Luna Sol – Blood Moon

Pic_Colin Farrell

Pic_Colin Farrell

Vocalist/guitarist David Angstrom has been part of and behind a few potent propositions, Hermano, Supafuzz, and Asylum On The Hill included, but he might have just outdone them all with Luna Sol, certainly if their debut album is a taste of things to come. Blood Moon is a glorious roar of backwoods bred stoner rock, bulging with voracious riffs and intoxicating grooves as well as a blues spicing to have you woozy. It is also one of the most contagiously virulent slabs of dark rock ‘n’ roll to hit the senses in recent months, nay years.

It was 2012 when Angstrom moved to the mountains just north of Denver and began being inspired by the local news and folklore, and you might suggest the “we don’t like strangers” mind-set that small out of the way communities can develop. With songs in his creative pocket, Angstrom formed Luna Sol with local musicians in the creative shape of guitarist/ vocalist Shanda Kolberg (The Swanks), bassist /vocalist Shannon Fahnestock (The Swindlers), and drummer Pat Gill (The Feds, ’76 Pinto). Recorded at Sierra Estates in Colorado, Blood Moon is the first aural moonshine from the band, a collection of songs easy to get a greedy taste for alongside a rabid addiction too.

Musically there is no escaping offering references to the likes of Kyuss and early Queens Of The Stone Age, but they are colours to a tapestry hard to suggest is anything but Luna Sol like. Quick evidence comes with album opener Bridges. Percussion and guitar make an immediate lure which soon expands in a haze of sonic electricity and spicy enterprise as the vocal roar of Angstrom hits ears and appetite as forcibly as the sounds around him. It is soon evident that vocals are shared in varying ways across the band which only adds to the diversity and theatre of song and creative release. The album also features several guests, here Dean Smith (Supafuzz) adding bass growls within the fiery web of guitars.

Lunasol_Blood Moon_Cover_RingMaster Review   The excellent enslaving start continues with Death Mountain, the skills of bassist Dandy Brown (Hermano, Orquestra del Desierto) and slide guitarist Greg Martin (Kentucky Headhunters) adding to the crawling seduction on offer. Almost from its first breath, ‘drunken’ grooves are winding their meandering charm around the imagination whilst the bass is a grouchy but compelling protagonist against the potent twin vocal delivery. Like a primal seductress the track entices and crawls over the listener, intimidating as it lures until the infection flooded chorus warms the soul as the prowess of Martin bewitches.

The pair of December and Leadville keep ears and appetite just as engrossed next, the first of the two with its dirtier air and more predatory attitude backed by the additional magnetic tones of John Garcia (Vista Chino, Hermano, Kyuss). The track has the weight and muscle of a beast and the sonic toxicity of neat liquor as well as the melodic beauty of a mountain vista, whilst its successor unleashes an addiction forging swing any rock band would salaciously solicit for. Its swagger is irresistible and sonic air bracing with the peak of pleasure arriving with the slips into the relative calm of banjo plucks and vocal repetition courted by a juicy dark bass tempting.

Pretty Rotten keeps that slightly bestial tone going in its compelling stroll lined with the barracuda like tones of the bass provided by Nick Oliveri (Vista Chino, Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age). As with the previous pair of tracks there is also an essence of what is basically rock pop catchiness which plays like a mix of 12 Stone Toddler and Eagle of Death Metal and has ears and emotions fired up as greedily as the tonic of blues flames scorches the whole thrilling affair.

Thicker classic rock hues join stoner instincts for Operator, a song which took longer to warm to in the same way the others inspired but almost creeps up on the passions as by half way realisation sets in that body sways and vocal participation have joined the call before thoughts. The track is hypnotic, another hazily crawling tempting which eventually and fully has its way before passing over ears to Standley Lake for an infestation of the imagination and psyche with its rhythmic spell and scorching winey grooves. It too is a slow burn on the passions in a way but a highly resourceful and successful one easily involving hips and throat by the time Your Way steps forward with its rich blues and psych rock smoulder aided by the Hammond prowess of Dizzy Reed (Guns N’ Roses). Immersive and atmospherically ablaze, the track leaves lips licked in satisfaction before leaving the darkly haunted In the Shadows to being the album comes to a close. Jason Groves (Supafuzz, Asylum on the Hill) offers the bass bait in this mouth-watering caliginous proposal, musically and narratively the song aural drama of noir soaked hidden deeds and dark souls, and thoroughly riveting.

It is a mighty end to one thoroughly exhilarating release; the last card in a deck of spellbinding persuasion which from start to finish enrols the listener in an adventure of strange melancholy and curious endeavours. It is also a swamp of rock ‘n’ roll which just rouses the spirit in possibly the best heavy rock album this year, certainly the favourite.

Blood Moon is available from September 11th across UK/Europe via Cargo Records.

Pete Ringmaster 11/09/2015

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Mongrel – Evolution

MONGREL - Evolution - front cover - scaled

Towards the end of last year US punk metallers Mongrel released the single Snakes to provide a very appetising taster for their next EP whilst simultaneously reconfirming themselves as unique and passionate provocateurs of antagonistic punk rock and dirty metal. The band now unleashes that highly anticipated Evolution EP, a release which surely places them on the precipice of a well-deserved intensive world spread spotlight. Sealing a spot on an impending cover mounted CD of the renowned Terrorizer magazine as well, The Boston quartet are poised to make the next big step in recognition. It is an ascent their releases have threatened to spark for the past couple of years but it is easy to feel and expect that Evolution will be the potent fuse that achieves the breakthrough.

Formed in 2003 by guitarist Adam Savage, Mongrel has earned themselves the reputation of one of the hardest working and increasingly acclaimed bands in the underground of metal and punk rock. Each one of their releases has thrust the band on another lofty step though it was the addition of vocalist Jessica Sierra in 2010 where things truly clicked into place and the arguably dormant fire in their already impressive sound and presence erupted. From The New Breed of Old School EP of that year through the following Declamation EP in 2011, there was a new potency and venom on the grooves, hooks, and rhythms which core Mongrels’ invention. Alongside these successes the band live has earned a reputation most bands could only dream of, their sharing of stages with the likes of GWAR, Korn, Otep, Sepultura, Prong, Halestorm, Wednesday13, Fu Manchu, Dizzy Reed, Misfits FEAR, Blitzkid, Trashlight Vision, Michale Graves, Mindset X and hordes more garnering tides of fans and recognition. The Reclamation album of 2012 saw the band ascend to new heights in songwriting and imagination which now Evolution pushes further forward. Recorded with Jim Foster (POD, Nullset, Sully Erna), mixed by Dave Fortman (Slipknot, Evanescence, Godsmack), and mastered by Howie Weinberg, (Metallica, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pantera), the EP is a stirring anthemic brawl which is as contagious and addictive as it is raw and lyrically uncompromising.

Snakes opens things up and as soon as the initial controlled blaze of guitar from Savage hits the ears there is a sense of impending infection which is soon confirmed by the crisp beats of drummer Mike Hogan and even more so by the riveting vocals of Sierra. With the pulsating bass groan from Michael Ariza added to the mix, the song is rapidly into a potent stride heading towards its virulently compelling chorus. The band takes little time in enslaving the imagination, treating it further with a seamless drift into a smouldering sultry passage with emotive guitar rubs and a glow to the voice of Sierra, a lady who seems to own ears, thoughts, and songs whether she is roaring with antagonism or seducing like a temptress. Building up its energy and passions throughout the lighter flight, the song creates a dramatic crescendo of a finale which leaves appetite licking lips and emotions looking at a lustful hunger.

Mongrel have a certain distinct sound which never deceives its source but within that the band with Evolution seems to be exploring their punk side this time around, the first song giving a major hint which the following Oxygen Mask elaborates on within a still heavily insatiable metal toxicity. An acidic groove hits ears first, though rhythms and a great gritty bassline is courting its coaxing. Pulled together by the commanding vocals, the track twists through a predatory intensity and gait, Savage spearing the air with metallic vines of sonic bait. Persistently turning with singular moments for the bass and guitars to flirt with ears, the song recalls essences of Siouxsie and the Banshees, certainly if they had embraced metal. Imposing but respectfully forceful the track backs up the immense start easily even if without matching its heady heights.

That first plateau is equalled by Consumed; a deliciously abrasive enticement of caustic hooks and senses burrowing grooves. Guitars worm under the skin within seconds with rhythms swinging punches soon after, the combination a hungry platform for the dark hearted bass sounds and rich vocals to colour their canvas. Unleashing a swagger to match the almost brutal energy, the song stomps with epidemic irresistibility, those spiteful grooves especially inescapable whilst sonic hues sculpted by Savage in an engrossing solo provide further rigorous colour to the outstanding incitement.

Best Revenge has the hard task to follow the triumph which it does with a rawer hostile punk enticement, the bass finding a carnivorous throat to its presence and the guitar a combative attitude to its riffs and squalling flames. Once again though it is caged by great controlled rhythm work by Hogan and led by the expressive might of Sierra. The track is not as immediate as others on Evolution but emerges as another pinnacle with punk nostrils flaring and metallic muscles challenging.

The release is concluded with another sizeable success with the riotously catchy Over And Over. An addiction forging bassline sparks ears first before riffs and rhythms cascade upon the lure to build a rampant canter of punk rock. Hooks and grooves from both stringed antagonists grip with a constant temptation whilst Sierra swings syllables and intent into their barbed scenery with the expected but never under-appreciated skill and passion she brews. It is an exhilarating conclusion to a tremendous encounter, leaving ears, thoughts, and passions bursting with greed for more.

Guiding their sound to a side step in many ways from that taking Reclamation to such heights, Evolution stands side by side with its predecessor’s undoubted success and quality, though with a heart for well-crafted punk rock if pushed the EP shades it. What is clear for all though is that Mongrel just goes from strength to strength whilst evolving with a constant flair and voraciously appetising enterprise. It really is about time the band was known worldwide and Evolution might just be the trigger.

Evolution is available on iTunes on May 20th and via all major online retailers and streaming services from June 3rd with physical copies available through Mongrel, Unable Records and Amazon.

http://www.MongrelBand.com

http://mongrel.bandcamp.com

9.5/10

RingMaster 16/05/2014

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Mongrel – Snakes

Mongrel

The first release since the outstanding Reclamation album of 2012, US punk metallers Mongrel unleash their new single Snakes and continue to set new standards for themselves and aspiring rock/metal bands. Taking from their upcoming Evolution EP which is slated for an early 2014 release, the new track employs all the renowned and expected inventive and addictive aspects of the band but gives them a new fire to burn explosively within further exploration from the band and their songwriting. As anthemic and contagious as you would expect from the Boston quartet, Snakes reinforces the hunger of their fans for their bruising, riotous sounds whilst laying down plenty of bait to recruit new greedy hearts.

Formed in 2003 by guitarist Adam Savage, Mongrel has over the years evolved into a highly sought after live band and a formidably potent studio encounter with a wealth of releases strikingly marking their steady and continual rise. Since forming the band has laid waste to stages alongside the like of GWAR, Korn, Otep, Sepultura, Prong, Halestorm, Wednesday13, Fu Manchu, Dizzy Reed, and the Misfits numerous times as well as touring with others such as FEAR, Blitzkid, Trashlight Vision, and Michale Graves, all the time continually drawing acclaim. Equally from the start their releases have lit up the passions of fans as well as the independent airwaves, the band a regular on the likes of shows at http://www.Audioburger.com and The Bone Orchard podcast, but it is fair to say that the full potency and heart of the band exploded when they enticed vocalist Jessica Sierra into the fold, her snarling vocal beauty igniting something lying dormant in the band with previous frontmen. Through The New Breed of Old School and Declamation EPs on to Reclamation, Mongrel has grown and evolved into an intensive and magnetic force which Snakes only elevates further.

The single wastes no time in tempting the ears as the guitar of Savage skilfully strokes the extremities with his inviting riffs, its call soon a0370760246_2joined by a pulsating bass call from Michael Ariza and the crisp beats provided by drummer Mike Hogan. Settling into an open temptation, the power and thrust of the song is taken up another level as Sierra punches the lyrical intent forcibly and melodically into the imagination. All the while there is a reserved but persistent groove which wages seduction upon the senses throughout the song, it enticing greater passion and hunger from the listener and it is fair to say that at this point the single has submission already in its hands. This is not enough though it seems as the instigator then shifts seamlessly into an evocative and intimidating yet smouldering flame of sonic endeavour and emotive persuasion which has the band pushing their boundaries and ideas without losing their core energy and intensity. The moment is brief but potent and makes for a building step for the final adrenaline lit finale. There is a certain pop punk element to Snakes which arguably has not appeared before with Mongrel and it is a refreshing move brought with craft and adventure which avoids eroding any of the band’s confrontation and  inciting invention.

It is hard not to be excited and full of impatient anticipation for the Evolution EP thanks to Snakes, but the wait will be relatively short and the single ensuring the time is well fed with its incendiary exploits. A name your own price release at Mongrel’s Bandcamp profile, the single is the perfect invitation for those new to one of metal’s best ‘undiscovered secrets’.

http://www.mongrelband.com/

http://mongrel.bandcamp.com/music

10/10

RingMaster 29/10/2013

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Mongrel: Reclamation

For those aware of US band Mongrel, it is wide knowledge that they are one of the most exciting and accomplished underground rock n roll bands around, and have been since forming in 2003. For those still to discover their addict forming blend of punk rock and metal now is the time to feel their bite as they release new album Reclamation, a collection of songs which will have fans and newcomers reeling from its might and infectious brilliance.

Reclamation emerges from what basically has been four years of turmoil for the band through line-up, studio, and studio disruptions. From early on right through to now the Boston, Massachusetts quartet has established a permanent place in the hearts of growing multitudes from their releases and sharing of stages alongside the likes of Misfits (multiple times), Gwar, Korn, Otep, Sepultura, Mindless Self Indulgence, Prong, Fu Manchu, Psychostick, Wednesday13, Dizzy Reed (Gn’R), and Piggy D (Rob Zombie) to name just a few, alongside their own tours and shows. It was the departure of their long term vocalist and drummer in 2010 which dropped one of the biggest obstacles in the way of and to slow down the rampaging charge of Mongrel. Dave Kazukiewicz was soon enlisted to bang the skins but a vocalist was less easy a solution to find. Another male singer was brought in as they searched long and hard but that was a short lived answer. Still gigging as is the Mongrel way, they called on their friend Jessica Sierra from the band Affliction to cover some shows with eventually the temporary arrangement becoming, to our pleasure, permanent.

Now a powerful and stable unit of band founder Adam Savage, bassist Rev, Sierra and Kazukiewicz, the quartet set about re-recording tracks from the releases which had thrilled in the early days, debut album Fear, Lies & Propaganda of 2006 and the Revenge EP three years later.. These tracks came out upon the excellent The New Breed of Old School EP. To those who had grown with the band it was a surprising but mighty evolution from what came before, the vocals of Sierra bringing a tighter grip and quality to the sound which only impressed. 2010 saw the band enter the studio once more to record a further step forward with the Declamation EP and most impressive of all this the Reclamation album. Of course a battle ensued to get it released as is the life of independent bands (as well as the more recent departure from the band of Rev to be replaced by Micah Maltais) but now the album is here released through THC Music imprint THC: X, and ready to snarl and take chunks out of all lucky enough to ensnare it.

The album slaps the ear around from the start with Bored To Death, a feisty slice of anthemic punk rock. It is easy to digest and irresistible, straight forward rock n roll brought with fiery riffs, thumping beats, and the intimidating tones of Sierra, her voice a beckoning tease and attitude snapping aural harpy. It is a powerful and energetic start soon ramped up by the following Pseudocide and Fuck Off And Die. The first just burns the senses from its first note and leaves one smouldering in glee by its end. Ramones meets The Distillers; the track is a punk explosion which scorches the senses to near orgasmic pleasure. The second song prowls and snarls with a ravenous intensity, its heart and Sierra ready to pounce and rip its victim apart whilst the metal driven riffs scythe their way through the ear with caustic power.  Another song leaving one breathless it adds to a high octane start.

One almost expects things to drop level wise at some point as with most releases but this is not like most albums and with the likes of the prowling Zombies Of War with Sierra giving Brode Dalle a run for her money in a delivery of melodic snarling, The More I Bleed with its corrosive guitar abrasions, and the Otep tinged Tarnished Halo, igniting deeper and fuller pleasures, there is no chance of any lost of levels.

     Reclamation is a masterclass in punk rock/metal from first note to last but some tracks simply exhaust the passions such their towering quality. C and a Half is one such song, a sonic addition of rampaging riffs and riotous chorus assaults with the guys backing up Sierra perfectly, spite dripping from every note and syllable. The groove magnet Crucifiction alongside the delicious melody drenched Revisionist, easily rival in their diverse and imaginative ways to continue the immense satisfaction and clear variety on show within the combative cloak of sound. As with all songs they are openly contagious, rippling with hooks and grooves and outstanding vocal spreads from Sierra to fire up heart and passion.

The blistering tempest which is Stillborn Saviour, the ferocious Wake Up, and a reworking of an old song from their first album in No Gods No Masters, end what is easily one of the best albums this year, not only in punk rock or metal but across all genres. Reclamation is sheer excellence whilst Mongrel are at their strongest t ever and still one of the leading underground rock bands, though now with this album one expects their elevation to the big metal table to be imminent.

http://www.mongrelband.com/

RingMaster 18/09/2012

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