Mr. Strange – The Bible of Electric Pornography

Mr. Strange 2015 pic 5_RingMaster Review

For a long time Mr. Strange has been one of the British music scene’s most imaginative and unique songwriters and artists, and one of its biggest unrecognised talents. Whether as the frontman of the brilliant circus rock steampunks, The Shanklin Freak Show or in solo adventures, he has teased and stoked the imagination whilst exciting ears with perpetual regularity. Potent spotlights have always seemed to fall elsewhere though, but that might be about to change, in fact expectations are sure it will as new album The Bible of Electric Pornography spreads its electronic seeded sermon.

The persona and sound of Mr. Strange has undergone a rebirth, a major evolution in all aspects in the time between acclaimed previous album Wonderful World Of Weird and the new slab of alchemy from his deviant creativity. Embracing fresh industrial and electronic temptation whilst weaving in numerous other rich flavours, Mr. Strange has opened up all sides of psyche and imagination whilst wrapping new songs in the so-called deviancy that others claim is pestilence. Thematically The Bible of Electric Pornography is defiance and a middle thing to the oppressive ‘normal’, an anthem for the supposedly grotesque, for the freaks and the like-minded unique; an encounter which also happens to rock like a thousand orgies to stand in the words surrounding the album, as a “sacrilegious assault of electro-influenced filth!”

Mr. Strange EP album cover NEW_RingMaster Review   The album opens with Born Again, and the birth of they, of Mr. Strange. Upon arrival electro pulses and shimmering melodies crowd around the creative cot, his vocals providing the commentary as synths strengthen their drama and the atmosphere becomes shadowy. There is a portentous air to the track but one breaking into the dawning of climactic sounds and the heralding of Mr. Strange’s new realm of invention, which in turn sparks the stomp of Deviant Ritual. Making a sort of bridge between past triumphs, the song sharing open essences of The Shanklin Freak Show and previous solo album, keys swing and vocals entice as beats grip with potent temptation. In no time the track has the body acting like its puppet, limbs and energies flung around to the wicked swagger and infectious seduction of the outstanding protagonist.

Disco Bitch is on an immediate prowl next, though its gait has a more boisterous than predatory energy and design to it. Quickly into its robust stroll with compelling walls of electronic tenacity and enterprise, the track resonates with Being Boiled era Human League potency and colouring, a scent dirtied and fuzzed up by the craft of Mr. Strange as electro squirts lure and bassy rhythms dance with the passions. As its predecessor, the track is a blaze of dance-floor devilment and raucous sonic eroticism, incitements to get the defiant and proud party started before the album begins setting its sights on prosecutors, Electric Pornography continuing the festivity whilst flirting with the devil and its breed like a seductive pout of devilment. Amongst inspirations for the album, Mr. Strange offered Electric Six recently and definitely the track shares their kind of dance/rock devilry.

A thicker air of intensive energy soaks the following Tension, its emotive breath crafted and accentuated by darkly enticing rubs of guitar and moody bass tones as synths cradle the warmer hues of voice and melodies. It all unites in provocative electro rock persuasion which again has ears, hips, and thoughts emotionally and psychically involved.

A tirade of sample pieces spouting religious and social bigotry fattens God Hates Me next, keys initially a misting of melancholic elegance eventually brewing into more dramatic smog, though still with despair rather than outrage as its hue. The piece leads into the remarkable Jonathan, easily one of the pinnacles amongst a constant range of peaks within The Bible of Electric Pornography. It is a narrative for and growing support of the track’s oppressed champion which as the character, grows into its mesmeric creative skin as simple melodies align to weaves of electronic and industrial resourcefulness. Ebbing and flowing in intensity as the voice of Mr. Strange reveals all, the song is simply glorious, as lyrically impacting in its croon as it is invigorating musically, and easily one of the best things heard this year.

Do It Like… is another exhilarating whipping up of body and soul, a song inspired by Pete Burns and his life/attitude whilst musically drawing on the contagious invention of Dead Or Alive and indeed Nightmares In Wax which evolved into the former, and merging it with Celldweller like steeliness . Every element of the song has the body, inside and out, bouncing and swinging whilst again nudging thoughts with its lyrical potency.

The bubbly punch of I Like Girls & Boys is the next to take over, sculpting rousing crescendos of skittish beats and scuzzy electronics along its magnetic body, expulsions conducted by the ever Mr. Strange 2015 pic 7_RingMaster Reviewalluring tones of its creator. Though not in an obvious way, there is a definite feel of Fad Gadget to the song, to its theatre and emotive richness whilst My Addiction gets down and funky offering up hints of a Heaven 17 and Blancmange in varying degrees. By now it is not unusual to leave a song without a smile on the face and appetite, this of course no exception with its warmly stimulating hug.

The noir jazziness of Sodom Nights brings yet another eclectic shade to the album, its melodic waltz and electronic seduction a sultry fondling of the senses and inciter of lusty contemplations, that dark romance followed by the rapacious sinister sizzle of D/s, a fuzzball of temptation featuring Global Citizen. The crawling magnetism of the track is just sonic addiction matched by the bold lure of Stormtrooper In Drag, a striking cover of a solo song released in the eighties by Tubeway Army guitarist Paul Gardiner and featuring Gary Numan who co-composed, sang lead vocals, and played on it. It is one of those ‘lost’ gems now given new life, re-vitalised by Mr. Strange’s innovative touch.

Closing up the album is firstly Fag, a leviathan of rhythmic tempting with a Manson-esque snarl providing the most irritable proposal upon The Bible of Electric Pornography and in turn one of its numerous slices of ear slavery and lastly The Last Song. Providing a bewitching serenade with a message for those who hate change, and might argue about the new direction Mr. Strange has taken, its defiance to any complaints openly and mischievously argued by the strong and highly enjoyable Kraftwerk influence, the track is pure captivation bringing the album to a thrilling close.

Familiarity and uniqueness collude within The Bible of Electric Pornography, with the latter the overriding substance, the album leading the second coming of Mr. Strange and easily eclipsing previous solo offerings, as impressive and they were and still are. We are looking at a release boldly challenging offerings from the supposed electronic big boys and girls, challenging and surpassing.

Mr. Strange is dead. Long live Mr. Strange!” Time for all to join the resurrection.

The Bible of Electric Pornography will be released November 16th, pre-ordering available now @

Pete RingMaster 05/11/2015

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Mr Darklight – Into The Fury

Original DL_RingMaster Review

If the name Mr Darklight is familiar it is likely because you have already discovered his part in the electronic pop infection that is Masters of the Radio. Now the electronic musician/producer has unveiled his debut solo track in the shape of the captivating adventure of temptation, Into The Fury. It is a strange title as the piece of music never suggests turbulence ahead or within its heart, so possibly it is one moment in a larger journey, but what it does supply is a warm flight of imagination for ears and feet to feast on whilst casting cinematic suggestiveness for thoughts to run with.

Inspired by the likes of Daft Punk, Devo, Fatboy Slim, Gary Numan, Giorgio Moroder, Jean Michel Jarre, John Williams, Kavinsky, and Mike Oldfield as well as going by the nature of Into The Fury film scores, Mr Darklight quickly fills ears with the emotive tones of the piano. Its poetic breath and touch is the seed to a gentle but purposeful stroll through an instrumental landscape ripe with melodic essences of OMD and Depeche Mode. Thoughts are soon whisked into a magnetic flight by synths as they spread their broad ambience around the continually enticing evocative hues of the piano.

In a way the piece is like a travelogue of internal reflection or external air bound adventure, all depending which way the imagination goes with the track’s electronic clues as the guide with each listen. It is an absorbing and thoroughly enjoyable first meeting with the solo Mr Darklight, and hopefully the beginning of many such outings ahead.

Into The Fury is free to stream now.

Pete Ringmaster 24/09/2015

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Tactical Module – Before Crisis


You can never tire of being impressed by the growth and almost visual evolution of certain artists and one who seems to inspire increasingly potent acclaim is Tactical Module, the one man project of Michael Davis. Across his last trio of incitements alone, the British musician/composer has magnetically enthralled and excited with his fusion of industrial metal, digital hardcore, and EBM. Each encounter has shown new and often dramatic steps in the growth of the band’s sound and songwriting and new EP Before Crisis is no exception. Arguably it is not a big step forward from the last album Into Exile but certainly there is an even greater balance and fluidity between the raw and confrontational side of the vocal and sonic ferocity and the melodic and infectiously vivacious elements which so contagiously mark out songs. Increasing maturity and experience comes with every release of an artist and certainly Before Crisis is embracing an impressing wave of it through Davis.

Forming Tactical Module in 2010 to unleash a creative freedom restrained by being in bands and to explore darker and more aggressive electronic music, the Poole hailing Davis was soon sculpting a handful of digital EPs and remixes to increasing attention. Inspired by bands such as Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, KMFDM, Godflesh, Gary Numan, Skinny Puppy, Killing Joke, and Depeche Mode, Davis made a potent breakthrough with the Dead Zone EP in 2012. It swiftly gripped appetites and a more serious spotlight upon release, marking out Tactical Module as an emerging force and talent. Both the feverishly grasped single Where Angels Rise and first album World Through My Sight in 2013 reinforced his growing reputation whilst the Resurrection EP that same year and its successor Into Exile early 2014, found Davis breaching new plateaus with striking experimentation and emotional voracity. Released as 2014 closed its eyes and evolved into the New Year, Before Crisis cements the stature of Tactical Module in Britain’s electronic underground scene whilst as mentioning earlier showing an even more honed and masterful resourcefulness to Davis’ creativity.

The instrumental Awaken sparks the imagination first, its slow dawning of rhythmic enticement an intrigue loaded lure before synths spin their emotive sonic web. There is a portentous air to10261995_786876598003130_5830102883858603546_n the opener and a prowl of dark shadows which bring a stark and threatening edge to the melodic charm of the piece. It is a magnetic lead into the EP and the following equally intimidating presence of Poison Within. Growing within a synth woven cage of gentler persuasion, the song eventually steps forward as an electro punk provocateur but an antagonist unafraid to employ the flavoursome melodies and sonic expression which coaxed in ears and appetite initially. As stormy in its disturbing quieter moments as in its open musical and vocal rages, the track ebbs and flows masterfully, waves of hostility feeding the appetite again and again within the equally imposing charm of the song.

Next the EP’s title track steps forward offering an immediate infectious shuffle of agitated rhythms under another brooding electronic sky. Davis as expected unleashes a cutting narrative with pleasing abrasing tones soon after whilst around him guitars add a caustic spice to the brighter revelry of the keys. It is a light to the song which as across all tracks, is held in check by the thick smog of angst and heavy shadows which fuel vocals and sounds alike. Here though it is given a longer leash which allows a diversity and tempting aural colour to have their just as potent say on the imagination, as repeated in the excellent To the Skies of Oblivion straight after. A song first found on the Resurrection EP, its bounds through ears and into the passions with a devilish tenacity and energy. It has an inescapable infectiousness which even aligned to the almost rabid furies in voice and menacing rewarding lulls which stalk the song never misses a step in its thrilling march.

The raw atmospheric opening of Assemble is an immediate temper to the previous devilry, its great stark and cold opening spreading an oppressive ambience which in turn courts an abrasion of hip hop spiced electro rock. Vocally too Davis briefly toys with a slither of rap enterprise to match the eventful adventure flirting within the invasive climate of the track’s electronic landscape. It is a slow burner in comparison to other tracks upon Before Crisis but emerges just as striking and enjoyable.

The final new song on the release is What Lies Beneath, another coming in from a distant pasture to embrace ears in drama and a blend of creative antagonism and melodic grandeur. Also a slower persuasion, the song is a compelling narrative of sound and emotion but just lacks the indefinable spark of earlier tracks and misses igniting the passions as successfully.

The EP is completed by a trio of remixes, the song Before Crisis being redefined by Ruinizer and Assemble receiving creative treatments from Cease2Xist and Dali, the latter of the three working the psyche with particular deftness and all offering captivating dimensions to the originals.

Tactical Module has again shown itself to be a bright and imposing spark in the UK electronic scene through Before Crisis. It is a release little to find an issue with, though just as an experiment we would like to see Davis being more adventure into his vocals ahead, and a tempest of invention fans will devour greedily.

Before Crisis is available now @

RingMaster 07/01/2015

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Deadliner – Wardenclyffe


    Enthralling, unpredictable, and persistently inciting the senses, Wardenclyffe the new album from industrial/electronic project Deadliner is a quite masterful and transfixing evocation of sound and imagination. Consisting of twenty tracks, or episodes within the life of the album’s themed central character, the release is a riveting encounter providing one of the electronic triumphs of the past year and surely of this. Released via Juggernaut Media Group, the album is an adventure fuelled by evocative electro alchemy from an artist who a relative secret in his presence is bold and large in his music.

     Deadliner is the project of Chicago musician Steve Christie, a man who is also renowned and prolific in the field of remixes. Formed a few years ago, the band has released a wealth of provocative and inventive releases, each an investigation based on impacting moments or people within human history. Wardenclyffe is inspired by inventor Nikola Tesla, the album title and theme inspired by the laboratory tower in New York where Tesla spent much of his adult life and conducted experiments in wireless transmission. Previous releases have explored and employed varied styles and sounds in their bodies and Wardenclyffe no different with its tracks fusing industrial and electronic persuasions with more than a glancing touch of classically seeded elegance. The result is an album which can bewitch and intimidate in any given moment but mostly it just ignites the imagination and emotions into casting individual narratives aligned to that of the composer.

     Available digitally with the deluxe version containing an additional six tracks, Wardenclyffe needs no time to warm up as it immediately immerses senses and thoughts in the irresistible grasp of opener The Eidetic. Gently whipping electro pulses engage first with industrial swipes intermittently also making their intent clear. Behind them a brewing sonic mist builds an electric ambience whilst rhythms place a keen and firm hand on the ears to cage their attention. Into its full height and slow coaxing stroll, the track magnetises thoughts and awakens a hungry appetite with an additional Numan-esque breath to its imposing but respectful presence. It is an immense lure and start to the album rapidly backed up by subsequent tracks.

     The highly stimulated electro dance of Transmitter and the gentle emotive breeze of The Radiant instantly reinforce the strong entrance of the album, the first a repetitious and galvanising canter of infectiousness and its successor a warm billowing wind of smouldering sound with climactic outbreaks of rhythmic tension and fiery melodies the further it stretches its venture. Though not as impacting as the first, both build a high plateau for Wardenclyffe which is never fallen below on the rest of the album but often surpassed as with the next up World System. Everything about this song increases in voice; volume, intensity, and energy rampant and rapacious offerings within an increasingly building drama and intimidation. Listening to the track you feel like a small body in a large and voracious sea of sound.

     The likes of the vivaciously charged Remote Field, the melodically cast and atmospherically chilled Bremsstrahlung, and the melancholic Stationary Waves with another Numan like essence to its suasion, keep the release inciting the emotions and imagination throughout with their absorbing narratives whilst punctuating their lofty highland further pinnacles are offered by Polarized and Static Coupling. The first of the two is an intriguing and sinister wrap around the thoughts, its body carrying an intimidating causticity at times which is tempered by a floating melodic endeavour and thought colouring enchantment whilst the second breeds an animosity and defiance in its rawer sound and the guest vocals of UCNX, this the only track with a vocal incitement. Both are darker and more challenging than other tracks bringing more diversity to Wardenclyffe and predation on the senses.

   Further major highlights show their majesty and temptation with The Decay, its brilliant opening introduction enough to enthuse about alone. With a discord kissed quirky twang to its initial notes the song steals the imagination which is then fed a glorious expanse of melodic and sonic weaves, the track having a taste of John Foxx to its absorbing and emotion galvanising stretch. Soon after the melodic reflection of The Lichtenberg Figure equally sparks rich responses from mind and heart, its melody crafted wash of guitar and synth thoughtfulness quite mesmeric though soon swamped by the muscle flexing presence of Cathode. Massive bulging beats and sinew strapped hooks dominating the fiery encounter to thrilling effect, and as with the previous World System it feels like Christie has turned up volume and intensity to sculpt the most potent drama with impressive effect.

    The expressive emotion of the piano sculpted The Believers and the virulent intoxication of The Doldrum leave the album again on the highest level whilst the closing Discharge washes ears and imagination with a stately and emotive finale of craft and melodic beauty. Every song on the album is an unreserved temptation those mentioned and those left for you to discover, never a moment upon the album uninspiring mentally and thrilling musically. Deadliner is a proposition still in the shadows for most but after Wardenclyffe works its way through the world, it is hard to imagine that remaining the case. It is simply a dynamic and superbly textured inventive adventure all electronic fans need to immerse within.


Ringmaster 14/02/2014

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Avelion – Liquid Breathing

AVELION photo+logo

The tail-end of 2013 as well as festive fun saw the return of Italian metallers Avelion with their second EP, Liquid Breathing. Equipped with a new line-up and sound to that which bred their self-released 2011 debut Cold Embrace, the band returns to the fray with a release which raises questions, spawns a few doubts, but at the end of its persuasion offers plenty to get the imagination going and appetite for Avelion’s for their impending future keen.

Merging essences from melodic and alternative metal, progressive and electronic metal, to metalcore and industrial metal, and Avelion - Liquid Breathing cover artworkthat is just scratching the surface of the three tracks making up Liquid Breathing, Avelion create a sound and adventure which certainly grips attention and at times has the imagination all fired up. The tracks are undoubtedly impressively crafted even if a tempestuous mix which does not always flow or work as successfully as maybe they could. There is so much going on in songs that it is sometimes hard to grip on to particular aspects or moments and thoughts suggests stripping it back would help the tracks to make an even stronger impact, but then that daring to experiment and stretch things is one of many strong elements which makes the band an intriguing and exciting proposition. You feel though as the quintet of vocalist William Verderi, guitarist Gianmarco Soldi, bassist Mark Reggiani, drummer Damiano Gualtieri, and Oreste Giacomini on keys progress and hone their sound further it will all evolve into something which will intensely satisfy.

Liquid Breath starts things off, the track almost Numanesque in its entrance as a dark industrial/gothic breath is spawned by vocals and keys. The song is soon twisting before the ear though as djent bred riffs splinter the air and a rhythmic enticement rigorously leaps over the senses. The vocals of Verderi are a blend of reserved growling tones and clean melodies which works well predominantly, though at times across the EP a sturdier grizzled delivery was crying out to emerge in his tones even if Soldi provided some solid backing scowls of his own. As the track progresses it employs classically seeded keys, electro urgency, and eventually great welcome hellish vocal groans though they are short lived sadly. The encounter continues to leap and turn with ideas to great effect, the song emerging easily the strongest on the release clad in a thick creative promise of where the band is going.

The following Ain’t No Down makes its arrival with haunting monotone spawned keys almost mischievously teasing the senses before launching sinews and intent through an electronic swagger which could grace any Enter Shikari offering. It is an outstanding start with a potency which is almost lost when the song opens up, though those evocative keys continue to probe and coax within the brewing maelstrom. As its predecessor the track moves through flavours and ideas as if they were pick-a-mix but ultimately makes it work through the more intensive aggressive aspects. The rock pop moments are not as successful for personal tastes, slowing down the power and charge of the song and preventing its full expected explosion but equally the poppy chorus is as anthemic and addictive as you would wish so admittedly those questions and doubts raised are continually countered in some respect. When the track is firing on all imaginative cylinders though it really is an imposing treat but just let-down by the mellower restrained moments but nevertheless it still leaves you wanting to hear more.

The EP is closed by Mechanical Faces, a busy track which aligns melodic rock and industrial metal initially before infusing some hard rock revelry and excellent discord devilry. Though not as impressive as the opener the track feels more complete and in control than certainly the second track, that earlier suggested slight restraint on the want to throw multiples spices and threads of imagination at the song a successful option.

When Avelion is intensively going for the jugular they undeniably are at the top of their emerging game, gripping thoughts and emotions much more tightly and invitingly. It maybe is because the difference between the aggression and melodic tempering shown by the band is so pronounced that the tracks ebb and flow too much at times but as Liquid Breath alone shows when the band gets it right they are a force with the potential to raise real passions, though you would not want them to lose that desire to push their inventive limits either, the element which makes even the less successful songs satisfyingly digestible and heavy in promise.


RingMaster 08/01/2014

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Follow the rabbit into the weird: an interview with Mr. Strange

Mr. Strange

Fans of UK musical mutants The Shanklin Freak Show have already been touched, inspired, and seduced by the creativity and psyche teasing craft of the band’s former frontman Mr. Strange whilst his solo work has equally gripped the imagination of a great many. Now though the songwriter/producer/vocalist/musician has taken it all to a new level with the release of this exceptional new album The Wonderful World Of Weird. A release walking the realms of insanity and artistic rapaciousness, it is a diverse and riveting exploration of sounds, invention, and dice into the weird persona that is Mr. Strange. Greedily wanting to find out more we had the joy and adventure to talk to the man himself with the adding pleasure of his artistic cohort Stench on top also sharing thoughts and time with us. Investigating The Wonderful World Of Weird, we talked origins, The Shanklin Freak Show, Marilyn Manson, the bright lights and much more…

Greetings Mr. Strange and thank you for taking time out to let us delve into your world of weird.

Mr. Strange: Greetings! Thank you, sir, I’m glad to be here. Smells funny though!

You are well known amongst fans for your founding and leading of The Shanklin Freak Show (TSFS) until recently but maybe less know about your solo exploits before and running alongside the band; could you give some background to those?

Mr. Strange: Before I started The Shanklin Freak Show in March 2003, I began learning my craft as a programmer / producer way back in 1998. I bought a basic music creation game for the original PlayStation simply called ‘Music’ and became completely obsessed with it! As laughable as it sounds, it was actually quite a competent music tool, and a great introduction to music programming. Before I made the upgrade to professional (real) music software, I made a whole album using just this game and my PlayStation. This album was completed in February 2003, although I did add some vocals and guitars to the final version of the album using my current studio set-up. The final version of the album was eventually released in late 2011 as Sounds From The Asylum, which is an apt title methinks! Anyway, back to 2003. As soon as Sounds From The Asylum was finished I went full-throttle into The Shanklin Freak Show project, greatly helped by the fact I could finally record guitars and vocals with my swanky new production software – which I could not do before 2003. The Shanklin Freak Show project pretty much had my full attention until late 2011. The only exceptions to this were my collaborations with Global Citizen acting as co-producer on two albums – those being Master Stroke and Nil By Mouth – as well as the Mr. Strange album The Fall which I made in late 2007.. But for the most part, my solo exploits only resumed once I stepped down from the forefront of The Shanklin Freak Show in November 2011. Now my Mr. Strange projects are my primary focus… and my cats.

From all the music and projects you have been involved with it is clear to see that your sounds and tastes are rather eclectic, what are some of the major inspirations which have spiced your own ideas over the years?

Mr. Strange: Well, being a rather flamboyant chap, nearly all of my musical influences fall in to the “theatrical” category. Bands and artists who present themselves in a very theatrical way tend to make more outlandish music, and that’s definitely what floats my boat, as it were! I’ll try to keep it snappy, so here’s a shortlist of some of my most influential artists: Danny Elfman, David Bowie, Mushroomhead, Dr. Steel, The Sisters Of Mercy,  Alice Cooper, Mortiis (only the ‘Smell Of Rain’ album), Krizz Kaliko, The Duke Of Stratosphere, Twiztid, Marilyn Manson, The Prodigy, ICP, Mr. Bungle (or almost anything from the mind of Mike Patton), Gary Numan, Tech N9ne, White Zombie / Rob Zombie, and Babylon Zoo. That last one’s not a joke by the way! Stop laughing.

Tell us about creating TSFS and its own unique and dark world?TSFS with Mr. Strange

Mr. Strange: I started The Shanklin Freak Show in early 2003, the first ever Freak Show song was written and recorded in March I believe, a little random fact for those who may be interested. The whole concept was meant as a home, a form of escapism, for those who felt rejected by the world. Basically the kind of outlandish, Tim Burton-esque world I wanted to escape to myself at that time. My failure at finding a place to belong in the world led me to try and make my own, both for myself and others who felt the same. The basic concept is articulated best in the song ‘Twisted Family,’ check it out if you want to get your noggin around what the whole Freak Show thang is about. Musically, it was born out of my love of some of the earlier Insane Clown Posse records and my disappointment with (the then newly released) Marilyn Manson album The Golden Age Of Grotesque – I was expecting a deeply engrossing, dark, twisted, circus-style cabaret show of an album, my dream record, but what arrived was an album of fairly standard industrial pop songs. I imagined it to sound far more intriguing and I found the idea behind the record a lot better than the end product, so I went about trying to create the album I imagined. That’s it really. It seemed like a good idea at the time…

Before we concentrate on your new album, you are still involved with TSFS but just not as the vocalist now? Why the decision to step down from that role?

Mr. Strange: Indeed, I’m still involved with the band, but just on the side-lines at the moment. I have to admit that my input has been very minimal since my departure, although that was not a conscious decision, that’s just how it’s played out up until this point. I may play a more active role in the band next year, songwriting and maybe doing the odd live shows here and there, but that’s all dependant on working it around what I’ll be doing with my own projects. There were many different factors contributing to me stepping down as the vocalist and retreating from the forefront of the Shanklin Freak Show, although the main factor was simply that I find performing live extremely nerve-wracking and didn’t want to do it anymore, at least not for a few years. I suppose the other main factor was that I was feeling burnt out with the project and my heart wasn’t really in it, at least not enough to knuckle down, overcome my nerves and keep playing live shows. I started the Freak Show in 2003, so I spent a full 8 years solely focused on that one project and to be honest, I think I just wanted to try new things, things that might not have worked within the context of The Shanklin Freak Show, if that makes sense?

You have just released the brilliant album The Wonderful World Of Weird, our favourite and one of the best if not THE best album this year, how long has it been in the making?

Mr. Strange: Firstly, thank you very much! Secondly, too damn long! I started the album in October 2011 and finished it in October 2013. The reason for this overly long development process was due to uncertainty as to where I wanted to go after the Shanklin Freak Show. I had loads of ideas, but for my first release after TSFS I wanted to make a record that would be fresh and also slightly familiar, that’s a very specific sound to try and go for, and one that was tricky to find balance for. I’d write a few songs, then over analyse them and come to the conclusion that I wasn’t heading in the right direction, so they’d gather dust for a few months while I procrastinate, then I’d become enthused with the Wonderful World of Weird project again and get a couple of more songs done, then doubt myself again. This process happened a few times, probably half of the two year development cycle was either spent doing nothing or writing material separate from the WWoW project! I’m currently working on developing and finishing those other ideas for my next record, needless to say it already sounds incredibly different to the Wonderful World of Weird and is even more of a departure from The Shanklin Freak Show sound.

StenchYou co-wrote many of the tracks and recorded it with TSFS’s guitarist Stench (Gary Mason to his mum); how easy was it to fit this in as I know the band is recording their own album too; are you to blame for the delay in the finishing of their album??? ;)

Mr. Strange: Having Stench work on the album with me has had no bearing on the speed of The Shanklin Freak Show’s musical output, don’t blame me! Haha.

STENCH:  I don’t think Mr Strange is to blame in the slightest. The delay has been down to a few factors. The Last Show mixing process has been troublesome and we were never completely happy with it and didn’t want to release something that would make us cringe, knowing that we could’ve done better. Obviously, we had the addition of Kronik on Bass, rehearsals, gigs, festivals and the continual cycle of writing and recording. Plus, we’ve had the steep learning curve of being responsible for our own production. We have lots of songs that we’re working on and which are at various states of creation/completion. Plus, very recently, Mr Foul became a Daddy again. All in all, I think we’ve done pretty well, considering.

Mr. Strange: Thanks for backing me up there, Master Stench! I’ll slip you a fiver later.

How did the song writing work for the album and at what point did Stench get to add his explorations to your ideas?

Mr. Strange: We began working together full-time in late 2012 (we’d done bits and bobs together for the album before then, but it was an intermittent thing) almost exactly a year after I began work on the record. At that time I probably had roughly half the album that you can hear today, albeit in a very rough state and with very little guitar work on it. I think ‘White Rabbit’ is the only song that I play all of the guitars on, the rest of the album is pure Stench! With regards to songwriting, it kind of varies as to the approach we took. A lot of the songs were already half written, so Stench worked his magic over what was already there, but a few songs were written in a much more free-form manner. The songs Psycho Surfing A Go-Go‘ and Metropolis 2984 were the result of me and Stench just jamming and coming up with crazy stuff, which I’d never done before, so that was a great experience! Sadly a lot of our random jam songs didn’t make the cut for the album, but they’ll appear eventually. A lot of the tracks we wrote were simply too damn off the wall for the Wonderful World of Weird!

How much did Stench evolve and twist your ideas into new sparks within songs or did you go all dictator on him in this area? ;) (We at The RR know he likes to be dominated…)

Mr. Strange: While there was indeed a fair bit of dictating going on, Stench’s guitar wizardry certainly evolved a lot of songs in many ways. Even songs which were mostly finished by my lonesome have changed in tone and texture considerably since Stench shot his load over them! Songs which may have been dead ends from my point of view (as in not worth finishing) were saved by Stench taking the tune in a new direction with his magical, distorted, electrically-powered stringed instrument. The addition of guitar solos to a few songs has also altered the structure of some of the arrangements, giving the whole album a more free-flowing and natural feel, a definite departure to the more rigid electro-industrial pounding of some of my earlier songs with TSFS.

The guitar work provides a bait of hooks and grooves across the release which seems to breed from the other exotic or should that be erotic melodies and lures at large; did these come after the heart of the songs were exposed or in their initial breeding?

Mr. Strange: Wow, that’s one very eloquently worded question! I want some of what you’re smoking, sir! Haha. Methinks I’ll pass this one over to Stench.

STENCH:  I have to say, Mr Strange is always a pleasure to work with and we seem to be able to communicate very easily musically. So, I suppose that both cases are true as regards to the creation of the tunes. Sometimes, Mr Strange will have an idea of what he wants beforehand and I’ll just add my guitar parts under his strict instruction. Thankfully, I no longer have to wear the gimp mask. Other times, we start completely from scratch. Either way, it’s always fun and inspiring.

The Wonderful World Of Weird is a roller coaster of styles and flavours including industrial, steampunk, surf rock, 555928_584429381594861_1695733989_npsychedelic and gothic rock and much more all merged into the narrative of the album. This is a true reflection of both your musical tastes and the way your creative imaginations works, or predominantly Mr S’s (Saul); the album truly a landscape of your ideas and musical psyche?

STENCH:  I think we both have very eclectic musical influences and appreciate each other’s tastes. This makes it much easier to work together and helps with communicating ideas. But, yes, the album is predominantly Saul’s genius and I add either the cherry on top or the fly in the ointment, whichever is required at the time.

It is fair Mr. Strange to say the album is very different from your earlier songs as on The Fall and those written across all your projects as collated in the Freakshow album, both of 2011. I will admit this was a little bit of a surprise considering your major input and dramatic style within TSFS, so has this been a natural progression or have you had to consciously veer away from anything sounding like the band?

Mr. Strange: Yes, it was definitely a conscious decision to try and move away from the sound of the Shanklin Freak Show. The more complex song arrangements, featuring less prominent/heavy guitars, changing the tone and pitch of my vocals somewhat, being more daring with mixing varying genres on one album, all of it was done with the sole intention of trying to not sound like a new Freak Show album. I’d done 8 years of the Freak Show; I wanted to see if I could create something a little different. With all that said, I also tried to not move too far away from the Freak Show sound as to completely alienate people who may be following me after hearing the Freak Show. You can hear echoes of TSFS on songs like ‘Fire’, ‘White Rabbit’ and on ‘Exile’.

As the album is lyrically and musically a journey through the mind of Mr. Strange did you have a definite step by step guide to the order of songs and their effect on the album in mind before everything was recorded etc.?

Mr. Strange: I did indeed! However, what I planned out and what ended up being the Wonderful World of Weird album are two very different things. The narrative you hear on the finished record was re-written to fit the finished songs only a few months before the album’s release. I originally planned something far grander and more complex, but it was sounding so overblown, silly and pretentious that the scope for the record was scaled back considerably. It’s far more personal now; I think that works in its favour.

We described the opening title track to The Wonderful World Of Weird as Dr. Jekyll meets ICP as early Marilyn Mansion helps Victor Frankenstein create aural life for them to toy with upon a set designed by Willy Wonka, a description which in varying ways applies to the whole album; how would you describe the album to newcomers?

Mr. Strange: Tim Burton and Danny Elfman taking an absinth-fuelled journey through a variety of pop and rock’s more outlandish genres.

I imagine this album might appeal to people who like quirky / alternative pop. I was inspired by lots of the 80’s goth bands and loads of steampunk artists while making this record, so perhaps folks with similar tastes would enjoy it, too.

Tell us about our favourite track out of a great many on the album, Psycho Surfing-A-Go-Go.

STENCH:  Now this song is an example of how suddenly things happen organically. I think this was the fastest tune that we’ve ever written together. The major bones came together in an evening and the riffs were written on an old 1960’s Burns bass. Suddenly, it began writing itself. It was great fun to play as it has a tongue in cheek feel to the guitar lines. Also, it was nice to get outside of the box and let rip on some retro sounds. Mr. Strange knew from the off what he wanted to do vocal-wise and before we knew it, job done.

Mr. Strange 4Can we get a brief glimpse of the man behind Mr. Strange, we get the impression he is a shy retiring type… a tea drinker ;)

Mr. Strange: Of course I like tea, and no, you can’t get a glimpse! Aha! Although your impression could be considered strangely accurate…

You both hail from The Isle Of Wight which seems like a small hotbed of talent right now, covering numerous styles?

STENCH:  Absolutely, the music scene here is great and vast. It would take up another couple of pages to name every great musician or band based here. Of course, we have our favourites and it would be rude not to give them a shout. *Deep breath* Pleasurade, Hentai Babies, When Prophecy Fails, Becoming The Leviathan, Born Ina Barn, Silencing The Voiceless, Puritan Slain, Kingz Of Vocals, Counsil Estate Supermodels, The Ohmz, Hollowdrone and Nately’s Whore to name but a few. So you have your Alt-Pop, Progressive Metal, Hip-Hop, Reggae, Grunge and Punk. But, as with any music scene, anywhere, it needs support.

You have not been tempted by the bright lights of the mainland for musical reasons?

Mr. Strange: Career wise? Yes, but many factors prevented that from happening. I haven’t thought about it for years. I’m happy where I am right now, so I have no plans to move closer to the action, there’s more than enough in my trousers to keep me entertained, although the career opportunities are limited.

What is next for Mr. Strange, you do not seem like an artist to sit back and take a rest.

Mr. Strange: Indeed, you know me too well, sir! Were we lovers at some point? I have two projects / albums planned for next year. The first album (which I’m writing at this very moment) is progressing extremely fast, possibly dropping in April 2014. I’d wager no one will see this one coming; it’s so completely different to anything I’ve done before. Once that album is out and people adjust to the new strangeness, I’ll begin work on the next album, the one that will usher in my return to live music and my inevitable conquest of planet Earth! I hope to have that second record ready by the end of 2014, possibly with live touring to follow in 2015. Don’t hold me to those dates though, I’m just speculating at this point. Both albums will have completely different musical styles and theatrical imagery to match, but I shall say no more.

Where can people treat themselves to all things Mr. Strange and especially The Wonderful World Of Weird?

Mr. Strange: I think it would be very spiritually rewarding for people to go to my website and gasp in ecstasy at pictures of my devilishly handsome face! Links to all of my music and whatnot are located there, but my sexy pictures are where it’s at.

www.mrstrangemedia.comMr. Strange 3

If folks are into the social media thang, I’m on most of the popular sites, too:

Once more thank you and of course to Stench for leaving your bedlam to talk with us, any thoughts to leave us with?

Mr. Strange: Expect the unexpected!

…and lastly please give us five records which shaped Mr. Strange.

1. Marilyn Manson – Portrait Of An American Family

2. Dukes Of Stratosphere – Chips From The Chocolate Fireball

3. Insane Clown Posse – The Great Milenko

4. Dr. Steel – Read-Along Album

5. Danny Elfman – Nightmare Before Christmas OST

Read The Wonderful World Of Weird review @

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 23/12/2013

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Gary Numan – Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind)

Gary Numan 4

Little introduction is needed for Gary Numan, a man who has easily been one of the most influential artists to musicians, bands, and a wide range of genres over the thirty five years or so since emerging in 1978. Admittedly the media has not always been in the same place towards him as fans but his inspirational influence is undeniable as the likes of The Prodigy and Nine Inch Nails to Queens Of The Stone Age, Fear Factory and Marilyn Manson to Kanye West, as well as a vast array of other industrial, electronic, and gothic rock bands constantly show and admit. With early and impacting pinnacles coming from Replicas (as Tubeway Army), The Pleasure Principle, and Telekon, Numan’s twenty albums have ebbed and flowed in success and quality, but for the most they have stretched to varying effect his and music’s walls and inventive nature. New and twenty first album Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind) is no exception certainly, a thrilling and inventive provocateur definitely, and an album which we would suggest recaptures the strongest influential heights of the man’s unique style of potent imagination.

Produced by long standing collaborator Ade Fenton and featuring guitarist Robin Finck, Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind) is the follow up to 2006 album Jagged, though there has been the  2011‘straight-to-the-fanbase’ release Dead Son Rising in between. The album is soaked in shadows and suggested demons, the release coming from what the Los Angeles based Numan has admitted has been a dark period for him; equally though it crafts and sculpts a web of infectious and irresistibly magnetic pop bred persuasion which leaves extremes of thought and textures a compelling emotive landscape. Mentioned earlier was the fact that Nine Inch Nails has taken inspirations of Numan into its creative expanses and upon the new album it shows it has been a two-way street as essences of Trent Reznor’s sounds can be heard as an instigator upon Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind). The album is not breaking in new ground or pastures for industrial and electronic rock it is fair to say, but undeniably presents itself as one of the best electronically bred, atmospherically spawned albums for a few years and Gary Numan striding back to his best.

The Mortal Records album opens with the outstanding I Am Dust. Big imposing electro beats and strokes flex their sinews from the splinter-522b6d4638e7aopening seconds, their intimidation wrapped in intrigue and even greater enticement once those uniquely recognisable tones of Numan begin the song’s narrative. Commanding and riveting, the industrial smouldering soon has imagination and passion recruited to its drama whilst the evolving synth dance toys with and ignites a contagion which in turn sparks a predacious hunger for what is to come. The melodic breath of the track has an eighties swagger which recalls the likes of Blancmange whilst that starker shadowed presence taunts senses and thoughts to even greater temptation.

From the outstanding start Here In The Black draws on darker intensive shadows to create another mouthwatering pinnacle to continue the immense beginning. Darkly whispered vocals prey upon the climactic build of the track, its heart inspired by its creators struggle with depression and its sounds a constantly consuming and intensive weave of unsettling provocation and delicious melodic toxicity. The crescendos of energy and fully flighted enterprise comes with a virulent seduction coated in a pop catchiness which lies within the intense presence of the song but makes a sirenesque call which is open and irrepressible addictive.

The following Everything Comes Down also has its seeds in a darker rapacious premise and sound, its slowly breeding atmosphere and intent a continually shifting and engaging provocateur which is matched and developed by the pulsating and emotively driven music. The melodic soaring across the infectious chorus takes thought back to those previously mentioned early albums whilst the chilled almost suffocating creative wash feels NIN cultured. The song equals its predecessor to accelerate the appetite further and deepen already the thrilled pleasure.

Both The Calling and Splinter drift into deeper challenging depths, the first entwining its electro tendrils around a cavernous ambience whilst its cinematic epically honed atmosphere floats across the imagination, both danger and beauty willing instigators to dramatic scenery. It is a track easy to submerge within, to reflect upon and script one’s own testament, a tale which constantly colours the artist’s canvas or its recipient’s own thoughts and captures the imagination fully if failing to ignite all the flames inside which the previous tracks stoked up. Its successor is equally impacting and inventive within its absorbing presence and in its ability to coax out individual visions and saga within the listener. Sultry Eastern textured female vocals and stringed chants lay down initial bait within the exotic climate before Numan works his persuasive alchemy vocally and sonically. The song smoulders and seduces from start to finish and with each listen leaving a stronger and longer lingering influence and enslavement. The sweltering climes of the song are tempered by the melodic grandeur and synth cast beauty but ultimately the song is a wash of heat which again shows that Numan is still a master to be inspired and spurned on by.

Lost is another simmering burn of an encounter which transfixes ears and thoughts, though the ballad is pale against the song before and next Up Love Hurt Bleed. The first single from the album, the track is industrial electro pop which throbs and stays within the ear with unbridled virulence though as always shadows are not far from the surface. There is a familiarity to it which makes it wholly accessible if lacking surprises but as a temptress into the album it is an epidemic of allurement before which voice and body cannot resist adding their support.

Numan pushes his vocals pleasingly in the heavy reflection that is A Shadow Falls On Me and the threatening yet enchanting Where I Can Never Be. It is not a dramatic move but a gentle emotive exploration and expelling of nuances which enriches attention and matches the fiery adventure within the songs. Both tracks take their time in making their declarations, the second of the pair a blend of suffocating intensity and mesmerising melodic mystique, and though neither forge the grip of other tracks both leave a irrefutable passion for album and more.

The album is completed by We’re The Unforgiven, a track crafting an industrial emotional wasteland, the brilliant Who Are You, and the closing ballad My Last Day. The penultimate song is one to exhaust the dance-floor even with its mid paced gait. With more twists and swerves than a bat at night and as dark, it is a magnificent reminder of the different styles Numan can employ into his electronic invention whilst the closing emotional caress basks in potently hued atmospheres and a prowling ambience which reveals more of its writer and inner thoughts.

Splinter (Songs From A Broken Mind) is an outstanding album, not one loaded with instant slices of addiction causing contagion but a release superbly and instinctively textured to take the listener on a rich imagination fuelling journey through the craft and emotional ingenuity of Gary Numan as well as levels of intensive enjoyment presumed lost since those early days of his impressive career. An unexpected  triumph in many ways, this is an album destined to be devoured very greedily over coming weeks and beyond.


RingMaster 13/10/2013

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