XII Boar – Beyond The Valley of The Triclops

zz6t_xiiboarband_1_RingMasterReview

Last year metallers XII Boar made a compelling statement that British heavyweight rock ‘n’ roll was in safe and eager hands with debut album Pitworthy. It was a slab of dirty, primal stomping announcing the arrival of the Aldershot hailing trio on the frontline of UK metal. Hindsight though, and the release of its successor, shows that the impressive encounter was just an appetiser for a bigger thunderous roar and charge of creative mischief, for Beyond The Valley of The Triclops.

Formed in 2010, XII Boar caught the attention of a great many with first release, the Split Tongue, Cloven Hoof EP. Unleashed in 2012, it thrust the band’s thumping invasive sound into broader attention to back up a growing live reputation. Since then, the threesome of guitarist/vocalist Tommy Hardrocks, bassist Adam Thomas, and drummer Dave Wilbraham have shared stages with the likes of Corrosion of Conformity, Crowbar, ASG, and Karma To Burn, made praise luring appearances at Bloodstock, Desert Fest, and Hard Rock Hell, and signed a film licensing deal with Troma Films editor Dylan Greenberg. In the mix was the release of the critically acclaimed Pitworthy, it all leading to the band’s finest moment to date, Beyond The Valley of The Triclops.

Recorded with producer Chris Fielding (Conan, Electric Wizard, Winterfylleth) at Skyhammer Studio, the new album sees the band’s Motorhead, Black Sabbath, High on Fire inspired blend of stoner, doom, blues, and southern metal find a new devil in its heart and revelry. There is a mischievous grin on its creative face, a fresh inventive debauchery which gives Beyond The Valley of The Triclops a diversity and adventure not heard in the already imaginative XII Boar sound before. The album opens with Prologue, a brief slice of rhythmic voodoo setting the feral landscape the album and first track proper, Beyond The Valley commands. From a delicious dirty bass groove with guitar flames in the air, the track strolls through ears with the infectious swing of winy grooves surrounding jabbing beats. The raw and grizzled tones of Hardrocks enjoyably growl, challenging as the track rouses ears and an already keen appetite for the band’s sound. It is an easy invitation for newcomers too, one already showing a new maturity and confidence in songwriting and sound whilst rousing the spirit in the individual XII Boar way.

zz6t_xiiboarbeyondthevalleyofthetriclops_1_RingMasterReviewThe Hustle leaps at the listener immediately its predecessor departs, fiery riffs and the sultry shimmer of harmonica coaxing attention as the song shows itself an old school meets stoner stomp with plenty of punk rock attitude and blues rock spicing. It is an epidemic of infectiousness as sturdy and intrusive as it is virulent and matched in success by the bluesy rock ‘n’ roll of Strange Kinda Lonesome. It too is a canter which whips up body and spirit, involving the listener with swift ease as Lemmy and co like influences make their presence known not for the first or last time in the XII Boar sound. There is a touch of Dr Feelgood to the song too, a dose of heavyweight R&B adding its flavouring even when the song explodes in a tirade of heavy rocking half way.

There is no time for exhaustion already resulting from listening to the album to recover as the outstanding El Mucho Grande flirts and roars on the senses straight after, the song a tapestry of twisting grooves and catchy hooks woven with fun and inventive relish as full of variety as the vocals.

A moment to catch breath is allowed as the narrator of the album is given thirty seconds to give his Welcome To Your Doom warning before Penetrator whips up its energies and grouchy aggression in a superb corruption of a track again openly wearing its Motorhead cape as it has body and vocal chords in league with its own in no time. There are no real surprises in a song which feels so good to throw body and soul into, that adventure given to the likes of the imposingly heavy Abyssal Lord with its spidery grooves and cantankerous nature and the country twanged Black and Blues to exploit. The first of the pair also seamlessly slips into some magnetic and sultry jazz funk shuffling while its successor is a smouldering fire of blues and country rock crooning given a weight and intensity which rumbles on the senses. Both tracks have an unpredictability and volatility which alone seduces attention and real enjoyment, an enterprise just as rampant within the predacious rock ‘n roll of Jupiter Aligns if not with the same strength of zeal.

Album highlights continue to arise as it nears its end, Beggars Roost one such potent proposal with its dark and imposing presence with the excellent Triclops concluding the release with a rhythmically gripping and sonically muggy stalking of the senses. The fact that neither track is arguably the strongest and most explosive things on the album shows the might and quality of Beyond The Valley of The Triclops as a whole.

You always hope to say that the latest release from a band is their finest moment yet and with XII Boar it has been a theme realised almost song by song as they seize UK heavyweight rock ‘n’ roll in their big salacious hands.

Beyond The Valley of The Triclops is out now @ http://xiiboar.bandcamp.com/

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Pete RingMaster 29/09/2016

Possessor – Dead By Dawn

Possessor_RingMasterReview

Still drawing new attention with their previous offerings, British metallers Possessor unleash new album Dead By Dawn, a mouth-watering threat of their rawest, most voracious sound yet. Continuing to conjure their individual fusion of old school fuelled metal embracing everything from heavy and blackened death metal through to doom/occult and stoner infused thrash the London trio cast a viciously malevolent and addictively compelling infestation of ears and instinctive pleasure with their latest offering.

Formed in 2013, Possessor teased and tempted with the Wings of Fire demo in 2014 before making a far greater impression with their self-titled debut album later that year. Hellacious and demonic in equal enterprise, the band’s reputation and acclaim garnering stature was given another injection of energy with last year’s Stay Dead EP. Its four tracks breached a new level in sound and adventure by the threesome of vocalist/guitarist Graham Bywater, bassist Marc Brereton, and drummer Matthew Radford; one now pushed again by Dead By Dawn.

The album opens with Afterburner and its sinister, cinematic intro. As shadows collude with aural drama, it fades into the ravenous jaws of the opener, a mesh of riffs and rhythms which go straight for the jugular. The meatiest groove aligns to a primal energy and intensity, they soon entwined in a sonic twine of guitar and the effect cloaked tones of Bywater. Previous releases hinted at a Nurse/Troublegum era Therapy? essence in the band’s sound; the first song shows it has become an even more intense flavouring but still without diluting the distinctive tone and invention of the Possessor sound.

Predatory and inescapably infectious with Sabbath meets Electric Wizard overtones also to its body; the excellent start makes way for the similarly immense and thrilling Scorpion Swamp. Straight away the grievous growl of Brereton’s bass has ears gripped and lips licked, the appetite enflamed further by the sorcerous grooves and rabid hooks joining the mix. Again echoes of the Northern Ireland trio are a vibrant spicing as Possessor and track rumble and grumble upon the senses and imagination, the song an ever twisting web of thrash driven, multi-flavoured metal.

art_RingMasterReviewBeneath the Chapel takes over next, an encounter growing in ears with a less forceful character compared to its predecessors but one soon sharing its own captivating net of flesh whipping beats and rapacious grooves to seriously please. Again within an ever tempestuous nature irresistible hooks taunt and tempt, providing rich bait within the rawest roar of sound to come from the band in any offering yet and the same template seeds the following Without Warning, a design breeding another individual treat within the album. A tempest of grooves and antagonistic ferocity it simply blossoms into a psyche infesting avalanche of predacious animosity to leave a hunger for more.

Things take a breath just a touch as Slaughter High enters next upon another evocative bassline from Brereton, its suggestive twang absorbing bait deviously leading the listener into another waiting beast of sound. Arguably the most old school sounding song on the release, it gnaws at the senses as riffs venomously prowl and the swinging beats of Radford flail flesh with rapier like effect. More destructive and gripping with every passing minute the brute of a proposition departs in a cold storm to let Terror Tripping step forward with its own cantankerous and primal rock ‘n’ roll. Taking a touch more time to thickly persuade compared to the other songs before it, the track is soon seeing swinging bodies and eager satisfaction in its rip tide, especially when it shares another ear exciting hook.

A pair of instrumentals comes next, The Creeps another cinematic scene setting piece parading a glorious and voodoo-esque rhythmic enticement before Midnight devours the body and imagination with its blackened heavy metal and feverishly stomping aural necromancy. Both tracks has ears enslaved and thoughts conjuring before the closing drama of The Curse of the Hearse revels in the individual skills and craft of all three Possessor members, aspects uniting in an incendiary provocation bringing Dead By Dawn to an almighty end.

Possessor get bigger, better, and more creatively barbarous with every release and indeed more irresistible. A treat for fans and a thrilling introduction to Possessor for newcomers, Dead By Dawn and its creators are the kind of propositions metal probably does not appreciate or notice enough but would be a much blander place without.

Dead By Dawn is out now @ http://possessor.bandcamp.com/album/dead-by-dawn

https://www.facebook.com/possessorband

Pete RingMaster 21/08/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Athrox – Are You Alive?

Athrox_RingMasterReview

Athrox is an Italian metal band creating an ear grabbing roar from the heavy and thrash strains of the genre and Are You Alive? is their debut album showing plenty of reasons as to why the band is beginning to create a stir. Their sound is not particularly unique, it is probably fair to say, yet each song on their new release rewards ears with a fresh and fiery proposal easy to find a healthy appetite for.

Officially formed in the summer of 2014, Athrox was the brainchild of guitarist Sandro “Syro” Seravalle and drummer Alessandro “Aroon” Brandi who had already worked together across various musical projects since 2008. Swiftly the pair recruited guitarist Francesco “Frank” Capitoni and bassist Andrea “Lobo” Capitani with the band’s line-up completed the following year with the addition of vocalist Giancarlo “Ian” Picchianti. 2015 also saw the band settling down to hone their sound and write the songs now gracing Are You Alive?; a concept album looking at the problems that afflict humanity such as war and the suffering of children caught within and the free thought enslaving control of mass media. “Are You Alive? a rhetorical question that we send to people, all people slave of this corrupt society.”

The Grosseto hailing band opens the album up with Losing Your Gods, a short atmosphere setting instrumental as portentous as it is a potent invitation into the release.  Straight away, the thrash inspired side of the band’s sound and adventure stirs up the appetite, feeding it further with Frozen Here. The second track throws up a great incitement of hungry riffs and badgering rhythms from the start, spicy grooves and sonic enterprise entangling that robust spine of the song soon after. Vocally Picchianti is a match to the evolution and enjoyable creative moods of the sound around him; at times a growling antagonist and within a breath uncaging a more traditional heavy metal delivery.

Its varied landscape is replaced by the turbulence of battle for Warstorm; a Metallica meets Iron Maiden like confrontation as enjoyable in its aggressive animosity as it is in the melodic reflection which skilfully tempers the fury. It is a common trait of Are You Alive?, the merging of contrasting intensities, emotions, and flavours; a blend providing each song with individual yet similarly determined characters that becomes a rousing incitement and one of the album’s biggest triumphs in this particular moment.

art_RingMasterReviewGates Of Death stalks ears and imagination next. Straight away it prowls the senses with an intimidating and intriguing air as riffs and rhythms venomously collude while fiery grooves lay a web for the impressing vocals to share their narrative. As with its predecessors, there is a real drama to the sound and its presence too which as much as anything goes a long way to creating a powerful persuasion emulated once again in the suggestive melodic croon of Remember The Loneliness. Warm yet melancholic from its first breath, the track brews a more tempestuous climate over time which eventfully sparks an anthemic thrash fuelled canter easy to get a touch greedy for. This is just the first movement of the excellent encounter though, the song continuing to swing through an array of creative and emotionally fired attacks from melodic seducing to volatile ferocity.

Through the melodic serenade of Pretend You and the corrosive ferociousness of My Downfall, band and album keeps attention gripped as raw flames of balladry and senses wilting energy respectively consume ears. The second of the two is another more thrash favoured proposal and for personal tastes, they are the tracks within Are You Alive? which stir the strongest reactions of pleasure though no song leaves enjoyment a shallow pool.

A great Testament feel tones the following Waiting For The Eden as it uncages another bullish challenge of fearsome rhythms and spiky riffs within an acidic weave of juicy grooves and sonic enticing. Within this an ear pleasing vine of individual guitar prowess writhes across the song’s flavoursome canvas and a success swiftly matched by that of the feverish End Of Days which leaves the body breathless and hungry for more by its close before the album’s title track steals attention with its own raw and magnetic blaze of ravenous rock ‘n’ roll.

The album is brought to a close by the melodic tempting of Obsession, a last showing of the variety colouring songs and release as a whole within its heavy metal seeded soundscape of voice and captivating sound and a fine end to a thoroughly enjoyable proposition. As suggested Are You Alive? is woven from familiar aural threads and textures but only presents an ear pleasing proposal which might just be a game changer for Athrox in regard to wider found attention.

Are You Alive? is out now via Red Cat Records @ http://www.redcatpromotion.com/ita_store.html and across most online stores.

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

Pete RingMaster 20/04/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Whisky and ferocity; downing the metallic liquor with Down In One

Down In One_RingMasterReview

If you thought heavy metal was on the wane with modern invention, then you obviously have not come across UK metallers Down In One. Hailing from Nottingham, the quartet unleashes what they declare as “Whisky fuelled, heavy-goddamned-metal”, and their fans roar as being bruising, exhausting, and irrepressible rock ‘n’ roll. Sent their way by a man with an ear for talent, Andrew of Stencil PR, we grabbed a moment or four with vocalist Gon who, with guitarist Jonny offering further insight into the band, let us get to the root of this emerging force from the Midlands.

Hello and thanks for sharing time with us.

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

Sure thing! I’m Gon and I’m the vocalist. We’ve got Jonny, our resident guitarist, Rich on the bass and Jimmy on drums. The four of us make up Down In One and we like to call ourselves whisky fuelled heavy-goddamned-metal. Meghan Trainor might think it’s all about that bass, bass, bass but for us it’s all about them riffs, riffs, riffs!

I met Jonny a couple years back through work and we quickly realised we had a mutual passion for loud metal and getting stupidly drunk, forming a band was clearly the logical progression! Jonny was looking for a vocalist at the time and as luck would have it my last band had just called it quits.

Jonny then met Rich through his next job and we got together and talked about the band over cheap whisky and an outdoor showing of Batman. It was a good evening! Lastly, I’ve known Jimmy since we were fresh faced 16 year olds. We used to play in a band years and years ago so I asked him if he wanted to come and jam with us, he was in the band that first sesh!

Photo by John Daykin

Photo by John Daykin

So you have been involved in other projects before? Has that experience had any impact on what you are doing now; in maybe inspiring a change of style or direction for example?

I’ve been playing in bands since I was 14 and I’m 27! I think previous bands are a lot like previous relationships, every band I’ve been in has taught me something and had an impact on who I am as a musician now. The biggest impacts so far are from two of my previous bands. I was the guitarist and main songwriter for my first band Diyu, with Jimmy, and I try to use that experience when we write as a band in Down In One. You never forget your first love either and I’ll always remember the good old days of my youth, when we were a bunch of scene kid teens trying to be brutal! (OK, so maybe I was the only scene kid, but let’s gloss over that point…)

After a couple of short-lived projects, I then joined RH Conspiracy as a frontman with next to no experience as a frontman. I think I’d only played two gigs as a frontman by that point. RH Conspiracy had been going for a while before I’d joined and the guys in the band were way, WAY more experienced than me. The first few times I jammed with them definitely felt like a sink or swim kind of situation! But I thrive on that kind of situation and I think the whole jumping into the deep end thing made me work damn hard to catch up. RH Conspiracy really helped shaped the frontman I am now.

As for changes of style, I’ve tried to move away from what I used to do and become more versatile as a vocalist. I used to be a full on screamer/growler and I’ve shed most of the anger that fuelled most of that, though I guess I used the experience and technique from before to build on.

What inspired the band name?

Like a lot of important band decisions we decided on the band name while drunk! We were down at our local haunt one night, mulling over what name to christen our new found band with, and Jonny suddenly bursts in and goes “Guys! I’ve got it, Down In One! Because y’know, drinking!”

So in a word: Booze!

Was there any specific idea behind the forming of the band at that moment in time and also in what you wanted it and your sound to offer?

I think the why of forming the band was simply because we love playing loud metal, getting drunk and partying hard! If there’s one thing about the band that I love (and trust me, there are many things to love!) it’s the passion we all have for music and the genre. An old friend of mine once said that being in a metal band is a labour of love and he’s absolutely right. If we wanted to take the easy route we could have been something radio friendly like indie but no, we love metal. We live for metal. We breathe and bleed metal and we’d fucking die for metal! I’d rather stop playing music altogether than write and play something just because it was popular!

We didn’t really have a specific sound we wanted to go for when we formed, it was more general than that. We just wanted something heavy and riff driven, music that you can get drunk and party to! And really that’s what we wanted to offer; we love to entertain and nothing puts a bigger smile on my face than when I see a crowd headbanging, dancing and singing along.

I imagine then that the same things still drive the band as back when it was fresh-faced, or have they evolved over time?

We’ve only been going a couple of years so far, but I’d say the same things definitely still drive us. The love of music and that passion I talked about keeps the fire burning bright; we want to get out there, entertain on stage and party like mad bastards after!

How would you say your sound has evolved over those couple of years?

The main way our sound has evolved is half because our skills as musicians have improved and half us finding our sound. I’ve said this before but I’ll gladly say it again; I am incredibly honoured to be playing in a band with such a talented group of lads, we’ve all improved so much since we started and now our earliest stuff sounds so different to how we play it now! It’s not that we’re not happy with our songs; it’s just that we’re always improving them. We record a song and then within a week we’ve changed this and that, it’s a never ending march of self-improvement!

For me personally I’ve tried to really make my vocal style my own. Before Down In One, my vocal style was basically screams and growls. After RH Conspiracy I’d shed the anger that fuelled that and the lyrics I was writing at the time began to reflect that. Not only did I want a new vocal style to better suit and explore what I was writing but when Jonny showed me some of the new riffs he was working on I knew I definitely needed something different, the style of music was completely different to anything I’d done before! So on our first EP I was still finding my feet with this new vocal style I’d only really been using for a few months by that point. A lot of it was me testing out what I could do. A couple years on and I now have much better control of my voice and I’ve definitely developed what I sound like, but I’m always pushing myself to do new things.

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

It’s definitely been an organic movement of sound, we’re always pushing ourselves and each other and as we’ve improved new things have come about naturally, we’ve never really sat down and thought “We should do X thing”.

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

Pic Vapour Trail photography

Pic Vapour Trail photography

See, that’s another thing I love about this band, there’s a huge range of inspirations both inside and outside of metal driving what we do.

It’s funny because nearly all of my inspirations aren’t metal and I’m the vocalist for a metal band! My main inspirations when writing would have to be H. P. Lovecraft and Aesop Rock. The way Lovecraft writes and crafts this immensely oppressive atmosphere of dread in his stories is amazing. When I write lyrics I like to tell a story and I love trying to create the same magnitude of atmosphere, giving the story and lyrics life. Aesop Rock is an utter genius when it comes to manipulating and crafting the English language into metaphor and imagery. I love toying with language and I always try to make my lyrics interesting, I’m nowhere near as good a writer as Lovecraft or Aes but I damn well try!

Mötley Crüe has had a huge influence on my performance, it’s the whole entertainment thing and that’s something I always keep in mind on stage. When Mötley Crüe play, it’s not just four dudes on stage playing their songs, it’s a full on show y’know? I want to be the embodiment of rock ‘n’ roll when I’m on stage, holding nothing back and going fucking crazy is the name of the game!

Jonny: I think we all have our own inspirations and things that impact us as individuals but one thing that always sticks out more and more the longer we have been together, is that the way we approach writing and letting these influences flow is exactly the same. Somehow we all seem to be able to get our different ideas, styles and influences to complement each other nicely. My favourite moments are when we’re just dicking around at practice and someone will just come out with an idea that someone else will chuck another idea onto and then you get that electric moment when you know something awesome is about to happen and it all clicks. Pretty much all of our tracks have been written this way and it seems to work for us pretty well so far! I’m pretty sure that, other than a few obvious staple bands, if you were to go through our individual member’s music collections you’d get pretty much every genre out there! It’s something that I’m pretty proud of really.

You talked of songwriting there, is there a particular process which generally guides the writing of songs?

We do most of our writing at band practise; usually one of us will come in and play a riff or hum an idea and then another one of us will go “Do that again, I’m gonna try this…” and it just builds up from there. We all work off each other really well when it comes to writing, as soon as we get going ideas start bouncing back and forth until we get a basic song structure down. Then I write some lyrics for the structure we’ve got down, we jam the song with the lyrics and see what needs tweaking or if anything needs adding. After that we just keep improving and tweaking!

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

My biggest source of inspiration is personal experience. As I said, I love to tell a story and I can put so much more into my voice and performance if it’s something connected to me. I also like to write songs about things I’ve read or seen that interest me, so for example The Call, from our first EP, is based on The Call of Cthulhu by Lovecraft.

Give us some background to your latest release.

So our latest release is going to be the Mad Gun / Elena EP. We recorded the two tracks a while ago with our good friend Mr. Kev Simpson and I think the two tracks really represent what our sound is becoming. I do love what we put down on our first EP, but that was sort of us four finding our footing and style; we’ve changed how we play the songs on that first EP a lot. These two new tracks are absolutely fucking huge and I’m massively excited to release them!

We also recorded a video for Mad Gun, which we can’t wait to release either. We’re currently planning on releasing that very very soon; keep an eye on our Facebook and YouTube channel!

As an early spoiler, can you give some insight to the themes and premise behind the songs.

Mad Gun is all about how much I love going on wild nights out, drinking myself stupid and saying a massive “Fuck you” to the consequences and how drinking myself stupid should be something I enjoy rather than how I deal with my problems, a lesson I learnt very slowly…

Elena is based on the real story of Count Carl von Cosel and Elena de Hoyos. For years Carl had visions of his true love during his dreams and in the 1930’s he met and developed a morbid obsession for Elena, as he recognised her as that vision. Unfortunately she died from tuberculosis in 1931, but Carl’s obsession was so great that he dug up her corpse nearly two years after she died, wrapped her in plaster and lived with her corpse for seven years. It’s one of my favourite weird stories.

Back to the music side and 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?

I’d say we go into the studio with songs in a state where we’re happy to record them, definitely not in their final state though! We do tend to make a fair few changes or tweaks when we record. I find inspiration always strikes when you can sit back and listen back to something you play instead of actively playing it. And the ideas start to flow like water when the four of us are sat around listening! Kev, who recorded all of our stuff so far, always has good ideas too.

Tell us about the live and maybe one of your major favourite sides to the band?

Oh hell yeah! I absolutely love playing live; one of the things Jonny always says is that what we record is great, but you really need to see us live to see and hear what we’re all about. I think a band’s live performance is every bit as important as the music itself, I’ve seen a lot of bands who’ve recorded great music but they just stand there on stage going through the motions and it’s honestly not very inspiring. I love to see the passion behind the music and on stage is where that passion for what we do can come out. We never do things by half measures, especially on stage!

We most definitely pay for our live shows the next day as well, finding odd bruises and injuries is the norm, as well as a horrific bangover that feels like whiplash to accompany the hangover! You’d think we’d gone ten rounds with Mike Tyson with the state of us the next day!

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

I’ve been playing in bands in Nottingham since I was 16 and I’ve gotta say, the music scene here is absolutely fantastic. We’ve got loads of rock pubs/venues like The Tap, which are run by people who absolutely love what they do. A lot of the local venues here do “Introducing” nights, where they give local bands a chance to shine. We’ve also worked with some fantastic promoters from Nottingham, people like Phil of Torturous Promotions and Mick Devlin always put on amazing shows that we always have fun playing. There is definitely loads of opportunities for new bands to make a mark!

City to city has been a little harder though, every city has its own scene and players; trying to break into that local scene can be a little difficult. But we’ve gigged with a lot of bands from around the country and that’s been great for meeting new folks and swapping gigs to get us out there to other cities.

I’ve not had a gig yet where I’ve thought “Christ, we really went down like a lead balloon” with Down In One (amusingly there was the time a promoter booked my last band RH Conspiracy, a very heavy metal band, to play on an indie night. We went down about as well as you’d expect…). The crowds we’ve played to have always been fantastic and enthusiastic, and that’s not just in Nottingham! A lot of boring, miserable, cynical people like to bitch and moan about how the scene is dead and how it was better back in their day, but honestly? The scene is alive, well and rocking like a bastard!

Jonny: I think bands these days have it harder than ever, with downloading and everyone wanting their music for free. That said this ain’t no sob story and we aren’t the kinda people to sit back and whinge about it! The same can be said for promoters, venues, and almost anyone involved in the underground music scene in any town or city. Despite the challenges, there are people out there doing great work to keep their local scenes alive and that is definitely true here in Nottingham. We have been lucky to have worked with some great promoters so far and gigged some fantastic venues and we are truly grateful every time we are offered the chance to play and show what we can do.

How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date? Do you see it as something destined to become a negative from a positive as the band grows and hopefully gets increasing Down In One2_RingMasterReviewsuccess or is it more that bands struggling with it are lacking the knowledge and desire to keep it working to their advantage?

Christ, I’m going to sound like such an old man now but back in my day when I started playing and gigging MySpace was still relevant! Shit, I suppose most kids nowadays won’t even know what MySpace is! But anyway, old man rambling aside, I cut my teeth during a time when every band already HAD to have a social media presence. I think I’ve been responsible for social media for every band I’ve been in so far! For the most part, social media has had a great impact on being in a band. Social media has allowed us to easily get out there in front of a near limitless audience and connect with fans and promoters while keeping them updated on what we do. It’s a very useful tool if, as you’ve touched on in the question, you know how to use it. My favourite thing about social media is the interaction with fans; we can get the banter on and hopefully entertain some people off stage! I also like how social media gives every band a level playing field. Any band, no matter their technical proficiency can get started with it and get themselves out there.

But it’s definitely a double edged sword. I’ve never seen social media as the be all and end all of being in a band and the thing I dislike the most about social media is that we all have to have it. I can’t think of one underground band I’ve ever met that have actively avoided social media and being able to keep going. While it’s a useful tool, the fact that we all have to be on social media has fostered this culture now where a lot of the music scene is focused way too much on metrics. There’s an obsession with likes, views, followers and all that shit and I think that pulls us away from grassroots and the point of being in a band in the first place; the music. Metrics are exactly like social media, they’re a useful tool yeah, but they aren’t the be all and end all. We shouldn’t be measuring our worth as a band or as a musician by random numbers, especially when you do need a fair bit of knowledge to use social media “properly”. It’s exactly as you said, if a band lacks the knowledge and desire to keep their social media going then they’re at an automatic disadvantage.

Once again a big thanks guys for sharing your time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?

No worries! It’s been a pleasure, thanks very much for having us! As for anything to add…drink booze liberally, fuck authority, listen to loud music and support your local scene!

Check out Down In One and their music further @ http://downinone.bandcamp.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/downinoneband

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster review 28/02/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Mefisto – 2.0.1.6

Mefisto - 2. 0. 1. 6 cover_RingMaster Review

Formed in 1984 under the name Torment, Swedish metallers Mefisto is noted along with Obscurity, as being the first Swedish extreme bands to surge through the opening made by Bathory. It was a band which quickly drew a loyal local following, with the 1986 release of a pair of demos in Megalomania and The Puzzle finding keen reactions in the metal underground, which over time has grown to the band earning cult status. Within a year of their release though, they had succumbed to the pressure of finding no real support and called it a day. Now thirty years on from those early releases, the band unleashes debut album 2.0.1.6, a thrilling and fresh proposal which suggests that Mefisto had maybe been ahead of their time first time around.

In 2014 Mefisto was reformed by band originals, guitarist/vocalist Omar Ahmed and drummer Robban Granath, the pair joined by bassist Morgan Myhrberg last year. Their return was marked by The Megalomania Puzzle, a compilation bringing the early demos together in one rousing invitation released via, as the new album, Vic Records. Mastered by Dan Swano (Opeth, Katatonia, Bloodbath), 2.0.1.6 now gives the metal world something which has been eagerly anticipated for, in many ways decades, the first Mefisto full-length.

A gentle melodic caress brings album and opener Deathrace into view, though it is just a poetic coaxing into a subsequent sinister siren-esque mesh of fiery grooves and jabbing rhythms. That as quickly becomes a tempest of thrash kilned riffs and rapier like beats as vocals crowd ears with growling antagonism. Now in full flight, the track entwines a web of metal styles with craft and invention, the grouchily wiry bass alone captivating bait to get off on.

The strong start is merely an appetiser in many ways, the following Void swiftly a more thunderous and imposing protagonist for ears and appetite. With muscles on full show, the track swings with inescapable virulence; intimidating and enticing with spite and tenacity before throwing a delicious curve ball by slipping into a melody rich passage of progressive and classic metal enterprise. Across its length, the band continues to revolve between extremes of texture and the compelling mix of aggressive and calm invention; individual craft and united imagination blossoming with every thrilling twist and turn.

The barbarous Act Dead has the job of following the first pinnacle of the album, its bracing hostility and sonic endeavour making great success of keeping enlivened ears and emotions on a firm high. Sturdy and confrontational, the track provokes and invites with unruly resourcefulness but controlled ferocity, showing why in its earlier guise in the band’s career, it was a potent incitement.

Heads in the Sand twists and turns in another web of varied metallic provocation next. Thrash and death metal is twisted into the lining of melodic tendrils and searing grooves, they offering a catchiness which itself is aligned to a more progressive exploration. A slower persuasion than the immediacy of earlier tracks, it still blossoms by the minute into another highly pleasing adventure that only lingers in the psyche.

The almost theatrical drama of Frost of Inferno involves ears and thoughts straight after, its raw and brutish canvas the landscape for a kaleidoscope of melodic expression and enterprise shared by the open skills and creative devilry of Ahmed. It is a song which enjoyably has one foot in the past and the now, whilst successor Hate Consumes Me with the same flirtatious drama to its body and narrative, is a cauldron of modern rock ‘n’ roll. Predatory in its calm and incendiary in its sonic boldness whilst being primal in energy, the track fuses death and heavy metal with essences of broader heavy rock, resulting in another major highlight.

A touch of classical guitar stirs The Puzzle into tempestuous life, which in turn breeds a constantly evolving stalking and ravaging of the senses which is very easy to get greedy over. Compelling as it invades and seduces with rousing persistence, it is eclipsed by the album’s closing title track. It too has a predatory air and nature to its melodic tempting and progressively nurtured adventure with the vocals emulating their character as Ahmed’s string craft bewitches.

It is a superb end to a thoroughly enjoyable and increasingly impressive debut album. It seems strange saying that Mefisto has a rich future ahead of them after thirty years or so since their first steps, but 2.0.1.6 suggests this is just the beginning of bigger and bolder things.

2.0.1.6 is out now via Vic Records through most online stores.

https://www.facebook.com/Mefisto-234630006720804

Pete RingMaster 23/02/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Shotgun Justice – State Of Desolation

SJ_RingMaster Review

State Of Desolation is the debut album from German heavy metallers Shotgun Justice, a band which for the past decade has seemingly become a potent live force in their homeland. That is easy to understand given the potential to explode the songs making up their first full-length have, though it is a spark that is frustratingly unrealised across much of State Of Desolation. Nevertheless the album is an intriguing proposal which, without ever lighting that fire, keeps drawing ears back with its intriguing array of flavours and to see if so far reserved but satisfied reactions can change.

Formed in 2003 by drummer Tobias Groß and guitarist Erik Dembke, Shotgun Justice’s sound is bred in old school heavy metal but as keen to infuse spices from varied essences from thrash to hard rock into its exploits. As shown by State Of Desolation, at times it is a richly potent mix and in other moments missing the mark, certainly for personal tastes, but it is an adventure which lures intriguingly keen ears.

With vocalist Marco Kräft, bassist Tom Schubert, and guitarist Kai Brennecke alongside Groß and Dembke, Shotgun Justice start that adventure in their album with Proclamation Of War; a portentous instrumental with vocal samples setting the theme before Blood For Blood takes hold of ears with its antagonistic riffs and rhythmic swipes; them all carrying an edge of intimidation. The entrance of Kräft vocals sparks some agreeable hooks as the song relaxes its menace a touch, though bass and drums still prowl with force around the unspectacular yet inviting hard rock/metal body of the song. It is a strong start to the album elevated by some inventive twists and turns exposing their bait later into the encounter.

ShotgunJustice-StateOfDesolation-frontover_RingMaster ReviewThe following Blessed With Fire similarly has all the right ingredients to grab attention but not the last essence to leap into loftier success though with its rhythmic rumble and growling riffs, there is no inclination to pass it by before its end. A touch of ArcticFlame frequents the song and reappears in its successor Nothing Left To Fear, a predatory proposal of a song with attitude to its courting of ears and fire in its sonic belly, each additionally blessed with some deliciously spicy grooves. The track soon outshines its predecessors; its thrash meets classic metal nature an instinctive incitement for involvement before Nemesis (A Global Killer) offers its power fuelled balladry for easy consumption. Schubert’s bass is a great dark rumble in the song’s lining whilst Kräft leans on his vocal strengths to portray the emotive narrative though sadly the addition of operatic female just does not work for these ears at all.

The Scales Of Justice wraps ears in its fine suggestive sounds next, sparking ears and thoughts alike with its percussive lures and wiry guitar persuasion, though harmonies in the background lay less enjoyably on ears. It is a potent hint for the imagination though leading right into the rawer jaws of Head Full Of Bullets. Teasing with its low key but provocative entrance, the song is soon charging with thrash spawned nostrils flared as rhythms smacking its robust flank. At its centre a blues induced calm comes over the track to further engage an already keen appetite for the song, its previously urgent charge now another predatory stalking beneath an anthemic vocal call.

Things get more adventurous and unpredictable from hereon in on the album, and equally more fascinating and tempting. Firstly Forsaken steps forward with a tapestry of cosmopolitan rhythms aligned to a sultry Asian vocal lure, the bass walking around them with a brooding tone to its strings. It is a great start which continues as guitars spin their exotic web and vocals find new flavour to their delivery if also a little bit of waywardness in trying to compliment the impressing sounds around them. As the track continues to expand its theatre and thrills it takes best track honours with ease.

The heavier bones and weight of Harvest The Storm takes over to explore its own progressively natured trail of vocal diversity and tenaciously inflamed imagination. At times an aggressive torrent of provocation and in others turns an evocative melody thick calm, the song is a compelling tempest which as its predecessor, reveals a potential and boldness suggesting greater things ahead that is missing in the earlier part of the album.

Ending with its similarly impacting title track, it is fair to say that State Of Desolation is a volatile proposition in its strengths and qualities but a release which certainly across its final quartet of songs leaves a great taste in ears and enjoyment. Though over a decade as a band, Shotgun Justice still feel like a work in progress but as suggested by Forsaken alone, moving in the right direction.

State Of Desolation is out now via Kernkraftritter Records.

http://www.shotgunjustice.de/   https://www.facebook.com/shotgunjusticegermany

Pete RingMaster 27/01/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Reapers Riddle – The End Is Nigh

RR_RingMaster Review

If you are ever looking for some highly enjoyable and fiery rock ‘n’ roll with the muscle to snap bone, than Australian rockers Reapers Riddle is always a potent port of call. Previous EPs and singles have persistently proved the fact but fair to say the Perth band has simply outdone anything which came before with debut album The End Is Nigh. The twelve track adventure sees the band push their fusion of metal and heavy rock to new imaginative and bold heights; each encounter within its apocalyptic walls a singular protagonist within an overall emprise that forcibly grips ears and imagination alike.

Emerging in 2009, Reapers Riddle quickly whipped up attention with the release of a self-titled demo that same year. It was the A Touch Of Death EP two years later which opened up broader interest and appetites outside of their local scene though, the internationally acclaimed release stirring up the underground across the globe with just as wide radio play. The following period saw line-up changes and shows with the likes of The Getaway Plan and Misfits before the single Drop, and its video, revealed the bold growth and invention which had brewed in the band’s sound over the same period. Second EP Game Over only confirmed and pushed the band’s growing stature as well as an imagination which The End Is Nigh now reaps.

From the portentous Intro and its alluring dawning of the end, the album initially seduces ears with melodic tempting and melancholic ambience as Disintegrate brews up its subsequent roar. As much a statement on today as the first chapter in the album’s darkly prophetic theme, the track is soon swinging across the senses with ravenous riffs and robust rhythms with the recognisable and potent growling tones of vocalist Clayton Mitchell expressively colouring the emerging landscape. Guitars, led by the sonic prowess of Kristen Sanfead, burn the air as they flame with heavy metal and melodic rock enterprise, searing across the rugged rhythms prowling ears in turn.

Cover_RingMaster ReviewIt is a powerful beginning to The End Is Nigh matched by War on Indulgence and surpassed by the album’s title track. The first of the two rumbles and grumbles from the off, the bass of Jason Edwards a grouchy predation against the sinew swung beats of Andrew Burt with guitars again bringing a creative and inventive fire to scorch the hefty prowl of the song. With vocal diversity adding to the bestial weight and tone of the encounter, the track is a well-crafted mix of contrasts quickly over shadowed by its successor and its groove spun creative theatre. Vocals flirt and excite ears early on, again imaginative variety adding to the enticing spice of guitar and arousing bait of rhythms. At times the album is like a ‘rock opera’ with, as in this magnetic treat, the narrative’s drama as much as anything leading the inventiveness on show.

Rise of the Macchina slowly comes to life next, its compelling air and body rising to its steeled feet in predatory manner as an industrial air smothers monotony lined rhythms and their automated suggestiveness. With Mitchell again mixing up his delivery impressively, the incitement blends predacious roams with vociferous roars, the resulting a track which again leaves body and emotions hungry for more.

A shuffle of tenacious rock ‘n’ roll provides the heart of Welcome to the Wasteland, the stomp a celebration in the barren climax of all with riffs and rhythms rabid inciters wrapped in sonic revelry. A party at the end of the world, the exhilarating arousal makes way for the bluesy toxicity of Write of Passage. Swaggering in, clothed in tangy tendrils of guitar and carrying a devilish vaunt to its attitude and voice, the song is like the carnival barker at the end of days; the doorman to hellacious landscapes welcoming and intimidating in equal measure.

Those suggested hostile outcomes emerge as Valley of the Damned next, a thumping cascade of ravenous rhythms and gnarly riffs descending with merciless appetite upon ears, each clutching and clawing at the senses. Mitchell’s voice along with spicy sonic endeavour tempers the carnal heart of the track, merging with its antagonistic energy to spawn another invigorating rock ‘n’ roll anthem before the sobering croon of Last Breath envelops the imagination. A reflectively provocative smoulder of imposing shadows and melancholic angst, the song is a tantalising affair just as potent bursting into emotion fuelled cries becoming more captivating and irresistible with every listen.

Hollow is a heavy metal romp which at times lacks the punch of its companions but in other moments has body and voice fully involved in its brawly fun. Think Misfits sings Black Sabbath with an eager smile and the song will thickly please before it is forgotten in the might of Dying Breed, and alone the rhythmic enticement of Burt. Turning out to be as primal a predator as anything on the album, the track swings and roars as it enslaves, taking the listener on a boisterous canter lined with easy to devour hooks bred from unpredictable imagination; simply Reapers Riddle at their dynamic best.

Every album should have a song which puts the cat amongst the pigeons of expectations and closer Tnaryt Esir is just that. A theatrical exploration in its own right, the song opens with soaring classically honed female vocals which are soon replaced with darker gothic tones as rhythms engagingly skip along. Featuring Darkyra Black and Sophia Marie, the thirteen minute offering entwines rapacious heavy rock and a varied mix of metal to match the mix of tyrannical and engagingly enticing vocal delivery on offer. It challenges and fascinates, and though an undulating success in personal tastes at times across its unconventional soundscape it only breeds a want to explore deeper which in turn only leads to thicker pleasure found.

Reapers Riddle is ready to make a global impression with The End Is Nigh and show all just how good they are.

The End Is Nigh is available now through most online stores and @ http://reapersriddle.bigcartel.com/products

https://www.facebook.com/reapersriddle

Pete RingMaster 21/01/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/