City Of Thieves – Incinerator

CoT_RingMaster Review

We just cannot say no to a rousing slab of rock ‘n’ roll at The RR and that is exactly what UK hard rockers City Of Thieves uncage with their debut EP, Incinerator. It is five tracks of varied, no frills heavy rock which may not carry too many big surprises but potently feeds the instincts to roar and brawl with revelry. After the first minute of its opener you will kind of know and certainly welcome what you are going to get thereon in, but with a formidable freshness and passion to it too, it quickly shows why there is a thick buzz brewing up around the band; Incinerator inciting heavy satisfaction as it sonically lives up to its name.

The London quartet emerged in May of 2015 and as soon as their sounds hit ears and their feet stomped on stage, City Of Thieves began stirring up rich attention. Their live debut was an acclaim awarded introduction at his year’s Camden Rocks Festival, whilst debut single and now EP title track Incinerator, saw the band play listed on the New Rock Show on Planet Rock Radio for 7 weeks. Since then the band has found itself booked for this year’s Hard Rock Hell, Legends Of Rock, and Rockstock Festivals, played Bloodstock, and seen their EP already covered in plaudits.

EP Artwork_RingMaster Review     Recorded with producer Toby Jepson (Little Angels, The Answer, The Virginmarys), mixed by Mike Fraser (Metallica, AC/DC, Slipknot, Aerosmith), and mastering by Simon Francis (Kodaline, Kaiser Chiefs, Primal Scream), the Incinerator EP starts with a bang and never looks back. That first single opens things up, enticing ears and teasing an instant appetite with its initial predatory prowl of riffs, they courted by the swiping beats of drummer Will Richards and the gnarly tones of Jamie Lailey’s bass. Pretty soon things have ‘relaxed’ into a fiery stroll as the guitars of Ben Austwick and Adam Wardle spin a melodic web of grooves and spicy riffs , and Lailey unveils his sandy, slightly grizzled vocal tones. Like an old buddy, a familiarity entwines with the sonic enterprise and stalking rhythms, and like a returning friend it only pleases as it comes further alive with individual prowess and a creative energy which many bands never ascend to, especially within a debut.

The great start continues with Buzzed Up City, a mellower and warmer grab of the senses but one not scrimping on vociferous snarls within its fiery heart as the band embraces a more classic rock tone with eighties hues in its infectious rock ‘n’ roll. It hits the spot with accuracy though is still eclipsed by its predecessor and the following Lay Me To Waste, the best track on the release. From the almost carnivorous tone of the bass, the rebellious nature of drums and riffs, and grooves which flirt like a lithe seductress, the track smoulders and blazes with a virulence and enterprise which swiftly captures the imagination, and of course greedy ears.

Here Comes The Shot is more of the same infection in its individual way. Its bluesy air and rumbling rhythms also immediate persuasion as vocally again Lailey, like the song and indeed EP, brings a ‘this is how it is, take it or leave it’ attitude and the taking is the only reply possible to the rousing anthem.

A live acoustic take of Mr 50/50 brings the release to a fine end, the song a closing reminder of the core craft and qualities of City Of Thieves always lying beneath the full on riotous sound of other tracks whilst providing a last shot of aural liquor complete with boozy harmonica.

The bottom-line here is that there are few BIG surprises with Incinerator but an unbridled dose of fun and rousing rock ‘n’ roll, and who is never up for that?

The Incinerator EP is available now via Townsend Records / Monster Box Music

Pete RingMaster 23/09/2015

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Theia – Ride On

Theia collage pic_RingMaster Review

Just ahead of their debut album, UK hard rockers Theia have stoked the fires of anticipation with new single Ride On. It is a blaze of anthemic power and voracity merged with bluesy melodies and an enterprise which plays like a familiar friend whilst leaving you guessing as to its next magnetic move. The release is muscle swinging rock ‘n’ roll and the juiciest taster to the band’s impending new full-length Take the Pill.

Formed in 2012, the Burton Upon Trent band draws on inspirations from bands such as Buckcherry, Winterville, Alter Bridge, Black Label Society and many more to colour their robust sound and in turn invigorating single. A couple of well-received EPs in 2013 awoke ears to the potential and rebellious nature of the band’s sound, a proposition which has just kept developing and blossoming to back their increasing reputation as one stage shaking incitement earned across gigs and festivals. Now the trio of vocalist/guitarist Kyle Lamley, bassist Paul Edwards, and drummer John Tolley are poised to make a big impact with their first album on the UK rock scene, one possibly to emulate the success of their celestial namesake, certainly if Ride On is an indication of what is to come.

A fuzzy lure of guitar starts things off, its bait soon joined by the gloriously carnivorous of bass which is instantly given a welcoming clarity from which to growl from. Thick beats add to the building drama which is fully realised with the richly spiced grooves cast by Lamley. Never quite exploding into the riot it continually hints at, the song instead places infectious layer upon infectious layer, bluesy endeavour an intoxicating hue to air and the guitar spawned enticement lighting it as rhythms craft a compelling frame to one virulent anthem.

Ride On gets the job done without unnecessary excesses and delusions of grandeur; it is hard rock with a recognisable smile and mischief but lit by a freshness which just hits the spot. As mentioned earlier it is muscular rock ‘n’ roll, a flavour to feed most appetites.

Ride On is out now.

Pete RingMaster 14/09/2015

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Nine Miles South – Self Titled EP

Nine Miles South promo_RingMaster Review

It is proving to be a rather exciting year for UK rockers Nine Miles South which is coming to a thrilling head with the release of their self-titled debut EP and a couple of big shows, all sure to confirm that their groove loaded southern rock ‘n’ roll is ready to awaken the broadest attention. Their three track release is an invigorating and exciting slab of resourcefully varied hard rock; heavy and contagious, creatively aggressive and addictive, it has body and appetite on red alert by track one, seduced by the third and though it weaves plenty of familiar sounds and textures into its persuasion, the EP just hits the sweet spot that lies within all rock fans.

Nine Miles South was founded by Danish bred Seb Mikkelsen, the band forming after the vocalist/guitarist had moved to the UK from his homeland. Based in Guildford and with a line-up completed by guitarist Jon Antony, bassist Andy Sleigh, and drummer David Wilson, Nine Miles South took little time in awakening strong support and awareness through their tenacious live presence. Shows with bands such as Kobra And The Lotus as well as their own gigs and strong festival appearances have marked the band out leading to good radio play. After a couple of recently highly successful London shows and ahead of the band playing Hard Rock Hell in Wales on November 13th with amongst many, Black Label Society, UFO, Helloween, Pat Travers, and Gun, and also supporting Skinny Molly at the North Devon Arena in Ilfracombe on November 18th, Nine Miles South release their first EP, an easy to suspect spark to increasing and eager attention.

NMS FRONT COVER EPP_RingMaster Review   Produced by Samuel Burden, the EP opens with The Reckoning, a mighty anthem for ears and emotions. A slightly reserved beginning cups ears first, a sultry climate of guitar and melody backed by the vocal twang of Mikkelsen swift enticement which only grows more gripping as thick fisted rhythms join the increasing energy and roar of the song. It is still not in top gear but casting an inescapable anthem for body and voice which only blossoms into virulence as grooves twist and entwine the psyche and hooks lurk in very corner and evolution of the outstanding song. As suggested the overall sound has a recognisable air but it only adds to the drama and potency of the tempting, especially which sixth gear is finally unleashed for a boisterous finale.

The excellent start is backed well by Leave Me Be, another making its entrance on a gentle melody from the guitar whilst quietly brewing a more intensive character which erupts soon after. A more emotively coloured and controlled stroll, the bluesy track spins a weave of melodic and vocal expression wrapped in low key but pungent grooves, these further punctured by firm rhythms. The bass of Sleigh has a great growl whilst the guitars of Antony and Mikkelsen create a croon of enterprise to match the resourceful vocal tones of the latter, backed well by Antony and Sleigh. Without quite matching the heights and irresistibility of its predecessor, the song has ears and attention riveted before Fingernails brings the release to a rousing close.

The third track has the imagination drifting off to dusty, country blues rock lands within seconds, grooves and riffs instantly sculpting a southern seeded canvas to lose oneself in, before shadowed rhythms lined with spiky beats and grooved invention build tantalising scenery. Imagine a mix of Bad Company, Down, and The Bastard Sons and you get a whiff of the excellent climax to one thickly enjoyable encounter.

The last few months has seen a new wind of attention and buzz around Nine Miles South which can only get bolder and louder with the release of their first EP. It is rock ‘n’ roll with a twang and very easy to suggest you go get some.

The Nine Miles South EP is available from September 7th

Pete Ringmaster 07/09/2015

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Stone Angels – Give In To Temptation

Stone Angels Promo Shot_RingMaster Review

Give In To Temptation is a great title for the debut album from the Brighton hailing Stone Angels (not to be confused with The Stone Angels from Devon), as that is exactly what you do, inescapably submit to its eventful rock ‘n’ roll roar. Jammed with eleven fresh sounding tracks which brew up rousing exploits from admittedly pretty recognisable sounds and inspirations the album is hefty in anthems and punchy adrenaline charged stomps, and as high on that familiarity to others as it can be at times, Give In To Temptation lets no one down when it comes to thrills and enjoyment.

Stone Angels emerged in 2011 from the ever musically resourceful scene in Brighton, the experienced quartet rising from the ashes of ‘several broken’ bands. Drawing on inspirations from the classic LA rock and legendary UK rock scenes, and bands ramngimng from Alter Bridge, Black Stone Cherry, Black Spiders, AC/DC, Massive, and Rival Sons to Five Finger Death Punch, Foo Fighters, Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Slash’s Snake Pit, and King’s X, Stone Angels’ hard rock incitement has seen them become one of the UK’s most potent live propositions. Now the band is looking to awaken even broader attention with the national re-release of Give In To Temptation, a prospect you can see gathering rather potent success.

The reason being songs like Misplaced Memories and Devil’s Child, they just the first two tracks on the swiftly persuasive encounter. The opener worries ears with a torrent of hungry riffs and spiky grooves meshed into a rhythmic web cast by drummer Ben Taylor and bassist Chris Wilson. There is grouchiness to the tone of the song and instant contagion on offer with the sonic enterprise of guitarists James Innes and Niall Kersey tempering the growl a touch with melodic enticement, especially the former’s precise grooves. Kersey’s vocals also carry a dusty snarl which only adds to the easily accessible and familiar but refreshing confrontation, a blend exploited enjoyably again in the slower prowl of the second song. Bands such as Black Stone Cherry and Rev Theory get hinted at though the song has a more vintage bluesy hue to it as it backs up the album’s forcibly engaging start.

Stone Angels Album Cover_RingMaster Review   That sultry air and texture becomes richer in the following fiery melancholy of Last Goodbyes where keys deliciously add a psychedelic strain to the increasingly eventful and impressive croon, Stone Angels revealing more good variety to their sound and songwriting. Uniqueness is, as suggested earlier, not a dramatic quality to their sound and indeed the song but it matters little in its persuasive bellow and not at all in Can You? straight after. Again attitude and melodic flames fuel the track, but it is the bewitching sonic hook and easy swagger which grips most prominently, they and the vocal lure of Kersey backed potently by the rest of the band’s calls.

At only two and a half minutes, the track is a swift, bait loaded jab and the relative shortness of most songs within Give In To Temptation does add to the rapier like feel of the album and its thick success on ears and appetite, this proven again by the not much longer body of Fantasy and swiftly after in the slightly lengthier Lines In The Sand. The album is like a heavy weight poking senses and satisfaction, this pair uppercuts of rock ‘n’ roll which has energy reeling and bodies exhausted. Both tracks unveil individual grooves which induce ears and hunger to arousal amidst greedy riffs adding enticing weight to the song’s tenacious grip.

Thousand Years slips into a mellower melodic reflection within a hazy flame of emotive intensity to bring a respite of sorts for adrenaline and energy whilst Falling Down gets funky on the listener whilst unleashing another dose of predatory riffs, wicked rhythms, and spice rich, bordering on salacious, grooves across guitar and bass. The first of the pair takes longer to find the right spot but is perpetually enjoyable nonetheless whilst its successor is an immediate stomp which just has bodies swinging, an anthem no doubt igniting venues for the band and calling out to be a single.

There is a darker almost sinister shade to the imposing blues rock stroll of Devil’s Grip and a lighter glaze of stoner-esque infectiousness to Fine Day, both songs rich with tendrils of sonic imagination and the healthy spices bred by some of the band’s influences. The latter is another single prospect for these ears; its Alter Bridge meets Shinedown character tantalising before Shadows Of The Black Sun is left to bring the album to a close. Again it is ripe with a familiarity which only seems to works in the song’s favour, as indeed for Give In To Temptation’s success.

Future demands might ask for more distinctness to the Stone Angels sound next time around though you are pretty much sure of some stonking songs at the very least anyway, but for an introduction, Give In To Temptation is one enjoyable slab of rock ‘n’ roll you can only have a thoroughly good time with.

Give In To Temptation is nationally released on Friday 4th September on CD and digitally through all stores.

RingMaster 04/09/2015

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Blood Divisions – Self Titled

Blood Divisions _RingMaster Review

Blood Divisions, band and EP is the coming together of a host of metal’s talented for a two track encounter that without sending excitement into overload provides one very satisfying offering. The self-titled proposal will also see a portion of proceeds raised by sales donated to Rock & Rescue, a charity helmed by acclaimed producer Jay Ruston, as well as the Warren County Tennessee Humane Society; that alone is worth the investigation and offering of your cents and pennies.

Released via Metal Blade Records, the EP features two cover songs brought to life by the likes of, amongst many, Ralph Santola, Dave Austin, Greg Gall, Terry Butler, and Chris Jericho (full list below); the latter when recently talking about the project stating “BLOOD DIVISIONS is an all-star collection of some of the most talented musicians to ever come from the legendary southern Florida metal scene. Being a HUGE fan of all of these musicians and their legendary bands, especially Nasty Savage, when David Austin himself asked me to lay down the vocals, I responded immediately, ‘YES! What songs do you want me to sing and how many studded leather gauntlets can I wear?’ I’m so honored and proud to be a part of the project and very excited with the results. Trust me, it’s going to tear all of your fuckin’ heads off, in the best possible way!

First track is a cover of the Nasty Savage incitement The Morgue, a song which has ears and imagination fascinated from its opening breath of keys and sinister dark stringed portentousness. Drama oozes from every choral fanfare and melodically epic enticement as the song grows within ears, it soon settling into a dark chamber of string plucking craft and rhythmic predation lorded over by the distinctive tones of Jericho. Shadows continually come alive as the musical narrative evolves, enthralling ears and attention with only a slight slip of persuasion when the song opens into a more expected heavy metal stroll, though again twists and turns are part of the continuing adventure. There are times it feels like the track is trying to fit in as many of the individual skills of the line-up as it can within the nine minutes or so, and it’s fluidly reflects that a touch but nothing to defuse a thoroughly enjoyable and increasingly alluring encounter.

The second track is a take on the Scorpions classic Top of the Bill, another resourcefully solid version if one which did not take with personal tastes as potently. To be honest our preferences generally never include an appetite for heavy metal/seventies hard rock in their menu but nevertheless and as expected with the musicianship on offer, the track still persuades with a blaze of vocal and creative dexterity in an enjoyable stomp.

Whether Blood Divisions is a one off or something which may as a project evolve we will see, but whichever its EP is certainly worth a moment of your time whilst supporting worthy causes.

Blood Divisions features:

Chris Jericho – vocals

Dave Austin – guitars (Nasty Savage)

Ralph Santola – lead guitar (Death, Obituary, Testament, Iced Earth)

Terry Butler – bass (Obituary, Death, Denial Fiend, Massacre)

Greg Gall – drums (Six Feet Under)

Bill Owen – lead guitar (Purgatory)

John Mahoney – lead guitar (Fester)

Ben Meyer – lead guitar (Nasty Savage, Low Brow, Gardy Loo)

Blood Divisions is available now as a digital EP via Metal Blade Records

Pete RingMaster 31/08/2015

Damn Dice – The Great Unknown

Damn Dice Promo Shot_RingMaster Review

If some new metal infused hard rock ‘n’ roll is on the agenda then checking out the debut album from Damn Dice would not be a bad move. Unleashing twelve tenacious slices of hard rock, a dozen slabs of fiery, adrenaline fuelled stomps, The Great Unknown easily suggests the London based rockers are a band to keep a close eye on. It starts with a bang, ends with another invigorating stretch of songs, and though for personal tastes its middle section ebbs and flows in persuasion a touch too much, the whole album leaves full enjoyment as its prime legacy.

Damn Dice began in 2011 and quickly made a potent impression and impact with a live presence which in no time had a UK and European tour supporting LA Guns on its CV. The next couple of years saw the band reinforce their strong emergence whilst luring increasing acclaim through impressing headline shows and the release of their Wild ‘N’ Ready EP in 2013. It soon had the likes of Classic Rock AOR, Powerplay, Black Velvet, and Music Week offering eager praise whilst the single/video from it, Take The Fight saw the band regulars on Scuzz TV and indeed radio. Now the band is ready to make a hefty nudge on broader attention with The Great Unknown, an encounter as rousing as it is skilfully crafted, as riotous as it is familiarly infectious.

Recently Damn Dice has grown to a quintet with the addition of Diego, but it is the foursome of vocalist Alex, guitarist Wallis, bassist Marco, and drummer Fransoa who has ears ringing with opener Power. From a controlled and sonically suggestive start, the track is soon living up to its name with a charge of bone splitting beats and hungry riffery. Aligned to the quickly impressing tones of Alex, he supported as strongly across the rest of the band, and featuring an already grouchy presence by the bass, band and song is soon a virulent anthemic temptation. Bands such as Skid Row, KISS, and Hardcore Superstar are suggested as references to the Damn Dice sound, and certainly essences of them and others are open hues in the character and energy of the song though it matters little within the rampant fun of the encounter.

Damn Dice Cover Artwork_RingMaster Review   The seriously enticing start to The Great Unknown continues with What Now? and its initial rhythmic coaxing which courtesy of the bass, borders bestial. Its growling is the spark to a great contrast of niggling hooks and infection spewing grooves with vocals and melodies just as magnetic in one of the band’s previous singles. It springs a web of addictive enticement and inventive enterprise though again there is something recognisable to the encounter which fair to say only add to its allure before Driven brings its antagonism lined classic hard rock resourcefulness to court ears. Not as immediate in its persuasion as the first two, the song eventually proves to be just as inescapable for body and voice, as too the following Down, both songs easy to lock on to anthems sure to inflame any hall or speaker over time. The fourth track has an even more old school colouring to its fresh romp but as enjoyable as it proves to be, it is from here that The Great Unknown struggles for a while to match its early prowess.

To be fair though with The Way To Go from a sizzling electro touch going on to offer a bouncing boisterous shuffle of riffs and rhythms whilst Caught In The Ride and Words uncage a snarling catchy canter and evocative flame of emotion respectively, satisfaction is left smiling and the body catching its breath in their wakes. The latter two songs also unveil a spicy sonic enterprise and melodic imagination which only lures ears before Bang Your Head hits the album’s earlier plateau again next, its full throttle charge equipped with commanding rhythms and rip-roaring riffs and enslaving vocals. Once more Damn Dice are not exactly tapping into the hard rock unknown but its weighty slavery of ears and thick tempting is unavoidable before it quickly moves over for the equally dramatic and incendiary rampage of No Fear. As a few songs on the album, its start is thrilling drama but whereas others at times never manage to live up to their entrance in the rest of their bodies, the song continues to build a theatre of craft and adventure, not forgetting an invigorating anthem that only leaves a hunger for more and more you get with the outstanding Take The Fight. Unafraid to throw in a dose of rock pop for its contagious chorus, it takes little time to see why the song raised such enthusiasm and focus when released previously, its potency just as fierce and forceful now.

The album is brought to a close by the sinew built, rhythm swinging Rock (Like You Mean It), a song which arguably feeds expectations a touch too much yet still grows to be a more flavoursome beast with every listen, and lastly the compelling croon and passion of the excellent Home, where musically and vocally Damn Dice just reinforce the diversity of their sound to give a last treat for ears.

The Great Unknown is nothing less than thorough enjoyment from start to finish with certain stretches where it really gets to grips with wants and tastes. Different songs will work for individual appetites but if hard rock and metal infused rock ‘n’ roll hits your sweet spot then Damn Dice and their album is well worthy of an hour of your time at the very least.

The Great Unknown is released August 24th through most stores.

RingMaster 24/08/2015

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Patriot Rebel – Propaganda

Patriot Rebel Promo Shot_RingMaster Review

British alternative/hard rockers Patriot Rebel provide raw and rousing rock ‘n’ roll as virulent as it is ravenously aggressive. They proved it with their outstanding Two Worlds EP in 2013 and do so again with new single Propaganda. The song is a raw and explosive confrontation, an anthem to get fully involved in straight away but emerging even stronger and more impressive with every listen.

Though formed around 2007, it was arguably when the current line-up of vocalist Paul Smith, guitarists Danny Marsh and Dave Gadd, bassist Will Kirk, and drummer Aaron Grainger came together that the Nottingham hailing Patriot Rebel found the truly potent spark to their sound and in awakening eager attention. Inspired by the likes of Stone Temple Pilots, Alter Bridge, Black Stone Cherry, and Velvet Revolver, the quintet created a musical proposal which was soon invigorating ears and appetites, shows with bands such as Tesseract, Jettblack, Skarlett Riot, Cornerstone, Earthtone9, Spirytus and Violet over the years the live proof and Two Worlds the potent studio evidence. The Matt Elliss (Black Spiders, Terrorvision, Skarlett Riot) produced EP certainly drew acclaim and keen focus from old and new fans as well as the media upon its uncaging, which the band’s live presence has only driven on and now Propaganda can only kick into greater reaction again.

Patriot Rebel Cover Artwork_RingMaster Review     The single is taken from that earlier EP but manages to hold a fresh breath and character now standing alone as the band’s new protagonist. It is also a teaser of sorts for things to come, Patriot Rebel most likely in the studio, again with Ellis, as you read this. Sometimes tracks show a new light upon their depths and presence when taken away from an album or EP, and fair to say Propaganda, for whatever reason, manages to do the same as it roars from its opening second through to its last. From an initial sonic lure of a second of two, thumping rhythms prowl and riffs stalk the senses; their intimidation crouched over by the distinctive tones of Smith. The predatory start of the song and his croon subsequently triggers the embedded contagious might and stride of the encounter, grooves and melodies entangling in an irresistible tempting still graced by the formidable and throaty nature of bass and drums.

The song is a blaze of anthemic rock ‘n’ roll, luring the listener with its verse and leads into the irresistible chorus where full involvement from band and listener is a given. There are no truly major surprises within the song, the band’s influences open spices, yet it has a resourcefulness and enterprise which leaves expectations empty and enjoyment full to bursting.

Patriot Rebel continues to impress and though Propaganda is taken from their previous release it only thrills and ensures anticipation for the band’s next exploit will be greedy. Completed by a great acoustic version of Propaganda too, and accompanied by one equally enjoyable video, this is one single for new and old fans to spend a riotous summer with.

Propaganda is available from 3rd August.

Read our interview with Patriot Rebel @

RingMaster 01/08/2015

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