Slow Riot – Cathedral


artwork_RingMaster Review

Eighties inspired post punk is seemingly on a surge right now, its seeds being blossomed into varied but distinctive incitements of sound and imagination echoing the genre’s origins. One such band making one of the most compelling persuasions is Irish band Slow Riot, a trio from Limerick who recently released an irresistible dark beauty in the shape of the Cathedral EP. The four track release is an evocation of shadows and solemn emotions cast in a creative calling on the imagination, but one equally bred with epic overtones and an emotive intimacy reflective of something found within its title’s landscape.

Formed in 2013, the threesome of vocalist/bassist Niall Clancy, drummer Paul Cosgrave, and guitarist Aaron Duff recorded Cathedral with producer Kevin Vanbergen (The Pixies, The Maccabees, Dinosaur Pile-Up, The La’s, Biffy Clyro) at the Manic Street Preachers’ Faster studio in Cardiff; additional assistance coming from in-house engineer Loz Williams and the Manics’ James Dean Bradfield through the offering of use of equipment and instruments. From the off the release stirs the senses and imagination but equally the physical body is also gripped by the forcibly rousing prowess and thick insistence of sound.

SR_RingMaster Review   The EP opens with the band’s new single Demons, the lone beats of Cosgrave luring in attention and appetite with an anthemic coaxing. The melancholic charm of Duff’s guitar is soon involving an emotive melody too, it laying evocatively over the persistent arousal of rhythms now also equipped with the solemn resonance of Clancy’s bass. His dour yet alluring vocals are close behind as the song brews more of a Joy Division meets Interpol like croon for a formidable captivation only enhanced by a more fiery nature emerging in the guitar and a flowing crystalline elegance spread by keys. Each element evolves new hues to the slim but varied layers as the track continues, it all building up into a strongly potent beginning to Cathedral.

It is a start for personal tastes quickly eclipsed by the next pair of songs though, City Of Culture the first up. A great scuzzy mix of guitar and bass aligned to boisterous beats sets song and ears off in eager union, a sparkling melody soon adding to the enticement as Clancy’s vocals’ twist around on the riveting web spun by all the already contagious elements. There is a touch of The Sound to the song but more so bands like Scars and Crispy Ambulance with the discordant clang of The Fire Engines in there for good measure. Ultimately though, these are spices only bolstering a virulent tempting unique to Slow Riot.

Just as stunning is the following Adele, a transfixing slice of dark balladry becoming increasingly infectious and addictive as sonic seduction merges with repetitious mastery around the thick potency of the vocals. A revolving incitement set somewhere between My Bloody Valentine, The Slow Readers Club, and Artery, the glorious track reveals not only more of the craft in songwriting and delivery of the band but also the depth of their sound’s imagination and diversity.

Cooper’s Dream brews a character more similar to the Joy Division-esque embrace of Demons, but again outshines the excellent start to the EP with its individual weave of sonic expression, haunting lingering hooks, and a just as enjoyably galvanic rhythmic recruitment of eager involvement. As the EP, the track worms under the skin, infects the psych leaving ingrained lures and rapture in its wake to ensure a perpetual return to its nest of climatic builds and roaring crescendos bound in melancholy entwined restraints is always a lively intent.

The track provides a superb end to a superb release, a full introduction to Slow Riot sowing the seeds to thick anticipation of their next move and lusty enjoyment in their first.

The Cathedral EP is out now via Straight Lines Are Fine @

Pete RingMaster 25/11/2015

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Gazing into the fresh glow of The Cathode Ray with Jeremy Thoms

The Cathode Ray_RingMaster Review

Photo and copyright Peter Tainsh

2015 has provided many treats this year and definitely amongst them was the latest and second album Infinite Variety from Scottish indie band The Cathode Ray. It was an encounter embracing the nostalgia of the eighties through fresh and inventive escapades bred of the now. One of the band’s founders is Jeremy Thoms, he also the man behind the great indie label Stereogram Recordings, and someone who to describe as busy is a big understatement. Nevertheless, Jeremy kindly gave us a chunk of his time to talk about the album, The Cathode Ray itself from top to bottom and more, including an insight to his own musical loves…

Hi Jeremy and many thanks for giving us your time to talk with us.

Ever late to the party, we discovered The Cathode Ray through your new album Infinite Variety which came out a couple of months or so ago to, it is fair to say, swift acclaim. In a music world where it seems increasingly harder to actually get people to part with money or indeed offer full attention to things, did you have any particular expectations or hopes for its unveiling or is it more anything is a bonus for bands right now?

We didn’t have any expectations other than hoping that those who had liked the first album would stay with us for the second. We knew we’d made a good follow up album but, as you say, in an environment when it’s very hard to engage with people, nothing is guaranteed.

Photo by Hugh Womersley

Photo by Hugh Womersley

Originally the band was just you and Paul Haig, famed for Josef-K and his own solo career. The press release for the album suggests this was not originally intended to be a serious band project but a writing collaboration. Was that the case and what brought Paul’s involvement to an end?

Paul definitely just saw it as a writing collaboration – “a bit of fun” was one his quotes – with group recordings just being made to illustrate them. However, the reaction to them was so positive, one thing lead to another and I pushed for it to become a band and take it more seriously, which Paul wasn’t happy with so eventually he left. What confused matters in the press and public eye was that Neil, David and I were his backing band when he did a solo tour in 2008. However the emphasis then was completely on his solo work, and he had no intention of being a member of a band again after Josef K, which in the end we had to respect.

The double ‘A’ sided single What’s It All About? /Mind was released in 2006; I believe this was meant as a one off release?

Not initially but it ended up like that. Certainly with Paul participating. When we made the agreement with Pronoia Records in 2006, the album had been recorded with Paul’s full participation, but by the time we got around to discussing getting it released he had changed his mind. So he asked us to remove his lead vocals, which we did, although some of his guitar and backing vocals do remain on the first album.

At what point did that spark the appetite to push things further; as a full band and with more releases?

The point that changed everything was bumping into Steve Fraser at a TV21 album launch in 2009. I told him what had happened and he was keen to get involved. The minute we started talking music I knew he was the man. We didn’t even bother with an audition. I knew the songs were strong enough to survive without Paul’s involvement. That opened so many doors, being able to play live (which Paul would never have done as The Cathode Ray) and generally move things on after quite a difficult start.

Were some of you all already old friends and maybe previously worked together before uniting for The Cathode Ray we know today?

Neil Baldwin and I have known each other for 34 years (!) and have played in bands together intermittently since 1986. David Mack and I had been working together since 2000 so, yes, there was a certain chemistry. Steve was the “new boy” although we’d all known him on the Edinburgh scene previously.

I have to admit for once, and not intentionally, I read about the band and its background before hearing a note for a review, and to be honest once seeing a list of previous projects for members of The Cathode Ray2_RingMaster Reviewthe band which had been indelible pleasures in my personal soundtrack, subsequently luring a revisit to old favourites records after finishing the review too, there was an increased anticipation and eagerness to explore the band and album. Do you think having your musical histories has helped draw awareness to the band or not?

Well obviously there’s going to be a certain amount of that, but I do believe, hopefully without sounding conceited, that The Cathode Ray is more than the sum of its parts. But initially I guess it did help getting people interested through our various previous involvements.

There were whiffs of all some of your previous bands at times across the songs and often nostalgia blessed air of Infinite Variety, The Bluebells and Scars maybe most notably in our ears. You are a band unafraid to draw on previous adventures and spices to hone new and fresh exploits, as potently shown on the album?

The songs that I write aren’t consciously drawing on any of our past exploits, but I guess where you’ve come from does influence where you’re going. In any case, it’s probably coincidental, as Steve only toured with The Scars as a depping bassist so wasn’t involved in their creative process, while Neil only contributed to arrangements with The Bluebells. But inevitably, as we all come from that post-punk background, some of the sounds and styles of these bands are going to rub off.

How would you say The Cathode Ray has evolved over time and specifically between Infinite Variety and its predecessor, your self-titled debut album?

I would say the vague initial brief of merging post-punk Manchester with New York has simply broadened to the point where I regard ourselves now as a band that isn’t easy to pin down musically. Our original press release mentioned 60’s Garage, Soundtracks and Northern soul, to which one critic added Psychedelia, Glam-Rock, Euro-Disco, Krautrock and 90’s Alternative Pop when reviewing Infinite Variety. So it is definitely evolving. I’m currently demoing material for the next album and there’s even more interesting musical areas I’d like to explore. It’s good to surprise people.

TCR cover_RingMaster ReviewGive us some insight into the thoughts and intentions going into the writing and recording of Infinite Variety? Do you build a release on particular aims or ideas or predominantly let things organically evolve?

Things do tend to evolve organically. If you put too much pre-conceived thought into it, the music loses its spontaneity. Although I suppose one particular aim is not to repeat ourselves. Each album needs to be a significant progression from the previous one, so a certain degree of thought does go into that. Also, apart from melodies and lyrics, I’m always interested in rhythms and try to be as adventurous and varied as possible in that area too.

We described the album as a “kaleidoscope of fun, sound, and adventure”, a fair hint we think at the array of flavours and inventive spices fuelling and shaping the songs within Infinite Variety. In the hands of many bands it might be an incoherent mix, but you manage to seamlessly blend all spices and individual characters of songs perfectly. Where do you and the band start when composing songs?

Well I compose the songs and demo them first with the key riffs, chord progressions, lyrics etc. all in place. At that stage they often do sound fairly disparate. I then present them to the band in the rehearsal room and that’s when it starts to sound like The Cathode Ray. Steve, Neil and Dave all contribute parts and arrangements until we arrive at the finished article. Some songs like The Eyes Are The Window took a long time to come together and changed quite considerably from my original demo. Others end up fairly similar to the original template, but all manage to sound cohesive owing to the fact it’s the four of us playing them, I guess.

The album’s tracks manage to be rich and at times expansive in texture and flavour yet also ‘slim’, i.e. no excess baggage or indulgence. They manage to be an open evolution from your first album but also reveal a bolder leap in aural colour and character; how do you hear their relevance to older propositions as one of their creators?

Well obviously it’s difficult to be completely objective about something you’ve created yourself, but I see their place in relation to the first album as a natural progression. The leap in colour and texture which you describe is simply a way of moving the band forward, without cluttering things up unnecessarily. You use the word ‘slim’ and I suppose that comes in at the production stage – cutting off any excess fat!

How long in the making from first note to paper or thought through to last note laid down was the album?

The boundaries are always blurred as we always tend to have songs left over which were either written too late to make the cut or simply didn’t fit at the time. For example, This Force Of Nature had its origins as a completely different song dating way back to 2006. It had never sounded right so was left on the shelf. I went back to it in 2014 writing new lyrics and melodies and it quickly came together then. Eureka Moment and Buck the Trend were written in 2009 when Steve first joined. But the bulk of I.V. was written and recorded between 2012 and 2014 – around two and half years.

Our review stated spices of bands from around the eighties as rewarding aspects but over time sixties/seventies tones have emerged. I sense your own inspirations and musical loves go far back?

Oh yes – my musical tastes stretch way back! How long have you got? Songwriters have always been key to me. From Lennon & McCartney, Brian Wilson, Smokey Robinson, Jimmy Webb and Bacharach & David, through Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Scott Walker, Al Green, Bowie, Joni Mitchell, Robert Wyatt and Neil Young to Costello, Paddy MacAloon and Rufus Wainwright, the song is always key. Then there’s the bands I love – The Stones, The Velvets, The Doors, Faces, Roxy, Yes, Kraftwerk, Television, Talking Heads, Buzzcocks, Chic, Wire, Magazine, Pretenders, Joy Division, Dexys, Scritti Politti; Cocteaus, Talk Talk, Teenage Fanclub, High Llamas, Flaming Lips… the list goes on.

There is no mistaking that Scottish bands and rock ‘n’ roll of all styles and design bred there, has something unique to it, and we could go on a long list of examples. Can you define what it is in ‘the

Photo by Jez Curnow

Photo by Jez Curnow

water’ which helps breed such distinctive and so often inspirational bands from that part of the UK, as ones yourselves?

I think there’s an open-mindedness up here. Maybe Scottish bands tend to draw from a wider pool of influences than other parts of the UK. Or maybe it’s to do with being distanced from what’s happening down south – even in the age of the internet. It’s certainly true that scenes of their own do seem to crop up here around labels like Postcard, Fast, 53rd & 3rd, Creeping Bent and, possibly, our label Stereogram too, which has attracted similar kindred literate spirits. Either that or we all seem to be obsessed with the Velvet Underground!

What comes next for The Cathode Ray?

Firstly, we’ve got two more live shows coming up this year as part of The Stereogram Revue in Edinburgh and Glasgow, plus a new track called It Takes One To Know One on a compilation album. Then there’s a new video shot earlier this year at the Kings Theatre in Edinburgh by Jez Curnow to go with Saving Grace, our other featured track on the comp. After that we’ll be knuckling down to working on the follow up to Infinite Variety. I’ve got five or six new songs written and demoed, plus a couple of leftovers, so we’ll be getting on with them. Expect some new directions.

Your releases come out on Stereogram Recordings, your own label which seems to have out grown and blossomed far more than its original intent I believe. Can you tell us a little about it and what is ahead for the label too?

It has indeed outgrown its original intent which was simply to facilitate a release for the first Cathode Ray album, plus any other projects (The Fabulous Artisans) or archive material I had kicking about. But over the last couple of years it has been growing steadily with first Roy Moller signing up, followed by James King & The Lonewolves, Milton Star, St. Christopher Medal, Lola in Slacks and, Band Of Holy Joy. The critical and public response has been great which is hugely encouraging. As previously mentioned, we’re rounding off the year with two Revue shows which will feature the entire roster in some form or other (minus Milton Star who don’t have a live set up at present). These gigs will be accompanied by The Sound of Stereogram, a budget compilation in the spirit of New Wave in ‘77 or Pillows and Prayers in ’82, featuring both new and old tracks from all eight acts on the label. Next year promises some new signings plus new material from the existing acts.

My big thanks to you again for chatting with us; have you anything you would like to add?

Nothing to add except thanks very much for your support over the last year.

Lastly and looking at band’s influences on your Facebook profile, a list of bands littering my own record collection I have to say, can you indulge me and give us a few of the bands/records which inspired you to get into music and then as a musician push yourself further?

Well I’ve already mentioned a whole bunch of artists who’ve inspired me, so here’s some records that have been key: “With The Beatles”; “Motown Chartbusters Vol.3”; “Pet Sounds”; “Piper at The Gates of Dawn”; “Forever Changes”; “Loaded”; “Scott 4”; “What’s Going On”; “Exile On Main Street”; “Never A Dull Moment”; “Close To The Edge”; “Aladdin Sane”; ”Houses Of The Holy”; “Quadrophenia”; “Rock Bottom”; “Country Life”; “Zuma”; “Songs In The Key Of Life”; “Trans Europe Express”; “Marquee Moon”; “My Aim Is True”; “Never Mind The Bollocks”; “Risque”; “All Mod Cons”; “Love Bites”; “Fear Of Music”; “Closer”; “The Correct Use Of Soap”; “You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever”; “Rattlesnakes”; “Steve McQueen”; “Don’t Stand Me Down”. Again the list goes on…

Read our review of Infinite Variety @

Pete Ringmaster

The RingMaster Review 23/11/2015

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Dollhouse – Dawning and Rolling Around/Laudanum

Dollhouse_RingMaster Review

Allow us to introduce you to UK band Dollhouse, a quartet from Stroud with a sound that whilst still brewing and evolving is already showing the potential of becoming something special. To be fair, as the pair of newer songs we are looking at show, there is a compelling imagination and potency to the band’s music already. It is a sound bred from potent essences from Krautrock and garage rock but again on the evidence of Dawning and Rolling Around and Laudanum alone, the prime heart of their creativity is post punk.

There is little background we can offer about Dollhouse, except that the band consists of vocalist Zak Thomas-Akoo, guitarist/backing vocalist Will Ainsley, bassist Nick Browning, and drummer Tom Stevens. Inspirations to the band include the likes of Massive Attack, Groove Armada, Portishead, Can, Hot Chip, and Joy Division, the latter and similar genre influences the most open flavouring to certainly this riveting pair of songs, though a look at the band’s SoundCloud account sees those other spices woven into a handful of diversely sounding songs.

   Dawning and Rolling Around quickly grips ears and our ever ready appetite for post punk with its opening resonance of beats aligned to a brooding bass lure. As a slim and potent sonic lure of guitar joins the plain but effective vocals, there is no escaping the feel of Ian Curtis and co, a swiftly enjoyable haunting which only increases its grip as rhythms twist and the guitar moves through its shades of melodic colour and emotive expression. At the same time an infectious swing grows, emerging halfway with an Artery meets Crispy Ambulance like temptation, hooks and bass bait still undeterred in their creation of aural addiction. The track is outstanding, the recommended doorway into the emerging adventure of Dollhouse, though Laudanum is strong on the art of tempting too.

Again beats and guitar make an early beckoning but with them comes a slightly warmer and alluring air which further opens up as a catchy hook lined stroll breaks out along with a less intensive, compared to the other track, flow and tone of the vocals. Keys suggest as they caress the imagination with mellow vocals and restrained but potent rhythms fuelling the sonic web increasingly wrapping ears and appetite. Like a chilled mix of Modern Eon, The Associates, and OMD, the song enthrals and intrigues, and though it takes longer to ignite the same level of greed in body and thoughts as Dawning and Rolling Around, it too becomes a lingering slice of thorough enjoyment.

It is only the beginning for Dollhouse, and as their SoundCloud shows there is plenty of experimentation going on as the band develops into their own sound. With more propositions like this pair of tracks though, they are certainly heading towards stirring up strong attention with a following to match, for sure amongst post punk fans.

Explore the Dollhouse sound @

Pete RingMaster 11/11/2015

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Pigs – Wronger

pigs_2015_RingMaster Review

If you are looking for a noise rock treat to end the impending year’s end on a high, we have the new Pigs album to suggest. Equally if you are looking for a ferocious punk rock tempest, or an uncompromising rock ‘n’ roll confrontation, Wronger fits the bill perfectly too. The new album from the New York City trio of Dave Curran from Unsane, Jim Paradise of Player’s Club and Freshkills, and Andrew Schneider (renowned producer with the likes of Cave In, Converge, Made Out of Babies, Unsane, and Keelhaul on his CV), is a brawl you will only get increasingly excited to be swallowed up by. It is a blaze of scarring imagination as virulently addictive as it is mercilessly abrasive, and indeed bracing. Pigs made a mighty debut with first album You Ruin Everything in 2012, cemented and pushed their refreshing presence with the Gaffe EP the following year, but Wronger is a whole new caustic bitch slap of pleasure and aggressive adventure to get fired up by.

It opens with the sonic infestation of A Great Blight, a diseased web of noise hypnotically living up to the creeping invasiveness of its title. The instrumental piece crawls over the senses and into the psyche, eroding defences with its repetitious whilst The Life In Pink waits in the wings to fill its departing void. The second track though rather than quickly assaulting ears weaves in on a flirtatious hook cast by Curran’s guitar, its successful lure shaking under the impact of Paradise’s composed and resonating beats. In no time the bass of Schneider growls with a predacious passion whilst the riffs and vocals of Curran add grizzled attitude and prowess to the song’s emerging heavy stroll. It is a raw and thickly enticing bluster, tempestuous rock ‘n’ roll which ensures an inescapable persuasion, especially with the re-occurring delicious hook which sets things rolling.

pigs_wronger_cover_RingMaster Review     The following Bet It All On Black leaps in with a punk swagger and impossible to resist rhythmic devilry, willing feet and hips recruited as rapidly as ears and imagination through another delicious hook which this time has a whiff of post punk addictiveness to it. Schneider swings an equally magnetic and infectious groove through his ever bestial toned bass, another spice to the gripping drama and threat of the track, an intimidation emulated in Amateur Hour In Dick City though it pursues a more hard rock flavouring to its noise rock volatility. As in all songs, things evolve though, turn in on themselves and bring new twists and exploits to contemplate. Without quite matching its predecessors, there is only an infection to the eventful song which flows eagerly before Mope descends on the listener with its scuzz woven tapestry of meandering grooves, intoxicating hooks, and predatory rhythms. A smothering cloud of raw noise is the best description, this veined by virulent temptations and, within certain brief partings of its worrisome clouds, melodic toxicity for major addictiveness.

     Wrap It Up is the same, its hostile climate and abusive physical invention increasingly persuasive with every sonic lancing and rally of rhythmic bullying colluding in something quite bewitching as it corrodes the senses. Imagine Joy Division meets Unsane and you get a sense of part of the excellent encounter, though again it is a proposition shifting tact and character minute by minute.

The Cajun twang of Mouth Dump and its thumping beats around a trio of spoken vocals spark thoughts next, its short insight a respite yet provocateur in a way setting up the scathing roar of Make Sure To Forget, another sonically cancerous slice of punk/noise agitation with its own tasty Buzzcocks scented hook. As seriously pleasing as it is, it does not rival in success other songs around it, emphasizing their might, and is unlucky to be followed by the majorly outstanding Bug Boy, a song which makes you forget the past three or so minutes as soon as it scurries under the skin. Featuring guest vocals from ex-Made Out of Babies/Battle of Mice front woman Julie Christmas, the track is a ravenous tempest once again entwining imagination infesting grooves and hooks, barbarous rhythms, and a vocal bedlam to get greedy over.

Wronger is brought to a close by firstly its physically cantankerous title track and lastly the extensive bellow of Donnybrook. Both songs grip forcibly as they abrase and tempt, the first hitting its sweet spot around midway when it dips into a haunting melodic aside still walled by raw shadows and waiting to bellow sonic animosity. Its eight minute successor prowls and lurches through ears with doomy breath and volatile temperament, becoming more unpredictable and magnetic as a warm calm emerges from its erosive landscape and in turn brews its own dark imposing atmosphere which becomes the dominate wind of fascination. A slow burner compared to some, the track is undoubtedly a mighty end to a thoroughly enjoyable trespass.

The album is easily Pigs finest moment to date, but you get the feeling still just a step to bigger and bolder things from the band. As Christmas lists are being drawn up, Wronger is one to place at the top for all violent rock ‘n’ roll fans with no regrets found through this thrilling beast

Wronger is out now via Solar Flare Records on 12” vinyl, CD, and digitally @

Pete RingMaster 13/10/2015

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This Burning Age – Desolation

this-burning-age-ep3-desolation-band-photo-5th-day-records-2015_RingMaster Review

It has taken a while to get here but now inciting ears and emotions, Desolation proves the wait was more than worth it. The new EP from British electro rockers This Burning Age is the third in a four EP cycle which began last year. The three track encounter is a rousing and forcibly provocative proposition proving that whatever has happened and evolved in the time between releases, the This Burning Age songwriting and sound has potently grown through it.

The EP’s songs feel physically and emotionally fiercer than ever but equally more inventively woven from the depth of sound and flavours which have always marked the band’s sound and releases. Originally a solo project for vocalist/songwriter/guitarist Friday, the Birmingham band emerged on the live scene as a full line-up after the release of debut album A Muzzle for the Masses. Wanting to take its heart and success to live venues, Friday enlisted guitarist/keyboardist Jon Farrington-Smith, bassist Davey Bennett, and drummer Christian Jerromes (since replaced by Jack Josypenko) to the band, with the years since seeing This Burning Age play with the likes of Fearless Vampire Killers, William Control, Heights, and Hundred Reasons amongst many.

this-burning-age-ep3-desolation-5th-day-records-2015_RingMaster Review   The band’s sound fuses essences of post-punk, industrial, Synth-pop and post-rock to really simplify its tapestry, with influences arising from bands such as NIN, Interpol, Rammstein, Sonic Youth, and Smashing Pumpkins. It is a fusion which potently gripped attention through the first pair of releases in the four EP project. Both Supplication and Devotion revealed an evolution in the band’s sound with a fresh thick web of textures to that within the band’s album, whilst exploring the theme of love and sex in their destructive form across their songs. That growth has continued with Desolation, its tracks inspired by a look at death and the human condition. As to the timeline of songwriting between the EPs we cannot say but there feels a new maturity to the band’s latest EP which not only seriously ignites ears but offers the potential of even bolder and deeper things ahead.

First song up on Desolation is Tatterdemalion, a quickly voracious and rousing proposal but one just as quickly slipping through an unpredictable and tempestuous landscape of intensity and creative resourcefulness. From its initial fuzzy flame of riffs, imposing rhythms stir the blood with just as potent scything grooves getting involved. The song hits a commanding stroll before relaxing into a prowling gait lit by a great steely twang of the bass. This ‘restful’ passage in turn welcomes the distinctive tones of Friday, his expression and emotion as open as ever as keys glow with simmering but bright temptation around him. Fiery expulsions of energy and heart then drive the soon to break chorus, its ferocity lingering to add richer hues to subsequent melodic and slightly restrained moments. For the main though, the track is a cauldron of inventive twists and turns, an array of styles colluding in a striking blaze which at times pokes thoughts of bands like Joy Division, in others of the likes of Pitchshifter and Smashing Pumpkins or Trent Reznor and Anti-Clone.

The outstanding start makes way for Drown In Silence, a song which leans more or certainly quicker to its industrial and electronic rock side as lively cascades of punchy rhythms and suggestive synths fall upon ears before dissipating for the emotive reflection of voice and atmospheric melodies. Calm before the storm, the track is a furnace of emotive energy and heart but again thick intense shafts which share time and the imagination with increasingly volatile and ferocious crescendos, all these keen essences uniting in an explosive and dynamic climax to another increasingly contagious persuasion.

As striking and irresistible as they are, the first two songs are slightly over shadowed by the closing Ab Aeterno (From Forever), a mesmeric introspective unveiling from Friday in voice and emotion. A crystalline twinkle of keys light a creeping mist of evocative melodies from the song’s first breath, the vocals emotionally raw as guitars and stirring beats add their weight to the unfolding intimate drama. Like a mix of Bauhaus and very early U2 embraced by the dark ethereal craft of Nine Inch Nails, the song glows with charm and shadows, eventually igniting in a searing fire of sound and suggestiveness.

It is a transfixing end to a breath-taking release from This Burning Age, the band’s finest hour without doubt though you get the feeling even now that we have seen nothing yet.

The Desolation EP is out now via 5th Day Records @

Pete RingMaster 05/10/2015

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We’ll Go Machete – Smile Club

We'll Go Machete_RingMaster Review

Though knowing the name and reputation earned through their earlier releases, we had yet to get to grips with a We’ll Go Machete encounter. So it is with thanks to the band’s vocalist/guitarist Paul Warner, who introduced band and new album Smile Club to us just recently. All that can be said is boy have we been missing out, as the band’s second album is a glorious tempest of sound, striking imagination, and creative intensity. Smile Club simply infests ears and psyche with a hex of noise rock, post punk, and math rock plus any other caustic spicing you can think of, and certainly left us not hungry but desperate for more.

With a line-up completed by bassist Chris May and drummer Rachel Fuhrer, the Austin hailing We’ll Go Machete first sparked interest with their 2009 self-titled EP though it was debut album Strong Drunk Hands two years later which was the catalyst to richer attention and acclaim. Live too the band has garnered a healthy name and stature, shows alongside the likes of Future of the Left, Melvins, Hammerhead, and Fatal Flying Guillotines, as well as their own headlining events over time marking We’ll Go Machete out as one of the more exciting emerging propositions. Late to the party, as said Smile Club is our first real taster of the band and fair to say the, as its predecessors, Cedar Fever Records released album just whipped up a frenzy in sound and lustful reactions.

cover_RingMaster Review   Absence is the first welcome stirring of the senses, tangy grooves and thumping beats enriching an instant sonic swamp of noise swiftly loaded up further with the distinctive, angst hued tones of Warner. It is a striking and invigorating mix which has body and thoughts fully involved from the first trespass. Like something springing from a blend of Melvins, Quicksand, and Sofy Major, the track continues to growl and flex its confrontational muscles yet breeds an inescapable contagion. Adventure is already bold in the album, the song for example slipping through mellower evocative scenery across its potently unpredictable landscape for a mighty start to the inventive emprise of Smile Club.

The following and as outstanding Drawstring is just as quickly captivating, its entrance of tenaciously prowling rhythms and rapaciously alluring riffs gripping attention and appetite immediately. Spicy grooves and sharp hooks only add to the emerging theatre of sound and melodic drama with the again pungent voice of Warner only seeming to inflame the sounds around him into greater enthusiasm of craft and energy. Like a web, the track has fresh inescapable treats at every turn, the rhythms of May and Fuhrer cage like in their union around the acidic tapestry cast by the guitar.

A post punk tone and imagination comes with The Bardo though it is soon overwhelmed by a noise rock tsunami of emotional intensity veined by creeping sonic tendrils of guitar. The song does not have the same immediate impact as the pair before, but blossoms into a bordering on sinister persuasion of clanging dissonant chords amidst suggestive and volatile textures to only enslave over time.

Strasberg Air is a far swifter raw seducing with again hooks and rhythmic tenacity key bait in the evolving ingenuity of sound. Like a more restrained Fat Dukes of Fuck and mellower Shevils, the track bounces off the walls of ears and senses with Fuhrer alone creating an inescapable trap with his addictively imaginative beats. Carrying a grungier colour to vocals and melodies, the song leaves a lingering thrill before making way for the melancholic tempest of Scratch Built. The early solemn come doomy premise and air is eventually set ablaze by the corruptive quickstep of toxic riffs and earthy basslines splintered by viciously swung beats. With its own emotional ecoclimate, the track shifts from heavily dark through torrentially volatile to infectiously energetic before heading back into imposing shadows in a final exhilarating outburst.

The major pinnacle of the album is Positive People which comes next. It is another delving into post punk terrain, an eighties genre spicing lining choppy riffs and a wonderfully brooding bass tempting from May. Elements remind of bands such as Artery and The Fire Engines, whilst the cold air certainly has a Joy Division-esque feel to it, but again We’ll Go Machete only sculpt a startling and addictive exploration of their very own. Discord is always a friend of the musician and here perfectly woven into the torment soaked anatomy of one glorious incitement, its majesty continuing into Break the Kettles which evolves out of its predecessor’s tail wind. A slower corrosively elegant proposal, the track binds ears and imagination with sonic lacing whilst simultaneously sending splinters of guitar invention and rhythmic animosity into its angst thick drama.

Both Shot Giant and Cigarettes and Face Masks keep the compelling power and industry of Smile Club ablaze, the first an intensive shuffle pressuring ears with spiteful beat spilling agitation and ravaging riffery but unafraid to slip into something more melodically provocative and hauntingly intimidating. Its successor brews its own ridiculously addictive and threatening maze of fierce imagination and bitchy rhythms infested with swarms of toxic grooves and citric melodic endeavour. Each only ignites greedier pleasure but the second is especially virulently disorientating and thrilling.

The album is brought to an end by firstly the warped harmonious beauty of Molten Tiny Cell, a song nagging in sound and repetitious mastery until satisfaction is drooling and lastly Dust Storms May Exist. The final song is just superb, a hellacious storm of flavour and imagination which at times has a spicing reminiscent of KEN mode, in others moments a raw tone and feel which is similar to In Love Your Mother, and continually leads the listener on a spiral of exhaustive and perpetually resonating adventure in craft, energy, and again relentlessly twisting swirls of rabid sound and invention.

There is plenty more to say in praise of Smile Club but bottom-line is we simply adore it and feverishly recommend it to all fans of noise, psych, punk…well any lover of fierce rock ‘n’ roll.

Smile Club is available now via Cedar Fever Records.

RingMaster 26/08/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Maff – Self Titled EP

banda_piso_RingMaster Review

It is not too hard to guess some of the bigger influences upon Chilean band Maff whilst listening to their self-titled debut EP, the likes of The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Pixies, Sonic Youth, and My Bloody Valentine amongst them, yet fair to say the Santiago quartet weaves it all into songs which reveal their own distinct characters. Bred from an evolving fusion of shoegaze, alternative rock, noise pop, and indie to try and pin down the mix, sound and songs are a striking and tenacious shimmer on the senses which it easy to find yourself getting a touch greedy over. The release is a captivating introduction to a band with all the potential and imagination to evoke a worldwide appetite if not now surely ahead.

Maff began in 2012, formed by Richi Gómez (vocals/bass/guitar) and Nicolás Colombres (drums), two childhood friends who had previously played together in various punk rock bands. The line-up expanded with the addition of Nicolás’ brother Martín (guitar) in 2014 and was completed earlier this year by Talo Correa (guitar/bass /vocals/synth). Creating, recording, and producing their EP in their own studio, Maff has already sparked potent reactions to their music, dreampop duo Ummagma already amongst those enamoured, recognition which should now ignite through the EP’s release. Exploring themes such as innocence, mysticism, true love, loss, drugs, freedom, and timelessness within its songs, the Maff EP is a sultry romance for ears but one unafraid to ignite an unpredictable blaze or two in sound and energy.

The EP opens with Act 1, a spatially atmospheric instrumental evolved from post punk and eighties alternative rock which swiftly brings the imagination to the boil with its evocative soundscape which is best described as Joy Division meets My Bloody Valentine. It is a dramatic and rousing start to the release, an incitement of dark rhythms and sonic exploration wrapped in vibrant freshness and familiarity.

Maff - Maff Cover Art_RingMaster Review     Its potent persuasion is followed by the just as invigorating Linger Around, a hearty stroll of riffs and beats which relaxes a touch but simultaneously increases its fiery atmosphere and dark shadows as the mellow effect lined vocals of Gómez step forward. That influence of The Jesus and Mary Chain is a spicy ingredient to the gripping incitement swiftly seducing ears, adding thick hues to a provocatively crafted blend of almost prowling dark tones and emotions aligned with melancholic beauty and shimmering resonance.

Walking On Fire slips in next on a slim and radiant melody, the simple coaxing soaked in childlike innocence and radiance. It is soon courted by pulsating beats and a darker celestial climate though as the song’s entrance increasingly captivates, the atmosphere and scenery becoming more inflamed and hazy respectively. Vocal harmonies are as much about texture as narrative here, more so in many ways as the song’s chorus revolves around bewitching singular repetition with the end result as all unite together, a magnetic piece of composing and enterprise which inspires body and mind from start to finish.

     A more indie toning comes with Million Year Picnic, the guitars exploring a richer creative clang against another enthralling lure of post punk seeded bass and crisp jabs of beats. Vocally and melodically the song still immerses in shoegaze imagination but its canvas has stronger clarity from clearer air for the craft and individual incitements of the band to weave their combined tapestries of temptation. The House of Love essence to the song just adds to its lure and sets up of ears nicely for the ethereal charm of Someday. Featuring guest vocals from Francisca Morandé alongside Gómez, the supernal seduction of the song’s warm balladry simply drifts over the senses, immersing ears in an electronically sizzling Lush like embrace.

A fuzzy courting of the senses with a deeply rooted growl comes next in the shape of You, its shapely and slightly scuzzy rock ‘n’ roll rumble toying with aggression and causticity whilst casting a sultry anthemic enticing. Its dirtier air is the perfect taster for the outstanding Planet Wave, an inventive maelstrom of garage and surf rock embroiled in a just as thrilling alignment of space and psychedelic revelry. It is the most exciting and exhilarating offering on the EP, standing out amidst a collection of tracks which are certainly not lacking in those resourceful traits either.

The release is finished off by the rhythmically forceful and sonically bracing Blue Seas. As all around it, varied strains of flavours combine to create an inviting web, though primarily the encounter is more indie rock with potent hues of rock, grunge, and electronic rock. Even if not whipping up the passions as much as other tracks, it is a highly satisfying ‘end’ to the EP, though the actual final track is a radio edit of Walking On Fire.

For a debut Maff makes a striking statement and as they and their sound evolve, it is probably safe to assume more and greater offerings and enjoyment are ahead.

The Maff EP is available now via

RingMaster 07/07/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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