent show with Crazy Town only pushing their increasing reputation, Counterpoint subsequently joined Pinder and Dan Jeffries in Treehouse Studios with If Not Now, Why? the potent outcome.

It opens up with Leave It All Behind, an immediate tease of sound and anthemic intent which looms up and envelops the senses. Swiftly it finds its muscular stroll, the swinging beats of Ed Sutton inciting alongside the throbbing canter of Mikey Gaffney’s bass and O’Neil’s lively riffs and grooves. At the same time Lucock blends raw and melodic enterprise in his vocal enticement, it all coming together for an inescapably catchy yet energetically imposing proposition.

The great start continues through Honestly, it too gathering its attributes in its initial breath before gripping ears with its subsequent enterprise. Ebbing and flowing in its aggression, perpetually captivating in its resourceful dynamics and imagination, the song creates a tapestry of melodic intrigue, emotive suggestion, and tempestuous energy which just beguiles the imagination. References to the likes of letlive, Papa Roach, Deftones, and While She Sleeps have been offered before the Counterpoint sound and easy to understand why with the EP’s opening pair of encounters.

The following Between You And Me has a great irritability to its heart and raw air which does not defuse its infectious virulence and harmonic prowess; a trait and creative agility which reminds of Reuben in some ways. Every handful of seconds brings a fresh twist and a hungry surge of persuasion, each combining with the other to match the heights of its predecessor’s triumphs, in certain moments eclipsing them before next up DownDownDown boldly swaggers in. It too reveals a skilfully woven mix of rapacious aggression and melodic seduction in its boisterous stomp in creating its own inescapably catchy and stirring incitement.

The EP closes up with One Sided Conversations, a calmer melody tempting serenade with power in its voice and intensity in its heart which inflames the song’s increasing urgency and zeal. It is a fever which soon has the track storming the senses but with the ability to slip into mellower breaths for sublimely captivating moments.

It is a fine end to a striking first listen to Counterpoint, If Not Now, When? a release suggesting a band with all the traits to make a rich impact on the UK rock scene if they realise and develop its bold potential and easy to greedily enjoy sound.

If Not Now, When? is released February 9th

https://www.facebook.com/UKCounterpoint/

Pete RingMaster 09/01/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Dirt, spices, and rock ‘n’ roll: getting a taste of The Sourheads

If you ever have thoughts that real rock ‘n roll is on the wane a quick listen to the new album from British rockers The Sourheads will soon make you think again. Care Plan For The Soul is a nine-track debut full-length, a skilfully and passionately woven roar of classic and fresh rock diversity which snarls as it seduces, thrills as it trespasses ears and imagination. Through our friend Garry at SaN, we had the chance to dig deeper into The Sourheads with guitarist MIK CRONE, exploring the band’s origins, digging into the heart of Care Plan For The Soul, The Sourheads live and more….

Hi Mik and big thanks for taking time to chat with us.

Can you, for those yet to be invaded by your rock ‘n’ roll, first introduce the band?

We are The Sourheads and we come from Wakefield West Yorkshire. We are a rock band who take influence from the greats and add our own twist. We like to think of ourselves of somewhat multi-genre and we don’t want to be seen as just one specific style of music. A career band like The Stones or The Who dip into different things but still stay true to who they are…So yea we are a rock band who give it our all live.

The band is said to have emerged in 2016 but does its seeds go further back?

The version of The Sourheads now is the result of many years building. Like Oasis the original version was Jake [Coxon]our singer and his brother Sid who played guitar. They had a string of musicians throughout a short period of time. I first came into the picture as a producer for the band. I had been working with various bands and the early version of the band struck me as a very different but awesome set of musicians. I felt with direction the band could be massive.  Around this time I was asked to join as a second guitarist and a month later Sid left. So at this point we upped our game and decided to focus on a solid tight band and work on the debut album. The Sourheads you see now emerged in 2016.

Is The Sourheads your first ventures in a band or do you all bring various previous experiences and explored styles of music to the mix?

Everyone in The Sourheads has been in other bands before. I had a small amount of success with a metal band I was in. Lamb [Chris Lambert] our drummer was in a relatively successful Indi band. Ben [Taylor] has played bass forever and grew up jamming with his brother Simon (Inme) and Jake has always been a creative person singing and painting. The combination of these different influences creates the originality of our band. We are what we are.

You have just released your debut album, Care Plan For The Soul. From its first breath it shares a multi-flavoured, refreshingly dirty and just a little salacious roar of sound and intent; a mix which suggests a varied range of inspirations to the band and individual members. Who particularly stands out as having an impact on your approach to making music?

We take our inspiration from different places. Jake is a massive Doors fan, Lamb is into his classic British Indi music; Ben is also a fan of different styles of music. I look up to any band that has strong songs. Stone Temple Pilots are a massive influence for me. Deftones, Queens of the Stone Age, The Cult, Shed Seven, Oasis, Clutch. We use many colours to create our art.

How would you describe your sound to newcomers?

Iggy and the Stooges mixed with the Sex Pistols thrown into a blender with The Stereophonics and Nirvana.

Classic Rock with an edge.

It feels like it just follows its nose always prepared to embrace fresh and unpredictable flavours. Is this something you deliberately set out to purposefully develop or a sound and direction which just grew and evolved organically?

We are what we are. People either get it or don’t. One review says we are original and have rewritten the rule book of what a rock band should be. The other will say they don’t get us. Why do we look like we do and why does the artwork not match the music. Well the answer is we are totally focussed and we are 100% us. Everything is totally focused and this is what we do, our sound and direction develop naturally. Luckily our label saw this and our friends like Red Spektor saw this. So it’s better to have a loyal friendship and business partnership and have loyal listeners than to be fake and try to jump on a scene.

How long was Care Plan For The Soul in the making?

We had a lot of time rehearsing and making sure we could play the songs. We could play without vocals, with vocals, without bass or without guitar and obviously all of us together…Probably 3 months of pre-production and a week to record.

It has an instinctive snarl to its air and open rawness to its energy; at times feeling like it may have been recorded live. How did you approach its creation in the studio?

We decided early on that the band has a live energy that needed to be captured so we decided to record live and then delete the guide vocal and do a main vocal later. I also overdubbed a second guitar rhythm track to fatten the overall mix. We also added congas and cello in the overdub stage.

Can you give us an insight into the trials and pleasing surprises you found when recording the album?

We worked with a wonderful producer called Matt Knee and we used an old 70’s BBC mixing desk, this gave us a warmth that we were pleasantly surprised by. We wanted initially to record full analogue but as we wanted to play live we decided it’s may be better to do it digitally but through old analogue gear. This was due to the fact that digital is instant and we knew we had to keep in budget for our business plan to be effective. We needed to make sure everyone was comfortable and the atmosphere was good. We had incense burning and lava lamps. Pretty laid back.

It was subsequently mastered by Pete Maher (The Rolling Stones, Depeche Mode, U2) and released through German Label Kozmik Artifactz. How did those link ups come about?

Pete Maher has worked with everyone and we liked the fact that he worked within multiple genres. Katy Perry, Pink Floyd, Linkin Park are a few of his varied clientele and he had just finished mastering the LA LA Land soundtrack. We knew that attracting a big name would gain us attention and Pete does great deals for up and coming bands. It seemed like a great idea and he did an amazing job. Around this time we became close friends with Red Spektor and their manager Simon. They were saying good things about us in interviews and we were starting to get noticed. I sent a private link of the album to a number of labels and pretty much instantly Kai at Kozmik Artifactz messaged back saying ‘We don’t usually release this style but we think you would fit our sister label Oak Island perfectly so we did the deal and we are honoured to be part of the Kozmik Artifactz Oak Island family. The label is having great success with bands like Church of the Cozmic Skull and of course our brothers Red Spektor.

Can you give us the inspiration for the album title and some of the themes within its body?

We felt that the title had to reflect the song content. Our drummer Lamb came up with it. The songs are pretty intense in parts and cover lots of topics such as Demonic Possession, Marriage Breakdowns, War veterans, soul stealing creatures. When you take this into consideration and then see the album cover is a lone figure stood in the middle of the beach with his dog it’s kind of like that is the care plan for his soul. He is escaping the turmoil.

Is there a particular songwriting process within the band?

Pretty much straight forward…Ben or me write a riff or two. Lamb plays a beat. We arrange the song, record it on a phone then Jake writes the lyrics.

Apart from obvious pride and satisfaction in Care Plan For The Soul is there a particular moment within it which gives you a specific personal flush of inner pleasure?

The whole thing is a major flush of inner pleasure. We set out with a goal and we achieved it on budget and we didn’t move away from our art and vision one bit. This is amazing to us. To have a vinyl copy of the album in my hands and look at the finished product gives me goosebumps. The fact that the digital streaming numbers are good too also feels good. We want to get out to as many people as possible. From the actual recording there are a few moments I like. I think some of the vocal delivery is the best Jake has ever been.  The rush created when he shouts I am the Lotus! That’s a fan favourite moment.

Give us an insight into the live side of the band?

We are told we are extremely good live. Jake is a bare chested beast of a frontman, live truly something that has to be seen and heard. We are very tight and play as close to the album as we can get. I like the idea that we are four individual characters and that as a member of the audience you can get what you are looking for from us. We put a lot into it. I’m swinging my arm in the air and running around; Jake is in the crowd or rolling around on the floor. Ben is grooving away and lam is bashing the living daylights out of the kit.  We are an old fashioned rock band. We put on a show.

Obviously the album is in its early days inviting attention but what is next on the horizon of The Sourheads?

We are hoping to tour throughout 2018 and play some festivals. Do a couple of music videos and keep writing. We have 3 songs written for the next album already. We have also experimented with slightly different sounds. Some old school style Stones vibe.

Again many thanks for sharing your time; any last words you would like to add?

Thank you for showing interest in the band. We truly appreciate every website, magazine radio station that helps us spread our message and music. We are fans of music and do this because we love playing and creating our art. People like you keep the musical torch burning bright. There is a buzz and new found enthusiasm for rock music and we want to embrace this whole heartedly.

Check out The Sourheads further @ https://www.thesourheads.com/    https://www.facebook.com/thesourheads    https://thesourheads2.bandcamp.com/

Pete RingMaster 13/12/2017

The RingMaster Review

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

NoSelf – Human-Cyborg Relations Episode 1

Proving that nu metal is still a valid presence and temptation, Central Florida outfit NoSelf have just released their new seven track mini-album to excite ears and arouse the spirit. Human-Cyborg Relations Episode 1 unites familiar traits with the band’s imagination stoking individuality, sparking body and an already bred appetite for the earlier heyday of nu metal along the way. It is claimed there is a new revival of the genre; a most welcome second coming if band and album is evidence of its new adventure.

Emerging in 2002, NoSelf draw on the inspiration of bands such as Deftones, Spineshank, Adema, Nothingface, and Korn for their sound, spicing making a potent ingredient in the band’s new Matt Johnson recorded offering. It is flavouring which has enriched previous encounters but makes more of a hue than ingredient of the immediately pleasing Human-Cyborg Relations Episode 1.

The album opens with Casting Stones, instantly cradling ears in a melodic coaxing as keys entice. Their suggestive welcome swiftly draws the listener into a waiting raw roar of sound, the guitar of Justin Dabney a predacious tempest of riffs and grooves backed by the rapier swings of drummer Drew Miller. The snarling tones of vocalist Dylan Hart Kleinhans are enticingly tempered and supported by warmer vocals, the union a bridge between the savage and electronically enchanting aspects of the outstanding opener. As suggested earlier, the song brings recognisable aspects in its turbulence but equally a squall of fresh enterprise which has body and thoughts quickly locked in.

As great as it is, the starter is still eclipsed by next up Save Me; carnivorous riffs and the wonderfully gnarly tones of Joey Bivo’s bass chewing on the senses, their ferocious web sonic barbed wire. Similarly to the first, the track contrasts its ferocity with a harmonic radiance, vocals and melodies flirting with ears before falling into the onrushing scourge of aggression though still forcing their inviting calm to the surface. That Adema influence is an especially open and enticing colour in the storm, and across the release, adding to its drama as it tempers the corrosive heart of the excellent song.

Nudisease is just as appealing and intrusive as its predecessors though with a more tolerant nature, riffs and grooves to the fore from its first breath. The intensity of the first two is pulled back in the third though its fire is as pyre like but turned into a hook carting swagger which has the body bouncing. Slips into calmer passages are fluid and magnetic, the track revealing a bolder adventure than the previous two if less of their greed inducing savagery while successor Through Your Eyes also embraces mellower climes in its more mercurial atmosphere and proposition. The song though has a volcanic temperament and heart which fuels its melodic and aggressive sides, creating an unpredictable and rabid but ultimately restrained trespass which maybe teases more than fulfils but still leaves pleasure stuck in its previous high.

If there has been a more enticing start to a song this year than that of Outatime we have yet to hear it, the track beckoning with flirtatious sonic finger wagging before the funk hearted bass of Bivo adds its lure; swiftly followed by a rapacious tide of riffs. Just as tenacious vocals and rhythms soon jump in, their more predatory touch colluding with the atmospherically intriguing, funkily mischievous antics of the song and the similarly devious presence of Hart Kleinhans. Eventually its carnal rawness erupts in a contagion of an insatiable chorus before things ebb and flow in intensity with increasing infectiousness. The track steals best song honours in no time, cementing its claim with every listen.

The weakest moment on the encounter is Frisco but the fact it is one inescapably catchy and persuasive moment tells you how potent Human-Cyborg Relations Episode 1 is as a whole. The song has a definite pop spiced side not heard on the previous tracks; a kinder more deliberately infectious nature which has the feet trapping and vocal chords induced. There is something of Australian band Voyager to the song at times which only adds to its tempting and a growing growl that shows real teeth but lacks the weight and tenacity of its predecessors for personal tastes. In saying that there is no denying it commands full involvement and enjoyment before making way for the closing delights of Ctrl-Z. It too has an undisguised poppiness but latched to an imposing antipathy which hits the spot as much as its infectious escapades. The song is another which bears boldness in design and adventure to captivate ears and imagination but also a hearty tension of sound and emotion which grips eager participation.

Recently signing a worldwide distribution deal with Zombie Shark Records, the new record label from Noah “Shark” Robertson (Motograter, EX-The Browning), NoSelf have pushed themselves to the fore of this new wave of nu metal seeded goodness with Human-Cyborg Relations Episode 1. There is more to their sound than just that field of flavouring, one we eagerly await hearing expand ahead.

Human-Cyborg Relations Episode 1 is out now and available @ http://www.zombieshark.net/  and  https://zombiesharkrecords.bandcamp.com/album/human-cyborg-relations-episode-1

https://www.facebook.com/NoSelf/

Pete RingMaster 22/08/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

First Signs Of Frost – The Shape Of Things To Come

Pic Ben Ashton

The Shape Of Things To Come is the first EP since British rock band First Signs Of Frost emerged from a hiatus a couple of years back; its title as much a declaration of the fresh blossoming sound and creative chapter within the band as the themes it explores across five absorbing tracks.

Formed in 2004, the quartet of guitarist/vocalist Owen Hughes-Holland, guitarist Adam Mason, drummer Will Gates, and bassist Dan Oehlman grabbed keen attention with their debut EP, In Our Final Chapter. 2007 saw Daniel Tompkins join up as lead vocalist before the acclaimed release of first album Atlantic and a period see the band play alongside the likes of Deaf Havana, Enter Shikari, Architects, You Me At Six, We Are The Ocean, Senses Fail, Devil Sold His Soul and many more. Before the fuss had settled around the release, Tompkins left to join TesseracT. His departure left a gap the band struggled to fill; thus their hiatus until Hughes-Holland resurrected the band in 2015. Linking up with Mason again as well as bassist Andy C Saxton (ex-Cry For Silence), vocalist Daniel Lawrence (ex-Kenai / All Forgotten), and drummer Alex Harford, the London quintet immediately sought to explore and push their sound to new imaginative heights with The Shape Of Things To Come the first glimpse of their success.

Immersing inspirations from the likes of Deftones, Tool, Further Seems Forever, and Glassjaw into their invention, First Signs Of Frost swiftly lures ears with opener Meat Week. Its atmospheric calm is a quick enticement, the gentle caress of guitar a matching lure before the brooding air also there sparks a bolder expulsion of sound. Lawrence’s vocals immediately impress, his melodic expression matched by the colluding warm and wiry textures of the sounds around him. An infectious energy is equally as persuasive within the song, every element bold without being forceful but making a strongly emotive and technically alluring temptation on ears and imagination.

The following White Flag potently backs up the great start; its enterprise similarly resourceful and ear catching without making over aggressive trespasses upon the senses. There is elegance to the First Signs Of Frost sound which charms as the craft of the individuals captivates; again making for a gentle almost smouldering seduction carried in a contagious and skilfully conjured proposal.

Latest single Look Alive Sunshine is next up with its own individual melodic rock venture veined by djent scented progressive metal intricacies. There is jaggedness which bites as the vocals and melodies hug the senses; a union which grips and lingers even if the song just fails to touch the plateau of its predecessors before the evocative climate and atmospheric ambience of Atlantis drifts in with the superb vocals of Lawrence and keys to the fore. An instinctive emotional intensity rises within the song, simmering down again before repeating its cycle within the graceful serenade.

The EP closes with Sharks; it too an initially serene coaxing but one soon revealing its djent nurtured teeth and creative volatility within a subsequent sea of melodic and technical but emotionally inflamed tranquillity. It is a fine end to a fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable release. The Shape Of Things To Come feels like the first step towards something bigger and bolder but is a full pleasure in its own right; a mix which makes First Signs Of Frost a band which just has to be followed closely.

The Shape Of Things To Come is out now via Basick Records and available @ https://basick.supplies/collections/first-signs-of-frost or http://music.basickrecords.com/album/the-shape-of-things-to-come

https://www.facebook.com/FSOFofficial/

Pete RingMaster 15/08/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Antigone Project – Stellar Machine

Last year French outfit Antigone Project not only took their sound to a more accomplished plateau with the From Its Room EP but hinted it was just the beginning of a whole new soundscape to their already easily engaging sound. It was a clue now realised by the band’s debut album, Stellar Machine a journey through spatial clouds of invention and diversity but as universes lead into new universes, equally feels like an adventure leading to many more bold journeys.

The creation of Frédéric Benmussa, a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, producer and no doubt much more, Antigone Project has grown from a solo project in 2002 to be one of France’s most engaging electronic rock/metal proposals. With the talented prowess of bassist Manu Ventre and drummer Fred Monaco alongside Benmussa, the band had its hands on attention with the release of a self-titled first EP in 2015. It was the debut clue to the expansive and expanding sound growing within the outfit, a suggestion taken further by From Its Room a year later and now truly unfurled within Stellar Machine.

Inspirations to the band’s sound and certainly new album range from Soundgarden to Deftones and Nine Inch Nails on to the likes of Depeche Mode, Jean Michelle Jarre, and Devin Townsend. That is enough to suggest the kaleidoscope of flavours making up the band’s album; they all involved with an even richer vein of Muse meets Radiohead like drama. Do not think you have a handle on Stellar Machine just yet though as ears will soon find a far thicker and greater carousel of the band’s own individual invention across its unpredictable body, one placing the listener into “the skin and shoes of a futuristic cosmonaut following the adventures of outer space travellers on a “stellar machine”.”

Climbing on board, ears are fastened into their seats by the powerful creative straps of opener Poison, its electronic/industrial lift off instantly swarming around the imagination. In turn, it leads to the virulent rock ‘n’ roll heart of the starter where riffs and rhythms are swiftly harrying and enslaving body and instincts, the calmer almost floating tones of Benmussa glazing the infectious exploits with a plaintive Matt Bellamy scented delivery. A compelling groove reinforces the song’s hold, the lively beats of Monaco dancing tenacious across the senses as keys bring cosmic scenery to bear on the imagination. Even in its calmer drifts, the song is forcibly infectious, the trio painting their creative canvas with an array of textures within skilfully woven enterprise.

The following Schizopolis needs mere seconds to have the body moving with its heated funk lures and enveloping synth pop enticement. A few seconds more brings a steelier tone and intensive edge to things, Ventre’s bass a darker brooding incitement which continues to lure and court the twisting infectious exploits of the song. Imagine The The meets Nine Inch Nails and the second track feeds expectations before taking them into deeper richer realms, leaving ears and appetite on a high ready for the moodier, crepuscular skies of III. The song’s air is as enticing as its predecessors, but within its emotional and atmospheric twilight a smouldering seduction matched in energy by the similarly calm vocals and keys.

Another fresh climate is brought by Mantra Nebulae, a dirtier rugged rock/metal contemplation over which vocals and melodies glide while Raphe Nuclei surrounds ears with an almost glacially reflective electronic embrace. Neither track quite lit up ears here as those before them but with the snarling dexterity of the first and the emotionally intensive vocals of Benmussa crawling the second, both tracks enthral and increasingly ignite the imagination over time.

In contrast The Black Widow instantly ensnared instincts and the passions, its intrigue ridden, noir coated web of dramatic coaxing as threatening as alluring. Hooks and grooves collude in seduction, vocals prowling with infectious devilry as bass and beats just flirt; a mix addiction was intended for. There is a touch of Fad Gadget to the song, eighties electronic/new wave essences as readily embraced as other more rapacious textures by the band and the increasingly volatile moments of the outstanding proposition.  The song is superb, a major highlight of Stellar Machine which Pretty Pain straight after easily backs up with its Mike Oldfield/ Devin Townsend nurtured symphony. As all tracks, every passing minute is unique to the last yet a continuation of their revealing cosmic travelogue and emotional revelation.

Cardio Machine is simply raw temptation, a fusion of predatory rock ‘n’ roll and synth pop virulence which has a firm restraint on both yet employs their attributes along another highly addictive body of enterprise. There is something enjoyably familiar about the song but nothing which can be pinned down, just simply and greedily enjoyed with every listen.

The album’s title track is eleven minutes of sample built introduction within senses stroking atmospherics, moving into electronic painting and progressive weaving where every minute adds to a flight feeling far shorter than its actual length such the beauty and captivation on offer. The song alone captures the mood and adventure of the theme; playing like a recap but of another past or future heroic planetary flight.

The album concludes with the atmospheric grace and beauty of Sun’n’rain; a rhythmically bold, melodically heated serenade beneath earthly pleasures. Drawing on the strongest Muse like flavours yet, the track with its almost Bond like theatrical lining brings the album to a powerful and more importantly thrilling close.

Stellar Machine confirms that Antigone Project just go from strength to strength, from bolder adventure to adventure yet still you get the feeling we have not come close to their most monumental exploit yet. Another must investigation for you all.

 Stellar Machine is out now through Lazy Freddy Records via most online stores.

https://www.facebook.com/antigoneproject    https://twitter.com/projectantigone

Pete RingMaster 18/07/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Figures – Chronos

Barely giving the acclaim laden dust time to settle after the release of their self-titled debut EP this past February, Australian outfit Figures have just unleashed its predecessor in the similarly striking and fiercely enjoyable shape of Chronos. Offering five more slices of the Melbourne quintet’s alternative rock/melodic metal blend, the EP also has a new fresh breath and seeming richer maturity which defies the mere four months between releases. Obviously we cannot say when the songs of either release were written but the step is maybe surprising but greedily taken as Chronos eclipses the equally outstanding first offering from the band.

Formed as 2013 turned into its successor, Figures has risen up the ranks of attention with notably increasing success in recent times due to that critically acclaimed first EP and a dynamic live presence which has already seen the band  share stages with the likes of Caligula’s Horse, Twelve Foot Ninja, and Superheist. Broader focus and support for the band has without doubt been aroused these past handful of months and is sure to escalate again as Chronos is discovered by more and more. Instantly it has ears and attention in the palms of its creative hands as opener Recoil raggedly simmers into view and proceeds to uncage a gnarly groove as primal as it is magnetic. The guitar continues to growl and tempt as the lively rhythms of drummer Josh Sforzin and Jen Fletcher’s moody bassline join the blossoming affair; vocalist Mark Tronson soon in the mix with his agitated roar. Predatory and magnetic, the track needs mere seconds to entrap the senses and imagination, sealing the deal as Tronson’s melodic prowess unites with his rawer tones as steely metal and melodic rock textures equally collude.

The stunning start is matched by the equally dramatic and even bolder exploits of Alpha. Guitarists Paul Callow and Simon Edgell spring a lure of wiry riffs and sonic temptation around the harmonic delivery of Tronson, though as the music he allows harsher textures to escape his throat to keeps things unpredictable. Virulently infectious and persistently imaginative, the song is pure captivation; its heart earnest and body a tapestry of melodic and sonic intrigue with just the right richness of volatility to keep things intensely fascinating.

Tied Around follows, winding brooding grooves around ears as Fletcher’s bass groans with matching seduction while again Tronson enthrals with his impressive vocals. There is an agitation in the riffs and beats of Sforzin which is transferred to the steely grooves but tempered by the elegant beauty of melodies and harmonies floating across the song’s inner oasis. As with the first pair, creative magnetism is at play sparking an elevated greed which Point of Doubt feeds with its cosmopolitan almost shamanic nature. Sultrily exotic melodies align with anthemic rhythms within the song’s fiery blaze, its riveting landscape tempestuously sharing warm and irritable climates.

The EP concludes with Crying Door, a mellow melancholy lined croon shaped by keys and voice and their suggestive beauty, Tronson again a magnet in its midst. Darker hues walk the song’s edge, bassy shadows lurking as skittish beats court a more portentous edge. It is an entrancing close to a second seriously striking encounter with Figures. Musically the band has been compared to the likes of Incubus, Deftones, and Karnivool, all justified but add a touch of Voyager and possibly even Porcupine Tree and you get a fuller impression of what, to be honest, is a sound distinct to one truly exciting proposition.

Chronos is out now @ https://figuresbandofficial.bandcamp.com/album/chronos and other online stores.

http://www.figuresband.com/    https://www.facebook.com/figuresbandofficial

Pete RingMaster 21/06/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Voyager – Ghost Mile

There is no denying the eager grin which broke upon faces here when the new Voyager album was sent through, having been seriously tempted by the band since their second album uniVers in 2007 and lustfully hooked through their fourth and fifth in the acclaimed shapes of The Meaning of I and V. The later in 2014 set a plateau it was easy to wonder if the Australian band could eclipse thereon in. Hopes and a quiet confidence have just been realised with the release of Ghost Mile, an album which brings a truly fresh breath to progressive metal as instinctively catchy and virulent as it is technically and inventively imaginative.

The success of the Perth quintet’s last album saw the band invited to perform at major festivals such as ProgPower USA, Euroblast Festival in Germany, and the ProgPower Europe Festival in The Netherlands as well as sharing stages with the likes of Deftones, Opeth, Leprous, Protest The Hero, Nightwish, Epica, Oceans of Slumber, and Coheed and Cambria. Voyager ended last year touring Australia with Deftones and Karnivool and being further invitations to play Euroblast and Progpower EU this year, the latter as headliners. Now with Ghost Mile driving things, it is hard to imagine 2017 being anything other than a really busy adventure, one no doubt littered with praise lured by their stunning new album alone.

Mixed by Matthew Templeman and mastered by Simon Strutters, Ghost Mile opens up with Ascension. A golden melody kisses ears first with the warmth and intrigue of a dawn sun, its suggestive air tempting the imagination before bolder rhythms add their bait. Djent teased enterprise is soon joining the blossoming affair, their steely tenacity paving the way for another caress of elegance around the radiant tones of Danny Estrin. As magnetic as ever, his presence is swiftly joined by sturdier textures whilst being the ringleader to an irresistible infectiousness soon fuelling the chorus and body of the evolving encounter. With the suggestive heat of his keytar matched in craft and magnetism by the guitars of Scott Kay and Simone Dow, the song is pure captivation, only increasing its potency as breaks of predacious intent and aggression escape.

The quite stunning start is quickly continued by the equally outstanding Misery Is Only Company. From the off, it has a harder core to its presence, a latent but open intensity which lines jagged riffs and the brooding air of Alex Canion’s bass. There is no containing the instinctive catchiness within songwriting and imagination though, the swinging beats of Ashley Doodkorte inciting similar boisterousness in the resourceful and technical enterprise across the band. Deftones’ Chino Moreno recently likened Estrin’s voice to Duran Duran’s Simon LeBon, something at times easy to agree with and indeed at times the song has something of the British outfit to its pop sensibilities, infectiousness aligning with more predatory essences to masterful effect.

Next up Lifeline initially lays another sunny shimmer on the senses, its progressive aptitude soon courting metallic rapacity though as melodies radiate and vocals warmly croon. Relaxing into a gentle stroll, there is still a constant snarl to the guitars and bass which breeds alluring unpredictability and waiting volatility, the latter never truly having its moment but keeping the calm honest whilst giving the progressive/ pop rock adventuring a threat. As with its predecessors, physically involving the listener is a quick given and with increasingly lust.

The provocative nature of Fragile Serene seduces next, its climate a mix of melancholy and joy with one addictive hook at the heart of a fusion of rich temptations which almost swarm over the senses into the imagination before To The Riverside carries the same fantasy off in its evocative piano led flight towards the waiting more capricious embrace of the album’s title track. From the first second, Ghost Mile has an agitated eagerness which infects body and spirit, the carnivorously laced bass growling beautifully within the fiery but composed roar of the track. Like sonic and melodic alchemy, the song turns four minutes or so into a cauldron of heavy and light, dark and luminous adventure; contrasts uniting rather than battling for the album’s pinnacle.

What A Wonderful Day pretty much sums up the feeling during its three minutes plus, its pop nurtured rock ‘n’ roll as contagious, additive, and arresting as anything heard this year so far. Its warm dance though does have predacious overtones lurking in its shadows, their semi-vocal presence more realised in the tenebrous texture of the following Disconnected, though it is never devoid of the light and vibrancy instinctive to the Voyager imagination. With industrial breath seeping into the track’s progressively nurtured and invasive metal challenge, there is nothing to deter a quick and full submission to its rousing and often caustic incitement.

The enchanting fascinating of This Gentle Earth simply beguiles next, the union of piano and vocals alone sheer seduction and only escalated as rhythms probe and drama floods every rising texture and tendril of contagion sharing sound; an infectiousness belying the emotional reflection of disconnection.

The album finishes with the fiercely charismatic As The City Takes The Night, a track growing from an absorbing tango into a blaze of heart and intensity which smoulders, simmers, and boils across its eventful reflection without ever seemingly taking the same route twice. As the album, the song is a fascination giving more and more with every listen, rewards including pure pleasure.

Expectations of Voyager are always high because of previous triumphs but again left short by an album which will take some shifting from being one major contender for this year’s greatest moment.

Ghost Mile is out now via Nova Distribution across most stores.

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Pete RingMaster 17/05/2017

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