Japanese Fighting Fish – Swimming with Piranhas

Photo by Scott M Salt Photography

Photo by Scott M Salt Photography

The highly anticipated third album from British aural dramatists  Japanese Fighting Fish is uncaged this week, a release which not only confirms that there is no other proposal like the London based quartet but shows the band hitting another plateau in their breath-taking sound and invention. There are few with the musical craft and adventure to match an imagination as daring as it is inimitable but Japanese Fighting Fish have it all in abundance and in full enthralling flow within Swimming with Piranhas.

Formed in Leeds in 2009, Japanese Fighting Fish had a great many hooked, including us, by the release of debut album Just Before We Go MAD two years later. A release experimenting with South American rhythms as raw vocals and dirty guitars played, its compelling success was eclipsed by its successor, the punk infused Day Bombs of 2011. Releases and years have seen the band draw comparisons to the likes of Faith No More, System of a Down, QOTSA, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Primus, and Frank Zappa, but as evidenced once more by their latest triumph,  Japanese Fighting Fish really do stand alone in character and sound. Mastered by Tim Young (Massive Attack, The Clash, Sex Pistols, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Elbow, and The Beatles ‘Love’ Album), Swimming with Piranhas is the band at its most eclectic yet and offering a collection of funk infested, theatrical exploits; quite simply rock and roll with the devilry and boldness of creative insanity.

Inspired in title by the real life wild experiences of vocalist Karlost Thompson and drummer Al Sweetman whilst staying in Ecuador with a Quechan tribe where they took a dip in the Amazon River, Swimming with Piranhas has ears and imagination swiftly gripped with its opening title track. A lone spicy groove teases first, it soon joined by broader sonic sighs and boisterous rhythms as the song increasingly expands into a hip swinging, rhythmically riveting magnet. Once the familiar, ever expressive and captivating tones of Karlost complete the line-up of creative cast, the imagination is taken on a beguiling off kilter ride. With kinetic beats and baroque scented organ shaped theatre adding to the ever shifting gait and mood of the encounter, the opener is sheer captivating as fiery and infectious as it is thought provoking and a great sign of things to come.

art_RingMasterReviewThe excellent start continues and hits another level with Egyptian Sunrise, the song a sultry tango of exotic mystique upon the driving throaty bassline of Matt McGuinness and the swinging bait of Sweetman. Impossible to resist getting physically involved, the song leads the body a merry dance with the imagination caught up in the creative tones and lyrical incitement of Karlost. Also swathed in the equally suggestive invention of Gareth Frederik Ellmer’s guitar, the song is a mouth-watering exploit soon matched in creative theatre by Provocative Cat. Funky with Parisian hues, the song flirts and dances with ears as the bass masterfully groans and Karlost paints the imagination like a vaudevillian showman.

New single For Queen Marilyn comes next, sauntering in on a raw riff and rumbling beats as vocals spread their instinctive drama and ascending energy. Soon its rapacious rock ‘n’ roll is ablaze with intensity amidst a hearty roar, switching between calm and volatile waters before making way for Close The Gate. An encounter which seems to mellow as it reaches climactic moments and erupts when you expect it to slip into alluring calms, the unpredictable song is a twisted treat but one soon outshone by previous single U Ain’t Gonna Win This. An exploration of split personalities also making a “homage to boxing greats like Ali, and Rocky “, the song is a fleet footed shuffle with another deeply contagious gurning  bassline from McGuinness courting the vocal waltz of Karlost and band. Taking addiction to a fresh level, the track mixes sweltering melodies and grungy textures with sonic guitar splatters and a virulent carnival-esque bounce.

Hard To Resist is a matching enslavement of body and appetite, its lazy yet snarling bass swing and gripping croon just two of the irresistible elements in what must be the next single. The track is glorious, reminding of little know eighties band, Zanti Misfitz as it throws its creative temptation around. A slip into a deranged XTC like pasture only adds to the fun and increasing seduction too.

Another funk sculpted adventure follows in the shape of I Got Time; its Red Hot Chili Peppers like romp infused with a Talking Heads like prowess, while On A Fall sonically shimmers as the eager beats of Sweetman fuel the pulsating balladry of voice and Ellmer’s resonating guitar enterprise. Increasingly more provocative and gripping with every listen, the track is yet another thrilling twist in the varying style and sound within Swimming with Piranhas.

The album is brought to an equally exciting and inventive close by firstly Dr. No-Sense and its noir spiced and increasingly bedlamic intensity. It is followed by the similarly deranged but skilfully reined imagination and creative resourcefulness of I Caught You Wandering for a bewitching end to another superb offering from Japanese Fighting Fish. Swimming with Piranhas takes the band and their one of a kind proposition to a whole new plateau, not just for them but for the British rock scene. Why Japanese Fighting Fish is not a name on so many more eager lips already is a bit of a mystery, now they might just be with this beast of a proposal doing the persuading.

Swimming with Piranhas is released 17th June across most online stores.

http://www.japanesefightingfish.co.uk/    https://www.facebook.com/Japanesefightingfishuk   https://twitter.com/jffuk

Pete RingMaster 17/06/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The silent roar of darkness; talking Evocation with Skin Drone

SD_RingMasterReview

Within the metal underground, it is fair to say that anticipation for the debut album from US band Skin Drone has been increasingly eager in many quarters. The web based project is the creative union of vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Erik Martin of Critical Dismemberment and multi-instrumentalist/producer Otto Kinzel from Chemical Distance and the founder of Bluntface Records. Next month sees the release of debut album Evocation; a proposition offering emotionally and lyrically dark tales as raw and caustic as they are seductive and elegantly evocative. The album pulls the listener into ravenous experimental landscapes of imposing shadows and emotional turmoil shaped by a fusion of extreme, industrial, and avant-garde metal with provocative ambiences, to simplify it all. It is powerful and invigorating, and the source of a hunger to dig deeper into its heart. So with big thanks to Erik and Otto, that is what we have done as we explore the world of Skin Drone…

Hi Guys and thank you for sharing your time with us.

Can you first tell us how you both met?

Erik: We met through Operation: Underground [a compilation album on Blutface Records]. Critical Dismemberment was on that release and Otto mixed/mastered the song for us. From there, we became good friends throughout the months and when Otto approached me about Skin Drone, there was no way to say no.

Otto: After Operation: Underground, which my label Bluntface Records released, I started working with Critical Dismemberment much more and they eventually joined the label. So by that point I had already been talking with both Erik and Chase Fincher (who did all the mixing & mastering on Evocation) for some time. I was always impressed by both of them and we all became really good friends. Erik and I have a lot in common so I think we naturally connected on a musical and personal level. When I asked Erik if he’d be able to help me out with vocals on some songs he jumped at the chance. That first song was what ended up becoming Witching Hour, and Erik hit a home run with it! I was so blown away by what he wrote and performed that I knew we had to pursue this more. Long story short, here we are. And it’s funny because even though Chase isn’t a “member” per say of Skin Drone, he played a huge role in the final product because he’s the one that brought the tracks to life when he mixed the album.

As you have already touched on, you are both heavily involved in other projects, solo and with others, and Otto you with running Bluntface Records too; so when did the seeds to the actual project of Skin Drone first arise?

Otto

Otto

Otto: I had been trying to get a variation of Skin Drone off the ground for probably a year or so prior to hooking up with Erik. And I had basically no luck whatsoever. So when I started working with Critical Dismemberment, and subsequently got to know Erik and Chase better I knew that there was special talent there. As I mentioned, Witching Hour was the first song we collaborated on together. I had a rough demo with just guitar and drums recorded when I sent it to Erik to try his hand at it. I never had a serious vocalist attached to this project and the whole thing was basically dormant in my efforts to get it off the ground. Erik came back with a very impressive performance and lyrics, and I was blown away. I specifically remember thinking “damn, if we can make this work, even with 1,000 miles between us, we might be onto something really special”. And the momentum kept building with each song afterwards as both of us got more comfortable working & writing with each other. The chemistry was very natural; I don’t remember ever really having to “force” anything in the creative process.

What was the initial spark and indeed the moment where you knew it was going to work?

Erik: For me it was hearing the final mix of Witching Hour when we first started. It just felt right and when we really started to venture out into the experimental with Shepherd Of The Damned, we ran with it and embraced the sound we were crafting, that for me cemented that we were a force to be reckoned with.

Otto: Shepherd of the Damned was the first song we did where there were multiple changes in the timing, and in the overall feeling of the song. The levels of dynamics in that were tricky to start but once we had the final version, I think we both knew we had stepped our game up a notch.

Did you set out with a particular intent and direction for Skin Drone or let things organically arise?

Otto: Everything that happened was organic. Sure, we tried to push in a particular direction. At first I think we just wanted to pursue the technical death metal type of sound. But funny enough, the more we “tried” to push for one specific style, the more things spun out of control and took on a life of their own. It was fairly early on that we realized that we needed to just “run with it” so to speak, and however the songs came out is how they came out. It’s hard to explain because so much of it was done by “feel”; but everything was organic.

As you mentioned you live hundreds of miles apart and more. So I am assuming a physical coming together for the project is near to impossible, so how does the writing and creating process work between you online?

Erik: Usually it starts off with a demo that we toss back and forth a few times until we have something that we feel out did what we accomplished with the last song. Some take longer than others but for the most part it is no different than writing in the same room; the only difference being that when we are communicating our ideas to each other, we have to be very clear as to what we are trying to achieve sonically. There is always the potential if we are having an off day that it could derail the entire song, but we always catch ourselves before that happens.

Is this a time consuming process in the creation of songs and do you work on them one at a time or work away on numerous tracks at the same time?

Otto: I’d say no more or less of a time consuming process that what a “regular” band goes through. Some songs naturally take longer than others to complete but as a whole we work at a very efficient pace. That’s because both Erik and I each do a lot of work on our own time to develop our parts and work thing out, before presenting them to the other person. And yes we’ll typically have a few songs continuously in the works. For me it helps because if I’m stuck on a certain song or just not having any luck then I can go work on something else, and still make progress without holding the whole project up.

Erik_RingMasterReview

Erik

You have just released your striking and enjoyably often disturbing debut album, Evocation. How long has it been in the making?

Erik: If memory serves me correctly, we wrote the first song in autumn of 2014 and finished the last one in the beginning of summer in 2015. It was then gone back over and mixed/mastered in the winter of 2015. We have the luxury of being able to take our time and not have to a label or pay for studio time, I feel like that lack of pressure really shows in the music.

Is it a project which has had to grow around other commitments or were you able to create it in a period of no other musical distractions?

Erik: For me, I had just finished my parts on the Critical D debut, so for 99% of this, I was musically not distracted.

Otto: I had no distractions musically. I always try to make sure I can give 100% focus and energy to the material when I’m in writing /recording mode.

Can you give some idea to its themes?

Erik: The themes are mostly centred in occultism, rituals, witchcraft, paganism and even some calling out thieves in organized religion. There are also certain personal elements hidden in plain sight, but we leave those to the listener to decide what is fiction and what is real life. It adds a level of mysticism that we build upon musically.

I was going to ask about that; as much as it trespasses the senses and psyche, there are just as evocative moments of melancholic beauty and intimate psychosis to songs. So to push for more insight, how much of their inspiration and exploration comes from the emotionally personal side and experiences of you two, lyrically and musically?

Erik: Lyrically during the writing process I was in a very dark place. Dealing with vices and very confused on what life even meant; that included the people in it. You could liken it to just doing what I had to do in order to keep breathing. All that translated to some of the darkest and angriest lyrics I had ever written. The best example of this is Salvation. That song is about a spirit that drives his killer insane and ultimately kills him and makes it all look like a ritualistic suicide. If you really pay attention to the lyrics, you start to see a very personal story of being consumed by something and the only way out is death it seems.  There are examples of this spread out through the entire album; it is all just up to everyone’s individual interpretation of the lyrics.

For us Evocation is the darkest most invasive nightmare, yet equally at times, a shadowed but understanding emotional affair between listener and song. How much was this deliberately sculpted and again how much an organic evolution?

Otto: From my perspective, watching how Erik was so methodical; in his approach to writing the lyrics and developing the themes, I would say it was deliberate. He did a wonderful job orchestrating how it all went together, like an architect. For the music and the basic song structures, all of that was organic and natural. But when it came time to add the lyrics and really focus in on shifting the songs into their “final” state, Erik was the guy commanding the ship. I know how personal and painful a lot of these lyrics are to him and I’m so impressed with his commitment to the art.

There is also a real cinematically ambient feel to some parts. This is a style in your composing which you might explore more, or already may have?

Erik: The cinematic effects (I hope) remain a staple of our sound. Already in writing some rough ideas for record two, those ambient parts will go along with the heavy parts and we will throw in some curveballs when it comes to the time changes and the melancholic parts of the music. I think we are hungrier to really explore the depths of what we can do sonically and evolve as a band.

Skin Drone - Evocation _RingMasterReviewAs we mentioned earlier, you both have other projects which between them I can say have given some of our favourite releases in recent times. When you get an idea for one, is there now an element of stepping back and looking to see if it might fit better with say Skin Drone or vice versa?

Erik: 100% of what I write in my solo project is open for us to try and make a Skin Drone song. You just never know when you put something together that you think will not work actually turns into something that makes the record. Sometimes stepping back from the craziness for a day or two can yield some badass results.

Otto: I had some random riffs and drum patterns kicking around here and there, that for one reason or another just never got used. It was fun to go back and rediscover some of that stuff. I record tons of music, almost every day. So I have a huge catalogue of material that runs the gamut from metal and industrial to dark ambient and more instrumental/score type of compositions. Most of this I just do to capture an idea so almost everything is unfinished and in a “demo” type of state. But I like being able to capture an idea and then have it saved, so someday later on if I find a place for it I can go back and see if it works.

There is no escaping the raw and bold kaleidoscope of styles within Evocation either. What are the artists or flavours which have most inspired your own inventions would you say?

Erik: For me it was a lot of Deconstruction era Devin Townsend Project. Another I was reminded just recently was the Declaration album from Bleeding Through; most notably the song Sister Charlatan. The heaviness along with orchestral parts was really my first taste of the two blended together and since then has always been something I’ve wanted to incorporate into music. Lastly, Landon Tewers who uses a lot of ambience and really dark imagery with his lyrics was a huge influence. He was my introduction onto whispering vocals and I absolutely loved it.

Otto: Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa, Mike Patton and almost all of his various bands, Ministry, KMFDM, Obscura, Gorguts, Nirvana, Kyuss…those are a just a few. If you give me long enough I can come up with a ton of stuff haha.

What comes next for Skin Drone and yourselves individually?

Erik: For Skin Drone, it’s riding the album cycle until there is no more gas in the tank and then some. After that we probably take a short break and get back into writing the next record with our foot mashed on the gas. With Critical D on hiatus, Skin Drone is my one and only focus.

Otto: Like Erik said, we’re going to promote the hell out of Evocation until there is literally nothing left to promote. We’re prepared to work as hard as we’ve ever had to work in our lives to get the music out there and make sure people hear it.

After that? I think we’ll take a short rest so we can recharge our creative batteries and then jump right back into writing the next album. We already have some rough ideas kicking around for themes.

Once again many thanks for chatting with us. Anything you would like to add?

Otto: Evocation drops June 14. Please pre-order your copy at http://skindrone.bandcamp.com/releases!

Check out our review of Evocation @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2016/05/10/skin-drone-evocation/

https://www.facebook.com/skindrone   https://twitter.com/SkinDrone   http://www.bluntfacerecords.com/

Pete Ringmaster

The RingMaster Review 19/05/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

BIGG – Lock Up Your Daughters

BIGG_RingMasterReview

For us, all the best bands have an essence of off-kilter, bordering on loco imagination to their sound and creativity; an unconventional take on conjuring ideas and distinctive noise which certainly seems to be present in the invention and adventure of British alternative rock band BIGG. The suggestion of they having that potent essence comes through debut EP Lock Up Your Daughters. It is three tracks of devilish rock ‘n’ roll as infectiously catchy and hungrily punk as you could wish for that is unafraid to weave in many more highly flavoursome and individual spices. It is a success in our experience which sees the EP capture ears and imagination by song one, has them seduced by its second offering, and by the third sets them drooling hungrily for more.

Rising from the ashes of successful indie band Beat Magnets, when its vocalist left, Reading based BIGG soon revelled in the chance to explore new directions and sounds.  Consisting of brothers James and Thomas Wade alongside Pearce O’Keeffe and James Smith, the quartet have drawn on inspirations ranging from “Grime and Pop Punk to Frank Zappa and Electro” as they developed and honed the next evolution in their creativity. Swiftly they have become a potent live draw which Lock Up Your Daughters should push to national awareness given the opportunity.

art_RingMasterReviewThe EP opens with How Do You Sleep and needs little time to excite ears with its opening rhythmic shuffle soon joined by sand textured vocals. Across their songs BIGG use a great blend of alternating lead singers in the band, the first here easily adding to the inspiring of swinging hips on a bouncing body as dirty riffs collude with funky grooves and hooks. The grouchy prowl of bass also potently adds to the irresistible persuasion worming under the skin, though the song’s efficiency is soon shown to be less pacey than that of Man Overboard if just as successful.

Whereas the first is a sawdust and rock ‘n’ roll like stomp, the second track is a more devious blend of indie and punk rock mischief merged with a Queens Of The Stone Age like seducing. Bass again is a great growling proposal courted by the firm swing of beats as vocals come at ears with a catchy swagger. Hooks and slim but spicy groves align to increase the magnetism, a draw which blossoms even further with that fuzzy stoner laced roar reminding of Josh Homme and Co. Taking best track honours, the song alone makes BIGG a invitation not to be ignored, even more so when forcibly backed by the opener and closing song Nobody.

The perpetual distorted surface of guitar invention and grooves seems to be even more scorched in the final song whilst harmonies and melodies have richer seduction to their intent and sultry lures. Vocally too, there is a fresh sense of revelry in their delivery as the song shows another twist in the BIGG sound. Muscular and incendiary heavy rock with gentle sonic flirtations and unpredictable twists best describes the track, and an instinctive tempting providing a gripping end to one outstanding debut.

We cannot say that the band name has us particularly enthused but the band’s sound, well that just lights the fires.

The Lock Up Your Daughters EP is out April 15th via TakeControlCo Records @ http://bigg.bandcamp.com/

http://www.bigg-band.com/   https://www.facebook.com/BIGGband   https://twitter.com/BIGG_Band

Pete Ringmaster 15/04/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/

Shatner’s Bassoon – The Self-Titled Album Shansa Barsnaan

SB_RingMaster Review

We have all had a dream which is ripe with randomness so abstract that it somehow makes sense, and that is exactly what it is like listening to The Self-Titled Album Shansa Barsnaan, the new album from Shatner’s Bassoon. Not that our brain cells have yet managed to come to terms with any of its themes, if there are any, or the intent behind its psyche twisting bedlam of creativity, but without doubt we are having the richest fun and enjoyment trying.

Shatner’s Bassoon is a sextet from Leeds taking influences from the likes of Tim Berne, Mr. Bungle, John Zorn, Frank Zappa, and an expansive range of styles and flavours into their warped composing and sound. Equally individual experiences of its members carry a diverse range stemming from European folk, Hindustani music, Brazilian music, straight ahead and free jazz, reggae, metal, contemporary classical, musique concrete and most likely plenty more inspiring spices. 2013 saw the release of their debut album Aquatic Ape Privilege and last year the live EP, The Crowd Grows Mild. Now representing “the summation of the last three years of working since the addition of Joost Hendrickx on drums and electronics”, Shatner’s Bassoon release their second album of unhinged imagination, an encounter from Johhny Richards (Keyboards/Piano), Michael Bardon (Bass/Bongos/Botanical String Quartet), Andrew Lisle (Drums), Oliver Dover (Saxophones/Bass Clarinet), Craig Scott (Guitar), and Hendrickx which puzzles, bemuses, seriously confuses but most of just thrills.

cover_RingMaster Review     Bruce Lawn starts the album off and according to the press release sees “Seemingly disparate musical fragments converge into a unified theme as catchy and uncomfortable as gonorrhoea. It dissolves as quickly as it manifests into a visceral aural soup, crashing into an overtly sexual Transylvanian organ punch.” It opens with a handful of lusty seconds of anthemic sax bursts and handclaps before flinging a host of discord kissed sounds made up of melodic and sonic tweaks. Already thoughts are conjuring a picnic in a thirties freak show, an abundance of off-kilter beauty providing an embrace of joy with sorrowful undertones. As with every track, and no matter the hints given by the band musically and in word, each listen sends the imagination down a new avenue of lively and shadowed adventure, though ones maybe not quite as disturbed or avant-garde as the ideas in the minds bringing the piece to ears. Band and song continue to ‘meander’ and spin new detours, a few of them Essential Logic like, as it drifts into an increasingly sinister haunting; coming out the other side with aural face paint smudged and mental coherence askew.

Bruce Lawn II: Arms like a Mirage comes next; the song’s initial elegantly chilled breath a surreal reflection of its predecessor’s final dark throes whilst spinning slowly deeper into its own turbulent intrigue of sound and barely masked insanity. It all leads to a bordering on bestial climax which is almost 6:33 like in its concussive collision of jazz, rock, and whatever else lies within its tapestry of aggression.

Like that initial spattering of water as rain clouds open is how Fringe in my eyes, Thighs in disguise sheds its mosaic of incompatible yet united sound next, each note from the song sheet a jazz bred splatter marking its territory; yes warped sounds seem to breed warped ideas, in us anyway.

Percussion and rhythms provide a skittish but fluent dance to set Mushroom/Fancy a Waltz away; bulging blobs of sax and clarinet flirting with the spicy strings of the guitar soon after before things get a little psychotically hairy in something best described by the band itself as “a machine gun spluttered duet finally melting into a refreshingly resolute meditation.” To be honest whatever we write or they say is a scratch upon the strange and spellbinding tapestry at work throughout the album and its individual exploits of tangling sound and ingenuity.

Ten seconds of innocence coated sax gaiety is all Mitch Fargone’s walk to school offers before Advocates of Anti-Funk pulsates and shimmers in a kaleidoscope of melodic and brassy sunspots, all wanting to share their swinging hips before eventually colluding in a dark carnival-esque seducing. Rip Rig & Panic meets Mr Bungle might be a good way to describe it…actually not really as again Shatner’s Bassoon cast only their own uniqueness over ears.

The dark enchantment of Boat Comforts moves in like sea fog, creaking boards and melancholic siren sent calls mesmerising and tantalising the senses. Every passing second brings darker and stranger nautical essences, the piece toying with the imagination like a Jules Verne on LSD written adventure complete with a bare boned and crazed shanty. Cardiacs come to mind the more the song spills its insanity and rum brewed frenzy before Boat Comforts Part II: Goat Conference / The Real Shim Lady unveils its own sonic choral of loco spawned textures and cracked rhythmic incitement. Like the unbridled discordance of eighties band Stump infesting the psyche and the creative prowess of a composer to a silent movie, the track goes from low key musical disorder to sinew swung hysteria and back again into deep melancholy.

Next comes DMT AABA which is like a nursery room found in American Horror Story, it in turn followed by the even more thickly haunting of The Ballad of Long Egg, a track which for whatever reason sparked thoughts of films like Roman Polanski’s Repulsion and The Tenant. Closing eyes whilst listening to the track ensures it is an atmospheric noir scare, its textual narrative high suggestion even if the results brewed mentally do or do not match the band’s intent.

Inspector Fargone is another passing swoosh of temptation, its twenty odd seconds like a spaced-out Jacques Tati moment whilst the brilliant Boghead (WaspSpeed) is a fevered uproar of energy through a palette of eccentric funky sounds and demented brass grimaces and eruptions, all coming together like a Dali sculpted painting by numbers, though of course there is no recognisable order or structure to the blaze of premeditated and free form ingenuity.

The album is brought to a close by an enveloping lure of sound which again can only be described as haunting. Will you be my Friend? draws in vocals for the first time, their harmonies as left field and fascinating as the sounds hugging their presence, and wonderfully as musically heretical as the gentle cacophony creating one enthralling and exhaustingly bewitching album.

When you listen to The Self-Titled Album Shansa Barsnaan you will have a totally different view and response to its songs, that is a given such its diversity and unfathomable genius but most will agree that for appetites of humour loaded music with an insanity as broad as the imagination and wealth of flavours in its creation, Shatner’s Bassoon have provided one feverish treat.

The Self-Titled Album Shansa Barsnaan is available via Wasp Millionaire Records from September 24th.

Pete Ringmaster 23/09/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/

Zoner – Euharmonic Elevation

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Here we have an album which if in the mind to, you could pick at and suggest a few deficiencies but there is no escaping it is also one compelling and enjoyable proposition. The release in question is Euharmonic Elevation, the second album from rock/metal band Zoner. That is a simple description for a proposition with a sound which draws on a myriad of styles and flavours in its almost deranged invention. Release and band are a one of a kind, though each also draws on open inspirations which we will come to shortly. It all results in a collection of songs which hold few major surprises yet are one big and riveting surprise.

Zoner is the solo project of Antonis Demetriou, a musician and songwriter hailing from Nicosia, Cyprus. His music as mentioned is bred from a vast array of spices across numerous decades, and his band as described by Demetriou himself, “a rock/metal band with influences ranging from ‘ABBA to Zappa’ via all the VERY best in pop, rock, prog, punk, funk, disco, hard, heavy and thrash!” 2012 saw the release of debut album Spectraphonic Deviation, and now the artist returns with its successor, again a self-released, recorded, and produced offering, deserving of intrigued attention.

As opening track In the Name of Creativity establishes itself in ears, the first thing with captivates about the sound is its strange similarity to Bill Nelson, well his Red Noise guise certainly. Zoner is a more voracious and heavier proposition but from vocals to the sonic invention, there is a definite if coincidental feel of the ex-Be Bop Deluxe man to proceedings. The first track strides with muscular rhythms and stirring riffs from its initial sonic invitation, swiftly settling into a heavy rock and classic metal fusion. Vocally Demetriou is engaging and though he is arguably not a natural vocalist, any weaker moments are more than compensated by his inventive expression. The song itself continues on to explore new progressive and melodic textures, its technical intricacies as potent as the simplicity in which everything successfully fits together.

The enjoyable start is swiftly continued by the stronger lures of Hail Rock ‘n’ Roll, a rock ‘n’ pop romp living up to its title with hook laden riffs and an equally addictive bassline. Thumping beats only add to the contagious drama whilst the swing of the song forms the lead into a catchy chorus as flirtatious as the intrigue wrapped guitar work. Its finale of persistent title chants is irresistible and sets ears and imagination up nicely for the melodic elegance and croon of Patience of a Saint. A smouldering landscape of sonic enterprise, the song is an easily endearing encounter. The vocals are similarly mellow and it all makes for a partly mesmeric offering until it unlocks its heart of classic rock tenacity. It loses some of its grip from this point but still holds attention with unpredictable twists and keys sculpted tempting.

Politics of Modern Love steps in next and soon steals top honours on the album. The song makes a low key start, coaxing the listener gently before revealing a predatory prowl of riffs and dark toned vocals. It is a transfixing and thrilling turn, a post punk/ experimental adventure with a minimalistic air leading to a full blaze of striking imagination and creative exploration.

Both A Wasted Life and Are You the One keep ears and appetite satisfied, the first again bringing an eighties new wave/ post punk tempting to its theatrical hard rock canvas. As its predecessor, the track is riveting scenery of pungent sonic interplay and tenacious enterprise, an enthralling dance with recognisable flavours and expectations defeating invention. Its successor is equally unpredictable but does not have the same success with personal tastes. At times it is a stirring and invigorating exploit but in other moments, especially its start, leaves emotions flat. When it does hit the mark though, primarily when it unleashes its aggression, the song is a feisty enjoyment ending on a much loftier peak then where it started.

Early thoughts and expectations of The Sabbath Waltz arising from its name alone are soon confirmed by its muscular riffs and heavily landed rhythms. It is heavy metal with a sinister tang and melodic flaming, but again reaping spices from previous decade in its colourful web of sound and creative thought. Imposingly magnetic, the track crawls over senses and psyche, leaving another lingering lure easy to want to hear more of.

The closing Turning Point of No Return is an acoustic crafted ballad with Latin bred drama and character, another which misses our appetite but easy to see being a rich pleasure for others. It is a decent end to a release which keeps luring attention back its way. It has shortcomings; the production in certain areas shallow and not helping vocals at times but Demetriou himself has admitted that he is not really an engineer/producer but handles these tasks out of necessity. It cannot defuse the core quality, passion, and invention of the music and songs though. There are also other elements which at times you might wish for something different or for them to be tweaked but it is all relative to taste and again only increases the weight of the potential of the artist and sound, suggesting that given the chance to record with the right people and circumstances, Zoner might just have something very special lurking inside.

Euharmonic Elevation is available now on CD and across most digital stores.

http://www.zonermusic.com/   https://www.facebook.com/zonermusic

RingMaster 17/03/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Super Luxury – Mystery Thriller Teen Drama EP

You can hear so much promise and potential within the debut EP from UK band Super Luxury that it is hard not to be excited about them and their future.  The three track Mystery Thriller Teen Drama EP just bristles with energy and musical contempt let alone mischief to ignite a strong eagerness to follow their evolution and creativity ahead whilst sparking real pleasure in the now.

From Leeds, the quintet of Christobel Jacobs, Hamish Samsonite, Ace Nodwell, Si Cartwright, and Charles C. Bell, formed in the merging weeks of 2010 and 11. They could be classed as punk, rock, garage punk, noise or…but to be honest they do not slip wholly into any category yet involve all in their abrasive rock n roll sounds. Their influences are listed as bands such as AC/DC, Big Black, Jesus Lizard, Minor Threat, Black Sabbath, Frank Zappa, Ween, and Laughing Hyenas, and you can hear those seeds in their sounds but they offer much more of their own conjuring. Their music like the release is raw and relatively lo-fi, an unpolished gem, and you can only hope no one does come along and adds a sheen or gloss to the band to surely dissipate their potency and uniqueness.

The title track steps into view upon bold consistent beats spearing light scythes of guitar and discord with keys bubbling behind lying in wait. The brew is soon agitated into a riot of vocal squalls, caustic guitar abrasions and hypnotic rhythms, and as a spidery groove scampers over the ear the song expands its reach. Scorched discord dipped guitars send shards of sonics across the song as the bass and drums control the cage of sound one is willingly sucked into. The song never explodes into the storm it suggests yet is all the better for the defined restraint holding back its hunger. The track is well crafted and deliberate without sounding at any point contrived or forced, a impressive and compulsive start.

The following Kellogg’s Wasps starts off with a classic rock swagger and group shouts to stir up attention before exposing its veins of niggling guitar manipulations which buzz around the head in the suggested manner of its title subjects. Lyrically one can only interpret the intent, its intrigue as striking and open to thought as the aural narrative and provocative sonic stings alongside.

Ghostesses completes the release just as impressively as the other tracks stated their case. It is a blistered rant of persistent beats, expressive slightly desperate gaited vocals, and fiery guitar play. The track sits more in the noise arena than the other pair, its acidic rushes bringing a full whisper of bands like The Gaa Gaas and Raised On Replicas but with a stronger raucous garage air.

It is a fine finish to an excellent first release from the band. Admittedly the production is too low key for the songs and they maybe lack a fuller punch considering it is a five piece, but it does not detract from the obvious quality and promise of the band. Super Luxury have the skills and imagination to evolve into something quite special with every step going on the evidence of Mystery Thriller Teen Drama, going to be a unpredictable and eagerly followed joy.

Get your name your own price copy of  the EP @ http://superluxury.bandcamp.com/

http://superluxuryofficial.blogspot.co.uk/

RingMaster 09/10/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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