Arcade Messiah – Hell By Default

After two years of pretty much silence since the release of previous release, Trilogy, Irish musician John Bassett has returned with a new slice of Arcade Messiah temptation. Hell By Default is that offering, the declaration of a new captivating breath to his sound and songwriting and an ear grabbing EP making a rather potent teaser to a new album in the works.

Already renowned before Arcade Messiah as the frontman/songwriter of KingBathmat, Bassett himself says that ‘After a couple of very difficult years, I’ve finally managed to get back to making music, the new Arcade Messiah sound is more song focused with vocals…” That was the first surprise as previously the Sligo based songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/producer’s project has been an instrumental adventure and news which immediately intensified the intrigue as fruitful experiences with KingBathmat and SΔCRED ΔPE as well as an acoustic album under his own name proved vocals was another potent string to Bassett’s creative bow.

Equally there is a new hue to the Arcade Messiah sound, a lighter multi-flavoured flume of melodic imagination and contagious hookery which comes with something of a KingBathmat lining but one which colludes with and enhances rather than defuses the established progressive shadow haunted explorations of Bassett’s project. Its first three albums and their union as Trilogy in 2017 provided a cathartic venture for the imagination within a kaleidoscope of suggestive sounds for ears. Hell By Default is no different yet with its broader palette of enterprise is a bold new trail of exploration for Arcade Messiah.

The EP opens with its title track, a song taken from that new and fourth album planned for release later in the year. Hell By Default rises on a siren sonic call, a lure within which a teasing melodic hook soon beckons and the tones of Bassett coax. With every note and second, the song gently but firmly accelerates its urgency and temptation, soon hitting a keen stroll soaked in drama and fiery intensity. Rock and metal essences blend in the post rock nurtured flames which boldly consume and ignite upon the senses, dark almost rapacious tints soaking the creative trespass swiftly igniting imagination and appetite. It all unites for a thickly magnetic proposition and a greedy devouring of the return of Arcade Messiah.

The following Death X-Ray strolls in with a calmer and lighter character and touch, one fuelled by an instinctive tempting and organic catchiness which instantly gripped attention. As melodic infectiousness, vocal intimacy, and rhythmic persuasion continue to flourish, the track blossomed with greater radiance. Even so a shadowy courting to the melodic radiance and emotive heart on offer brings an edge and drama which only highlights the nagging prowess of hooks and grooved melodies, the result another track which only compelled pleasure and attention.

Hell By Default concludes with its instrumental version, a piece of creative inference which led thoughts to a different adventure to that highlighted by the words of Bassett in the opener and that is another attribute proven to its creator’s craft, songs can have a dual aspect and has the imagination constantly conjuring.

It has been a perpetual pleasure for us to engage in any Arcade Messiah encounter so far and the new EP only repeats that experience though through it there is a feeling that that new album could be the biggest thrill of all.

Hell By Default is available now @ https://arcademessiah.bandcamp.com/album/hell-by-default as a name your price download.

https://www.facebook.com/arcademessiah

Pete RingMaster 09/08/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Ape Rising – Self Titled

It is hard to believe that it is five years and a few months ago that we were tantalised and hooked on the melodic dexterity and acoustic mischief of The Radioactive Grandma and their debut album, the fact that numerous of its tracks from it are still a regular part of our intimate listening for pleasure moments. Ready to re-energise that playlist, the outfit has returned with a new offering to grip ears and seduce the imagination.

It is not quite as simple as that though. Firstly the Co Cavan and Maynooth hailing band is now called Ape Rising and where once a trio it is now a tenaciously inventive quintet. Band originals in vocalist/guitarists Johno Leader and Peter Donohue are still there leading the way in melodic enterprise and lyrical suggestiveness but now joined by keyboardist Peter Denton, drummer Fran Mc Donnell, and bassist Jimmy Deface who is/was also one half of the excellent duo Juggling Wolves alongside Leader. Whether it was the need to recruit new members or the evolution of their sound which inspired the new moniker, or as hinted at elsewhere a dubious porn site taking their previous domain name, it certainly comes with a fresh wind of invention and a broader array of sound with the outfit; a blend simply lighting up their new self-titled treat.

Their acoustic prowess is still in evidence but embraced by a new indie/progressive/math rock venture which truly refuses to sit in any camp but embraces plenty of styles and flavours within its retro kissed synth inspired adventure. To say it is magnetic from start to finish does not do the increasing irresistibility of the album justice. It swiftly gets under the skin and engagingly niggles away whether with or without its company. It all starts with In Their Masses, the song rising from an initial ignition sparking sample in a melodic haze before guitars begin weaving their suggestive enterprise around the vocal prowess of Leader and the assisting tones of Donohue and band. Perpetually blossoming second by second as melodies and harmonies cluster, a seventies synth essence brings its flowing colours to the creative canvas. It is just one of the emerging traits though, a raw alternative growl having its moment in voice and sound too before things settle back into the track’s gentler yet still fiery seduction.

The song is pure temptation sparking things off and setting the heart of the release in fine style before being eclipsed by the following Oddysee. Straight away a great nagging hook is at work, its touch part celestial part espionage like resembling one of the teasing attributes of those classic sixties/seventies spy/sci-fi TV show themes. From its intrigue, a strolling body of infectious energy and endeavour surges, spun by guitar and keys as rhythms dance boisterously around zeal fuelled vocals. There is theatre in its nature, adventure in its heart; a combination with individually cast bold invention unites to simply hit the spot.

There is a bit of early Jimmy Eat World to next up King Of The Universe, Denton’ s keys bubbling with that ever present seventies  revelry alongside the irresistible acoustic craft of the guitars. Incessantly catchy to feet, neck muscles, and appetite, the song whisks the imagination away into its own climate of warm temptation; a plateau frequented just as captivatingly by Divide where imagining Young Knives and KingBathmat fused together gives an idea of the enticing progressive hug of the song and its graceful voice.

Keeping Me Away is a slice of indie rock ‘n’ pop which has the body bouncing with just its first eager strum, and swinging by the time keys swarm poetically across high-spirited rhythms.  Of all the songs within the album, this has the boldest Radioactive Grandma feel to its swinging body but it comes with the organic infectiousness which made eighties outfit The Woodentops so glorious, and now adds the same addictive quality to Ape Rising.

The calmer reflection of Medicine Part 1 shares a poetic suasion which reminds of songwriter/composer/musician John Bassett while Medicine Part 2 loads all of its predecessor’s assets into its own rousing sortie on ears and imagination, at times bewitching like a hybrid of Yes and Voyager. Numerous tracks make a play for best honours but this always stands at the front of the pack with every listen.

It is probably fair to say that To Daze The Day I borrows something of Juggling Wolves for its emotive canter but a stroll which bubbles with an energy which borders on raucous as keen invention simply lights up ears and the passions with an unrelenting imagination.

New single, The Model Prime skips in next; its melodic dance and harmonic sways animatingly lighting the song’s retro tone and mesh of glowing flavours. Like a siren it calls on ears and the spirit, unafraid to add unpredictability to its warmly cast temptations before the shuffle of the album gets even more kinetic within Joysticks & Stones, a song which at times has a touch of eighties band Furniture to it and in other moments the more hot-headed devilry of someone like Bloc Party.

The album finishes on the lustfully simmering progressive pop of Flicker and finally the pop rock beauty of 6 Eight 7. Both tracks simply match the pleasures before them with their own ear stroking, spirit stirring enterprises with the stunning first again having a great KingBathmat vibe which can never do any harm while its successor offers an acoustically nurtured samba which excites the senses with its unrelenting and greedily accepted infection.

The Radioactive Grandma will never be forgotten here or lose their spot on for pleasure only listening but now they are joined with equal zeal by Ape Rising, a proposition sure to drive you to highly pleasurable distraction.

The Ape Rising album is out now @ https://aperising.bandcamp.com/ and through other stores.

https://www.aperising.com/     https://www.facebook.com/ApeRising/    https://twitter.com/Ape_Rising

Pete RingMaster 02/10/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

KingBathmat – Dark Days

Ears and the imagination have been spoilt these past three or so years by the solo adventures of songwriter/multi-instrumentalist John Bassett. From the melancholic beauty and emotional exploration of a self-titled album to the ever evolving post/progressive metal instrumental kaleidoscope of ARCADE MESSIAH and most recently the electronic/synthwave exploits of SΔCRED ΔPE, Sligo based Bassett has enthralled with an ever broadening landscape of sound and invention. It is fair to say though that, as for so many others, there has been a yearning for something new from the band which first brought him to our attention, KingBathmat. Now that hunger has been fed with the progressive rock/metal outfit’s new mini album Dark Days; satisfied and forcibly ignited further by the band’s first outing in four years.

Now consisting of just drummer Bernie Smirnoff and Bassett, KingBathmat follow up their acclaimed and seriously compelling Overcoming The Monster with the band’s heaviest and darkest proposition yet but one still bred in the band’s instinctively melodic prowess and suggestiveness. The songs within Dark Days were conceived last year for a 2 man side project but soon found a familiar identity, Bassett admitting when talking about the release that, “It wasn’t initially in my plans to make another KingBathmat record, but these songs just had that KingBathmat feel to them.”  Having enjoyed the impressively individual characters of his other projects it is easy to agree that the songs within Dark Days are instinctual to the band from the rhythmic dexterity of Smirnoff to the unique voice and style of the songs and their writing.

The title track of Dark Days starts things off, its sonic air soon sharing a keys coloured melody and the familiar tones of Bassett. Reflection fuels his words, harmonic suggestion his voice as additional textures slowly slip into the blossoming encounter where a moodier bass aligns with dancing beats as melodic hooks continue to magnetise attention; the track simultaneously growing warmly inviting and atmospherically shadowy.

The compelling beginning is continued through the more crepuscular Tis Pity She’s A Whore, its air heavier and darker yet equally sharing the calming invitation of its predecessor. Embracing an array of rock textures in its progressive web, grunge and stoner-esque essences among them, the track rumbles and flirts with increasing imagination; at times coming over like a blend of 12 Stone Toddler and An Entire Legion within its ultimately unique proposal.

Magnet To Pain has a mellower climate yet with a boisterous energy epitomised by the funkiness of the bass and Smirnoff’s vivacious rhythms. At the same time, a more volatile element is at play in the background, prowling the shadows with moments of fiery release as Bassett’s vocals and guitar honed melodies serenade. As with every song, each second carries an adventure, a bold invention which has the imagination as eager and lively as ears and a swiftly spirited body soon hooked on the track’s swing and catchiness.

The dusky charm of Feathers follows, its emotive voice and tender melodies instantly captivating especially as both elements alone bloom in expression and depth as the song grows. Bassett’s guitar weaves a tapestry of sound and temptation, Smirnoff’s rhythms offering a controlled but earthier union to the progressively nurtured layers emerging within the compelling encounter.

Dark Days concludes with Nihilist, the darkest track emotionally on the release; its feeling of emptiness countered by hope rich melodies and a spirited catchiness which grows from initial seeds into the driving force of the increasingly animated and frisky track. Bassett gives rein to his attributes across an array of instruments, his dexterity and craft as compelling as the song and supported superbly by the lithe rhythms of Smirnoff.

It is fair to say that Overcoming The Monster is one of our intimately favourite albums and though the outstanding Dark Days did not hit that level straight away, with every rewarding listen it moves a fresh step nearer to those heights. Without doubt a hankering for a new KingBathmat encounter has been satisfied with a richness which outshines any hopes lying in wait for such an event, the greed for a lot more though has now been set ablaze; over to you Misters Bassett and Smirnoff.

Dark Days is out now and available at https://kingbathmat.bandcamp.com

https://www.facebook.com/kingbathmat/    https://www.facebook.com/johnbassettmusic

Pete RingMaster 04/07/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

SΔCRED ΔPE – Self Titled

We are among many claiming Sligo based songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/producer John Bassett as one of the most inspiring and refreshingly imaginative composers/songwriters around today and the first album from his new project gives no reason to pull back on that acclaim. SΔCRED ΔPE is Bassett’s, the founder and driving force of KingBathmat and post/progressive metal solo project Arcade Messiah, exploration into electronic/synthwave bred adventures. It is a bold new avenue to pursue for artist and listener but a continuation of the kaleidoscopic sound and visually stimulating artistry within his eager imagination.

As poppy as it is progressive, as emotive as it is instinctively infectious, the SΔCRED ΔPE album needs little time to infest an eager intrigue for something new from its creator; as instantly exciting the senses and involving thoughts and more physical involvement. In many ways, it is his most accessible offering yet though attracting and gripping attention and pleasure has never seemed to be something needing a great deal of time across any of his releases to date. It has a freedom suggesting Bassett is embracing his own electronic loves seemingly with an eighties breeding; playing with inspiring sounds and textures with zeal but weaving them into pieces suggestively complex and intimate and, especially in the album’s pair of instrumental soundscapes, cinematically pregnant though all tracks have just as potent passages.

The album opens with its first instrumental, Horn and swiftly has ears and appetite entangled with its electronic coaxing equipped with virulent melodic hooks. Intrigue coats every note and their emerging collaboration, sonic shadows dancing with melodies and repetitious seduction like an aural cousin to the imagery at the start of the old British TV show Tales of the Unexpected. Spatial yet sinisterly terrestrial, bright but with an almost cold war like drama, the track is a virulent transfixing of ears and imagination and just irresistible.

Asleep At The Wheel (Part 1) follows, contrasting its predecessors light frenetic gait with a heavier almost prowling slow stroll. There is a weight to its air and emotion, a thoughtful pondering soon emulated in the vocals of Bassett. Again melodies escaping synths rise to a celestial atmosphere yet laden with those ever present shadows to temper the climate before Birds Fall From The Sky pulsates with sonic palpitations. From within the animated lightshow a glorious darkwave scented groan, for want of a better word, erupts and swaggers into the passions. With surrounding melodic revelry and an overall creative drama at play in sound and lyrical word, there is a touch of OMD to the song; a flavouring adding to a familiar Bassett design yet as ever one of singularly fresh enterprise.

As a tangy melody steers in next up I Want To Go Back To The Happy House, a Blancmange like lure teases ears continuing to attract as the song broadens its landscape and voice with more of a Kraftwerk meets Giorgio Moroder inspiration. The instrumental floats across and surrounds ears like a summer haze with electronic imagery indistinctly but evocatively flirting from within; easily sweeping the listener up in its flight if without quite igniting the same lustful reactions as those before it.

Through the reflective embrace and dark pulsations of Season Of The Damned and the compelling theatre of Walking On Ice, Bassett has enjoyment and manipulation of the imagination in the palms of his hands; both tracks individual slices of ethereal synth pop with an earthier heart and spine to their explorations with the first a warm hug of temptation. Its outstanding successor though, brings the darker suggestion of the first into a more tangible touch on ears and thoughts creating a John Carpenter like cinematic espionage of suggestion creeping upon and infesting the senses as melodic infection gathers. It is a catchiness which soon leads the way but never diminishes the darker threat alongside resulting in the kind of mouth-watering blend Frank Tovey (Fad Gadget) was so skilled at weaving.

The album concludes with the lullaby-esque Asleep At The Wheel (Part 2), an epilogue of melancholy fuelled, melody woven inference with a childlike clockwork skeleton. It is a sigh of emotion which bursts into greater weight and drama midway and again simply captivates from its first to last breath.

It is too easy to expect big things from John Bassett because of past experiences with his music and it is an instinct sure to continue with SΔCRED ΔPE adding another impressive and seriously enjoyable string to his creative bow. It is an aspect in his creativity we fiercely hope he continues to explore and we are certain in that wish we will not be alone.

The SΔCRED ΔPE album is out now and available @ https://sacredape.bandcamp.com/releases

http://www.johnbassettmusic.com   https://www.facebook.com/arcademessiah/

Pete RingMaster 02/05/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Arcade Messiah – II

John Bassett _RingMaster Review

Though time wise it has been around a year between releases, it feels like a mere breath in sound and relationship between the self-titled debut Arcade Messiah album and its successor II. Continuing in adventure where its acclaimed progressive rock predecessor left off, the new encounter is an emprise of instrumental majesty and incitement reconfirming John Bassett as one of Europe’s finest songwriters, composers, and musicians.

An artist no stranger to garnering thick attention and praise through his band KingBathmat and acoustic offerings under own his name, Bassett’s solo instrumental project Arcade Messiah is another unique proposition from him. Weaving strands of highly varied styles from metal to math rock, stoner to post rock with further diverse and progressive flavours soaked in stirring ambience, the first Arcade Messiah album was a riveting exploration of sound and emotion through individual incitements. Each song worked on the listener’s senses and imagination and as mentioned, II carries on in the same vein but further experiments with textures whilst stretching the fusion of styles and essences to richer and deeper extent. Basset himself neatly sums up II, saying “after the surprise success of last year’s original Arcade Messiah album and after receiving feedback from fans of that album I decided to make a sequel, a continuation of that album, that is hopefully bigger, better, more refined and more dramatic, but which didn’t lose the vibe and atmosphere that was created on the original album“.

Arcade-Messiah-II-Cover_RingMaster Review   II opens with Moon Signal and straight away thoughts drift on the breeze of melodic and atmospheric coaxing. Keys whisper suggestively with their calm caress whilst a guitar emotively entices before sparking a broadening into a thicker and more volatile landscape. The celestial air which painted the start continues to ebb and flow within the spatial yet tightly woven invitation of the track, its journey hinting at vastness and intimacy simultaneously whilst twisting through varied realms as the song explores new avenues of calm, tempestuousness, and imagination.

As expected, Bassett bewitches and provokes ears and emotions with his writing and craft, each piece of music a tapestry of clues and persuasion for the imagination to run with greedily, Red Widow another swift example and success. The second track has a more sinister air to its tone and presence which starting from a sonic mist is soon opening up layers of equally intimidating and seductive expression. The arousal of ear and thought also evolves through many guises within the full umbrella of sonic temptation, a creative travelogue shaping all tracks with the compelling Black Dice Maze a prime example as it glides through sonic intrigue and emotive calm as well as tenacious rock ‘n’ roll and ravenous volatility within its gripping theatre of sound and invention.

The next up Gallows Way seduces from its first touch. Initially it is a surf rock infused ambient hug on the senses, soon spreading out with evocative melodies and reflective sonic shimmers as guitars and keys align with shadowy but restrained rhythms. The skills and invention of Bassett across the instrumentation is a perpetual doorway into the heart of the music, guitars especially descriptive and suggestive across the album but just as potent are the rhythmic contrasts and darker hues that can either ripple or erupt in more forceful intent to temper or enhance the adventure around them. In the fourth song beauty dominates though whereas Fourth Quarter involves rugged scenery of riffs and dynamics within a sonic radiance which immerses the listener with a climate of invitational sultriness and tempting danger. The track is a gripping fascination and rich aural temptation matched in might by the sultry mystique of Via Occulta. The short piece is a maze of shadows, a lure into secrets and hidden depths, and a spellbinding flight even with its brevity.

Across both Read The Sky and Start Missing Everybody, artist and album continue to be a kaleidoscope of aural ingenuity and temptation; each of them evocations which transfix and incite the senses and imagination into unique interpretation of the sonic palette on offer. The closing pair of the two is a melancholic kiss but just as potently fuelled by hope and energy to create something emotionally anthemic.

The CD version also includes the bonus track The Four Horsemen, a striking cover of the Aphrodite’s Child song which was also Arcade Messiah’s contribution to the recently vinyl released compilation album by Fruit De Mer Records called Side Effects. Alone it is worth the purchase of a CD, Bassett giving the track fresh life and suggestiveness, though the cream of II is undoubtedly his original and thrilling tracks.

John Bassett as mentioned is for us one of the UK’s most potent and stirring songwriters, let alone musicians, and II another thick slice of pleasure.

Arcade Messiah II is out now digitally as a name your price download @ https://arcademessiah.bandcamp.com via Stereohead Records and on CD from November 27th.

http://www.arcademessiah.com   https://twitter.com/arcademessiah   https://www.facebook.com/arcademessiah

Pete RingMaster 23/11/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

End Begin – Empire Fools

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As much as a riot of sound and a brawl of instant provocation go down a treat with these ears so do sonic and imagination sparking musical journeys and that is exactly what you get with the impressive debut release from UK band End Begin. A collection of evolving and thought provoking creative episodes in the gripping tale of one man’s journey to save his race, Empire Fools is a captivating and imaginative adventure challenging “listeners to look at humanity’s current ways and to truly question their roles in society.” From start to finish the release grips ears and thoughts, at times more dramatically than in other moments, but constantly provides a richly enticing and unrelentingly enjoyable proposition.

Hailing from Leeds, the progressive rock/post metal quartet emerged in 2010 and since then has bred a strong and loyal local following which with the release of Empire Fools threatens to spread much further afield and we suggest swiftly. Live the band has become an acclaimed part of the northern underground circuit and taken in shows with the likes of Thine and Pteroglyph along the way. Produced by guitarist David J. Freeman with the rest of the band, Empire Fools has be a proposition the band has taken its time over, a creative incitement that has been intensely sculpted and honed until finding the striking depth and persuasion of sound which embraces ears and immerses the imagination from opener Tey’sha onwards.

The first track emerges from a sonic fuelled atmosphere of almost intimidating suggestiveness, the portentous air blossoming into a tempest of hearty riffs and antagonistic rhythms. The guitar of Freeman is as imposing as it is fiery whilst the bass of Rory Smith adds a dark menace which complements the pungent strikes of drummer Dominic Turton and contrasts the emerging expressive melodic enterprise of the track perfectly. Soon seemingly established, the direction of sound suddenly swerves on ears and slips into a post rock apocalyptic calm, bass and guitar again a contrasting but united design of imagination and craft. This shadowed peace welcomes the excellent voice of Dave Rangel, his warm and expressive tones unveiling the narrative whilst backed well by the voice of Freeman. We mentioned Pteroglyph earlier and there is a definite similarity in structure and evocative nature to the song, and indeed album, to the project of Jimmy MacGregor, though in sound they stand apart. The track continues to twist and shift in creativity and character throughout, offering a persistently absorbing and exciting start to the album.

An opening bubbling of riffs and guitar endeavour ensures the start of Missionary has an instant grip on ears and imagination next, a hold tightening as again impressive vocals and a darker rhythmic side joins the provocative canvas of emotion and sound. Bursts of impassioned and technical intensity and moments of creative and vocal intimacy are fused and entangled across the song, their unity helping make the encounter an immediately alluring proposal though, as its predecessor and the rest of the album, holding more in its depths which only subsequent flights through the release begin to reveal.

     Empire Fools is definitely an album which flourishes and strengthens over a wealth of listens. There is no denying that it makes a strong first persuasion but as shown again in Lice, it only grows to a greater and more impressive stature given increasing time and attention. The third track has a heavier more volatile metallic substance to its flurries and perpetual prowl, epitomised by the earthy and sinister tone of the bass. Freeman’s guitar finds a great inflamed and acidic quality to its most compelling endeavour yet, whilst vocally Rangel more than solid in his main delivery brings great drama and adventure with additional twists and turns. The track is exceptional, an early big favourite and pinnacle in the release though straight away backed resourcefully by, after the beauty soaked ambience of the brief instrumental After Martyrdom, the progressive and melodic seducing of Numbers. Ten minutes long, the journey begins in a mellow kiss of voice and sonic charm subsequently brewing up more stormy scenery through bass and drums for the revelation of the lyrical adventure. In theme song and album is as rich and immersive as the sounds and enjoyable also needs many plays to fully piece together and explore.

At times there is an essence of UK band An Entire Legion to the End Begin sound across the album and indeed KingBathmat certainly to this track, nothing thick but a regular and potent coincidental scent which only adds to the riveting temptation. Trium Virum is another offering a similar suggestiveness though its beginning is more akin to the Arcade Messiah side of the creativity of KingBathmat’s John Bassett. The song is a smouldering and sultry yet reserved wash over the senses, ripe in sonic and melodic flames courtesy of Freeman with an almost predatory yearning care of Smith’s tantalising basslines. Fair to say it is another big highlight of the ever impressing encounter.

Rangel’s voice at times has a task to stand equal to the striking and dramatic enterprise elsewhere, but even without any real snarl or aggression to take them on he constantly stands by their side in potency and clarity, the production offering a strong base which he exploits perfectly as evidenced once more in the epic closing track. Another imagination inciting instrumental comes first; Remnants a tapestry of sonic clues for thought to run with before another extensive outing in Becoming brings the album to a stirring end. A dark start is driven by a vocal menacing before slipping into an even more tempestuous and agitated, almost capricious landscape with the stunning enterprise of Turton especially shining. It is a creative emprise though with just as potent warm colours and intimidating hues to its presence, crafting an engrossing and exhilarating offering for ears and psyche to take on. Again it is a song needing numerous visits to fully explore and appreciate its growth into the album’s most impressive track, but certainly it has body and emotions lit from its first flight too.

     Empire Fools just grows and lures the passions into greedier satisfaction with every listen, increasing the evidence that it and End Begin is a must investigation for all progressive rock and metal fans. It is hard to imagine there being many debuts making a bigger impact within those genres this year and deserves keen attention.

Empire Fools is out now via https://endbegin.bandcamp.com/

It is also available as an 8GB wafer USB containing extensive material such as guitar tabs, a digital booklet, a full digital painting, and a special featurette from the studio. For more info…

http://www.endbeginband.net/ https://www.facebook.com/endbeginband

Upcoming live dates …

Wed 29th May The Washington, Sheffield, UK

Fri 8th May The Snooty Fox, Wakefield, UK

Fri 22nd May Parish, Huddersfield, UK

Sat 23rd May Chameleon Arts Café, Nottingham, UK

Sat 22nd Aug Lincoln Imp, Scunthorpe, UK

RingMaster 19/04/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://www.reputationradio.net

The Top Twenty Noise/alternative releases which had The RingMaster Review lustful in 2014

2014 saw a torrent of creatively inspiring and dramatically thrilling encounters from the inventive realms of noise and alternative incitement, a host of triumphs from which The RingMaster Review picks out twenty releases covered by the site which ignited the greatest hunger in our ears and imagination.

 

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01. The Mobbs – Garage Punks For Boys

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/11/21/the-mobbs-garage-punk-for-boys/

02. Solar Halos – Self Titled

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/01/01/solar-halos-self-titled/

03. Slug Comparison – Self Titled

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/10/24/slug-comparison-self-titled/

04. Heavy Hand – Nothwoods Knives

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/08/27/heavy-hand-northwoods-knives/

Juggling Wolves Album Cover

05. Juggling Wolves – Self Titled

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/12/10/juggling-wolves-self-titled/

06. Damn Vandals – Rocket Out Of London

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/damn-vandals-rocket-out-of-london/

07. Pink Tatami – Chapter and Verse

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/04/17/pink-tatami-chapter-verse/

08. Denim Snakes – Self Titled

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/10/26/denim-snakes-self-titled/

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09. Snack Family – Pokie Eye EP

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/12/05/snack-family-pokie-eye-ep/

10. The Black Black – Boogie Nights

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/12/12/the-black-black-boogie-nights/

11. Norm & The Nightmarez – Psychobilly Infection

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/07/29/norm-and-the-nightmarez-psychobilly-infection/

12. In Love Your Mother – The Great Ape Project

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/10/10/in-love-your-mother-the-great-ape-project/

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13. Wild Throne – Blood Maker

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/03/06/wild-throne-blood-maker/

14. John Bassett – Unearth

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/03/30/john-bassett-unearth/

15. Fossils – Flesh Hammer

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/fossils-flesh-hammer/

16. In The Whale – Nate & Eric

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/06/27/in-the-whale-nate-eric/

Artwork by Katie Buckett

Artwork by Katie Buckett

17. Jingo – The Art Of loving

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/09/01/jingo-the-art-of-loving/

18. Body Futures – Brand New Silhouettes

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/08/13/body-futures-brand-new-silhouettes/

19. Death and the Penguin – Accidents Happen

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/05/04/death-and-the-penguin-accidents-happen/

20. The Duel – Waging War

https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/05/21/the-duel-waging-war/

Juggling Wolves – Self Titled

JW promo2

With first single Mercury an impressive, thickly flavoured appetiser a few months back, anticipation for the Juggling Wolves debut album has been eagerly building as the weeks passed by. The song was a potent and fascinating encounter, its potential and tapestry of sound and emotion alone enough to awaken a keen appetite, but now in hindsight it was only a mere whiff of the majesty that is Juggling Wolves the album.

Every track upon the album is an immersive exploration, a kaleidoscope of invention and fluid evolution of sound which takes ears and thoughts on a transfixing melodic flight. The band cast a sonic narrative which can be described as progressive rock and pop, but there is wonderfully no exact label to be put upon music and album just a long list of hinting references and whispers as colours to describe the albums unique exploits. Consisting of Jimmy Deface from folk/blues rockers Rufus Coates & the Blackened Trees and Johno Leader of acoustic indie rock band The Radioactive Grandma, Juggling Wolves has spent the past two years working on their first album, creating and recording it at their own studio in Co Cavan. Mastered by Fergal Davis, the release is now having its dawning with the deserved broadest spotlight hopefully beckoning.

From its first breath, opener Deadmans Strings is crooning and potently serenading the senses and imagination, a lone guitar amidst an embrace of keys a potent texture for the instantly magnetic vocals. It is a riveting start, a gentle invitation which is soon erupting with an appealing dark bassline and crisp rhythms. Bolting on a vivacious rock ‘n’ roll adventure, the track proceeds to twists and flirt with various textures and swathes of invention, harmonies as bewitching as the sparkling melodies and muscular energy as compelling as the unpredictable imagination of the encounter.

From a head start the album only gains in temptation and captivation as Mercury steps up next. Radiance smothers ears from a distant entrance, swiftly consuming ears with harmonies and a tangy tease of guitar. Almost from its first second there is a drama to the track, a theatre to its chords and cinematic air to the vocal and emotional investigation. As agitated beats and dark bass tempting joins its melancholic yet fiery heart, the song ebbs and flows like the sea, its intensity lapping the beaches of ears and thoughts with relentless but intermittent tenacity. As in all songs though, any moment is just a character in a broader waltz of sonically poetic enterprise and melodically fuelled invention.

Tow pushes things up another level again, the engrossing proposition basking in a Faith No More like ingenuity and drama with flights of spellbinding progressive flirtation adding intriguing Juggling Wolves Album Coverand mesmeric hues. Grooves and rhythms provide a sturdy almost imposing edge and core to the song throughout, the offering a merger of light and shadows which is almost sinister in its transfixing elegance and charm before following instrumental One Trick Pony brings its almost portentous melodic haunting to ears and psyche. A sombre track which sparks new thoughts and discoveries with every fresh listen, it leads the listener towards the outstanding Daze Unknown. The track’s warped twang of a start is an immediate seduction, a glorious discord kissed bait which evolves into a spicy web of guitar and vocals within a slightly deranged ethereal haze. It is soon spreading its dramatic narrative and musical croon across the imagination with bordering on unhinged guitar endeavour contrasting and complimenting the warm breeze of keys and harmonies. Intimate yet also spatial in its presence, the song is sonic magnetism, bringing a craft and bold inventiveness which rests potently alongside that of musician John Bassett and especially his band KingBathmat.

Through the fascinating realm of Lonely Gold, a track sharing melodic elegance and reassuring calm with a darker, emotionally distraught sonic discovery, and the immersive hug of Wither, Juggling Wolves simply entrance ears and emotions. The first of the two is a startling dive into the unknown and quite invigorating whilst its successor sultrily smoulders as it expels emotionally evocative and vocally provocative beauty which recalls singer songwriter Colin Vearncombe, especially in his Black guise; a comparison which can also be applied to How to Salvage a Failing Butterfly, though across its numerous aspects and ingenious turns, the song defies everything apart from inescapable attention. Though may be not our favourite as magnificent as it is, the track has to be the pinnacle of the album with its climatic structures and busy but relaxed twists. A melodic emprise to soundtrack any emotional and intimate adventure, the song is simply sublime, just as the album to be honest.

The closing instrumental Terms & Conditions makes the perfect epilogue to the album, a luminousness weave of evocative sound and emotive intrigue capping off an increasingly impacting proposition. Hopes were high, and may be expectations too, of the Juggling Wolves album but it left those looking meagre within mere minutes of its exhilarating presence. This is a band creating musical alchemy and their album their first creative hex on the passions.

Juggling Wolves is available now via iTunes and all other digital outlets and @ https://jugglingwolves.bandcamp.com/

http://www.jugglingwolves.com/

RingMaster 10/12/2014

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Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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Arcade Messiah – Self Titled

John Bassett Promo 3

The creativity of UK musician John Bassett is a feverish kaleidoscope of colour, invention, and innovative exploration. He has proven it time and time again for over a decade, releasing eight increasingly impressive and attention grabbing albums either as KingBathmat or his own name. The last couple of years or so has seen a richer recognition of his craft and expansive musical imagination, the last two critically acclaimed KingBathmat albums Truth Button and Overcoming The Monster, the latter in 2013, pushing he and the band to the fore of progressive metal/rock whilst his debut acoustic album Unearth earlier this year, reinforced his reputation and ability to explore varied and deeply immersive structures and landscapes. Now the Hastings based multi-instrumentalist, singer songwriter, and producer returns with new solo project Arcade Messiah, a vehicle for his instrumental emprises which as shown by its self-titled debut album, are set to also inflame for ears and imagination.

Merging the boldest essences of styles such as metal, stoner, doom, prog, and math rock within constantly revealing canvases of post rock, Bassett and album provide gripping soundscapes for thoughts to cast their own explorations within and for emotions to colour with their own adventures. The musician talking about the project and album commented that “after writing and producing numerous KingBathmat albums and more recently the acoustic solo album Unearth, I decided I wanted to create my first instrumental album, and I wanted it to be set, audibly and visually in a dark, bleak apocalyptic aura of despair and anger. I wanted to focus on enormous riffs and sorrowful yet powerful musical refrains and place them within a terrain of unusual time signatures interspersed by moments of psychedelic calm.” It is an aim successfully achieved but even more an endeavour sculpting one of the essential moments of the year.

Instrumental albums do not always sink in easily with us, a demand for something maybe indefinable but persistent in igniting body and imagination a persistent requirement which the Arcade Messiah Album Covershowing off of supreme technical skill cannot satisfy. In Arcane Messiah there is nothing but that aural and inventive stimulation, from opening track Sun Exile the album a mouth-watering and rigorously compelling provocation for senses and unravelling gests in the imagination. From the first stirring and virulent call of guitar, album and opener becomes a potent weave of sound and aural suggestion, especially as a hypnotic canter of rhythms and fiery melodies join the emerging sonic picture soon after. Twists in time and invention are as fascinating as the heated creative climate of the track, its increasingly steamy breath and dark expression seductive and intimidating sparking a portentous Icarus like warning in thoughts.

The following Your Best Line Of Defence Is Obscurity slips in on a gentle breeze of sonic air and melodic caressing, though again it is a coaxing lined with dark bass shadows and prowling beats. The imagination is lured into the depths of the heavy smoulder of the piece with ease, thoughts of a lonely existence within the turmoil of predatory but deceptively welcoming emotive scenery emerging. Bassett’s guitar work is riveting, every groove and scorched melody inescapable incitement, but to be fair that applies to drums and bass through to simply the immersing imposing atmospheres conjured. Thoughts are instantly embraced and sparked by the primal and elegant nature of the music, a common factor across the album and in evidence with Traumascope straight after. Its initial post rock ambience is lined with a funk kissed bassline and lively beats from the drums, a union which hangs around before parting its mist for the voracious tide of riffs, which in turn lead to and compliment a stoner-esque flaming to the emerging tempest of emotional reflection and sonic rapacity. The track is a mesmeric blaze which never gets out of hand but leaves its dramatic imprint on senses and imagination with burning contagion.

Aftermath is a sobering haunting after the previous furnaces of sound and inventive intensity, a delicious feast of invasive melodies and bracing elegance which comes with sinister shadowing and anguished reflections. It also has an ethereal touch to its climate but in many ways is just the calm before or within the storm, its peace the bridge to the inventive alchemy of Everybody Eating Everyone Else. The track is scintillating; its initial also haunted passage the gateway into an antagonistic yet infectiously magnetic terrain of abrasing riffs and sonic temptation. There is a feeling of safety within turbulent and aggressive times or landscapes to the song, the guitars providing guidance through fiercely provocative exploits sculpted by rhythms and Bassett’s riff led raw sonic energy. Though musically it is different, there is a feel of early Killing Joke to the structure and tension of this and many tracks, an unrelenting persuasion which is wonderfully nagging at the heart of the ferociously inventive mergers of light and dark.

Steamy stoner spirals of sound open up The Most Popular Form Of Escape next, their acidic tones and spicing bringing rich hues to the climatic broadening of the song’s thick web of flavour and enterprise. Folkish elements are as prevalent in the piece as progressive endeavour and a sterner metallic tenacity, it all creating another unpredictable fascination for ears to bask in, the imagination to sculpt with, and appetite to devour greedily. Its enthralling waltz makes way for the closing Roman Resolution, itself an aural teleidoscope with wide reflective views and internal emotive majesty. An epic cruise through ever evolving sonic experimentation and poetic melodies, it brings a sensational release to a breath-taking close.

After the combined brilliance of Overcoming The Monster and Unearth, there was a small wonder where Bassett went from there. Where he ventured was into a creative maelstrom of sublime ingenuity with a technical and instinctive invention which has no need to indulge in over the top flourishes and pretension as it steals thoughts and passions. Arcade Messiah presents instrumental music which is organic and bracing whilst Bassett might just have put a stranglehold on best of year charts come the end of next month.

Arcade Messiah is available as a name your price digital version and on CD now via Stereohead Records @ https://arcademessiah.bandcamp.com

http://www.arcademessiah.com/

http://www.johnbassettmusic.com

RingMaster 25/11/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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John Bassett – Unearth

John Bassett pic

Having discovered the progressive rock might of KingBathmat and its founder John Bassett, admittedly far later than we would have liked but joining the legion of fervour gripped fans nonetheless with the release of their last album Overcoming The Monster, there was a definite spring of excitement upon receiving Unearth the new solo endeavour from Bassett. As distinctly different to the previously mentioned release as it is just as imaginatively gripping, the new album is an enthralling embracing of ears and mind; man and record a melancholic troubadour parading evocative reflections of life and emotional experiences. Its canvas is a rich exploration of modern psyche across acoustically crafted progressive landscapes coloured with the richest hues of emotively sculpted melodic invention. It is a masterfully sculpted journey for creator and listener, one of the most rewarding and impressive this year so far.

The multi-instrumentalist, singer songwriter, and producer from Hastings has self-released seven albums since 2003, the last few via his label Stereohead Records. Born in Walthamstow, London, Bassett first picked up an acoustic guitar as a child. He struggled at first with playing chords until when going to a guitar teacher it was realised that he was playing a right handed guitar, left handed. As soon as he picked up a left handed guitar songwriting began to flow easily and subsequently his talent. It was not long before Bassett was recording songs onto his computer; honing his skill, sound, and fluency whilst finding a good reception to his online albums, especially for the third, Fantastic Freak Show Carnival. At this point he was beginning to be offered gigs and in 2005 he put together a live band to perform his music. Arguably it has been the last two albums of the band, KingBathmat, which has brought the strongest spotlight and acclaim, both Truth Button and Overcoming The Monster critically acclaimed whilst garnering a new wave of enthused fans. His debut solo album, Unearth is a full one man creation with only additional drums from Nathan A Summers an added spice. Holding the same invigorating melodies and unpredictable intrigue which marks the band’s releases, the new album reveals new sides and aspects to Bassett’s songwriting and enveloping sound, easily rivalling his previous triumphs whilst forging new avenues.

From its first caress, a dark and instant incitement with a stringed croon and suggestive keys, Unearth sparks something instantly in the unearthsenses and imagination through opening track Stay Away. As Bassett’s vocals join the evocative melodies there is a Bowie-esque breeze cast which evolves into a warm narrative which reminds equally of ELO and Porcupine Tree whilst wrapping tenderly around the senses as a truly distinct proposition. It is a glorious enchantment which only enriches the appetite the more it crafts its seduction around the passions; guitar and keys cradling thoughts and emotions in their provocative arms as the equally mellow and persuasive tones of Bassett press forward the lyrical potency. It is arguable whether Unearth ever reaches the heights of the first song again though the album certainly gives it a stirring try starting with the following Survival Rate. Welcoming beats open up the gateway into folkish scenery of soothing melodies and similarly engaging vocals. As its predecessor, the track permeates the imagination with suggestive and more precise designs, musically and lyrically, all combining for another infectiously magnetic investigative adventure.

The outstanding start is easily continued by both Nothing is Sacred and the title track. The first has a sultriness to its colourful dance, elements of the start and body again urging thoughts of Bowie with a touch of Paul Simon this time around. Equally there are plenty of moments where the softer facets of KingBathmat come through, an obviously unavoidable spicing which only enhances the immersive mystery and enticement of the songs. Guitar and voice brings its successor into potent view, its melody driven seducing soaking every pore and thought as richly as the lyrical temptation, this and every song  proving a powerful lingering suasion in sound and word. As soothing as it is inciting, Unearth is one of those temptresses which never releases her lure and grip whether by the side of or from a distance rivalling the first as the pinnacle of the album.

The gentle jazzy smoulder of Pantomime acts outs its elegant narrative next, lighting another appealing diversion for the imagination whilst the scenic expanse of the instrumental Kylerhea provides a cinematic soundscape to explore individual and personal adventures within. Both captivate without restraint if not quite matching earlier conquests of the emotions, something TV is God soon succeeds doing with elevated success. With a delicious expressive almost acidic twang and whine to the song’s exotic climate over an indictment of technological reliance for escape and hiding from reality, the track is a riveting recruitment of senses and heart.

Both the summery realm of Keep Dear with its XTC like temptation and the equally spellbinding flight of Something that’s More Worthwhile consume ears and imagination like celestial sirens both instinctively washing receptive emotions with unrelenting seduction; melodies and harmonies invasive beauty alone and just as compelling and stimulating as the inventive musical skill and songwriting of Bassett. The pair are quite shadow free compared to other songs of the release but still kissed by a melancholic presence which makes its strongest persuasion with the closing track Comedian. Piano and guitar crafted with the ever impressive voice of Bassett shaping their evocative tales further, the song is an absorbing walk from emotional shadows and musical understanding.

Unearth is as creatively imaginative as maybe expected going by Bassett’s band releases but explores deeper emotionally imposing landscapes, involving and inspiring similarly intense aspects from the listener. It is a wonderfully intimate and evocatively expansive journey proving John Bassett as not only one of the finest British songwriters in rock music but music full stop.

http://www.johnbassettmusic.com/

https://kingbathmat.bandcamp.com/album/unearth

9/10

RingMaster 30/03/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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