Head On – Ubik

photo by Aggeliki Mourtzouchou

Cold and calculating yet atmospherically immersive and at times invitingly suffocating, the debut album from Greek outfit Head On is a sonic trespass of the senses which simply commands attention. It is an invasive confusion of noise skilfully and deliberately woven to entangle and distract, disturb and invade; one which ignited the imagination at virtually every turn.

Head On are a quartet from Athens which creates a post punk bred sound infested with the raw snarls of grunge and heavy expansive climates of post rock. In fact it is a sound which embraces the causticity and dark depths of many flavours for its physical and emotional dissonance. Ubik is the band’s first album; an introduction quite easy to see taking the band’s presence far beyond their local borders.

Produced by the band with Iraklis Vlachakis, Ubik swiftly takes hold of close attention with opener Entropy. The instrumental is a rousing invitation into the release immediately revealing the aural palette the band creates from; its drifting waves of post rock nurtured sound lapping a post punk hued landscape. In no time the imagination was keenly involved and even more so as the track slips into the nagging prowess of next up Σήψη (Decay). Riffs and dark grooves collude in its similar swells of sound, casting hooks for ears and appetite to be ensnared by as vocals prowl the murky intimation for something akin to a blend of Joy Division and Leitmotiv and quite addictive by its close.

Lexicon follows with its own arsenal of compelling textures and trespasses. As vocals again almost stalk proceedings, the bass uncages a delicious dark nagging on ears around which guitars spin a rapacious web of grooved bait. It is highly magnetic and even more so when the track twists into grunge lined punk rock, the captivation only more tempting in its second cycle before Dylarama springs its own punk infused challenge on ears and an already greedy appetite. The track is a lime pit of varied rock ‘n’ roll; scorching and eating away at the senses with its sonic tides and attitude, a PiL like glaze liquor in its tart toxicity.

The stark soundscape of Imipolex G is next, a track with a hint of Alien Sex Fiend to its dissonance and Sex Gang Children to its emotive character. Harsh and corrosive yet with a melancholic elegance which boldly simmers up at certain moments, the song grips ears with ease if not quite to the intensity of successor Life Seems Johnny Rotten. It’s Bauhaus seeded groove and spirals of guitar swiftly enthral, the subsequent vocal drone and melody infested post punk stroll elevating the song’s thick magnetism. A kaleidoscope of sounds and hues, the song is glorious expanding its lure as its tight senses encroaching tunnels of noise erupt into expansive sonic scenery.

Across the great irritant that is No Harm, a track which niggles and nags the senses into easy submission, and the rich rock ‘n’ roll of Broom of the System the album just accentuates its potency and variety in sound. Both embrace a mix of flavours with the second especially making a bold side step from post punk instincts with its heavy and classic rock spiced escapade though it still retains the steely repetitious instincts of that core genre in its depths.

Closing out the album is Scum Manifesto, a sonic scalding which boils from imposing calm into an acrimonious flood of noise and intent. It entices until it is ready to unleash its venom, which it does like pouring boiling oil on the senses. It is masterful end to an album which increasingly impressed play by play.

If not with Ubik, though the album has everything needed to lure rich praise, Head On is facing the prospect of real attention within the European rock scene. How their sound will evolve is intriguing and already keenly anticipated here but more of the striking same next time around will do very nicely too.

Ubik is available now digitally and on 12” vinyl @ https://headongreece.bandcamp.com/album/ubik

Upcoming UK tour dates.

Jun 28 The Pig and Fiddle, Bath

Jun 29 New Cross Inn, New Cross

Jun 30 The Pipeline, Brighton

Jul 01 The Old England, Bristol

https://www.facebook.com/Head0n/

Pete RingMaster 06/06/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Riffocity – Under A Mourning Sky

As if thrash metal has not be blessed enough with some outstanding releases this year, Greek metallers Riffocity have added another mouth-watering roar with their debut album Under A Mourning Sky. Thrash bred but casting a web of inescapable hooks and incessant grooves doused in melodic fire, the ten track encounter is like a dog with a bone; seizing ears and imagination with creative jaws, gnawing and shaking the senses until absolute submission is given to its predacious prowess.

Formed in 2013 by guitarist Dimitris Kalaitzidis, Serres hailing Riffocity gave notice of their potential and invention with the Disciples of the Storm EP last year. It is fair to say though that Under A Mourning Sky has not only realised that early promise but taken it to a whole new level. Recorded with Firewind guitarist/keyboardist Bob Katsionis, who also mixed and mastered the encounter as well as provided its keys, the album instantly lays a tight grip on attention with the opening throes of first track Hail Thy Father. As imposing beats land riffs gather, guitars and bass colluding in drama and intent as melodic wires emerge to entangle the threat. Straight away an appetite for the impending explosion is ripe, increasing in anticipation as the band heads into a momentary suggestive breath and the groove woven netting which springs from it. Made up of various twists, the track’s nagging enterprise is irresistible, the guitars of Kalaitzidis and George Lezkidis casting addiction as the bass of Panos Savvas grumbles. With the rousing roar of vocalist Thomas Trabouras backed by Kalaitzidis its own anthemic incitement, the track is near on perfection and certainly one of the best starts to an album this year.

Riffocity swiftly show the dexterity of sound and imagination in their sound with next up Arnis Oblivion, its opening piano nurture elegance is soon wrapped in classic metal breath and suggestion before thrash instincts again charge ears with nostrils flared. The sudden drop into melodic calm with a great clean Greek sung croon just catches the imagination, Constantin Maris guesting alongside Trabouras across the song. The band continues to sublimely blend mellow and feverish endeavour with increasing imagination and unpredictability before the song makes way for the ferocious energy and infectious trespass of the equally outstanding Bitter Sunday. Again the fusion of thrash and groove metal, to simplify its character, is so easy to devour and get involved with, riffs and rhythms alone a virulent persuasion never allowing expectations a moment to settle.

Fortunes of Death emerges from its stormy climate with melodic tendrils wrapping ears with more poetic suggestion, their vines as captivating as Trabouras’ gentle but commanding vocal caresses. It too is an enslaving start which blossoms into a compelling theatre of sound and enterprise with Maris once more adding his vocal prowess. There is something familiar about the song once it is in full bloom yet nothing which can be defined only enjoyed as the band blends an array of metallic flavours with increasing boldness and intensity; the track at times as rabid as its predecessor.

Through the ravenous tone and exploits of This Eternal Secret Lies Above and the senses stalking tenacity of From Inside the Arrows Come, the album and pleasure just escalate, the second of the two especially invasive and riveting with Riffocity again showing they really know how to begin a song and build anticipation for its attack, and indeed how to back up that suggested potential with craft and invention.

There is no sign of a dip in adventure or enjoyment as track by track the album ravages the senses, next up Isolation open in its Testament/Exodus like breeding and bold in its own creative mature while Perished Unloved, with Savvas’ bass simply and wonderfully bestial in voice, twists and turns with dervish qualities and a devilish intent though its thrashing antics are all controlled and eagerly rapacious.

The album’s title track is another where certain elements seem recognisable yet everything is fresh and eagerly chewed upon as the song dances voraciously and trickily in the ears, setting up a new wave of greed ready for the closing raptorial grasp of Above the End. With riffs that hound ears, rhythms that pummel the senses, and an anthemic urgency that ignites the spirit the track is inescapable pleasure, and with imagination and melodic canniness blazing within those walls, a conclusion to the album as potent as its start.

As suggested, thrash has had a mighty year with impressive releases and Under a Mourning Sky just might be the best of the lot; certainly it is at the fore of the most enjoyably addictive and devoured right here.

Under A Mourning Sky is available now through Riffocity.

https://www.facebook.com/RIFFOCITYbandgr/

Pete RingMaster 21/11/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Three Way Plane – Your Kingdom, My Life

Way back in 2013, Greek outfit Three Way Plane got in touch and introduced us to themselves and their new EP Fire. It was a potential loaded indie/post punk infused proposition which was bitingly eclectic and imaginatively rampant suggesting that the 2004 formed band was ready to tap into attention far beyond their local success. They have not quite found that breakthrough since in a period which was assumedly busy for them but appearing quiet on the outside. Things might just be about to change though as the Athens outfit release their second album Your Kingdom, My Life and another collusion of sonic diversity and creative adventure.

Two years after forming the band released their first EP, Bright Days the first clue to the growing invention in their punk nurtured sound though it was their well-received debut album, give us something new to shout, which really stoked attention and eager support four years later; its success subsequently eclipsed by Fire. 2015 saw the band release a collection of remixes from songs out of their previous two offerings and the striking 7″inch single A Waltz For Unity & Love / New Destination. In hindsight, the latter was a definite tease of the new growth in sound and songwriting of vocalist/guitarist Stratos, bassist Giannis, and drummer Geo, who has left the band since the album’s recording; hints now impressively realised in Your Kingdom, My Life.

In some ways, the Three Way Plane sound has actually slimmed down its rich array of textures and flavours into something less overwhelming but more concentrated on its qualities, a sign of maturity easy to embrace. As opener Inner Warfare shows though it is still a web of styles and imagination which leaves predictability looking elsewhere for a home. The track initially waves a sonic lure in front of the listener, the guitar almost taunting before a couple more breaths sees rhythms strolling through ears with a knowing swagger as riffs sculpt their dance.  That first slither of post punk bait returns to tempt as the song slows a touch to welcome the expression shaped vocals of Stratos. Simultaneously Giannis’ bass grumbles with a throaty growl, riffs again casting an eager scrubbing of the senses as Geo’s beats tenaciously swing at a body and imagination swiftly hooked by the song’s mix of indie rock and punk at times reminding of UK band Houdini.

It is a superb start soon matched by the more crazed and caustic exploits of No, I’m Not Sober. Again the bass is an irresistible lure, showing more mischief than attitude this time, a matching hue directing riffs and vocals as the track swings between revelry and hostility. There is a definite feel of The Cure and their Three Imaginary Boys entrance upon the world, an additional off-kilter and magnetic discordance in tone and touch which lights ears and personal instincts. With the guest manipulation of Kostis Maloutas on the Theremin extra pleasure, the track eventually makes way for the matching excellence of A Waltz For Unity & Love. Straight away guitars entice ears, courting attention with their weave of wiry hooks and flirtatious melodies. Darker hues come into play soon after as the track hits its vigorous stride as vocals share lyrical suggestion though it is the snare of flirtatious hooks and energy which rubber stamps an already done deal between song and pleasure.

Guitars and bass again make the first flirtation with ears as Get Off Your Hands steps forward, its more shadowy nature and physical trespasses infested with fiery melodies and infectious rhythms which respectively wind through and steer the enjoyable ship. There is that post punk essence again at play but more vocal within the following Xepiasakos Theme, an instrumental cruising in on a great Gang Of Four like dexterity in its rhythmic prowess which immediately has body and spirit dancing. The piece is a touch more reserved than its predecessors but a livelier persistence impossible to refuse or let physical reactions leave alone. Musically the song also reminds of eighties bands like Leitmotiv and French outfit Modèle Martial, an array of essences cast into a sonic Three Way Plane kaleidoscope which certainly has a great spicing of nostalgia.

With a similar eighties spicing to its seduction of catchiness and challenges, Checkmate is simply infection from start to finish; guitar hooks and brooding bass lures a devious incitement infesting limb and imagination with viral expertise while the following Silent embraces the senses in a more atmospheric wash of sound though it too does not skimp on addictive snares and seriously catchy twists. That raw ethereal climate solely takes over midway though, a sonic drifting across the imagination with an underlying tempestuousness which grows as shadows blossom. Once more The Cure come to minds at certain moments, the song more reflective of their second and third album period while again creating a proposal individual to the Greek outfit.

The more caustic and volatile essences of other songs has its head for Your Life ’08, the track an abrasive slice of hardcore shaped punk but with a rhythmic agitation and tenacity which ensures an infectious bullying of ears and lively thoughts is welcomed.

The album closes with Psychic Changes, a rich trespass of vocal dissent and sonic intrigue spun with a tide of gripping hooks and predacious rhythms into a melodic labyrinth growing darker and more ravenous with every layer spun. As the previous track, it is more of a challenge than earlier propositions, more of a slow burner but ultimately emerges as one of the most striking quests from the imagination and craft of Three Way Plane.

There are times when the body really feels like a puppet to Your Kingdom, My Life, unable to escape its infection carrying incitements, and never a moment when pleasure is not the fuel of the day. Whether the album will see Three Way Plane break into international attention time will tell, it has all the attributes, but it will certainly establish the band as one of most exciting adventures waiting their moment.

Your Kingdom, My Life is out now and available @ https://threewayplane.bandcamp.com/album/your-kingdom-my-life

https://www.facebook.com/threewayplane/    https://twitter.com/threewayplane

Pete RingMaster 31/05/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

1000Dead – Self Titled

thousanddead_RingMasterReview

You know there is something happening and worth keeping a close ear on when a record keeps drawing you back and back. The self-titled debut album from Greek metallers 1000Dead is one such proposition. An uncompromising fury of thrash driven multi-flavoured metal, the eleven track assault on the senses constantly grips attention across its growling mass of highly satisfying enterprise. It is a mix of the familiar and of the freshly imaginative and as we have found an encounter easy to get a firm appetite for.

Formed in 2013, 1000Dead hails from Rethymno, Greece. Within their first year, the trio had released a 3-song promo (Promo 2014) which quickly drew favourable reactions and attention. Live the band has also drawn plaudits, sharing stages with the likes of Sabaton, Flotsam & Jetsam, Ravencult, and Wolfheart many others over time with the past months of 2016 seeing the creation of the band’s first album.

Mixed and mastered by John Leledakis, the album opens up with Lying Through Teeth and a fiercely irritable growl from guitarist/vocalist Nick Marinakis. Within a breath, the song is rampaging through ears, thrash bred riffs and thumping beats as merciless as they are inviting with the bass of Peter Leledakis an ear pleasing twang fuelled groan. The deeper into the song it takes the listener the broader its weave of sound and array of hooks and spicy grooves, that initial tempest of sound still the driving force with the addictively nagging  beats of drummer Alex Mouratidis steering the rage as Marinakis grouchily bellows.

The following Unveil Hatred is just as formidable and quickly compelling, though it is swifter into its melodic variety than its predecessor. Its heart is still predatory though, and surges with relentless venom throughout. A sudden drop into a creative maze of unexpected avant-garde imagination is delicious but too short and sadly not repeated while a slower atmospherically hued passage is a less satisfying detour but does little to reduce the enjoyment of the predominantly savage track.

cover_RingMasterReviewPost-war Blues comes next, starting in the distance with a spicy hook which only sounds more flavoursome full in the ear, providing the seed for even spicier inventive grooves and stabbing riffs. Vocals again angrily sear air and ears; Marinakis’s dirty tones a pleasing contrast but equally pleasing conspirator to the emerging adventure of flavours and styles blossoming within the song. From heavy and classic metal to thrash and death animosity, the track’s textures are a fluid kaleidoscope which works really well.

The torrential assault and vicious riffery of the outstanding Bring a Knife to a Gunfight is next, its unrelenting attack littered and interrupted by scything grooves and melodic suggestiveness respectively with the rhythms of Mouratidis and the belligerent tone of the bass pure magnetism to match the imaginative tapestry woven by Marinakis’ guitar. The song epitomises the album, blending recognisable sounds and invention with a unique touch in all of the band’s clean vocals and progressive/alternative metal spiced endeavour.

The track’s gripping creative drama and bold adventure continues through the surging tempest of Noise-pain, the song employing many of the same ideas found in its predecessor within its own choleric design, scything grooves and wicked hooks a joyful proposal throughout. It provides another impressive peak in the album being matched in success and sonic prickliness by This Day We Fight. Again raw aggression and bad tempered attitude colludes with unpredictable twists and enjoyably toxic grooves to grip and feed the imagination. It is a fractious affair which only increases the draw of the album, a reward increasing song by song as each track sees band and release growing in imagination and adventure.

The initially milder climate of Unplug Me is a great coaxing into a waiting aggressive wail though the song as a whole has a more restrained rage which allows further imaginative explorations to be shared by 1000Dead before the bearish heart of their sound is back to ravage and rage within the enjoyably quarrelsome and rhythmically captivating landscape of The Oppressor Syndrome.

Through the cantankerously intrusive and creatively eventful Stonework and the senses scarring onslaught of the seriously brief Cross Section, band and album tighten their hold on before closing off with the uncompromising intensity and punkish contentiousness of Dignity… A Dying Word, one final twist of diversity in the 1000Dead sound and invention.

It is a great end to a powerful and striking introduction to 1000Dead; an impressive starter for the band to become even bolder and unique from. Looking for a label to unleash the album with, watch out for 1000Dead savaging your ears and souls very soon.

Keep up to date with the album’s release @ https://www.facebook.com/1000Dead

Pete RingMaster 14/10/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

SPInnERS – Ghost

cover_RingMasterReview

SPInnERS are no strangers to the Greek underground scene but probably, as for us, an unknown quantity and indeed name further afield. With a push and an introduction here and there, that might change in the near future especially as more and more catch on to the band’s new album, Ghost. The nine track proposition is a ripe tapestry of flavours; from punk to grunge, post punk to indie rock, and plenty more, it is all infused into a raw and compelling, uncompromising and fascinating trespass on ears and imagination.

The Athens based band actually started back in 2008, making a swift impact with only their third live show coming as support to Dinosaur Jr in their home city. A three year hiatus swiftly followed though, before they returned and released debut album Everybody needs a lie in 2011. A self-titled successor lured greater attention with its release two years later, leading to a mini Balkan tour across Greece, Serbia, and the Macedonian city of Skopje. Now with the recently released Ghost sparking broader attention, the trio of vocalist/guitarist Panos, drummer Chris, and bassist Tommy O who joined the band following the departure of Vad who played on the latest album, are poised to become an eagerly talked of name on a broader expanse of lips.

First track upon Ghost is Unspoken Words and fair to say that within seconds its twisted lure of hooks and spiky grooves has ears attentive as tenacious rhythms drop agitated yet anthemic bait around them. With the plaintive nature of the vocals and indeed the melodic acidity which veins the encounter on top, the track quickly grows into a heftily alluring slice of sonic and emotive discord. It is bracing, leaning on the side of concussive and virulently gripping stuff sparking the album to a great start.

The following Same keeps ears and emotions similarly enthused; its abrasive but inviting body again speared by a potent line in imposing beats around a grouchily magnetic bassline. The vocals of Panos emotively and harmonically match the tempestuous sounds around it, flavours which unite in a post hardcore meets noise infused punk rock exploration of the senses.

The album’s title track steps forward next, its dissonant bellow carrying a more heavy rock/ grunge essence to its character whilst colluding with post punk/noise rock imagination. In many ways there is a great feel of seventies bands like Artery and The Membranes to the track, magnetic essences which continue to emerge as the likes of My dreams are dead and Mental Detox crawl over the senses. The first, from a yawning scraping of guitar string, slips into captivating sonic smog of thorny aggravation littered with addictive hooks and an almost barbarously persuasive swing whilst the second colours its matching rapacity in sound and attitude with warmer flowing melodies and group vocal roars. It too, is a song that is more an aggressor than seducer but the latter is what it emerges as for ears with its web of spicy grooves, throatily coaxing basslines, and fiercely involving rhythms.

Ghost hits its pinnacle over the next pair of songs, starting with Sick of You. A blend of old school punk and garage/noise rock, the track is irresistible as it plunders the passions with jangling lures and searing hooks, not forgetting more impossible to resist rhythmic tempting. Its triumph is emulated in Additional Expectations, another seemingly inspired by the post punk imagination of a Joy Division or Clock DVA but, as its predecessor, also sharing the infectious prowess of bands like fellow Greeks, Three Way Plane.

(The Apparition) provides a haunting breeze of melancholic sound around a poem performed by Julian Glover next, a track wrong-footing the listener but enticing the imagination before Wish me Well brings the album to a potent close with its thick tapestry of numerous styles and flavours previously mentioned in its own fresh and pleasing narrative. Arguably the most involved and unpredictable track on Ghost, and all songs defy the satisfying of expectations, the Bauhaus-esque song leaves a lingering impression and rich enjoyment as well as a want to explore the album all over again.

SPInnERS are nudging on greater and increasing attention outside of their homeland; a success if not now they will surely earn at some point with offerings like Ghost.

For more info on SPInnERS and Ghost check out https://www.facebook.com/SPInnERS-athensgr-180374258675694 and  https://spinnersathens.bandcamp.com/

SPInnERS Ghost Tour Dates;

Friday 18/3 Salonica (ypogeio) GREECE

Saturday 19/3 Kumanovo (cafe agora) F.Y.R.O.M

Sunday 20/3 Kraljevo SERBIA

Tuesday 22/3 Smederevska Palanka (Balkan rock club) SERBIA

Wednesday 23/3 Niksic (nk club) MONTENEGRO

Thursday 24/3 Podgorica (Montenegro pub) MONTENEGRO

Friday 25/3 Kosovska Mitrovica (Soho)

Saturday 26/3 Krusevac (club zamajac) SERBIA

Pete RingMaster 08/03/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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