Sober Truth – Psychosis

Less than a handful of months in and 2019 is already looking like it could go down as a major year for startling releases. Adding to the growing reasons why we are suggesting that possibility is the new album from German metallers Sober Truth. It is a snarling, writhing tempest of the band’s already individual progressive groove metal but has breached a whole new expanse of varied sound driven by an imagination living a up to its title; in short Psychosis is one dramatically thrilling engagement.

Formed in 2007, Siegburg hailing Sober Truth has established themselves as one of Europe’s most intriguing propositions across a trio of previous albums starting with Riven in 2009. The quartet has grown and nurtured their presence and reputation release by release but fair to say major spotlights and recognition are set to be stirred given the required opportunity with Psychosis. The successor to their previous well-received full-length Locust ▼  Lunatic Asylum, there is no escaping a new maturity and bolder imagination to the band’s songwriting and sound within Psychosis or the richer fusion of flavours making up its boisterous canvas.

The release opens with Solitude, the song initially brewing its attack in the background before crowding ears in a rapacious but controlled swirl of riffs and rhythms. A potent coaxing, it in turn soon centres its trespass and drives across the senses as eager grooves align with hungry riffs, the vocal antagonism of guitarist Torsten Schramm soon in league with the ferocious incitement. Instantly contagious and increasingly unpredictable as melodic strands and invention entangle in the fury while variety enhances the magnetism of vocals, the song just blossoms by the second. Already hints of different styles and spicing are at play, stronger in some moments than others but all adding to the track’s potent imagination and character.

It is a stirring rousing start easily backed by the sonic tapestry that is Akardos. Classic metal lined progressive wiring initiates the temptation, a great slim but rich prowling gait emerging before those early hues inflame the melodic enterprise of Schramm and lead guitarist Aaron Vogelsberg. Darker, heavier shadows soon infest the contagion, the esurient beats of Sam Baw uniting with the magnetic pulsation and lure of Jules RoCkwell’s bass. New threads of sound and styles continue to be keenly woven into the magnetic web before Dark Valley takes over the enslaving of ears and appetite. There is a bedlamic edge to Schramm’s vocals which quickly captured the imagination, one which only escalates across the song as musically too it nurtures an anarchic pandemonium within its skilfully bred infestation; the result which is maybe something akin to Dog Fashion Disco and Mudvayne meets The New Jacobin Club but is truly unique to Sober Truth.

The brief atmospheric ally portentous instrument of Ode To Reality leads to the authoritative bait of Riven which subsequently embraces thrash metal bred enticement and blackened shadows to its creative breast. As all tracks though, it evolves and spreads into a diversity of flavours and endeavour, the song as the band’s sound, wonderfully difficult to truly pin down though there is something of a Fear Factory tint to it.

The progressively flamed, death metal flushed Horizon and the nu/groove metal webbing of Utopia only cement the album’s potency and temptation; both unforgettable escapades forged in the diverse furore of sound and imaginative craft from across the whole band before Sober (ReArranged) reveals a whole new side and character to a song previously found on the last album. As catchy in temperament and intent as the original, the song flourishes in the fresh creative winds which race through the band’s growth in sound.

Dying Dreams follows bringing tenebrific clouds over melodic and harmonic intimation before the album’s title track seduced ears with its enthralling mesh of voracious metal and gothic rock equipped with almost malevolent grooves and post punk starkness. At times the song sparks thoughts of The Mission and Sisters Of Mercy, in other moments erupts in an insatiable squall of dissonance and instability. The track is superb, and one of the album’s biggest highlights.

The album concludes with an Unplugged rendition of Collapse, it too a song first introduced on Locust ▼ Lunatic Asylum. Whether intended as a mere bonus slice of Sober Truth goodness or not it provides a wonderful conclusion to Psychosis which is very easy to be greedy over.

Sober Truth may have still been an unnoticed proposition to many but surely that will change thanks to Psychosis. Quite simply the album is a real pleasure of originality and heterogeneity which deserves all the attention and plaudits it will hopefully get.

Psychosis is available now @ https://sobertruth.bandcamp.com/album/psychosis

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Pete RingMaster 14/03/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Skulk, The Hulking – Afterbirth Of A Nation

It is fair to say that 2018 has ended its tenure with some of its biggest highlights release wise among which Afterbirth Of A Nation has to be one of if not the most compelling and enjoyable. The second album from one man project, songwriter and satirist Skulk, The Hulking, the offering is an imagination rousing, ear gripping slab of unique enterprise which had us drooling in no time.

The successor to his 2015 debut album, In Sickness and in Health, the new encounter this time sees Skulk joined by creatively like-minded musicians in guitarist Ashley Levine, drummer Fernando Morales, and bassist Vern Woodhead. In turn this has brought a far broader palette to the bold and adventurous escapade seeded within its predecessor. The band has merged the electronic, hip hop, and punk of that first encounter with the feral and ferocious antics of metal in its varied guises within Afterbirth Of A Nation; the result something akin to a rabid fusion of Dog Fashion Disco, System Of A Down, Five Star Prison Cell, and Agent Orange but distinct in its character and forcibly magnetic incitement.

Afterbirth Of A Nation opens up with Hide Your Children.  Straight away sauntering in, the bass begins luring ears with the dark jazzy mystique of the song blossoming alongside. Soon after the unique and captivating tones of Skulk unveil the drama and mischief of his words as the Bauhaus like lure of the encounter boils up into a metal inflamed blaze. Settling back down, new hues and enterprise rise up around the infectious rhythmic stroll and hip hop nurtured vocals; it all making for an irresistible introduction to the release.

It is a resourceful and striking beginning only accentuated by next up He Who Finishes First Is Finished First. Leading with teasing guitar bait, the song swaggers in with eager rhythms and a vocal prowess which just made us want to get involved. It is simultaneously composed yet manic, every second a devious seed and ingredient to an adventure which swiftly got under the skin echoing those earlier mentioned clues to the Skulk, The Hulking adventure.

The track is simply superb and quickly matched by the devilish swing of By Hook Or By Crooked Automatic Assault Rifle. Like a psychotic carousel it swirls in ears, from time to time slowing momentarily to add fresh adventure and revelry around another potent lyrical trespass before scooping up the listener in its carnival-esque hunger.

The darker, predacious presence of Grind (Money Crotch) intimidates as it seduces with its slow swing, bass and guitar portentous in their tempting before its lid is lifted and ferocious discontent spills out. It too is just a moment in the track’s mercurial landscape, a captivating web of sound and vocal enterprise exposed and expanded by the cycle before making way for the tenebrific grumble of Joe Candidate with again Skulk sheer magnetism at its heart. A sombre slow and simple crawl with bursts of carnal irritability, the song just seduced from start to finish, much as the album itself.

Through the mischievous punk inflamed swing of Cancer and the funk ‘n’ jazz saunter of Make It Sew, an already rising addiction to the album was simply escalated, creative devilment and vocal tenacity their inescapable fuel while This Commercialism Sure Means Business… brings an unhinged, indeed certifiable blaze of punk and blues funk tinged rock ‘n’ roll full of derision and tenacity which similarly had us leaping to feet while giving an eager roar.

And the goodness just simply continues; The Proper Way To Fail bringing back the meandering but purposeful amble the band so easily breed to entice and ensnare ears and appetite with. Unapologetically infectious especially within its delicious chorus, the track was manna to the imagination before Add Her All had the same also eating out of its creative rock ‘n’ roll hands and in turn We, The Terrorism enticed physical spasms and attitude soaked vocal involvement in its virulent nonconformist furor.

Afterbirth Of A Nation ends with the unstable temperament and exploits of May It Never End; a loco of sound and boldly resourceful enterprise which left only a hunger for more as it sealed quite simply one of last year’s major highlights and an encounter no one should let slip by.

Afterbirth Of A Nation is out now @ https://skulkthehulking.bandcamp.com/album/afterbirth-of-a-nation

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Pete RingMaster 04/01/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Ninjaspy – Spüken

It is fair to say that Spüken, the new album from Canadian metallers Ninjaspy has been a long time in the making. With its ten tracks spanning a decade and its recording beginning late 2014, the band’s second full-length has had time and attention given its creation and character; it all reflected and more in its thoroughly enjoyable and imaginatively dynamic adventure.

Consisting of a trio of blood brothers in vocalist/guitarist Joel, bassist Tim, and drummer Adam Parent, Ninjaspy has honed a fusion of groove infested metal, reggae, and other heavy natured flavours which now roar mightily within Spüken. It is a web of sound which grabbed attention in the Vancouver threesome’s 2007 debut album Pi Nature and even more so in the following EP, No Kata six years later. Their new offering is the natural and lofty evolution of these earlier successes; a release weaving occasionally familiar but always unpredictable proposals which tease, flirt with, and persistently arouse the senses and imagination.

Linking up once more with producers GGGarth Richardson (Rage Against the Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Mudvayne, Gallows) and Ben Kaplan (Biffy Clyro, Atreyu, Haste the Day), Ninjaspy gets the album under way with the single Speak, a track certainly sparking anticipation of Spüken with its release last August. Its relatively low key Australasian entrance cored by an emerging bait loaded groove soon leaps into a smouldering swinging stroll with more than an air of Dog Fashion Disco meets Faith No More to it. Subsequent raw outbursts come loaded with ferocity and zeal, trespassing with the same catchiness as the song’s mellower teasing where rhythms dance and the bass grumbles.

It is a stirring start swiftly eclipsed by Shuriken Dance. It too shows restraint in its initial coaxing, melodic twang and rumbling rhythms colluding in an understated but bold tempting before a web of sonic and creative espionage binds ears and appetite. A punk roar escapes the throat of Joel, his aggression matched by the punching beats of Adam and both tempered by the melodic exploits of guitar. Their calm is as deceptive as the raw touch they temper, each beckoning ears into a waiting System Of A Down-esque bedlam of psychotic sound and invention. The track is pure virulent infectiousness, drawing body and voice into union with its own twisted exploits.

The following Brother Man warmly grabs ears next like a collusion of Ruts and 12 Stone Toddler; its stalking groove and melodic coaxing a delicious mix soon embracing a reggae and metal induced tempest in turn proceeding to entangle all earlier aspects within its similarly and seriously catchy landscape. The further into its depths the more deranged twists show their voracious enticements as too mellower melodic but no less certifiable essences. Thorough captivation, it is more than matched in aberrant adventure by Dead Duck Dock. The song also follows those before it by making a relatively gentle melody woven entrance but also one soon showing argumentative discord in sound and intensity as its groove metal instincts rise. With hues of Slipknot and Society 1 to its growl, the song is a roar of creative irritability and intrigue never resting for long in one flavour or mood.

The outstanding Become Nothing is a loco romp revelling in a sound and imagination something akin to again SOAD  this time in league with Kontrust while What!! infests ears and satisfaction with a Skindred/American Head Charge scented escapade though as every reference used as a hint, it is a potent hue in a Ninjaspy bred roar.

The sweltering infection fuelled funk of Jump Ya Bones soon spins its own particular tapestry of rich flavours and various styles as it flirtatiously bounds through ears before Grip the Cage provides a more even tempered shuffle though it too expels moments of incendiary emotion and energy. They both equally push the diversity of the album and songs, that ten years of writing and maturing giving birth to Spüken skilfully shaping their varied designs.

The melody rich and increasingly agitated Azaria stretches that variety yet again, the song deceptively straight forward initially, luring ears into its own expectation defeating maze before Slave Vehemence brings it all to a thrilling close with a cauldron of capricious invention and impulsive ideation wrong-footing and exciting ears at every turn.

It is a fine end to an increasingly pleasing album unveiling new nuances and moments with every listen even after double figure plays. It is a release sure to harass global attention the way of Ninjaspy but more so leave new legion of fans lusting for their sound and presence.

Spüken is released April 14th

http://www.ninjaspy.net/    https://www.facebook.com/ninjaspy/    https://twitter.com/ninjaspy

Pete RingMaster 12/04/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Peekaboo Primate – Misanthropical

PP_RingMasterReview

Bedlam suggests an element of chaos to its madness, an uncontrolled essence which certainly does not fit the character of Misanthropical, the new album from Finnish alternative metallers Peekaboo Primate. Yet in every other way the word best describes the creative diversity and inventive loco of the band’s irresistible incitement. The release holds ten tracks which twist and turn like a kinetically sonic kaleidoscope weaving an eclectic array of flavours into their own distinct imagination fuelled escapades.

Peekaboo Primate is like the joker in the pack of modern metal; not the fool playing with a lunatic demeanour just for attention, though mischief is never far from their imagination and songs, but the bold protagonist using unpredictable exploits to ignite the senses and inspire thoughts towards, in the case of Misanthropical, a world where “as ugly, brutal and harsh but sometimes also beautiful as it is – everybody wants to be part of the greatest party of our time before our species go extinct solely by our own hand.

Hailing from Tampere, and originally under the name of Airhead, Peekaboo Primate was formed in 2004 by vocalist Lauri Lepokorpi and drummer Riku Airisto. The original line-up also included Hannu Kumpula and Tuomas Kumpula up to the release of the band debut album Peek-a-boo Primates in 2011. Following its release, the band changed its name to Peekaboo Primate with its personnel subsequently completed by the addition of guitarist Matti Auerkallio and bassist Juhani Rytkönen.

The time between albums has seen the band’s sound evolve and become even more defined in its real uniqueness, though if looking for a hint to what band and Misanthropical offer, imagine a mix of Dog Fashion Disco, American Head Charge, and Five Star Prison Cell with a touch of 6:33 to it. From its first heartbeat the album has ears and attention gripped; Spray Tan opening things up with an assault of tenaciously unpredictable rhythms and hungry riffs as wiry grooves wind around their thick bait. The vocals of Lepokorpi are just as dynamic and impressive, carrying an air of Chad Gray to their rousing presence at times as keys and guitars create a masterfully tempestuous and exotically dramatic theatre of sound

PP_Cover_RingMasterReviewIt is a thumping start matched in quality and irresistibility by the psychotically cultured Ha Ha. Sonic and rhythmic stabs court vocal shenanigans from the start with heftier beats soon adding their instable intent to the quickly compelling mix. Slithers of jazz and groove metal flirt with avant-garde psychosis as the track grows and writhes as well as anthemically incites in equal measure before allowing Nothing the opportunity to prey on an already submissive appetite and imagination for the release. The song saunters along with flirtatious and intimidating hues to the fore, Lepokorpi like the ringleader in its midst as his narrative challenges and highlights the issues theming the magnetic proposal.

From its initial intriguing low key start, The Unleashed soon unveils a pulsating and sinister body of synth bred sound as exotic and sultry hues in female voice and melodic suggestiveness add an alluring invitation. The challenging words of Lepokorpi probe and echo in the background before with unpredictability as enjoyable and prominent as ever, the track slips into a reggae cultured shade of character, though it is just one moment in the revolving journey of the encounter.

An addictive dose of pop ‘n’ roll grips next in the outstanding shape of Heroine, its catchy colour led by the great guest vocals of Noora Louhimo from Battle Beast. The rest of the song is a predacious prowl with the again effect coated tones of Lepokorpi stirring up riffs and rhythms between the flames of pop temptation. Within moments, it is sure to have bodies bouncing and voices fully involved, as ours, before Mama Earth rumbles as sonic spices zoom in and out across its growling tone and nature; that American Head Charge reference coming to the fore here, across a wonderfully grouchy yet fiercely inviting proposition.

As its predecessor, Star has a more ‘straight forward’ adventure to its body, though as the last treat too, there are plenty of unexpected and seamlessly woven together twists to catch out expectations and enthral the imagination, especially when uncaging some creative aberration midway. It’s more composed sanity and boldness is contrasted by the delicious raw frenzy of Peekaboo Primate, the track a demented slice of noise rock infested avant-garde/nu metal mania and quite irresistible as it stalks and bruises the senses.

Some of its punkiness survives in the cantankerous luring of ears by Follow My Lead, though the song is unafraid to bring some pop seeded melody and contagion into its imposing metal shuffle between even more irritable and aggressive trespasses.

Ending with the melodic caress of 291112, an emotively suggestive instrumental which fits easier into the scheme of the album with each full listen, Misanthropical is ripe pickings for the imagination and enjoyment. It offers a canvas and adventure which persistently provides fresh twists and surprises even after numerous listens. We will admit, we had not heard of Peekaboo Primate previously, a band which right now it is hard with their music to get out of our heads.

Misanthropical is released on CD and digitally May 12th via Inverse Records.

http://www.peekabooprimate.com/   https://www.facebook.com/peekabooprimate  https://twitter.com/peekabooprimate

Pete RingMaster 12/05/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Anti-Clone – The Root Of Man

Anti-Clone_RingMasterReview

If asked at the start of the year which was the one release we were most anticipating in 2016 there would have been no pause of thought involved in saying the debut album from UK metallers Anti-Clone. They had us addictively hooked into their own distinct nu-metal bred, psyche twisting sound from the outstanding Hands Sewn Together EP, which had its highly successful national release back in 2014. Its tracks were a regular part of our podcasts too, finding the same eagerness across a horde of other shows and stations with the mainstream media soon waking up to the band’s emergence in turn. Now two years on and quickly following reputation cementing and pushing performances supporting Mushroomhead and Sanguine on certain dates of their recent UK tour, the Boston hailing quintet are poised to unleash The Root Of Man.

The question was never going to be would the album live up to expectations seeded in the last EP and the hefty fuss around the band, that just seemed to be a given in thoughts, but would their music have grown and evolved enough to make them a real contender to stir up the metal scene beyond the UK as earlier songs suggested. Well, the answer is found within the first few tracks of the eleven song incitement alone. Together they give a rousing confirmation with their creative roar, only being forcibly backed by the rest of an album which in some ways continues where the Hands Sewn Together EP left off but immediately shows a craftier and imaginatively more exhilarating, not forgetting broader, weave of styles and flavours in its boldly sculpted songs. The Root Of Man is Anti-Clone on a new mature imagination drenched plateau from songwriting to sound to presentation. There is inventive confidence and fierce adventure at every turn as the scent of inspirations from the forefathers of the nu-metal scene are again embraced, twisted, and honed into openly fresh textures within the band’s own fascinating experimentation.

art_RingMasterReviewFormed in 2011 but really finding its creative mojo once the current line-up was in place a couple or so years later, the Lincolnshire band soon sparked a hungry and swiftly growing fan base for their dramatically addictive sound which reached its first pinnacle in the Hands Sewn Together EP. Live too, the band has grown to be one of Britain’s prime incitements, sharing stages with the likes of American Head Charge, Kindred, ESO, Breed 77, Sworn Amongst, Maplerun, Evil Scarecrow, and Bloodshot Dawn amongst many along the way. Linking up with EP producer Matt Hyde (Machine Head, Trivium, Fightstar, As I Lay Dying and Slipknot) again for The Root Of Man, the quintet of brothers Drew (drums/ programming) and Peter ‘Mr Clone’ Moore (vocals), Conor (guitar) and Liam Richardson (guitar), and Mike Bradbury (bass) are seemingly poised to set their place at the head table of the UK and indeed European metal scene.

Dually looking at “the beginning of the human race, starting with Eve committing original sin which resulted in us being cast out of Eden” and symbolising the band’s beginning as a band; “These are the roots that we are planting to fully establish ourselves as our own entity, to establish ourselves as Anti-Clone“, the pledge music funded The Root of Man immediately grips ears and imagination with its title track. It is a brief but inescapable lure into the album, an as expected apocalyptically ambience clouded scene setter which is soon crawling portentously over the senses as steely bass and toxic grooves wrap the enjoyably familiar tones of Mr Clone. Its dark tempest rolls straight in to Deracinated which seamlessly draws ears into its own animus of intent and creative rapacity. Straight away an industrial toning merges with the schizophrenic nu-metal prowess which flows from the band, Society 1 meets Mudvayne like essences adding to the imposing character and trespass of the fearsome magnetism on offer. Ebbing and flowing in raw confrontation, the track bewitches ears and stirs up the appetite, setting them in an unfamiliar and disorientating yet welcoming blend of old school aired modern imagination for a seriously rousing slab of predacious incitement.

SwitchBlade growls at and brawls with the senses next, vocals from Mr Clone and the Richardson brothers almost pestilential in their psyche invading animosity as the sounds around them rise and fall with constant inhospitable adventure. Melodic calms and percussive invention are just as potent lures in the agitated imagination and landscape of the song; all colluding to savage and spellbind before A Sight For Sewn Eyes prowls ears with Fear Factory/Spineshank tinged ingenuity. As replicated across the whole of the album, every moment of the song brings greed breeding drama to the listener, Mr Clone showing his clean melodic tones are as fiercely agreeable as the rawer psychosis fuelled side of his vocal character. The song persistently twists and turns from the start before reaching a bedlamic crescendo that never truly departs once erupting as the song leaves on a groove bound web of suggestiveness.

With a constant range of peaks across its landscape as momentous and memorable as the Alps, B9 adds another with its Manson-esque textured slice of predatory heavy metal whilst Twisted Neck entangles ears in the intoxicating vines of toxic grooves which wrap a calmer melody hued serenade beneath a thickly tempestuous and predatory climate of sound and personality. Both tracks present a tapestry of styles and textures, the first also flirting with steampunk like elements where, not for the last time, Anti-Clone have a touch of the now sadly demised Shanklin Freak Show to them. Its successor flirts with a colouring which is more 6:33 meets Dog Fashion Disco though as always, it is hard to pin down a flavour such the Anti-clone ingenuity as they align spices to their own enthralling ideation.

A great punk metal hue seeps into the riveting and mercurial soundscape of Mechanical Heart, the track as welcoming as it is fearsome with sinister keys and avant-garde devilry lining another almost rabid mix of nu and industrial metal carrying at times more than a whisper of death metal to it. Compelling to the extreme, the track simply wants an apocalypse based Hellraiser movie to grace to see its majesty totally fulfilled, though fair to say there is no time to linger in thought with any song during the album as here Feed The Machine steals attention instantly with its vocally anthemic and physically bracing proposal. Repetition in word and sound within the track is a glorious igniting of instincts; that simplicity employed in another rich weave of roving grooves and a cantankerous rhythms skilfully sewn into an irresistibly unpredictable but dramatically galvanic onslaught. Like early Korn in some ways and Slipknot in others, the track still stands distinctively tall as another unique Anti-Clone ravaging of the senses and passions.

ComaSpace brings a moment of relative calm and the chance to catch breath next though unsurprisingly it too has irritability to its tone and dark imposing edge to its atmosphere. Vocally Mr Clone entices ears with a clean delivery as melodies merge acoustic and more aggravated hues into the Deftones spiced offering. Again the band has ears and appetite enthralled, though even being another impressive moment within The Root Of Man, it gets overshadowed a little by Astaroth. The band’s new upcoming single, the song is sonic slavery; the reason mosh pits and lustful reactions were bred into life. As barbarous as anything on the release and the most virulently contagious assault too, the track has everything you need to know about Anti-Clone and whether they are the tonic to your personal musical passions.

Completed by the grisly presence and voice of Sentinel, a sonic inferno of psyche burrowing riffs and grooves amidst an insatiable and concussive tempest of sound and attitude, The Root Of Man is the declaration of a new major force in UK and undoubtedly European metal. Anti-Clone is set to be one of those guiding their journeys over the following years whilst with this superb release, the band has placed themselves right there in stature alongside a great many of those who have inspired their adventure to date.

The Root Of Man is released 29th April  via PHD (Plastic Head Distribution) with more information @ http://www.anticlonehq.com

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Pete RingMaster 04/04/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Steel Flowers – Kleptocracy

Steel Flowers_RingMaster Review

According to the press release, concept album “Kleptocracy is looking around and suddenly understanding what Orwell meant. Kleptocracy is mind control told by Aldous Huxley in Brave New World. Kleptocracy is the distaste ensuing and the attempt to destroy all, but it is also the final realization, just like an oxymoron, to be who you want to destroy.” What the words omit to mention is that the new album from Italian band Steel Flowers is also one fascinating and increasingly compelling proposition. Sculpted on a fusion of hard rock and alternative metal, to simplify things, the ten track incitement entices the imagination with an unpredictable bedlam of flavours and styles woven into a theatrical canvas. Initially it challenges ears and thoughts with that same off-kilter tapestry but over time builds into a lingering persuasion which draws keen attention time and time again. Kleptocracy will not be for everyone but if the thought of System Of A Down meets Turbonegro meets Dog Fashion Disco appeals then this just might be a thrilling way to end the year on.

Formed in 2002 by vocalist Riz, the Milan band quickly hit the live scene before releasing a series of EPs over time. Line-up changes ensued before Steel Flowers settled down to record and release debut album 12 Tales From The Life Of Mr Someone in 2009. Described as a mix of hard and street rock, its well-received uncaging led to the band appearing at Faenza’s MEI, an event for independent labels that same year. 2011 saw the band begin work on Kleptocracy and the emergence of a new direction and invention in the band’s sound as alternative metal influences, and more, began ripening within their imagination. Fair to say the fiercely diverse album had a troubled creation but finally it gets its unveiling via Red Cat Records to ultimately captivate and impress.

cover_RingMaster Review     It opens with Oxymoron 4991 and an initial tempting of electronic mist conjured by Uzzo punctured by a moment of distorted vocals. There is a portentous edge to that first coaxing, one which ripens as guitars and rhythms bring forth their own dark hues, though within a few more haunting moments a warmer light and energy erupts to change the shade of the song again. The guitars of Alex and Adriano are soon dancing and flirting with ears whilst still providing darker drama to the broadening sonic narrative of the track. Once fully into its infectious stride, attention and appetite are enslaved by the song, thoughts similarly bewitched as it proceeds to slip from spicy grooves and niggly hooks into mellow harmonies and avant-garde twists. The vocals of Riz provide variety to match the sounds too, clean croons and gnarly roars offered in numerous ways and backed well from elsewhere within the band. It is fair to say, as the album, the track took time and a few plays to really click in ears and emotions, but straight away had them fully enticed and wanting to delve deeper into its warped adventure.

The dirtier rock ‘n’ roll of Pauper comes next, the feisty beats of drummer Kiry potent bait alongside the throaty tone of Yano’s bass. The latter soon reveals its swinging moves though, a funk infused revelry flushing through the song with a touch of Red Hot Chili Peppers to its colouring, though the earlier heavier elements still court these tangy exploits. It all helps fuel a quickly contagious proposition with a virulence matched in kind by that bred in the punk ‘n’ roll stomp of its successor I’ll Kick Your Ass. Straight away the song’s tenacious and tempestuous roar teases with a B-52s-esque groove which reappears throughout alongside Sex Pistol like hooks, both inflaming the raw and brawling heart of the excellent track.

Hallways Of Illusions serenades ears with its melodic flames and emotive textures next, it a gentle croon but with a fiery nature as, like all songs, it involves an array of creative spices and evolves with perpetual regularity, though not as dramatically as other proposals within Kleptocracy, such as Break My Blues with its intoxicating sonic liquor around prowling rhythms. Living up to its name in tone, the track is an enticing engagement though also not quite escaping the shadow of others like the following Tired And Bored. A great grizzled bassline sets the song up; a web of voices and guitar spun endeavour then wrapping ears as another funk inspired intent infests the rhythms and the hard/classic rock enterprise of the song. Again it is a track which needs time to blossom in thoughts but only heads to the providing of rich pleasure for the listener to embrace.

Through the psychotic character and vaudevillian heart of the outstanding Ruled By Evil Men and the infectious dystopian predation of Workin’ Monkey, the album hits a new plateau of persuasion, both tracks casting their own unique and engrossing theatres of sound and suggestion with the first of the pair the show stopper on the album.

Variety continues as an electronic enticing welcomes R.I.P. next, that brewing into a seventies seeded progressive metal narrative swinging from big thrills to smaller pleasures but always wrapping ears in thick tempting before making way for closing track Tank Man. The song ends the album on a more classic hard rock offering with a touch of Extreme meets Ugly Kid Joe to it; a last slice of rock ‘n’ roll maybe undulating in its riches but undoubtedly leaving satisfaction strong.

Kleptocracy is not without flaws, at times its invention taking songs away from their best assets, but Steel Flowers has certainly conjured a release that excites with the potential of bigger and bolder things ahead for good measure.

Kleptocracy is out now via Red Cat Records.

https://www.facebook.com/steelflowersband   http://www.steelflowers.net    http://twitter.com/steel_flowers

Pete RingMaster 10/12/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Los and the Deadlines – Perfect Holiday EP

Los and the Deadlines_RingMaster Review

With more distinctive hues to their creative tapestry of sound than colours in a drag queen’s make-up palette, UK based Los and the Deadlines unveil their new EP to cast a captivating enticing which is as dynamically refreshing as it is imaginatively inflamed. There is adventure on every corner and inventive devilry within each creative breath of the Perfect Holiday EP, exciting times coming with increasing persistence over each and every listen. The band has sparked intrigue and enjoyment with previous releases but those just pale against the vibrant and bewitching exploration of this new Los and the Deadlines encounter.

The seeds of the band began when Arizona bred lead vocalist/guitarist Alex LoSardo moved to London in 2010. After being introduced to guitarist Neils Bakx, common interest and already existing musical thoughts began to bear fruit between the pair as they began writing and composing together whilst studying for their undergraduate degrees. A few line-up changes ensued as the band established its sound and presence, the time offering up a pair of strong EPs in the shape of Metro Talk in 2012 and Part One: Bank last year. Italian drummer Alberto Voglino had joined the band before the release of their second EP whilst Israeli bassist Rotem Haguel linked up more recently after another change in personnel. Whether he was the missing link to the band’s full potency others can decide, but there is no doubting a new spark and maturity, not forgetting energy, to Perfect Holiday which declares a band coming of age.

cover_RingMaster Review    The band’s sound is often and understandably tagged as art-rock but as opener Feel At Ease quickly reveals that barely hints at the evolving brews of grunge, stoner, punk, noise, and many other rock ‘n’ roll spices woven together in the EP’s individual exploits. The first song is an immediate throaty groan of heavy bass, discord deranged guitar, and jabbing beats. It is an almost menacingly brewed lure which never flinches as the spoken delivery of LoSardo opens up a just as pungent narrative. Fresh predatory air hits all areas before the song opens out into a catchy and melodically tempting chorus, its appearance another trigger as the song returns to its stalking but with a hungrier and livelier nature. We would suggest as this and all songs play, each listener will find their own references and hints to compare songs with, and here, thoughts of early Squeeze, Split Enz, and just a touch of Pere Ubu nudge these thoughts.

The outstanding start is followed by It Could Be So Much Better, an instantly grittier and more classic rock toned saunter resonating to metallic swipes on drums and blossoming a bluesy tang to the winding grooves of the guitars. Melodic vocals only add to the sultriness whilst off kilter scythes of sonic invention ensures another song not here just to feed expectations, even if it is arguably less adventurous than surrounding proposals with its fiery Red Hot Chili Peppers like smoulder. That is not to suggest the track has an air of predictability, just that it is less creatively ‘psychotic’ compared to the likes of The Youth’s Opinion which follows it. Once again the band opens a track up with the richest bait, rhythms and riffs compelling enticement with a touch of grouchiness which soon expands into a maze of wiry grooves around a Queens Of The Stone Age melodic revelry. Addictively virulent and tenaciously imaginative, the song swings and dances on ears, treating them to further sonic and warped resourcefulness which it would not be too far from the mark to suggest plays with a Melvins spicing.

From one glorious incitement to another as Batshit Crazy steps forward, its entrance a merger of crispy beats and a heavy, dark funk bred bassline around more greatly alluring tones of LoSardo, the vocalist potent whether speaking or singing across songs. Though restrained in its energy and assault, its title sums up the song’s nature perfectly, a funky Jane’s Addiction like prowess colluding with Dog Fashion Disco like imagination. To be fair all references offered never weaken something original to Los and the Deadlines, and as mentioned everyone will hear someone different within the band’s unique waltzes.

The shadowy flirtation of the track makes way for closer We Lust To Shop For Nothing, another with a Josh Homme like touch to its inventive colouring though in no time the song expels a blaze of rock ‘n’ roll which is more I Plead Irony like but constantly creating its own addiction sparking, ridiculously infectious emprise of sound and ingenuity. As all tracks, there is, for want of a better word, bedlam at the heart of the song, a ‘crazed’ weave which is as fluid and magnetic as it is relentlessly surprising.

As suggested earlier, Los and the Deadlines have suddenly blossomed from an enticing potential fuelled prospect into a beast of ravenous and mouth-watering rock ‘n’ roll, though again that really only hints at the thrills found within Perfect Holiday.

The Perfect Holiday EP is out from July 13th

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RingMaster 13/07/2015

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