Vukovi – Self Titled

Even before seeing her, Janine Shilstone, the lead singer of Scottish outfit Vukovi feels like a blend of Barbarella and Harley Quinn; a bold vocal seduction of beauty and devilry, glamorous temptation and mischievous warrior which her visual presence and energy only accentuates. Vukovi matches that inescapable focal point with a sound and energy just as tenacious and creatively boisterous not forgetting hungrily imaginative. It is all in evidence within the bands self-titled debut album,  a rousing and enjoyably imposing roar of pop infested rock ‘n’ roll as colourful and attention grabbing as its vocal protagonist’s hair.

Emerging in 2010, Vukovi have earned an acclaim ridden reputation for their live prowess which has more recently seen them successfully play festivals such as at Download, T In The Park, Hard Rock Calling, Live at Leeds, and British Summer Time Festival as well as open for Highly Suspect late last year. Equally a clutch of singles, many bringing their thrills to the album, have lured increasing attention which now the band’s first full-length will surely explode into even eager life such it’s striking fun and adventure.

Vukovi, band and album truly explode into life with opener La Di Da, a recent single which leaves the speakers shaking and body exhausted. Immediately, as a strike of musical drama scythes across ears, the titanic presence and roar of Shilstone ignites the imagination, her vocal strength and character a glorious trespass as warm and inviting as it is formidable and striking. Bass growls and swinging beats are equally as dynamically riveting, Hamish Reilly’s riffs almost stabbing the senses as Shilstone continues to blaze. A song partly inspired by the singers almost obsessive appreciation of the relationship between The Joker and Harley Quinn, it is a volcanic pop and rock stomp with a touch of Djerv about, indeed the Norwegian band’s vocalist Agnete Maria Kjolsrud the closest comparison to Shilstone’s distinctive presence that we can suggest.

The track is immense, a plateau setter which the album does not always match from thereon in but certainly worries track by track starting with And He Lost His Mind. With steely riffs quickly chaining ears with their predacious intent, and  vocal cries and rebel rousing just one trap in its manipulation of ears and body, the track borders the carnal whilst unleashing a catchiness as invasive and inescapable as it’s primal urges. For no obvious reason, post punks Xmal Deutschland frequently come to mind during the song, well a pop version of them, the track carnivorous in its earthy air and sonic snarl.

Weirdo has a lighter pop flirtation to its body yet still riffs and bass add their already established barracuda growl and heavy prowl to the stirring tempting. Drummer Colin Irving jabs with relish as melodies swirl with their own raw magnetic flair around emotion lined vocals before the Blood Red Shoes meets Morningwood stroll of Target Practice involves more caustically shadowy endeavour. Again bassist Jason Trotter brings a deep dark edge to the affair with ears while the catchy tenacity of its predecessor is equally matched as Shilstone robustly serenades with increasing passion.

Through the Paramore-esque charm of Prey, though we would suggest that the Americans have never discovered the instinctive thunder in their sound as that which persistently frequents song and album, and the controlled but naturally frantic exploits of Bouncy Castle, ears are aroused and buffeted with feet unreservedly worked on with zeal as the imagination is fed a variety of textures and enterprise.

Vukovi is more often than not tagged as a pop rock band but already the album has established them as real rock ‘n’ roll with a skilled hand at creating the warmest moments of infectiousness and emotive intimacy as betrayed in the beguiling Wander; a song where vocals alone seem to come from an inner flame of personal revelation. Similarly, I’M WIRED has that potency of word and expression within its cauldron of lava-esque sound, mercurial rhythmic incitement, and melodic radiance. Both tracks beguile; their personalities from another place on the Vukovi spectrum of creativity and as powerful and compelling as anything around them.

Next up, Animal has things lustfully bouncing again, its rhythms a driving infection as spiny riffs grizzle alongside the ever radiant vocal lament of Shilstone who in turn is hugged by the siren calls of keys, while Boy George leaves little to be further desired with its Animal Alpha hued stew of sound and imagination if admittedly it does not quite ignite personal passion as much as other songs, their success rather than any deficiencies within it the reason.

He Wants Me Not is another which only pleases with its crystalline grace and rousing energy but cannot quite live up to the heights of certainly the likes of La Di Da and Wander, though by its close satisfaction is overflowing and hips weary but still willing to embrace the gentle swing and roaring heart of closing track Colour Me In.

Produced by long-time collaborator Bruce Rintoul, Vukovi is our introduction to its creators, an encounter which with no expectations of it, surprised, thrilled, and certainly across its first two thirds just blew us away; its final stretch only confirming a new lusty appetite for the band’s sound. We do not expect to be alone in that realisation and strength of enjoyment.

The Vukovi album is out now through LAB Records, physical copies available @ http://vukovi.tmstor.es and digitally @ http://labrecs.com/VUKOVI-iTunes

http://www.vukovi.co.uk/    https://www.facebook.com/vukoviband      https://twitter.com/Vukoviband

Pete RingMaster 22/03/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Love Frame – Forgiveness

love_frame_RingMasterReview

Creating a fiery and rousing alternative rock roar, Love Frame is a quartet from Milan beginning to whip up some eager attention for themselves. They have provided a potent persuasion in sound and craft for a while with their debut album Forgiveness self-released back in 2014, but a success recently given a bigger vehicle to tempt from with its global release via the excellent Italian label Sliptrick Records. Offering eleven varied and dynamically arousing songs, the seriously accomplished release has constantly picked up new recruits to its melodic adventure and shows no hint of slowing down as band and album continue to reach new ears.

Love Frame began in 2008, releasing a mini EP the following year which soon brought the band to the attention of the Italian underground scene. The single/video Night drew stronger attention with its release in 2010 while its successor Run With Us two years later, only confirmed the strength of the band in sound and resulting support. Live too, they have continued to grow and earn increasing praise in Italy and Europe. Beginning to record their first album in the December of 2013, Forgiveness was released in the October of 2014, the band consisting of vocalist Giulia Lupica, guitarist Laerte Ungaro, and drummer Giuseppe La Gala at this point with the trio assisted by bassist Giuseppe Greco, who became a permanent member post album, on the recording.

Influences for Love Frame include the likes of HIM, Placebo, Billy Idol, Alter Bridge, and Hardcore Superstar; flavours which in varying degrees show their inspirations across Forgiveness, starting with opener Halo. From its first second riffs spicily crowd ears as the harmonic tones of Lupica flame up, her voice a swiftly impressive and suggestive proposal. As rhythms find a firmer touch and the bass grumbles, the song opens up its virulent temptation with those early riffs still enjoyably nagging the senses. They never do relent in their great persuasion across the song, just changing their sonic hues as each twist and turn arrives within the striking Forever Still meets Djerv like triumph.

The following Mine has an even more fiery air and character to its presence; the bass again an appealing throaty temper to tenacious riffs and grooves as well as the rhythmic agitation cast by La Gala. Strolling along with a catchy swing to its gait, the song is an ear grabbing flame with Lupica’s vocals hanging emotive tones from every lively incident within its creative drama; an enthralling quality backed by the delicious imagination of guitar and bass.

coveralbum_RingMasterReviewA Stevie Nicks air accompanies the vocals as the melodic caress of Real Love Exhibition simmers and boils next; its initial lure a tender charm which flows across the song with moments of greater intensity and volatility providing sweeping crescendos across its magnetic landscape. It is a bewitching offering then eclipsed by the outstanding Lie To Lie. An early burst of vocal tempting sets up an eager appetite for the infectious blaze of voice and melodic dexterity, the song in many ways epitomises the album itself; easily accessible whilst being anthemically rousing and bursting with adventurous twists and imaginatively skilful turns.

Through the emotive and rhythmic drama of Heart Box and the melodically snarling Maybe, ears continue to be offered forceful captivation. The first of the pair is as charming as it is imposing, dark rhythms and emotionally charged melodies colluding with vocal flames and stirring enterprise, whilst the second also brings contrasting textures together for its own thrilling and galvanic incitement. There is grouchiness to the riffs and equally the basslines skirting their bait and a sizzling surface to Lupica’s ever impressing and enthralling vocals yet it is all woven into a melodic waltz as elegant as it is fierce.

Lupica offers a vocal kiss on the senses as she opens up Blue next, her emotively reflective caress a mesmeric coaxing into the slightly more feisty body of the song With her delivery rising in intensity to match the blossoming sounds, the song is pure seduction, one of the album’s major highlights and instant evidence of Love Frame’s tremendous ability to blend warm and tender textures with livelier and more imposing incitement.

Escape has band and listener lured into a much more tempestuous moment next, its opening rub of riffs alone enough to whet the appetite before the song expands into another memorable escapade which might not quite match up to its predecessors but leaves a want for more the only wish before Save Me provides a commanding serenade which again has a strong and enjoyable air of Danish rock band Forever Still to it.

Completed by the resourceful adventure and sounds of Start Looking For and finally the acoustic romancing of ears and imagination that is Rakkaus On Ikuista, Lupica as beguiling as ever, Forgiveness is a real treat which only increases the enjoyment felt and impressive thoughts nurtured in its company.  It may not be a strictly new release to ponder but it is one all melodic and alternative rock fans should really consider introducing themselves to.

Forgiveness is out now via Sliptrick Records through most online stores.

https://www.facebook.com/loveframepage    http://www.loveframe.net/   https://twitter.com/loveframeband

Pete RingMaster 04/05/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Venus DeVilo – Edgar Allan Ho EP

venus devile 2

Let us introduce you to the dark seductiveness of Venus DeVilo, an artist which preys on the passions like a sultry vampiric temptress bred from artistic alchemy raised from the fire of Imelda May, the snarl of Wanda Jackson, the energy of Fay Fife, and the devilry of Dick Venom, not forgetting a pinch of the infected essences of Horrorpops. Her creative world is one of shadowed carnivals, blood drenched burlesques, and dead borne vaudeville; her music pure sexual fascination and the Edgar Allan Ho EP the perfect introduction to the temptress before the arrival of her debut album Til Death Do Us Party, which we hope will see daylight in the near future, such the hunger now raging.

Hailing from the cemeteries of Dublin, Ireland, well probably a very nice comfortable abode but that hardly goes with the theme does it, Venus since 2011 has frequented and lit up rock/metal bars, Burlesque and Cabaret nights, open mic nights, and other numerous venues around her home city and much further across the country with her Goth-Shock anthems. The host of a series of popular horror themed gigs at the Twisted Pepper, Dublin which have become an almost monthly event, the sonic siren has captured the imagination of the internet media with her dramatic sounds, becoming the favourite sister of the likes of Elegant Savages webzine and the Bone Orchard podcast. Since its release the Edgar Allan Ho EP has drawn lustful attention and it is hard not to understand why as it stalks the minds darkest imagination and cinematic desires.

    Heartless Horseman steps up to tempt the passions first, its initial acoustic guitar stabs and instantly potent vocals the 602969_406666232785880_346571255_nentrance into lyrical and musical stalking of night terrors and their romantic suasion. There is a rockabilly feel to the song which reminds of The Creepshow whilst the excellent soaring vocal imagination and drama of its delivery brings thoughts of Agnete Kjølsrud and the band Djerv as well as Dominique Lenore Persi and Stolen Babies. Unafraid to twist and turn the gait and intent of the track, Venus also sends it into angular and less accessible turns which make suggestions of Lene Lovich. For all the references we offer though, do not make the mistake of assuming the sound of Venus DeVilo is not something quite unique to the graveyard walking beguiler.

The following Apocalips equally enthrals with predominantly acoustic guitar and vocals, though rhythms and bass prowl with devilment in their hearts and wide mischief on their grinning lips too. The song sways and swaggers with the wantonness of a fifties siren and the intimidating composure of instinctive rockabilly, but like the band references these pointers to the sound are only whispers of the full hue of flavours making up the wholly contagious shards of mesmeric aural delight.

Penny Dreadful Love is a song you know should play in the bowels of any mausoleum, its funeral caress punctured and kissed by the again outstanding voice and delivery of its creator. As the lady and song lace the senses and thoughts with their visceral evocation, Venus provokes another comparison, this time to Lesley Woods of Au Pairs in the way she at times slaps words and syllables into the ear. It is a style that is impossible to resist and one which makes the forthcoming album so exciting and this song a dark hearted romantic serenade.

The best song on the release comes with Ringmaster, and no we were not biased in our decision. The vibrant waltz of the colourful enchantment goes hand in hand with the dark carnivale touch, guitar and vocals swinging across the high tented air of the hypnotic mystique and elegant poise. It makes for a glorious soaring flight of theatrical imagination honed into a glorious sirenesque aural spectacular which leads the listener on a tightrope walk of tension and astounding adventure, and note for extra spice its core call around the chorus is a dead ringer for one of the greatest songs ever, Killer Klowns From Outer Space by The Dickies.

The release is completed by firstly Carmilla’s Return, a song which initially has the shadow clouded  ambience reminiscence of Bauhaus song Bela Lugosi’s Dead  and goes on to atmospherically swarm around the ear with the chants of the ‘dead’ harmonising behind the continually powerful and virulently enticing tones of Venus. Once more it is a song which transports you within the sweeping sinister mists of a cinematic painting whilst its successor Miss Frankenstein is simply an epidemically catchy romp with big bold rhythms shaping the cage you are enslaved within. It has a delicious toxicity which leaves you no option but to throw voice and feet into the twisted majesty.

Venus DeVilo is an artist who will scare as many as she seduces but one who will only ever leave a lingering mark in her shadow and if it is anything like the Edgar Allan Ho EP, this dank earth will be a better place.

https://www.facebook.com/VenusDeViloSongsFromTheStalkersPointOfView

10/10

RingMaster 24/07/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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The Bambi Killers: The Invisible EP

Want to meet the best punk rock band in the UK? A big claim to be laid at the feet of a band for sure but using their debut EP The Invisible as evidence, that is what Welsh band The Bambi Killers is at this point in time. With the wicked wantonness of Karn8, the sexy attitude of The Objex, the mischief of Dirt Box Disco, and the snarl of The Duel and L7, the quartet from Swansea have it all to go down in punk history. Big swinging riffs, raw energy, and vocals to send tingles where tingles have no right to be, The Bambi Killers is a riot in every sense and pleasure.

The band consists of Cluffy on vocals and rhythm guitar, guitarist Pumba and bassist Muppet with both providing backing vocals, and Bom on drums. Together they are a vibrant and action packed unit which leave nothing in the locker in their songs and we are reliably informed neither in their riotous live shows. They have the heart and essence which made the likes of Vice Squad, X-Ray Spex, Ruts, and The Adicts so important back in the day but fire it up with rock n roll which is instinctive and driven by the energy of today. Combined it makes for, certainly in the case of The Invisible EP, sounds which ignite all the passions and feed all the insatiable needs of any rock heart.

The release opens with the song of the year, Don’t Be Invisible. A confrontational taunt to the apathy of gig attendees and the no risk lone easy life attitude of people as a whole, the song is simply glorious. The song immediately erupts in suggestive riffs and growling bass lines whilst Cluffy challenges with word and intent.  Persistent and combative without delving into violence the track is a prowling devil which leaves nothing in doubt and provokes a reaction in all. The voice of Cluffy is a sultry mix of Dominique Lenore Persi (Stolen Babies) and Agnete Kjølsrud (Animal Alpha, Djerv) and sits alongside Kirst of Karn8 as the sexiest voice in UK rock. The ironic thing about the track is that those it is poking a finger at will be caught up in and aiding its anthemic might, safely from their bedrooms no doubt.

The following Get Up Get Out Get Off slams into the ear with immediate energy and enthusiasm. A more directly driven track it is a storm of feisty riffs and jabbing rhythms speared by a catchy addictive chorus and scorched guitar strikes. Like many punk classics it is simple and to the point whilst igniting the deepest satisfaction. Less intricate and varied as its predecessor, the song shows that The Bambi Killers can deliver rock n roll in any form with accomplishment and passion.

The Weight Of The Morning swaggers up next with attitude to the fore and forceful sounds to back it up. Like Spinnerette meeting Bikini Kill, the song crawls all over the senses like a lustful teenager though with more restraint than they can ever find. With an almost hypnotic lure the track is a feast of thumping beats and ear stripping riffs but when it drifts into a slow seductive aside it triggers ferocious fires and it has to be said the soaring sounds of Cluffy at this point brings a sign not only to the lips.

Hmmm moving on….. the release is completed by the outstanding Lights Out to complete a four point slab of excellence. With the urgency and melodic flavouring of early Clash or Vibrators, the song is another sing-a-long treat of style and skilled energy, and like its partners in crime another which one cannot resist desecrating with their own voice.

The Invisible EP is stunning and its creators a band set to turn UK punk rock, if not further afield, on its head. Watch out world The Bambi Killers are coming to get you.

http://thebambikillers.com/

RingMaster 04/09/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Interview with Stefan from Kontrust

One of the surprises and biggest finds  so far this year has come in the shape of Austrian metal band Kontrust, not that they are newcomers just that we have been blind to their impressive sounds until now. With release of their stunning new album Second Hand Wonderland, a deeply eclectic, wonderfully eccentric, and extremely brilliant release we are now enjoying the treats and pleasures the band brings with each and every song. We had the chance to find out more about the band and new album by having the pleasure of vocalist Stefan answering our eager questions.

Hello and many thanks for taking time to talk with us at The Ringmaster Review.

Firstly please just introduce Kontrust and its members.

Glad to have this interview. We’re a hard rocking 7 piece. There’s Agata, who does the vocals, not necessary the softer ones. Rhythm section is Roman on the drums and Manuel on the percussions. Those to supply the a** whooping beats. Gregor our bass player delivers the fat groove, while Robert and Mike kick in with the walls of guitars.

For those of us who have only just discovered you, yes we hold our shaking heads in shame, tell us when and how the band started.

We originally got together in 2001, released the first 2 EP’s and finally 4 years later in 2005 after a massive line up change, when Agata and Gregor joined in, our first long player We!come Home. That’s how it all began.

How has the band changed since those early days?

After the line up change we were a six-piece that started to be heard by an audience at clubs and festivals. We played tons of great shows and then in 2009 we put out a new album “Time To Tango” and then “Bomba” happened. Something we didn’t expect at all. It was our first big international breakthrough. We we’re really blown away. First high ranking chart positions in the Holland, then later in 2010 we received the AMADEUS Music Award in our home country of Austria.
The single and of course the album as well became really popular on the internet and received a substantial airplay on TV and radio. Things started to go really well. We got strong feedback from the international music press and a constant growing international fan base. In early 2011 we added our 7th member Mike (guitar) to the band. After massive touring we played Poland with our biggest show ever at the Prystanek Woodstock festival in front of over 300000 crazy Kontrust fans.
We spent over a year working on our new album “second hand wonderland” which is finally released.

With a sound that has diversity and flavour which encompasses all forms of rock, metal and distinct genres further afield what were and are the influences that helped and still add inspiration your inventiveness?

From Sepultura to Depeche Mode, from Iron Maiden to Bob Marley and so on. All kinds of musical styles from rock to jazz, to electronic music and experimental forms.

The songs  bring so much ingenuity and as mentioned invention to their richness it is hard to imagine where you start when writing them so please give us some insight into the song writing process within Kontrust.

There are a lot of ideas! Then of course time for our ideas to develop and legal and illegal helpers!
We jam, we record, we re-write and so on. We enjoy working with other songwriters as well in order to get a different approach. Working with so much passion, love, frustration and aggression all put into the music we do, we try many different approaches when it comes to writing the songs and leave all the musical barriers behind. And it the end…it sounds like we do.

Listening to your music one also has the thought that songs almost shape themselves that they evolve on their own with the band the guide at times. Is that so?

That really depends on the songs, some go really easy and are done in just a couple of hours, others occupy you for several weeks or even months.

You are about/have just released your brand new album Second Hand Wonderland. Where does the release go or has brought from you as a band that is different from your previous and acclaimed release Time To Tango?

Well compared to all other previous releases, it’s a worldwide release. For the first time, our stuff will be available in every corner of the world. We’re looking forward to the fact, that a lot of new people, who aren’t aware of us yet, will hear us.

Admittedly as I ask this I have only heard the singles Bomba and The Smash Song from the previous album, something that will be remedied soon, but there feels a stronger intensity and dare one say aggressive streak to Second Hand Wonderland. Is that the reality?

The music itself evolved and we brought our songwriting to a new level. It’s definitely more playful, twisted and very hooky. We enjoy writing stuff, that actually touches you, whatever you mood may be, doesn’t matter if it’s in your face, bashing stuff or more melodic parts.

How long was Second Hand Wonderland in the making?

The entire process took over a year to produce, record and finish. The entire time span of finish to start was well over two years.

The album has a soundscape that is almost like an aural version of the South Korean movie The Happiness of the Katakuris and in some ways of the film Who Framed Roger Rabbit with its reality blended background of cartoon and reality. Do you understand what I mean and if so do you agree haha?

Well Roger Rabbit I know and it never crossed my mind till now, but yes it’s somewhere in that neighborhood. Crazy and wicked.

The vocal blend of Agata and yourself is as distinctive and contrasting as it is seamless and an obvious and perfect fit. Was this as natural from the start when Agata joined the band or was there work needed to done to make it as impressive as it is?

There was an instant chemistry that worked for everybody at that point in time. We evolved quite a bit since then, got more creative and approached a different musical level. We grew together and got better at what we do.

Agata is from Poland originally, how did you find her?

She found us after we put an ad into a local music-mag. Back then, that was way to do it. She already lived in Vienna several years before, so all of us were in one big town. Just a matter of time until we found each other.

It is impossible to choose a favourite song on the album, each song stating a firm and undeniable claim, but is there any particularly track or moment on Second Hand Wonderland you are most proud of or simply have a stronger pleasure from?

All the tracks! I love them all. I guess it depends on the mood I’m in. Each songs kick’s ass. Or gets you a speeding ticket, because you slammed the gas to hard, while listening to the tunes.

With an album so eclectic and at times wonderfully eccentric you will sadly but obviously find some people that will find it hard or unwilling to venture into your world of imagination. Do you ever think about that when writing or simply declare it their loss?

Obviously it’s an impossible task to satisfy everybody. I guess this album will polarize a lot more than all previous ones. You either love it or hate it.

For all the innovation and imagination you bring to your music has there been ideas or sounds that even you have found hard to immerse into your music or simply unable to work with?

There are a couple of tracks where we were not sure, if should put them on the album or not. But in the end we’re really glad we put them on there, just because of that reason. They color it, they make it different. We like!

You have a great reputation for your live shows making sure everyone has an experience to remember but for you the performance at the Przystanek Woodstock festival last year in front of over 300,000 people must have been a real highlight?

It was absolutely crazy. Insane! Totally overwhelming! We had an instant connection with the crowd and they gave everything back tenfold. So they fired us up really well and we returned the favour. It was an amazing show full of mosh pits and walls of death and bodies surfing everywhere. Flags waving from a crowd that cheered so strong we couldn’t hear ourselves on stage. Very intense. Timeless memories.

An event and success like that must have given the band a stronger hunger and heart for more of the same and inspired your creativity?

For certain! Events like that give you such an intense boost in great vibes and positive energy. It satisfies you. You get the feeling…ok, we must be doing something right. But the most important fact is, you know that you can be grateful. Grateful for being able to play such an event, because of the fans who supported us.

As much as the catchiness to the songs and the irresistible hooks and lures you lay upon us, a lot of the infectiousness comes from feeling and seeing the fun the band has making and bringing the music and how it equals ours receiving it. This is as important to you as musicians as much as the music itself, having fun?

Oh yes. Having fun was always the major part of being in this band. We really enjoy what we do.  Playing live, jamming, recording, writing music, all of it J

Second Hand Wonderland is released on Napalm Records, a surprising link up though we all know they know good music when they hear it. How did the union come about?

Well we were looking for a label and found one. The really treat us well and take good care of us. They have been in the industry for ages and always proved themselves as a great long term solution that makes everybody happy.

Have you shows or a tour lined up to support the album? …and possible festival appearances in the year ahead?

Oh it will be a busy year! We go on tour with “Die Apokalyptischen Reiter” in early may through Germany, Switzerland and Austria. We have many shows planned for the summer festival season throughout Europe. Check out our homepage for exact dates and where they’re happening.

Thank you for sparing time to talk with us would you like to leave with any last words or thoughts?

Thank you for the interview. Big thanks to all our fans out there who support us. Without you we would not be here. This new album is dedicated to you. See you out there on tour J

Finally in our review we referenced the likes of Skindred, Dub War, Djerv, Rammstein, Mike Patton, De Staat, Guano Apes, Yello, 12 Stone Toddler and Shaggy to name a few to give an idea of the music and songs within Second Hand Wonderland. Any there you agree with haha and any we may have missed?

Guano Apes… haha…haha…haha. Why is that? 😉 – Oh yes, probably you forgot Justin Bieber…

Read the Second Hand Wonderland review @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2012/04/10/kontrust-second-hand-wonderland/

The Ringmaster Review 25/04/2012

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Kontrust: Second Hand Wonderland

 

As much as music delights, surprises and fuels our lives it can frustrate just as it has with metalers Kontrust.  Frustrate in the fact they have somehow managed to evade our attention here until now. Deeply eclectic, wonderfully eccentric, and extremely brilliant, the Austrian sextet unveils their new album Second Hand Wonderland to set the predominately lacklustre world of rock music on a collision course with inspired ingenuity. The album is amazingly impressive, perfectly unpredictable, and most of all complete fun.

Kontrust are classed as a crossover band though that term can be applied to the majority of bands these days, the new breed openly taking influences and missing multiple genres in to their sounds. Kontrust just do it better and from the widest palette available to create sounds that light up every thought, sense and part of the body. They are an infection there is no cure for, a contagion that one only wants to be consumed by. So how can we describe them for others still not aware? For this album take a healthy chunk of Skindred/Dub War and boil it up with chunks of Djerv, spices of Rammstein, Mike Patton, and Guano Apes and then pipe some Yello, 12 Stone Toddler and Shaggy through it and you are on the right recipe at least.

Second Hand Wonderland is the follow up to the previous acclaimed 2009 album Time To Tango which gave the two singles The Smash Song and the Dutch chart hitting Bomba. In between that and this third release (their debut album Welcome Home coming in 2006) the band received an Amadeus Austrian Music Award in the Hard & Heavy category as well as playing numerous shows and events including the Przystanek Woodstock festival in front of a reported 300,000. Now with the new album one can only see and hope that they hit the largest and widest attention, music needs the likes of Kontrust, the world needs them.

From the moment the album opens and charms it flies like a wild exhilarating wind across the senses, the songs though not particularly brief simply breeze past with the most open of pleasure and fun. They say time flies when one is enjoying oneself and Second Hand Wonderland is the strongest proof. Led by the brilliant dual and contrasting vocals of Stefan and Agata who is Polish, the songs sizzle and stomp with each and every note. With music that rages and bruises through to hypnotising and serenading to sirenesque effect and brought by the rest of the band in guitarist Robert, bassist Gregor, drummer Roman, and percussionist Manuel, the album is a sonic festival that wraps its manic arms around the body whilst drizzling mouth watering invention and bedlam into every pore.

The first single from the album Sock ‘n’ Doll opens the unforgettable experience with initial vocal melodies from Agata before Stefan brings his best Benji Webbe impression.  Within a few eager breaths the track erupts with a deep predatory bass and crushing riffs led forth by thumping rhythms. From a Skindred/Djerv rampage the song suddenly steps aside into a beautiful melodic pop moment from the stunning voice of Agata backed with crystalline melodies. Glittering electro sounds then sweep over with an industrial nip to them and in a little over a minute we have been turned inside out magnificently. The song ripples and pulsates to its end continuing the interchanges and already the incisive hooks of the band are in and attached deeply especially from the explosive metal/ska lead into the climactic end.

Every song could be mentioned in immense detail but to save a review running into pages let us just say each and every song is as inspiring and majestic as they are wonderfully crafted and delivered. The likes of Falling with an metallic Animal Alpha like infusion, the De Staat toned electro pop addiction that is Monkey Boy, and the energised rap/melodic grooved U Say What simply leave one grinning from ear to ear whilst the magic engages fully. If you have not begun joining in by the fourth song a check of the pulse is needed.

The peaks of what is a constant elevated high include the songs The Butterfly Effect, Bad Betrayer, Raise Me Up…… ok basically everything. The Butterfly Effect is a definite highlight and a song that Bow Wow Wow might be making if the band was starting out now, its tribal instinctive rhythms and flow awash with warm and gracefully beckoning vocals from Agata. The wicked sinister stomp of Rasputin and the punk thrusting Adrenaline showing Agata can be as harsh vocally as stunning, not to forget the aggressive maelstrom of intensity Hey DJ! leave one just as desperate to dive back into their depths as those songs mentioned and those left for your investigation.

     Second Hand Wonderland released on Napalm Records (yes a surprise here too but they know great music) is easily one of if not the best album heard so far this year. It is magnificence at its most impressive and sets up Kontrust to be your new favourite band.

Ringmaster 10/04/2012

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Wykked Wytch – The Ultimate Deception

With intent as devilish as the band’s name suggests comes the new album from extreme metal band Wykked Wytch. Dripping malice and unbridled intensity The Ultimate Deception is an undeniable caustic rub on the senses, its acidic melodies, threatening riffs, and badgering rhythms manipulative as they toy and tease, and overall it is one fine experience. Bringing a mix of black metal, death and thrash infused with a technical prowess and industrial like steel ,the album grabs hold before rupturing and unleashing its formidable and consuming sounds. They sound like a sinister alchemist’s invocation formed from the tattered corpses of Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir with the bones of a Djerv, Otep and Dominanz thrown in for extra spice, malevolent, nasty and entrancing. The Ultimate Deception is far from perfect but the lasting emotion at its close is to dive right back into its intimidating charms and often.

From South Florida Wykked Wytch formed in the mid 90’s with their debut album Something Wykked This Way Comes self-released in 1996. This was the starting point of keen interest and growing acclaim for the band firstly with the album being picked up for a re-release by Demolition Records in Europe, then in 2001 with the release of follow-up Angelic Vengeance. Successful European tours and further albums releases in Nefret (2004) and Memories of A Dying Whore (2008) has only enhanced and cemented the band as an intriguing and impressive proposition live and in the studio, never dull or predictable and always challenging in the best way. Current line-up for The Ultimate Deception consisting of the majestic tones and vocal ability of front woman Ipek, the stunning guitar skills of Nate Poulson, session drummer Kevin Talley, and Salvatore Lopresti on keys have unleashed a beast that takes charge of the ear to abuse and violate as it equally engages and inspires. The album is unpredictable and at times chaotic and across its length wavers in consistency but when it is peaking it is glorious and within its lows strongly satisfying.

Released via Goomba Music February 14th the album starts on a distinct high with opener ‘Birthing The Beast’ and plays as the title suggests. Coming into view with peaceful almost angelic charm the track mesmerises before black hearted tones take over. Pounding challenging riffs and punchy rhythms rage whilst Ipek shows she has lost none of her impressive range and skill. Her delivery here and throughout the album bring a jaw dropping mix of clean and serpentine vocals into a merger with bestial and venomous then going deeper into the infernal pit for guttural and virulent. With most bands a vocalist of this talent would override the sounds, prove too distracting but upon The Ultimate Deception there is no fear with the stunning guitar skill of Poulson. He guides the ear to the whole sound with incisive play, scorched melodies and beauteous balance to the harshness elsewhere, ably and impressively aided by Talley and Lopresti.

As mentioned the album ebbs and flows a little, mainly from the likes of the title track, ‘Prayer Of The Decapitated’ and ‘Abolish The Weak, very pleasing and strong songs that they are but not having the essences to sweep one up into their muscular arms and give something that lingers. That is highlighted when the tracks that really hit the mark unveil their quality alongside these great but unmemorable songs. ‘Serpents Among Us’ is easily the best track on the album, its spite and bile oozing from every pore. Poulson pummels and mesmerises throughout, his heavy riffs an incessant intrusion tempered by glorious razor sharp melodies and thoughtful creativity. Talley barges through the ear with bullying rhythms and Ipek does what she does best, give her all with more varied and irresistible vocals.

Despised Existence’ and the closing ‘Eyes Of The Vulture’ come close to matching ‘Serpents Among Us’, the first a bitter declaration that plays the senses with a force only instinct and Nature can bring, its melodic moments like being in the eye of the storm, a peace and melodic assurance waiting to be blasted apart. ‘Eyes Of The Vulture’ is a predatory monster of a track in intent and riffs, a withering hate fuelling the sound. A maelstrom of energy, sounds and emotions it picks the ear clean leaving one breathless at its departure. There is a cover of Metallica’s ‘Fade To Black’ included within the album too and if not quite up to the original Wykked Wytch have given it their own unique and agreeable touch, refusing to go the route most do of simply doing a version of.

The Ultimate Deception is an excellent album that does not quite reach its potential to be a classic, but it is easily a release that will be welcomed and played consistently, all one can ask of a record right?

Ringmaster 07/02/2012

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