City Of Ashes – Rise

City Of Ashes_RingMasterReview

Making a big impression with their well-received debut album back in 2013, UK alternative rock band City Of Ashes now release its successor Rise; an encounter easy to imagine finding an equal if not bigger success. Consisting of eleven heart bred and melodically provocative tracks, the album confirms and pushes on the promise of predecessor All We Left Behind. In some ways, the band’s sound has not made any major leaps from the last album, or the EP before it, yet there is an open new maturity to songwriting and the bolder emotive imagination involved which alone grabs attention.

Since forming in 2009 and releasing the Then There Was A Hand In The Darkness EP, with All We Left Behind swiftly following, City Of Ashes has played all across the UK, sharing stages with the likes of Skindred, Exit Ten, Polar, Shadows Chasing Ghosts, Fei Comodo, Hildamay, and Young Guns along the way. Subsequent performances on their tour with Trapt only enhanced a reputation already ripe through their first album. Now it is the self-released Rise about to lure fresh attention the way of the Eastbourne quartet; an aim, as suggested earlier, easy to see succeeding to some potent degree.

Uprising is first up and swiftly lays an evocative melodic caress on ears as darker hues bring just as alluring shadows. The impressive vocals of Orion Powell quickly add their prowess backed by great band harmonies. The track is only a brief lure into the album but an attention grabbing one setting up the appetite for the following Vipers Nest. A sonic web of hooks and riffs descend on the senses first as the firm beats of Dan Russell make a thick impact with the brooding bass line of Dan Frederick in close attention. Soon bound in the melodic enterprise of James Macdonald and coloured by the expressive tones of Powell, the song easily catches the imagination with a touch of Placebo meets Manic Street Preachers to its broader alternative rock character.

RISE Artwork_RingMasterReviewBoth Battles Of My Youth and Walk Away keep the strong start going; the first with its anthemic roar and intimate tone amidst vocal and melodic suggestiveness whilst the second shares even more intensive angst in its melancholic cry. Again Powell impresses; the drama of his delivery an emotive flame within the more subdued but no less enticing rhythms and the creative adventure of Macdonald’s fingers on strings.

A delicious brooding bassline and core riff marks out Bittersweet next, that and a climatic feel to its emotional and sonic intensity, whilst Save Me carries a lively simmer to its bubbly melodies and crisp beats to equally grip ears and appetite. Whether there are any major surprises within the songs and indeed album can be argued, but each offering has something fresh and imaginative to its character and invention which draws attention easily as here or greedily as by the outstanding Iliad. Unstoppably emerging the album’s favourite track, it is a haunted and darkly lit proposal with a slow prowl as portentous as it is inviting. Matching his surroundings, Powell’s voice also ebbs and flows in raw emotion as rhythms and riffs border on stalking the senses. Provocative theatre in the ears, the song simply steals the show.

Bloodlust has a similarly hued nature to its canvas but a far lighter and vivacious air to its emotive outpouring and subsequent fiery expulsions whilst Sometimes provides a croon fuelled by apprehensive words and emotions cradled in orchestral like melodic sensitivity. Both songs keep enjoyment high before Confessions raises the album’s game again with its earnest roar.

Closing with the sober but potent sharing of the heart that is We Own The Night, band and album leaves pleasure a strong reaction to its imaginative and tenacious endeavours. Rise is a strong continuation of the band’s previous releases, if not a dramatic leap forward. As suggested earlier though, it is a more rounded and mature adventure embracing all the already recognised City Of Ashes qualities and more; and their most impressive outing yet.

Rise is out now @ http://cityofashes.bigcartel.com/

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Pete RingMaster 25/03/2016

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Alone With Wolves – The End of Nothing EP

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Fusing an impressive and striking fusion of heavy rock with a voracious metal intensity, UK band Alone With Wolves has a sound which sits easily within the varied shades of metalcore and post-hardcore as well as quite simply rock and metal. The proof is in the band’s new The End of Nothing EP, a five track collision of flavours which combine for a passion drenched and thoroughly captivating tempest of sound and emotion. The band on the evidence of their impressive second release, fuse the strongest essences of those previously mentioned styles into something which has a familiarity to its angst and presentation but an individual freshness which sets the Hertfordshire sextet apart from most of the crowd.

Formed in 2011, Alone With Wolves were swiftly into a charge of shows across the South of the UK, including sharing stages with the likes of Hildamay and Mallory Knox. The band was soon recruiting a passionate fan base and following, which their self-titled EP of 2012 only reinforced and pushed on. Their sound is simultaneously melodic and ferocious, as mentioned combining a varied weave of flavours inspiring comparisons to bands such as Alterbridge, Architects, 30 Seconds to Mars, and Deaf Havana. Alone With Wolves has certainly been brewing up potent attention to date which the new EP has the potential and power to take to a nationwide spotlight.

It launches itself with a sonic enticement as Cutting Ties sizes up ears before expanding into an imposing but inviting mix of raw riffs and melodic enterprise driven by sinew swinging rhythms and a great throaty bass sound. It is not a 13606_925710967443706_5848660365238708299_ndramatic but certainly appetite awakening start which the combined persuasion of vocal roars from guitarist Lewis Watson and the clean magnetic melodic tones of Danilo Fiocco are soon colouring with emotion. The track is as antagonistic as it is enticing, two sides merging for a fiercely potent and adventurous blaze of sound which ebbs and flows in its rage and intensity. It never settles into a less than voracious stance though, the rhythms of drummer James Noble and bassist Mark Stanford fuelling a creative hostility whilst guitarists Watson and Kieron Baker craft an enthralling narrative of riffs and melodic endeavour.

The strong start is followed by the raw opening brawl of the title track which is soon sharing the suasion of a great contagious and melodic weave aligned to Fiocco’s impressive delivery backed by Stanford and rivalled by the squalling tones of Watson. The song is an appetising encounter which feeds expectations at first but a sudden shift into rugged metal territory and subsequently a seductive flight of expressive melodies soon has intrigue and unpredictability as vocal as the passion and enterprise drenching the track.

My Life In Your Hands has a more metalcore cored explosiveness to its presence but again the at times almost duelling vocals and emotive ideation of guitars takes the song to a powerfully satisfying adventure. The least dramatic of all the tracks, it still potently feeds an open hunger inspired by its predecessors, the invention of Baker impressing especially, before the outstanding enticement of The Change takes over. A more tempered and melodic hug from the start but with a sturdy intent to the muscular rhythms framing the impassioned drive of the expressive hues and vocals, the song croons with an intimacy which is arguably less open in other tracks. It is no lightweight though, jagged riffs and thumping beats a demanding proposition caging the raw beauty within. With only the fade out of a quite climactic finale annoying, it is the biggest highlight of the encounter.

The closing With You In Mind is an intensively imposing onslaught of rhythmic provocation and senses bruising aggressiveness which still embraces a mouth-watering flame of sonic and melodic invention. It is as mesmeric as it is challenging and an enthralling tempest of invention and passion to bring The End of Nothing to a climactic conclusion.

It is fair to say that The End of Nothing EP did not ignite a raging fire in the belly for it but it is one of the most invigorating metalcore/post hardcore releases this year and the spark to a real hunger to hear more from a band with a very healthy future ahead.

The End of Nothing EP is available from September 1st and available through all good digital outlets.

https://www.facebook.com/alonewithwolves

http://awwofficial.bandcamp.com/

8.5/10

RingMaster 31/08/2014

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Jet Pack – Heat Of The Moment

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Reinforcing the success and presence of their recently released Chasing Sunsets EP, UK alternative rock band Jet Pack have added to its impressive persuasion with new single Heat Of The Moment. The second to be taken from their acclaimed EP, the track even away from the wrapping of its initial very potent appearance, leaves appetite and expectations for the band’s presence and future high and eager.

The Cheltenham quartet of vocalist/guitarist Dennis Cook, lead guitarist Paul Roberts, bassist Richard Beattie, and drummer Sam Haskins, came together in university and took little time but plenty of energy in sharing their melodic rock invention, shows alongside bands such as Hype Theory, General Fiasco, Attention Thieves, and Hildamay marking the way as well as acoustic slots supporting Blink 182, City and Colour, and Biffy Clyro. Chasing Sunsets has certainly taken awareness of the band to another level countrywide which you can only assume the single will give another dose of adrenaline to.

Heat Of The Moment makes a restrained yet fiery entrance, guitars coaxing out evocative melodies whilst the beats of Haskins punctuate their narrative with firm punches. The vocals of Cook make a smooth and expressive narrator for the lyrical emotion and with the great throaty tone of Beattie’s bass tempering the elegance and flaming invention of Roberts, it all combines for a smouldering slice of emotive pop which impresses and grows stronger with each impacting caress. Soaked in hungry but respectful intensity and melodic enterprise, the Matt O’Grady [You Me At Six, Deaf Havana] produced song is an appealing simmering temptation.

Accompanied by a directed Ant Thornton video and followed by a string of dates with Conduit, The Heat of the Moment confirms Jet Pack as one of the more promising and exciting melodic rock/pop bands to have emerged in recent times. We await the next unveiling from the band with keen anticipation.

https://www.facebook.com/wearejetpack

8/10

RingMaster 28/11/2013

Jet Pack Gig dates in December 2013

Thurs 5th – The Grapes, Stafford

Fri 6th – The Abbey Inn, Oldham

Sat 7th – The Derby, Barrow-in-Furness

Sun 8th – The Asylum 2, Birmingham

Mon 9th – The Golden Cross, Coventry

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City Of Ashes – All We Left Behind

City Of Ashes Online Promo Shot

Alternative rock band City Of Ashes started off the year in fine style with their debut EP, a release rich in promise and accomplished craft to suggest the UK band as a bright emerging spark in British rock. Now the Sussex quartet are seeing out the other end of 2013 with an equally attention grabbing release in first album All We Left Behind. Consisting of twelve vibrantly emotive and melodically potent tracks, the release is a continuation of the introduction made through the Then There Was A Hand In The Darkness EP. It may be a small expansion of the impressive starter but makes a firm confirmation of the band’s strengths whilst providing an engaging presence.

Formed in 2009, the Eastbourne band took little time in honing their sound and taking it to stages across the South East and subsequently the country. Simultaneously their fanbase rose as the band shared stages with bands such as Skindred, Exit Ten, Polar, Shadows Chasing Ghosts, Fei Comodo, Hildamay, Young Guns and many more. The Then There Was A Hand In The Darkness EP brought Orion Powell (vocals), James Macdonald (guitar), Dan Frederick (bass), and Dan Russell (drums) into sharper focus within a brewing awareness of their expressively impacting sounds as paraded on the release and you can only suspect that the returning Matt O’Grady (Deaf Havana, You Me At Six, Don Broco) produced album will reinforce and push further that recognition.

It is fair to say that All We Left Behind has not made a major leap on from its impressive predecessor but certainly shows that City Of Ashes Cover Artworkthe band has a range of songwriting depths and songs which have a wide high quality base to spring from. From the short intro instrumental Initia, the album flows into the dramatic Ode To Innocence. Guitars coax the ears in sonic angst from the start whilst the compelling bass line seeds strong intrigue into the emotive narrative of the song musically and vocally. There is a Placebo edge to the sound and voice of Powell, as well as a feel of Mind Museum and Funeral For A Friend which adds spice to the strong voice and design of the song. It is a smouldering enticement with fiery bursts of passion which only accentuates its persuasion and makes a deeply satisfying start.

Next up Falling Star takes things up another level, the guitar coaxing which starts things off immediately riveting and soon given extra potency as persistent beats and the continually engaging vocals of Powell join the tempting. The first stretch of the song reminds of Waiting For The Weekend by The Vapors but soon finds its distinct character as the guitars expands their melodic arms and intensity unveils its weight and emotion. The song never explodes into dramatic action but offers a persistent almost nagging declaration which is very easy to devour and want more of.

Both Recovery and In Retrospect present a lingering enticement, the first a gently building slice of hard/alternative rock with a slight Manic Street Preachers essence to its evocative flavouring and the second a reserved stroll of provocative melodic textures and emotional bait. Neither matches the opening pair of songs but still continues the album’s weighty call upon thoughts and appetite whilst The Highest Point Of Living provides a tender ballad of fine vocals and chilled guitar suasion which from a decent start grows bigger and more impressive, especially through melancholic strings and the excellent tones of Powell, alongside band harmonies. It is a song which inspires tingles in its latter climactic parts and leaves the senses and emotions ignited in appreciation and pleasure. The song seeps into next up Brand New World where the band creates another healthy slice of alternative rock with a melodic pop glaze. It does not set fires in the passions but still adds to the flavoursome richness flowing through the release.

Across the likes of Decay and Dorian Gray, City Of Ashes keeps attention firmly locked in their direction even if the album has lost some of the potency found in its first half, the skill of the band and the craft of songs an attractive constant. Alongside those though the rhythmic tantalising of Masks and Waves, with its dark prowling shadows provided by the bass a conflicting yet complimenting union with the sonic breeze and melodic stream of invention, bring All We Left Behind to a formidable closure. The album leaves a strong taste for City Of Ashes and their inventive sound even if maybe it does not have that spark or ingredient yet to send the passions into full ardour. The feeling that this trigger is waiting within the band’s horizons is impossible to dismiss and something to add spice to the suspected rise of one very promising band.

www.facebook.com/cityofashesband

7/10

RingMaster 11/11/2013

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Reaper In Sicily – Islands

Reaper In Sicily Online Promo Shot

Listening to the debut album from Reaper In Sicily who cannot help wondering and going as far to suggest that the band has all the ability and creative strength to become Britain’s alternative to Billy Talent. Apart from strong whispers of the Canadians in sound across a lot of Islands, the quintet also has the same skill and invention in landing a mighty punch with their sound whilst seducing with melodic imagination and inciting the passions with anthemic crafted vocals and hooks. The ten track album is excellent, exceeding the promise earlier single Horizons suggested and setting the Aberdare band as one of the most exciting and promising emerging rock bands.

Reaper in Sicily began in 2009 and with a sound which has been compared to the likes of The Blackout and Rise Against and a potent and lively live show, soon became the winners of the unsigned live act in Kerrang! Magazine. Their debut single We Are The Show garnered strong responses and widespread play on TV and radio across the UK but then in 2010 guitarist Matthew Jenkins diagnosed with leukaemia taking the band on hiatus until he was able to return, which thankfully he did later the same year. Two EPs swiftly followed to continue the rise of the band as well as successful appearances at both the Reading and Leeds festivals and supporting and playing alongside the likes of Kids In Glass Houses, The Subways, Max Raptor, Attack! Attack!, Mallory Knox, Hawthorne Heights, Fightstar, The Xcerts, Straight Lines, I Spy Strangers, Evarosa, Hildamay and many more. Islands was recorded in the closing weeks of 2012 with Romesh Dodangoda (Funeral For A Friend, Kids In Glass Houses) and as mentioned the release of Horizons set up a urgent anticipation for its debut though even that hunger we would suggest did not expect such an impressive encounter.

The Prisoner sets things ablaze with dawning caresses of guitar before shrugging off any restraint to open up sinews and melodic Reaper In Sicily Album Cover Artworkpersuasion framed and veined by the firm hand of drummer Damon Miles’ beats and the rumbling tones of the bass of Mike Evans. With energy flowing freely and attention fully captured the guitars of Jenkins and Jonny Chappell carve a distinct and captivating character to the song whilst the excellent expressive tones of vocalist Rhys Bernardo drive the ride with slight squalls within his enticing delivery. The song is an immediate draw which without lighting the same depth of fire as following songs, sets the listener up to eagerly embrace what is to come.

The following 50 raises the bar again with muscular riffs and strongly beckoning grooves casting their temptation over senses and passions. The tight craft and melodic enterprise reminds of bands such as The Blackout and even Avenged Sevenfold whilst the punk snarl edges things with hardcore confrontation. Once it makes way for Down But Not Out it finds itself outplayed whilst the album continues to get better and better. The third song builds on the base of its predecessor to expel even stronger scowling venom and caustic winds within ridiculously infectious enterprise and sounds. Into its stride the track takes its recipient on a riotous dance with moments of bruising attitude and exhausting passion which again cements and accelerates the growing presence and promise.

The single Horizon still impresses as it did on its unveiling, thumping rhythms alongside the thick tones of the bass wrapped in fiery guitar washes thrilling whilst Bernardo lights another emotive heat to engage and entice things further, whilst the likes of Old Dogs and the title track romp and emotively stroll respectively to weave continuing creative textures and calls before thought and heart. It has to be said that there is a similarity to the surface sound of many of the songs but with the invention beneath and accomplished polish of its shine it is not an issue and will evolve out ahead as the band mature.

The tail of the album is its most impressive as Islands continues to get even stronger song by song. Sunnydale Sucks encloses the ear with addict forming riffs and a varied bluster of vocals, coarse and melodic, which enslave the imagination whilst the guitars bound it all in sonic teasing to set richer flames in their fire. Then Boys Will Be Boys comes in to steal top honours with its furnace of passionate vocals, virulent melodic contagion, and energetic imagination, every second a bouncing and incendiary companion uniting for a fervour crafted triumph.  Those Billy Talent references are at their most inviting at this point of the album with both The Catalina Wine Mixer and the closing Chuck Norris Got A Chainsaw making their thrilling interpretations. Both songs leave a breathless appetite rife which immediately snatches at the play button to enjoy the outstanding album all over again at their completion.

Islands should and will be a trigger to an unbridled new sea of attention and acclaim for Reaper In Sicily and it will be all deserved we can assure you. Check out the album and remove any doubts the very best way.

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8.5/10

RingMaster 10/06/2013

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Jet Pack – Chasing Sunsets EP

Photo by Philipp Richter

Giving the ranks of alternative rock a rousing and vibrantly melodic addition in the shape of their Chasing Sunsets EP, UK band Jet Pack is an unexpected treat which ignored expectations to show themselves as an exciting, inventive, and impressively promising band. The excellent release undoubtedly suggests there is plenty of room within the imagination of the band still to emerge in their probable rise to the fore of melodic and emotive UK rock but also brings one satisfying and appealing appearances to fully enjoy right now.

Hailing from Cheltenham, Jet Pack was formed out of university in 2008 by a group of musicians linked by their mutual love for pop-punk as much as anything else. Consisting of vocalist/guitarist Dennis Cook, lead guitarist Paul Roberts, bassist Richard Beattie, and Sam Haskins on drums, the quartet has exhaustingly travelled and played the lengths of Britain with their live performances which have included sharing stages with bands such as Hype Theory, General Fiasco, Attention Thieves, and Hildamay, as well as playing acoustic slots before Blink 182 at the LG Arena in Birmingham as well as similar appearances before Biffy Clyro and City and Colour. The band has earned at the same time strong plaudits for their sound and stage energy which they have brought into their new release.

The Matt O’Grady (You me at six, Deaf Havana) produced Chasing Sunsets EP starts with the excellent Back To Life, a track Jet Pack Cover Artworkdancing with the senses and passions from its first second and impacting on thoughts and emotions just as long and eagerly. Vocals, resonating rhythms, and fiery guitars open up the track with enterprise and hungry energy, their combined enthusiasm and qualities securing instant attention and keen commitment. Infectious without being blatantly obvious in its hook, the song is a sizzling burn of the melodic prowess of Jimmy Eat World and the more abrasive confrontation of No Trigger honed into a pleasing and incendiary result by the accomplished foursome.

The following Now I Know How John Locke Felt and Heat Of The Moment continue the impressive start, both with a less forceful but no less hungry enterprise and melodic intensity. The first of the pair brings some great coaxing from keys within and behind the melodic haze of passion and great vocal harmonies which compliments and tempers the grazing touch of the guitars. It is an inviting and ardour recruiting stroll of skilful persuasion whilst its successor steps into a more deliberate slower gait where emotive expression and sonic rain showers the ear for an appealing heated temptation. Not quite as magnetic as the first two songs, the track still leaves a happy and elevated appetite for more.

The title track is a real slow burner, a song which initially left doubts and dormant reactions but as it continued its narrative sparked intrigue and increasing mesmerism. The initial acoustic wrap with the vocals of Cook laying the plaintive lyrical statement is underwhelming and sparks insecurity over its presence in what so far has been an impressive release. Once the vocals of guest vocalist Lauren Pryke steps forward into the mix with the shadows of melancholic strings in tow, things take an elevated turn with the atmosphere and breath of the song darkening yet equally blazing with a bright and entrancing wash. It is a cloudy almost muggy mix which covers the song and it is that enveloping tempest as much as the beauty of Pryke’s contribution and the glorious emotive strings which makes the final and long term convincing.

The final pair of All I Need with its towering rhythms from Haskins and the closing potent  epic tasting instrumental This Is The End close out the release in strong and compelling style, both without reaching the heights of the start of the release but strongly complimenting its impact and the pleasure given. Chasing Sunsets certainly sets up Jet Pack as a band with the destiny of their success firmly in their own hands  and shows they have all the armoury and ability to make it a successful one.

www.facebook.com/wearejetpack

8/10

RingMaster 05/05/2013

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Road To Horizon – Chapters EP

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    UK melodic post-hardcore unit Road To Horizon is a band on the march if the evidence of their Chapters EP is a portent of things to come for the West Yorkshire quintet. Though a release probably still seeking definition in its own identity, the six track release is a highly accomplished and satisfying encounter from an equally impressive promising band.

Road To Horizon formed in 2008 or 09, depending on which bio you read, and has run the course of obstacles which confront most bands to emerge stronger and determined with the sound to back it up. Having toured with the likes of Rise To Remain, Funeral For A Friend, Attack! Attack, and Hildamay the band has built up a loyal and growing following certainly helped by their appearance on an episode of BBC 3 show Don’t Tell The Bride. As Chapters shows the band has an intensity and creative invention which fuels a keen anticipation for their future as well as a strong appetite for their sounds right now.

The release opens with Through Ashes, a piano introduced powerhouse of a track which immediate goes from mild seduction intorth-chapters-ep-cover a fury of muscular passionate embraces. The melodic flames which burn from within its energetic might forged by the guitars of Danny Kingsbury and Benji Wilson instantly grip with impressive persuasion whilst the vocals of Ben Flockton and his subsequent union with those of Kingsbury and bassist Oli Parkinson well into the track, show a strength and thoughtful delivery that is as potent as the emotive intensity brewed by the music. It is a striking and immense start framed by the uncompromising yet respectful rhythms of Parkinson and drummer Simon Gordon, a track which takes mere moments to show why there is a fuss over the band brewing.

The following Caught Red Handed also makes a gentle entrance before stretching its sonic sinews and rhythmic strength into a formidable proposition. Its gait though is reserved for the main, even with the provocative beats and squalling scowling vocals bringing up the rear to the emotive lead of Flockton. The track lacks the contagion and startling presence of its predecessor but nevertheless instils a definite sense of something brewing within the imagination of the band which will emerge to greater heights, especially through its rich and firm melodic caress.

In Your Bed gets the EP back onto a higher plateau, the slightly abrasive opening riffs stirring up the senses as the sonic and melodic elements step forward to take their expressive place. The song does not offer anything particularly new but mercilessly ignites a hunger for the infectious grinding groove of the track and the intimidating metallic prowl of the bass. The song switches from intense emotion led vocals and equally embracing sounds to a predatory and inciting stance throughout, the band adept in both and their seamless union with Parkinson and his four string raptor having their finest moment on the release. The band is tagged as melodic post-hardcore as mentioned but this is rock music with an intimidating and caring presence which sets bands apart.

Both Open Your Eyes and This Is The End leave a deep impression, the first driven by a thumping heartbeat of a gait and anthemic vocal lures, the soaring clean delivery of Flockton a vivid and full temptation shadowed by the great growling brawling alongside him. It is another exceptional track on Chapters and a further example why it is impossible not to be excited by the band. The second of the pair fails to spark the same ardour found elsewhere though there is not much wrong with the song except a lack of an identity it can call its own. Musically the track is rife with craft and its skilful interpretation just not a fire starter.

The EP closes on a real and great surprise with a cover of the Rita Ora track R.I.P. Releasing a mental groan upon approaching Chapters as maybe many will before hearing it, doubt is soon dismissed by a rousing and thrilling beast of a song, the metallic makeover turning the track into a deliciously infectious and ear riling treat. It is impossible not to be joining in the chorus and raising an emotive fist to this new instinctive version. It is an added extra gem well worth its potent place.

Though at times Chapters finds a lack of originality, for the main it is an invigorating and inventive encounter which suggests the wholly unique voice of the band is not that far away. Road To Horizon should be watched very closely.

www.facebook.com/roadtohorizon

8/10

RingMaster 10/04/2013

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