Stoor – Self Titled

stoorJosef K meeting Wall Of Voodoo at the behest of Dead Kennedys with the rhythmic virulence and discord of The Fire Engines

No idea what is in the water over at Stereogram Recordings but this past twelve months has seen the label release a clutch of albums that simply ignite ears and connect with the imagination like no others. Amongst them have been encounters with bands such as St. Christopher Medal, The Filthy Tongues, and The Eastern Swell. Now adding to that adventurous collection of treats is the self-titled debut album from Dundee based outfit Stoor, a release which just might be the most impressive and ridiculously addictive of the lot.

The Stereogram Recordings offering is actually a full re-release of the band’s first album which was self-released on vinyl last year but sure to be the first real engagement for a great many with a quartet which rose up back in the first breaths of the nineties. Musically Stoor seem to embrace post punk/new wave sounds found in the couple of decades before their emergence, and though it is bordering on impossible to pin down their sound imagine Josef K meeting Wall Of Voodoo at the behest of Dead Kennedys with the rhythmic virulence and discord of The Fire Engines and the warped imagination of Pere Ubu in close attendance.

Centred around the off kilter invention of bassist/vocalist Stef Murray, drummer Scott McKinlay, and guitarist Ross Matheson with guitarist Davie Youngblood completing the current line-up, Stoor get straight into ears and psyche with album opener Secret World Of Cement. It is an instrumental which gets right into our already existing passion for post punk devilry, sparking the imagination with its cinematic urban soundscape. Hips and feet are swiftly indulging in its virulent Fire Engines hued strains as hooks and melodies tease and tantalise within something wonderfully akin to the most addictive sixties TV theme tunes.

It is a wonderful start quickly matched up by Liberator, a track just as rapid in its persuasion as spicy lures of guitar link up with the tenacious rhythmic bait laid down by McKinlay. The vocal tones of Murray attract like a mix of Jello Biafra and Pere Ubu’s Dave Thomas, expelling their earnest cries from within another seriously catchy stretch of invention before the brilliant Aye, No raises the ante. A fiercely seductive bass line invades first, strolling from the initial clash of sound to be quickly joined by equally salacious guitar hooks following the same route as Murray’s grooving. Like a pied piper the union draws the listener into an explosive crescendo, riffs and rhythms colliding before the temptation begins all over again with even greater strands of delicious discord involved. All the time Murray places a potent vocal grip on an already eager appetite, backed by the band within what is one gloriously repetitive and enthralling swagger of a song.

art_RingMasterReviewInfect Me steps forward next to keep the enslaving of ears tight, its Gang Of Four like rhythmic escapade chaining attention alone, the brooding basslines and stabs of guitar extra chains to trap attention and ardour. Bursts of raw rock ‘n’ roll only adds to the magnetism as too the distinctive and increasingly flavoursome vocals of Murray, here finding a Stan Ridgway flavour to his excellent theatre of voice. Between them Murray and McKinlay rhythmically have the passions chained up like Houdini, though no escape is possible especially as Matheson and Youngblood create a web of melodic intrigue and deranged drama.

Through the heavier almost muggy escape of Devil Rides Out, a song with a touch of Scars meets again Pere Ubu to it, and the pulsating psych rock infested instrumental of March Of The Molluscs, the album adds further diversity and creative theatre to escalate an already established habituation to its additive prowess, backing their success up with the punk rock of Frack where thoughts of bands like Swell Maps and television Personalities are sparked, though, as constantly across the release, Stoor conjure up proposals unique to their own senses entangling invention.

The calmer saunter of Open The Box comes next, its character a more stable affair but prone to Devo-esque twists and turns before making way to allow the psychedelically spiced Hold That Thought to serenade ears. To its warmer and gentler nature though, there is an underlying tempestuousness which channels its energy into a swinging post punk canter a la The Three Johns.

The bands new single Witchfinder General has ears and lust over excited next, its rhythmic romp alone an unshakeable grip with Murray’s bass swing a predacious seduction reinforced by the tangy weave of guitar and the eager dance of the vocals. Dark and mischievous, compelling and shadowy, the track is superb, a certain doorway into the album come its release though fair to say any track is a suitable invitation.

Going out as it came in with a mouth-watering, imagination stoking instrumental going by the name of Sure Beats Me, a piece which plays like B-52s engaged in carnal knowledge with The Shadows, the album leaves only an urgent urge to dive right back into its body of fun.

Stoor may have been around for a fair few years now but this is the moment they should be enveloped by the biggest spotlights, courtesy of an encounter which has to be considered as an album of the year contender.

Stoor the album is released October 28th on Stereogram Recordings digitally and on CD with the single Witchfinder General out on October 21st.

STOOR are supporting Brix Smith & The Extricated on Sunday 30th October 2016 and The Membranes on Friday 27th January 2017, both nights at Beat Generator in Dundee.

https://www.facebook.com/stoormusic/   http://www.stereogramrecordings.co.uk/artists/stoor/

Pete RingMaster 19/10/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Shit The Cow – The one with the devil

STC_RingMasterReview

The one with the devil is the fifth EP from “scrapyard rockers” Shit The Cow but our introduction to the Swedish quartet and boy are we kicking ourselves for that. The six track incitement is a furore of creative theatre and raw energy treating ears and imagination to an often ferocious and always compelling mix of alternative and hard rock with as forceful punk, stoner, and garage rock infusions.  Hindsight shows that it is a mix which has primarily fuelled the band’s previous exciting releases in their various characters of sound but is at a new pinnacle within this latest encounter.

From 2012 EP volume/cow, Stockholm based Shit The Cow has uncaged a sound which infests the imagination but as shown by our recent discovery of them, thanks to the band themselves, maybe not always awareness. Certainly subsequent EPs, Salt of the earth (2013), Rissna (2014), and 67p have drawn plaudits and a host of new fans but it might just be, with deserved luck, that it is The one with the devil which ignites real attention.

Produced by Ron Haven, The one with the devil swiftly grips ears and induces raw hunger with opener Warcow. At a few breaths over a minute in length, the song is a rampaging surge of infectious caustic punk pop; like a lustfully dirty blend of The Dickies and The Super Happy Fun Club, all fuzzy guitar and irresistible hooks driven by thumping rhythms. Vocalist/guitarist Peter Söderberg sits astride the surging drive of the track, his great vocals backed and surrounded by the guitar/bass enterprise of Daniel Kjellberg and Erik Rosenberg, the pair apparently sharing instruments across the EP. Short but ridiculously infectious, the song has ears and psyche enslaved in little time before the EP’s title track lays down its potent bait.

art_RingMasterReviewOne With The Devil has a slightly slower stride to its gait but a more imposing weight and tone as it as good as prowls the senses. A glorious hook within a superhero essence captures the imagination as swiftly as the magnetically firm beats of Robin Lindqvist court the instincts to rock ‘n’ roll. Like Eagles Of Death Metal meets Helldorado yet not, the song is pure rock alchemy, a primal solicitation of the passions snarling away with increasing potency

The following El Chupacabra has a similar template to its character, stalking ears as engaging vocals and imagination entangling grooves collude with nagging riffs and rapacious rhythms. Featuring the backing female vocal charm and beauty of someone apparently called Alex, the song is a tempestuous, almost volcanic fire of raw intensity and melodic seduction which tempts and insists on attention as repetitious beats and niggly riffs core the whole bewitching affair.

There is something familiar about next up The Villain, an essence we have not yet pinned down but only adds to the intrigue and enjoyment of the exciting encounter. Again a wealth of flavours and textures are woven into a song by Shit the Cow, those female vocals alongside Söderberg icing on another irresistible slice of multi-faceted rock ‘n’ roll.

The band whips up another punk infested gen with IGGY next, the track a stomping beast of insistent beats and antagonistic riffs aligned to a bass growl to drool over with band vocals which ignite the spirit and indeed the vocal chords. There is a Jello Biafra air to the song, more Lard than Dead Kennedys maybe but very tasty all the same though ultimately song and sound is little like anyone else’s.

The EP is closed by an alternative version of Warcow; a quite delicious and haunting seducing with Alex on vocals courted by a host of portentous sounds and melancholically enthralling keys. The song is quite wonderful, a stunning end to a riveting and exhilarating first listen, for us, to Shit The Cow, the source of a new musical lust we are sure we will not be alone in having.

The one with the devil is out now across most online stores and @ https://shitthecow.bandcamp.com/album/the-one-with-the-devil

http://www.shitthecow.com/   https://www.facebook.com/pages/Shitthecow/325694852733   https://twitter.com/shit_cow

Pete RingMaster 13/10/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Zebras -The City Of Sun

Zebras_RingMaster Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The City Of Sun is out now @ http://zebras.bandcamp.com/ digitally, on vinyl, and Ltd Ed CD.

https://www.facebook.com/zebraswisconsin

Pete RingMaster 07/10/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

Scanner – Splat

scanner_RingMaster Review

Seeding their own devilish riots in old school punk bred both sides of the Atlantic, Pennsylvanian rockers Scanner unleash their third album to keep the aggressive roar of nostalgic and organic punk rock snarling. There is plenty more essences to the thirteen tracks making up Splat, variety as keen as the attitude fuelling the release, but ultimately album and band is raw rock ‘n’ roll in heart and temptation.

Scanner was formed in 1979 by vocalist/bassist Joe Brady and guitarist/vocalist Junnie Fortney, the band name inspired by the David Cronenberg film Scanners after Brady read about it in a monster magazine. Pretty soon the band was stirring up attention and a loyal following throughout the Central Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Washington D.C. areas. Their sound embraces inspirations from 50’s rock and roll, 60’s hard rock and surf, and 70’s glam and punk, honing it into the band’s own horror/ punk rock, surf and garage punk exploits. 2012 saw the current line-up come together with the addition of drummer/vocalist Troy Alwine, with a year later the trio releasing debut album One Foot In The Grave, And More Pissed Than Ever. It was an acclaimed introduction to the band for a great many and confirmation of the qualities Scanner fans had been enthusing about for the previous pair of decades. Last year was marked by the release of Exploding Heads in Harrisburg – Live Recordings From 1982, a live album of old material as well as the Monsters Axes & Choppers EP from Brady’s other project, horror rockers Losers After Midnight.

With the Brady conceived and produced 45 band strong critically acclaimed benefit compilation album Assault & BATtery, which raised funds for Bat World Sanctuary, also on the CV for 2014, Scanner now set sights on the broadest attention yet with Splat, and as soon as opener Fist in the Air has ears gripped and emotions elevated the thought is that punk fans of all ages and eras need this encounter in their lives. The track quickly ensures the listener is following its title, its opening throaty bassline the lure into familiar yet refreshing punk riffs and sonic spicery. Attitude is ablaze as the plain but inviting tones of Brady incite lyrically and in expression, his bait an easy involvement within the more calm but forceful blend of crisp rhythms and raw riffs.

_0_SPLAT_Cover_RingMaster Review   The strong start is soon overshadowed by Just Like Bela, the band’s horror punk invention lining the predatory gait and design of the song. There is a healthy whiff of Misfits/Wednesday 13 to the encounter but its own character shines through, especially with the inventive mix of vocals and hard rock enterprise which frees itself. As it eclipsed its predecessor, so the track is outdone by the outstanding Living Life to the Emptiest. The third track has the edge and air of Dead Kennedys to its belligerent and anthemic confrontation, entwining it with great slithers of melodic acidity from Fortney’s guitar and punching it through with the raunchy bass and whipping beats of Brady and Alwine respectively.

A rapaciously commanding cover of The Angels’ Straight Jacket comes next, the song given a no frills make-over and emerging with a feel of The Saints to its richly satisfying punk ‘n’ roll, before Biker provides its own seventies inspired enticement. The song takes ears and thoughts right back into the breaking storm of punk rock, its DIY feel a bracing two minutes of raw endeavour and tenacity.

   Letter to the Government spills seventies glam and southern dirt rock revelry in its political attack within a bluesy entanglement of sound and enterprise whilst Running Riot sees Scanner take on the Cock Sparrer’s street punk classic to captivating success before haunting the psyche with Ghost Song. All three tracks have ears and emotions fully enlisted but it is the last of the trio which seduces the imagination and passions most. Its surf/psychobilly climate has echoes of The Meteors and Tiger Army to it but, as with all songs, variety is a vocal part, here punk and seventies garage rock bring extra juicy hues.

The Turbonegro meets Jello Biafra smelling Queen of the Stage has the body bouncing around next whilst a broad smile and further burst of pleasure is sparked by the band’s reworking of Bowie’s Suffragette City. The song has everything which you will have enjoyed in the original but roughed up and twisted around a bit, resulting in a great version to rival any other you may have come across.

Mischief and humour is as much a healthy asset as the flavours and invention of the Scanner sound and all give a fun time in Yeah We Suck, a round-up of ‘advice’ they and most bands will have gained at one time or another. That urge to have a ball continues in the album’s title track, an infectious brawl of virulence which is for the most instrumental but does have a lyrical bounty consisting of just its title being repeated with increasing relish. It, as most before it, has a claim for best song within Splat but the favourite spot gets grasped at the last moment by closing song Kaw-Liga. A country music song written by Hank Williams and Fred Rose, and covered by the likes of Johnny and the Hurricanes, Del Shannon, Roy Orbison, and The Residents over the years, Scanner turn it into a dark rock ‘n’ roll predator. Riffs and rhythms almost stalk the senses as the outstanding blaze of vocals ebb and flow across its sinister surf spiced landscape. It is only half the adventure though, the band breaking out into cow punk devilry too, switching between both provocative contagions throughout for one riveting and thrilling romp.

The US hailing Scanner might be an unknown secret right now but they hopefully and should not be for much longer as Splat trespasses on increasing numbers of ears for an increasing awareness. Go get some is our suggestion.

Splat is out now.

RingMaster 26/08/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more independent exploration check out http://www.zykotika.com/

No fear just imaginative provocation: an interview with Dale Crover of Melvins

melvins

Any real rock fan knows that the legendary Melvins never shy away from invention, exploration, and mischief within their continually impressive creativity and releases. Three decades have seen the Washington band ignite the senses and imagination as well as music itself with their one of a kind ingenuity, and the release of Everybody Loves Sausages presented yet another album to lift the emotions and provoke the senses. Consisting of cover songs from bands which the members of Melvins have a passion for themselves and featuring an array of guest vocalists the album is one of the biggest sparks to strike 2013. Intriguing to find out more about the album and its creation we had the pleasure of asking drummer Dale Crover about the release, particular songs, and some of those additional friends helping bring the album to life.

Hi Dale and many thanks for sharing your time to talk with us.

You have just released your excellent album Everybody Loves Sausages, a collection of cover tracks. Did the fact that the songs were not yours originally bring a different emotion and feeling compared to your previous releases as it’s unveiling to the world loomed?

We started recording cover song with the idea of releasing them as singles. It wasn’t until we had a bunch of songs done that we realized we had a decent albums worth of material. We didn’t treat this record any differently than any other release.

Did its recording also offer up a different type of fun just because they were songs which you had no involvement in the writing of?

We’ve always done cover songs since day one and we’ve always liked playing covers. Almost every record we’ve ever done has a cover song on it. If we’re going to do a cover, we try to own it like we wrote it. We either try to improve it or at least do it justice.

The time and attention given to each track and your interpretation suggests the songs and bands were ones which had a strong impact upon yourselves, is that the case and the reason for their choosing?

Well yeah, these are all songs by bands that we really dig!

Was there an extended debate within the band over chooses or the songs were relatively unanimously agreed on from the start?

No! We’re all in agreement here. We have pretty much the same musical tastes. I don’t know if Coady and Jared knew much about The Fugs, but they seemed like they were into it. That’s a band that has a pretty big influence on us. Listen to that song, and then our song Black Bock and maybe you’ll hear it.

In the choice of tracks was there any element of mischief, making choices to catch people off guard maybe?16315_10151432583720939_1671142432_n

We thought going from Venom’s War Head into Queen’s Best Friend would throw people for a loop. From totally aggro to I love you! It works perfectly! We weren’t trying to be ironic doing either of those songs though. We really do love the Queen song! It’s a great tune!

You are no strangers to doing cover songs as you said but how big a step did it feel making a full length album of them and did it offer experience or problems which your own compositions do not inspire?

In case you haven’t noticed by now, there’s nothing we’re afraid of doing. I’ve read reviewers say that we did a covers record because we have nothing left to say. Obviously these people haven’t been paying attention to what we’ve been doing. In a space of a year we put three releases by three different versions of the band, toured across Canada, did a record setting tour of the US, released a series of split 12″, toured Europe twice and now put this record out. I’m sure I’m probably forgetting about something as well.

The album also sees a wealth of your friends vocally adding their individual touch to many of the tracks, was it a concentrated decision before the start who you would bring in for what or did the tracks almost invite obvious choices for you?

Some of them we’re well planned. Mark Arm from Mudhoney doing Scientists for example, or Jello Biafra doing Roxy Music. I think we had a few different ideas for Jim Thirwell. He chose Bowie.

Did you give them precise directions to approach the songs especially vocally or let them run with the idea and ball? I ask as our favourite track on the album In Every Dream Home A Heartache, which sees Jello Biafra transforming the Bryan Ferry bred shadows in an organic almost improv like evolution before the ear.

We worked with these different people because we like what they do. We wouldn’t dare tell anyone what to do, or how to sing. I did however tell Clem Burke from Blondie that he was going to do a drum solo. He asked what type of solo to play. My only instructions were to “freak out”!

How long did the album take to make and was it all recorded in one studio or across varied stages with all the guests involved?

We did most of the tracking the winter before last, mostly at Sound Of Sirens studio. A few things were recorded elsewhere.

Is there any particular song or moment which lit your personal fires a little more intensely on the album than most?

Hmm, that’s hard to say. I like hearing the songs when they start to gel. Usually that happens in the overdub process, after I’m done with the basic structure of a song. That’s when I start to get ideas or hear parts in my head. That’s the moment for me where I feel the most creative and exited.

I have to ask about The Jam track Art School which features Tom Hazelmeyer on vocals with a great tongue in cheek cockney accent to song and the following skit end. Was it coincidental that his closing fun felt like a mischievous pop at the middle class background of the great band riding the supposed anarchy of the punk movement in their early days?

Less coincidental and more whiskey fuelled. The English are an easy to target to poke fun of.

180178_496925000938_3202216_nIs the album something you would look at doing again, have already ideas of songs to cover prompted thoughts in that direction?

We recorded way more than what’s on the record. For the vinyl we’re going to release each song as a single with unreleased B sides.

Melvins is an iconic band who has inspired so many bands across your influential years, what inspires your creativity most potently?

Everything that surrounds us.

Will you be taking the album or tracks on tour and if so will your friends on Everybody Loves Sausages be lured to make their part too?

I doubt it, but I would like to play some of those songs live.

What is next on your horizons as a band and individually?

We’re doing our 30 year anniversary tour of the US this summer. After that I’m not sure. Probably more of the same. Hopefully I’ll get to produce more records. Our engineer Toshi Kasai and myself produce bands under the name Deaf Nephews. We recently worked with the bands Qui and Federation X. Toshi has a studio now and we’re for hire to produce and perform on projects.

Once more a big thank you for sparing time for us, any last thoughts or temptations for the readers?

Yes, I know what the real meaning of life is, and its…

Read the review of Everybody Loves Sausages @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/04/29/melvins-everybody-loves-sausages/

http://themelvins.net/

The RingMaster Review 16/05/2013

 

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Zebras: Self Titled

Zebras

Though it came out midway through 2012 the self-titled album from sonic manipulators Zebras quite simply is an album you need to know about and hear. If like us you are just becoming aware of the band  then see this as the key to infernal rapture and if you already know the magnificence of the release than sit there nodding knowingly as we drool all over this review of one of the mightiest releases of last year.

Formed in 2007, the band from Madison consists of guitarist and vocalist Vincent Presley and synth player Lacey Smith as well as across its years featuring a mix of drummers. Musically the band is wonderfully indescribable merging the insidious aspects of punk, noise rock, post punk, doom, and industrial to name a few spices to their unique sonic infestation. Following on from their EP Parasitic Clones Under The Strong Arm Of The Robotic Machine, the new album is a two sided beast which consists of tracks recorded in 2011 on first side Impending Doom, with drummer Shane Hochstetler of Milwaukee band Call Me Lighting, and on the The Fate of a World Plagued By Soulless Shits side, tracks recorded in 2009 with Shawn Pierce on drums. The release is a breath taking collection of songs which shows the move in sound across the two years covered by the band and the giver of the richest rewards and pleasure.

The first quintet of tracks are those recorded in 2011 and are opened by the towering presence of The Dying Sea. Opening with coverthunderous beats and caustic guitar rubs the song is a brooding doomy weight loaded with the insidious tones of Presley. It is a venomous bruising encounter with a sludge thick energy which sucks the wind from the lungs and hope from the senses before later flailing the carcass with serpentine sonic lashings.

The stunning start is soon left in the wake of Mighty Bayonet, a snarling ravenous rampage of bulbous rhythms, harsh corrosive electronics, and psyche twisting riffs and guitar abrasion. It is a sprawling acidic aural licking with the vocals, a perpetual psychotic mix of Jello Biafra and Russell Toomey of Innercity Pirates/My Red Cell, a malevolent siren within the brief incessant furnace of intensity. In contrast the following Queeny Gloom Doom is a doom provoked arctic wrap of post punk discord bringing elements of Joy Division and Xmal Deutschland into the antagonistic dance of Alien Sex Fiend or Sex Gang Children. As compelling as it is exhausting the song is a darkly shadowed crawl over the senses and emotions with a deviant sexual whisper to its intimidating breath.

A Turd By Any Other Name and Black Cancer close off the first part of the release, both ingenious brawls of sonic intrusion and imaginative violence. The first is a tower of again greedy energy which rages like a hungry fire across the ear whilst the keys of Smith shoot flares of sonic irreverence and flesh spearing melodic weaponry out from within the engrossing wall of heavy aural malice. The other is a punk soaked slice of infection, a ferocious distorted mix of Dead Kennedys, Buzzcocks, and The Pixies which leaves a drooling grin on face and heart, though to be fair all the tracks on the album do achieve that with ease.

Stepping back a little in the evolution of the band the remaining sextet of songs are those from two years before the previous ones, not that you would know it in regard to quality and excellence. As soon as the best track on the release Field-Noise sets off its sonic alarm and the rampant thumping rhythms assault the ear the strongest rapture is fully engaged. Early Killing Joke fused with Mad Capsule Markets, The Melvins, and again Alien Sex Fiend, is the best way to describe the genius at play here, a moment of sheer brilliance and the best song heard in a long time.

Things are just as stunning through the songs Diablo Bianco with its blood thirsty rhythms and scattergun riffs, The Dirty Dice and its viral melodic wantonness and its devilishly discordant hooks, and Tension. The third of these is an acidulous burn of spiky vocals and sonics within a bedlamic presence of manic invention and sinister energy, oh and quite brilliant. The now entrenched treacherously seductive splendour is continued by the equally sensational Wiener Kids and the closing glory of The Serpent & The Pig, the former a riotous ball of mischief which incorporates all the goodness of Pere Ubu, early XTC, and Cardiacs in a twisted embrace and the latter an invidious bitch slap of bedlamic invention and tribal instinctiveness through the thoughts of one wicked set of minds.

It is the stunning end to a sensational album and one can only drool over what will come next from the band. Zebras have grabbed album of the year honours for 2012 with ease and the hearts of The Ringmaster Review.

Find out why by listening to future podcasts of The Bone Orchard.

http://zebras.bandcamp.com/

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Zebras/143884414675

RingMaster 03/01/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright