Cockroach Clan – Songs About Blunt Knives and Deep Love

Veterans of the Norwegian punk rock scene, Cockroach Clan has a rich reputation and eagerly loyal fan base but have still been pretty much a secret outside of their home borders. We are only just getting our introduction to them right now and all thanks to a certain producer, Norwegian record label Fysisk Format, and their new riotously irresistible album, Songs About Blunt Knives and Deep Love.

Formed in 1994, Cockroach Clan released debut album Roach that first year with its successor Just Say Blow! unleashed three years later with the Going Underground EP nestled in between. Equally the years have seen the band share stages with the likes of The Toy Dolls, Discharge, UK Subs, The Exploited, Cock Sparrer, Anti-Nowhere League, Vice Squad, and GBH, Cockroach Clan only drawing thick acclaim for their rousing live presence. As for their releases, all three have gained minor classic status within the Norwegian punk scene but given the chance and luck, it is very easy to see the quintet finally embraced far further afield thanks to the glorious irreverent stomp of Songs About Blunt Knives and Deep Love.

Apparently the album came about through an idea cast by producer Hugo Alvarstein (The Good the Bad and the Zugly, Raga Rockers) who told the band, “Pick some gems from your 1990s recordings and rehearse them properly. Then visit my studio and I’ll make that scrap iron shine.” That is exactly what they did, throwing in a handful of new tracks and a cover song for good measure and from the effort has emerged one of the year’s major treats.

The release opens with a cover of the Mountain Goat track, Going to Georgia. Its melodic southern drawl is soon walked through by the punk scowling of Billy Cockroach, a union which lures attention with increasing potency as the slow swing of the track infests ears. It is a great start to the album but to be honest just a healthy appetiser to the more thoroughly addictive morsels to come.

You have a Bun is next, the track almost teasing ears with its initial strum of guitars before settling into an infectious stroll already accosted by Billy’s galvanic tones. The guitars of Akke Knoff Glomstad and Simen Jeistad erupt with a grin on their strings, their craft openly sharing classic rock/metal prowess to their punk instincts. With a slither of Oi goodness to its punk ‘n’ roll, the track makes way for the rousing antics of Fantasyland. Early melodic hookery leads to contagious rioting, mischief coating every note and gravelly shod syllable as the boisterous rhythms of bassist Morten Mormone and drummer Cato Holmen pounce, the song so lively even inanimate objects share its bounce.

The immediate folkish vocal welcome of Three wishes has devilry in its deception, knowing the swift outbreak of voracious punk rock close on its heels. Nevertheless, that initial hue continues to breed a thickly alluring folk punk stomp, vocals an inescapable carousing and guitars again revelling in the skills of their holders.

If the air and exploits of the song are virulent and they are, an epidemic of temptation erupts within the following On an island and indeed its immediate successors. The track bounds in with rhythmic nostrils flared, riffs swinging their muscles as vocals roar. The keys of Hugo Alvarstein add to the incitement, the track a UK Subs-esque riot with a host of sneaky hooks and bold manipulations proving so impossible to resist.

From one of the album’s major romps to another in Crash ka-boom where punk ‘n’ roll irreverence is in full roar and hosting a galvanic vocals mix rich in its own web of hooks aligning to join those in sounds boisterously hugging their horseplay while Necktie party vigorously bobs up and down poking at its victims. Both tracks rigorously got under the skin as too the even deeper burrowing Facts on the wall where old school punk colludes with pandemic rock ‘n’ roll in a track daring you not to leap in with vocal participation and a limb swinging body.

Favourite album moment came with Gene’s got a bun too, a track originally called Barbies on Drugs on the Roach album. Its first breath brings exuberant beats, its second a groove spun hook, both irresistible and only accentuated by the tenacious sounds and rampant vocals that follow with each subsequent lungful of addiction spreading enterprise.

Dit it again with its fiery rock guitar and swinging gait gave body and pleasure another eager workout with its multi-flavoured punk romp, its successor, Believer, then springing another ridiculously persuasive and enslaving hook within its irritable prowl. Both songs just aroused the spot with the latter another which almost alone had us scurrying to acclaim the Cockroach Clan as our new punk favourite to anyone in close proximity.

Closed up by Cockroach Fandango and its anthemic croon, Songs About Blunt Knives and Deep Love is simply glorious, a release no raw edged rocker should ignore. Whether we are talking about veterans like the Cockroach Clan or fresher aged protagonists, surely punk has rarely seen more exciting days with encounters like this thick reason.

Songs About Blunt Knives and Deep Love is out now via Fysisk Format; available @ https://cockroachclan.bandcamp.com/album/songs-about-blunt-knives-and-deep-love

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Pete RingMaster 17/09/2019

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Parasitic Twins/ The Carnival Rejects – The Parasitic Rejects EP

The Parasitic Rejects EP sees the coming together of two of the UK’s most striking ear shredding prospects in a compelling trespass of a split release. On one side preying on the senses is York hailing crust/hardcore punks The Carnival Rejects and on the other the doom punk ferocity that is Parasitic Twins. Together they create a feral proposition as fierce and intimidating as it is captivatingly thrilling.

Consisting of guitarist/vocalist Jamie Robertson, bassist/vocalist James Briggs, and drummer Fi Rowntree, The Carnival Rejects offer up three punk intrusions for their part in The Parasitic Rejects EP. Disengage is first, its gentle melodic lead deceitfully concealing the antagonistically contagious punk flurry to follow. Happily grabbing a pop punk catchiness to its irritable breast, the song romps and stomps as it shares a skilfully woven holler of melodic and sonic tempestuousness.

Seize Control is their second incitement and immediately worms under the skin with its contagious belligerence and rousing incitement where biting beats unite with grumbling bass as the guitar wraps its caustic yet magnetic wires around the senses, vocals only accentuating the song’s virulence.

The Carnival Rejects finish their contribution with To The Bone, two minutes of feral punk rock with a potent Angelic Upstarts meets Discharge snarl to its causticity.  United, all three tracks prove punk rock is as irritable and rousing as ever, a declaration just as ripe across the trio of intrusions alongside them.

Still reaping attention and acclaim through their debut EP of less than a year ago, All That’s Left To Do Now Is Sleep With Each Other, Hull’s Parasitic Twins reinforce their reputation as one fearsome and captivating proposition with their part in the EP. The duo of vocalist/guitarist Max Watt and drummer Dom Smith unleash senses molesting swarms of doom, punk, and grindcore manipulated into singular uncompromising furies. The first on the EP rises up as Autopsy, the track immediately scalding ears before its inherent rock ‘n’ roll instincts infiltrate its equally blossoming sonic toxicity. Vocals similarly share no respect whilst inciting ears and appetite, metal bred throes adding to its salacious predatory prowl.

Feel Nothing similarly devoured and sparked the senses, rhythms pummelling with determined predation as raw grooves entangle song and listener alike. As its predecessor there is something akin to a corroded blend of Napalm Death and Pig Destroyer to the track though this only seems to inspire its own individual dissonance.

The pair completes their contribution with a cover of the Babylon Zoo classic, Spaceman. Released a handful of weeks back as a single with all proceeds donated to The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), the track finds itself dirt clad and infested with the cacophonous tension and disharmony which marked their well-received EP. Even so it manages to retain its catchiness even as it despoils the senses to bring one very easy to recommend release to a rousing close.

The Parasitic Rejects EP is out in association with Man Demolish Records @ https://mandemolishrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-parasitic-rejects

https://www.facebook.com/thecarnivalrejects/   https://www.facebook.com/ParasiticTwinsBand/

Pete RingMaster 30/05/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Lody Kong – Dreams and Visions

Photo-Joey Nugent

Photo-Joey Nugent

Let us get the most publicised aspect about Lody Kong out of the way first. The Arizona based band is the creation of Zyon and Igor Cavalera, the sons of Sepultura/Soulfly/Cavalera Conspiracy famed Max Cavalera and brother of Incite frontman Richie Cavalera.

Now to the important bit; the release of the band’s blistering and increasingly impressing debut album Dreams and Visions. It is a ten track infestation of the senses as debilitating as it is invigorating as it uncages ravenous tempests forged in sludge thick, raw metal toned raging infused with punk belligerence and fuelled by post and hardcore causticity. Band and album challenges ears and incite the imagination at every turn with an array of invasive textures and flavours uniting in rabid exploits which generalising as psychotic punk ‘n’ roll would not be to deceptive.

Formed in 2011, the Phoenix hailing Lody Kong soon made a potent mark the following year with debut EP, No Rules. It was an introduction to the quartet of guitarist John Bauer, bassist Shanks, vocalist/guitarist Igor, and drummer Zyon reinforced and more by the band’s part in the 2013 US/Canada/European Maximum Cavalera tour and more recently last year’s Cavalera Conspiracy US tour. Now it is the turn of their eagerly awaited debut album to stoke up broad attention and for the major reasons of sound and fierce invention rather than band personnel.

The album opens with the outstanding Chillin’, Killin’; a venomous assault of a track offering searing bait from its first breath. That sonic intrusion soon erupts into an antagonistic rumble of raw riffs and hostile rhythms urged on by the emotive scowls of Igor. Piercing repetitive grooves only add to the compelling and exhaustive incitement, shifts in the predatory state of the track’s gait and character increasing its irresistible lure with a full throttle thrash kissed charge simply icing on the scintillating cake.

art_RingMasterReviewThe album’s title track keeps the grip on pleasure and appetite just as tight, its bruising weight and cantankerous intensity carrying an air of Pigs and Discharge to its irritable storm. It too is a song which twists through a host of inventive changes and detours, leaving a lingering psyche infesting dark presence and tempting which carries on into the likes of the emotively and sonically cancerous Kreative Center and the stalking animus of Pig In The Pen. The first of the two chews the senses with its nagging riffs whilst hooks and wiry grooves vein the scything swings of Zyon which cross another bestially toned bass trespass by Shanks. It is an unrelenting pressure of sound matched in its individual way by its successor whose initial doomy prowl soon expands into tar like sludge voracity interspersed with frenzied canters of energetic animosity.

Both tracks are spiteful punk rock with the virulence of numerous styles involved, much like the body of the bad-blooded Rumsfield where again band and sound enjoyably crush the senses with their creative and emotive jaundice. As across the album, there are moments of familiar hues and textures running headlong into ears yet each and every time their appearance is woven into something fresh, inventively damaging, and individual to Lody Kong.

Smashed and Blasted is proof as it presents its own hellacious and intensely imposing proposal next. The track is arguably the heaviest and most merciless on the release yet one with a host of imaginative hooks and sonic enterprise which hints as much at post punk and noise rock as it embraces extreme metal and post hardcore ferocity. Its thick enticement is followed and eclipsed by the predacious crawl of Some Pulp. There is liveliness to the song’s attack though it clambers over the senses rather than charges them, vocals and citric grooves the lead bait in its animalistic stalking with again numerous unexpected and incendiary twists.

Through the excellent old school punk/grunge feud of The Dangerous Quest and the dirty and schizophrenic Pistols-esque rock ‘n’ roll of Topaz, the album adds more aspects to its increasingly adventurous character. There are no major deviations from the heart of the songs before, but each explores another inventive hue and discord nurtured variation which continues with the closing sludge ’n’ roll consumption of the senses cast by Venomous Kool-Aid. It is a suffocating weave of thrash and doom metal with classic and hard rock strands, the guitars of John and Igor almost flirting with their bitterness laced craft around the latter’s rasping tones.

Though for personal tastes the loftiest highlights are found in the first two thirds of the album, Dreams and Visions is an unrelenting rousing of body and spirit, and indeed the debilitating devourer of both, which simply leaves a want for more from start to finish.

Dreams and Visions is out now via Mascot Label Group @ http://www.mascotlabelgroup.com/lody-kong-dreams-and-visions-cd.html

https://www.facebook.com/lodykong7   https://twitter.com/lodykong

Pete RingMaster 30/03/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Human Bodies/Leather Chalice – Split

HB cover art_RingMaster Review

In a union to scar the psyche and corrupt the senses, Broken Limbs Recordings have unleashed a 7” vinyl split release between New England hailing Human Bodies and Leather Chalice, a hellacious proposal of pure black metal malevolence and rancorous hardcore viciousness. These are two bands building a potent name for themselves and they do their reputation no harm wit this intensively rabid encounter. The four-track EP is painfully corrosive and fuelled by creative hate, but if that is your recipe to bliss, then this is an encounter demanding keen attention.

Human Bodies_RingMaster Review     The first two tracks come from the Boston foursome of guitarists/vocalists Terzakis and Gabe, bassist Jason, and drummer Dan, collectively known as Human Bodies. The band began in the October of 2013 as a studio project, developing over time into a fuller line-up and live presence to go with the well-received No Life cassette EP of last year. Just off of a successful full US tour, Human Bodies entangle ears in a rhythmic web as their first offering on the split, Only the Sigh feistily prowls into view. Energy and intensity continue to rise as a bestial bassline colludes with sonic hostility where guitars are ravenous and vocals raw intrusive squalls. It is an uncompromising attack yet has a swing and swagger to it which welcomes body and attention as much as its sonic trespass tries to defile them. It is lethal contagion and an outstanding start to the release which runs straight into a similarly alluring violation in the caustic shape of Malice Prepense. Repetitious beats and riffs again entice and spark a healthy appetite whilst a doomy cancerous breath smothers the listener to simultaneously temper the virulence but increase the potency of the whole malicious incitement.

Leather Chalice is the solo blackened punk project of Jann from Ramlord, who brings inspirations from Venom, Discharge, and “depression and Leather Chalice_RingMaster Reviewtotal defeat of the human spirit by modernism” into his ruinous tempests of blackened punk loathing. Good Intentions (Coming Home I) is his first offering, an abrasion of erosive and raw cancerous morbidity which is as fearsome as it is sonically compelling, whilst Last Gifts of Worship (Coming Home II) takes all the enmity of the previous song and twists it into an even harsher and surprisingly catchy enticing. Of course that infectiousness lies beneath a tsunami of ill-will and rancorous intent which to swim through is as painful as it is rewarding.

Only The Sigh might have emerged as just the favourite track here but between them Human Bodies and Leather Chalice uncage four dangerous and highly enjoyable onslaughts which fans of black metal, hardcore, and violent post punk should take a deep breath and dive deeply into.

The Human Bodies/Leather Chalice Split is available now on Ltd Ed 7” vinyl via Broken Limbs Recordings in co-operation with Prison Tatt Records.

Pete RingMaster 23/09/2015

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Plug – Back On The Skull

plug

With more hip grinding grooves than a dozen pole dancing establishments, and certainly heavier boned treats, Back On The Skull the debut album from Texan noise rockers Plug enslaves and dances with the passions in exhausting and riveting style. With jackhammer rhythms powering ridiculously addictive grooves and equally seductive riffs, the eleven track juggernaut creates a loud and virulently compelling storm which is far too easy to greedily devour to surely be safe for any of us.

Formed in 2010 and consisting of ex and current members of Mammoth Grinder, Iron Age, Bitter End, FEED, and The Mites, Plug merges a voracious mix of noise and hard rock with metallic sinews and punk antagonism whilst stoner and psychedelic enticements add their  seduction. It is an exhaustive and breath-taking brew which simply ignites the imagination and passion. Imagine a tonic being made up from the essences of Unsane, Melvins, Torche, Red Fang, and Helmet whilst Dead Kennedys pees in the pot and you get a reasonably close dose to what Plug has to offer. It is a sound which is not exactly unique but neither is it without a distinctive flavour and intrigue of its very own, Back On The Skull working and playing hard from the moment it touches the ears and rewarding with a torrent of mouth-watering intensity and noisy drama clad adventure.

The San Antonio quintet of vocalist Tyler Lutz, guitarists Scott Corbin and Zach Brin, drummer Raul Vela IV, and Chris Ulsh of Mammoth Grinder, Power Trip, Hatred Surge, and The Impalers who provides the bass guitar for the album (Reed Deangelis the band’s current bassist), immediately chomp on the ears with opener Babysmile. Riffs and rhythms are almost grinning as they launch their muscular persuasion; a mischief soaking their thumping lure which evolves into a full swagger as the track extends its temptation with a rousing stroll through infection soaked grooving aligned to rhythmic taunting. The vocals of Lutz match the call of the music and with all aspects making an anthemic union, there is an irresistible recruitment of total attention and submission from its recipient.

     Meanwhile… is more than eager to back-up the immense start, its own wanton romp swinging brazenly between rhythmic coverlegs as grooves and riffs again cast a spell of noise bred contagion for a minute and a half before evolving into the title track. Bringing a heavier weighted energy and intent, the third song stalks its victim with a leaden prowl wrapped in scuzz lilted melodies and harmonically scorched vocals. There is an element of The Pixies and more so Melvins to the smouldering intensive bait on show but again it only flavours a magnetic sonic causticity distinct to Plug.

A potent bass coaxing opens up next track Rainbow To Hell, the song continuing the arguably subtle shifts in character through the early tracks on the album but equally increasing that variety with its sludge coated predation of the imagination. A slower burner than its predecessors, the immersive encounter employs further detailed yet restrained twists and turns in its invention within a patient consumption. It does not quite match those early heights either but easily reinforces the appetite ready for the likes of the following cover of Discharge’s State Violence, State Control. Bringing a greater carnivorous breath through the guitars to the song to replace the more violent aggression of the original, it is a satisfying provocation though it pales against the bands own tempting.

     Pigbomb and Cadence steal their hefty portion of the acclaim next, the first rife with intensive rabidity and discord lined scuzziness as well as another groove and collection of hooks to drool over whilst the second is a sultry psychedelic/stoner flight through a heated climate of melodic exploration. Though another not to make a quick suasion, it is an absorbing drift through evocative textures and new intrigue from the release. Their allurement is soon pushed aside by the outstanding Hideous Rex, a ravenous track which does not rush its attack but unrelentingly nags with dark rapacious riffs and a hefty atmosphere which feels like it is licking its bulging lips as it smothers the senses.

A great cover of the Fang track The Money Will Roll Right In steps up next, its sonic grazing speared by another addiction forging groove and great squalling vocals, before the rampancy of Mexican Death Hammer unleashes its claim for best track with a torrent of bruising riffs and crippling rhythms spiced with a sonic web of discord leaning crafted invention. It is a glorious incitement for the passions and does indeed steal top honours from a flood of exceptional encounters.

The release is completed by the epic Sphere 3, a nine minute dronathon of menacing intensity and invasive sonic toxicity washed over by spellbinding vocal harmonies. It is a meditative danger which seduces from first doom seeping note to its last corrosive breath, and though for personal tastes probably a couple of minutes too long to hold attention tightly nearing its end, the track is a dark beauty of an evocation to end a scintillating release.

Available as a buy now name your price release at their Bandcamp profile, Back On The Skull is an epidemically riveting and thrilling encounter which thrusts Plug right up there with the likes of Torche, Kylesa, Buzzov*en, Orange Goblin and the like. This is an album all riff hankerers must add to their sonic landscapes.

http://plug.bandcamp.com/album/back-on-the-skull

https://www.facebook.com/PLUGLIVES

9/10

RingMaster 13/12/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Keyside Strike/Rust– Olde Worlde-New World split 7”

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A rigorous bruising of dirty uncompromising punk rock, the Olde Worlde-New World split 7” is one of those releases which slaps you around the chops and lifts the spirits as only the purest form of the genre can. Featuring UK punks Keyside Strike and Australian aural rioters Rust, the five track EP leaves emotions and thoughts drenched in aggressive intent whilst basking in raw stringent punk at its antagonistic height.

Released via Rebel Sound Music, the raucousness starts with two tracks from Rust. Hailing from Sydney, the band formed in 2005 and Rustfeatures members from some of Australia’s most prominent punk rock bands from over the years including Crucified Venus, Crankcase, Rule 303, World War 24, and Black Rose. The band is no stranger to acclaim back home and further afield from live performances which has seen them veterans of three UK tours and recently their first around America, as well as sharing stages with the likes of Dead Kennedys, GBH, Peter & The Test Tube Babies, The Exploited, UK Subs, DOA, The Business, Sham 69, Rose Tattoo, The Varukers, The Vibrators and many more. With equally potent responses to their releases, especially the 2010 album Lean Mean Street Machine and Oi Oi Aussie Rock & Roll live, Rust now offer two striking tracks to Olde Worlde-New World, starting with Send My Love From England. An opening throaty bass croon immediately grips attention and more, its coaxing irresistible and soon joined by the caustic riffs and strikes of guitar within a punching rhythmic testing. With the kind of punk vocal delivery you almost expect with old school bred assaults, the track offers strong magnetic hooks and excellent anthemic moments to seize full vocal and body co-operation from the listener. It is a great start, a song with no surprises but one that ticks all the boxes for a deeply pleasing slab of punk antagonism

Their second offering is a cover of The Specials track Concrete Jungle, another undeniably enterprising and enjoyable swipe across the jaw. With a sinew driven rhythmic frame close to the original but more exploratory flames of guitar invention rousing the spirits within one of its creators most memorable stomps, it is impossible not to swept up in its riotous but respectful barging. Rust have taken the already punk element of the song and given it freedom to shape its own riveting romp with an oi rampancy, the result we suggest one of the best covers this year.

Keyside Strike    Taking over on the EP, Darlington trio Keyside Strike create tempests of punk infused with dirty rock ‘n’ roll, blues, hardcore, and psychobilly. Formed in 2002 their sound is one which stomps on the senses whilst plucking the passions with irresistible hooks, all within again a brawling maelstrom of roughly imposing energy and invigorating urgency. Their two albums and numerous appearances on compilations has made the band one of the true rock ‘n’ roll bands in the Northeast of England whilst their impressive live shows has seen them share stages with bands such as The Business, Murphy’s Law, Street Dogs, UK Subs, Demented Are Go!, Discharge, Madball, Demon City Wreckers, Stitch Hopeless And The Sea Leg and loads more across the UK, Europe, and America.

The band instantly snarl and rampage from within the split EP with Back From Hell, the track an avalanche of barbaric beats, caustic riffs, and squalling grouchy vocals. Immediately the fury is like a violation from a banding together of Motorhead, Offspring, Discharge, and The Pirates. With the song already making the fullest persuasion, the waspish niggling grooves and vocals tension honed into anthem causing chants only secure a long term appetite which is fed to even greater heights by the following Knives, the best song on the EP. Bulging drum beats open up the passions to gripping effect and are soon leading the senses into a psychobilly honed bait flavoured to greater potency by the menacing blazes of guitar and rising swells of sonic invention not forgetting a predatory bass stalk and great vocal gruffness which are simply enslaving. In full stride the song grips with infectious hooks and a vibrant jaw which flings the imagination and emotions around like a submissive carcass, whilst the Therapy? like carnivorous seduction of primal voracity breeds lustful addiction to the rioting predation.

The final offering is Youth (Y2K), a cover of a track by The Blitz and a closing slice of pure old school punk which you just cannot resist adding voice and fist strikes to as it ignites nostalgic rapture with its raw simplicity and uncluttered, uncompromising punk rock hymn. It makes a great finish to an excellent release featuring two bands which from strangers will trigger a wealth of new attention and for fans simply confirm what they knew for ages, Rust and Keyside Strike are two outstanding impressive punk bands.

https://www.facebook.com/rustpunk

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Keyside-Strike/146906715382167

8/10

RingMaster 10/10/2013

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Antagonising the quiet: an interview with Fuckshovel

F-shovel

February 18th sees the release of an album from powerful and incendiary UK rock band Fuckshovel, which is quite simply a masterful brawl of irresistible rock n roll. An insatiable muscular pleasure, This Is What We Are incites and thrills with every rampant note to leave the listener breathless, exhilarated, and ready to take on the world. The London quartet has worked long and hard to bring the album to the world and such its impressive quality it feels like it will be the trigger to a massive year for the band. Obviously we wanted to find out more about band and album so did not need asking twice when offered the opportunity to question the band…

Hi Guys and welcome to The RingMaster Review. We are on the eve of the release of your debut album ‘This Is What We Are‘, how are things emotionally in the Fuckshovel camp?

We’re just about holding it together! It’s been a rollercoaster of a ride making this album. It’s taken a long time and we’ve put so much into it both physically and mentally. For us up to now it has always seemed like it’s on the drawing board, so to finally be putting it out there seems bizarre, like the end of an era. Maybe the release is the closure we need to get on with the next album!

The first single from the album Schizophonic certainly brewed up a fevered anticipation for the album, as represented by the enormous reception when playing the track on The Bone Orchard podcast. Has its success and deserved acclaim, made you less tense and more confident for the album’s introduction to the world?

Well to be honest, we know that the playing is good and we’re confident in the songs so the only thing we’re really concerned about is finding enough people who agree with us! Reviews and the like are so subjective it’s not something we can control so we try not to worry about it too much.

Before talking more about ‘This Is What We Are’, tell us how Fuckshovel began and those early days starting out?

The original plan was basically Jon, Ian and another mate (Kermit) getting together with a couple of mates and playing for a bit of fun. For various reasons this never really happened so John and Dave were recruited to the good ship Shovel. We started writing and gigging immediately and got some good reviews and feedback but it was quite difficult to settle on a sound that we were all happy with. Eventually we parted company with Kerm and began writing material that suited the remaining four of us.

What is the history of the band members previous to the band?

Many and varied: Dave (Virago – drums) played with Cradle of Filth, did the MTV Awards with Basement Jaxx and more recently appeared with Dizzee Rascal. John (Faulkner – bass) was formally with Latch and played on a couple of tracks on the first Plan B album, Ian (Fisher – guitar) was in Decimator and before doing this Jon (Stone – vocals) was working with Laurence Archer (Phil Lynott’s Grand Slam & UFO).

Many bands have been raised as having essences in your music, including Discharge, Anthrax, and Ministry. For us your distinct ??????????sound held strong whispers of Therapy?, The Wildhearts, and definitely Ruts. Any of those fair and what are the major influences which inspired you as musicians and band?

As you can see from our previous histories we’ve got quite a disparate bunch of influences. For instance, Ian is into old school thrash, punk and Eminem! Jon likes Thin Lizzy, Soundgarden and Killing Joke. John would cite Deftones, Rage Against The Machine and the Bronx while Dave is a big Pantera and Alice In Chains fan. And we all agree on Slayer. And Peter & The Test Tube Babies! From our first rehearsal we wrote new stuff without ever knowingly incorporated any of our influences into the overall Shovel sound so whatever we sound like is just us playing what we enjoy; which is generally the sort of noise made by the bands you mention. So yeah, those references are fair in as much as Therapy? and The Wildhearts go for an aggressive sound with strong melodies, which is something we aim for.  The Ruts is a niche reference but we’ll take that – Babylon’s Burning is one of the very few covers we’ve ever bothered to learn!

Obviously we have to ask about the brilliantly provocative band name. It smacks you in the face like your sounds with energy and mischief, any problems or restrictions come because of it though, especially in the regard of radio play?

It can be slightly problematic! As most bands will tell you the hardest thing to agree on is the name – we had the name before we’d even rehearsed so we were lumbered with it from day one! We’ve had radio play from BBC Radio 6 (Bruce Dickinson’s show), XFM (Ian Camfield and John Kennedy) and the likes of Total Rock so it’s not impossible but they do tend to call us F-Shovel which might make us slightly harder to track down. We had the video for Long Time Dead on Headbangers Ball quite regularly too so it can be done.

You have already grabbed strong attention both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, how did you come to play over in America?

Quite simply, we applied to showcase at SXSW and got accepted. It was a bit of a shock! We did it all off our own back so we probably didn’t get as much out of it as the more established bands… having said that, we did get a big crowd at the main showcase and a really good reaction too. It was great fun but not as fruitful as we’d hoped.

Fuckshovel cover artworkBack to This Is What We Are, an album which for us ‘is a riotous storm of rampant rock n roll with no intent to compromise or accept mere appreciation of its forceful sounds, it is all or nothing’. Do you have any set intent when writing songs?

Mainly we try to write to keep all four of us happy and as the meeting of our influences is generally in the aggressive section of the Venn diagram that’s what usually comes out. Plus, obviously, being called Fuckshovel does tend to mean we weed out the power ballads quite early in the writing process!

There is an open defiance and inciting attitude to your music, what predominately inspires your ideas?

People and politics (with a small ‘p’. And sometimes a big ‘P’). Basically, anything we get worked up about. Lyrically they deal with subjects like the nanny-state (Portia’s Box), people letting their lives drift by (Long Time Dead) and the mongrel nature of society (Schizophonic). Germs of Empire is a line from the novel Heart of Darkness and is about the nature and genesis of tyranny (or so Jon tells us!)

 Did the tracks and album emerge from the studio how you envisaged going into its realm or did they evolve further?

Well, this is the second time we’ve actually recorded the album so they’ve definitely evolved! We originally had the album pretty much done and nearly dusted but when we listened back we’d got so immersed in the whole studio technology thing that we’d lost the band, so we scrapped it, which was quite time-consuming… And expensive! We went back to basics, took the songs apart, reworked some, dropped others completely and started again.  So when we began tracking we were pretty sure we had all the sections as we wanted them. We allowed ourselves one week for all the tracking and did the vocals and overdubs later.  The vocals were predominantly recorded in our rehearsal space which gave us time to play around and experiment with them so they definitely evolved.

How did you record the album? The songs have such a live and organic feel it suggests they maybe were recorded live so how did you lay down the tracks?

That was the initial aim. As we mentioned earlier, we were very concerned with capturing the sound of the band playing live. Long Time Dead and Skull &Bones were definitely done live. The rest were a combination of live and layers.  Although, we did institute a 3 takes rule for everybody. And sometimes we stuck to it.

Is there any particular moment on the album which brings the deepest tingle and feeling of pride personally?

Probably the little things that you wouldn’t notice or know about if you hadn’t been involved in making the album:

Our children all shouting ‘You’re not one of us!’ in Auslander, the various musical parts all played by different people visiting the studio e.g. Jon’s daughter on the wah pedal in Schizophonic and remembering the atmosphere at various different times in the studio during recording. When we tracked Vegas Nerve (which used to be called God) the lights were really low in the studio and there was an epic thunderstorm that shone through the sky-light in the studio ceiling. There are also the one-offs such as Johnboy’s high-pitched scream in All You Got, a total random one-off fluke that has and will never be replicated. If you go on youtube you can see quite a lot of footage taken during tracking, for example Randy (Ian Fisher) in the vampire cape recording Auslander – that one in particular lives fond in the memory.

The artwork for ‘This Is What We Are’ comes from the legendary Jamie Reid. How did that link up come about and did he have a free rein to interpret your songs visually?

Jon and Ian know his agent (who used to do A&R for Poison Idea trivia fans). We asked him if he thought Jamie would be interested and were told to write to him and ask. So we drafted up a begging letter, sent him some lyrics, a couple of tracks and the track-listing and he said yes. He came back with a choice of 4 or 5 ideas and we got to pick the ones we wanted. It was quite surreal!

Usually we are asking bands what they learned from working with renowned and acclaimed producers, but here we have to ask did FuckshovelJamie offer something other than his art which impacted on you?

Well, due to his schedule the process from start to finish took about 6 months so we definitely learned patience! And the fact that it’s okay to refine and re-do until something works. A good idea’s a good idea but it doesn’t mean you can’t make it better.

What is in the immediate future for Fuckshovel in association with the album?

It’s due to be released on the 18th February so we’re pushing to get as many people as possible to be aware of it. We’ve got some gigs already confirmed and we’re actively looking for more. It’s all about searching out people who agree with us!

We imagine, not having the joy yet to see you live, that your gigs are brawls of energy and attitude. How do you approach each show, like it might be the last one and give it your all every time one assumes going by the album.

Yeah, pretty much. These aren’t the sort of songs you can play half-arsed so no matter how many people we’re playing to we tend to go at it full-tilt. The aim is get everyone into it and singing along with Portia’s Box by the end.

Many thanks for sharing time to talk with us. Any parting words you would like to set free?

We’ve probably said too much already!

Lastly give us some of the most important albums which shaped your personal musical direction.

Killing Joke (2003 album with Dave Grohl on drums)

Velvet Revolver– Contraband

Peter and The Test Tube Babies – Loud Blaring Punk Rock

Read the review of This Is What We Are @

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/fuckshovel-this-is-what-we-are/

The RingMaster Review 13/02/2013

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