Spaztic Robot – Skip Rope Rhymes

album_art_RingMasterReview

On an empty sunny day in 1990, when I was nine years old, I saw two dead dogs. Each at opposite ends of the same street. One was big and brown, the other small and grey. Both greeted me with the exact same pitiful manner. Their sunburnt tongues bathing on the gravel gave the illusion of salmon rising from black tar rivers. As the odour began to rise with the dusty heat, I felt like I’d snorted fizzy pop. I chucked up. Through teary eyes I scanned the motionless street in which I stood. Nothing. Nothing but ugly new houses. Ugly new houses with identical square gardens laid out in front of them.

I wasn’t to know it at the time, but Spaztic Robot was born at that very moment. With no evidence offering itself to the mystery of the dead dogs, my nine year old self began to piece together his own chain of events…a different one lending itself to each house on the street. I was convinced that behind the bricks and mortar of one of these seemingly inconspicuous houses lay a dirty little secret.

Skip Rope Rhymes was created in the same vein. It’s a gathering of characters and stories. Characters and stories that could all easily exist, in one street, behind the closed doors of ugly new houses with identical square gardens laid out in front of them.”

This biography placed introduction to Spaztic Robot pretty such sums up the air and dark intensity which floods a myriad of sounds and imagination making up Skip Rope Rhymes, the band’s debut album. In a broad array of characters, songs offer shadowed adventures all equipped with intimate secrecy, like behind closed doors insights as dramatic and often cinematic as they are seriously captivating.

Spaztic Robot is the solo project of Robbie Sparks, vocalist/guitarist/songwriter of Stourbridge punksters Rebel City Radio. With the band taking a break from gigging and writing over the past year or so, Sparks has used the time to dive into the writing and creating of this his debut album. Recently released, Skip Rope Rhymes has taken little time in drawing eager praise. Its potent diversity means some tracks more forcibly connected with personal tastes than others but from start to finish it is one compelling exploration easy to hear why it has lured strong attention.

The album opens up with Robot Rape, metallic sounds immediately surrounding the senses as whispers in the dark outskirts of the piece share their paranoia. Samples and infectious rhythms soon join the enticement, varied vocal eruptions and a pulsating throb in tow as Sparks begin infesting the imagination in word, tone, and sound. It is an enthralling start which leads into the magnificent theatre of Walk The Long Way Home. Again bold ideas collude with a whiff of insanity as they lead the listener into a sinister noir lit drama of intent and emotion. Nagging and virulent in its catchiness, the track is like a bedlam bound Brian Brain (aka Martin Atkins of PIL, Nine Inch Nails, and Killing Joke fame), a contagious infestation of ears and psyche from repetitious invention and nagging imagination. It is off kilter, bordering deranged, and inescapably irresistible as waves of intensity and psychosis engulf the listener.

The Ants! follows sharing everyday observation in alignment with broader dangers. It sweeps over the senses with again heavily pulsing rhythms and electronic shadows suggestively courting thoughts as much as the intimacy of the vocal and guitar melody. Its low key but involving presence makes way for the pop toned exploits of Confetti Crowns, a song which was one of those not quite igniting ears and imagination as much as those encounters around it. Musically and in songwriting, the song does little wrong yet feels like it is there to provide an accessible doorway and infectious invitation into the real and challenging heart of the album where for us the major excitements lie. Nevertheless, the song does please before the Aphex Twin meets The Cure like Ugly Flower and the scuzzy neurosis of Fingered At The Disco steal their share of attention. The first is a shadow thick serenade of sorts whilst its successor again has a tinge of Brian Brain alongside essences hinting at the likes of Fad Gadget, Pere Ubu, and Wire. It is a glorious and disturbing slice of rhythmic dementia and sonic aberration matched in creativity and emotion by Spark’s schizophrenic vocal delivery.

The melancholy soaked embrace Birth (Goodbye Roggar) offers a collage of flavours and samples next, reminding a touch of Cardiff producer Conformist as it flows like melodic mist through ears with whirls of creative and emotional disturbance interrupting its tempestuous calm while This Is God! induces smiles and glances over the shoulder as the introspective story of death bound life comes with the nag of throbbing rhythms, repetition fuelled melodic temptation, and the stable reflection of its provocateur. Another pinnacle of the release, the track bewitches before Sparks infests the classic (Don’t Fear) The Reaper with his own haunting and acoustic imagination to fine effect.

Skip Rope Rhymes concludes with firstly the creative delirium of At Daggers Drawn, a song which absorbs ears in its society bred dementia and finally the invasive yet solemnly beauteous darkness Extinction Song. Both tracks ignite ears and imagination while challenging each, a quality which infests and shapes the whole of Skip Rope Rhymes in varying ways.

Only listening to Skip Rope Rhymes does it true justice though words like ours, as with Confetti Crowns, hopefully become an enticement to want to leap into the dark and thrilling realms of Spaztic Robot; the rewards are swiftly evident for those that do.

Skip Rope Rhymes is out now across most online stores.

http://www.spazticrobot.com/   https://www.facebook.com/spazticrobot   https://twitter.com/robbiesparks

Pete RingMaster 08/09/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Black Space Riders – Beyond Refugeeum

Pressefoto BEYOND REFUGEEUM EP_RingMasterReview

It is hard to say whether Beyond Refugeeum, the new EP from space rockers Black Space Riders, is an epilogue, continuation, or parallel entity to the band’s acclaimed fourth album, Refugeeum of 2015. In varying ways it is all of those identities whilst providing a mouth-watering and spirit rousing proposal from the ever captivating imagination of the German outfit offering four new tracks to tempt with a couple of remixes.

The quartet of original recordings making their first appearance upon Beyond Refugeeum, are songs which the band deliberately kept back from Refugeeum to release separately; tracks which according to vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist JE, are “unlike what you might expect from this band. But you can still tell that it comes logically and quite unmistakably from the Black Space Riders. The songs are exalted, sometimes overwrought, vivid, and yet accessible. Much has happened in Europe and in the world since these songs were written at the end of 2014 and recorded in early 2015, but they seem to be even more contemporary and necessary than ever.

As soon as first track Willkommen engages and embraces ears, it is easy to understand his suggestion. The EP is straight away recognisably Black Space Riders invention but moving in different circles of ideas and fresh directions, and increasingly so across the release. The opener is an instrumental which starts with a gentle intent and touch, guitars coming in one by one with bass and percussion close behind. Each element has a melodic and rhythmic restraint but a provocative essence which brews and grows across the six minute encounter. Spatial yet increasingly aggressive and intimate, the track is like a psychedelic nebula, drawing in denser sounds and energy until creating its own dramatic world, or in this case an intensity fuelled sonic climax.

16_01_04 ep_beyond_refugeeum_cd-digisleeve_RingMasterReviewThe following Freedom At First Sight sees the band venture into a more nostalgic field of inspiration, post and gothic punk with new wave hues enthrallingly flavouring its magnetic presence. The vocals have a dour tone and melodies a colder air to match the ambience of the otherwise rousing roar of the song. In many ways like a mix of Sisters Of Mercy, Killing Joke, and Joy Division, it is glorious with a closing crescendo of voice and sound to get lustful for. Across their releases, Black Space Riders have created some memorable and irresistible proposals but this track might just eclipse them all.

Droneland grumbles into view next, its sonic breath a grouchy nagging which is soon accompanied and overwhelmed by the magnetic light of synths, though an underlying shadow still lingers as the track blossoms a mesmeric flight over shamanic rhythms.  The attitude loaded lure of bass adds another irresistible hue, as too the grainy vocals which soon breed great spirit-raising harmonies. Once hitting its full height, weight, and stride, the track is a forcibly rousing incitement again revealing new shades of colour and imagination to the creative palette of the band.

Just as fascinating and thrilling is Starglue Sniffer, a pulsating slice of funk rock with spatters of excitable melodic and sonic temptation across a flirtatious bass lure and exotic rhythms. The falsetto hue of the vocals catch ears by surprise whilst only pleasing though it is the thumping dynamics and almost rebellious textures of the song, as well as sultry grooves, which steal the passions most. Becoming more irritable and volatile with every passing breath, the track snarls and flirts with sublime effect, to join its predecessors in leaving ears and appetite greedy for more.

Completed by VRTX RMX, an atmospherically invasive yet alluringly droning remix of their last album’s opener Vortex Sun, and finally Gravitation, the electro club remix of the band’s Give Gravitation to the People, a song on D:REI the band’s debut album, Beyond Refugeeum is an unmissable treat for fans and newcomers. The final two tracks make great listening but it is the new songs which grab all the eager plaudits whilst revealing an array of new pastures we can only hope the band explore further. We loved the previous Black Space Riders releases, but Beyond Refugeeum might just be our favourite moment yet.

The Beyond Refugeeum EP is out now via Black Space Records on 12” vinyl, CD, and digitally@ https://blackspaceriders.bandcamp.com/

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Pete RingMaster 16/05/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Rousing waltzes and alluring confrontations: talking Calling All Astronauts with David Bury

Calling All Astronauts_RingMaster Review

British electro rockers Calling All Astronauts continued an inescapable trend of releasing some of the UK’s finest provocative and rousing encounters with their new album Anti-Social Network a short few weeks back. An uncaging of snarling and virulent rock ‘n’ roll with a political and emotional bite, the album showed the addictive prowess of CAA in getting bodies bouncing and thoughts exploring. Meaning for a long time to talk with the band, the outstanding album was the spark which made the time to act now. So with big thanks to band vocalist/writer/producer David Bury, we turned the spotlight on CAA and Anti-Social Network with plenty more insights in tow.

Hi David and thanks for sharing time with us.

Before we get into your new album, Anti-Social Network, can you tell us about the beginnings of Calling All Astronauts for those still new to the band? How did you all meet and what became the spark to the creation of the band?

J and I used to be in a band called US:UK together, J then went on to be in the pop-punk Caffeine. Caffeine had drawn to a standstill after numerous tours of the UK and US, we bumped into each other and just thought we’d like to have a jam for old time’s sake. One thing led to another and Calling All Astronauts was born. We originally had Andy the Caffeine drummer, but he went travelling, while he was away I decided to learn about programming drums and keys, and that’s how the sound we now have developed.

As you said all of you in the band now have experiences before and outside of Calling All Astronauts; how much has the band been shaped by those musical adventures either in where you want to go with it or in what not to get involved in again?

You learn a lot about the industry over the years; the good memories, the parties, the massive gigs are the ones you cherish, but the knowledge you gain about how the music business runs really shapes your attitude towards it.

We first caught on to the band through the single Winter Of Discontent in 2012, which was your second? This was already a lively and potent time for the band live, the playing with the likes of Echo & The Bunnymen, PWEI, Sigue Sigue Sputnik and A Place To Bury Strangers amongst your shows, and in making music as well as reactions to those early releases. What was the feeling in CAA back then and how has that differed over time, if at all?

The feeling than was actually pretty much the same as it is now, we always feel both flattered and humbled that anyone likes our music, we are just three guys recording in my lounge, yeah in modern terms that’s a studio, but it’s a lounge nonetheless; we’ve got Sky Sports on in the background, my cats walking through, and we are under the Heathrow flight path, so I regularly have to redo a vocal when a plane has been particularly low. :)  We do what we do; it’s a kind of love us or hate us, it’s your choice, we won’t take it personally if we are not to your tastes, but we’ll embrace you as a friend if you get what we do.

Calling All Astronauts Promo PictureSince then singles, EPs, and an impressive debut album has come and gone; all leading to the recent release of second album Anti-Social Network. Following the band over those encounters, your music has clearly evolved and grown over time. From the inside how do you see and hear that change?

I think that is a direct reflection on my production skills. I’ve learnt so much in the last four years about how to actually make a record. We are a Rock And Roll band that works in the manner of a dance act; we pay a lot of attention to how our records sound sonically. We took a long time recording Anti-Social Network because we wanted to make an album that we’ll still be proud of as a piece of art in 25 years’ time.

Apart from personnel, how too as CAA changed mentally in regard to making music and how you deal with the music scene.

I don’t think we have actually changed much, we are all kind of set into the people we are. We do however have an increasing dislike of the mainstream music industry, and how it brainwashes kids into thinking things that are mediocre at best are amazing. If you swallow diamonds your turds with contain diamonds, but they will still be turds.

The band is seems defiantly DIY; your releases for example being uncaged on your own Supersonic Media. Has that always been the intention or just how things have worked out?

It seems that way, as yet, we’ve never sent any demos or any of our releases to any record labels. Actually I lie. I did give a copy of the first album to Brett the radio guru at Epitaph. I met him in LA and just wanted him to know how we sound rather than looking for a deal, so gave him a copy of the album, but that’s about it. We like having artistic control; yes we would be a lot bigger than we are if we were with a big indie or major, but at what artistic cost. I’m doubtful any of them would allow us to make an album as eclectic as Anti-Social Network; they want their artists to make an album of the same track 11 times, all the different variations around the same three chords.

Let us get right into Anti-Social Network now. Did you approach its writing and creation as you have previous releases or try something different in its making?

Yes pretty much, except we had Paul on board for this one. We tend to start with a drum track and built up from there, it’s quite like building a house, and as we all know, without solid foundations you may as well build your house out of straw.

You seem to have woven essences of many of your inspirations over the decades in its sound which was an extra tasty spice for us as I know we share similar favourite artists and songs from the seventies and eighties especially. Was this something you set out to do or just an organic arising from the writing?

Not really, we had a bunch of ideas, and as they grew organically into the songs they now are, we often referenced them using the names of the bands that they had a feel of. All the album sounds like us; I don’t think any of it could be called a pastiche. I think it’s maybe more a case of, band X made some amazing records, let’s see if we can make something that can stand up in its own right against what they did. It would have been the easiest thing in the world for us to make 11 tracks all sounding like Time To Fight Back or conversely Always Be True, but that’s really not what we are about. CAA to us is about making music we like, it’s not some master plan to sell millions of records; we’d rather be Clock DVA than Coldplay every day of the week.

Like many we generally call CAA an electro punk/rock band. As the new album shows, your sound is much richer and varied than that suggests. How would you describe it for newcomers?

It’s kind of like a ride on the world biggest Rock And Roll Rollercoaster. You never know whether it’s going to turn, or drop or go upside down until it’s upon you. Wow that sounds pretentious; ok, just imagine all your favourite left field rock bands since 1976, i.e. Killing Joke, Ministry, PIL, Bauhaus, New Order, Psychedelic Furs, and then getting them produced by Skrillex and Prodigy

Lyrically Anti-Social Network is as biting as ever, something easy to expect from your music, but equally there seems a thicker intimacy to some songs too. Can you give some background to art_RingMasterReviewthe themes of songs and to the album in general?

I have been hoping somebody would ask this, this will be quite extensive but I’ve been longing to go through the album track by track, please feel free to edit this if you want.

  1. Living The Dream

I grew up in a northern town, not a city, and in towns you see people on the local music scene who are the “big cheese”, they walk around like Billy Big Bollocks, they get a little bit of interest from local radio and think all they have to do is move to the big city and world will be the oyster. When the reality is something far different, when you make that leap to pursue your dreams, you have to be prepared for the reality that you are suddenly a shrimp in an ocean of sharks.

  1. Empire

We are very active on social media, especially Twitter, where we have a lot of young followers, and I see their tweets about how in love they are and the next second they are broken hearted. It’s kind of sending the message that broken hearts are only temporary when you’re a teen and that you are going to fall in love many times during your life and that if one relationship doesn’t work out, move on to the next one.

  1. Time To Fight Back

The world and society is pretty much on the brink of imploding; if the majority of us don’t stand up and say, “enough is enough” 1% of the world’s population has 99% of the wealth. There are children dying because they don’t have clean water, how can that be right in 2016?

  1. Hands Up Who Wants To Die?

Is about youth crime and gang violence and how leaving the house with a weapon can lead to a whole heap of consequences due to one thoughtless move

  1. Life As We Know It

This is about envy and how people wish they were somebody else, it’s clichéd but life is what you make of it. If you’re happy in your life, embrace the fact you are happy and celebrate it, if you are not happy, do something about it. Sitting on your ass complaining is never going to improve things, unless you grasp the metal and go for it.

  1. The American Dream

It is not particularly about the US, but as the American Dream has always been held up as a goal for what people can achieve through hard work, I thought it was a good example for society as a whole, and how things have changed from the days that people left school with ambitions of professions or trades. They now want to be YouTubers or famous on Vine, they want fame from zero talent in a narcissistic shallow world.

  1. God Is Dead

God is a metaphor for consumerism; you don’t get consumerism without the word consume and society has become all consumed with the latest product X until they have it, and once they have it, their thirst for the net product X is instantly greater than their joy at getting the latest thing they’ve craved for.

  1. Always Be True

As I mentioned earlier we have a lot of young fans, this is a message to them not to bow to peer pressure. If you don’t like something or don’t want to do something never be afraid to say no, because one day, your day will come.

  1. Look In Your Eye

This is about the cynical people at major labels who only see artists as product and really have no feelings about the long term futures of said artists as long as they have them signed to 360 deals, make a profit and keep themselves in a job

  1. Black World

Is really saying, I don’t have all the answers, but if you listen to what I’m saying in my lyrics and think about them and join us in thinking that the world doesn’t have to be like this, together we can make the world a better place

  1. Divisive

Is about how the media and governments manipulate the news to suit their own agendas. They tell us they are doing it for righteous reasons when it’s all about greed and power and that once you turn to violence it becomes both self-perpetuating and self-defeating; hence the chant of Greed Equals Power Equals War Equals Death repeating almost to infinitum at the end because wars go on and on and only increase the misery.

Do the same things predominantly rile up the lyrical muse or are you adding to the recipe of sparks as years and records pass?

The constant in my psyche is that I don’t like inequalities in society.  I’m not saying that people shouldn’t be rewarded for doing good work or being enterprising but I don’t think people should be forced to live in poverty. I just think people need to keep their eyes open and feel compassion for others, see both sides of every story; never judge people on their race colour creed, religion or lack of it, or their sexual orientation. Judge people on whether they are good people or not. While these things still exist in society, I will maintain my motivation as a lyricist.

Can you give us some insight into the recording of Anti-Social Network; any unexpected dramas and surprises?

There were no real disasters along the way, however it did take way longer than we hoped or expected it would. In all it took 2000 hours to record;, I think that’s maybe on a par with some of the 70’s prog rock bands, but you have to be truly happy with your records as you have to live with them forever once you release them.

CAA_RingMasterReviewFor most artists it is fair to say that playing live is their favourite part of making music. When it comes to writing and recording something though, what is your favourite part or element?

It’s actually when people tell you that they have listened to your record and really got what you’re doing. It’s the greatest feeling in the world to know you are not the only people that think the way you do.

Is there any particular moment in Anti-Social Network which gives you an extra glow of satisfaction?

There are three parts I love; on the intro of Divisive where the combination of guitar drums and keys gives the impression of a weird pitch shift on the drop, it gets me every time. I also love the almost UK Garage drop on the middle 8 of Always Be True, and J’s guitars on Life As We Know that sound like Cellos. But we are very proud of all of it, I honestly believe there are no fillers on the album and that if we released all eleven tracks as singles, we could get radio play on all of them, I could however be delusional.

Tell us about the art work for the album which seems to sum up the air of the great release more and more every time you look at it.

It was amazing, we were trying to come up with ideas, and Paul had googled the word Anti-Social Network and up this came. It’s an actual sculpture by South African artist Maurice Mbiyaki. We contacted him and asked if we could use it on the cover, and he replied “he’d be honoured”; the rest is history. J

What is next in store for CAA fans and the band itself?

We are working on a new live set and will be out and about before too long. Time To Fight Back is set to be released as a single in June with David CAA VIP Remix and a specially recorded cover version.

Big thanks again David for chatting with us; anything you would like to add?

Not really other than a big thanks to you for being so supportive of our releases, we really do appreciate the kind words you have written about us.

And finally, give us an insight into the records and artists which could be claimed to have most inspired your own life and creativity.

Blimey, this is a massive question for me; I think I can nail it down to genres rather than actual acts, I’m very influenced by, Punk, Northern Soul, Goth, Metal, 80’s Hiphop, Synthpop, Industrial, EDM, 90s Indie, Post-Punk, Hardcore, Big Beat, Reggae, Ska, and DnB.

Check out our review of Anti-Social Network @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2016/03/11/calling-all-astronauts-anti-social-network/

http://www.callingallastronauts.com    https://www.facebook.com/CallingAllAstronauts/     https://twitter.com/CAA_Official

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 16/04/2016

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Raptor King – Dinocracy

PROMO BAND RAPTOR KING _RingMaster Review

     Raptor King is a French band which going by their backstory, and tale within their new release, consists of Raptor V, a dino king from the cretaceous era which ended up in 2015 via a temporal gate, becoming trapped in the western suburbs of Paris within Boulogne-Billancourt. Determined to conquer this new world, he enlists two acolytes in guitarist Nightsmoke and drummer Don Coco. Removing the story from the facts we are left with little more to say on Raptor King except, and the most important thing to add, that they create one forcibly stirring and compelling sludge metal roar with plenty more to its voracious and thrilling incitement. There are raw expulsions from hardcore to thrash, heavy rock to well any kind of predatory sound you wish to think of involved in the hellacious Raptor King confrontation too and as proven by debut EP Dinocracy, it sets ears and emotions ablaze.

The band’s music is a bruising and rousing mix of familiarity and fresh creative emprise, all rolled into a sonic animus which chews on the senses whilst treating the passions to metal seeded punk ‘n’ roll anthems easy to get swiftly and fully involved with. The proof is right there with the EP’s opening track Da Fuck Where I Just Lend, and only becomes a stronger convincing and ferocious evidence with each passing encounter. The first track instantly entangles ears in a web of sonic enticement with a warped nature, the guitar wrapping the senses in spidery grooves as skittish as the rhythms around them. Raptor V just as swiftly reveals his thick range of delivery styles, his core tone gruff and ravenous but adept at taking it to rawer extremes or in spreading some unpolished but melodic enticing too. Across the song and indeed release, thoughts grab hints of the bands ranging from Motorhead to Face Down, White Zombie to King Hiss, Black Tusk to Pigs and more, but perpetually the tempest emerges as its own distinctive beast.

FRONT COVER RAPTOR KING DINOCRACY_RingMaster Review   The excellent start is straight away eclipsed by The Campaign, the track crawling over the listener from its breath, carrying an intimidation soon realised in vocals and the thumping roll of beats too. They are in turn aligned to a predacious intent in the bass and guitars, all continuing to stalk until building to a rabid onslaught led by again a great vocal variety acting as one. Track and band are unrelenting in their infesting and bullying of the senses, creating a virulent energy and infectiousness within a barbarous badgering of sound that simply stirs one’s own energy and appetite. There is a definite Killing Joke feel to the song also but again a colour in the rabid tapestry spawned by the band.

Jugular steps up next, launching from a sonic lancing of the senses with a rugged swagger and great entanglement of swinging beats and carnivorous bass predation. Once more that Jaz Coleman and co scent makes a potent and gripping additive in the mix of classic metal tenacity, heavily boned rock ‘n’ roll adventure, and the blackened invasiveness which courts some of the vocals and shadows of the outstanding encounter. Many of those flavours emerge again in the abrasive hostility of Acolytes (Nightsmoke – Don Coco), traits woven perfectly into the ridiculously captivating and enslaving primal stomp. Again you can argue that many aspects of the track are recognisable textures and temptations but with grooves a salacious web as both Nightsmoke and Coco weave a trap of addiction stoking rhythms and Raptor V’s at times reptilian vocals as magnetic as his growling prowess, the track as the EP, provides easily one of most enjoyable and invigorating riots this year.

Dinocracy is brought to a close by In Your Face, a storm of heavy metal and heftily imposing rock ‘n’ roll built on a frame of bone shuddering beats and grumpy antagonism. It is the least impacting song on the EP but due to the carnal and imaginative brilliance of its companions more than anything it might lack. Fair to say with another great blend of vocals, cutting rhythms, and instinctively enslaving grooves, all wrapped in the constant unpredictability that Raptor King work with, the song only excites, impresses, and grows more controlling over time.

A smile is never far from the face across Dinocracy, the lyrical fun as ripe as the invention and resourcefulness of their mighty sound. As suggested it might not be your choice of original release of 2015 but as the most thrilling and creatively anthemic it is in with a mighty shout.

The Dinocracy EP is available now via http://raptorking.bigcartel.com/product/dinocracy-ep

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Pete RingMaster 14/12/2015

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Stone Cold Dead – Lava Flows

STONE COLD DEAD _RingMaster ReviewPhoto 1

Lava Flows is one of those encounters which grabs rigorously, cuts off all forms of escape and in turn plies you with intoxicating persuasion which leaves you woozy and desperate for more. The heavy weight groove fest is the debut album from Greek metallers Stone Cold Dead, a band entangling the richest essences of groove and heavy metal with those of experimental and alternative rock. The result is a virulent form of predatory rock ‘n’ roll which leaves a thick greed for more as ripe as the outright enjoyment experienced from its thrilling introduction to a band destined to great heights.

Stone Cold Dead is the brainchild of former Rotting Christ and Nightfall guitarist George Bokos, a project which is not so much a solo adventure but one luring the talent of equally experienced and innovative guests. The Athens hailing Stone Cold Dead gave a potent hint of the quickly impressing sound fuelling the album a few short weeks back with the release of the single Hubrism, a teaser which awoke intrigue and anticipation with ease band now proven to be just the one facet of a triumphant beast.

The first inescapable seduction of the album comes through the union of Bokos’ glorious baritone guitar enticement with that of Charis Pazaroulas’ (ex-Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra) irresistible bowed contrabass temptation. Both aspects are a theatre of invention and controlled rabidity, of creative attitude and expression colluding to create bestial stomps of fierce rock ‘n’ roll with an unrelenting appetite to devour and incite ears and imagination. That ingenuity alone makes Lava Flows a must investigation but add the majestic and fearsome rhythmic bait bullying and igniting the senses throughout , and you have a proposition which is pure metal alchemy. Split into three sections; Stone, Cold, and Dead, which “unfolds along the Cosmic Tree, which connects three different realities”, Bokos has given the three tracks in each part to a trio of exceptional drummers to drive, twist, and elevate the nature and personality of each movement within the album. Yannis Stavropoulos takes the first section, to be followed by Dimitrios (Vorskaath) Dorian, the multi-instrumentalist behind Zemial, and Nile drummer George Kollias respectively. It is an aspect to the release that just adds further formidable drama to the provocative journey of the album, a potency which makes more of a thrilling impact than was definitely expected.

cover_RingMaster Review     The album opens with Climbing The Cave and straight away it is prowling ears with sonic craft as a rhythmic rumble builds into an anthemic addiction. As becomes the diverse mouth-watering norm across the release, riffs nag and gnaw on the senses as quickly enslaving vocals and the jungle of beats from Stavropoulos descend to seduce and ravage the body. Like a mix of Bloodsimple, Killing Joke, and Black Tusk, the track swings its bait whilst drilling deeper in to the psyche with every torrent of rabid riffs and web of insatiable grooving. It is probably right to say our passions were hooked from this point, a submission ensured by the contrabass seducing of Pazaroulas but only confirmed time and time again across Lava Flows starting with Cyclone Speaking.

Instantly the second song is more bestial in the tone of guitar and bass, and strolling with an antagonistic gait soon drawing in melodically enflamed roars of sound and voice. Rhythmically things are another maze to explore and be willingly trapped by as the melodic tenacity of Bokos flirts and explores new designs and instincts within the bruising rock ‘n’ roll climate. As with its predecessor, swift submission and a lusty reaction from body and thoughts are given, a success found again by the album’s title track. Lava Flows, as its title suggests, smoulders and crawls from its first breath but around an already keen burst of rhythms which provide the spark for a subsequent sludge bred swagger as volatile in energy and hunger as it is immersive in weight and ambience. Pazaroulas again bewitches with his bow on strings whilst Bokos and Stavropoulos entrance as they turn limbs and neck muscles into their puppets.

An apt colder steely hue flows through the album’s Cold section, Death Drive preying on ears with increasing intensity and energy as a punk ‘n’ roll attitude and irritability runs through the song’s pulsating veins. The craft of Dorian has a more rock ‘n’ roll energy and swing to its attack which is translated in the sound around it, that in turn creating another strain of alternative and groove metal united in stoner-esque toxicity to grip ears.

Both The Black Snake and Hubrism transfix with their individual invention and natures, the first emerging on a tribalistic, mystique clad trespass breeding a caustically flamed swing of riffs and incendiary grooves. The perpetual niggling quality of both continues to make the juiciest irresistible bait matched by vocals, rhythms, and that contrabass and bass ingenuity, manna throughout the album. Here it creates an emprise of colourful melodic and sonic mystique within a net of addictive creative voracity whilst its successor is a more sinister and disentangled weave of voices and atmospheric intimidation crowded by a great irritant of waspish grooves and robustly dynamic rhythms. Once more songwriting and sound infests and twists the listener this way and that with startling invention and imagination, and though many elements are familiar there is no doubting they are employed and evolved into something rabidly fresh and unique to Stone Cold Dead.

The exceptional Deconstructing The Architect is the first offering in the Dead segment of the adventure, Kollias sculpting a wonderfully intrusive and anthemically invigorating wall of rhythms as the guitars open up their own net of inimitable and irrepressible imagination and craft. The body becoming a puppet to the strings of band and album is nothing new at this point but certainly strung out and sent into their biggest frenzy yet as the song builds into its Torche meets Mastodon meets Trepalium emprise of sound and temptation.

A shamanic scent opens up with the entrance of Umbilical Cord next, the guitar again spinning a sultry and exotic coaxing before the track erupts into its muscularly predacious and erosive glory, which itself is never absent of unpredictable and smouldering flavours from distant shoes and cultures. The track, as all, simply engrosses and thrills, a tempting emulated in the closing extensive exploration of And The Tree Becomes A Sphere, a travelogue of sound and inspiring hues in its own right that has ears and thoughts as enslaved as the emotions amidst a massive greed for more.

Lava Flows is real heavy groove woven magnificence for the ears, and even if others find themselves to be not quite as lustful in reactions as we found ourselves to be, Stone Cold Dead are still a big reward all should give themselves a chance of getting excited over.

Lava Flows is out now via digitally and on CD via Volcanic Music @ http://stone-cold-dead.bandcamp.com

https://www.facebook.com/StoneColdDead

Pete RingMaster 10/11/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Fit For An Autopsy – Absolute Hope Absolute Hell

fitforanautopsy_RingMaster Review

The time between previous album, the 2013 released Hellbound, and its new successor Absolute Hope Absolute Hell, has seen death metallers Fit For An Autopsy become not only more brutal but strikingly bolder in the adventure behind the infusion of melodic imagination and diversity shaping their ferocity. The evidence is all strikingly there in the band’s third album which is also the first with new vocalist Joe Badolato after the departure of Nate Johnson last year. Quite simply Absolute Hope Absolute Hell is a gripping tempest of sound and intensity, of passion and anger, and a new heady bench mark for the New Jersey hailing sextet.

Self-produced by guitarist Will Putney, who has also previously produced the likes of Thy Art Is Murder, Acacia Strain, and Northlane, Absolute Hope Absolute Hell opens with its title track and a melodic tempting which reflects the first part of its title perfectly. Within a few more deep breaths riffs are crawling through the air and dark grooves binding ears as the quickly impressing delivery of Badolato steers the brewing volcanic tempest. Whereas in previously releases the open barbarism fuelling the new intent would be undiluted, here the opening enticing continues to flirt from within the storm, ebbing away occasionally to return with vocal elegance as the track relentlessly grows into and evolves its furious skin and body.

FitForAnAutopsy_AHAH_RingMaster Review      It is a mighty and thrilling start carried on by the following Wither, its first touch a crunching tide of raw riffs and imposing rhythms again straddled by the excellent tones of the new frontman. Johnson was a mighty force and texture within Fit For An Autopsy but Badolato brings something just as hearty but stirringly different which simply fits the band’s evolution in sound, Saltwound straight after conformation if it was needed. Backing vocals equally seem to have found a new zeal and hue to their roars too, on the third song creating searing harmonics within the sonic smog wrapping the rhythmic trespass of the track. Though not quite living up to the pair before, such their stunning success, the track quickly unveils more melodic enterprise and atmospheric imagination as forcibly alluring as any raw ferocity unleashed across song and album.

Both the Gojira meets Oceano like Murder In The First and Storm Drains exhaust the body and ignite the senses, the first a zealous predatory stalking which bewitches with repetitive hooks and spiralling grooves whilst becoming more barbarous with every passing minute and blast of viciousness. Its successor is a viscous sonic and vocal assault but again a turbulence unafraid to spin magnetic melodic and caustic tempting through the guitars of Putney, Tim Howley, and Pat Sheridan, drummer Josean Orta alongside splintering bone with his often restrained but fierce swings; that reserve emerging with the almost post-rock like ambience which also blows through the track.

Another high is breached with Ghosts In The River, Badolato offering a Jaz Coleman like tone to his cleaner grizzled delivery whilst around him vivaciously shimmering melodies seep from guitar strings and a warm inviting atmosphere leads the listener into the volatility and perpetually animus of the song’s heart. Bassist Shane Slade sculpts bait which borders on bestial but is tempered, almost smothered at times by the mesmeric melodic imagination working away on an already by this point greedy appetite. The track is as enthralling an inventive and fluidly diverse violation as you could hope for and quickly matched by the outstanding and creatively rabid Mask Maker which takes things to even more entangled richer depths. One moment it is scarring the senses with sonic acidity and the next creating a furious anthem which again has a slight Killing Joke scent to it, not to mention that of bands like Thy Art is Murder, though as shown yet again by Hollow Shell straight after, Fit For An Autopsy have created a presence truly distinct to them showing past great efforts were still a sound in the making. Hollow Shell is almost gentle in comparison to the previous track, well for a passing moment or two as sinews become stretched, emotions turn sour, and intensity is uncapped as the track boils over with rancor but without losing any of its creative enterprise and seamless fusion of melody rich ambience and toxic savagery.

Out To Sea is a song which took time to fully persuade, its opening emotive calm and sweeping atmosphere tempered for personal tastes by the vocal delivery choice of Badolato, his rasping tones a dampener on the climate but coming into their own as the short but potent track breeds a cantankerous torrent of hostility around the persistent beauty. It is a great appetiser for the virulent bad-blood of False Positive though, this a maelstrom of creative spite and bedlamic ingenuity as blusteringly unpredictable as it is punishingly hellacious. Every second brings a new chastisement for the senses and inventive tonic for ears and imagination, the album closing on the same lofty heights as it started, a pinnacle reinforced by album closer Swing The Axe and its more controlled and tempered storm flowing with and exposing the new direction and ingenuity in the Fit For An Autopsy songwriting and sound.

To simplify things, Absolute Hope Absolute Hell is technically compelling, brutally impacting rock ‘n’ roll to give your soul to, the roar of a band’s sound coming of age with plenty more still to be explored and experienced. We have another best of year metal contender!

Absolute Hope Absolute Hell is available from October 2nd via eOne / Good Fight Music.

http://www.fitforanautopsy.com   https://www.facebook.com/FitForAnAutopsyOfficial   https://twitter.com/FitForAnAutopsy

Pete RingMaster 02/10/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Black Space Riders – Refugeeum

Black Space Riders official 2015_RingMaster Review

With their previous album D:REI, it is fair to say that German space rockers Black Space Riders not only set a new benchmark for themselves but ignited a whole new host of appetites and acclaiming attention. Now the Muenster sextet return with its successor Refugeeum; an intensive and expansive exploration which may or may not quite surpass its exceptional predecessor, but is an equal as it reinforces the band’s stature as one of the most fascinating and gripping propositions in heavy rock.

This time around the band has dropped from spatial explorations and focused on earthbound issues and tempestuous times. Musically the band has found an earthier and more organically trespassing, as well as more intimate, depth and invention to their ever diverse, flavour embracing sound. Certainly there are moments which soar and take flight through rich and broad landscapes but always they lead to the turbulence and raw canvas of emotional and physical migrancy, to simplify the album’s theme. There is also a new and open maturity to the songwriting and its realisation in Refugeeum, a quality taking the already recognised and rewarding potency in all aspects of band and sound that had already powerfully blossomed within D:REI, to new pastures.

A spatial shimmer grows around ears initially as album opener Vortex Sun starts things off, its distant twinkle soon joined by a lone melody and vocal harmonies. Everything has a shadowy glaze to it but equally a magnetism which within seconds draws ears and imagination right into the brewing soundscape of the song. Once the drums begin rolling with increasing resonance and hunger, the track is on the lip of a thickly atmospheric and energetically contagious proposal, guitars casting a cascade of sonic enterprise around nagging riffs whilst the vocals add further descriptive drama and texture. The threat of a full explosion of sound and turbulence is constantly there but never really realised, the song moving through constantly shifting rock scenery with exotic mystique and sultry Eastern whispers a regular and inventive lining.

Frontcover Refugeeum Vinyl _RingMaster Review   The track is a glorious start to the album and swiftly matched by Universal Bloodlines, who wins its persuasive argument from the opening bait of throaty riffs and crispy beats alone. They come with an irresistible hook, one which only persists as the band develops and slips into a Life of Agony like emotive croon within rousing rhythmic and dirtily aggressive temptation. It is a fiery and intimidating fusion and ridiculously irresistible, even when the sonic craft of the guitarists SLI and JE add searing sonic flames to the raw alchemy.

Born a Lion (Homeless) comes next, opening with its own compelling coaxing. The scuzzy tone of bass from SAQ is a thick menacing hook all on its own whilst just as quickly, fuzzy guitars and slithers of keys align with its enthralling call to accentuate and colour the tribal call of the song. The vocals are shared around the album by Seb and JE, and here offer maybe their most rapacious and fiercely captivating delivery yet. The song itself continues to grow into a brute of a proposition, a treat lying somewhere between Killing Joke, Rammstein, and David Bowie.

There is a post punk edge to the following The Lure (Come with us), especially in its opening stalking of ears. Four songs in and each has provided the most individual and passion enslaving openings, entrances backed by ever evolving and twisting adventures, and here the fourth song goes on to explore a filth toned embrace of snarling vocals, evocative guitar caresses, and one hypnotically tenacious doomy prowl.

A mellower lure escapes Run to the Plains next, gentle vocal persuasion luring in attention as a darker groan of bass from SAQ or HEVO, who also features upon Refugeeum, courts its invitation. It is a tempting increasing as both vocalists unite with their unique and complementary tones. There is a touch of post rock to the track and a Palms like alternative rock smoulder to the stoner-esque ripeness colouring the mesmeric encounter. At over ten minutes the track is a maelstrom in waiting too, expelling thick tendrils of intensity and heavy grooves as well as tempestuous riffs across its constantly resonating sonic glow.

The pair of Curtains of Death, another with a start which just seems to know how to flick the switch of lust, and Melek’s Lament (Yazidi Tears) just seduce and engross with constant imagination. The outstanding first of the two follows up its tasty start with a spiral of tangy grooves, feisty riffs, and grouchy vocals, all honed into an intimidating and again wonderfully fuzzy yet boisterous shuffle before drifting off into reflective and haunting, almost cavernous exploration. It is a riot for the ears and feast for the imagination whilst its successor is a mist of worldly whispers, flirtatious textures, and emotional intensity, and in a completely different way just as fascinating and infectious, especially as it brews up its own seventies rock tinged roar of a climax which in turn descends into a sonic escape.

Such his skilled rhythmic jungle of beats and resourcefulness C.RIP has an easy time winning these ears over from start to finish within Refugeeum, and again ensures Walking Shades has its hooks into the psyche straight away with another almost meditatively inviting dance of beats. Subsequent melodies and vocals pursue another Life of Agony like toning in their catchy and provocative body, it all colluding for one tantalising offering before Ritual of Inner Strength brings the album to an epic close. The track in many ways is like a musical epilogue to Refugeeum, all the richest and most potent elements creating the hearts of the album’s songs converging together in a gentle but intensifying tempest. It is creative theatre, one igniting thoughts and emotions as strongly as its infectious lures grip the body, and though it does not take personal emotions quite to the heights sparked by other songs, its impacting croon is a fine end to a mighty release.

The band’s previous album had great ruggedness to it which has been rounded off for Refugeeum but in its place the band has honed a more intricate blend of slimmer tempests, thicker explorations, and a perpetual unpredictable invention. The album is Black Space Riders’ boldest and farthest reaching creative offering yet and after many more listens whilst composing this, decidedly their most thrilling exploit yet.

Refugeeum is available now digitally, on Cd, and on double vinyl (2x180G, incl. CD & lyric-insert) @ https://blackspaceriders.bandcamp.com/album/refugeeum

https://www.facebook.com/BlackSpaceRiders

http://www.blackspaceriders.com/

RingMaster 24/07/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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