Roxin Palace – Freaks Of Society

Taking a moment to catch up on highly enjoyable propositions a technology crash meant were missed, we suggest checking out Freaks Of Society, the second album from Italian rockers Roxin Palace. Offering up thirteen slices of contagious rock ‘n’ roll armed with wicked hooks, juicy grooves, and anthemic dexterity, the album is very easy to find an eager appetite for. Its rousing incitement fuses sleaze and hard rock with equally tasty metal and heavy rock essences. They are not always flavours which ignite our appetite generally but it is fair to say Freaks Of Society just hits the spot, barely losing its potency across its tenacious body.

Formed as Modern Middle Ages in 2011 by guitarist Crown, formerly of Revoltons, and drummer Hell, once of Elvenking, the subsequently named Roxin Palace completed its line-up the following year with the addition of rhythms guitarist Slaver, bassist Garret, and vocalist Axel. The band were soon working on their self-titled debut album, its 2013 release backed by a growing live presence with the band sharing stages with the likes of Phantom X, Salamandra, and Jettblack over time as well as make a highly successful appearance at Metal Days (Slovenia) where they lined up alongside bands such as Obituary, Satyricon, and Manilla Road.

2014 saw major changes as Axel, Slaver, and Garret departed with Al and Gian coming in on vocals and bass respectively. Attention then turned to the writing of the second Roxin Palace album, its release coming via Sleaszy Rider Records towards the end of 2016, an arrival still drawing keen praise and fresh hungry ears its way.

Freaks Of Society opens up with its title track, a carnival of theatre with increasing portentousness and threat to its air and presence. Its dissipation opens the way for Monsters Love to bound in, initial melodic mists quickly speared by driving riffs and crisp beats. Al’s vocals are just as eagerly enticing, becoming more excitable as energy boils within the eighties flavoured charger. There is also a thrash urgency and aggression which adds to the fun, the song a strong start though soon and regularly overshadowed as the album reveals its adventurous enterprise.

The insatiable drive of Gangs Eraser has ears instantly alert next, the wiry grouchy bassline especially thick bait as the song brews a melody rich and tempestuous proposal. At times it is a seductive croon and in others a snarl of discontent, a union of contrasts which becomes even more tempting as its drama unfolds and infests the psyche before Thai Of Mine lays its salacious rock ‘n roll upon the senses. Like a mix of Mötley Crüe and L.A. Guns, the song climbs over the body like a wanton temptress and though it does not quite meet the heights of those sandwiching, pleasure is full.

Postatomic Hotel similarly has that familiar eighties groove, their melodic rock hues luring ears with ease though it is the chorus which seals the deal; its catchiness and tone pure flirtation. It is a quality which also lines the contrasting croon of L.A. Mist, its melodic tapestry the seed to fiercer sonic flames and dramatic weaves of energy and emotion. Both tracks captivate but still pale a little against the out and out stomp of Monkey Junkie, a growling, air punching slab of pure rock ‘n’ roll which enslaves within its first horny groove.

Similarly Rockers Of The Eagle has the passions lusty; Gian’s carnal bassline alone instinctive kindling backed by wiry grooves and flirty melodies as beats pound.  The great group vocal backing to Al is a constant strength within Freaks Of Society, and again strong enticement to get involved here with the Crown’s guitar weaving compelling strands of imagination to entwine it all.

Through the southern rock liquored Neighbourhood Stars and Fading idol with its whiff of Thin Lizzy and punk rock raucousness keep pleasure at a high while Freak? backs up their success, if without quite matching their heights, with its flaming theatre and emotion. It only has ears in its melodic thrall though, Crown’s web especially bewitching as it completes a trio which alone shows the adventurous and varied nature of the release as well as further glimpses at inspirations easy to suggest the band draws upon; Skid Row and Shotgun Messiah coming to mind.

The album is completed by firstly F.A.N., an antagonistic rumble pouring attitude and heavyweight metal belligerence into every rhythmic swipe and steely groove. With the bas s again pure carnal pleasure, the track takes favourite status before Little Lizzy completes the release with its stirring dirty rock ‘n’ roll with Al a blaze of vocal dexterity.

Certainly Freaks Of Society is not the most unique thing you will get your claws on this year but in many ways that is not the aim; Roxin Palace creates fresh rock ‘n’ roll with existing ingredients, infusing them with their own adventure which Freaks Of Society proves its highly enjoyable.

Freaks Of Society is out now via Sleaszy Rider Records through most online stores.

Overunit Machine/Roxin Palace Tour Dates

01-04-BOSS GARAGE-KRAKOW

03-04-T.B.A

04-04-T.B.A

05-04-MIKE’S PUB-CLUJ-NAPOCA

06-04-ROCKNROLLA-IASI

07-04-PRESA PUB & GRILL-BUCHAREST

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

Pete RingMaster 27/03/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Dope Out – Scars & Stripes

Formed on the first breath of 2013, French band Dope Out has earned a potent reputation in their homeland for their aggressive and stylish heavy rock sound. Now with the release of their highly enjoyable second album, Scars & Stripes, they are threatening to provoke the same kind of attention and support on a much broader scale.

Musically, the Paris quartet merges flavoursome traits from classic and hard rock with more punk, metal, and stoner essences for a proposition which feels familiar yet equally fresh and adventurous. The band has honed their sound and invention across a debut EP, All Hopes Inside, released that first year, and the well-received debut album Bad Seeds of 2014. The years between albums has seen Dope Out breach another level and maturity in their music; an evolution making Scars & Stripes a potently flavoursome proposal.

The four tracks making up the Lady Misfits EP which came out January 2016 made a tasty teaser of things to come, its potential straight away confirmed as Scars & Stripes hits ears with its title track. A lone bassline provides the first lure, its throaty twang soon joined by wiry riffs and rolling rhythms as the song brings its appetising bait all together for a predacious stroll awash with flaming melody. Once settled, the grouchy lead vocals of guitarist Stoner step up with attitude the fore, their irritated air matched by the hooks and grooves lining the slice of punk infused rock ‘n’ roll. Varied twists and turns follow to add to the captivation of the strong start to Scars & Stripes; a base the album only grows bolder from.

The following Dive is a just as appealing proposition, matching its predecessor’s success with its fiery web of grooves and enterprise spun by lead guitarist Crash over a rhythmic trespass driven by the jabbing beats of Mad and Doc’s heavy tempting bassline. As with the first, the song sets the tone of the album without exposing its deepest layers of imagination, that discovery really beginning from The Freakshow, which follows, onwards but still inciting a keen appetite for what is on offer so far.

The third song swiftly hits the spot, its initial pyre of sonic taunting mouth-watering but only added to by the rhythmic rumble which is soon aligned to a broadening design of flavours and invention.  Once hitting its resourceful stride, the track prowls like a mix of Dope and Marilyn Manson while its melodic blaze and earthy air has Gruntruck like hues to it. It is compelling stuff, only increasing its hold on ears as it twists and turns with imagination fuelled confrontation, blues grooves and steely tendrils increasing the fun.

Lady Misfits makes a more even tempered entrance, Stoner’s mellow tones joined by a just as relaxed melody as rhythms saunter with similar restraint. It is all a build-up though to a blaze of a chorus which after searing and pleasuring the senses slips back into the highly enjoyable calm, erupting with greater temptation throughout as the track continues to grow and reveal more of its captivating character and resourcefulness.

By now, the band and album has the lid open on their boldest adventure, next up Clan Of Bats bearing a spicy slab of imposing blues hued rock with an infectiousness breeding a chorus which is one of the truly memorable moments within the release. It is also the moment when you feel Dope Out really get to grips with their craft and imagination, the album having a real swagger to its presence and almost mischievous ambition.

The snarling rock ‘n’ roll of next up Shooting Gun keeps attention and pleasure high, its catchy swing and assertive intensity a potent mix before Nose White entangles ears in woozy blues grooves and stalking rhythms as vocals mix belligerence and invitation in their commanding persuasion. Carrying a touch of Black Stone Cherry and Hardcore Superstar to its body, only concentrated pleasure arises with it especially as its shadows darken and its tone and sinews become more invasive, luring the listener into its heart and the waiting devilry of Balls To The Wall. Another major highlight of the album, the song is a beast of almost violent rhythmic intent and sonic trespass, the guitars searing ears with their hook laden melodic flames whilst vocals scowl as the heart of the track erupts.

The album is brought to a just as feverish close by firstly Again, a song with infectiousness in its DNA and blues rapacity in its veins. As many of its predecessors, it has feet twitching and hips swinging with increasing relish, exhausting and pleasuring the body ready for the mellow caresses of closing encounter Soulmate, an acoustic reflection playing like a warm and increasingly enthusiastic night cap on a boozy rock ’n’ roll session.

It is hard to say that Scars & Stripes is overly unique yet has plenty of new elements to provide a truly fresh and increasingly enjoyable encounter; a proposition quite possibly coaxing a great more of the world to listen to Dope Out.

Scars & Stripes is digitally out now.

https://www.facebook.com/Dopeout/   https://dopeoutunited.bandcamp.com/

Pete RingMaster 21/03/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Grumpynators – City Of Sin

People talk of “the difficult second album”, especially after a debut which leaves a trail of lustful fans and critical acclaim in its wake, something the first from Danish band Grumpynators certainly did. If it has been a tough period for the Copenhagen quartet it does not show within City Of Sin, their second album a seriously rousing and accomplished slab of muscular rock ‘n’ roll, or as the band calls it motorbilly. As impressive as Wonderland was, its successor outshines it in every way, from songwriting to sound, energy to contagion; it is a mouth-watering and exhilarating incitement leaving a deep and greedy hunger for more.

Formed in 2011, Grumpynators’ ever escalating reputation and rock ‘n’ roll prowess has been unmissable from day one, the band tearing up venues at a rate of knots while their first two EPs were no slouches in waking up ears beyond their already eagerly receptive homeland. It was Wonderland which truly caught broad attention though, something City Of Sin can and will only open the floodgates for. Grumpynators’ sound sits somewhere between metal and hard rock, psycho/rockabilly and punk; distinctive from day one it has only honed a uniqueness which fuels the beauty and triumph of City Of Sin today. Quite simply rock ‘n’ roll is the best way to describe it; the most arousing, devilishly aggressive, and irresistible kind making their new album essential stomping.

Produced by the renowned Jacob Hansen and featuring Volbeat guitarist Rob Caggiano, City Of Sin has ears and admittedly an already eager appetite because of past successes reeling from its first breath as opener Tears Of Whiskey bursts upon the senses. Straight away the driving beats of Per Fisker whip up hungry energy, the slapping incitement of Jakob Oelund’s double bass just as insatiable and matched by riffs and inflamed grooves. Feet and spirit are a quick submission to the bait; Grumpynators continuing to grip both with their Motorhead meets Volbeat scented charge led by the inciting vocal growl of Emil Oelund.

It is an outstanding start still managing to be eclipsed by the following pair of roars. First up is Hotel 2nd Age which needs barely seconds to hook allegiance with its initial melodic line. Christian Noergaard is a master at spinning the most addictive hook lined lures and webs, they often seemingly simple but always honed to instinctive temptation as here. As the initial tendril continues to wind around ears, a just as potent rally from Per joins in, riffs gathering behind before initiating one boisterous canter. If that was not enough to tempt the devil, Jakob uncages a deliciously throbbing bassline, raw seduction which is unrelenting from hereon in to add to the virulent and bold tango. With each hook seeming to intensify in taunting the passions as exotic hues tease from within Christian’s enterprise as Emil’s vocals and riffs further stir things up, the track is just glorious and quickly matched by its successor.

New praise gathering single Take The Last Dance With Me launches at ears with a zeal and energy again impossible not to be caught up in, riffs and rhythms colluding in tenacity as they lead to a chorus which simply demands participation. A song to ensure blossoming romances within any mosh pit it stomps and pumps its sinews like The Pirates meeting Misfits in many ways, but as all stands as something uniquely Grumpynators while preying on the weakness for heart bred rock ‘n’ roll.

Things relax a touch as the swinging throes of Then We Cried takes over, sharing its regrets and wishes borne from lost love. Jakob alone has the body bouncing, the heart yearning with the melancholic melody as Emil’s words which court self-reflection. As inherently and persuasively catchy as anything on the release; it’s tempting is full and multi-faceted ensuring thick involvement of the listener though that last lure applies to all songs as proven straight after again by Pretty Little Devil. Musically as tempting and darkly seductive as the temptress at its heart, the song croons and roars with that bass again instant slavery from within nothing but addictive temptation.

Through the heavy metal toned Far Away with its exhausting sonic gasoline and the rockabilly swinging Now I Know, the album shows even more of the diversity and adventure flowing through the Grumpynators release and imagination. The irresistible sing-a-long potency of the latter is just as persuasive in the psychobilly hued Fame, a spellbinding proposal with something of The Peacocks and Danzig about it, and indeed within St. Elvis Day after that; a song which you would expect is pure rock ‘n’ roll, a multi-flavoured romping stomping celebration.

The album’s title track sets another vertigo inducing peak in the lofty landscape of City Of Sin, the track managing to be the dirtiest most insatiably infectious slice of rock possible, almost poppy in its vocal chords stoking chorus. With rhythms relentlessly probing and sparking movement as Emil roars, the track is a bone shaking, spirit infesting uproar.

The album concludes with firstly the punk ‘n’ roll stand of We Are The Outcasts, anthemic defiance to hook and unite personal grievances with, and lastly the horror punk lit, blood strewn warning of Werewolf; together a thrilling end to an exceptional creative howl.

After Wonderland we will admit we wondered if Grumpynators could better it. Little did we know; better it? They have smashed it.

City Of Sin is released March 24th through Mighty Music.

Upcoming Live shows

24/3 Drafthouse, Hamburg (DE)

25/3 High Voltage, Copenhagen (DK).

7/4 Tante Olga, Randers (DK)

8/4 Paletten, Viborg (DK)

22/4 Sønderborghus, Sønderborg (DK)

http://www.grumpynators.dk/   https://www.facebook.com/grumpynators

Pete RingMaster 17/03/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Spunk Volcano & The Eruptions – Ram Raid

As if the early excitement of 2017 could not get better with the release of the new Dirt Box Disco album, it undoubtedly did with news of a new EP from DBD guitarist and his cohorts, Spunk Volcano & The Eruptions. It was a year ago that the band released their acclaimed second album Shit Generation, though it seems only a couple of months back thanks to its constant airing in the offices. It and the band’s punk rock rebel rousing firmly set the band not only as a wholly different proposition to Spunk’s ‘day job’ but on the British punk scene full stop. Ram Raid cements that uniqueness whilst revealing the most aggressively raucous and virulently dirty sound from the band yet.

Ram Raid also sees new guitarist Stu Page alongside lead vocalist Spunk, fellow guitarist Tom ‘G Force’ Batterbee, bassist Deadbeatz Chris, and drummer Maff Fazzo, the latter pair also part of the DBD devilry. With the band in the midst of a run of live stomps sure to confirm the band’s reputation as one breath-taking and bruising live proposal, Ram Raid simply brings a fresh incitement and spark to the UK punk scene.

Its title track opens things up, almost stalking the listener from its first breath as its predatory riffs and imposing rhythms prowl the senses. Having sized things up it bursts into a muscular stroll with Black Flag like animosity and the infectious aggression of The Damned.  As already established over previous releases though, SV & The Eruptions embroil ears and imagination in their own unique exploits, an enslaving rather than inviting chorus demanding participation as riffs and rhythms trespass and punish the senses respectively. It is one thrilling encounter, an outstanding start to the EP which already has itself and listener all fired up.

There is no moment to calm down either as the belligerent punk rock of Stop Looking At Your Phone roars in ears, its antagonistic charge and dispute irresistible. It is a wall of sound and protestation, a torrent of violent riffs and equally uncompromising rhythms driven by the vocal antipathy of Spunk and the band. At barely a breath over a minute in length, the song is like being given the juiciest steak and only allowed one bite before it is whipped away, but what a mouthful it is.

Hanging Round The Shops is a collusion of punk and hard rock with a metallic lining and just as vociferously seductive and uncompromising as those before it.  It also has a pop punk devilry to its swinging grooves and lusty chorus; body and throat swiftly enjoying subservient participation before sharing just as much zeal with the contagion fuelled clamour of I Think Her Name Was Tracey?

The two tracks alone, but just like the EP, have something for all rock ‘n’ roll fans; whether of bands like Dead Kennedys, The Ramones or UK Subs, Turbonegro or Motorhead, indeed even New York Dolls to Gene Vincent there is plenty to relish. Ultimately it is punk rock at its voraciously ballsy best as proven one final time by EP closer Snap Backbone, a seriously catchy and tenacious slab of hook lined rip-roaring enticement.

Though only five songs running at twelve minutes, Ram Raid is the band’s most stirring and rabid yet rounded creative howl yet putting so many others and their offerings firmly in the shade.

The Ram Raid EP is out through STP Records on March 31st with pre-ordering available @ http://www.stprecords.co.uk/page3.htm

Upcoming Live Shows:

Fri March 31st – Rotherham – Cutlers Arms

Sat April 1st – Uttoxeter – The Old Star

Fri April 28th – Gateshead – Black Bull

Sat April 29th – Glasgow – O2ABC (Scotland Calling)

Sun April 30th – Wakefield – Warehouse 23

Sat July 1st – London – Tufnel Park Dome (Wonkfest)

Fri July 28th – Derby – Hairy Dog

Sun July 30th – Manchester – Star and Garter (Rebellion Warm Up)

??? August 3-6th – Blackpool – Rebellion Festival (day tbc)

Sat August 19th – Cambridge – Portland Arms

Sat September 30th – Northumbria Students’ Union (NE Calling)

Sat December 23rd – Manchester – Star & Garter (STP Xmas Show)

http://www.facebook.com/svate   http://spunkvolcanoandtheeruptions.bigcartel.com

Pete RingMaster 16/03/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Monkey Ranch – Alone

MR_RingMasterReview

Nestling in what certainly appears to be a potent time in the Italian rock/metal scene right now is Pistoia hailing outfit Monkey Ranch. Fuelled by a multi-flavoured alternative rock styled sound, the band’s debut album Alone is an ear pleasing introduction to a band ready to nudge attention beyond their homeland’s borders.

Monkey Ranch was formed in 2012 by vocalist/guitarist Iacopo Ferrari, bassist Jacopo Geri, and drummer Alessio Petrucci with its current line-up of guitarist Francesco Ceccarelli and drummer Iacopo Sichi alongside Ferrari and Geri in place during the following year. Their sound is a grunge/hard rock based proposal rich in blues nurtured textures and lyrical incitement. It is a captivating mix not always overly unique within Alone but persistently providing plenty to find strong enjoyment in.

The album opens up with The Butcher, grooves instantly winding themselves around ears grabbing attention as they lay the ground for the potent tones of Ferrari. From there the song swiftly reveals the spice in the band’s sound, blues nurtured grooves and plaintive melodies colluding with bold, aggression laced rhythms and a raw grunge bred character. It is a fiery mix with few surprises but much to grab and satisfy ears with.

art_RingMasterReviewWithout Chains follows with a less forceful nature as warm melodies coax attention while vocals again make a strong lure, the track’s emotive heart blossoming with every second. Its magnetism is equal to the first song though, a Pearl Jam like essence only adding to its appeal before Danny Boy and Freedom swing and stroll through ears respectively. The first has grouchiness in its blood which compliments the infectiousness in its gait and fire in its grooves while its successor is a captivating blend of warm harmonies and melodic enterprise also driven by an instinctive catchiness which has hips and imagination swiftly and eagerly involved.

Recent single Renegade steps forward next, a country rock scented twang slipping into melodic endeavour to nicely mix with a feistier grunge growl as its natural swagger easily tempts. It is an instinctively welcomed persuasion matched in its own individual way by Unhappy Stories. The song is a smouldering roar which makes it very easy to find a keen appetite for. With familiarity on its side to add to its stylish presence, the song nurtures a tenacious snarl in bass and riffs; a grouchy edge erupting throughout the encounter but never defusing its emotive angst and melodic seduction.

Picture of You steals best track honours straight after, its punk lined rock ‘n’ roll a thumping arousal of ears and appetite with an irritably delicious bassline which alones demands a lusty reaction. As great as other songs are, it stands for us head and shoulders above all though the country spiced stroll of Dance of the Witch is no light weight in sealing eager attention next, or indeed Remember Me after that with its hard and blues rock flames around punchy rhythms.

The album comes to a potent close with This One, an initially atmospheric lure all the time breeding a tapestry of blues rock which slowly but surely catches flame winy melody by moody rhythm and vocal expression. At over ten minutes, the song does outlast personal preference but there is no escaping the craft and imagination in its depths ensuring Alone ends strongly.

Monkey Ranch will be making their presence known for the first time with a great many through Alone and such its highly enjoyable offering, it is a union destined to be repeated again and again as the band grows from this potent start.

Alone is released February 3rd on Red Cat Records.

https://www.facebook.com/monkeyranch4

Pete RingMaster 31/01/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The unification of diversity: exploring the heart of Divided We Stand

divided-we-stand_RingMasterReview

Since forming in 2011, US rockers Divided We Stand has persistently and increasingly grabbed ears and attention with their creative roar and adrenaline fuelled live presence. Quickly making a potent impact locally, they have continued to spread their heavy, rousing sound nationally while sharing stages with the likes of Hoobastank, Pop Evil, All That Remains, SOiL, Mushroomhead, Nonpoint, Papa Roach, and Three Days Grace along the way. As their latest single draws acclaim and appetites globally, we grabbed some of the band’s time to look at the track, the origins of Divided We Stand, what makes them, tick and much more….

Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to its beginnings?

Formed in December 2010, the Knoxville, TN based hard rock band Divided We Stand is a modern heavy rock band that combines haunting melodies, infectious grooves, tightly synched guitar riffs and clean, melodic vocals to create a crowd pleasing experience. Its line-up consists of Mike Russell (Drums), Randy Krouse (Bass), Jake Wilson (Guitars), Phil Zimny (Guitars/Vocals), and Joe Turner (Lead Vocals)

Have you been involved in other bands before? If so has that had any impact on what you are doing now, in maybe inspiring a change of style or direction?

We all have been in past bands with very different sounds. It makes it harder to write because of all the different viewpoints but we have very good songs to show for it. Randy was in a few really heavy metal bands prior to this. Phil and Mike started off playing for their churches and then found other projects later on as their talents grew. Joe started busking while he was in the military and then found some other artists and bands to perform with. Jake has played in various projects as well. We all grew up around music and it’s our life no matter what direction it takes us.

Is there a specific meaning behind the band name?

We have such different views and ideals. While we were in the first phases of our band we had so many different ideas of what direction to go in. Someone said don’t be so divided and it dawned on us “Divided We Stand”.

dws_RingMasterReviewWas there a particular idea behind the forming of the band and also in what you wanted your sound to offer?

It started out with Mike Russell and Phil Zimny, they had written some songs together that had a heavy but melodic sound. After looking for musicians to fill in the roster they added Randy after a random try out. They liked his heavy edge and his unique double slap bass style. Joe Tuner was just hanging out with the band one night and asked to play a song for us. To our surprise he had a golden voice. We had a few rhythm guitar players leave to pursue other ventures.  Jake Wilson had played in some of the bands we had shows with; his stage presence and clean guitar playing caught our attention and we knew he was a perfect fit for the role.

Do the same things still drive the band when it was fresh-faced or have they evolved over time?

We all came into this band with great talent but little knowledge of the music industry. You earn each step with your failures and your successes. It’s hard to go out on the road months on end and come up with five to ten thousand to record, publish, and distribute each year. But we have determination to make a way. Either you do it or you don’t.

Since your early days, how would you say your sound has evolved?

Well Phil and Mike had written a few songs. With the addition of Randy and Joe they quickly morphed into full songs. Some changes happen when you add or subtract a member. We started with second guitar player named Trevor Tucker for our first two EPs Civil Unrest and Deception. When Trevor left the band we added Chris Whitt for our newest single New Era and our sound changed. Some songs sounded better with him and some didn’t work out. Next we added Jake Wilson after Chris left and our sound is changing again. You always need to evolve as a musician.

Have changes been more an organic movement or more the band deliberately trying new things?

For us it was out of necessity. We started out writing, then playing local shows, then touring nationally as well as putting out our EPs and music videos out and it takes up a lot of you time and you have to work a job. Trevor moved on to pursue other ventures because of the hectic schedule. So we got a friend who is really good at guitar to try out. Chris was good and filled the role well and recorded with us and toured but he ended up getting really sick. He wasn’t able to play anymore so we had a few fill in guitar players help us out and went on tour dates for us until we found a replacement. We added Jake Wilson and he has got to play a few shows so far.

Presumably across the band there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music?

We listen to music all day long but when we write we try to focus on where our emotions lead us instead of a specific sound or band. There are a lot of musicians we learn from as we grow as a musician. Some of our favorite bands our Stone Temple Pilots, Avenge Seven Fold, U2, Fear Factory, Dio….this list could go on forever.

Talking of songwriting, is there a particular process to it within the band?

We have tried many approaches to writing material for the band. We put everything under the microscope and only the best ideas pass. Recently we have all been writing and we have tons of ideas so we started recording our ideas and if everyone wants to put a layer on the track they do if not we move on to the next one.

Where do you, more often than not, draw the inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs?

Joe writes most of his own material. If he has trouble we give him our ideas for harmonies, patterns, poetry, or anything really. If he likes it he runs with it, if not he keeps moving forward until he finds something. A lot of times you can start with a basic idea and build on it.

Can you give us some background to your latest release?dws-art_RingMasterReview

We went to Spider Studios in Cleveland, Ohio for our single New Era. Tony Gammalo was our producer for the track. He has worked with artist like Chimera and Machine Gun Kelly. He even did the Freddy vs Jason soundtrack. It took us a few days to record but it takes a while to get the finished product. We shot a music video with Post Retro Productions. Then we released our single and video to I-tunes, Spotify, Fuse and a million other places. We feel the music industry is starting to gravitate towards singles instead of albums. No one buys physical copies anymore. They want the best songs for their playlist digitally so getting on as many sites as possible is key.

Are you a band which goes into the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?

We usually have played our song live a thousand times before we record so it is well rehearsed before we go record. Sometimes your part changes in the studio for certain reasons like the producer wants you to do it a little different or you find a slight mistake.

Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably the favourite aspect of the band?

We have a high energy performance where we jump and throw our guitars around. Joe has such a great presence as a front man. We put our whole selves into the music and don’t hold back. Before and after we play we love to hang out with the crowd and other bands. We love to travel and perform at such different venues with different sounds and random stages.

It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it your neck of the woods? Are there the opportunities to make a mark if the drive is there for new bands?

We live really close to Nashville the music city. There is music everywhere but for metal bands it can be a challenge to find a place to play. Times change and you have to adapt to the sound people want here while keeping your musical integrity. The internet is a big tool for success in the music industry. Getting published and distributed through online service is a must. Social media is another tool to get the word out about all your adventures. Share videos and picture as much as possible. You do have to spend a little money to move forward sometimes. Save up or maybe a loan.

Big thanks for sharing time with us guys; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?

We just wanna thank The Ringmaster Review for giving us and all the unsigned artists a shot. It is publications like this one that keeps music alive by giving young talent a voice.

https://www.facebook.com/OfficialDividedWeStand   http://www.dividedwestand.ninja/   https://twitter.com/DividedWeStand0

Pete RingMaster 21/01/2017

Uncaging the snarl: exploring the roar of The Fill Ins

the-fill-ins_RingMasterReview

Officially breaking out in 2013 after three years in the building, US rockers The Fill Ins is one of those anthemic rock incitements built on an instinctive creative roar. Their journey has been as lively as their sound as they worked towards the line-up which has drawn potent acclaim through recent singles alone. With an explosive live show which has seen them open for the likes of The Reverend Horton Heat, Koffin Kats, GBH, Total Chaos, Joe Buckyourself, and Wednesday 13, The Fill Ins is a coming force and we had the pleasure of getting to the heart of things with the band, exploring its origins and journey to date, those tenacious singles, and much more….

Hello and thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to how it all started?

ALEX: For me personally, I always wanted to create the ultimate Rock n Roll band and I feel with each passing year, we get a little closer to that goal as we find band members that also share that same vision. The band today consists of Mikey Black on lead guitar, James “Captain” Nunn on bass, newcomer Adam Patterson on drums, and myself (Alex Stiff) on lead vocal and rhythm guitar. We’ve come a long way in the 5 or so years we’ve been going at it, but in many ways it still feels like “Day 1” with our new sound and image.

Have you been involved in other bands before and if so has that had any impact on what you are doing now?

ALEX: Alongside of The Fill Ins; I also play bass in a punk band called Biggy Stardust And His Wretched Hive. I’ve always grown up with punk and rock music around me, so that is always my main inspiration. Whenever we have to get a new band member (for whatever reason), it will change the flavor of the band a bit and I think that is a good thing. Though I wouldn’t say the things we do outside the band have much influence; we’re a very driven band and have a clear view of who we are and what we are.

ADAM:  I’ve been playing in bands since I was 14 years old but as far as relevant bands go that I’ve played in was a band called HEADSNAP that I played in from 2002-2009, I also play in a band called DEADLOCK with my brother, and I play in another local cover band called The Dead Ins.

JAMES: I had several bands in TN before I moved to Charlotte, and I was always a guitar player. This was my first band that I ever played bass in, and I took what I knew about playing with more than one guitar player and applied it to my bass playing. Since then, I have continued to build my craft as a bass player, and have been recording and performing with another band in Charlotte called No Power No Crown as their bassist when I’m not working with The Fill Ins.

What inspired the band name?

ALEX: The original line-up that started in Roanoke VA consisted of a bunch of different members from bands I had played with up ‘til that time. All of them had been let go by the bands they were a part of and decided we’d start our own band. Someone threw out the comment; “We’re all just a bunch of fill ins, aren’t we?” and it just stuck. Even though (aside from myself) none of those members are in the band today, we still hold true to the “fill in” mentality. We’re a little bit of the black sheep in our town, so we just fill in the missing gaps with our brand of rock-n-roll, and people are starting to pay attention, which is awesome!

tfi3_RingMasterReviewDid the band have a specific idea it what you wanted your sound to offer?

ALEX: The 4 of us that started it in Roanoke just wanted to play music, regardless of what it was. Once Jason (ex-vocalist / guitarist) and I started writing more, it became very clear where our heads were at; stripped down hard rock with some punk and metal flair here and there. Over the years and with the addition of Mikey Black on lead guitar really bringing the songs to the next level, the band has only gotten better the longer we do this. I would say we still hold the same mission statement: knock em’ dead.

We’re also not a political band; we’re not going to tell you who to vote for or how you should live your life, we just want you to enjoy the life you have and have great tunes to go along with it.

Are you driven by that same original spark?

ALEX: I still get all happy and excited when I see new plays on Soundcloud or see that someone we don’t know shares our music video; I don’t think that could ever go away. I still get excited when we finish a band practice and we have the workings of a great new song, get photos back from a shoot; regardless of what it is, it all still makes me happy and excited.

JAMES: The drive and the excitement have only gotten stronger for me, because I think we’re getting better and better, and we’re so comfortable with each other as performers as well.

Since your early days, how would you say your sound has evolved?

ALEX: Early on, songs would eventually have more of a punk edge to it because of my songwriting style; and because the VA line-up never officially recorded any demos, I had all the time in the world (about 2 years) to re-work and tweak those songs to my exact liking before bringing them to a new line-up of the band once I relocated to Charlotte NC. All those songs became the groundwork for our 1st album Hipster Killers (released summer 2014) and they really do have a punk edge to them simply because a good 3/4ths of the album was written before that line-up recorded it. That line-up consisted of Mikey, James and long-time drummer Matt McCoy. Shortly after recording that album, we went hard to work writing the follow-up record 5th Time’s The Charm in which Mikey and James had a lot more songwriting contributions due to the fact we were working with a blank slate. Now with our new singles Saturday Night and Hit The Gas, we are a lot more of a collaborative effort and I love where we are right now.

JAMES: We’ve played together for long enough now so we know what skill set works the best for certain parts of songs. But we’re also not scared to throw some curveballs at rehearsals and find out what comes out of it, because more often than not, that’s what leads to some our best material.

Has it been more of an organic movement of sound or more the band deliberately wanting to try new things?

ALEX: I think every band wants to do better than their last release; but you have to want it the correct way. If we were to come out and do a complete 180 of what we have done before, it wouldn’t seem genuine and fans can see right through that. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that the longer you play in a band, the better you get at your craft at the same time, so if you use that to your advantage smartly, you’ll start doing “new things” that fit in with what you’ve done before, helping you build your craft even more.

Presumably across the band there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal ideas to creating music?

ALEX: I take things I hear from artists I admire and find ways to apply them to myself and the band; whether that is in songwriting, how to conduct yourself professionally, how to market yourself and the band, etc. I’d like to think that The Fill Ins are a Frankenstein of all things good about rock n roll and punk rock all rolled into one.

JAMES: Going to live shows for me is always inspiring because sometimes I’ll be impressed with a local show, and it’ll just further my desire to make our band the best live group that it can possibly be.

Is there a particular process to the songwriting?

ALEX: Early on, I wrote a good 90% of the finished product you hear on Hipster Killers; but after that, I had the confidence in the band to hand over songwriting credits to the other guys since we had a good clear-cut path of our sound and attack. One of Mikey’s early contributions eventually turned into our first hit, Spit In My Face which I could have not been more proud of.

Today; the songwriting process isn’t too different than it was before. James could come in with part of a riff that could eventually be used for something, Mikey could bring in a semi-complete demo for us to take and refine a bit…Or we could be riffing on something at practice and by the end of the day have the blueprints for a new song. I prefer it when it happens like that; the more organic, the better.

Where do you draw the inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs?

ALEX: For me, lyrics are the hardest thing for me to write and usually it’s the last thing finalized before hitting the studio (or during recording). It’s easier to write political songs because they just flow, but I almost see that as a cop-out. I’d rather spend months or weeks writing lyrics for something that resonates on a larger platform than spend a few days writing some politically charged message that only a few may get behind. I usually write about what I know; partying, drinking, love, hate, heartbreak, the annoyances of social media, etc.

Would you give us some background to your latest release?tfi4_RingMasterReview

ALEX: Our new singles Hit The Gas and Saturday Night have been a long time coming, making it through setbacks and line-up changes in the process. We started working on new songs shortly after the release of 5th Time’s The Charm in 2015 for a 6 song EP to be released in mid-2016. Going through some old demos we had but never used, I heard this one riff Mikey was playing and I cut just that portion out and sent it to him asking him to refine the riff and see what he can come up with. During that time, James was working on another project with drummer at the time Matt McCoy and our producer for 5th Time’s The Charm (Steve Coleman) and came up with a rough demo cut of Saturday Night. Mikey finished coming up with the groundwork for what would soon be called Hit The Gas and we were off to the races. We started working on a few more new ones and booked studio time in early 2016 to record the 6 songs.

After a few pre-production sessions and some demos, we had to put the band on hold as our drummer’s personal life was eating up his time that would be used to work with the band. After a few months of inactivity and suggested by Matt; we got long-time friend Adam Patterson on drums and abandoned our plans for an EP release this year.

Our main focus with Adam was to make sure he was tight on our old material before trying to write with him so he had a good grasp on our sound and how the song structures work; though I did send him all the demos we had recorded just to make sure he had them and to show we are ready to start writing again. After the 3rd practice, he asked if we wanted to work on any of the new songs we had been writing and suggested we try out Saturday Night. After a few run throughs, we realized this guy picks up on stuff like he had been playing it all his life; so we started working on that and Hit The Gas.

After that, the stars aligned just right and we were able to get both of the songs recorded and released this year just by the skin of our teeth.

Give us some insight to the themes and premise behind the single Hit The Gas in particular.

ALEX: Hit The Gas is a rebirth for us. The band kept with a certain look and sound for the first few years in VA and NC, then once the full band was fully reformed in Charlotte NC in 2014, we redesigned our logo and image to reflect the next chapter unfolding. With the release of Hit The Gas in November of this year and the addition of a new drummer, it was clear that The Fill Ins have matured a lot within the last year and with that, it felt that a new look and logo was needed. This logo is the first one to completely break the usual mould /redesigns we’ve had for the last 4 or so years, but so does the music. Hit The Gas really displays each member’s strengths; full of groovy bass lines, heavy drumming, one of the best solos Mikey has written to date and I feel it’s probably my best vocal performance in a long time recorded. The song has a message everyone can rally behind; “Just turn it up, and get it loud! It doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad, just back it up with attitude, and hit the gas, cause it’s going down!”; everyone loves to have a good time and that’s what we’re all about!

Do you hit the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?

ALEX: Up until Hit The Gas, everything was written in full before going to the studio. This time, we had about 90% of it written and just hopped right in the studio and started playing around. We had all the drums, bass and rhythm guitar written but Mikey’s leads and some of my lyrics needed working on. Our producer Jeff Long (TrapDoor Recordings) could tell where we wanted to go with the song and he offered up some great ideas and insights into how we could make the track better; helping guide Mikey in giving the best performance possible and really pushing me on my vocals. I think both have their place in writing music, it just really depends on what works best for the group as a whole (and if you can afford to write in the studio).

tfi2_RingMasterReviewTell us about the live side to the band, presumably the band’s favourite place to be?

ALEX: The stage is my home. If I’m not playing live music, I’ll go crazy. I crave the stage, regardless if 2 people are watching or 2,000. We are also a very high energy band; we don’t stand still when we play, we run around and act a fool and I think that sets us apart a little bit more than most bands we see live locally… No one can put on a live show like THE FILL INS can. During the time earlier this year when The Fill Ins could not perform or practice, James and I started a side project called The Felons which consists of the 2 of us playing old country tunes and a few Fill Ins songs re-worked. It’s a fun way to fill in the gaps when we as a full band can’t play during the week. Anything that gets me playing music is a good thing.

JAMES: This band and my other group that I mentioned, No Power No Crown, are easily the most exhausting groups I’ve ever performed with, but they are also the most rewarding at the same time. With this band, the chemistry and dynamic between all of us that we share on stage is just as fun as anything I have ever experienced.

It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it your neck of the woods?

ALEX: If I’m being completely honest; we’ve had some trouble getting our footing locally, people outside our town seem to have understood us and supported us stronger early on rather than the immediate locals. Mainly because we have very strong personalities and don’t play the political games that other bands can be found guilty of. It may have hindered us a little, but integrity and passion drives this band; and unless we can support it fully, we won’t do it. That’s not to say we don’t have a strong and loyal fan-base, because we do; but I would say we’ve gotten a much slower start in comparison to our peers.

We also have trouble building a fan-base in a town that is more geared towards liking metal and crust punk bands; not many people I know support “rock” anymore… partly spanning the inspiration for the song Save The Rock (Hipster Killers).

JAMES: I am thankful for the support that we have gotten here so far, though while it may not be very huge locally, certain people have mattered the most in our development and have supported us since day one have played a big part in providing some great opportunities here as well.

How has the internet and social media impacted on and helped the band to date? Do you see it as something always destined to become a negative from a positive as the band grows and hopefully gets increasing success or is it more that bands struggling with it are lacking the knowledge and desire to keep it working to their advantage?

ALEX: I think social media as an idea is a fantastic thing; being able to connect with people all around the world at the click of a button, you know the bands of yesteryear would have killed for this sort of technology when booking tours or promoting albums! The problem lies with the programmers and what they feel is best for the platform as a whole, sometimes forgetting that there are people still trying to use places (like Facebook) to promote their own businesses / companies and their algorithms prevent those posts from showing up in people’s timelines unless you pay for the post to be seen; dubbing it as a “Sponsored Post”. I’m not a big fan of stuff like that, but it’s pretty unavoidable at times…

It’s also no mystery that the internet has killed physical album sales tremendously; which does sadden me a bit because I still get excited when a band releases something on vinyl; so maybe groups should re-evaluate their product packaging and find ways to draw in the new generation that prefers a download to a CD. We still love being able to chat with our fans all over the world, so I would say all in all it’s a great thing…At least for right now.

JAMES: It’s definitely a double edged sword, but part of the excitement for me IS the fact that it is the Wild West for new bands like us, which allows us to get very creative with different marketing and promotional ideas.

Once again a big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add?

ALEX: Just want to pass on a big thank you to The RingMaster Review for having us on! Our new single Hit The Gas can be found on iTunes, Amazon Music, and our online store (http://store.thefillins.com/ ). We’ll be releasing a split 7in vinyl of Hit The Gas sometime in the Spring of 2017 (through No Profit Records) as we lead into getting ready for our next release for late 2017!

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Pete RingMaster 16/12/2016

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