All the means TO AN END

With a persistent taste for Australian metal in any guise we recently had the pleasure to check out Melbourne outfit To An End, talking with guitarist Matt Turner and vocalist Al Gammie about the band’s origins, their current album, opportunities and much more…

Hello and thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to the beginnings of the band?

(Matt)To An End comprises Al on vocals, myself on guitar, Yiorgs on bass and Shane on drums. The band initially began as a project where myself (Matt) and Al wrote all of the songs and completed a full album studio recording. Then, it was easier to find band members once the album was completed and we could show people exactly what we were all about.

Were you involved in other bands before? If so has that had any impact on what you are doing now?

Each member has been in various bands over the years but we really feel like this is the band we have been waiting for. We can’t wait to get our songs out as far and wide as possible! This band has elements familiar to each member, but is quite different if compared to our previous bands side by side.

What inspired the band name?

The name was one of many for consideration at the time. It was quite difficult to find something that firstly, wasn’t already taken and secondly, sounded good and was decent as a logo. We think ‘To An End’ ticks the boxes!

Was there any specific idea behind the forming of the band in regard to what you wanted it and your sound to offer?

As the band started out as a project it was really a matter of just starting the recording process and seeing where it would all end up. There was room for genre jumping and just having fun with it. Once the album was done, we were absolutely certain we needed to be an active band playing frequently…and here we are!

Do the same things still drive the band from when it was fresh-faced or have they evolved over time?

Given we all have a history of playing in other bands and we aren’t too ‘fresh-faced’ anymore ha-ha, the band is definitely serving our passions and we are driven to make sure it’s fun for us and our fans. Anyone who comes to see us live will see all of that translate on stage!

Since those first days, how would you say your sound has evolved?

We just released our debut album in November 2018 so we are still promoting that. In the background we are writing and doing demos for another album which we are excited about. There will be evolution and only time will tell to see where it all ends up.

It is an organic exploration within the band sound wise or you setting out to try new ideas etc.?

We are flexible musicians, so I think we’ll always have a mix of melody/heavy and soft/loud over the course of an album. There will definitely be some more evolution and experimentation for the next album.

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

Our individual music tastes range from Journey, Pantera, Glassjaw, Faith No More, Tool, Slayer, Meshuggah to 80’s rock to death/black metal. As a band, we feel we’ve been influenced by heavy music with melody so there are elements of Metallica, Killswitch Engage, Stone Sour, Sevendust and Disturbed. Personally, I’ve always gravitated towards song writers and great riffs so my heroes are Metallica, Pantera, Lamb of God, Alice In Chains, Tool. Way too many to mention though!

Do you have a particular process to your songwriting?

The songs will usually start as a completed demo and then we let the song evolve naturally in the rehearsal room with all of the individual personalities and play styles shining through.

Please give us some background to your first album?

We think we have a great collection of songs on the debut album Redefine and there is certainly something there for everyone whether you are into rock and/or metal. We have some heavy songs like our single Wasteland, plus Hear No Evil which features a killer guitar solo from Christopher Amott (formerly of Arch Enemy) to more rocking songs like Fracture and Left Untold. There is also a piano/acoustic song as well that closes out the album.

…And an insight to its themes?

(Al) The instrumentation and feel of the song really dictates to me where I need to go lyrically and I feel we covered a lot of different ground on the album. There are songs like Fracture and Wasteland – the world is becoming more and more confusing, turbulent and extreme – I wanted to remind people that they have a voice and need not conform. There’s the horror film-inspired Out Of My Hands which touches on violent imagery, although is tongue-in-cheek also. Of course there’s plenty of pent up aggression to express throughout, and the personal moments like From Grace Until Demise and Collide are where I can get deeper and more sombre rather than just yelling in key!

You talked about demos in the songwriting process, so you a band which goes into the studio with songs pretty with their character set or prefer to let it develop as you record?

(Matt) We’ll go into the studio fully prepared and ready to go. I think being well rehearsed is key, given studio time is costly. Plus the more efficient you are in the studio, the more chance you have trying a few ideas on the fly.

Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably a favourite aspect of the band?

With our live show, we aim to be tight and on point musically but not at the expense being too clinical in our playing and not enjoying ourselves. We hope that the crowd enjoys our music as much as we love playing it. That back and forth energy is contagious.

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

Whilst the heavy music scene in Australia would be considered to be small in relation to the US and Europe, there are super dedicated fans who are enthusiastic about the scene and music in general. I think it is hard for a new band to make a mark no matter what, but we are fortunate to be located in Melbourne where there is a thriving live music scene and plenty of opportunities to play in front of new people. We also love playing regionally and interstate where there are always people willing to come out and support local music. Every band was local at one point, so we are more than happy to get out as much as possible and we are fortunate to team up with other amazing bands to put on local shows.

How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date also? Do you see it as something negative or positive overall?

The internet and social media has allowed a low barrier to entry to get music out to people however, the challenge is navigating through such a crowded space. It is difficult to break through it all however I think the positives outweigh the negatives. As a new band we are able to share our videos, live clips, our album, photos, interviews, reviews etc. at the click of a button which allows us to connect with fans really easily. I would say determining a bands worth through how many Likes they have and dismissing a band just based on a particular number next to a thumbs up icon is unfair….but it is a reality. We think that the connection to the fans is the most important thing and we’ll just concentrate on being the best band we can be within our control. Hopefully when people hear our music we’ll get inundated with all those Likes ha-ha!

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

We just want to say thanks for the support and opportunity for chatting with us and hope your readers will check us out on all digital platforms (Spotify, iTunes, Google etc.) just search To An End Redefine. Also, you can check out the video to our debut single here: https://youtu.be/KodUFu2shKw

More details available at our Facebook page and https://toanend.com/

Questions Pete RingMaster 04/05/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Houston – II

Photographer Linda Åkerberg

Photographer Linda Åkerberg

Not to be mistaken with the excellent Italian band Houston!, the Swedish band of the same name earned plenty of acclaim and deserved praise with their self-titled debut album. Consisting of melodically enflamed passion drenched songs  the release soon found its place at the top spot on the Classic Rock Magazine’s top AOR albums of 2010, whilst Houston went on to garner further recognition through live performances including a successful tour of the UK the following year. Now they return with their imaginatively named second album II, building on that strong plateau with more potent melodic rock which will feed the needs of all AOR, Foreigner, Journey, and Survivor fans.

With producer/keyboard player Ricky Delin becoming a full band member for the new album alongside vocalist Hank Erix and drummer Freddie Allen, the album again sees the band bringing in some of the best Swedish melodic rock musicians including Tommy Denander for the majority of the guitar work and long-time band associate Soufian Ma’Aoui on bass. Also featured across the ten tracks are the likes of Calle Hammer and Jay Cutter, whist offering backing vocal talent there is Victor Lundberg, Geir Ronning, Jessa Slatter, Kristoffer Lagerstrom, and Catharina Lindqvist. Released via Livewire/Cargo Records, the album is a flourish of melodic might and striking songwriting from start to finish and as mentioned if their genre is your chosen pleasure, the release is like aural manna at best and poetic expression in its least dramatic breaths.

As the opener Glory shows, there is also plenty to entice for those of us with a heart stoked by more aggressive and intensive delights. Houston_II_CoverThe track immediately engulfs the ear with the outstanding keys and craft of Delin, their embrace a soaring pull of the senses into the heart and sky of the song where they find the fine vocals of Erix courted by accomplished guitar flames and an inviting bass stroll. Whether the song offers anything new or unexpected, which can be applied to the album as a whole, can be debated between AOR enthusiasts and the more casual visitor, but undoubtedly the skill of the band and poise of the song leaves the senses more than eager to indulge the album in greater depths.

The strong start is followed by I’m Coming Home, the recently released to strong responses first single from the album. Vocal harmonies and the ever persuasive keys shape a vibrant and emotive narrative to enjoy with real appetite though there is a strong familiarity to something elsewhere, though at this point in time it escapes definition.  It makes a good appetiser for both Return My Heart and Talk To Me, the first a keen but restrained melodic blaze with anthemic lures whilst the second merges power ballad grandeur with a smouldering temptation with female backing vocals adding an extra kiss of warmth to the emotive embrace.

The likes of the expansive yet precisely honed 24 Hours and the radiant Losing with a great bass tone from Ma’Aoui marking its territory, leave the ear basking in pleasing heat and melodic prowess but all are blown away by Just Friends, the best track on the album. Led by the delicious tones of Minnah Karlsson, a Stevie Nicks lilt raising their potency, the song is a thrilling wind of dual vocals and harmonies, Karlssson and Erix complimenting perfectly to lift the passion and heights of the song to lofty levels whilst musically the track wraps their seduction with equally magnetic textures and charm.

With the easily accessible and infectious Believe closing off the album, II is a release which will leave AOR fans basking in its open triumphs and the rest of us admiring its craft and alluring presence though maybe more from afar than close up. Definitely for and recommended to every fan of Michael Bolton to Foreigner, Styx to Journey.

www.facebook.com/Houstonsweden

7.5/10

RingMaster 04/09/2013

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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The Omega Experiment – Self Titled

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    Initially a self-released album of last year, the self-titled album of US progressive rock band The Omega Experiment now has its re-release via Listenable Records and the chance to deservedly reach a much wider waiting audience. The album is a striking piece of work, an imaginative and inventive cyclone of progressive sound and metallic fire honed into a melodic wash of pop enterprise and heavy steeled ingenuity. Though the release does fluctuate in the strength of fire and impressed satisfaction it ignites within personal tastes it is impossible not to offer a full recommendation for its intensely creative and passionate craft.

Hailing from Muskegon, Michigan, the duo of Dan Wieten and Ryan Aldridge show an instinctive and intricate skill in blending soaring euphoric synths, hungry and intrusive yet intriguing guitar exploits, and lush magnetic vocals into songs which either squall with tempest energy or seduce with the warm siren charms of the sun, at times merging both for the fullest invigorating examination of experimental invention. Their debut EP Karma found rich praise with Devin Townsend as well as a great many and it is hard to see their debut failing to bloom the same and stronger responses this time around.

If the aforementioned artist and the likes of Journey, Yes, Porcupine Tree, and Coheed And Cambria inspire great anticipation than The Omega Experiment will easily satisfy but with plenty of ideas and ingenuity which you will not have envisaged. Of course if the genre they impressively frequent is not of your taste buds than the album will not change your mind but still offers plenty to inspire further attention as they progress, certainly for us here. There is nothing about the album you can pull apart and criticise, only acclaim its craft and imagination but if something does not exactly light your fire then that is something generally beyond persuasion though with this album it is ironically very enjoyable to try and change that instinctive stance.

Opening track Gift instantly sends a blaze of hot guitar beauty across the senses, its heated atmosphere tightly wrapping around the sonic splendour coaxing the ear. Into its stride three things strike home the most and remain that way throughout the release, the precise sculpting of the guitars to carve evocative shapes within the second potent thing, the expansive and rich depth of the keys which equally evoke emotions and thoughts to go along with the lyrical narrative. The third is the impressive vocals, either singularly or in harmonic union, a mutual conspirator to the contagious beauty raised elsewhere.  The song ripples and pulsates with ideas, never standing on one footing but shifting its weight and guise continually to intrigue and magnetise thoughts and senses. Arguably there may be too much going on to absorb but there is little to throw barbed faults upon the immensely strong starter.

Tracks like Stimulus and Tranquility continue the prog rock dream which fans of the genre with drool over for sure. Both songs as examples, splice the air with a devious striking skill of musicianship, the bewitching craft of the pair dazzling the view of songs whilst enhancing their overall breath. Though neither track truly sparks up a furnace of passion they undoubtedly increased the lure of the album with the second of the two gently mesmerising as it leads into the heart and strongest part of the album. The entrancing track seamlessly swaps places with the destructive might and antagonism of Furor, a muscular rampage with as much metalcore like venom as it has progressive seduction.  It is a bear of a track which chews on the senses with crushing rhythms and will bending riffs whilst the glorious clean vocals bring an angelic rapture to the primal intensity. Easily the best track on the album and one which feeds our preferences much more than any other. The album has the armoury to feed all desires but the depth of your rewards depends on what aspect breeds your musical heart the most.

The following Bliss, a brief fusion of agitated ambience and probing invention, continues the inciting pinnacle sparked by its predecessor and as the album heads towards its finale it offers an even more potent and enriching presence. Both Karma and Terminus raise the temperature, the first especially another triumph on the album, its Opeth/Dream Theater strength and melodic incursion into the soul of the song irresistible, whilst closing track Paramount leaves a lasting stroll of sun soaked melodic elegance with pop rock infectiousness.

Produced by Acle Kahney of Tesseract, The Omega Experiment is simply a dynamic and vibrant slice of progressive rock which fans of the genre will devour greedily whilst for those less sure there is plenty also to find pleasure from though more with the muscular rampages of a Furor. All in all though an impressive debut from one promising band.

www.facebook.com/theomegaexperiment

8/10

RingMaster 10/04/2013

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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