Curse of the North – Curse of the North: I

COTN8_RingMaster Review

There are some releases where it is difficult to imagine anyone not being gripped by their proposals and such a triumph is the new self-titled album from US metallers Curse of the North. It is a beast of instinctive and addictive virulence that blends the ripest essences of heavy and classic metal with the muscular invention of modern rock ‘n’ roll. It is an encounter which seems to hone in on personal tastes, taps into the psyche to discover its deepest pleasures and then unleashes them across eight rigorously rousing encounters. Quite simply it is one of the most invigorating albums this year to set ears and passions alight.

Born in Seattle, Curse of the North currently consists of vocalist/guitarist Christiaan Morris, former 3 Inches of Blood member Nick Cates on bass, and Burke Thomas of McKagan’s Loaded and Vendetta Red on drums. Formed in 2010, the band has toured and shared stages with the likes of Red Fang, The Sword, Eyehategod, Destruction, Death Angel, Lord Dying, Valient Thorr, Kadavar, The Shrine, and Gypsyhawk whilst 2011 saw the release of their Matt Bayles (Mastodon, The Sword, Botch) produced first EP Revelations. A few line-up shuffles have also been part of the band’s growth which now unleashes Curse of the North: I. Produced by Morris and mixed by Kurt Ballou (Converge, High on Fire, Toxic Holocaust), with mastering undertaken by Ed Brooke, the album leaps on the listener from its first moment, the opening and every subsequent breath a roar of thick temptation.

Sleep While You Can is the first slab of persuasion, its start alone pure magnetism as Thomas creates a web of rhythmic arousal to set things in motion. Flames of guitar cross the compelling drum bait as the vocals of Morris spring their own enticing, a Glenn Danzig flavouring lining his tones and equally the shadows within the emerging tenacious metal canter of the track. Classic metal hues dance on ears too as a modern fusion of riffs and hook laded enterprise courts the imagination, the result being one terrific groove veined stomp.

COTN cover_RingMaster Review   It is a mighty start taken another level by Wheel of Swords, another track with an irresistible start to its creative alchemy. A great nagging from riffs as rhythms tumble vivaciously coaxes ears first, their lure replicated in varying tones as sterner grooves and muscular predation swiftly looms up with the again potent vocals of Morris at their helm. Like Black Tusk meets Baroness with a spicing of Sabbath and Clutch to it, the song has energy and pleasure in its hands with quick ease, handing over an exhausted and rapturous body to the following Into The Trees and its mellow climate around melodic prowess. Keys emotively caress as the guitars strokes the senses with elegant suggestiveness to match the melancholic voice of Morris. The first half of the song is wrapped in this mesmeric beauty, its second a rugged landscape of again incendiary rhythms amidst tangy classic metal/rock endeavour and striking vocals.

As good as everything is to this point, the best song on the album in The Tower eclipses it. Building up its intensity and hunger through early scythes of sound, the track quickly releases its handbrake and charges through ears like Therapy? on steroids. Its torrent of riffs and ravenous hooks storms the barricades like a transatlantic cousin to anything on Troublegum from the Northern Ireland trio, its contagiousness and vocal furor similar whilst creating its own uniquely irresistible tempest. The song is breath-taking, seemingly knowing where the personal sweet spot is and hitting it relentlessly, even when slipping into a dark theatre of sinister gothic intrigue.

Thomas is rhythmically imperious on the track, as everywhere to be fair, continuing his enslaving web of craft in The Electric Wall and especially the outstanding Blessed Burning. Morris and Cates are an equal incendiary match though as the first of the two tracks sees the band creating a High on Fire/Kyuss like mountain of creative tenacity and heavy rock ‘n’ roll seduction whilst its successor, from another hypnotic rampant rhythmic trap, strolls across Queens Of The Stone Age/ Mastodon toned terrain of sonic and vocal passion. The references given across all songs are mere colours in something distinctly Curse of the North, especially emphasized when as here the guitars spin a bluesy imagination as an intimate atmosphere soaks the song.

Oceans Rise lowers the intensity if not the emotive temperature next, well certainly for its opening moments as soon it too is a cauldron of thickly jabbing beats and sonic ferocity. Along its riveting length, the assaults and aggression ebbs and flows to fluid and powerful effect, the song an undulating roller coaster of a confrontation which, as the album, just gets richer and more imposingly enjoyable over time.

The album comes to an end through the sultry blues/surf rock seducing of Faceless Killers, a sonic and melodic bewitchment which too only blossoms to greater heights with every partaking of its sweltering, increasingly volcanic landscape. It is a stunning end to simply one of the major treats of 2015; a leviathan of rock ‘n’ roll to get seriously lustful over.

Curse of the North: I is out October 23rd via Static Tension Recordings.

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

Pete RingMaster 22/10/2015

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Weight of The Tide – Epilogue

WOTT1

The debut album from US heavy hard rockers Weight of the Tide is a seven track foray into a landscape of mountainous rhythms, thunderous riffs, and thick emotive intensity; an encounter which bristles with inventive songwriting and openly impressive craft. There is so much to recommend about Epilogue and its powerful contents but despite that it just does not light a fire in thoughts or emotions with its presence. It is certain to be different for individual ears and tastes yet you cannot help feeling that there is a beast of an incitement lurking inside an album lacking the incendiary spark to bring it to life and grab the attention plenty of its qualities deserve.

The Nevada quartet is the creation of vocalist/guitarist Mark Moots and drummer Jason Thomas, two musicians whose history together embraces the success and impressive sounds of December and individually The Swamp Donkey and Cranium respectively. Formed in 2012, Weight Of The Tide is completed by former Knightfall/Beard The Lion guitarist Jestin Phipps and ex-Red Cel bassist Marcus Mayhall. The band has already sparked strong ripples of attention through their live shows, where they have shared stages with the likes of Eyehategod, Diamond Head, A Pale Horse Named Death, Raven, Volture, Skinlab, 36 Crazyfists, and Gypsyhawk since emerging. Now the band is poised to awaken broader climes with their SpiralArms vocalist Tim Narducci and Drag Me Under guitarist Jeromy Ainsworth recorded and mixed album. As the band’s name suggests, Epilogue and its sound is an imposing and heavy immersive proposition which leaves a healthy appetite for the band ahead in its wake, just not the lustful excitement it could have.

With tracks bred in an exploration of “Love, loss, betrayal and, hopefully, perseverance”, in the words of Moots, Epilogue descends on ears and thoughts firstly with the crushing energy and 4PAN1Tcreative intrigue of Ireland. Its sonic opening is soon drawn into a web of mightily swung beats and sonic resourcefulness, subsequently relaxing into a formidable and inventive examination of the senses. The guitars chug and flame with their varied resourcefulness whilst bass and drums create a barrage of bait and provocation, this around the strong tones of Moots. It is heavily enticing bait which manages to loosen its grip and adventure in places as potent melodies act as a temper to the riveting roar of the song. It is not a big deflation and only satisfaction and praise comes to the persistence of rich ideas and imaginative enterprise still tempting within the song, but it is enough for it to simply smoulder rather than blaze in personal tastes.

The open craft and skills of band and songs, as well as their adventure, is undeniable and just as prominent in the more gripping Proper Goodbye. A tapestry of guitar endeavour and great vocals embraces the listener first, its attraction an emotive enticing within sinew driven rhythms and a rawer provocation of riffs. There is also a sludgy atmosphere to the song which blossoms when the song slips into the dark shadows of increasingly intensive and predatory sounds. Without doubt the song and album is at its best and most inspiring when the band explores these ravenous twists and passages, welcome intrusions only enhanced by the spicy colour of solos and the sonic enterprise with the similarly sculpted yet individual Elder the immediate proof. Its heavy challenging entrance is an inescapable lure but hindered by stepping back in aggression for the Scott Weiland like vocals of Moots, who is at his weakest here and sounding like a fish out of the threatening waters around him.

Things take an unexpected turn next as Turning Point steps forward and the band reveals a pop punk/melodic rock adventure. It in many ways feels totally out of place on the album but is such a thumping and enjoyable fire of melodic energy and beaming enterprise it shines standing like a lighthouse in the dark landscape of Epilogue. Cynically you might say it is the band simply trying to place an open sure fire single of a doorway into the release but as it is one of the tracks which did have body and emotions fully involved there are no issues for us.

Both Stillwater and La Puerta grasp the previous heavy and at times exhausting oppressive sounds of earlier tracks, the first veining its lumbering intensity with a fine sonic toxicity whilst the second has a compelling argument to its aggression and sure swagger to its contagious stride. Each again though evades truly thrilling these maybe demanding ears, though both have varying ingredients, especially the latter, which means again we can only recommend people find out for themselves what these seriously accomplished songs offer.

Ending with the enthralling creative theatre and emotional Crowbar like turbulence of Fear And The Flame, the album leaves a potent impression and definite want to explore Weight Of The Tide closely in the future. Yes it did not get us rushing around exalting its praises but for a great many it is easy to suggest it will.

Epilogue is available now via Undergroove Records @ http://undergroove.bigcartel.com/product/epilogue

https://www.facebook.com/WeightOfTheTide

RingMaster 14/01/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Mothership: Self Titled

Mothership Live

    The bio for the self-titled album from US rock band stated the band Mothership had a sound which ‘satisfies like a steaming hot stew of UFO and Iron Maiden, blended with the southern swagger of Molly Hatchet and ZZ Top’. Now that statement is enough to send an army of classic rock fans across battlefields and sultry deserts to grab an ear full of the promise suggested and in this instance they would not be disappointed upon arrival. The trio from Dallas is a formidable and impressive unit which knows the richest essences of rock n roll and how to brew them into feisty and fiery melodic encounters.

Founded by brothers Kelley (guitar) and Kyle (bass) Juett, the band fuses stirring elements of hard rock, stoner, blues, and classic rock into a thrilling guitar driven sound all of their own. The pair grew up on the seventies record collection of their father John, who they recruited on drums as their rock project emerged in 2010. Creating songs bursting with raucous riffs and melodic flames, the band knowing the contribution of their father was temporary began searching with his help for a permanent replacement who came in the shape of Judge Smith late 2011. The following year saw the band enter the studio to record their debut which was then self-released later in the year. Now given a re-release though Ripple Music, and following a successful end of last year supporting bands such as Prong, Red Fang, Gypsyhawk, Earthen Grave, and Lo-Pan, Mothership is set to ignite 2013 for all heavy rock fans.

The album opens with the mesmeric instrumental Hallucination, a track which emerges from a spacey ambience through firm Ripple Music - RPL2188beats and a sultry guitar glaze upon the ear. Its early presence is a slow smouldering enticement of sonic caresses and sinewy rhythms which equally burn and kiss the ear to capture the imagination, a union which goes into overload once the track instantly shifts up a couple of gears to rock the air out of the passions. It is an enthralling encounter to announce the album and ensure only a riveted focus is at play for the rest of the release.

With barely time to lick the lips of the prospects to come the following Cosmic Rain engages the ear with punchy rhythms and spires of sonic persuasion. Within seconds it has feet and emotions in league with its passionate gait and heated expanse. As the fine vocals of Kelley launch from the musical fire to add to the already anthemic stoner swing, the track rampages as a delicious agreement of blues and rock wrapped in heart driven energy. Mid-way the song takes a step into an aside full of bass beckoning to intrigue and elevate the already submissive senses further before returning to its uncomplicated and fully enthralling revelry.

As the songs City Nights and Angel of Death open up their hard rock hearts with craft and eagerness there is a continued variety under the overall pulsating lick and hook raining skies of the album. Though neither song steps onto the same lofty plateau of their predecessor, both crowd the ear with inciting blues guitar mastery and refreshing winds of instinctive and satisfying rock n roll, with the second of the two especially rife with a seventies brilliancy recalling the likes of Thin Lizzy.

Adding another step into new avenues Win Or Lose is a strolling treat of heavy rhythms and unavoidable intensive energy veined by a niggling sonic insistence and melodic elegance. Within its expressive stance the track moves through levels of pace and creative heat whilst offering moments of simmering beauty, rampant guitar crafted pulses, and heavyweight rumblings all delivered with invention and passion. It is a tremendous track which makes way for the equalling spellbinding and explosive Elenin and the towering closer Eagle Soars.

The final track is a masterful treat of lung bursting energy driven by robust rhythms and scintillating sonic seduction. The song rides the passions with majestic ease and accomplished skill as it immerses the senses in searing sonic bait and wickedly tempting melodic glamour. It is a final triumph which directs one straight back into the arms of the album, the lure of diving right back in to the release too irresistible.

Mothership, band and album, are encounters any fan ranging the likes of Red Fang to Orange Goblin and Black Sabbath to Thin Lizzy will find an ardour for as the band primes itself for a massive year.

http://www.facebook.com/mothershipusa

8/10

RingMaster 12/02/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Gypsyhawk: Revelry & Resilience

Though new to us it is pretty clear going by their new album Revelry & Resilience, US rockers Gypsyhawk, is a band who just want to make the best rock n roll possible. They are not concerned with leaving one struggling for breath under a weight on extreme metal intensity or confronting  the senses with a technical assault to leave them bewildered and disorientated. This quartet from Pasadena just want to party with your ears, body and hearts for a great time for all. The band find their inspiration in the rock sounds of the seventies  when things were more uncomplicated and straight forward. Their music revisits and distils all the best flavours into their own inventive brew of rock music. Arguably it is not maybe the most original sound ever but it certainly makes for an eager and infectious friend once having made its company.

The band began in 2008 when bassist and vocalist Eric Harris (ex-Skeletonwitch, Sorcerer) linked up with guitarist Andrew Packer (Suns Beneath). With a full line-up the band gigged hard sharing their rock n roll sounds, music which was distinct from what their previous bands had made. 2010 not only saw the release of their decent debut Patience And Perseverance, but also later a change of members when guitarist Erik Kluiber (ex-White Wizzard and currently Overloaded) and drummer Ian Brown joined. This was too arguably the moment the band truly discovered their sound and became what Harris and Packer had envisaged.

Released via Metal Blade Records, Revelry & Resilience is a nonstop storm of great rock music from first note to last. As mentioned the album is borne of times when arguably rock was at its most honest and vibrant and it makes no pretence of its seeds. You can hear many flavours within the release which reflect obvious influences of the band but you always drift back to one, Thin Lizzy. There are moments their love of the band soaks their music but it proves not to be a bad thing just a powerful spice which adds a recognisable taste to the release.

Overloaded opens the gate to the energy and fun of the album, a track which instantly pulls one into a mesh of feisty riffs and punchy rhythms. For all the great things on the track including the striking and enthused guitar work around the gravelly absorbing vocals, it is the bass of Harris which captures the imagination most. He brings a growling discontented sound which adds a depth and thrilling presence to the otherwise user friendly sounds. It offers a balance and edge to it all exposing the metal traits of their sound.

The strong start is immediately improved upon by the contagious strides of The Fields. The song unleashes a teasing hook from the start to infect the senses before its mischievous groove runs amok. It is an unstoppable infection which bundles clean riffs and incisive melodies through the ear at every turn for unbridled satisfaction and pleasure. The track like the album as a whole is not threatening to break down existing rock boundaries but simply wants to improve upon and energise the existing ‘rules’.

Tracks like the powerful Hedgeking with its flaming guitar invention, the bruising Galaxy Rise, and the sharply grooved 1345, all give a varied and compulsive high octane feast to soak up eagerly. The second of the three lashes out with some thrash muscle whilst the last ignites against the ear with sparks of melodic intensity amidst blistering sonic showers.

     Night Songs From The Desert is the one time on the album things are slowed and it is glorious, a track with a metal beauty and passion which shines through its reserved moments and energised crescendos. Again the bass and drums thrill with their grumbling and combative strengths respectively whilst vocally Harris lights the air with a fine and emotive delivery.

      Revelry & Resilience is an outstanding album with songs which excite and please thoroughly. They have a familiarity to them like old friends but with the resourceful thought and fresh energies Gypsyhawk infuses them with, makes for something all rock fans should get a big buzz from.

http://www.facebook.com/Gypsyhawkusa

RingMaster 23/08/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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