The Dead XIII – Catacombs

temp dead xiii final_RingMaster Review

Just over a year ago, UK horror metallers The Dead XIII, without majorly startling ears made a potent introduction with their Creatures Of The Night EP. It certainly whetted the appetite and revealed the potential of the band forging out a distinctive presence in the British metal/rock scene. Now the Mancunian quintet unleashes their debut album Catacombs, an encounter which weaves all the promise of its predecessor into a hefty slab of skilled and thrilling enticement. Whether the band has quite found that unique voice can be argued, for us it is still something brewing, but there is no doubting that the album is a potent nudge to awaken national attention and push the band well away from the crowd.

The Dead XIII escaped their crypts in 2013 and was soon breeding an increasing number of loyal fans through a live presence which over time saw them sharing stages with the likes of The Fearless Vampire Killers, William Control, Dead, and Bad Pollyanna. Creatures Of The Night lured new blood to the band with its Wednesday 13 meets Misfits like sound in 2014, a base which The Dead XIII has torn and sculpted into a more mature, inventive, and predatory proposal. Fresh from the British Horror Story Tour with Ashestoangels and Farewell, My Love, vocalist Kurt Blackshard, lead guitarist Ste Mahoney, keyboardist/guitarist Symon Strange, bassist Paul Ryan, and drummer Spike Owen reveal the evolution that has coursed through their songwriting and sound over the past year with Catacombs, and provide a rather tasty offering at the same time.

catacombs-cover_RingMaster Review    The album opens with its lead single XIII; guitars instantly weaving a mesh of sonic bait before the song erupts into a cauldron of electronic and guitar driven causticity. The distinctive tones of Blackshard quickly enter the building drama oozing from every aspect of the song, his unpolished and ghoulish dark tones another magnetic lure to an already heftily enticing encounter. There is a whiff of Marilyn Mansion and White Zombie to the track, as well as The Defiled, hues which collude to create a contagious trespass of the senses and a mighty and irresistible start to the album. It is a potent first roar matched by Frostbite and its fiercely aggressive tenacity aligned with a wintery atmosphere cloaking keys and vocals. Whereas the songs on the previous EP rarely strayed from their core design, here as in its predecessor, the song is unafraid to twist further unpredictable and imagination bred flirtations of sound and ideation into its appealing intrusion.

Daemons shows its teeth straight away with thumping beats piecing carnivorous riffery. The keys almost as quickly spread their sinister gothic charm and melodic resourcefulness into the ravenous tempest of the song where again there is an energy and intensity which never relents from badgering, almost bullying the listener. It is a great union, warm inviting textures contrasting the imposing bellow of the song whilst rhythms and the growling vocals temper the provocative tapestry of the keys and melodies. It is fair to say that every track is aural theatre, and each song upon Catacombs a mouth-watering dark escapade perfectly epitomised by the third song on the album.

The album’s title track is its successor, another proposition which gets straight down to the virulent nitty-gritty of its devilish invention and uniting horror metal/punk resources. Once more the grizzled delivery of Blackshard is like the barker or crypt-keeper to dark deeds and deathly delights within the song, and whereas on the last EP his tones occasionally tested with their one dimensional presence, in song and album they reveal, as the music, that they have evolved and discovered their deep potency.

The pair of Be-Were and The Greatest Escape richly catch the imagination next, the first encroaching on ears with stalking riffs and jabbing beats around a demonic fusion of singular and mass anthemic vocals whilst the second, being arguably the most openly Misfits toned song on Catacombs, dances on ears with a voodoo-esque array of hooks and again mass vocal roaring. Both tracks captivate with its slithers of heavy metal seeded enterprise from Mahoney whilst the latter further grips though it’s entwining of intimidating rhythmic and metal textures with melodically searing flames erupting within the song’s smouldering heart.

Not quite living up to those before it, lacking the creative spark which ignites its companions, Haunter with its corrosive metal breeding still leaves appetite and satisfaction content next before making way for the outstanding and ravenous Lay Siege To Hell. The song is unbridled and bruising rock ‘n’ roll but equally bold with sidesteps into electronic/techno adventure and a host of ever changing hooks and scorching guitar imagination adding up to another boisterous rousing of body and psyche within Catacombs.

The closing stretch to the album begins with Can’t Escape The Grave, more highly agreeable rock ‘n’ roll to lose your inhibitions and soul to and ends with Apothesis, a death infused, ambience crafted encounter which is as much post-hardcore and blackened metal as it is horror metal, and quite enthralling. It too does not quite match earlier tracks yet it is the most inventive and increasingly fascinating offering on the album revealing the depth to The Dead XIII invention still brewing and to be explored ahead.

There is no doubting that Catacombs is a must explore treat for horror and gothic metal/punk fans. It is not the perfect offering with some tracks a little too similar in some areas and hues of other genre bands seeping into play, but one impressive leap forward for the band and undeniable impressive romp for ears. As things moved forward between EP and album, evolution will see the same ahead as The Dead XIII progresses and we for one cannot wait whilst continuing to devour Catacombs right now.

Catacombs is out now

RingMaster 13/08/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Dramas and reflections: an interview with Ryan Howell of Farewell, My Love

Photography by Tarina Doolittle

Photography by Tarina Doolittle

A few short weeks ago US rock band Farewell, My Love unveiled their debut album Gold Tattoos, a release which proved that the drama and aesthetic look of the band is more than a look. Hailing from Arizona, the inventive quintet has found their first full-length being heartily embraced by fans and given strong attention by the media. Just as eager to get our 15 minutes of attention with the band we had the pleasure to keep vocalist Ryan Howell busy with our questions, finding out about the origins of the band and the recording of the album as well as the neck break recruitment of Ryan himself on the eve of the band’s first tour…

Hi Ryan, welcome to the site and thanks for taking time out to chat with us.

First up can you give us some background to the early days of you all and the impetus to the forming of the band?

The Farewell, My Love you see now was formed through very intense and careful searching, far and wide ha-ha.

Were your previous bands/projects seeded in a similar sound to that of Farewell, My Love?

I believe that all of us share a very similar vision for what we want this band to sound like. None of our prior bands sounded crazy similar to Farewell, My Love but you could definitely tell where it grew from.

How long from the first seeds of an idea to the full emergence of the band was it?

Not too long, we’ve been blessed enough to find an amazing group of musicians that all share a similar vision and drive to push through anything. We are happy to say that through all our struggles that we have really found a strong line-up that is ready to take over.

Farewell, My LoveYou came into the band later than the other members, replacing the first vocalist who I believe left on the ‘eve’ of a tour. Tell us how it came about that a guy in South Africa became a part of an Arizona band.

The band’s previous vocalist quit the band just three weeks before their first tour, so they spent the next week or so looking all over the internet for who they believed would be the right guy to join them and they found me. We shared a fair amount of mutual friends in the industry who suggested me to them & it just kind of all fell into place. They flew me out 2 weeks later and we left for our first tour together.

Was it an easy fit so close to going on tour and how difficult was it for him to leave his homeland and family?

Obviously leaving your home and family for an extended period of time is never something that is easy but if you have a dream that you would do anything to chase then it is a sacrifice well made.

The work leading up to the tour must have been rather intensive for you all with such a change so soon before?

Yeah, that it definitely was ha-ha. I had to learn an entire set worth of songs in a matter of weeks. I remember having to polish up on learning all of the lyrics on the plane ride over to the states and it being a very stressful, but exciting process.

Did you find that pressure and issue equally though gave your live performances an extra edge?

Yeah definitely. Pressure sometimes gives you that extra drive to make everything as perfect as you can possibly make it.

You have recently released your debut album Gold Tattoos; the response to it seems rather feverish so far. 1489259_562804653795550_1048955586_n

Yeah, it has been received very well by our fans for sure and has opened up the door to us gaining a lot more fans as well. Definitely been very flattering to have our album voted into the Alternative Press Readers Charts multiple months in a row after the album’s release along such acts as Black Veil Brides, Pierce The Veil, and Get Scared.

The album brought up thoughts for us of My Chemical Romance at their best at times; what are the inspirations which have had the biggest impact on your songwriting?

Honestly our band has a very diverse array of influences from Frank Sinatra to Aerosmith to My Chemical Romance. We find a lot of pleasure in combining as many sounds as we can to create our sound while still creating something cohesive.

Talking of that how does the songwriting come together within the band?

Röbby comes up with a lot of the skeletons of what the songs are and then from there we all collaborate to give the songs that signature Farewell, My Love sound.

The album suggests you maybe feel a greater affinity with nineties metal than the current state of the genre?

We appreciate bands that started around that time period, along with many others.

As well as offering thumping slices of passion soaked melodic metal, Gold Tattoos is quite a theatrical encounter too, though not an overblown one; has this aspect of your sound emerged organically or is it something you have crafted into your music as say the band’s look?

We definitely spent a lot of time creating what we feel to be the missing piece in the music scene nowadays while still maintaining a vintage vibe. We are always pushing ourselves to be better.

Lyrically the songs are quite emotive, tales looking at relationships and those off-shooting dramas; how personal is the lyrical side of the album to the band or individuals?

Each song is a personal journey that we’ve all gone through but told through the use of metaphors and storytelling. There are a lot of bands out there nowadays that are very straight forward with their lyrics, which although is cool, doesn’t really fit with the theatrical vision we have for this band.

The album was produced by Don Debiase (Modern Day Escape, Beneath the Sky, For All Those Sleeping), how did that link up come about and what was the biggest impact he had on the album or you as a band in the studio?

Our relationship with Don Debiase came about because of our label owner, Neil Sheehan. They had been friends for a long time and Neil suggested him to us when it came time to write and record our full length album. I feel like he contributed in the way of always pushing us to our limits ad creating a very positive vibe in the studio.

Did the songs during the recording process emerge exactly as you envisaged going into the studio or did they evolve a lot further?

The songs were pretty close to being finished when we entered the studio to record the album but obviously the more you mould with your art, the more it reveals its true potential.

Farewell, My Love 2I can image that a debut album is an exciting unknown which equally can be nerve shredding at times. How did you find the situation?

We were honestly very excited to put the album out because we felt that it really represented what the band sounds like. We knew when we were writing it that it wasn’t going to be for everyone but honestly, no style of music is and we’re perfectly okay with that.

For us the first half of the album was a furnace of excellence compared to a ‘mere’ fire of enjoyment for the second. Obviously personal tastes dictates how successfully songs work for people but what did you use as a gauge or influence when it came to the order you placed the songs on the album?

When it came to the arrangement of the tracks we sat down as a band, listened to all the tracks separately and just felt it out. We wanted it to flow as much as possible while still having an unexpected edge.

Tracks like Afraid Of The Dark and My Perfect Thing thrust the album to the heart of a hungry attention whilst others like Faceless Frames turn up the heat further, but Mirror, Mirror is the biggest prize of them all for us. Can you give some insight into the triumph?

We like to keep our songs as diverse as we possibly can.

Is there a particular track or moment on the album which gives you just that extra tinge of satisfaction inside?

Every single song on the record is something that we are very proud of.

We mentioned My Chemical Romance earlier as a potent comparison to your sound, a band which was the flavoursome pioneers in melodic metal at first for the media and then seemingly within an album the target of ridicule and disdain from the mainstream press. Do you keep that ‘image’ in the back of the mind as you feel the ‘love’ of the media right now?

We keep our influences very close to our hearts but we try to do our own thing and create music that we feel is one of a kind.

What is next for Farewell, My Love? Tours can be expected?

Lots and lots of touring & new music videos. Be sure to keep checking in with us on Facebook, Twitter and all our other social sites for the latest updates!

Thanks once again for chatting with us.

Is there a last thought or quote you would like to leave us all pondering?

Be prepared for the future and remember that we love every single person out there that supports us! We couldn’t do this without our Farewell Family ❤

http://www.facebook.com/farewellmyloveofficial

Read the review of Gold Tattoos @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/farewell-my-love-gold-tattoos/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 23/04/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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Farewell, My Love – Gold Tattoos

fml new fixes

    Though it is hard to dismiss US rock band Farewell, My Love as just another teen fad, even when their emergence is drawing an eagerly attentive and rapidly growing fanbase from a seemingly young teen element you cannot help sensing that they will be just as hungrily derided. The band’s debut album Gold Tattoos equally gives evidence and support to that assumption in many ways but also suggests that they are much more than just a blaze of style. The Arizona quintet look set to have a love or hate relationship with media and music lovers, much like one of their biggest influences My Chemical Romance. Whether they override the animosity bred towards them like the band they definitely sound like and certainly rip the primes essences from on their debut, time will tell but it is fair to say that there is much more substance and depth to Farewell, My Love than you would suspect from their look alone. When the Phoenix band hits full stride and potency on the twelve-track romp they easily and infectiously steal attention and a keen appetite for their presence, though sadly it is not an appeal and strength which is sustained throughout the whole release. Honesty declares that we have to admit that early MCR found a soft spot to exploit in our passions here and just occasionally Gold Tattoos and band threaten to reap that same appreciative well too.

    Consisting of vocalist Ryan Howell, guitarists Röbby Creasey and Logan Thayer, bassist Charlee Conley, and drummer Chad Kowal, Farewell, My Love first sparked rich focus their way with the A Dance You Won’t Forget EP in 2011. With its bulging choruses and anthemic potency, the release was soon soaking up eagerness and praise from newly drawn fans. Comparisons to the likes of Avenged Sevenfold, AFI, 30 Seconds to Mars as well of course as MCR were latched upon the band’s sound something Gold Tattoos only accentuates. It is fair to say that the Don Debiase (Modern Day Escape, Beneath the Sky, For All Those Sleeping) produced album is not rippling with startling originality but again like the songs individually, the Standby Records released encounter has something about it which is hungrily refreshing and hard to turn away from.

     Afraid Of The Dark opens things up, a resonating heartbeat haunting the atmosphere before fiery guitar sonics burst out to FML_cover-officiallead rampaging grooves and rampant beats into a welcome seizure of the ears. That MCR influence is an open contagion from the first full stride of the song, even vocally Howell sounds like he is laying homage to Gerard Way in his tone and delivery. The song though is an intriguing and addiction inflicting stomp, sonic bursts and melodic endeavour keeping things unpredictable if still familiar across the thoroughly engaging track. There is a drama and theatrical vivacity to the song too, if at times laid on almost too thickly, which adds something richer to its invitation to remain in control of already magnetised emotions.

    The strong start is followed by the equally enticing My Perfect Thing, the song more reserved compared to the first but still lively and similarly littered with hooks and rich harmonies across an inventive body. That ‘ingenuity’ though comes with a rich dressing of recognisable adventure which defuses the undeniable craft and hunger of the band to excite and entertain. Nevertheless the track keeps attention enthused before firstly Faceless Frames toys with and then Mirror, Mirror inflames the passions. The first of the two pumps sinew built rhythms through the ear with rousing hooks as anthemic bait wantonly seduces the imagination whilst the second lights the touch paper to a pop punk voraciousness, the rapacious drive of the song irresistible as it leads the listener into a virulently contagious chorus. If MCR at their epidemic best was a lure for you than this song is the next best thing, a treat which suggests the band can possibly be something special if they find their distinct presence.

     From here on in the release ebbs and flows, or more deflates with fitful returns to earlier heights. Certainly the likes of Rewind The Play and Skip The Memories provide imaginative attempts to persuade but seem content to drift into a more formulaic design lacking incendiary grooves and the depth of riotous exploit which made the first third of the album as impressive as it was. The songs though do tease with swipes of sonic drama and nibbling hooks from time to time to keep you hanging on just in case, though ultimately they disappoint with Friends & Fiends another example, it an agreeable song with fine electronic colour but unable to lift the spirits and appetite for their attempts.

    The keys driven ballad Paper Forts is an elegant figure of a song with great vocals but again finds no purchase with thoughts and emotions, its boy band breath off-putting at times. Its failure though is soon forgotten once Angels unveils its eloquent pop fuelled suasion. It is not a song to challenge earlier triumphs but has that something special with stroking orchestral bred synths helping to make it a lingering impact. Neither the title track nor the closing The Queen Of Hearts stoke up the fires either but as with all songs there is quality and undeniable promise about them to keep you interested if uninspired.

    If someone like My Chemical Romance is a passion then Farewell, My Love is an investigation definitely needed to be made though of course if they are not then look elsewhere for your new adventure. As an EP and just made up of the first quartet of tracks, Gold Tattoos would certainly have had us enthusing much more about band and release but as a full length confrontation it relinquishes that early capture of the passions quite easily as it progresses to provide very decent but underwhelming company. It is hard not to have a mixed view about the album but easy to admit it does offer more than enough to suggest that if not now, ahead they could become one of those naughty secrets that we all have in our playlists.

http://www.facebook.com/farewellmyloveofficial

7/10

RingMaster 03/02/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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