Skindred – Volume

Skindred_RingMaster Review

Skindred need no introduction we are sure; a band rising from the ashes of the also one of a kind Dub War in 1998 and proceeding to enslave ever since the imagination of initially the UK metal scene before expanding into broader territories with their unique sound, ferociously compelling releases, and a live presence second to none. We make no apologies for declaring the band as one of our all-time favourite passions since those early days of both of vocalist Benji Webbe’s bands or for over enthusing over Skindred’s massive new release Volume. Admittedly it is hard to say that this sixth full-length from the band is their best album to date, an already invested lust for their sound and previous releases preventing that full declaration, at least just yet, but Volume is without doubt the most concentrated tempest of Skindred blockbusters so far. Stocked with creative bitch slaps perpetually building to momentous choruses and tidal waves of voracious sound, it is simply one gloriously riotous and anthemic beast.

The album at times seems like it is inspired by and drawing on essences of past albums, whilst tenaciously forging its own identity within the sculpting of fresh mountains of inventive noise. Volume is no slave to nostalgia though, except the kind which always comes with a sound truly distinctive to one protagonist, but it does spark the fierce kind of excitement first found in the creative claws of Babylon and later the likes of Roots Rock Riot and Union Black. The fact is for fans every release has got us hot under the collar, even, for personal tastes, the less potent Shark Bites and Dog Fights having truly irresistible moments, but the Skindred fusion of metal, rock, reggae, and electronica has been honed into its most inimitable and ferocious shape yet for Volume. Certain plateaus at certain times have been breached by the band over the years, and by drawing on all their years of creativity and aligning it to new experiments of imagination Skindred has hit their newest with Volume.

623_Skindred_RGB_RingMaster Review     The successor to last year’s Kill The Power, the album opens up with Under Attack, a song instantly smelling of Skindred from its warning tones and Webbe’s vocal prowess alone. In no time song and sound is into a recognisable swagger and intimidating prowl, riffs and rhythms a battlefront of contagion and muscle led by the expectantly gripping vocals. Just as you think you have a hold on it though, the track slips into an atmospheric croon and seventies funk twisting, returning to its tenacious canter for a dynamic and fiery finale.

It is a great start but just a teaser of bigger and bolder things to come, starting with the album’s title track. A flirtatious start sparks the predacious tone of Dan Pugsley’s bass and the scything strikes of guitar from Mikey Demus, they leading the song in a slightly schizophrenic shuffle as warm and melodically alluring as it is at times grouchy and emotionally rabid. With the skills of Dan Sturgess conjuring, twisting, and distorting throughout as the rapier swings of Arya Goggin ebb and flow in viciousness, the track is a fire of intensity and enterprise with a (Hed) P.E. like spicing especially tasty.

Hit The Ground is another fiercely animated flirtation straight after, rhythms a cantankerous dance as throaty bass and spicy guitar endeavour get entwined by the prowess of electronic suggestiveness within the thick air of the Skindred trademarked song. A roar to wither the senses and incite a rebellion, energies are aflame by the song’s end but given no time to regroup as from an enticing lure of drums, Shut Ya Mouth has feet and imagination leaping around like a puppet. Talking about Volume, Webbe said the band wanted to emulate their renowned live sound more than ever in the release, and for sure Shut Ya Mouth epitomises that success especially when almost physically feeling the vocalist’s ire and confrontation alone in face and ears. Musically the track also has a hint of fellow UK band Anti-Clone to it, who we know has also supported Skindred live, inspiration going both ways maybe?

The scent of Southern rock spices up guitars upon The Healing next whilst vocally and rhythmically it swiftly turns a ska flavouring into an incitement of heavy rock ‘n’ roll. Biased we maybe, but it is hard to offer many frontmen up as rich and explosive in presence and tone as Webbe in full roar, and not for the first or last time upon Volume, he whips up air and energy with ease, unsurprisingly repeating the feat with Sound the Siren. As beats go on an addictive dance, guitars tunnel into the psyche with their nagging groove whilst the bass just oozes dark hues as the vocals romp and stroll anthemically through ears. The track is superb, a kaleidoscope of sound and ideation as unpredictable as it is virulently incendiary; Skindred laying down another template to inspire others.

A calm of sorts as Saying It Now emerges, allows a breath or two to be swallowed but soon Goggin is back working a web of infectious and dramatic rhythms as a sonic ambience aligns to the mellow delivery of Webbe. Each passing minute sees Pugsley’s craft get more predatory and skirting grooves become sharper as the track’s intensity simultaneously escalates, it all subsequently erupting in a furnace of energy and passion posing as the chorus.

The body is soon flung around as Straight Jacket breaks out its agitated contagion next, another slightly deranged imagination gripping verse and listener, building to a colossal chorus which is simply anthem from head to toe. It is that fierce and volatile temptation around it though that turns ardour lustful, that and the ingenious evolution of its mania.

No Justice strides commandingly in on a chorus of band roars, ska seeded hooks and poppy riffs emerging from that great stormy entrance to help the track into a buoyant canter with eruptions of searing sonic flames and vocal rapacity. Becoming punkier with each burst of verbal defiance and rebel rousing creative outburst, greed for more escalates before it steps aside for the just as irresistible Stand Up. Loaded to the gills with sinew lined grooves and swordsmen like rhythms jabbing and swinging with zeal, the track equally growls and bellows with bestial and invitingly defiant prowess.

Completed by the reflective fire and sonic tapestry of Three Words, again the band at their emotive best, Volume is a maelstrom of Skindred invention and power. It is a heavyweight confrontation in a year of big successes; a creative ‘bullying’ that just gets the ears throbbing, body aching, and passions roaring.

Volume is out October 30th via Napalm Records.

http://www.skindred.net/   https://www.facebook.com/skindredofficial  https://twitter.com/skindredmusic

K1600_Skindred Volume 2015 Europe Dates_RingMaster Review

Upcoming Tour Dates:

04.11.15 UK – Southampton / Guildhall

05.11.15 UK – Norwich / UEA

06.11.15 UK – Nottingham / Rock City

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18.11.15 DE – Cologne / Stollwerck

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03.12.15 DK – Copenhagen / Pumpehuset

04.12.15 DE – Berlin / Postbahnhof

Pete Ringmaster 29/10/2015

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Destroy D.C. : The Pride Of The ASBO Generation

Pointing

    Having just caught our breath after the outstanding recent release of XXIV from UK Subs, British punk has another explosive piece of inventive ferociousness to thrill us with in the formidable and exhilarating form of The Pride Of The ASBO Generation EP from Destroy D.C. The four track release is a stunning intense fire of energy and passion honed into a formidable compelling force, an irresistible inciting fusion of progressive punk and roots and dub.

Destroy D.C. began when Spike T Smith, the drummer for Conflict, wanted a project to bring forth the songs he was writing and had created round the time the legendary punk band went on hiatus in late 2009. Enlisting guitarist Gav King who was also looking for a vehicle for his ideas, and bassist Si Turner, the trio squeezed in writing, rehearsal, and recording between their individual busy touring schedules, Smith on Steve Ignorant’s Last Supper shows, as well as festival appearances with Killing Joke and the New York Dolls, King with Fields of the Nephilim and both men more recently with the return of Conflict, as well as all three members being the backing band for HewhocannotBeNamed (The Dwarves) for his solo UK dates. Destroy D.C. was officially launched on 21st December 2012 with the March 26th released The Pride of The ASBO Generation through DIY label Revenance the first of a procession of EPs.

The release opens with the raucous and uncompromising Road To Redemption, a track which stares eye to eye with the listener Destroy DC EP Cover Finalwhilst teasing and tempting them with brawling vocals, lethal hooks, and a contagious breath. The fiery groove which frequents the song throughout is the first encounter for the ear soon joined by punchy rhythms and a rich growling bassline. As eager as it is hungry, the song rampages through the ear without a much respite from its corrosive riffs and melodic sparks, yet still teases and taunts with a wonderful adventure to its gait and prowl. Within a restrained yet intimidating deep breath in aggression, the band also brings a sensational diversion sculpted by imagination and ingenuity which seduces and eats the passions with equal strength to the marauding sounds elsewhere. Ending as it began with a further hardcore scowl to the vocals and intensity to its punk rock abrasion, the song is an immense first confrontation to band and EP.

The following Those Days Are Gone also strikes its first blow through a magnetic almost insidious groove which captures the imagination before the song fully unleashes its physical and inventive might.  A frantic inferno of attitude, passion, and ravenous agitated drums from start to finish, the song is potently veined with that addict making groove within an insatiable appetite to chew and incite thoughts and emotions. It is caustic rock n roll at its best, a fusion of hardcore and original punk which rewards as dramatically as it accosts the senses.

Whereas elements of the previous songs mildly suggest the roots and dub influences third song Tear It Down is a full on pleasure incorporating both aspects of their main influences for an impossibly compelling and thrilling ride. Like a blend of Dub War, Steel Pulse, and Ruts but with its own individual heart, the song is a simmering yet fiery piece of emotive and provocative majesty. A pulsating crawl through a reggae soaked reflection book ended by punk snarls, the track is a sensational creative declaration which rivals the aforementioned Ruts classic Love In Vain.

The band close up the EP with another striking slab of imagination in the erosive pop punk triumph of the title track. This is no glossy melodic piece of musical candy though but a caustic and raw stomp with loud dub whispers and old school punk aggression. The song shifts and evolves throughout to ignite further lustful ardour for the release especially with the drop into a slow melodic and shadowed prowl midway which recalls the Dirk Wears White Sox era of Adam and the Ants. It is a brilliant ending to an outstanding and invigorating slab of punk at its best.

Knowing that The Pride Of The ASBO Generation is just the opening assault of what creatively is to come ahead from Destroy D.C. it is safe to assume that the anticipation and wait for the next release is going to be very impatient.

https://www.facebook.com/DestroyDc

9/10

RingMaster 25/03/2013

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Interview with Stefan from Kontrust

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

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

Firstly please just introduce Kontrust and its members.

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

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

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

How has the band changed since those early days?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How long was Second Hand Wonderland in the making?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Ringmaster Review 25/04/2012

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Collisions: Believe In This EP

Just when we thought Irish band iBurn had already wrapped up our EP of the year choice even this early in the year, there comes along UK electro metallers Collisions to challenge and make us just think about our choice. Feeling like a bookie who has already paid out on Manchester City winning the English Premiership title a couple of  months back, the Brighton quartet has shown that nothing is ever clear cut.

Collisions has unleashed a pulsating mesmeric release that shows UK metal is just as vibrant as any where let alone as that of its Irish counterparts. Consisting of five tracks that exhilarate and incite the senses, Believe In This is a feisty cross breed of metal, electro, punk, and drum n bass that eagerly pulls one to their feet and drills them in the way of having infectious fun. The sounds that burst from the EP are tight, energetic, insatiable, and an infection that one just wants to go deeper and linger.

Formed in 2010 the band took no time in making a mark on their local scene which considering the perpetual health and competition in the Brighton area is a CV marker all on its own. Their impressive sharing of stages with the likes of Senser and Floors & Walls led them through an ever growing attention to headlining their own sold out show at The Hydrant and recently a European tour supporting (Hed)pe. It is hard to imagine anything other than a triumphant explosion of attention coming their way once Believe In This is released on May 7th, and maybe exploding onto the UK underground metal scene the least they can expect.

The moment the opening Middle Eastern electro vocal chants swarm around the ear on the opening title track the anticipation of something special is rife. A beckoning riff and electro teasing draws one into big meaty riffs and an irresistible energised punk attack. Immediate thoughts are Max Raptor meets Breed 77 and as the song explores and tantalises the senses that  feeling is imprinted further with touches of Dub War added to a special flavouring that is all Collisions. The song rampages with great vocals from Olly Simmons over moody distorted riffs that rile up the emotions and rhythms that drive with an excitable but controlled enthusiasm.

If this was the only good song on the release compliance is still a given but the band simply slams their quality home with an even better track in Fire Fire. The track is glorious, a feast of dance rhythms, ragga metal, and punk that leaves one breathless and deeply eager to dive right into it again. There is a definite Skindred stamp to it with essences of Billy Talent and Pendulum for extra spicery. From the tight controlling beats of Will Chapman and the brooding bass of Richard Speaight to the blood boiling riffs and melodic intrusions of guitarist Andy Trewin, the song blisters the ear and sends the senses into blissful spasms. Once more the vocals of Simmons  lead the charge magnificently ably backed up by the rest of the band in great group choruses and shouts.

Two down and great heights reached so there has to be a lull or drop in intensity right? Not at all just a change in sound showing the strong diversity the band brings to their music. Chasing Forms begins with an emotive rap metal vocal opening through an atmospheric slow enveloping of the ear, with electro elements to the forth the song then makes its full presence known with intense riffs and sturdy rhythms that expand to include intelligent melodic invention. Again the Pendulum feel flows through the song bringing an inventive form to the Kennedy Soundtrack like restrained slower moments.

Push and  Once Weary Eyes (remix) complete this stunning release. The first of the two is an electro/trance metal lined track that lies somewhere between Pendulum, Silent Descent and Ourfamous Dead. It is a powerful animal that burns itself into the senses with scorched melodies, unfettered rhythms and riffs that strike with a fully intensified metal heart.  The closing song Once Weary Eyes rounds things off perfectly with its drum n bass/metal sounds that wraps around the ear and beyond with a hungry intent.

Believe In This is immense and the finest declaration that Collisions are a band about to brew up a storm and a fresh breath for UK metal.

https://www.facebook.com/CollisionsUk

RingMaster 24/04/2012

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Kontrust: Second Hand Wonderland

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ringmaster 10/04/2012

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iBurn: Where It Begins EP

Though only the fourth month in we can announce the winner of the EP of the year award. Where It Begins from Irish alternative metal band iBurn takes the honour with an intensity that snatches the senses from within your very soul to stomp all over them with adrenaline driven power and simultaneously revitalise them with ingenious and infectious melodic interaction. The release is immense and has surpassed the already strong promise the early sneak of two of the songs we had the pleasure of hearing gave up.

From Tipperary the quintet first drew eager attention and threw the senses into a blissful state of disarray with their debut self titled EP of last year. Eight tracks that took a dying genre in nu-metal into a revitalised and adventurous arena. The band now returns with seven more songs within Where It Begins that takes the genre even further forward but also declares iBurn as a band that feeds off and thrives across multiple influences and styles. They are fresh, aggressive, and the creators of metal that envelopes and excites every one of the senses whilst setting the heart aflame with invention and innovation.

From their debut iBurn has evolved as musicians and in sound from a band offering excellent exciting sounds into a very important one that is forging new avenues and taking European metal by the scruff of the neck to send new energy through its tired frame. They and this release really are that good. One hoped for something special having fallen for its predecessor but Where It Begins simply blows that out of the water.

The EP starts with Chase It and immediately snatches away the breath. Riffs finger the senses like a demented conjuror sending emotions into overload from blistered chords and groove veined meanderings. As the head becomes disentangled from the body under the intrusive yet delicious manipulations vocalist Matt Sheedy brings his perfect vocals in to calm the situation with harmonies and a clean flowing delivery. Of course he is no innocent and soon adds twisted growls and intent to join the irresistible guitars of Dave and Chuck in a wicked examination of the emotions.

The title track seizes the opportunity to further mesmerise and disable the senses next, a magnificent blend of urgent and dehabilitating riffs behind graceful keys and melodic ingenuity from the band. The drums drop kick with precision and accuracy whilst the bass pulsates with a darkened sinister tone throughout aiding what again is an immense piece of music and exhilarating songwriting. There has always been a Korn feel to the early iBurn songs and that, especially here is still very apparent but it has evolved into a spice that adds a flavour to a very distinct and unique beast. At times on the release one is reminded of other bands too, as on this song where one can hear touches of American Head Charge but iBurn has evolved into a band that when one hears a song they know it is them.

Diversity is rife on the EP to add an even further impressive element. Before Tomorrow has a industrial thrust to its soul, the band bringing a taste of Fear Factory to their creative and beautifully crafted invention. Coarse and smooth the song rips straight through to the heart leaving scorch marks from its infectious melodic teasing and the high intensity disruption of one’s safety zone. If spiteful yet innovative music was a crime the band would be the lead suspect.

The venomous Get It Right leaves one writhing on the floor, the song taking great pleasure from alternately flaying its recipient’s body to within an inch of its endurance and pulling them back up with regenerative melodic skill and sounds. It is as siren like as it is intimidating and further proof that the band has set up its own personal corner of metal to set the genre and other bands on a new course.

The crushing Lashing Out destroys the synapses next, the song bullying with more intensity than the likes of Machinehead have brought in a long time to be followed by the brilliant Human Nature, its Faith No More/Dub War greased metallic drive a staggering result of a band on a march to reshape not only nu-metal but metal on the whole. The continued mix of electronics with the nerve wrenching intensity and power is simply irresistible and alone would ensure attention was permanently but add the sheer invention, thought, and craft placed in each song from composition to ideas from each member and you have music that sets new levels.

Ending on Signs, yet another titanic song of power and imagination, one is grateful for the respite as the EP takes its leave but is soon diving back into the maelstrom of blistering and inspiring sounds. It is impossible to imagine anyone rivalling Where It Begins but one never knows, as to beating it in quality and satisfaction that is one hell of a long shot. iBurn are the future of metal and a band everyone needs to go find out about and as the band have released the EP as a free download you have no excuse not to go straight there right now.

Get the Where It Begins EP via either https://www.facebook.com/iburnmusic/app_2405167945?ref=ts or http://www.reverbnation.com/iburnmusic

RingMaster 06/04/2012

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