Athena's Word Online Promo Shot_RingMaster Review

Dutch Melodic Hardcorers ‘Athena’s Word’ release their jaw dropping debut EP ‘Lasting Legacy’ on Saturday 24th October. Pulling from the drive and potency of While She Sleeps and Heights, and adding their own engaging dynamics and footprint, the five-some have created an intriguing amalgamation of modern hardcore.

Officially born during the Autumn of 2014 in Holland and featuring Erik Voestermans (Vocals), Dennis Sjoers (Guitar), Tjerk Goselink (Bass), Jerry Klein (Guitar), and Kasper Stap (Drums), Athena’s Word have been relentless in their pursuit of progression and have carefully cultivated a sound spurred on by intense rehearsals and whole-hearted writing sessions. With glowing comparisons to Architects, Napoleon, and Blood Youth, the quintet are now braced to take their music out to the masses.

The band have persistently toured throughout their homeland, and the riff slingers are now set to span their wings out to mainland Europe this Winter with a cluster of prominent dates on the horizon. Besides focusing on their live reputation, Athena’s Word have also been holed up in the studio working on their new EP ‘Lasting Legacy’. The record is a true marker in the sand, kicking off with ‘Deserved Freedom’, which is stacked with breakneck riffage, full frontal vocals and ample groove. The EP continues to entice with the delivery of ‘Wolfpack’; this track is something special with its poignant phrasing and earnest exaction. With five glorious slabs of melodic metalcore, the EP is sure to propel the band to the frontline of the European scene and beyond.

Zebras -The City Of Sun

Zebras_RingMaster Review

If you could sum up the rage and discontent burning through the world right now it would be in the same kind of angry roar to be found in The City Of Sun, the new album from US punk metallers Zebras. The release is a brawl on the senses, a violent incitement for the emotions, and simply the best thing to come out of the band and arguably hardcore fuelled metal this year.

There is no surprise to the potency and hostility drenching the release, Zebras’ self-titled debut album of 2012 and subsequent release and songs, have all been virulent animosity equipped with the ability to stir addictive tendencies through fearsome hooks, wild rhythms, and searching grooves. The City Of Sun is exactly the same but the trio of guitarist/vocalist Vincent Presley, keyboardist Lacey Smith, and drummer Shane Hochstetler have taken and stretched everything to new benchmark setting levels.

Again like the uncontrollable bastard son of Lard and Dead Kennedys, but with its own ever increasing identity, the Zebra sound instantly burns as opener Hollow Earth brings The City Of Sun to dynamic life. An initial spicily grained groove pierced by thick rhythmic jabs grips ears and attention first, that lure within a few breaths unleashing antagonistic tension and weight as riffs and swinging beats descend with great zeal around the raw tones of Presley. An already in place appetite for the band through past successes explodes with greed as the song continues to twist and rage, the trio spinning a lethal yet contagious web of violence and doom bred turbulence.

cover_RingMaster Review   It is an invigorating and addictive start continued by The Turning Of The Bones, where again the toxic invitation of grooves binds and enslaves as Hochstetler batters and Lacey’s keys stroke the senses. The repetitious nagging quality of riffs and grooves is also easily devoured manna, an essence which enhances every track upon the album as Presley’s ire shapes and colours the confrontational energy and heart of each incitement further like in the outstanding death shuffle of My Apocalypse and the corrosive majesty of The Bell. The first of these two bounces along throwing sonic spears and bone splitting beats out whilst ingraining the imagination with a hook lined groove carrying a Biafra and Co breeding. From one peak to another as its successor seamlessly escapes from its companion with its own hypnotically debilitating rancor and seriously catchy tirade of guitar and bass enterprise. Ministry at their corrosively niggling best comes to mind as the song continues to bind and scar but again the face and character of the song is all Zebras.

Baalbek is a rather similar tempest next, its body and lures closely matched to the previous track though with admittedly equal success, but in the only ‘issue’ with The City Of Sun there is certainly a kind of surface similarity to the tracks, and between others, which less bold and determined listeners might be fooled into thinking the album lacks strong variety. As The Garden swiftly shows it is not the case even though the template for songs is a constant seed. Expelling a thrash like urgency and tenacity, the song goes for the jugular straight away, uncaging more of the prime ravenous riffs and infesting grooves Zebras are already and set to be further acclaimed for. Swarming over the listener from every angle as vocals and drums create a hellacious and addictive beating, the track has ears ringing and emotions lusty, both more than ready for the barbarous tango of Levitation where punk and metal collude in engagingly oppressive conflict.

There is no let-up in the emotional fire and physical ferocity, or indeed the pleasure as firstly Solomon shares its exhaustive ill will and synth led exoticism and then Vitrified which comes forward with a sultry climate around a predacious turbulence of word, voice, and sound. The track is a spellbinding proposal, another fresh spark for the imagination with arguably the album’s most inventive and experimental song, and nectar for the instinctive desire for twisted tapestries of noise.

Closing with the sonic blaze and rhythmic grudge of Filled With Fire, Zebras leave the body shattered, senses drained, and emotions aflame. With only a wish for the synth craft of Lacey to be a little more forward in the overall production of the fabulous turmoil, Zebras has crafted another stunning release but more so their greatest triumph yet. They are a band come of creative age and with recent times seeing the band supporting the likes of Jello Biafra, Black Flag, Negative Approach, Melt Banana, High On Fire, Goatwhore, and Die Kreuzen, The City Of Sun offers inescapable reasons as to why Zebras should be spoken of in the same kind of acclaiming breath.

The City Of Sun is out now @ digitally, on vinyl, and Ltd Ed CD.

Pete RingMaster 07/10/2015

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Random Hand – Hit Reset

Random Hand_RingMaster Review

Hands up, who also raised an expletive or two in disappointment when British punksters Random Hand announced earlier this year they were going on an indefinite hiatus to pursue other challenges in life? Well we can tell you now that the pain is going to get simultaneously better and worse thanks to the release of one of the band’s finest roars, final album Hit Reset. Whether it is because the decision has brought a freedom to the band in some way or it simply inspired a no holds barred energy to the creation of the twelve track storm as a last offering, but Hit Reset sees Random Hand at their most diverse, explosive, and passionate best with a little something indefinably extra too.

It is thirteen years ago that the Keighley quartet leap onto the British rock scene with their energetic and dynamic fusion of punk, ska, hardcore, and metal. The time since, has seen Random Hand earn the reputation as one of the UK’s best live encounters at home and further afield, and a host of varied and generally fiercely impacting releases. Now following a final flurry of shows this past summer, it all comes to an ‘end ‘ with the PledgeMusic funded Hit Reset; a giant slice of non-stop anthems which goes with the adages, “go out on a high” and “leave them wanting more”.

Random Hand - Hit Reset_RingMaster Review     Day One is the first encounter upon Hit Reset, its opening tinnitus of percussion amidst a tangy melody tempting enough but the mere appetiser to the explosion of punk metal ferocity and riffs driven by recognisable hardcore energised vocals matched in virulent strength by their clean harmonic counterparts. The swings of drummer Sean Howe seem to have new tenacity and aggression whilst the bass of Joe Tilston could just be at its most grouchy and compelling ever. It might be that ears are interpreting things in hope’s and assumption’s desired way but as the guitar of Dan Walsh weaves a web of antagonism and infection with intense enterprise and energy, that sense of freedom is a swift wonder.

As great as the opener is, the following Death By Pitchforks eclipses it with its strolling ska swing and relentless bounce. Juicy flames of trombone from Robin Leitch shoot across the addiction whilst vocals from him and the rest of the band are again as inescapably persuasive an incitement as the sounds hugging their alluring tones. It is a track which has body, emotions, and soul in relentless involvement, much as its successor Protect & Survive with its growling fury of Bad Religion tinged punk metal and a climax to arouse an empty room, and straight after If I Save Your Back… and its adrenaline powered punk ‘n’ roll stomp. The latter song also slips into some evocative dub/ska imagination and hardcore ire to add extra spice to the bracing revelry.

After The Alarm steps up next and soon forges another pinnacle for the album, its brass seared blaze and riotous stroll instant infection whipped up to greater potency by the choppy texture of riffs and the raw Reuben like contagion flying through ears for another richly inciting chorus. The track is glorious, definite final single candidate and alone a massive reason why Random Hand are going to be sorely missed; though every track upon Hit Reset spawns that feeling, Dead No Longer with its raucous thunder and Maybe It’s A Prize through its again Reuben spiced rapacity swift confirmation.

Dragging an eager body to the floor again, Pack It Up leaps and bounds into the imagination and an already lively ardour with its ska/punk ingenuity next, it too a track to whip up old and new fans alike with its busy and eventful collusion of styles and open passion.

A Clean Slate straight after is rock ‘n’ roll plain and simple, a boisterous call to arms for thoughts and bodies but a song unafraid to suddenly whip the floor from under the listener and take them through a melodic oasis of sound and tempting before entering an even more agitated and fearsome storm. It is a seriously invigorating proposition wonderfully contrasted by the addictive ska swing and rock groove of Abide which in turn makes way for more variety in the rip-roaring alternative rock/punk ‘n’ roll of Shelter As A Verb, both tracks a quick making addiction.

Closing with the no less irresistible As Loud As You Can, a song as post-hardcore as it bluesy, as punk and ska as it is old school rock ‘n’ roll, Hit Reset is a band at the height of its game, a game now sadly being put away in mothballs for a distant or possibly no further outing. Random Hand has left us with a classic though, an album which will continue to incite and excite in their absence. What a way to go!

Hit Reset is available digitally and on CD now through Bomber Music @

Pete RingMaster 05/10/2015

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Shevils – One Thousand Years

shevils live_RingMaster Review

The world might be coming apart at the seams around us, its future looking bleaker and more chaotic with every passing week, but there is no reason not to swing those hips and throw those feet around in a fitting dance. That is what Norwegian hardcore noise merchants Shevils think as they continue to create sounds which caustically roar and challenge physically and lyrically in confrontations driven by an inescapable infection of virulent hooks and fiercely manipulating rhythms. The Oslo band has been doing this for a long while now, providing the soundtrack to a social and world bedlam with voracious and increasingly addictive tempests, and ahead of their new album they have unleashed one of their fiercest temptations yet in the shape of One Thousand Years.

cover artist Chris Facco

cover artist Chris Facco

The new single draws on the band’s early raw sonic winds, aligning this with the anthemic disorientating stomps they have become perpetually acclaimed for over past releases. Formed in 2011, the band which is centred around the songwriting and craft of vocalist Anders Voldrønning, guitarist Andreas Andre Myrvold, and drummer Anders Emil Rønning (former member Christoffer Gaarder also involved in the creation of the new single), quickly sparked attention at home with early single Is This To be (Our Lives)? and debut album The Year Of The Fly their first year. The Necropolis EP in 2012 was when broader appetites began to be lured, its success in turn seeing its predecessors get fresh focus in Europe and further afield. Outstanding second album Lost In Tartarus was the real break-through release into stronger spotlights, its storming character and sounds cementing Shevil’s reputation for punishing and inflaming the body and psyche simultaneously, a success boiling over again with the new single.

Produced and mixed by Marcus Forsgren, and taken from the band’s upcoming third full-length The White Sea, everything about One Thousand Years, from its siren clad cover to the riotous sounds is a lure into dark ravenous depths. A grouchy blaze of guitar is the first tempting; a rally of anthemic beats the next with both aligning to a heavy predatory bassline to welcome the distinctive sandy roar of Voldrønning. A ‘mellow’ caress of causticity soaks the chorus whilst around it those merciless rhythms continue to incite ears and movement like a puppeteer as the guitars blaze away with raw enterprise and instinctive sonic ire around them.

It is a feverish and inescapable mix which in some ways sees Shevils at their hardcore purest in intensity and power for quite a while. As expected and always with surprising resourcefulness though, the band’s instinct to create a cacophony of anthemic contagion, band vocal roars and rhythms to the fore, that is littered with hooks gripping deeper and lingering longer with every outing, infests One Thousand Years and again sets the band not only aside the crowd but on a plateau ahead of it.

On the evidence of One Thousand Years, we have the thick potential of another essential triumph with The White Sea, something else which will not be a surprise for fans. For the rest it is time to tap into the Shevils hardcore furnace we say but be warned, are your feet and bodies up to it?

One Thousand Years is out from October 3rd with The White Sea due November 6th.

Pete RingMaster 03/10/2015

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Slumlord Radio – Too Pretty For Tijuana

SR_RingMaster Review

After releasing the excellent $3 Dollars, A Half Pack of Smokes and Some Other Jive S​*​*​t album earlier this year, it a compilation of tracks from their earlier EPs with a couple of fresh treats for good measure, Slumlord Radio now uncage some brand new punk ‘n’ roll incitements to contemplate in the fiery shape of Too Pretty For Tijuana. It is an encounter which seems to have looked back at previous releases and taken the prime and prize elements from them, reseeded and honed them with new imagination, and then immersed the results in a new maturity and enterprise. Slumlord Radio is still as violently funky as before and as aggressively dirty, but now its sound is wrapped in a contagiously imaginative swagger and unpredictable adventure that has produced with ease the band’s finest moment yet.

Apparently bred in the slums of Grand Rapids and emerging in 2010, Slumlord Radio was soon stoking a reputation for the live shows and fusion of punk, sludge, metal, and unbridled power. Release wise, The Cats Pajamas in 2012 nudged attention though it was more the infectious raw rock ‘n roll of Tokyo Roadhouse Sonic Sex Castle the following year that found a new and wide range of appetites focusing in on the band; us included at this point. The potential fuelling the encounter was confirmed and stretched by the excellent No Trick Pony in 2014, a raw and grouchily aggressive offering which was as irritable as it was magnetic. As suggested earlier, with Too Pretty For Tijuana, the trio of vocalist/guitarist Tommy Erickson, bassist Mike Todd, and drummer Matt Claucherty seem to have reassessed past triumphs, taken all the richness from them and aligned all with new invention for a whole new escapade creatively fresh yet still distinctly Slumlord Radio.

album_Cover_1_RingMaster ReviewCarrying a Tarantino like southern theme in air and word, Slumlord Radio the good, the bad, and the ugly; Too Pretty For Tijuana leaps from its cinematic spoken Intro into Bullwhip and a bar-room good time for all. With heavy beats stirring up caustic riffs as the recognisable growling roars of Erickson prowl the emerging cage of confrontation, the track is soon swinging its infectious sinews with belligerent and addictive prowess. The bass growl brewed is as gripping and predatory as the chunky riffs and tendrils of inflamed toxicity, a mix alone which ignites ears and imagination but once given an almost glam rock like host of hooks and grooves it becomes slavery in a speaker.

The following Debonair Dolomite strolls in on a magnetic rumble of beats from Claucherty, his thick bait wrapped in stoner sown lures of guitar aligning with seductive attitude soaked bass. From its perpetual rhythmic incitement, the song bounds along with hook driven infection and ripe grooving until mid-way when it suddenly drift into a slow smoulder of evocative melodies and vocal reflection. In no time at all though, things are brewing up again, intensity and energy rising until band and song are once more preying on the listener with their addictive and thrilling fierce shuffle.

A tangy resourcefulness soaks Southpaw next, its entrance laying a sultry and exotic Latin hued soundscape which simply lures the imagination in deep before the guitars begin to weave their scorched temptation and rhythms start showing their muscle. In the flow of a hanging man’s breath, rapaciously heavy grooves are stalking ears, their descriptive winy texture southern rock toned and thick as tar but equally adventurous as alongside flames of hard and classic rock escape with agreeably raw tones and textures in chase.

Intermission adds more of the underlying narrative before Tycoon gets dirty with the listener, again grooves, hooks, and beats colluding to infest ears with infectious endeavours and addiction forging enterprise. Anthemic roars from across the band only add to the insatiable persuasion of the song whilst backing up Erickson punk aggression perfectly. One of the shorter moments on the EP, the outstanding incitement sees blood rushing through veins and neck muscles stretched, leaving the listener exhausted yet energised ready for another almost insidious horde of grooves and intoxicating hooks to be enslaved by. Managing to unite old school punk, seventies hard rock, and garage spawned rock ‘n’ roll, Choke 66 spews imagination and inescapable bait across its incendiary trap, only losing a little steam when it too dips for a relatively brief moment of emotive calm.

With just an Outro piece to follow, the album is closed up by a new or certainly updated version of Fort Knox, a fan favourite which first appeared on the Tokyo Roadhouse Sonic Sex Castle EP. With greater definition to its grooves, clarity to its busy body and simply new energy in its heart, the track seems to relish its make-over, growing in its skin and emerging even more impressive than first time around. Simply the ‘teenager has become a man’, something which kind of applies to the Slumlord Radio sound generally, as Too Pretty For Tijuana ends on a lofty high.

Uncompromising, bruising, and incessantly dynamic, that is Slumlord Radio rock ‘n’ roll and fair to say we have become even more enamoured with through their new incitement.

Too Pretty For Tijuana is out now via Honyock/Silver Maple Kill Records @ the Slumlord Radio Bandcamp.

Pete RingMaster 01/10/2015

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Haut&Court – Troffea

H&C_RingMaster Review

As 2012 turned into its successor, a thrilling senses stripping violation was unleashed by French noise spewers Haut&Court. It was their debut EP La Vie, a fury of sonic magma which had us declaring it “one of the most promising and rewarding releases in a long time” whilst cowering in the corner. Now the Strasbourg band has released its highly anticipated successor in the brawling violation that is Troffea. All the potential and qualities that marked the first Haut&Court onslaught have been realised and pushed masterfully on in their new twelve track animus. It is nasty, vicious, and physically and emotionally painful but equally with whiplash causing grooves and at times a truly ravenous swing to its body, the release is an essential beating all raw thrash, violent crust and hardcore punk, as well as rabid noise and grindcore fans should be looking at devouring.

Formed mid-2012, the threesome of vocalist Arnaud Diemer, guitarist Bernard, and drummer Ravindranth Saint Jean quickly whipped up potent attention with La Vie, its unique tempest of sound a corrosive and merciless confrontation bred on striking invention. Now a quartet with bassist/vocalist Benjamin ‘Merko’ Simon and guitarist Bernard ‘Skud’ Zurletti alongside Diemer and Saint Jean, Haut&Court has dug with new zeal deeper and explored further into their imaginative hostility to conjure a creative rage rippling with contagious enterprise and virulent invention with the invigorating sonic abrasion they are already renowned for. Troffea startles and abuses, savages and seduces as the band weaves a host of styles into their unbridled aural rancor. It is a dance for the apocalypse, a perpetual festival caked in destruction and crippling ferocity swinging alluring creative hips that invite all to partake in its revelry.

cover_RingMaster Review     Troffea opens up its malicious charm with Sea of Shit, band and song initially immersing the listener in thin but intrusive sonic smog from within which hefty beats and swirling grooves spring their raw tempting. Quickly, as the bass of Simon spreads its hearty malevolence, the raw vocal squall of Diemer brings distinctive ire to the already infectiously imposing bellow of sound and spite. It is a minute and a half which ravages and incites the body, a thrilling infection of sound and emotion putting the imagination and appetite in the mood for contagious war.

The following Putin continues in similar vicious vein, its individual tsunami of intensity loaded with catchy bait. A hardcore wind roars through sound and vocals to buffet the listener but its impact is perfectly tempered by the fiery grooves and rhythmic enticing which equally takes no prisoners. Of course this is not going to be for everyone, the whimpering behind as these words are cast evidence, but if the flavours mentioned above hit the spot, lustful greed is the swift and sure reaction, and only gaining pace and ardour as Caligari emerges from an earthy bass lit shadow to spin a demonic and intoxicating web of sonic bedlam pierced by technical prowess, searing grooves, and brain damaging beats. The song is an infestation, every aspect despoiling the senses, seeping under the skin, and laying a scourge on the psyche for pure pleasure.

Meursault provides no let up straight after, even as guitars cast a venomous melodic trail within the excruciating storm, the track is bestial as its charges through and crawls over the listener with open antipathy for all. It also confirms the great unpredictability and often understated but constant imagination and creative ingenuity frequenting each track. With a Coilguns like cacophony ripe with twisted slithers of grooving and acidic sonic tang, 1518 straight it is determined revelry in the face of punishing adversity; its bedlamic drive almost dervish like in energy and intent whilst Ostinator is molten extreme metal bent and brutally coaxed into another unique and grievous Haut&Court punk assault; both tracks offering their own impossible to predict and easy to enjoy trespasses.

To be honest every track within Troffea carries those rewarding qualities, no moment ever less than open exploration or offering respite in breath-taking adventure, the outstanding Chosta alone, debilitating grindcore whipped proof scintillatingly backed by the seriously bruising and tenaciously busy Hienes. One of the longest tracks on the album at three and a half scorching minutes, it is a jungle of barbarous rhythms and predatory bass animosity with vocals to match, a torrential sandstorm of toxic guitar enterprise equally helping it ignite the passions with ease.

The salacious prowl of the doom soaked Swing comes next unleashing another raw avenue and depth to the Haut&Court songwriting to bring more unique diversity to the album, its ruinous presence as much cerebral as physical. Though the track admittedly does not quite spark the same richness of ardour as elsewhere, it gives potent food for thought as to where the band may go next, though time to think comes later as swiftly the exceptional Feed the Fat with its funky savagery ignites the lust before Goetz spills its harshest grudge led by undulating hostility on the listener, more than likely leaving them in the fetal position.

Completed by the gang brawl of JMLP, a warring anthem to shade most others, Troffea is simply superb. All the great things of La Vie have been intensified and twisted into new tempting, then aligned to a broader and richer but no less blisteringly vehement proposition. Haut&Court is a band to be feared or loved. We choose the latter; time for you to decide…if you dare.

Troffe is out from October 1st on download and vinyl @

Pete RingMaster 01/10/2015

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Sexwolf! – Hangin’ With The Boys

Sexwolf_RingMaster Review

It has been digitally devouring the senses for a few months now but in the breath it takes one month to roll into another, Hangin’ With The Boys gets to physically violate the world. A fierce infestation of punk fuelled rock ‘n’ roll, the EP is the debut release from noise merchants Sexwolf!, an English quartet which has become recognised as one of the wildest and greedily devoured hardcore confrontations on the Birmingham, indeed Midlands rock scene. Going by Hangin’ With The Boys they are one of the most exciting too, a treat lovers of feeling something substantial in their hand which bites, i.e. a CD, will go wobbly over.

With inspirations from the likes of Every Time I Die, Cancer Bats, Black Sabbath, and Refused sparking their sound and sharing stages with bands such as He Is Legend, The Bastard Sons, Black Shapes, Black Art, and Heck (Baby Godzilla) amongst a great many more, under their belts, Sexwolf! go straight for the jugular with Hangin’ With The Boys and its opener, the band’s forthcoming single None Stop Body Rock.

cover_RingMaster Review   Guitars and drums respectively send a torrent and barrage of their finest ferocity down on the senses straight away, their bait leading the listener into a tempest of vocal antagonism and infection dripping grooves from within an already more hostile onslaught driven by the vicious beats of drummer Jenk. No quarter is given as the track continues to abuse and batter yet the guitar of Joe Lane conjures virulent sonic enterprise to temper his carnivorous riffs and those of bassist Dan Mogg, whilst together the band breed a contagiousness which is especially virulent in the rousing and ravenous chorus helmed by the raw squalls of vocalist Richard Phillips. As much as you might say the song and the band’s sound is living off essences heard often before, they become twisted and cultured in the ways of Sexwolf! to emerge with a fresh and fiery character of their own.

Evidence is swift as She Got Gold leaps from its waiting seat and tears a raucous hole in air and psyche. As it abrases the senses it simultaneously spins an addictive tapestry of noise rock hooks and impossibly catchy grooves matched by the diversity of the vocal attack. Like Shevils meets Gacy’s Threads with a splattering of Every Time I Die for good measure, the track is a glorious trespass of body and soul, a protagonist to a lustful appetite for more of band and sound. Guitars are bluesy, vocals unpredictable, and the rhythms, well they just beat an enslavement out of you with force and violent charm.

Nomesayin resourcefully uses its few gasps over a minute to unleash an hellacious bestial swamp of violent punk ‘n’ roll that just breed pleasure whilst Captain Bastard Face seems to have the scent of blood in its nostrils the way it explodes from the blocks and ravishes air and listener. It does have the invention to also share waspish grooves and hostile repetition across its sonic predation, an enterprise which seems to only increase the potency of its maliciousness and the emerging bolshie but mischievous swagger.

The final thrilling skirmish between band and ears comes courtesy of Fuklashnikov, a minute and a half of twang infested rancor and raging belligerence, and another tsunami of noise that just hits the spot. If hardcore in its full savagery is not for you then run, run away now but for the rest of us with a taste for spiteful invention and devilry, Hangin’ With The Boys is a must, especially now in its physical glory.

Hangin’ With The Boys is available on CD from October 31st and digitally now at the Sexwolf! Bandcamp.

Pete RingMaster 24/09/2015

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