Filter Distortion – Transition

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It seems that the lure of eighties electro and synth pop will never diminish as old bands try to relive their past successes and new bands explore the spices of that decade in their own ideation. UK electro band Filter Distortion is a proposition which wears the inspiration of that era boldly on their creative sleeve, yet twists and transforms it into something distinctly fresh and modern. The proof is in new album Transition, a transfixing collection of virulent electro sculpted songs which ignite ears with infectious imagination and provides the first pop classic of 2015.

The Liverpool quartet of Ian Hall, Wesley Hughes, Phil Morton, and Phil Gofton spent the last year creating and recording Transition before working with engineer and producer Daniel Woodward on its mastering. The result is an encounter which croons and seduces the senses as only eighties electronic music can but with a hungry invention and enterprise bred by electro pop invention and evolution of today. From opening track Black and White, band and album has senses and emotions bound in melodic enterprise and magnetic sounds. Bookended by the revving of a motorbike, for a reason more obvious to the band, the song swiftly blossoms into an Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark like enchantment. Outstanding vocals are soon caressing ears within a weave of synth cast elegance, casting their temptation throughout as keys provide a spatial romance for the senses. It is an evocative embrace aligned to darker shadows which only add depth and intrigue to the rich charm and contagion of the song.

The outstanding start is swiftly matched by the vibrant and slightly livelier Pressure, though again it is a reserved stroll of a track with swarthy bass and rhythmic tones courting an evocative synth exploration. Finding a more Depeche Mode like flavouring to its enthralling recipe of craft and electronic persuasion, the track wraps inescapable and resourceful temptation around ears. That leads to an already hungry appetite for the release to get greedier and thoughts keen to dig deeper into the sound of Filter Distortion, something rewarded straight away by the addictive catchiness of Resonator Express and the emotive balladry of Midnight Drive. The third song on the release explores a different eighties seeded avenue as darkly lit strains of keys collude with melodic radiance, the union a riveting dance on ears whilst its successor produces a familiar tempting infused and invigorated with the lure of great vocals and tangy melodies. Thoughts of Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys return but equally those of The Correspondents as the croon and boom of the song provides another irresistible enticement.

     Frequency Modulation hits the dance-floor next, its bubbly electro canvas potent bait for feet whilst keys and melodies flirt salaciously as vocal samples inform and spark thoughts. Think Picture 28Thomas Dolby does EBM but turned inside out by the invention of Filter Distortion and you get a hint of the inventive and composed stomp lighting up the air before the masterful hug of new single Neon Nights and subsequently previous single Cameras in the Dark appear. The first of the two is pure contagion, chorus and hooks gripping drama revelling in the variety of the vocals and the sultry breath of the sounds around them. It is a captivating doorway into the album and the band’s resourceful sound matched by the second of the two tracks. Featuring guest vocalist Cheryl Anna, the song has a more indie feel with effect lined vocals and a pungent bass tone revealing new veins of the great diversity and exploration running through the band’s songwriting.

When the Lights Go Out provides a darker soulful offering next and though the song misses igniting the passions as successfully as earlier songs, it is an engrossing tune to capture the imagination before Lost Boys gives that OMD inspiration another airing. The track is glorious, every vocal and musical note an epidemic of insatiable persuasion. It is fair to say that there are only highlights on the album but some songs stand slightly above others and the album’s penultimate proposition has one of the loftiest views.

The closing Game Over ensures the album ends on a good and ear catching footing but with its lack of real vocals and unremarkable instrumental premise, it is the least favourite track upon Transition and the only time you almost hanker for another of the album’s treasures instead.

Filter Distortion is quite simply a band for electronic pop fans of all decades. Their sound bridges eras but develops its own personality and uniqueness in doing so, whilst in Transition, the band has as suggested offered the year its first essential pop triumph.

Transition is available now as a digital download and limited edition vinyl @ http://filterdistortion.bandcamp.com/

http://www.filterdistortion.co.uk/

RingMaster 13/01/2015

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Nine Seconds – Nothing To Confess

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Nothing To Confess is the second electro stomp from the collaboration of vocalist Oliver Spring of Sleepwalk / tEaR!dOwN / Nerve Conflict ) with No Comment keyboardists René Ebner and Thomas Kowalzik which goes under the name Nine Seconds. The successor to their successful and well received debut Poladroids of 2013, the project’s new album is an insatiable march of synth pop driven EBM. It is bursting with electro anthems which simply declare defiance from feet and enjoyment as unacceptable. That is a strong weapon for any album to have and a potent essence to Nothing To Confess but to temper its success, it is not always backed up by songs which forge a lingering grip or leave expectations challenged. To be honest though with the infectious tenacity and magnetism the album holds it is a missed opportunity easy to forgive.

Flickering electro sounds open up first track Attractive Lies, their one dimensional coaxing leading to a more flavoursome web of synth spawned enterprise and harsher rock energy. Vocally Spring brings raw texture to the song too, his coarse melodic roar cradled in a tantalising blend of causticity kissed endeavour and hook lined virulence. In no time the song is a contagious antagonist dragging body and emotions into its aggressive devilry and setting up listener and album for the following adventures, starting with Antistar Machinery. The second song has an even darker character and ferocity to its hypnotic enticing which with a similar trait to the vocals, is swiftly dominating attention and imagination. Holding a nice strain of harsh industrial belligerence in its infection fuelled persuasion too, the song continues the strong and impressive start of the release.

To be fair no track ever lets that stature drop too far but some lack the same stirring spark, such as Borderland (2nd Attempt) with its pungent intimidating atmosphere over a rebellious smile of sound, though this lurks more than unleashes its inhibitions. It is intriguing and again easy bait for dance-floors with a healthy spice of bands like Depeche Mode and early Ultravox to its sinew sculpted provocation. The lack of that particular addictive essence which ignited its predecessors is the key to its inability to stay with the listener long term, especially once Pompeii energetically bubbles in ears next and quickly takes all thoughts and focus in its arms. Exhausting in its sonic persistence and vigorous movement, the track is an irresistible lure turning Nothing To Confess back into an epidemic of sound and temptation.

As Waiting For The Last Kiss plays next, the vocals reveal one of the limitations of the release. Though Spring is a potent presence and vocal agitator, there is at times no daring in the Nine Seconds - Nothing to confessdelivery and diversity of his attack. This admittedly is more a flavouring of the scene rather than something specific to the band itself but it is telling that the better moments on the album see him and the band stretching that aspect more. The song itself is an enjoyable if familiar design and another soon put aside as firstly the sinister instrumental Malfunction 09 encourages the imagination and The Forgotten Man provokes the appetite with its eighties post punk/electro punk spiced challenge.

   No Shut Eye (Fight Back mix) ferments nicely in the ears next; it’s fiery heart and similarly inflamed creativity an evocative proposal which suggests sonic anarchy more than it actually realises. The song makes for a tempestuous enticing though No Shuffle soon puts it in its place with a tapestry of robotic beats, android like vocals, and an engrossing weave of effervesce electro invention prone to psychotic eruptions. It is a thrilling and dynamic slice of electro revelry stealing top honours from those earlier successes.

The album’s last unique track is Planet On Fire, a journey through a sultry ambience by portentous vocals and a fiercely smouldering intensity. It is another excellent canvas for the imagination to play, though for once feet are left to amuse themselves by the thought provoking exploration. The track shows another side to the band’s exploration in songwriting and makes for an intriguing conclusion to the album.

Nothing To Confess actually ends with the obligatory genre remixes; here Waiting For The Last Kiss being given a Nine Seconds vs Cryo Club Mix and Attractive Lies a Nine Seconds vs Mind.In.A.Box reworking whilst Antistar Machinery is treated to a Nine Seconds vs Leaether Strip interpretation. It is the main body of the album which impresses though. Yes it feels like there is a classic lurking within the release which the band could not quite find but when it sounds this enjoyable and provides an hour of body inciting tempting it is hard to imagine too many worrying.

Nothing To Confess is available now via Space Race Records @ http://spaceracerecords.com/releases/nothing-to-confess/

https://www.facebook.com/nineseconds

RingMaster 09/01/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

 

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Tactical Module – Before Crisis

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You can never tire of being impressed by the growth and almost visual evolution of certain artists and one who seems to inspire increasingly potent acclaim is Tactical Module, the one man project of Michael Davis. Across his last trio of incitements alone, the British musician/composer has magnetically enthralled and excited with his fusion of industrial metal, digital hardcore, and EBM. Each encounter has shown new and often dramatic steps in the growth of the band’s sound and songwriting and new EP Before Crisis is no exception. Arguably it is not a big step forward from the last album Into Exile but certainly there is an even greater balance and fluidity between the raw and confrontational side of the vocal and sonic ferocity and the melodic and infectiously vivacious elements which so contagiously mark out songs. Increasing maturity and experience comes with every release of an artist and certainly Before Crisis is embracing an impressing wave of it through Davis.

Forming Tactical Module in 2010 to unleash a creative freedom restrained by being in bands and to explore darker and more aggressive electronic music, the Poole hailing Davis was soon sculpting a handful of digital EPs and remixes to increasing attention. Inspired by bands such as Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, KMFDM, Godflesh, Gary Numan, Skinny Puppy, Killing Joke, and Depeche Mode, Davis made a potent breakthrough with the Dead Zone EP in 2012. It swiftly gripped appetites and a more serious spotlight upon release, marking out Tactical Module as an emerging force and talent. Both the feverishly grasped single Where Angels Rise and first album World Through My Sight in 2013 reinforced his growing reputation whilst the Resurrection EP that same year and its successor Into Exile early 2014, found Davis breaching new plateaus with striking experimentation and emotional voracity. Released as 2014 closed its eyes and evolved into the New Year, Before Crisis cements the stature of Tactical Module in Britain’s electronic underground scene whilst as mentioning earlier showing an even more honed and masterful resourcefulness to Davis’ creativity.

The instrumental Awaken sparks the imagination first, its slow dawning of rhythmic enticement an intrigue loaded lure before synths spin their emotive sonic web. There is a portentous air to10261995_786876598003130_5830102883858603546_n the opener and a prowl of dark shadows which bring a stark and threatening edge to the melodic charm of the piece. It is a magnetic lead into the EP and the following equally intimidating presence of Poison Within. Growing within a synth woven cage of gentler persuasion, the song eventually steps forward as an electro punk provocateur but an antagonist unafraid to employ the flavoursome melodies and sonic expression which coaxed in ears and appetite initially. As stormy in its disturbing quieter moments as in its open musical and vocal rages, the track ebbs and flows masterfully, waves of hostility feeding the appetite again and again within the equally imposing charm of the song.

Next the EP’s title track steps forward offering an immediate infectious shuffle of agitated rhythms under another brooding electronic sky. Davis as expected unleashes a cutting narrative with pleasing abrasing tones soon after whilst around him guitars add a caustic spice to the brighter revelry of the keys. It is a light to the song which as across all tracks, is held in check by the thick smog of angst and heavy shadows which fuel vocals and sounds alike. Here though it is given a longer leash which allows a diversity and tempting aural colour to have their just as potent say on the imagination, as repeated in the excellent To the Skies of Oblivion straight after. A song first found on the Resurrection EP, its bounds through ears and into the passions with a devilish tenacity and energy. It has an inescapable infectiousness which even aligned to the almost rabid furies in voice and menacing rewarding lulls which stalk the song never misses a step in its thrilling march.

The raw atmospheric opening of Assemble is an immediate temper to the previous devilry, its great stark and cold opening spreading an oppressive ambience which in turn courts an abrasion of hip hop spiced electro rock. Vocally too Davis briefly toys with a slither of rap enterprise to match the eventful adventure flirting within the invasive climate of the track’s electronic landscape. It is a slow burner in comparison to other tracks upon Before Crisis but emerges just as striking and enjoyable.

The final new song on the release is What Lies Beneath, another coming in from a distant pasture to embrace ears in drama and a blend of creative antagonism and melodic grandeur. Also a slower persuasion, the song is a compelling narrative of sound and emotion but just lacks the indefinable spark of earlier tracks and misses igniting the passions as successfully.

The EP is completed by a trio of remixes, the song Before Crisis being redefined by Ruinizer and Assemble receiving creative treatments from Cease2Xist and Dali, the latter of the three working the psyche with particular deftness and all offering captivating dimensions to the originals.

Tactical Module has again shown itself to be a bright and imposing spark in the UK electronic scene through Before Crisis. It is a release little to find an issue with, though just as an experiment we would like to see Davis being more adventure into his vocals ahead, and a tempest of invention fans will devour greedily.

Before Crisis is available now @ http://tacticalmodule.bandcamp.com/album/before-crisis

https://www.facebook.com/TacticalModule

RingMaster 07/01/2015

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Antigone Project – Self Titled EP

Official Picture

Creating electronic rock with seemingly a healthy influence of eighties synth rock and new wave, French band Antigone Project recently released their debut self-titled EP. It is a proposition which merges numerous potent flavours into atmospheric flights of sound, each soaked in evocative ambiences and embracing as many nostalgic essences as it does fresh endeavours. The release grows on the ears and psyche, making a strong first impression but evolving into an even more stirring proposition over time and plays. It is fair to say that it did not quite ignite a fire in the belly even then, but like a lover’s caress it coaxes and lingers for a thoroughly enthralling and enjoyable proposal.

The Antigone Project is the creation of vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Frédéric Benmussa, initially a solo project formed in 2002 and expanded over time by the addition of lead guitarist Nik Nonotte, bassist Manu Ventre, and drummer Fred Monaco. With shows alongside the likes of Moriarty and many festival appearances subsequently under their belt, the Paris quartet has continued to evolve and hone their sound over the years, fusing French and English sung songs into an attention luring collection of songs inspired from the likes of Pink Floyd, Depeche Mode, Radiohead, Joy Division, Tool, and numerous more. Last November the band released this, their debut EP, and the Florent Livet (Phoénix, Housse de racket, Bloc Party) mixed and Antoine “Chab” Chabert (Daft Punk, Justice, Detroit) mastered proposition was swiftly drawing acclaimed loaded reactions.

As The Voyager spreads its elegant charm across ears it is easy to see why the release has been keenly embraced so far. With radiant and vocal melodies emerging from keys as a spoken narrative whispers in raw tones, the song is soon sparking the imagination. It eventually erupts into a magnetic flight of sonic intrigue and suggestiveness as rhythms roll across its broadening a1738344167_2scenery before settling into a more restrained grazing of evocative vocals from Benmussa and matching sounds. Predominantly though there is a spatial air to the track, a vast soundscape of aural drama and sonic adventure which drives the music and sets the release off in striking style.

The following Lux Machinae bubbles with electro vivacity from its first breath, a darker yawn of keys the only shadow to the track’s melodic dance. Benmussa again immediately impresses with his vocals whilst musically the song has a flirtatious essence of bands like Blancmange and Depeche Mode to its character. Rawer tones from the guitar also infuse the flavoursome tapestry of the song, helping create an almost fiery heart and presence especially in the raucous finale where vocals are as emotionally aflame as the rich sounds around them.

Diversity is openly available on the release as shown again by the guitar led entrance of Egolist. The track glides into an eighties bred sway of sound from that initial coaxing bringing a definite Visage flavouring to the French language delivered temptation. A relatively gentle stroll from the start with a slightly brooding texture to its persuasion, it breeds an increasingly intensive drama which subsequently fuels every emerging aspect of the impressive and riveting romance with the senses. It is the peak of the release but straight away backed by the celestial seduction of Alphabot. Keys once again take charge as they steer the song, creating a soaring sonic expression nicely tempered by a great darkly lit bassline. There is a feel of Interpol and UK band Silhouettes to the emotively crafted croon which only aids the seduction enveloping ears and imagination. The song does not leap from the speakers but binds the listener into a long term and persistent tempting which is just as potent as the more immediate thrills of other songs.

The EP also comes with a trio of bonus tracks, starting with the rhythmic jungle and melodic incitement of Eko. The song explores another avenue to the band’s sound, its body taking on an indie and rock rawness to stand aside of its predecessors. The track is a riveting look into another corner of Antigone Project’s sound and invention, and definitely is more than just a bonus treat, much like God Played A Trick On Us which equally explores new territory with an underlying folk lilt to its emotive balladry. As it simmers with increasingly livelier intent, keys and guitars create a magnetic cradle for the alluring vocals. The song reminds ears in many ways of Colin Vearncombe and his project Black, rivalling anything else on the EP before the outstanding Infinite Pulse provides a closing weave of electronic tempting. Its sizeable enticement comes complete with a bass lure surely inspired by The Cure as well as vocal and melodic theatre bred from seeds of The The. It is a striking end to an excellent introduction to the Antigone Project who, in bridging nostalgic and modern sounds in their unique yet welcomingly familiar way, you can expect to see in more intensive spotlights from hereon in.

The Antigone Project EP is available now via Samla Music @ http://findiemerch.com/en/antigone-project-antigone-project/ and digitally @ http://dooweet.bandcamp.com/album/antigone-project

https://www.facebook.com/antigoneproject

RingMaster 07/01/2015

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Casting reflections and dispersing shadows: talking Johnny Wore Black with band founder Jay

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  2014 has been a big and flavoursome year for British melodic and alternative rock, and in no small part thanks to UK band Johnny Wore Black. The brainchild of London based songwriter/producer and stuntman (Les Miserables, The Dark Knight Rises, Fast and Furious 6, Fury ) Jay, the project on the back of a host of attention grabbing singles and videos over the past eighteen months or so, has released two acclaimed and enthralling albums this year. Walking Underwater Pt 1 and 2, the second released barely two week ago, encounters which and immerses ears and imagination in an evocative embrace, thought provoking propositions which infuse passionate creative roars with poetic melodies and fiery textures. Both albums reinforce the emerging stature and recognition of Johnny Wore Black as one of Europe’s most exciting and innovative songwriters and rock artists. With the kind sharing of Jay’s time, we delved into the heart of the man, band, and particularly the fresh majesty of Walking Underwater Pt 2.

Hi Jay, thanks for sharing time to speak with us.

My pleasure…thank you for listening.

You have just released second album, Walking Underwater Pt 2; how were feelings as the unveiling swiftly approached?

It’s always a strange time around release, in a way exciting and in a way a test of patience as in reality it’s about waiting to see how the product is received. As an artist, the reviews are important to gauge how good a job you have done!

Are there different emotions and expectations this time around after the acclaim and success of Walking Underwater Pt 1 earlier this year?

Walking Underwater Pt.1 was an opening, a beginning if you like so it will be interesting to see how Walking Underwater Pt.2 is received and how the journey develops in other people’s jwbnew1-hires2eyes and ears. It’s important to make music for yourself first and yet in reality, once released its journey becomes a public experience. My expectations are for people to enjoy it and find the right environment to use the music.

How should people look at the two releases, as two parts of one whole entity or the new release as an evolution and unique exploration from the themes and narrative fuelling the first album?

It is a new release of course, and yet a journey too. Honestly people will make of it what they want. Personally there is a journey there, a cleansing and an exorcism of past demons…to make way for new ones maybe?!

Before we look deeper in to the new album, can we ask about your history musically and other aspects before Johnny Wore Black?

Childhood poems then set to music when learning to play the Spanish guitar, pretending it was electric! Onwards, days in studios as birthday presents from my dad when I was fifteen and sixteen. Johnny Wore Black is the conclusion of life experience, being a singer songwriter, being in bands, and generally loving music.

What was the spark bringing the band to life?

The spark was a need to express my songs in a new way, to attempt to get closer to the music that turns me on and lights my fire!

The band name inescapably brings thoughts of Johnny Cash, is there a meaning behind the title?

I like the analogy of why Johnny Cash wore black, to identify with those less fortunate than himself. My dad called me Johnny and my grandmother Evelyn bought me a black suit, which I wore at my Dads funeral when I was seventeen. So, you see, life and all its shards of dark and light.

What would you say are your major inspirations?

A Perfect Circle, Karnivool, Tool, Depeche Mode, Metallica, Stone Sour, Johnny Cash…to name but a few.

jwb walkingunderwaterpt2Because of the success and potency of your first album anticipation and expectations of Part 2 are probably over demanding. Has this added any pressure for its creation?

In a way yes, but to be honest most of the pressure is self-inflicted. My goal is to make great music, who can say when that has happened? Really, I see it as a never ending journey.

With the close proximity to the release of the two albums, it is easy to assume both sets of songs or certainly many over both albums have been bred from around the same time. What is the time frame in that area and if they were written around the same period how did you decide which song went on which release?

I tried to put together songs that felt good together in order to create the story. There are songs here spanning a ten year period, hence why they needed to be cleared in order to move on.

Did you learn anything on Part 1 which you took into its successor to help its emergence or give it something different recording wise?

The process included working with guitarist James Coppolaro and drummer Simon Hutchby whilst David Ellefson and I also collaborated in more depth than before so that was a rewarding experience.

Listening to Part 2 we felt there was even greater personal intimacy to certain tracks than on the last; how close are the seeds of your songs to your life and experiences?

Some songs are closer personally than others but it’s interesting which songs individuals feel are intimate.

The album as you mentioned again sees you collaborating with David Ellefson, of course of Megadeth, in writing and playing. How did you guys meet and when did the link up musically begin?

We met backstage at Download in the UK some years ago. We started chatting music and immediately kind of bonded. I then began sending David songs in progress and he agreed to play on the first Johnny Wore Black single, All The Rage.

When you come to songwriting together, is it an even contribution or does David look towards the rhythmic side more?

It does vary per track. So far, on some David has sent riff ideas, like Firefly and on Gift of Desperation he sent a lyric, which I then developed. Writing is a very fluid process with no rules.jwbnew2-3-lo-res

There often seems to be a different kind of spark to songs you too have created together, not bigger or lesser than on other tracks, just strikingly different. What would you put that down to?

I suppose that’s just two minds rather than being the dominant decision maker however I’d be interested to ask you that question back and see what you feel is strikingly different about those tunes?

Tell us about the new album; is there a specific underlying theme to its lyrical explorations?

Each track has a different theme so really would need to answer this on a track-by-track basis. My lyrics explore people, the world and our continued need to understand.

How did the recording go; was it an all meet up situation or more technology driven coming together of the band for the album?

Some of the album was musicians in a studio, old skool style, and some via Skype and Dropbox. This was an international project via the USA, UK, Canada and Croatia.

Walking Underwater Pt 2 also features Croatian singer Sara Renar on the track Shine On and Loretta Heywood on a cover of her own track Winter in July. How did those guest appearances come about, especially with Loretta. Was she instantly open to you taking on her song?

Sara and I met on the set of Game of Thrones in Croatia some years back. We stayed in touch and I have followed her musical career. She has a unique quality to her voice I felt complimented Shine On, on the album. She was happy to contribute once she heard the song, and recorded her parts in a studio in Split, Croatia.

Now Walking Underwater Pt 2 is out there wooing the world, what is next in store for Johnny Wore Black, alter ego ha-ha, and band?

There is work to do, releasing singles and creating more music videos. We are having discussions about hitting the stage and seeking to break the back of the USA. Oh and by the way, another album is due next year, totally new material and bigger than Texas!

jwbnew2-hiresA big thank you for chatting with us again, any last thoughts you would like to share?

Just that I am truly grateful for your time and interest in Johnny Wore Black and thank you for providing a platform to help spread the gospel according to Johnny Wore Black.

And lastly I cannot go without asking about the film samples which graced the first album. Can you tell us about them and why you did not use them for the new release too?

The first ones were from a documentary my late father directed back in 1967 called The London Nobody Knows. The samples fitted the music, the songs and were a tribute to him. I will say, we are currently in discussion about producing The London Nobody Knows Revisited to mark its anniversary. I liked the idea of samples a-la-Floyd to be part of Walking Underwater Pt2 but decided to just focus on the songs.

Read the review of Walking Underwater Pt2 @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/11/13/johnny-wore-black-walking-underwater-pt-2/

http://www.johnnyworeblack.com

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 05/12/2014

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Suzerain – Good Day EP

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Ever since being tempted by a four track sampler in 2011 for their soon after released debut album Midnight In The Drawn City, UK alternative/electro rock quintet Suzerain has increasingly impressed and seduced as their invention and sound continually evolved into new imagination igniting explorations. Their album was a striking incitement of adventurous creativity and ingenious temptation which the following 2012 EP A Mirror Now pushed further. The recent release of the single Dark Dark/ Manhattan single suggested there was a new inventive drama and ingenuity emerging in the band’s music, something the Good Day EP now more than confirms and stretches again. The new encounter is an inescapable web of addiction forging endeavour, a majestic temptress of ears and emotions cloaked in dark shadows and evocative cinematic persuasion, and quite irresistible.

London based Suzerain linked up with double Grammy Award winning producer Steve Lyon (Depeche Mode, Siouxsie Sioux, The Cure) for the recording of Good Day, a release which is bred revelling in the expansive depths and varied originality of their music. Fresh from a German tour with Livingston and in the process of completing their new album for a 2015 release, Suzerain take little time seducing thoughts and appetite on Good Day as its title track fizzes in ears first. Keys caustically simmer first as the jabbing beats of Ben Howe rattle the senses, their union swiftly joined by the ever impressive vocals of Thomas Pether. It is a wholly magnetic proposition, especially as the guitar of Rich Summers places coaxing melodies within the sonic web cast by keyboardist Matt Constantine. As is so often the case with the band’s songs, there is a familiarity toying with the passions but from no definable source other than Suzerain having a distinctive

photo by Nick Gough

photo by Nick Gough

sound and presence. The similarly enticing velvety bassline from Mike Smith adds shadowed drama which the keys stoke further with their pungent colours. The song is stunning, every twist a stroking visual and emotions intrusion which Constantine’s cello craft only accentuates, whilst the at times seemingly scathing or sarcastic tones of the vocals and the enslaving rhythms culture an inescapable anthemic bait.

As exhilarating as the song ends its successor Try Your Best starts, the cello of Constantine flirting with raw expression and riveting drama to excite the imagination before bass and guitars add their similarly provocative textures to the delicious weave. As Pether opens up his rich croon, the initial elements continue to nag magnetically, their repetitious toxicity pure virulence around the coaxing call of the vocals. There is an open whiff of Trent Reznor to the song at times but again it is another track which radiates uniqueness and melancholic ingenuity.

Third track is a remix from Touchy Subject of Manhattan, a haunting version of one half of the last single which is as brooding in its tone and emotion as it is resonating in electronic exploration. At times Numan-esque like, the song is a fascinating proposition which may not light the passion as the previous songs but has ears and imagination fully bound in its provocative landscape.

Final track is the acoustically sculpted Hell Of A Way To Go, an emotive stroll of melancholic strings and skittish beats providing an elegant canvas for the vocals to shed their dark reflection and radiant prowess over. As well as making a mesmeric end to an outstanding release, the song casts another enthralling aspect to the enterprising songwriting and creative emprise of Suzerain.

Suzerain is one of the UK’s most exciting and adventurous bands, and after the release of Good Day, it would not be a surprise if also one of its most talked about.

The Good Day EP is released on November 30th @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/good-day-ep/id929071856?ign-mpt=uo%3D4

http://www.suzerainmusic.com

RingMaster 28/11/2014

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Black Strobe – Godforsaken Roads

Photo Philippe levy.

An adventure which has the imagination bouncing around as enthusiastically as the body, Godforsaken Roads from French band Black Strobe, is an exhilarating stomp with more juicy flavours than a Pick ‘n’ Mix stand. The band’s new album is a tapestry of sound and enterprise which is as insatiable in its eclectic intent as it is contagious in its devilry. Seamlessly and inventively entwining fiery melodic rock and sultry blues spicery with a flirtatious electronic resourcefulness, and that brief description still only a thick hint of what is in store, the release simply lifts spirits and passions as one of the year’s most captivating and thrilling releases.

Black Strobe is the brainchild of Arnaud Rebotini, a Parisian musician and producer just as renowned for his instrumental electronic explorations released under his own name. Alongside this and a horde of remix work for the likes of Rammstein, Depeche Mode, The Rapture, Bloc Party, Nitzer Ebb, and Fischerspooner, Rebotini’s 1997 founded project has released a host of well- received singles and debut album Burn Your Own Church which saw its founder collaborating with Kill the DJ label head Ivan Smagghe. Live the band has equally earned potent acclaim, touring the likes of USA, South America, Japan, Australia, and Europe to great success and lighting up festivals such as Reading/Leeds, Sónar, Primavera, Pukkelpop, Dour, and Transmusicales. Now with guitarist Mathieu Zub, drummer Mathys Dubois, and bassist/keyboardist Benjamin Beaulieu alongside him, Rebotini and Black Strobe return with, we suggest, their finest moment yet, Godforsaken Roads.

Recent single Broken Phone Blues offers the first temptation and from its initial touch it is fair to say that Godforsaken Roads is in full control of excited attention and increasingly lustful emotions. An electro bubbling opens things up and is swiftly joined by the distinctive and dark toned voice of Rebotini. His voice has lured comparisons to Nick Cave and Johnny Cash and it is easy to see why as it sits somewhere between the two in expression and tone. Just as quickly a pulsating electro stroll adds its captivating invitation before guitars and bass align to jabbing beats to cast an irresistible canter over the senses. It is a virulently infectious electro rock romp which in some ways brings thoughts of The The and also Helldorado with its increasingly steamy ambience.

It is a tremendous start right away surpassed by the outstanding Monkey Glands. The track is an out and out rocker; again electro essences stirring up ears for a gripping entrance before vocals and riffs finding seeds in fifties rock ‘n’ 10646751_10152620336545266_4319895831447366858_nroll which in turn infuses even greater captivating colour into the devilish engagement. Wonderfully exhaustive in its dramatic vivacity and hungry energy, the track sets a new plateau for the album which the blues scented He Keeps On Calling Me matches with its smouldering sonic heat and melodic intrigue. Bass and guitars take centre stage alongside the relentlessly impressing voice of Rebotini, the song a forcibly seductive yet controlled spaghetti western spiced drama standing tall like a mix of Nick Cave and Fatima Mansions.

Both Blues Fight and For Those Who Came on Earth Thru The Devil Asshole keep ears and appetite hungry for the album. The first draws on a steamy funk hue to ripen its sultrily woven blues rock climate, with the guitars showing a growl and bass a throaty predation to temper the flirty swing and electro tantalising of the track. It all unites in another ridiculously catchy and addictive proposition with a touch of De Staat to it. Its successor idles in on a slow melodic and vocal croon embraced by an exotic electro teasing within a portentous and ever darkening keys bred atmosphere. It is a compelling encounter which feels like it is brewing up to a major fire, and at moments comes close, but almost taunting the listener instead just ebbs and flows with an intoxicating evocative charm and intensity which is just as gripping.

The two triumphs are emulated and over shadowed a little by the delicious cover of Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues. Held in a transfixing electronic embrace only, the song is given an exceptional make-over. Rebotini strokes its body with an individual vocal delivery but the same shadowed irresistibility as offered by Cash whilst keys simply create a seducing beauty which steals the passions whilst keeping the unique expression and presence the legendary song has always held. It is a stunning offering backed up right away by the heated temptation of Swamp Fever, a song mixing acoustic and blues rock with electro elegance around one of the most infectious and anthemic choruses on the album.

House Of Good Lovin’ revisits a fifties rock enterprise for its agitated rumble of addictive beats and blues soaked guitar endeavour; think Muddy Waters and Joe Cocker with definitely a twist of The Cramps and you get another riveting incitement on Godforsaken Roads. It though only warms up the passions for Dumped Boogie and From The Gutter. Both tracks provide a masterful feet enslaving temptation, the first riding a steamy wave of electronic contagion and the second bringing a less urgent but just as enticing electro pop waltz reminiscent of Heaven 17 to transfix body and emotions.

Levels slip slightly with Going Back Home, a dance floor spawned encounter which still shines with beacon like strength within the album but to be honest is less appetising for personal tastes, but raised again somewhat with Boogie in Zero Gravity, one of two songs exclusive to the digital copy of the album. With a touch of The Correspondents about it, the song is a tempered yet persuasive dance which though not at the heights of the more rock infused tracks leaves satisfaction full.

The album is completed by Promised Moon, a song seemingly bred under the influence of The Beatles’ Get Back and on the digital version by The Girl From The Bayou; the pair further inescapable temptations without casting the same potency of suasion as earlier encounters upon Godforsaken Roads. They still add a fine end to an exceptional release though which simultaneously nostalgic and innovative as it weaves an epidemic of ingenious sound and body gripping enterprise.

Godforsaken Roads is released on CD and vinyl 6th October via Blackstrobe Records/K7 Records and digitally @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/id903413308

http://blackstroberecords.com/

https://www.facebook.com/BlackStrobe.Official

RingMaster 06/10/2014

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