Autopsy Boys – Return of the acid casualty auto humans

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After tenaciously grabbing ears and imagination last year with their mischievous invention and punk bred sound through the singles No Ambition and Song For Debbera, electro punk miscreants Autopsy Boys are poised to release their eagerly awaited new album this month. We call the band electro punk but as their fans know and the upcoming Return of the acid casualty auto humans shows, the British quartet’s sound has more distinct styles and textures than a high street boutique. New wave, punk, horror punk, industrial rock, metal…the list goes on to the flavours making up an album which has the creative devilry and mischief of a Saw movie and the relentless hungry adventure of a computer game.

Formed in 2011 by vocalist/keyboardist Lee Brunskjill and bassist Gary Hargreaves, who had already been making music together from 2006, the Leeds hailing Autopsy Boys stepped into the light when the founding pair were asked to open local hard-core punk and heavy metal all day event Beefstock IV. Recruiting friends for the supposedly one off moment, the band simply continued to play and create, with guitarist Alan Laird and drummer Sam Shelton (who recently left to be replaced by Billy James Mitchell) subsequently linking up with Brunskjill and Hargreaves. The following time also saw the earlier post punk inspired sounds of writers and band move into a hardcore punk arena of sound whilst still infusing the healthy revelry of synthesizers and samples into their horror movie/gaming inspired themes.

Singles like Rich Kids Playground/ Negative 8 and Crushing On Cynthia sparked increasing attention the band’s way as too debut album Def Elements in 2012. For all their successes though and that found by both No Ambition and Song For Debbera, the twenty one hefty Return of the acid casualty auto humans is looking like being a whole new ball game for attention and reputation. From start to finish, the album is a maelstrom of diversely flavoured and feverishly explosive tracks sure to ignite the buds of anyone with a taste for electronic, punkish, and bruising confrontational incitements.

Artwork by White Dolemite

Artwork by White Dolemite

Curated by Canadian actress/film director Debbie Rochon, Return of the acid casualty auto humans has attention quickly gripped; The acid test featuring Johnny Violent providing a brief intro with dark threatening shadows to its portentous coaxing on the way to turning into the rousing exploits of 27.8.89. With Blag Dahlia, who we are assuming is indeed the front-man of mighty punk band the Dwarves, the second song opens with an infectious electro rock tempting around steely riffs and firmly landed beats. Becoming more imposing as atmospheric keys collude with dark rhythms but never breaking its catchy intent, the Hadouken! scented song has appetite keen and ready for the fiercer proposition that is Just dance with me. Punkishly irritable and atmospherically sinister, the track quickly badgers and stirs up the senses with a hardcore seeded stomp carrying just a whiff of The Dickies to it.

As strong and heftily pleasing as the album is so far, I’m gonna kill myself lays down a certain pinnacle next. From Hargreaves‘ grievously throaty bassline to the intimidating fusion of vocals and belligerent riffs, it has body and emotions thickly involved in its punk rock challenge and lyrical adventure. Psych rock keys simply add to the raw and vibrant fun as the track reveals just some of the array of flavours fuelling the album.

The band’s early post punk style is still an element which has its say at times and Summers over makes riveting use of those textures with its nagging bassline and steely presence before erupting in a senses scorching crescendo. Like Artery on acid, the song is increasingly captivating just as the old school punk blessed Breakfast at retro Betty’s boutique which gets even more antagonistically incendiary as guest Al Skull adds to the contrasting vocal and sonic trespasses.

Through the power pop/grunge rock coloured STRAWBS! and Song for Debbera, the album demands attention, the first of the two uncaging virulent rock ‘n’ roll with the pugnacious nature of a street brawl. Its successor, with Rochon providing another great entrance to a song, is a contagious electro pop canter with an eighties new wave spattering of noise and bait hinting at bands like The Normal and Inca Babies. Both tracks keep pleasure full, though they soon get eclipsed by the muggy intensity and predacious character of  the excellent Lotti will conduct the same experiment on several different humans and in turn the similarly raucous and bracing Denton ward honey trap. Both tracks are simply shots of punk adrenaline giving the appetite more to be greedy over.

The chase scene provides a dance-punk /r&b infused distraction next; featuring Junior Bear and Debbie Rochon, the song is a lively eighties toned stroll which again enjoyably takes album and sound in another pleasing direction if without quite stirring up the instincts as powerfully as We’re gonna need more bodybags. Visceral in tone and punk ‘n’ roll predation, the song’s blending of metal, hardcore, and electro punk voracity has the body bouncing and energies exhausted by its close leaving Agoraphobia to exploit all with its own frantically bruising and anthemically inflamed incitement. There are numerous pinnacles to the heady landscape of the album, this an unmissable one immediately followed by another in the glorious Level 7: Compulsive. Basking in the involvement of Leeds duo Petrol Bastard, the track goes for the jugular from its first breath; weaving every strain of punk into its own hellacious addiction for ears as its punk irritability and addictiveness provides the canvas for the grin inducing vocal prowess and devilment of band and guest.

The album is at its fullest height now, the past trio of treats matched by the psychotic drama of Every good sitcom gets cancelled after the pilot where Brunskjill seems to have been stuffed down a drain pipe to present his narrative whilst around him a tempest of rock ‘n’ roll boils over as an even more deranged than normal Cardiacs like kaleidoscope of insanity flirts with the imagination.

Lusty reactions continue to be stirred by the Rochon introduced Bubblegum where the guest vocals of Rebecca Lindley especially light up ears within more robustly tenacious endeavour. There is equally no relaxing of appetite and eagerness for Cigarette burns which follows with Al Skull again on board. Though carrying a feel of Peter and The Test Tube Babies and The Adicts to its raw punk storm, keys and the Autopsy Boys ingenuity only twists it inside out to forge another fresh infestation of the senses before the electro punk pop stroll of Every little thing has hips and emotions swinging.

The gentler but no less attitude loaded electronic proposal of Disco for psychopaths steps up next, its creative wares leading to nothing less than unbridled satisfaction. It is a success quickly matched by Town full of microdots and its hungry torrent of hardcore belligerence and rhythmic animosity with Al Skull back again to add to its ravenous snarl, and indeed the melodically acoustic and rabidly frenetic stalker that is Totally obsessed with you which brings the album to a devilishly magnetic close.

With so many tracks there was the fear even as a long-time fan and player of the band’s songs on our podcasts, that Return of the acid casualty auto humans would be a collection of undoubted triumphs but also a few fine but inescapable fillers. From start to finish though, there is no weak link or a song seemingly thrown in to make up the numbers. The album’s strong start just gets bigger, bolder, and more irresistible song by song with, of course particular moments which really ignite personal tastes along the way.

So come the end of the month, we suggest you go treat yourself to an album certain to ride high on many end of year best of lists. Did we mention that the album is to be released by the band as a free download too, with a CD and vinyl release at a later date; as their music might suggest, the band must be mad!

Return of the acid casualty auto humans is released 30th April as a free download via  https://autopsyboys.bandcamp.com/

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Pete RingMaster 04/04/2016

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ASG – Blood Drive

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It may have been five years between last album and the new one Blood Drive, but North Carolina rockers ASG have made up for the gap with their finest release and sound to date. A welcoming storm of hard rock, stoner, sludge and more than a whisper of metal, the album is a compelling and invigorating expanse of invention and enterprise. You can debate whether it offers anything truly new across its enthralling length but there is no question it feeds the widest appetites possible for fire fuelled, passion bred rock.

Formed in 2001 in Wrightsville Beach, ASG has evolved from an instrumental trio at the start to one of the more engaging yet potently powerful rocks bands in the American underground, though with this their debut Relapse Records release, a place at the widest table of awareness and recognition surely beckons. Moving from a threesome, which came about as the band could not find a dedicated vocalist, ASG eventually had guitarist Jason Shi stepping up to handle vocals too. Completed by bassist Andy Ellis and drummer Scott Key, the band released debut album …The Amplification of Self Gratification in 2003 followed two years later by Feeling Good Is Good Enough which was recorded with producers Matt Hyde and Phil Caivano. Strong responses were earned by the album and followed by the band expanding to a quartet with the addition of second guitarist Jonah Citty. Impressive shows and tours alongside the likes of Motorhead, Fu Manchu, Saviours, The Sword, Torche, Dwarves, and CKY followed before the band returned to the studio with Hyde for third album Win Us Over. With a sound which had been evolving all the time since forming, the 2008 release took the band to greater heights which Blood Drive builds upon and pushes to a greater impressive plateau.

Again with Hyde (Slayer, Fu Manchu) alongside the band, the album is a fascination of ripe and impacting riffs, gripping rhythms, grigliaand grooved melodic temptation honed into twelve anthem dressed slabs of masterful persuasion. Opening track Avalanche steers through a sonic lure into an expressive and warmly enticing wash of fiery riffs and melodic persuasion. The stoner groove which spines the heated embrace has a barbed surface which ensures focus and satisfaction whilst vocally the outstanding tones of Shi shine and embellish the lyrical and musical narrative with passion. He is a vocalist who plays with variety and harmonies with ease to offer any song what it wants and needs.

It is a pleasing and strong if unremarkable start soon followed by greater triumphs such as the title track and the excellent Scrappy’s Trip. Both continue the perfectly crafted merger of mellow melodic and mesmeric charm with feisty and impacting sinews rhythmically and in heavy toned riffs. The band has drawn comparisons to the likes of Torche, The Sword, Kyuss, and Queens of the Stone Age, and even  the promo accompanying the release offers up the same examples, but equally in many tracks such as the first pair on the album, thoughts of Yes with the progressive elements washing the release and Jane’s Addiction make their claim too. The fascinating grooves and swagger tracks such as the second of the just mentioned two have spark a definite comparison to the Californians, often through the vocals alone.

The album continues to impress and captivate through songs such as the excellent fevered punk tasting Castlestorm and Blues For Bama, a smouldering entrapment of the passions which sees the vocals bring out a Bowiesque breath to the magnetic kiss of the song within electrified beauty from the guitars. It saves its greatest pinnacles though for the last stretch of the release in the sensational shapes of Hawkeye and Stargazin’. The first is an aggressive and fiery tempest of instinctive rock ‘n’ roll. Vocal squalls light up the contagious yet restrained groove whilst harmonies soak the chorus with insatiable ease and grandeur, it all within a frame work of tight and gripping drum muscle and bass prowling which pulls out virulent shadows to the addiction being ignited. The second of the two also has a hunger to its energy which recruits full subservience from the passions, but replaces the more demanding intensity of its predecessor with more Jane’s Addiction like funk seeded grooves and incendiary enterprise. Wholly appetising and furthering the expanse of ideas and sound already upon Blood Drive, the songs as if needed, make the final cementing of the new levels the band have explored and ignited in thoughts and reactions.

The Ladder and Good Enough To Eat finish the album, a sludge gait and blues breath unveiled by the first and an acoustic led encounter from the second. To be honest neither makes a big impression but then the heart was still locked in with the couple of songs immediately before them. Nevertheless Blood Drive shows that the time waiting for another ASG release was well worth taking and it just might take the band to a level of attention long deserved.

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8/10

RingMaster 27/05/2013

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