I.C.O.N – The Blacklist

I.C.O.N_Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review

Six years on from their well-received and acclaimed debut album, UK’s I.C.O.N make another noticeable and even more potent imprint on the British metal scene with its successor The Blacklist. It is a brute of an encounter yet jammed with stirring melodies and sonic enterprise to temper and complement its muscular aggression. The album is not one to seriously tear up the metal/heavy rock landscape but in giving it an invigorating stirring, The Blacklist does a massive job.

From the release of their first album New Born Lie in 2009, I.C.O.N has continued to reinforce their potent reputation and increase a loyal fan base through a live presence taking in stage sharing with the likes of Breed 77, Blaze Bayley, Warrior Soul, Diamond Head, Furyon, Zico Chain, Witchfynde, and Voodoo Six amongst many others. Numerous festival appearances have only enhanced their growing stature too, with the release of The Blacklist now carrying the broadest potential to awaken major spotlights. Produced by Pete Troughton, the album is a tapestry of hostile exploits and melodic temptation cast in an array of individual proposals. Some tracks outshine others but from its first atmospheric breath to its final roar, the release provides one rugged, raw, and rousing enjoyment.

The album opens with A Room In Hell, a short instrumental gently and evocatively luring the listener into the heart and turbulence of The Blacklist. Guitars cast an enticing web of expression and craft whilst rhythms rumble like an encroaching storm, their shadows colluding with sonic persuasion in a potent intro to the release and the sinew stretched swagger of Feeding The Negative. Instantly riffs from guitar and bass are a gripping coaxing matched by the increasingly aggressive and agitated assault of beats. The growling tone of Reece Bevan’s bass additionally provides a great accompaniment to the equally gravelly vocals of Mark Sagar and a predatory contrast to the acidic and scorching endeavour of Scott Knowles’s guitar. In full stride and attitude, ground-breaking the song is not but like the album, in prime and inventive metal spawned rock ‘n’ roll, the track is a storming incitement and pleasure.

i-c-o-n-the-blacklist-1400_Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review     The following Grindin’ Wheel, though appearing less confrontational, is a matching beast of provocation. As the keen swipes of Larry Paterson’s drum sticks hit skin and senses, a spicy groove is cast by Knowles, its revelry sparking a similar swing to riffs and subsequent rhythms whilst band vocal calls add an anthemic tempting to around increasingly imposing and impressing tones of Sagar. The song does its big part in the continuing strong and gripping start to The Blacklist and is instantly backed by the thrash seeded I’m The Venom, a song with a hint of bands like Metallica and Testament but flinging those flavours around like a baker with dough to create its own recipe of melodic/heavy rock infused antagonism. There is that familiarity though but it only makes things spicier around the uniqueness fuelling the incendiary solo which breaks free and the bracing vocal/rhythm collusion shaping all tracks.

Both Welcome To My War, with its deliciously barbarous bass insurgence and uncompromising drums swings, and Speak To Your God keep ears and appetite fully fed. The first of the two is just breath-taking at its start, an inescapable consuming of the senses and imagination which then loses its fullest potency once it settles into a more reserved and restrained prowl. The song still impresses and ignites full satisfaction to be fair but such its glorious opening, it feels a little like a missed opportunity unlike its successor which brawls and rages from its first breath. With a hint of a southern twang to its air, the track reveals its whole weight and weaponry straight away, simply increasing its richness with nagging riffs, riveting grooves, and a fiery solo, not forgetting virulent rhythms.

The slower, more controlled Devil’s Blacklist walks through ears with emotional expression and descriptive sonic hues, and though it maybe lacks the spark of its predecessors, it hangs a creative arm around attention to keep it fully involved before Wrong Way Back turns in a heavy and forceful stomp equipped with raw contagion spun by the skilled exploits of each member of the band. There is no avoiding the technical and accomplished craft from I.C.O.N, and how individually and united its members know how to write and deliver a fully rounded and attention grabbing storm of an encounter, no better proof coming than with Man of the North. From a cold and lonely canvas the instrumental builds an evocative landscape of solitude and beauty, its range of minimalistic textures to full blown tempestuous endeavour and ideation a relentless suggestiveness for the imagination.

The outstanding rampage of Deconverted descends on ears and air next, another thickly persuasive bass lead stirring up body and emotions for the song to bruise and ignite further, though it is another which maybe does not realise the potential hinted at throughout. It is still an excellent encounter though leaving the closing and tenacious sonic might of Drowning In Their Screams to bring this thoroughly enjoyable and invigorating album to a close.

For honest and uncluttered, as well as seriously accomplished heavy metal, it will be hard to find anything much better than The Blacklist this year we suggest. It is not flawless and as mentioned it does not fulfil all the promise hinted at, but you can only feel that there is a major classic lurking inside I.C.O.N as they evolve and grown further whilst this release persistently shows itself to be one powerful and seriously tasty encounter all metallers should take time to devour.

The Blacklist is available now via Metalbox Recordings digitally and on CD @ http://www.iconukonline.com/webshop

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RingMaster 16/06/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Furyon – Lost Salvation

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Anticipation for the successor to 2012 debut album Gravitas has been pretty much in top gear from almost the release day of that acclaimed success, and even more so after a four track cover mounted CD on Classic Rock Magazine UK last year, gave a very potent teaser for Furyon’s sophomore full-length. Now that Lost Salvation is upon us, it is fair to say that an already impressive and skilfully accomplished band has come of age, in sound, craft, and songwriting. Furyon is ready to stand with the big boys of classic rock and heavy metal, and show a few of them just how exciting rock ‘n’ roll is done.

Not being an instinctive fan of either heavy metal or classic rock, certainly of the more old-school styled offerings, we have demanding and probably unfair requirements and needs in order to be really impressed and even more so truly excited by a release but Furyon, as they did with their first album, succeed with ease. Again their songs upon Lost Salvation come with no excess baggage and are as hungry and at ease either forging big epic anthems or more intimately nurtured and designed propositions. This time though they feel like they come with more personal connections and inventiveness behind them; a new maturity to an already mature enterprise which is unafraid to explore broader essences of rock music within its core seeding. Produced by Rick Beato (Shinedown, Fozzy), Lost Salvation is Furyon’s aural masterpiece, but it still feels like just one more step in a continuing ascent; damn that anticipation is already kicking in again.

The album grips attention immediately, the tasty electronic infused opening of All That I Have inciting intrigue and appetite, especially once it blooms into a coaxing of riffs and firm rhythms with a delicious rich groove right through the middle. Relaxing a little as vocalist Matt Mitchell brings his fine delivery back to ears, the song seems to grow in weight and height with every subsequent chord and new flush of sound. It never explodes though, even in the chorus, just raising its temperature and intensity enough to enthral as the guitars of Luca Faraone, Tiago Rosado, and Chris Green, weave inventive designs. The song is the first anthem of the release, one as pungent and gripping as any peddle to the metal charge.

That kind of stampede comes with the album’s title track, the following Lost Salvation emerging as a thumping and contagious stomp which seamlessly blends vocal and sonic roars with predatory incitements, as well as a mystique woven solo which leaves lips licked and imagination lit. The dark tones of Alex Bowen’s bass go a long way to adding that sinister and intimidating edge to the song, backed by the sinew swung beats of Lee Farmery and a heavier growl of riffs from the guitars. This is anthem two and swiftly followed by the third in These Four Walls. To be FuryonLostSalvationhonest every song can be talked of in that way, even the more involved and exploratory tracks still holding that inescapable bait which has feet, neck muscles, and voice enlisted. The song is also partly a prowling croon, musically and vocally leaning heavily on the senses and emotions around more expressive crescendos. Maybe not as instant a persuasion as its predecessors, the song immerses ears and impresses more with every listen, leaving satisfaction brimming with pleasure.

The already in full flow invention and diversity makes another strong bow with the outstanding Scapegoat next, the track almost grouchy with heavy rock influences and grunge bred enterprise as it roams the psyche with its menacing rhythms and antagonistic riffs. Tempering its dark side though psychedelic rock like colours which ignite around the impressive tones of Mitchell, the song is a creative blaze to get happily lost within before Resurrect Me leads the listener into familiar Furyon territory with the kind of grooves and sonic adventure the band is renowned for. Flames of guitar invention are a persistent temptation to the band’s songs too and once more light up a not exactly startling, but definitely a thoroughly compelling slab of fiery rock ‘n ‘roll.

Left It with the Gods is another which maybe does not torch boundaries but definitely leaves ears and pleasure afire with its bellowing mixture of rock and metal whilst Good Sky calls in dark clouds and tempestuous intensity to leave thick pleasure in its wake. Epic in presence and tone, the track reaps some power metal tenacity with classic rock enterprise, as well as a slither of seventies metal spicing, moulding them in a potent roar which sets the appetite up for the excellent Dematerialize which casts its own dramatic shadows next. A far more intimate offering compared to its predecessor but also able to spread into a more expansive presence, the song bewitches with its blending of dark invention and sonic fire.

Lost Salvation is brought to a fine end by firstly the slowly strolling and richly grooved What You Need, a song suggesting an energy and anthemic potency to unite crowds in a live setting, and lastly the outstanding Wiseman. Again grooves and virulent riffs align to powerfully inciting rhythms and diversely delivered vocals, ensuring the album goes out on not only a bang but in a thought provoking tempest of invention.

The last growl of Lost Salvation is another of its loftier peaks, whilst the album itself is destined to be one of the classic rock pinnacles of 2015. It will take some special offerings to surpass it and convince our testing demands that is for sure.

Lost Salvation is available now on CD and digitally via Dream Records/Cargo Records

http://www.furyon.net http://www.facebook.com/furyon

RingMaster 25/02/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Death Ape Disco – Supervolcano

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There is no rest for the wicked the saying goes but with UK rockers Death Ape Disco there is rest for any one such the lure and contagion of their heavy riff laden sounds and insatiable energy. With their debut album Supervolcano as evidence it is easy to declare the Brighton quintet as an emerging riot poised to rough and stir up the country, but the real proof is in the seven bruising encounters which makes up its impressive confrontation, songs which ignite body and emotions with raucous ease.

With the line-up of vocalist Robert Rainford, guitarist/vocalist Kit Brice, guitarist Jamie Boulstridge, bassist Sam Curtis, and drummer Harry Lehane in place from 2011, Death Ape Disco has earned a formidable reputation across the south of England and further afield. Their fusion of heavy metal, hard rock, and grunge with further elements of alternative and stoner rock, as well as a spice of punk at times has bred a loyal and eager fanbase in their tow but you can only suspect that Supervolcano will be the trigger to greater things.

The album stomps down its mark from the first rhythms and notes of opener Kingdom Of Others, drums and riffs marking their territory with accomplished infectiousness before the excellent gruff tones of Rainford add their strong persuasion. The song is an instantly welcoming and inciting riot of prime rock ‘n’ roll, heavy thumping rhythms and urgent riffs accompanied by fiery melodic enterprise from the guitars and a throaty brooding bass prowl. As strong vocal harmonies and an even more vigorous presence emerges within the track it becomes a truly scintillating introduction to release and band. It is not debatably drenched in originality but as a compelling and invigorating protagonist it is an undoubted powerhouse of a starter.

The following Suffocate also takes no time in showing its boisterous sinews with its initial attack entwined in addictive grooves and again rigorous riffing which make addiction inescapable. Punkish in its antagonism, grungy in its melodic temptation, the song is an insatiable fire of creative energy and ruthless persuasion with only its briefness worth a moan, though it means we are sooner confronted with the excellent 10,000 Years. A metal carved intensive groove soon leads the riffs into a mighty enslavement of the passions by the third song, the rhythms of Lehane leaving the senses blissfully punch drunk such their resonance and force. Just when you think the track is going to rip out the jugular the song slips into a hard rock anthemic tempting for its chorus which you cannot resist adding to. With numerous twists into dramatically thrilling and incendiary asides the track is an impossibly contagious grapple sounding like a mix of UK bands Supercharger and Fuckshovel.

Both Grinding Down The Sun and Eclipse take a more restrained approach to the listener though neither are lacking intensity or heavily breathing imagination. The first has a heart of hard rock with vocals adding a further Furyon/Gruntruck essence to the stylish and inventively sculpted venture whilst its successor steps into a more ballad like territory with plenty of Stone Temple Pilots like passion to the melodic flames licking at the passions throughout. A smouldering treat of a song which burns and lingers more and more through numerous passages in its evocative hands, the track ensures that the strength of the songwriting and it’s in many ways understated diversity finds more open clarity.

The song Death Ape Disco like earlier tracks has a mischief which enriches its inflamed hues, the song another virulent slice of invention and skilled devilry. There is a mix of Soundgarden and Alice In Chains to its irresistible inventive toxicity yet equally has a unique charm and teasing which brands it as belonging to the south coast five.

Ending with Mars, a final slab of instinctively forceful and weighty rock ‘n’ roll, Supervolcano is a blistering beckoning from a band which is destined to major things on the evidence of this release. With more uniqueness sure to evolve ahead watch out for Death Ape Disco, they take no prisoners or take no for an answer.

Supervolcano is available to buy here http://deathapedisco.bandcamp.com/ as a buy now name your price.

https://www.facebook.com/DeathApeDisco

8.5/10

RingMaster 11/09/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Promethium – Origins

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Two years ago UK rockers Promethium impressed with their debut album Welcome to The Institution declaring themselves as a band rife with promise and enterprise. Their mix of heavy and classic metal, despite its strong and gripping entrance, also seemed to be saying ‘you have seen nothing yet’ as it left a certain hunger in its creative wake. Now awaiting its moment to burst into the world on September 30th, Origins with ease backs up that apparent statement with a collection of tracks which scream from the rooftops just how much Promethium and their sound has matured and evolved between albums.

Formed from the remains of Skin Crawl, Bodies, Desolate and Natual Thing around six years or so ago the Lancaster band first opened up a wave of attention with their first EP Tribute to the Fallen of 2009. Followed by the successful and well received Welcome To The Institution the feeling that the band was about to erupt upon the higher levels of UK metal was maybe a little premature at that time. Met with acclaim and support things still seem to have moved on slowly for the band in regard to recognition though certainly tours with the likes of Furyon and Beholder as well as their own shows, did their stature no harm at all. Listening to the rich textured sounds and riotous energy and appetite of Origins only supports the notion that we all jumped the gun on their ascent but now could be the time it all kicks off for vocalist Gary McGahon, guitarists Daniel Lovett-Horn and Rossi, bassist Barry Mills, and drummer Dominic Clayton.

Whereas the previous album was a multi-flavoured mix of metal, for Origins the quintet has gone back to the roots of the band and promethiumcentred the core of their sound in prime heavy melodic metal, though it is as full of aural colour and sonic spice as ever. This definition of their direction we would suggest goes much towards the bigger deeper sound making the songs immersive and captivating, that and the obvious evolution in maturity and musical skills. From the opening track Won’t Break Me the leap in sound and composition openly hits, the track immediately wrapping the ear in sonic flames from the guitar and a bass and rhythmic inducement which stands bold and tall in craft and presence. The vocals of McGahon have also found a richer voice and delivery to match the sounds, and as the contagious opener rampages it all makes for an intensive lure for thoughts and hunger. There is a familiarity to the song which teases but as from day one with Promethium, band and music refuses to be compared to anyone else such the unique flavour of their music.

From the impressive beginning the album unleashes two more fierce encounters in the form of the confrontational Gunslinger and the antagonistic beast The Art of Hurting. The first of the pair, and the track which has been publicly teasing people up to release date, brings a great mix of vocal styles and intensive riffing veined by a cage of rhythmic prowess but it is the searing charm and flames of the guitars which steal the show before passing on to its equally rapacious successor. Holding its rabidity in check certainly compared to the previous songs, the track prowls the senses sucking air from the lungs with its oppressive and menacing nature. It is a brute of a treat which continues the vigorously strong start of the album provoking more thoughts that the band’s time has come.

Bringing a less intensive but no less striking offering, Counterfeit with sonic spires of melodic potency and riveting craft leads the listener into further fresh avenues whilst Rain with its power ballad like passion pushes the envelope of the songwriting and its realisation on the album yet again. The song is a real slow burner with its first engagement drawing strong acclaim and over subsequent listens drawing real ardour.

The riff sculpted almost Sabbath like The Hunted reeks old school metal in the best of ways though the vocals lack the bite and potency on earlier songs, especially the less successful mix of harsh and cleaner hues. It is still a richly satisfying ride which is matched by the slow melodic drawl of Plagued by Evil, another song which reminds of something else but will not give up the source, probably because there is none. The songs make for a less impacting but undoubted magnetic middle to the album which is given another adrenaline boost with Revolver, a song which conjures up a predacious animosity and within its storm an anthemic persuasion to capture the imagination.

Completed by the excellent Believer, a track which has more twists and turns to its inventive sound and melodic furnace than a dog chasing its tail and an invention which leaves each listen a little more rewarding and revealing, and the closing mesmeric instrumental title track, The Sky Rocket Records released Origins is a mighty release and step in the dawning of Promethium as one of UK’s most thrilling metal bands. Strangely it still suggests there is more to come from and hone within the band which is as dramatically exciting as the album itself.

Origins is released on October 7th

http://www.promethiumband.com

9/10

RingMaster 28/08/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Furyon: Gravitas

You can hear great things about a band as the promotion wagon behind starts its mighty trail enticing the eyes of the world but until you finally get your ears upon the sounds of said band do you obviously find the depth to the truth. With UK rock band Furyon the words written certainly do justice to the band and an album that is deeply impressive and thoroughly uplifting.  Gravitas strikes up the heart with an engaging bounty of rock sounds sourced from their hearts and the world around bringing influences and flavours from across multiple genres. The release is a mighty slab of songs infused with heavy metal, prog, and classic rock as well as some tasty metal touches, all flavours the band from Brighton cut their musical tastes upon.

Having evolved and grown over a few years Furyon entered a studio in Atlanta in 2009 with Platinum selling US Producer Rick Beato (Shinedown, Fozzy and Vince Neil), the result from this vibrant link-up and creative meeting being Gravitas. A limited run of 2000 copies of the album took them to the attention of the likes of Metal Hammer and Classic Rock magazine, each featuring tracks on their over mounted CDs. Two videos followed, one for the subsequent single Disappear Again, each again grabbing more and more eager acclaim and attention, and all the time the band reinforced this tide of recognition with blistering live shows and appearances at the likes of Bloodstock, Hard Rock Hell, Hammerfest, and High Voltage. Now following a management deal with Germany’s Rock N Growl and a link up with Frontiers Records Gravitas gets its full debut and rock music is set to feel a new breath of freshness following through its veins.

Consisting of vocalist Matt Mitchell, guitarists Chris Green and Pat Heath, bass guitarist Alex Bowen and drummer Lee Farmery, Furyon grab the ear from the opening guitar invitations of opener Disappear Again and never releases until it is ready to depart when it chooses. The song epitomises the whole album, infectious, intelligent and unafraid to court the ear with addictive melodies, heavily loaded riffs, and a catchiness which is hard to deny submission to. The song has a sound seemingly melded from the likes of Adrenaline Mob, Alice In Chains and Soundgarden with extra classic rock essences, a mesh that ensures nothing but keen attention going its way.

Following track Stand Like Stone immediately shows the diversity to the band and sound, its heavy tumbling rhythms and formidable metallic riffs thunderous as they burst through the ear. With a groove that beckons like a loose woman the song fills every pore with well crafted melodies and the impressive vocals of Mitchell. In two songs he sets the quality of his tones and delivery high something that never drops throughout the album. The guitars and melodies are quite wanton, eager to excite and thrill, which they do with incredible songwriting skill and realisation.

Songs like the excellent Souvenirs with its lovely deep crusty bass lines, New Way Of Living offering a glorious hard rock/grunge majesty, and the mesmeric Wasted On You, come and go with wonderful quality and the ability to light up the senses. Gravitas is an album despite or rather due to its open diversity and adventure that has a consistency which is refreshing, not once does any of their ideas or surprising avenues fail to connect fully. There is one track that eclipses all though and that is the magnificent Desert Suicide, a song not as obvious as others maybe but one which marks the band already as a mighty addition to rock and gives evidence of what they will yet evolve into. The song meanders in with a mystical and a subdued atmosphere, the guitars slow to reveal themselves fully and the vocals reserved. Soon it evolves into a mighty beast of sound, slowly pacing around the ear before its muscular legs start to run with the senses though it never explodes outright. The song is truly stunning, addictive and unpredictable; the height of invention without indulgence, a stirring animal that remains inside long after the album departs.

Gravitas is an essential investigation for all rock fans; an album that only raises one question. If they sound this great with songs at least two years old how impressive must their new material be? Furyon will be massive, no question so join the ride from the start by grabbing yourself some Gravitas.
www.furyon.net

RingMaster 19/03/2012

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