Johnny Wore Black – Ultra Violent Light

Pretty much enamoured with the Johnny Wore Black sound and creative adventure since its first couple of singles way back in 2012, the past two to three years have been seemingly rather quiet for the band. It has as ever been a busy time for the project’s creator and vocalist/writer Jay Coen though, the man throwing his stuntman body and audacity around in a number of features you may have heard of which include Game Of Thrones, Ready Player One, Spectre, Hitman’s Bodyguard, Rogue One, Spiderman-Far From Home and more. Now the band has returned with new album Ultra Violent Light, a simply compelling release which shows that Coen has also been rather busy these past months growing, honing, and exploring his project’s already established musical prowess.

Released in two parts over the course of 2014, Johnny Wore Black’s debut album, Walking Underwater, deservedly drew acclaim and a major flood of fans the way of the band. It was a tapestry of melody wired metal and rapacious rock as contagious as it was imaginative and emotively provocative. Ultra Violent Light is more of the same yet a whole new realm of craft and invention across every aspect making its predecessor so captivating.

Coen’s continuing link up with Megadeth bassist David Ellefson is as alive and potent as it has ever been within Ultra Violent Light too, for which he has also enlisted the creative courage of Earthtone 9 members in drummer Simon Hutchby and guitarist Gez Walton, the latter also producing the album alongside David Bottrill (Tool, Stone Sour, Dream Theater), to realise his new collection of songs.  Additional enterprise from keyboardist Cameron Daniel William Hill, cellist Kate Shortt, vocalist Adam Sedgewick, and bassist/vocalist George Donahue only adds to the bold and imaginative canvas of the release.

Ultra Violent Light opens up with latest single Gun True Love and instantly had attention wrapped up as Coen’s vocals come entangled in the evocative wires cast by the guitar. It is a coaxing which respectfully nags but with an intimation of darkness which expands as the track erupts with muscular dexterity. The tone of Ellefson’s bassline is growling manna to these ears but just as magnetic is the web of melodic enticement and vocal harmonics which tempts from within the more volatile climate of sound and emotion.

Straight away there is a richer depth and feel to songwriting and music in comparison to previous releases, a realisation compounded by next up One Sexy Scar. Carrying drama from its very first note, the song breaks from its slightly tempestuous entrance into a composed stroll with warm keys and melodic caresses. Even so there is a perpetual lining of volatility which simmers and boils up as the mercurial character and air of the track persistently enthrals before the following Plastic Ocean creates its own tantalising yet stormy captivation of sound and character. It is a moment of seduction as threatening and imposing as it is flirtatious, in so many ways a predator and relentlessly alluring.

Honey Club is similar in nature with the big swings of Hutchby an instinctive incitement even when adding restraint to their trespass and the wiry intimation of Walton’s guitar as provocative as the grizzled voice of Ellefson’s bass. Another track bewitchingly capricious, Coen’s ever individual tones croon and richly lures the listener into the heart of the song, a contender for best track with its unapologetically resourceful touch and darkly brooding imagination.

Through the likes of the arguably less bold but just as infectious and dark RIP Mr Man and Boy Soldier with its melancholic grace, emotive intimacy, and turbulence corrupted tranquillity, band continues to expand the emotion fuelled storytelling and creative emprise of the release. It is an adventure which reveals more by the listen, the deeper into its heart you venture the more it expresses its richness and agility as proven yet again by the similarly composed Southern Storm, a song with a seemingly intensely personal heart amidst a military rhythmic bearing. It has echoes of Big Country to its inventive scenery and an Americana/folk whisper to its breeze in a proposition becoming more powerful and compelling with each listen.

Broken uncages an anthemic tempest of metal infested rock ‘n’ roll next, the track an robustly eventful and muscular affair with a virulent catchiness and evocative twists of thoughtful calm to its armoury while the album’s following title track borders on the carnivorous with its rhythmic spine and senses prowling riffs, but a predatory stalking aligned to vocal and melodic charisma lined with emotional angst.

The album closes with Ultimate Fighter which deceptively opens with Coen’s magnetic tones alongside Hutchby’s spirited beats under a sonic sigh aligned to a shadow courting grumble of bass. It subsequently ignites in a chained tempest with beats exploring even greater tenacity as guitars flame and vocals roar. It never explodes into the beast expected but becomes a just as dynamic and imposing anthem with invention in its enterprise and zeal in its release of that adventure.

It is truly an outstanding finale to a release which thrilled from the off but really came to life and magnificence by the subsequent ventures into its imaginative lair, becoming a seriously must explore encounter along the way.

Ultra Violent Light is out now via EMP Label Group across most stores.

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

Pete RingMaster 31/08/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Doll Skin – Manic Pixie Dream Girl

As they grab a breath after successfully being part of the 2017 Vans Warped Tour, Arizona pop punk rockers Doll Skin continue to grab attention with their recently released sophomore album, Manic Pixie Dream Girl. The successor to their acclaimed 2016 debut, In Your Face (Again), the new album uncages more of the Phoenix hailing quartet’s aggressive punk fuelled infection and hard rock tenacity to continue the ear grabbing potency of its predecessor.

Meeting at the Phoenix School of Rock in 2013, Doll Skin have only flourished from the attention of Megadeth bassist David Ellefson who subsequently produced In Your Face (Again), and its acclaim garnering success which escalated the initial well received release of the outfits first EP, In Your Face on Ellefson’s own imprint Emp Label Group. Last year not only saw Doll Skin’s first album greedily received but the band hit the road and shows alongside the likes of Otep, Lacey Sturm, Fire From The Gods, Hellyeah, Dead Kennedys, Escape The Fate, September Mourning, Through Fire, and numerous more. It was a busy time continuing through this year and sure to intensify with the release of Manic Pixie Dream Girl.

Produced and Mixed by Evan Rodaniche from Cage9, the album opens up with Shut Up (You Miss Me) and instantly has ears bound in a hip stealing hook; that potent lure continuing through Nicole Rich’s bass as things calm and the alluring tones of vocalist Sydney Dolezal jump in. Soon the busy and energetic heart of the track rises again, jabbing beats and catchy vocal delivery lining its swinging infection loaded melodic punk gait. There are no major surprises within the song but everything about it has body and spirit involved before Daughter up the ante with its hard rock inspired declaration. Defiant in soul and adventurous in character, the song flows from calm reflection to anthemic ferocity with sublime ease; the guitar of Alex Snowden suggestive and inventive as Meghan Herring’s rhythms pure rock ‘n’ roll behind more irresistible vocal boisterousness, singular and across the band.

Its impressive incitement is matched by that of Road Killa, a track which straight away is prowling the senses with a predatory edge. With Dolezal equally as imposing yet richly endearing in tone and presence, things only escalate in quality and rapacity as spiky hooks and wiry melodies collude with emotionally aroused vocals and the rhythmic tenacity of Herring and Rich. A rock/punk trespass, the track hits the sweet spot before Boy Band exposes its instinctive rock ‘n roll heart with relish and energy. Familiarity and fresh traits unite within the contagion of the track, its recognisable presence bolstered by its ear gripping resourcefulness as the album continues to richly tempt.

The sultry hues of Rubi entice and please next, its rhythmic grumble adding extra intrigue to a warm often fiery nature while Sunflower has an equally agitated underbelly to its more irritable and lively stomp. Though neither track quite matches up to those before them, each confirms that Doll Skin know how to sculpt the most flavoursome of hooks and twists in their songs as well as brew some seriously infectious strains within their music.

Both songs have a hint of Australian band Valentiine to them as too the beguiling Sweet Pea which follows though its melodic shimmer and elegant smoulder quickly shows originality all of its own as it lays a best track hand on attention. It is a treat of an encounter swiftly rivalled by the punk moulded stroll of Baby’s Breath but a song embracing an array of flavours within its harmonic temptation and volatile undercurrent. Again imagination and body are taken on an eventful and highly enjoyable ride but then turned on even more by the outstanding roar of Persephone. Carrying an eighties pop punk feel reminding of bands like The Photos and a modern rock ‘n’ roll ferocity akin to the likes of Courtesans, the song stalks and seduces with equal invention and boldness.

From one major highlight to another as the pure punk grouchiness of Puncha Nazi consumes ears and attention; the track a spirit stirring, rebel rousing surge of sound and intensity which actually misses out on delivering the donkey punch killer blow it hints at but still makes for another pinnacle within Manic Pixie Dream Girl before the emotionally haunted and melodically bewitching Uninvited brings things to a magnetic close. Adding just one more new turn to the imagination of the album’s body and Doll Skin songwriting as it boils to an inferno of a climax, the song provides a momentous finale to another seriously compelling outing with the band.

Over the first couple of listens, it was hard to say that Manic Pixie Dream Girl majorly built upon that first triumphant album but it was a deception as from there the release only blossoms with time to reveal a new depth to the Doll Skin sound and pretty much match the former’s impressive presence and by giving that time another 2017 highlight is the reward.

Manic Pixie Dream Girl is out now via EMP Label Group through most online stores.

http://www.facebook.com/dollskinband    http://www.dollskinband.com

Pete RingMaster 28/06/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright