Bitter Grounds – Two Sides of Hope

Hailing from Utrecht, Bitter Grounds is a Dutch quartet that has a sound which could be best described as Hagfish meets The Vox Dolomites wrapped in the heart and breath of Bad Religion and Dropkick Murphys. But as swiftly evidenced within new album, Two Sides of Hope, it is a proposition with a bold and individual character that just demands keen attention.

Entangling the attitude and aggression of punk with the instinctive and raw attributes of ska, Bitter Grounds first stoked potent attention with their 2016 debut album Hollowlands. It emulated local support and praise across a broader landscape which now its successor should only strongly expand upon. Since that first release, the band has played numerous shows across Europe alongside the likes of The Real McKenzies and The Interrupters and earned plaudits for their performances at festivals such as like Punk Rock Holiday and Nice ‘n’ Sleazy. It is easy to suspect that Two Sides of Hope will spark an even bigger demand and time for Bitter Grounds such its stirring and virulent nature

As with its predecessor, the new album was recorded with engineer and producer Menno Bakker and immediately gets down to business with opener Lost. Instantly a spicy groove entangles senses rapping beats, highly catchy bait simply reinforced by bass, riffs and in turn boisterous vocals. The infectious attributes of the band’s sound and enterprise is as swiftly evident, coursing song and appetite with a viral quality whipping up eager participation. There is a familiarity to the track yet as with the band’s sound overall, it is a welcoming hue to something wholly individual.

The following Two Sides (of Hope) has a just as catchy lilt and swing to its tenacious swing shaped by a more intensive attitude. There is a defiant edge to every twist and turn, a rousing wind fuelling its incitement as the track swiftly got under the skin; a success more than matched by the contagious antics of Let Me See Now. Another which has a sense of an old friend returning with a new identity and intent, the song quickly had hips and feet doing its bidding as melodic and imaginative endeavour nurtured its brief but highly manipulative exploits.

As with its predecessor, the ska side of the band’s sound fuels next up Bad Dreams; its gait alone enticing physical involvement while the band’s potent dual vocal temptation works away on ears side by side with the jangle of guitar and the moodier stroll of the bass. Instinctively Bitter Grounds seem to conjure hooks and grooves which know what gets the juices going, My Time another addictive example with its melodic revelry and vocal dynamics.

Through the relatively calmer but just as infectious and mischievously woven Faded and the raucous holler of Let Them Talk, the album just reinforces its temptation and the band the creative dexterity of their songwriting and flavour rich music, the latter sparking thoughts that if Angelic Upstarts had embraced ska in their sound way back it would have been something akin to this inescapable trespass.

The album concludes with firstly Seven Nights, a Rancid scented stomp needing mere seconds to command limb and spirit, and finally the punk ‘n’ roll defiance of FML. With compelling rhythms battering the senses and riffs careering through ears as vocals spew attitude, the track is a tenacious and rousing end to one outstanding release.

From first breath to last, Two Sides of Hope hits the punk greedy spot, hungrily proving itself one of the best punk indeed rock ‘n’ roll albums of 2018.

Two Sides of Hope is out now, available @

 Pete RingMaster 16/10/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Returning to the garden with Leaving Eden

Two years on we have linked back up with Leaving Eden songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Eric Gynan to catch up with the band. Already renowned for their ear grabbing, imagination stoking rock sound, the band is poised to release its new album this month. One highly anticipated release we join Eric to look into its body and character with more besides…

Hello and thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

Howdy Eric Gynan here from the band Leaving Eden, Boston Mass area USA. It’s great to talk with you again. I think it was a couple years ago when we chatted last.

To remind people can you first introduce the band and give us some background to how it all?

Myself and Eve are the co-founders of Leaving Eden We had some songs; I’ve always been recording so we wanted to play some of these live. I think one must make a choice as to what they want to do with their life. It takes sacrifice, let downs and one must have a thick skin. Let’s face it most artists are different than others, so not only is there issues with all the variables outside the band, but from within too. I think the current line-up is great where everyone sees the bigger picture.

What are the musical backgrounds to you all; previous bands, projects etc…

Yes myself and Eve were in a band before leaving Eden. The band was regionally successful, but it usually comes down to the members. I remember for instance the drummer wanted no part of having a female in the band. He just hated it. Well, I saw the bigger picture, and after the first 100 people came up to me and told me how great Eve was, I knew I had to really do something about it…Shortly after we formed Leaving Eden.

Tell us about the band name?

We thought that this planet being the entire Garden of Eden has become corrupt full of Deceit and Hate so we thought wouldn’t it be nice to go somewhere else that’s the name leaving Eden.

Did you have a particular aim for the band initially and also in what you wanted it and your sound to offer?

Originally we wanted two female singers that never seemed to work out. Eve was really 2nd to none when it came to a front person, so anyone else up there trying to almost compete was pretty much a ridiculous situation. Now we do have another female, but she plays keys and sings backup vocals so it’s different now. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have not only the right people for the right sound, but the right personalities for perseverance.

Do the same things still drive the band when it was fresh-faced or have they evolved over time?

I think so. I think we are a little more reality oriented and understand more the barriers and pitfalls associated with the business. I think more so now we’re happy doing what we’re doing instead of being unhappy about not achieving our goals to the fullest.

How do you see the evolution of the band’s sound since starting out?

I think first and foremost you must always be listening to what’s out there what’s current what’s new and changing with the times. Also, one must try and be a trendsetter. It’s the new artists that forge the future, the ones out there in the gutters so to speak who are really at the pinnacle. As I said, for me I listen and get these songs kind of fully produced in my mind’s eye and I just go with the flow.

So it is a more organic movement of sound than deliberately wanting to try new things or an equally sided process?

Good question maybe both. We always want to try new things but also I think organically speaking the band naturally moves in a particular direction.

You said you eagerly listen to the sounds out there; are particular inspirations which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approach and ideas to creating music?

I think playing I’m sharing the stage with many of the best bands in the world has definitely been a great influence on us. Leaving Eden has toured the USA, UK and Canada sharing the stage with hundreds of the biggest national bands in the world including; Lacuna Coil, In This Moment, Black Sabbath (Heaven & Hell), Ronnie James Dio, Rob Zombie, 5 Finger DeathPunch, Disturbed, Marilyn Manson, Alice Cooper, Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZTop, Puddle of Mudd, Korn, Killswitch Engage, Buckcherry (Jefferson Starship, Big Brother and The Holding Company, Country Joe, 10 Years After, 40th Anniversary Woodstock) Shinedown, Dropkick Murphy’s, Alice in Chains, Papa Roach, Bret Michaels, Halestorm,Theory of a Deadman, Avenged Sevenfold, Seether, Hell Yeah, Trapt, Dope, Soil, Fuel, Queensryche, Saving Abel, Hinder, Damage Plan, 7Dust, Sebastian Bach, SoulFly, Days of the New, NonPoint, DrowningPool, The Misfits, The Butcher Babies, Collective Soul, MushroomHead, Mudvayne, Chevelle, Godsmack, Powerman 5000, 10Years, Taproot, Gin Blossoms, Michael Schenker (UFO, MSG & The Scorpions) Herman Rarebell (The Scorpions), Nicko McBrain (Iron Maiden), Kittie, One eyed doll, Uncle Kracker, Tremonti (Creed/Alterbridge) Lamb of god, Slayer, Stone Sour, Motorhead, Blackstone Cherry, HOOKERS & BLOW Featuring GUNS N’ ROSES, QUIET RIOT, W.A.S.P. Members, Steven Tyler, Ted Nugent, Lita Ford, LA Guns, Trixter, Warrant, Apocalyptic Review (featuring members of Godsmack) Adelitas Way, Scott Stapp (The voice of Creed), Gemini Syndrome, Pop Evil, Ratt, Anthrax, Testament, Napalm Death & many more..

How does the songwriting work within the band; is there a particular process?

Yes I think it’s best for me as the songwriter to make a connection with the universe and listen because there’s always songs out there trying to come in; it depends if they come while I’m sleeping and I have the ability to wake up from that and go record something or if it comes while just almost meditating and communicating again with the universe and just listening.

How about the sparks to the lyrical side of your songs?

It’s definitely drawn from reality; all the lyrics are based on what’s happening at the time. Good, bad or indifferent I’m constantly writing lyrics so it’s going back to those and using them for music that I may already have written or writing the music around those lyrics. The skies aren’t always blue, thus our song Skies of Grey. “It’s not too late to open your eyes and sail through skies of grey”. “We’ve been screwed overcharged underpaid and abused, we’ve been exploited avoided and falsely accused, we’ve been cut down let down fucked around, tied and bound but NOTHING could take the music away”. From our Tied and Bound album.

Tell us about the band’s latest release?

Our latest release would be our last album Out of the Ashes (Recorded/mixed By Johnny K. (Disturbed, Pop Evil, Staind, 3 Doors Down,) Mastered by Brad Blackwood (Sevendust, Dave Mathews, Adelitas way, Korn) and produced by myself reinterpreted by Leaving Eden.) We also released a single, Jailbreak and it is going to be on our new album to be released October 19th 2018 called Descending again through Dark Star Records/Sony Music worldwide.

Our new album to be released, Descending, I’m excited about this album because it was recorded at Leaving Eden Studios. We were able to take all the time we needed and really craft this album to exactly what we wanted it to be. I did a premix on it and sent it off to Bob St John for the Final Mix and Mastering. Bob is a Grammy award-winning engineer and has done bands like Duran Duran, Extreme, Collective Soul, Steven Tyler…Such a great guy to work with too.

Can you give us some insight to the themes and premise behind Descending and its songs.

The title Descending, is taken from a song off the album called Shallow Waters. Shallow Waters is very cool because it’s one of those songs where I woke up from a dream and the song was playing in my head; this happens a lot most of the time I can’t pull myself out but this time I was able to. It’s great when you can hear songs already produced in your dreams, takes a lot of work out of it. It definitely comes from somewhere else. We wanted to have different genres such as heavy, acoustic, different key changes and tempos, really trying to have such diversity. We even got some songs you can dance to the beat.

Are you a band which goes into the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?

Yes because studio time is so expensive it’s really best to have it all complete so we have typically recorded the entire album in our studio first working out all the bugs and adding everything we want to add so that when it comes time in the studio we know exactly what we’re doing because there’s usually not as much time as you need, so you try to prepare for that. In the case of our Descending album soon-to-be-released we actually recorded this completely in our studio so we had the time to really craft what we believe is a great album.

 Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably the favourite aspect of the band?

Yes when I have always said that Leaving Eden is best seen and heard live. There’s a lot of energy sharing that goes on with the crowd. We don’t look at it like hey man look at me I’m a rock star check me out I’m too cool man, rather quite the opposite. It’s like hey we’re all here together all night to have a good time so let’s party together and let’s have some fun together. We are all involved in this.

You obviously know how hard it is for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it with Leaving Eden?

Really I think with the onslaught of the internet anywhere you are you can really make a mark. I get it that making a mark by playing the venues that’s in your own region could make a difference. The reality is that if you’re good, fresh, have really put some time into the band look and made a great recording then it doesn’t really matter where you are. You can get it out there with a good publicist, good radio guy, good record label and good distribution also good management. We’ve pretty much always taken care of all of this on our own and hiring certain people and companies. I think it all works together. The most important thing for us is we will play anywhere anyhow anyway, so long as we can because this is what we love to do

You mentioned the internet. How do you work and weave your social media sites to use them most effectively?

The internet is very important to any band because that’s where people are getting most of their information now from and you can do it for free and make an impact on different social media platforms for sure. At the end of the day it comes down to a song, is the song good; is it one somebody wants to listen to? Our song Out Of The Ashes says digging deeper underground faster than the speed of sound. What that means is I feel we’ve always been an underground type band, you know really building its base of friends organically so an underground band able to, with the click of a mouse be in China for instance so that is faster than the speed of sound. It’s definitely referencing the internet and for that you can’t even quantify how important it is when talking about streaming on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon. You know that’s the way people are listening to the music they’re not going out and spending money to pay for music when they can listen to it for free or maybe $10 a month. Now this doesn’t really pay the artist much but if your song caught on and you had millions of listeners every day well then you would be making a lot of money so it’s really the same, only different is the means. People will still buy CDs more at a gig than anywhere else.

Once again a big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add?

Well, without our friends, we got nothing so we hope to make new friends here and hope they enjoy learning more about Leaving Eden. We definitely want to say Thanx Much and Peace!!

Pete RingMaster 02/10/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright


Contemplating Leaving Eden


It is quite simple. Leaving Eden is a band which demands attention with a sound and creative flair that persistently captures the imagination drawing an ever growing following simultaneously. Their ear catching and thought provoking music has help lead the band to sharing stages with hundreds of the biggest national bands in the world and tours across numerous countries. We managed to grab some time with Eric from the band to learn more about Leaving Eden and what makes them tick…

Hello and thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

Can you first introduce the band?

Hi, great chatting with you also.

Eve: Lead Vocals

Ryan: Manning Drums

Johhny V: Bass

I’m Eric Gynan: Guitarist, vocals, Keys.

Have you been involved in other bands before? If so has that had any impact on what you are doing now?

Yes we’ve all been in various bands along the way and learning from the past always gives you a jump on the future.

What inspired the band name?

Leaving Eden came to be simply that this planet is like the Garden of Eden right, with all of its corruption; wouldn’t it be nice to take off and go somewhere else to visit? Lol.

Was there any specific idea behind the forming of the band and also in what you wanted it to offer and does that intent still drive the band or has it evolved over time?

Definitely we have evolved. I think you have to in order to change with the times so long as it’s better. It’s important though to maintain your individuality. For us we set out to be different. Quick story here, we went to this huge studio once where bands like Seven Dust, The Rolling Stones and Boston recorded. The person there brought out a white board in the conference room and drew a box. They said you are here, pointing outside the box and you need to be here, pointing inside the box. I immediately said wait, are you telling us we need to be in that box?  They said well yes I guess I am. I said thank you very much and got up and walked out. I get it, if you wanna ride a wave and be like everyone else on that moment of time, they can easily slip you into a genre. For us though it’s hard to just slip us in to any particular genre. We won the best Hardcore act in New England and I thought that was funny because they couldn’t find the appropriate Genre for us. We stay true no matter what the times may change to our roots, Rock Music.

Since your early days, how would you say your sound has evolved and has that been an organic movement or you guys deliberately heading in certain directions?

I think being a recording artist, endlessly recording and working with some incredible recording engineers like Johnny K (Disturbed, Pop Evil) you learn what it really takes. When they say they will go through your music with a fine tooth comb, they mean that literally that down to the 64th beat your music will be scrutinized for perfection. Ya know good bad or indifferent, when you listen to the radio, you may not like the band you’re listening to but aside from that, you will NEVER hear something that’s not polished. It’s gotta be perfect or you’ll never make it to the radio. With this on mind, you take this knowledge of being tight to the live performance and it makes all the difference in the world. This is why some bands may record a great album but when you see them live, it’s just not the same. We try and stay true to our recordings.  We also evolve in that area after the recording we may change it up live where we may think we’ve built upon that foundation.

art_RingMasterReviewPresumably across the band there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approach and ideas to creating and playing music?

I think all of us are inspired by what we like as far as taste in other bands music. For us what greatly inspires us is that organic sound that manifests itself in a way that is kind of like connecting the dots. We feel that Leaving Eden learns from the past, encompasses the present and forges the future. Any band that has been in the gutters not in the limelight, they’re the ones whom always forged the future. This is why we named our last album Pinnacle…Because it’s at that pinnacle where trends will be forged.

Is there a particular process to the band’s songwriting?

Sure. For me I connect with the Universe in a way that opens my mind to listening. I use my fingers as kind of line antennas to pick up the frequencies, as strange as that sounds, if you listen, you can hear the music that lyrics, melodies and harmonies completely produced. Just gotta transfer that info to the recording. Then the rest of the band puts their stamp on it and presto, there’s a new song. I’ve even felt the influence of dead poets coming through. Sometimes I feel like I really can’t even take credit for the songs as they’ve come from somewhere else. It’s a deep meditative state of mind that brings these ideas into fruition.

Where do you, more often than not, draw the inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs?

Great question… Our songs speak from experience, life’s experiences…Sometimes good but mostly bad lol. Bad in the way of getting screwed, for instance our song Tied and Bound comes from the frustration of the music industry; “We’ve been screwed overcharged underpaid and abused, exploited avoided and falsely accused, we’ve been cut down let down fucked around tied and bound, but nothing can take the music away”

Are you a band which goes into the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?

Pinnacle released by Rock Avenue Records USA, was completely written before we got to the studio. We like to do pre-production first, be prepared so to speak, so that we aren’t wasting valuable time and money. Pinnacle is really an eclectic array of song themes and music. We tried to keep it again organic so you won’t hear all these extra vocal harmonies for instance that we could never do live. Yes there is harmony, but it can be done live.

Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably the favourite aspect of the band?

That is where one should shine right?  I feel it is our live sound which is one of our trade marks. It’s so hard in the studio to capture that live performance primarily because it’s a one sided energy exchange. When you have a crowd, that’s where the sharing of the energy happens, therefore it really helps to put you on top of your game. You can’t see the band for instance when listening to an album, so that performance is so necessary.  Can the band reproduce that sound live? With Eve in front, she is clearly universal and really takes control of the room or festival, really just connecting with the crowd.

It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it your neck of the woods?14195978_1274693589207580_3294288122701219788_o

Correct. We’ve been fortunate, lucky, graced, whatever you’d like to call it. Our motto has always been that we will play anywhere, anytime, any way we can so long as we can. This philosophy has led us to share the stage with some of the biggest bands in the world with;  Lacuna Coil, In This Moment, Black Sabbath (Heaven & Hell), Ronnie James Dio,  Rob Zombie, 5 Finger DeathPunch, Disturbed, Marylyn Manson, Alice Cooper, Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZTop, Puddle of Mudd, Korn, Killswitch Engage, BuckCherry (Jefferson Starship, Big Brother and The Holding Company, Country Joe, 10 Years After, 40th Anniversary Woodstock) Shinedown, Dropkick Murphy’s,  Alice in Chains, Papa Roach, Bret Micheals, Halestorm, Theory of a Deadman, Avenged Sevenfold, Seether, Hell Yeah, Trapt, Dope, Soil, Fuel,  Queensryche, Saving Abel, Hinder, Damage Plan, 7Dust, Sebastian Bach, SoulFly, Days of the New, NonPoint, DrowningPool, The Misfits, The Butcher Babies, Collective Soul, MushroomHead, Mudvayne, Chevelle, Godsmack, Powerman 5000, 10Years, Taproot, Gin Blossoms, Michael Schenker (UFO, MSG & The Scorpions) Herman Rarebell (The Scorpions), Nicko McBrain (Iron Maiden), Kittie, One eyed doll, Uncle Kracker, Tremonti (Creed/Alterbridge) Lamb of god, Slayer, Stone Sour, Motorhead, Blackstone Cherry, HOOKERS & BLOW Featuring GUNS N’ ROSES, QUIET RIOT, W.A.S.P. Members, Steven Tyler, Ted Nugent, Lita Ford, LA Guns, Trixter, Warrant, Apocalyptic Review (featuring members of Godsmack) and many more..  This has led us to Winning The New England Music Awards & The Pulse Magazine Worcester MA Music Awards and Touring The USA, UK & Canada. If we didn’t get out there we would have never found these opportunities. There’s usually someone there that can help move you forward.

Are there the opportunities to make a mark if the drive is there for new bands?

Absolutely…In fact I believe bands who haven’t “made it” have more of an opportunity. Let’s take a band that has made it whether it was one song or many. As time passes, for whatever reason, they stopped making hits. It’s very rare for them to have another hit song or even get on the radio. It’s very strange but true. As a new artist you have more of a chance because again you’re at the pinnacle forging ahead.

How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date?

I find this very interesting. In a moment you can be heard all over the world. It’s absolutely amazing. Back in the day I feel bad for the artists before the internet that never had that chance. Shit, back then you couldn’t even stay connected with different states via phone. It was too expensive to make a phone call so you were quite limited as far as how far you could reach. Now, our music is flying through the airways, our unreleased song Out of the ashes says; digging deeper underground faster than the speed of sound

I can see the light of day, darkness fades away”. This just says as a band that’s not superstars, they are basically underground in the gutters spreading like swill in the harbor of slime lol. God some of the venues we’ve played have been the scum of the earth. Shit when we went to UK, there was a dirt floor. But in order to really appreciate where you may end up you’ve got to crawl through the slime in the gutters. If I for instance just started a band, had lots of money, related to someone big in the industry, getting signed immediately and becoming famous overnight, how then could I appreciate where I came from? When you come from the bottom of the barrel and make your way to the top, you never forget where you came from.

Once again a big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers

This was fun. Please excuse my unorthodox replies here and appreciate your time. Leaving Eden will be touring the USA, Canada and Europe. Hopefully South America as well, where our management/touring Co. Alpha Omega/Darkside Entertainment has offices in Europe, USA and South America we feel honored to be part of the family there. We hope to see all of you soon!! For all Leaving Eden Info go to

And see us on Facebook Leaving Eden and Peace and Harmony to all!!  I say harmony because this planet, the universe, everything in it works in perfect harmony accept one species, Humans. WTF is that about right? Let’s make it happen.

Pete RingMaster

The Ringmaster Review 01/12/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Terraces – Extra Time


Bringing forth the original breath of punk rock aligned to the voice of the people and their rebellious streets, The Terraces stand as one of the truest and undiluted bands snarling from within the genre. The Australia based quartet offers no diluted narratives and passions but the voice and energy of truth, the common man, and football grounds. Following their acclaimed and impressive self-titled debut album the band now unleash the Extra Time EP, consisting of six insatiable and belligerent slaps on the chops of society.

Hailing from the UK and the suburbs of Melbourne, the foursome of vocalist Gary Buckley (ex-One Way System founder member and bass player), guitarist/vocalist Dean Tsolondres, bassist Stephen King (ex-Rose Tattoo), and drummer Henry Hollingsworth are hitting the UK with their Punks of Mother England tour alongside Electric River as you read this which follows up a successful debut tour across the country last December including the band supporting Cock Sparrer and Rancid. With the album and now new EP giving more fuel to a greater anthemic fire for their live shows expectations that the band will elevate to the top favourites of UK punks and the worldwide echelons of the genre are hard to suppress.

The Blast Records released EP opens up with the industrial sound of the street which breeds an introduction for Britannia of jangling 945042_10151540814527794_709494224_npungent riffs and equally rich expressive vocals from Buckley. Soon into its stride with the guitar of Tsolondres lighting sonic flames across the muscular stance, the track takes no time to make its call on thoughts and voice, enlisting their assistance in the contagious chorus whilst feet dance to the tune of the contagious hooks and thumping rhythms. Carrying a UK Subs lilt to its sinews and Dropkick Murphys breath to its attitude the song is instantaneous addictive bait from band and release.

The following Who You Looking At stomps from its first second, the persistent groove carrying a whisper of the Sweet to its swagger, honestly, whilst the oi bred romp from its heart merges Sham 69 and Cock Sparrer whilst being honed into something distinctly The Terraces. It is an infection clad bruise which bounces with the passions in tow leading to a climax which instantly brings up spices of The Saints and The Outcasts to its snapping invention.

Billy opens with an undefined familiarity, its invitation recognisable but impossible to pin down whilst elevating the persuasive lure of the song to greater depths. Like The Living End meets Serious Drinking, the track shifts and twists its drive through to the emotions and thoughts, the guitar crafting a fiery web veined by punchy rhythms and stalked by the husky laced scowling vocals of Buckley who certainly here with the sounds offers a Mensi (Angelic Upstarts) feel. The song completes three brand new songs on the EP and is the best of the trio though all only confirm the rising stature of the band whilst heightening the appetite upon them.

Next comes an exceptional cover of The Clash classic Complete Control, and though it is fair to say the band do not muck around with it too much they deliver a thrilling and fresh take on the track without losing any of its toxic declaration. Injected with extra adrenaline and spite it is old school majesty thrust into the antagonistic selfishness of the now to emerge as a renovated anthem for today which despite the power and quality of the rest of the songs steals top honours.

The final pair of songs are two which have been revisited by the band, though neither Care About Nothing nor The Hustler leap out as having had a major overhaul from their album appearance. Both stomp and nudge the passions into another riot of energy and greedy union, the first a barracking prowl with blues flair to the guitar flames and predation to the rhythmic and vocal chest prodding and the closing song simply pure contagion, riffs and hooks taunting and dancing on the ear whilst the group vocals open up another virulently infectious reaping of limbs and voice from which resistance is futile. Reminding of Dirt Box Disco it is the perfect end to an exciting reminder of how good this band is.

If The Terraces have yet to feel your feet, attitude, and energy romping alongside them then Extra Time is the perfect turn-style into their honest punk rock arms.


RingMaster 15/08/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Barnyard Stompers: The Way-Gone, Wild and Rockin’ Sounds of …

Barnyard stompers

    We have always had a tendency here, more a mission to be honest, to stay away from barn dances but that resistance could be seriously challenged if such events offered up the same riveting heart igniting sounds which make the Barnyard Stompers album, The Way-Gone, Wild and Rockin’ Sounds of … such a magnificent dance of devilment and fun. The release is a storm of diverse and insatiably mischievous songs which leave no rockabilly, cowpunk, and country blues stone unturned and equally ensure there is no passion or form of musical seduction untouched.

Barnyard Stompers consists of Casey Miller (guitar, vocals, kazoo) and Megan Go-Go Wise (percussion and backing vocals), two musicians who over the years have brought invigorating sounds in such bands as The Hillbilly Hellcats, The Bop Kings, Vibes on Velvet, The Kozmik Kowboyz, and Buckwild. In their new venture of around a year old, the pair fuses a mix of outlaw country, Texas stomp, blues, and rockabilly into their own distinct romp of irresistibility, self-tagged as backwoods twang. Since forming the band has played in excess of one hundred shows and performed before audiences within over fourteen states as well as releasing this riotous treat, so obviously they are a duo that is unrelenting in their work ethic and desire to thrill their fans, something the album does with dirty ease.

The album instantly brawls with the senses and heart through the opening intro Let’s Go Stompers, a short call to arms for Record Coverpassions and feet through a raw and unbridled energy. From its raucous challenge the following Devil On My Shoulder lays a smouldering bluesy arm around the shoulders and serenades the ear with guitar mystique before steeping into an invigorating rockabilly stomp of firm beats, eager guitar, and inviting vocals veined with sonic flames which shimmer in the heat of the song. Across its stroll the song darkens its shadows with vocal effects and a sinister glaze to its compelling charge. It is a mighty full start to the album as it holds court over the passions steps forward as one of the major highlights, of which there are many, upon the release,.

Bad Tattoo offers up a character drenched narrative wrapped in a Waylon Jennings/The Reverend Horton Heat like glaze to further the set in satisfaction but is soon overwhelmed by the delicious blues croon of Love Long Gone, a song which plays like the love child of Elvis track That’s All Right and Say Mama from Gene Vincent. It has a familiarity about it which only endears and is brought with a craft and passion which leaves the listener mutually involved. Across the album many artists and flavours are provoked thought wise as with next up If You Want Me, a Buddy Holly/Carl Perkins spiced gem, though none settle into a recognisable stance due to the invention and devilry of the band and the songwriting.

Consisting of seventeen prime slices of varied temptation the album is a bumper crop of pleasure from start to finish which arguably in a release of this size is unexpected but wholly welcomed. Other notable moments of extended satisfaction comes in the more eclectic songs such as the version of traditional Irish song, Whiskey In The Jar, made most notable from the Thin Lizzy take on it. As with a later song on the album, Danny Boy Stomp, the Denver pair delivers the tracks with a caustic allure which is best described as Dropkick Murphys meets The Pogues, and a gravelly treat it is.

Songs such as the high octane dusty road cruiser Got Me A Trailer and the excellent garage rockabilly horror Nazi Zombies spark further riots of lustful passion for their unpolished instinctive rock n roll, whilst ’59 Black Cadillac is simply the highway to tarmac ardour with its smoking riffs and rumble strip rhythms. Other personal favourite moments where the album finds additional areas of pleasure to molest come with what can only be called mariachi ska in the song Rudeboy On The Highway, where the kazoo of Miller is impish upon the quite sizzling vaunt, and the Mexican punk fiesta El Carretero, not forgetting also the equally punk coated Question.

Every second and note of The Way-Gone, Wild and Rockin’ Sounds of … is the instigator to a hunger for much more from release and band, something which will be answered when the band release their follow-up album later this year. It is a stomp with no demands but to have fun, something which is as mentioned before is criminally easy.


RingMaster 01/03/2013

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Levellers: Static On The Airwaves

pic by Ami Barwell

Preferring a punk strain of folk rock there has never been real interest and need here to dive into the wealth of admittedly the generally enjoyable and well crafted folk tunes of Levellers through their soon to be 25 years of existence. The snarl of a Dropkick Murphys, the socially charged directness of a Flogging Molly, and the wicked mischief of a Smokey Bastard always held an irresistible lure in front of what is accepted as an enterprising but safe band in Levellers. This is just a personal preference but does mean it is hard to compare the brand new album Static On The Airwaves to their previous acclaimed and at times less eagerly accepted releases. The talk is that this their tenth album marks their return to roots and is possibly their best album in a long time, that is for fans to judge but it has to be said it is a surprisingly engaging album with more unpredictable moments than expected.

Produced by the returning Sean Lakeman who assumed the same role on previously acclaimed album Letters From The Underground, the new release has been the source of much eager anticipation and from the twelve tracks which confidently please the senses it should follow or maybe exceed the garnered praise of its predecessor. Released June 25th, via their own imprint On The Fiddle, the band does not exactly ignite any burning fires but there is a certain infectious lure from the majority of the songs to ensure occasional visits ahead when the muscle and intensity of other releases require a respite.

Opening with the title track, a brief defiant stir leading into first full song We Are All Gunmen, the album creates an intriguing atmosphere which the second track embraces. With its pulsating reggae spiced bass and resonating guitar slices behind the expected fine vocals of Mark Chadwick breeding an emotive breath, the song lights up the ear with its electronic spotlights and spikier guitar presence. A comment on the war like air which sweeps the world it is a strong and impressive track.

Next the two singles from the album take their turn. The first from the release is Truth Is which leaps in with an excitable energy and joyously melodic heart. The track is arguably not offering anything dramatically new but it is a deeply pleasing romp and an irresistibly catchy piece of fun. With fiddles and banjos at the ready it is an instant friend to party with any time of the day or night. The following After The Hurricane is a decent enough emotive piece of work where the words hold more grip than the music. It is well balanced with the melodic craft one expects from the band but it fails to induce an enthused response, though neither does it incite a thought about the skip button.

      Our Forgotten Town is a definite highlight to the album, simply adrenaline driven fiddles flashing with sonic sirenesque persistence across the senses with the vocals of Chadwick and band harmonising. A menacing tar thick bass essence adds a haunting ambience to what is a simply a thoroughly compulsive track and the biggest triumph of the album.

The likes of the enjoyable No Barriers with a deep stimulating intro which is unfortunately not sustained throughout the song, Raft Of The Medusa the true historical tale of French Naval frigate the Méduse, and the acoustically driven Traveller, ensure there is always something agreeable to focus on. The latter of the three carries a familiar gait which defies recognition but makes for an openly engaging companion.

The album ends on a high with firstly the dust kicking commentary on virtual reality lives Second Life. With its banjo leading welcome the song is a warm blend of heated harmonica, teasing keys, and contagious melodic energy. The more you hear it the more the song takes a deeper hold and is insistent on a return. The closing track The Recruiting Sergeant is a foot tapping reworking of the Black Watch anthem. Lyrically the band transports the song to modern times with the warning from a petty criminal who with persuasion enlisted and ended up in the stark reality of Afghanistan. It is equally poignant and irrepressibly fun, a great climax to the album.

Levellers fans will definitely love Static On The Airwaves and for the rest of us there is more than enough to make the album worth a visit but probably not to join their devoted followers.

RingMaster 19/06/2012 Registered & Protected

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The Pulsebeats – The Pulsebeats

The self titled debut album from Spanish based power pop combo The Pulsebeats only has one intention, to rattles cages and tease ears with enthused and excitable bursts of pulse racing raw energy. To the term power pop, which the band use on their bio, is slightly misleading as their eager sound is more a clash of garage rock and punk with healthy veins of pop and rock. The album is unpredictable and a release with definite peaks though the consistency across its length is strong.

From Santander, The Pulsebeats began at the beginning of 2010 with the quartet of Nathan (ex- The Vipers – UK), Alex (currently in Zientotreintayuno and Riff Cadaver), Ral (ex- White Radars, The Vipers, Mairollosnauta, Corte de los Milagros…) and Luis coming together to in their own words “…write great pop tunes that you can dance and sing along to.” The album proves they succeeded though with a great rough edge to their music to be more than just pop.

The Heart Of The Rhinestone Cowboy’ opens up proceedings, jangly guitars with a southern lilt playing on the ear. The song is a stirring mix of punk and country rock giving a mix of The Pogues, Reverend Horton Heat and Dropkick Murphys. Blistered melodies and harmonies flow alongside the choppy guitars and coarse vocals to make a strong start to the release. The pop punk of ‘Song For Celia’ plays easily upon the ear next but it is with ‘Cynical Ride’ that things accelerate. From the first thirsty riff the song grabs firm attention, with a dirty insatiable sound, teasing keys and a thumping rhythm it hits the spot perfectly. The track also confirms what previous tracks suggested, there are some mean basslines at play even if production veils them beneath the guitar at times.

The dual male and female vocal led ‘Midnight Drive’, the energetic ‘You Powerpop Boys’ with boisterous guitars and mischievous bass, plus another southern twang lined track in ‘1,000 Stars’ keep the album flowing with agreeable and pleasing sounds, the last of the three bringing urges to strap on the stirrups and go ride something. Though the tracks do not leap out as others they all bring a sing-a-long attitude, fun, and memorable moments to get feet tapping and interest deep.

The Pulsebeat keeps the best until last though, the album closing with three thrilling and impressive tracks. Firstly ‘Shallow Call’ swaggers in with shouts, a grumbling bassline and stirring punk guitars chopping across the senses. Sounding Rocket from the Crypt like, the track turns up the intensity and energy. It never gets out of control or goes full pelt but has all the elements and intentions good punk music should. ‘Wanna Make U Mine’ leaps right in next, giving a senses energising cacophony of sound from an inbred union between The Briefs and The Strokes with Living End, this is punkabilly at its best.

Killed By Sinatra’ closes out the release with equal quality and pleasure. Fuelled by rampaging pop punk focusing on direct ear blistering fun the song is again RFTC like with splatters of The Stooges and Foxboro Hot Tubs. It throbs and jumps with playfulness, and as always jangly guitars and irresistible hooks run wild. Placing strong tracks at the end of an album always seems an obvious idea though many bands do not. To leave on a track that rings and lingers around the head and thoughts has to be the best way to induce people back soon, apart from making a great album of course.  The Pulsebeats do it in triplicate, leaving the listeners with a trio of thumping hyperactive irresistible tunes. With the rest of the album being pretty darn good too they have come up with an impressive album.

The Pulsebeats is not without flaws especially in the bass and keys which when heard are excellent but too often they are blanketed by the crashing guitars and eager vocals. The album is a treat to delve into again and again with ease so go treat yourself by checking it out, a fun time is guaranteed and it just might become a regular on your personal playlist.

RingMaster 27/01/2012 Registered & Protected


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Interview with Matt of Smokey Bastard

Halloween saw the release of possibly the year’s most fun, energy and deliriously addictive album in the shape of Tales From The Wasteland from UK punk folksters Smokey Bastard. Bursting with 13 tracks of essential raucousness that come with an intoxicating mix of traditional folk, real punk, and deeply infectious enthusiasm, the album from the Reading band is frenzied and irresistible. Currently deep into a tour supporting the release guitarist Matt spared time to talk to us about the band and album.

A big welcome and many thanks for taking time during your busy tour to talk to us here at The RingMaster Review.

Firstly please give us a breakdown of the members and their roles within Smokey Bastard.

Currently, Macca plays the face, guitars and mandolin, Mike vomits gravel and plays the bass and Aled plays all the stuff that’s too hard. Buttons plays the drums, apparently. I (Matt) do some guitars most of the time.  We swap instruments a lot. There’s some mad woman called Lottie playing accordion at the moment. I don’t know. The line-up changes a lot and it’s hard to keep track. I’m fairly certain that there are between five and nine of us…

The band started in 2007? Give us some idea of those initial years for the band.

We just played for fun and as a hobby. We’ve never really aimed for success or anything but little opportunities would occasionally pop up. I think if you’re aim is to ‘make it’ you’ll probably end up compromising musically and failing anyway, so we try and avoid thinking like that and have fun with it.

How has the band evolved from then over the four years to this point in time?

It’s got better. We’re pretty embarrassed by a lot of our old material; it’s too generic and derivative. The new album feels a lot more progressive and unique to us. If The Dreadnoughts have taught us anything (and they’ve taught us lots of things…,) it’s that there’s still life in the genre of folk punk provided that you’re dedicated to avoiding complacency and formulaic song writing… that, and how to open a wine bottle with a shoe.

Your new album Tales From The Wasteland has just been released in the past few days, the excitement must be overwhelming?  

Must be.

Would you say the album fully encapsulates your thoughts going into recording it or went further and maybe surprised you a little?

It’s much closer to what we wanted it to be; certainly compared to the first album. The first album never really sounded the way it was intended and we were sick of it before we even had the hard copies. The new album sounds how I’d hoped and imagined it would in my head. And the item itself – the artwork, the packaging, it’s just a beautiful thing. I want one.

Who and where do most of the songs come from and what is the writing process leading to their final version?

Mike and I tend to write a song and then we all get together and flesh it out. Aled describes the process thusly; “Matt or Mike bring in a lyrical potato and the rest of us bring a selection of different eyes, eyebrows, noses, mouths, ears, facial hair, hats and feet to make it into a delightful Mr. Potato Head. We then change things until it looks like Jeff Goldbum. That’s how we like it”.

Your sound has obvious influences in the likes of Flogging Molly, The Pogues and Dropkick Murphys but is there something further that inspired the folk side of your sound?

Yeah. Folk music. The Transatlantic Sessions are a goldmine. If you can find Arthur McBride and the Sergeant by Paul Brady then go and listen to that; it’s a prime example of the power of folk music to tell enthralling and immersive stories. We’re also big on Americana for the same reason – The Boss and Tom Waits and the like. They write mythical songs that make you feel like you’ve watched a whole movie in four minutes.

Lyrically you are not as openly forceful as the likes of Dropkick Murphys and infuse great humour to your intent, is this deliberate or simply a natural thing form the personalities involved?

I’m guessing by ‘forceful’ you mean we don’t put across any specific political agenda? Personally I find explicitly political song writing kind of naff. That’s just my opinion. There are probably enough punk songs about not liking Nick Griffin now. It should kind of go without saying. That being said, I once saw an Interview with Matt Kelly from Murphys saying if you want to know about politics, read a book and don’t listen to college dropouts in punk bands. I think humour in song writing is important in order to prevent you from taking yourself too seriously. Dropkicks use a lot of humour in their song writing too, after all.

What are the literal influences that have inspired the lyrical writing style of the band?

The Black Freighter storyline in Watchmen, Viz magazine… I can’t really think of any specific literary influences. We do like good prose though…and good grammar…and deliberately bad grammar, wot we find hilarious.

It probably is  wrong to single out any tracks when all are so inventive and enjoyable but please give some insight into a couple,  ‘Mongrel’ with its potent message and ‘Dear Mol’ which I have to ask did it come from someone’s personal experience?

Mike wrote Mongrel. Its message concerns the artificially constructed notion of ‘native’ Britons and the benefits of multiculturalism. Mol is loosely based on personal experiences, yes…

The art work on Tales From The Wasteland is stunning where and who did that come from?

It came from the majestic Tom McGrath. He’s an art student from Lancashire that we found on deviant art. We had an ambitious concept with regards to the album artwork so we were lucky to find someone who could actually pull it off as beautifully as he did. We wanted to make the physical copy as desirable as possible to draw people away from buying it in a digital format at 192kbs a second. As great an invention as the iPod is, I think it will probably ruin everything. It encourages people to buy individual songs rather than albums. You can’t listen to a great album on shuffle. Fuck shuffle. Fuck it

The single from the album is ‘Yuppie Dracula’ which has a great video accompanying it. Who came up with the video storyline and made it?

The song is about a guy who is a bit of a letch, but for the video we thought an actual vampire would give us more scope for visual gags. We sat in the pub and worked out the story, borrowed a chat up line from my friend Ed (Do you want to come back to my place? I have both Savage Garden albums…) and then got the awesome fellas at Pork Chop Pictures to make it happen. If you enjoyed the video go check out their web series Meat. Funny stuff.

You have just started an extensive UK tour in support of the album and we are grateful you have made time for this, what can people expect from your renowned live shows and where can they best find info on dates and places etc?

Our website is looking a little ‘under construction’ at the moment but the gig list is bang up to date. Head over to and while you’re at it, friend us on Facebook…

Good luck with the album and tour and again thanks for sharing time with us. Would you firstly like to end with a thought for the day?

I’m all out. Here’s one courtesy of The Reverend Kevin Eldon in the 90s:

“Aaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!” said my daughter the other day whilst giving birth. “EEEUUUUURRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHH IT HURTS IT HURTS IT HURTS!!!!”

“Ah my poor fool” I said, “for it is written that pain in childbirth is God’s punishment to women for Eve’s betrayal of God in Eden, and therefore you deserve every scintilla of agony you are experiencing oh whorrish spawn of mine. And thus, justly chastised, did she complain more quietly…

And secondly the track Mong Some Hoof, there is really a game it was inspired from and what’s the chance of it catching on as a craze sweeping the nation? Maybe some mid set fun on your tour dates?

The game Mong Some Hoof is one of many games invented inside Mike’s university house “The Fat Handed Twat’s Crooked House”. The game itself involves partly inserting a shoe onto your favourite foot and trying to flip it, via a kick, into your own mouth without touching it with any other part of your body. A fun game, involving black eyes and frustration. A partial list of other games includes:

Can you strictly come mong some segway?
(a two player variant on Mong Some Hoof)
You probably shouldn’t engage with the dress down
(Looking up whilst standing in a doorway and jumping as high as you dare)
Where’s Merick?
(Not telling a house mate that we had the internet. This game can last up to two months)
Antigravity where’s Merick
(Hiding pictures of goats in Matt’s textbooks)
Skim the chief
(playing darts where each throw requires the dart to touch the ceiling before the board)
Stab the loaf
(A variant of skim the chief where the dart must pass through a slice of bread thrown by a second player)

Tales From The Wasteland is available via Bomber Music and for details on this and the tour go to  and

Read the Tales From The Wasteland review @

RingMaster 10/11/2011 Registered & Protected


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Smokey Bastard – Tales From The Wasteland

With more fun, energy and deliriously addictive punked up melodies than should be legally allowed comes the new album from UK punk folksters Smokey Bastard. The seven piece from Reading unleash Tales From The Wasteland via Bomber Music on October 31st bringing 13 tracks of essential raucousness from their tavern of intoxicating mix of traditional folk, real punk, and deeply infectious enthusiasm.

Since forming in early 2007 the band has whipped up a strong reputation and following for no holds live shows and a sound that brings the bands influences into a frenzied and irresistible sound of their own creating music that teases and plays upon the instinctive rebel within us all. Tales From The Wasteland the follow up to their debut album Propping Up The Floor last year, is further evidence and impressive proof that the combination of Macca (Vocals, Guitars, Mandolin), Mike Wood (Vocals, Bass), Matt (Guitars, Banjo), Nick (Accordion, Mandolin), Andy (Tin Whistle, Guitars, Banjo), Aled (Banjo, Mandolin) and Buttons (Drums), make music that excites the ear and deeper.

Smokey Bastard takes flavourings from the likes of Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly, though their sound is more removed from the celtic punk sound towards the earlier beginnings of folk punk. They come from a rogue punk base as brought forth in the 80’s by the likes of The Pogues, the use of mandolins, banjos and tin whistles alongside the electrified aggressive energy a mesmeric blend. The brilliant ‘Wasteland’ opens up the album and instantly tells you all you need to know about the band to want more and more of their boisterous and rousing sound. Starting with a slow and firm crawl as the gruff vocals of Macca declares this wasteland my “sweet fucking home” the track erupts into a rowdy and beckoning invite to join its anthemic charms.

Showing their skills and varied influences the melodic folk instrumental ‘Token Folkin’’ skips into view next before unleashing more infectious folk punk frenzy with ‘Eden Holme  as rasping vocals and group shouts add to the engaging melodic play. The interplay between the mandolins and bass towards the end has the foot tapping even harder than before and as with every song on the album brings the feeling of defiant celebration, ‘Mongrel’ coming up next the perfect proof with its proud, irrepressible and urgent dynamism. There is a slight ska lining to the song that brings more effortless and eager response from the senses.

Four tracks in and the album already had stated its claim for essential listening classification and album of the year nomination. Songs like ‘My Son John’ a wonderful and humorous folk acapella piece that reminded of 80’s band The Dancing Did, the exhilarating ride of instrumental ‘Mong Some Hoof’, and the mesmeric storytelling of ‘Cheer Up, Love (Worse Things Happen At Sea)’ a breathtaking tale that galvanises the senses, all continue and increase the carefree but wonderfully inspiring atmosphere. One gets the feeling the band would like to be seen as being a bunch that just turn up and play or throw things together for a laugh but their musicianship and stirring songwriting reveals all.

The single from the album ‘Yuppie Dracula’ is another excitable and appealing track though not the best on the album but with the immensely grin inducing ‘Dear Mol’ a bittersweet leaving note to an ex- lover which twists things up when she comes back with her own snarl mid song via a great female vocal, and the reflective report on past failures in the splendid punk edged ‘‘Aspirations, I Have Some‘, keeps the album at its great and impressive level.

Tales From The Wasteland is a fully satisfying release of great incessant joy, its lively and rip-roaring sounds guaranteed to brighten up any day and most of all the album again shows Smokey Bastard as one of the best and strongest rock bands in the UK.

RingMaster 11/10/2011 Registered & Protected


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