Colours of the blues: exploring King Colobus with vocalist/guitarist Stewart MacPherson

kc_RingMasterReview

2017 has started with a bang, certainly in regard to introductions to and debut releases from fresh and truly striking bands. One of those making the biggest impressive impact is UK rockers King Colobus. Recently their self-titled first EP was rebooted into national attention, a release to steal one of the lines in our own review providing a “four-track theatre of blues and alternative rock [which] trespassed and seduced the imagination and passions.”

With thanks to Garry at SaN PR we leapt on the chance to learn more about the EP and its creators with King Colobus vocalist/guitarist Stewart MacPherson also touching on their beginnings and other aspects of being in a band…

Hi, thanks for sharing time to talk with us.

Your bio says the band officially began in 2015 but I believe its origins and seeds began long before then. Tell us about its beginnings and lead up to stepping out as King Colobus.

The first ideas started in a 3 piece band called BIBLE JOHN AND THE REPTILES, which included me (Stewart), GRIFTER bassist Phil Harris and former BROTHERHOOD OF THE LAKE drummer Rich Robinson. We spent months rehearsing and just before taking things live, Rich started to have back problems. The whole thing capitulated until James Bailes moved back to the South West. He and I had jammed out demos and worked together on various projects when we both lived in London. We got together and started to share ideas that we thought really deserved a life…and so KING COLOBUS was born.

The re-location to Devon of yourself and James from London seems to have been one of the sparks to the birth of King Colobus. Was that just coincidence or there was something you found down there, apart from meeting Gavin and Simon, which instigated the band?

The main thing that changed for both James and I was fatherhood. We both wanted our kids to grow up in a better environment and having both come from the South West, I guess this felt like the best option. There is also a great opportunity down here to create an alternative music scene. It has been blighted for far too long with tribute bands and folk music and venues like THE JUNCTION are starting to put alternative music firmly on the map again. There’s a lot of talent down here, but it just needs to get its fair share of the opportunities.

kc2_RingMasterReviewIs there a specific meaning or inspiration to the band’s name?

A King Colobus is a monkey that changes colour when coming out of childhood. I found this intriguing.

It is fair to say that your sound is a tapestry woven from a variety of musical textures and styles. How would you describe it to newcomers?

I would say that it is very much rooted to blues, with a heavy dose of trucker rock and grunge. There are so many pleasant, yet sometimes surprising comments we get from people regarding what they can hear in us, we encourage you to listen and draw your own conclusions!

Is there any particular inspiration you would say has helped shape your music as a band and individually?

I think if you heard 3 or 4 of our tracks, you would hear elements of Sabbath, Alice in Chains, Queens of the Stone Age, Clutch, Rage Against The Machine, Soundgarden, Interpol, and Johnny Cash…but to name a few. The likes of Bowie, Radiohead, and Morrissey have always provided a lot of lyrical inspiration, as they tend to tell stories that interest and make you dig a bit deeper into what is being said.

You recently re-released your self-titled EP to swift acclaim it has to be said. How did you approach its uncaging this time around compared to its first outing?

When it was first released, we did it just so that people could have something to take home at gigs if they liked us. After a while, it started to get a great response and people started getting in touch to order it online. It was at this point where we thought that it should be given broader exposure.

Can you personally put your finger on why it has caught the imagination of press and fans alike with great force?king-colobus-promo-shot_RingMasterReview

I think PR has a lot to do with it! You can have the best EP in the world, but it needs PR to get heard…then it needs to sound good for people to talk about it!

As broad as its songs in many ways are in sound there is an intimacy at the heart of the EP which suggests certainly lyrically personal experiences provides their seeds. Where do you draw inspiration most often for your tracks?

Everything I sing about is personal, or it is based upon something I know about. Sometimes looking at personal experiences of those who are closest to me provides for a better story. There’s no point in talking about California if you get me.

How does the songwriting predominantly work within the band?

Most songs are written acoustically at first. I perform solo acoustic gigs around the South West and ‘test’ things out before approaching the band with the idea. It’s a great way to test out the dynamics of a song, without the frills. I think it also helps us all to look at each track from a different perspective, without some massive riff dominating the landscape.

Can you give us some background to the tracks within the EP and their themes? king-colobus-cover-artwork_RingMasterReview

GET UP was actually written around the time of the 2012 Olympics. I lived in Hackney Wick at the time, so it was right on my doorstep. The track was based on the idea of it being used for Olympic Games footage. Needless to say, it didn’t, but it still made for a good track!

The self-titled KING COLOBUS track is based on my teenage years in Plymouth, so it’s a very personal outlook on my experiences throughout the nineties.

TITS AND TEETH is generally about how disposable the music industry has become and how we find ourselves absorbed by TV judging panels, who apparently know what they are doing.

WAIT is borne from a political platform. We keep on telling ourselves that if we vote a different way, things are going to change for the better. We need to believe this to keep going, but it’s far from the truth.

Live you have shared stages with the likes of with Sea Sick Steve, Band Of Skulls, Crazy Arm, and one of our favourites De Staat and that alone shows the diverse appeal of your sound. What is it you think about the band in sound and live which tempts such an array of artists and their fans into the world of King Colobus?

I think good music will always be just that and hopefully we have gained some new fans through doing our best to put on a good show when we play live. All of these bands are genuine, as are we.

Talking of Sea Sick Steve, the last time we saw him highlighted the trend it seems of people going to shows not so much to watch the artist but to socialise, certainly at higher profile events and venues. The sound of chatting often intruded on the music. If you have come across this, how as a band do you mentally deal with it on stage?

I think it’s our job to try and capture the audience’s attention. If we don’t, we need to do something about that! Sea Sick Steve was a really nice guy to talk to and he gave us so much great advice; I wish I brought a notepad! At the end of the day, you are in a bubble when you are in a band, so audience chatter really doesn’t bother me if it happens…but it rarely does!

What is next for King Colobus live and release wise?

We are just starting to branch out of the South West, as we are really keen to get involved in other musical pockets around the country. We’ve been busy scheduling this, as well as festival dates. As we deal with this ourselves, it is quite challenging. We also go into the studio again this Summer to record another 4 track EP, so this will be out way before the end of the year.

Big thanks again for talking with us. Anything you would like to add?

If there are any towns/cities which would like to see King Colobus, let us know!

Check out our review of the debut King Colobus EP @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2017/02/07/king-colobus-self-titled-ep/

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

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Jingo – Make Some Money, Buy Some Love

jingo_RingMasterReview

March 11th sees the eagerly anticipated second album from British rock band Jingo and it is very easy to say that it does not let expectations, bred from the band’s previous impressive releases, down. The ten tracks making up Make Some Money, Buy Some Love are the band’s most eclectic bunch yet, at times in an understated way with closer attention revealing the new myriad of flavours and broad imagination bringing them to life. Just as importantly, it is another mesmerising collection of songs feeding in us and their growing wealth of fans an already eager appetite for the band’s invention and carrying the potential to excite another hungry wave of newcomers to the world of Jingo.

Formed by husband and wife, guitarist/vocalist Jack and vocalist/keyboardist/guitarist Katie Buckett, Jingo seem to have made a strong impact with every move since Jingo played its debut live show was supporting Blur’s Graham Coxon. Through a clutch of captivating singles, creatively provocative EPs, and striking debut album The Art Of Loving of 2014, as well as a live presence seeing the London based band take their imagination and craft across the UK and over to the US, France, Germany, and Belgium, Jingo has enticed rich interest and fan support which has through a highly successful pre-order campaign enabled the band to release Make Some Money, Buy Some Love on CD and vinyl as well as digitally.

With its line-up completed by the invention of Nima Safai, Michael Hussain, and Kelly Lenahan, Jingo has from day one never been easy to pigeonhole. They are generally tagged as alternative rock and have found themselves compared to the varied likes of Portishead, The Magic Numbers, Not Blood Paint, Fleetwood Mac, Interpol, and Jess & the Ancient Ones along the way. As Make Some Money, Buy Some Love again proves Jingo spins broad tapestries which explore diversity with zeal to match their eagerly creative imagination.

art_RingMasterReviewRecorded in New York with producer Kahan James, and mastered by Kevin Blackler (Raconteurs, RHCP etc.), Make Some Money, Buy Some Love opens up with Lifer, the alluring tones of Katie cradled by melodic coaxing as the bass strolls with a controlled but carefree grace. Crisp beats add to the enticement instantly flirting with ears, the song’s underlying funkiness infesting its gait and the listener as pop catchiness and lyrical romancing tempt. Drama is never far from a Jingo twist and turn, its boldest attraction lining Katie’s vocal prowess especially here in a gem of an introduction.

All of the track’s qualities and more emerge in the following Sirens and Vices, Its rhythmic bait quickly infecting feet as melody woven grooves seize hips. Both elements add to the flirtatious nature of the song, impassioned vocals and raw, fiery textures growing in the blend of smouldering and raucous seduction. Grabbing ears and imagination from the first second, it only tightens its grip second by second squeezing lustful responses out before making way for the pop revelry of Money. It is instinctive catchiness with a steely backbone and bold attitude though, dancing persistently and mischievously as the song teases with playful coquetry.

From a busy bedlam Gaia emerges with its own melodic grace and emotive eloquence next, Katie joined by the equally potent tones of Jack as keys and guitars paint their own poetic picture over a more forceful rhythmic spine. It is pure magnetism with a just unveiled eye catching video to match.

Never Love Again also has little trouble winning attention and pleasure as its evocative melodies and warmly invasive essences hug captivating vocals. The song never quite reaches the heights of its predecessors but never lacks a second of enjoyable adventure before the outstanding Death Counts takes over. The track is nothing less than melancholic beauty becoming more exotic, almost sinister, and relentlessly beguiling with each passing seduction of passion fuelled notes and vocal fascination.

The body is back jumping around with Let’s Be Friends next; its noir lit drama and tenacious rhythmic dexterity enough alone to enslave the imagination. Katie is like a devious puppeteer in the midst of the brew of fire bred grooves, agitated beats, and frequently concussive energy; her lures as inescapable as the gloriously tempestuous textures making up another mighty highlight within Make Some Money, Buy Some Love.

Last year’s sensational single Sweet Anne follows, Katie and Jack united in crooning temptation as initially the song gently grows in ears. Soon it is in full swing with boisterous rhythms skirting the tangy funk infused hooks and lecherous grooves uniting and barging against each other. It too has an irresistible tempest like texture to its body but equally melodic calm makes a compelling persuasion in between the song’s moments of vociferous and explosive carnival like devilry.

The album is completed by firstly the melodic romance and harmonic charm of Supersymmetry, one simply bewitching encounter with fire in its heart and finally by the pop rock seducing of The Shell. Both tracks solicit emotions and body to get involved in quick time and each leave only a want for more, the perpetual hunger which seems to come with every Jingo encounter.

For Make Some Money, Buy Some Love, Jingo has honed their sound into something as diverse and bold as ever but exploring both with a more seamlessly and easily flowing touch; the result being another Jingo moment which makes the world a better place.

Make Some Money, Buy Some Love is released March 11th

http://jingomusic.com/   https://www.facebook.com/jingomusic/   https://twitter.com/JingoMusic

Pete RingMaster 22/02/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

King Colobus – Self Titled EP

king-colobus-promo-shot_RingMasterReview

There are times when something just clicks with ears and imagination, instincts instantly seizing the day and directing responses with almost lustful energy. That is what happened to The RR when facing the self-titled debut EP from UK rockers King Colobus. From virtually its first breath on the opening listen, the four-track theatre of blues and alternative rock trespassed and seduced the imagination and passions. It is pure drama, creative adventure as bold and ballsy as it is imaginatively intricate and sinisterly persuasive.

With its seeds sown in 2013, King Colobus officially stepped forward two years later. Vocalist/guitarist Stewart MacPherson and bassist James Bailes had already collaborated on ideas and songs for a future project when independently they both relocated to Devon. There they linked up with Plymouth based guitarist Gavin Huck and drummer Simon Marsh, uniting as King Colobus.

There is no escaping inspirations found in the likes of Queens Of The Stone Age, Soundgarden, Johnny Cash, and Interpol in the band’s sound but equally they have a personality and character to their music and songwriting which is sure to intrigue fans of others like Japanese Fighting Fish, Damn Vandals, and Inca Babies. There is uniqueness to their sound though which is most vocal and suggests why the quartet has already earned a potent live reputation whilst taking in shows supporting artists such as Sea Sick Steve, Band Of Skulls, De Staat, and Crazy Arm.

king-colobus-cover-artwork_RingMasterReviewRe-released this past week, the first King Colobus EP is a majestic introduction to the band and needs mere seconds to grip attention and appetite through opener Get Up. From its initial dark minatory melody, its texture wiry and tone ominous yet pure enticement, the track bounds in with swinging rhythms and a growling bassline supported by just as primal riffs. MacPherson instantly engages and recruits already persuaded ears, the song itself bluesy in air but pure virulent rock ‘n’ roll with an underlying punk snarl. It is a controlled web though, teasing and taunting rather than assaulting and only increasing its grip as a shimmer of guitar around alluring vocals breaks the tenacious trespass before breaking into an even bolder compelling incitement.

It is a stunning start swiftly reinforced by the song King Colobus, it too opening with a juicy lure before uncaging its heavy blues rock saunter. Bass and vocals stand individual in tone but equal in temptation as beats jab with relish at the senses, the song’s flames waiting to erupt in a sizzling blaze before settling down again until further incendiary expulsions throughout its compelling body. Showing an array of flavours making up their sound, at times the track reminds thoughts of Josh Homme and co and indeed The Doors but again the result is individual to the foursome.

Tits and Teeth steals its fine share of the passions next, its dark vaudevillian devilry carrying an air of sadly demised circus punks The Shanklin Freak Show, further evidence of the host of spices in the King Colobus invention. The song as good as stalks its victim but relishing its creative invasion of ears and imagination with energy eager to consume its prey whilst, with virulent catchiness, recruiting their participation.

Final track Wait immediately reminds of nineties band Skyscraper, having their instinctive rock ‘n’ roll infectiousness and tenacity to command attention; invention and imagination blossoming in its success. Grooves and hooks tangle the senses as rhythms ground out an easily given submission to their insistent prowess, vocals leading it all with their own rousing presence.

It is a glorious end to a must hear release not only bringing King Colobus to wider attention for the first time but suggesting there is really something major brewing down on the south coast.

The King Colobus EP is out now through all stores.

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

Pete RingMaster 07/02/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Astral Cloud Ashes – Too Close to the Noise Floor

Album Art_RingMasterReview

With three attention grabbing and imagination sparking singles under the belt, Astral Cloud Ashes unveil debut album Too Close to the Noise Floor. It is a collection of songs which arouse and serenade the senses, often simultaneously as the project’s mesmeric songwriting and emotive melodic elegance seduces.

Astral Cloud Ashes is the new project of Jersey bred songwriter/musician Antony Walker, previously better known as one half of the Channel Islands hailing Select All Delete Save As. Having already created music under the name ALPA, amongst other monikers, Walker quickly sparked attention to his latest project last year with first single Too Close To The Noise Floor, the now title track to the new album. Primarily a solo project but with backing vocalist Jason Neil a permanent fixture in the band, Astral Cloud Ashes draws on inspirations ranging from The Cure, Bloc Party, Interpol, At the Drive In, Mars Volta, and Say Anything as well as flavours bred in indie and alternative rock/pop. Equally though, the album shows bold ventures into more progressive and post rock pastures without losing the instinctive catchiness and melodic romancing found in those earlier propositions.

Mixed across its tracks by Gareth [The Fold], Edd HartwellPaul Miles, Daniel Szanto,  and Walker himself, with the mastering undertaken by Tim Turan, Too Close to the Noise Floor opens with The Man I Had To Become. Instantly a temptation of bubbling guitar captures ears, the coaxing quickly joined by a wave of rhythmic jabbing and a thicker weave of melodic guitar and harmonious vocals. It is a gentle yet boisterous affair easily whipping up the imagination and spirit with Walker’s distinctive tones the mellow flame within a more combustible web of enterprise. It is a great mix which marked those early singles but already seems to have blossomed within the album into a more adventurous and confident entangling of the listener.

The great start is followed by the album’s title track, Too Close to the Noise Floor showing a rawer, more imposing energy as it takes the imagination into the intimacy and adventure of cosmonautics but equally involves “family values and unwanted first-world paranoia” in its energetically hugged theme. Punching its rhythmic and contagious essences home, it also carries a hazy climate to its atmosphere with the bass a deliciously throaty lure amongst nothing but virulent temptation. Embracing a XTC feel and Melvins like revelry, the track has body and appetite eagerly involved in swift time.

Grateful for the Ghost In Our House steps forward next and as the last track showed a more formidable presence to its predecessor, this song reveals a fiercer predation to its opening and subsequent invention within another wash of suggestive melodies and smouldering dynamics. Though not in the actual sound, it is easy to see where an influence of The Cure comes into play, Walker creating an emotional and musical drama which has the senses riding a roller coaster.

Recent single Get Real follows, strolling along with the ever present catchiness which Walker conjures with seeming ease across every track. Guitars pop and bubble throughout the song as rhythmic tenacity creating an anthemic frame to the vocal and melodic ingenuity before Flashback takes over. A calmer and mellower engagement but even more emotively forceful, the song caresses ears with a lone guitar melody before being joined by a heavily shadowed bassline aligned to a broader floating melodic enterprise. Vocally, Walker provides an introspective narrative as provocative as the poetic almost volcanic fuzziness of his guitar. Adding another individual shade and hue to the album, the track shows the broader landscape of Walker’s songwriting and an intimacy, whether personal or observational, which fuels his words.

With drummer Max Saidi guesting, Avant Blah! strolls boldly in next, its lo-fi pop ‘n’ roll blending Weezer infection with Pavement-esque invention while its successor Lites almost lumbers into view in comparison with the brooding bass and irritable riffs to the fore. In all songs there is a great repetitious quality brewed by Walker, here almost coming over drone like to great effect around the solemn melody and the similarly melancholic vocals. As it expands though, a wave of rich textures and rousing energies flood the song, returning throughout the low-key yet thickly enjoyable, almost imposing encounter.

The excellent This Once Great Place has an air of The Cure again with its atmospheric landscape, reminding of the A Forest/Pornography era of the trio across its own captivating journey before the equally impressive Housing in a Bubble makes a grab for best track with its more punkish/grungy roar of sound. Everything about it has a snarl not heard on the album previously; revealing more of the diversity the release carries whilst stirring up a fresh greed in ears and pleasure.

Our Holiday brings Too Close to the Noise Floor to a sombre and enthralling close, the track initially a dark sigh but soon building its own catchy canter loaded with spiky hooks and spicy melodies around another slightly foreboding and compelling bassline. Once more thoughts of Robert Smith and co are sparked but again as a flavour in something individual to Astral Cloud Ashes. It is a riveting end to a striking and increasingly impressive first album from Walker.

The clues to the project’s potential were there in its first trio of singles, and now confirmed and partly realised by Too Close to the Noise Floor. The feeling is that there is plenty more to come and to be explored within that promise, and going by the strength of this thoroughly enjoyable offering, we are all in for many treats ahead.

Too Close to the Noise Floor is released July 11th @ http://apple.co/1RFvoL8

https://www.facebook.com/astralcloudashes   https://astralcloudashes.bandcamp.com/   https://twitter.com/AstralCloudAsh

Pete RingMaster 08/07/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Astral Cloud Ashes – Flashback

Flashback (artwork)_RingMasterReview

Having made a strong and captivating introduction to itself with the single Too Close To The Noise Floor, the Channel Islands hailing Astral Cloud Ashes are about to follow up that success with Flashback. Providing another potent teaser to a forthcoming debut album, the new single also reveals another dynamic and colour to the project’s songwriting and sound. Whereas its predecessor was a lively stroll of infectious enterprise and energy, Flashback is a calmer and mellower emotive engagement and just as magnetic.

Astral Cloud Ashes is the new project from Antony Walker, one half of the duo Select All Delete Save As which especially earned deserved acclaimed with their album Ultra Cultura in 2014. Walker has been exploring his own solo creativity for a while, often under the name ALPA, amongst other monikers, but as quickly suggested by his first single as Astral Cloud Ashes, this new venture is one with the potential to match and even eclipse the previously mentioned ‘day job’ band. Sound wise Walker draws on inspirations from the likes of The Cure, Bloc Party, Interpol, At the Drive In, Mars Volta, and Say Anything for an indie/pop/rock persuasion, presumably self-tagged, as future-core.

Flashback caresses ears with a lone melody initially before the guitar is swiftly joined by a heavily shadowed bassline and floating melodic enterprise. At the same time, Walker provides an introspective narrative as gently provocative and ear pleasing as the harmonic embrace of sound around it. Guitar jangles, crisp beats, and emotive toning subsequently add to the web of alluring textures building the captivating proposal; a song wearing varying shades of The Lightning Seeds, Pavement, and Dinosaur Jr. to its melodic and evocative charm.

The track is a warm and fascinating encounter showing, as suggested earlier, another aspect to the band and offering another reason to keep an eager ear open for the first Astral Cloud Ashes album later this year.

Flashback is released May 4th across all major online distributors.

https://www.facebook.com/astralcloudashes/

Pete RingMaster 29/04/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Seprona – Trap Door

Seprona_RingMaster Review

Emerging in 2014, British indie pop/rock band Seprona is proving to be one of the new breed of bands lighting up the Liverpool music scene. Certainly they are one of the eagerly talked about and recommended propositions thanks to songs like new single Trap Door. A lively melodic romancing of ears with a catchiness to take care of the physical side of persuasion, the track is a broader invitation focusing on national ears to back up the fine live reputation already earned.

Initially locking themselves away in an abandoned pub on the outskirts of Liverpool city centre where they practised and honed their sound in conjunction with a prolific writing of songs, Seprona soon made their first step and subsequently mark on the local live scene. Since then they have ignited numerous venues like Sound City last May where they played with the likes of The Flaming Lips, The Vaccines, and Belle & Sebastian and at festivals such as FestEVOL alongside Serpent Power and Dave McCabe & the Ramifications. Musically inspirations from the likes of Arctic Monkeys, The Black Keys, Interpol, and Radiohead into a sound, go into their sound, spices which, going by the new single alone, nurtures an individualism which is also instantly ear friendly.

artwork_RingMaster ReviewNow in a development deal with Rooftop Records, a label owned by Parr Street Recording Studio’s Chris Taylor, which gives Seprona access to recording time as well as valuable mentoring, the band is ready to whip up more attention with Trap Door. A crystalline melody erupts around a pulse of beats first to entice ears, a coaxing soon enhanced as a brief cinematic sample emerges alongside the throbbing groan of Tom Larkin’s bass. Within another breath, the potent tones of Daniel Badger lay invitingly upon the melodic veining spreading across the song, his and fellow guitarist Sammy Issa’s poetic enterprise a gentle but potent suggestiveness for the imagination and emotions to embrace.

As boisterously mellow as it is, the song also has an infectiousness which is impossible to ignore. It is perpetual bait which is only highlighted further by the great framing rhythms of drummer Joe Grove, and with everything combined, plays its part in a weave of sound which, even as brief as the song is at under three minutes, leaves a lingering imprint.

Enthralled by the tantalising touch of Trap Door it is fair to say that we, as many more, are very much looking forward to hearing more from Seprona, something you cannot say about every embrace of sound you meet.

Trap Door is out now via Rooftop Records from iTunes and other online stores.

https://www.facebook.com/seprona/   https://twitter.com/SepronaMusic

Pete RingMaster 26/02/2016

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Media Stres – E.V.I.L. II

Photo by Lucija Obadić

Photo by Lucija Obadić

Media Stres is an alternative rock band from Croatia which has already made some potent nudges on ears with their previous releases but now offers their biggest incitement on the broadest attention with new EP E.V.I.L. II. The five track release is the continuation of debut album E.V.I.L. (e-Virus Influenced Love), an encounter released in two parts with its second revealing the fulfilment and more of the potential fuelling earlier propositions.

Hailing from Cakovec, Media Stres emerged in 2012 drawing on inspirations from the likes of Biffy Clyro, Placebo, Muse, Royal Blood, and Punčke for their imaginative weave of sound ranging from alternative and progressive rock to post-punk and dirtier hues. Demo EP Fear and Panic was released in 2013 as the band unleashed their live presence and hunger which has since seen them play over sixty shows in Croatia as well as in countries such as Serbia, Hungary, Slovenia, Austria, and France. The first well-received part of the album, E.V.I.L. was unveiled in the December of 2014, an introduction for a great many to the band which quickly marked out Media Stres as a prospect to keep a close ear upon. Now the trio of guitarist/vocalist Karlo Komorski, drummer/backing vocalist Matej Obadić, and bassist Aleksandar Hutinec complete their first full-length with E.V.I.L. II, whilst setting down a new plateau to their adventure and invention, not forgetting compelling sound.

AlbumCover2_RingMaster ReviewWhereas its predecessor was themed by a narrative concerned with the impact of technology on society and how corrupt that society became with said technology, E.V.I.L. II is the exploration of people living in the shadow of two super states and having to decide to which of the two they belong. It opens up with the scene setting Nations and instantly bold rhythms from Obadić provide an anthemic lead into the waiting narrative, the gnarly tone of Hutinec’s bass quickly adds its suggestive tempting to the coaxing too. In no time the equally dramatic tempting of Komorski’s guitar stirs up song and air, providing a sonic breeze around the hypnotic lure of increasingly pungent rhythms. It is thick captivation crowding ears and appetite, one blossoming further as Komorski unveils the song’s tale with his potent vocals as the song bristles and feistily simmers with an essence of Muse and at times something slightly Manic Street Preachers like.

The outstanding start slips into the just as enthralling and quickly addictive Right or Wrong. Making a more reserved but no less gripping entrance with bass and percussive jabs early bait, the track is soon entangled in the sonic and melodic enterprise of guitar and a spicing which plays in many ways like a mix of Fatima Mansions and Interpol. The moment when the protagonists in the album’s story have to choose their homes, the track paints the drama of the situation with a fiery blend of contrasting textures and intimidating shadows which line every shaft of melodic light and infectious flume within the intensive oppression involved. A progressively lit slice of contagious rock, the excellent track is matched in success and drama by the grungier tones of Consolation and its Bowie-esque colouring to another rhythmically and sonically dynamic incitement. Even with its rousing rock ‘n’ roll, the song’s emotion is dark and fuelled by a loss of hope again enjoyably presented by the vocal expression and strength of Komorski whilst bound in the band’s provocative endeavours.

The break out of world war is the canvas for End Times, an apocalypse sound-tracked by the song’s lively canter with melancholic melodies and, as ever, powerfully alluring vocals and highly persuasive rhythms. The song is persistently boisterous in its gait, its swing a perfect temper and spark to the solemn weave of words and emotions cast in something akin to The Smiths and Teardrop Explodes with again that Fatima Mansions like creative spicing involved.

Hope with its brooding climate spawned from the initial magnetic groan of bass completes tale and release. Shadows again encroach alongside the scything strikes of guitar and rhythmic rumblings whilst a solemnity coats the sultry melodic tendrils veining the rebuild of a desolated land and an increasingly receptive imagination to the invention and evocative theatre of Media Stres. The track is superb, matching all that came before and leaving a lingering compulsion for ears and thoughts to keep E.V.I.L. II alone a persistent companion.

The first EP of E.V.I.L. was an impressive and resourceful adventure but its successor simply overshadows it in every aspect. Media Stres may still be a secret yet to be discovered by a great many but expectations and hopes are that the band is set to receive the full attention and support their striking invention and music undoubtedly deserves.

E.V.I.L. II is available now @ https://mediastres.bandcamp.com/album/e-v-i-l-part-2

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Pete RingMaster 09/02/2016

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